The Practice Of Supremacy In Religion, Was Not In The Time Of The Kings,
According To The Right Thereof
Notwithstanding the government both in Policy and Religion, were joined, first in the High Priests, and afterwards in the Kings, so far forth as concerned the Right; yet it appeareth by the same Holy History, that the people understood it not; but there being amongst them a great part, and probably the greatest part, that no longer than they saw great miracles, or (which is equivalent to a miracle) great abilities, or great felicity in the enterprises of their Governours, gave sufficient credit, either to the fame of Moses, or to the Colloquies between God and the Priests; they took occasion as oft as their Governours displeased them, by blaming sometimes the Policy, sometimes the Religion, to change the Government, or revolt from their Obedience at their pleasure: And from thence proceeded from time to time the civill troubles, divisions, and calamities of the Nation. As for example, after the death of Eleazar and Joshua, the next generation which had not seen the wonders of God, but were left to their own weak reason, not knowing themselves obliged by the Covenant of a Sacerdotall Kingdome, regarded no more the Commandement of the Priest, nor any law of Moses, but did every man that which was right in his own eyes; and obeyed in Civill affairs, such men, as from time to time they thought able to deliver them from the neighbour Nations that oppressed them; and consulted not with God (as they ought to doe,) but with such men, or women, as they guessed to bee Prophets by their Praedictions of things to come; and thought they had an Idol in their Chappel, yet if they had a Levite for their Chaplain, they made account they worshipped the God of Israel.
And afterwards when they demanded a King, after the manner of the nations; yet it was not with a design to depart from the worship of God their King; but despairing of the justice of the sons of Samuel, they would have a King to judg them in Civill actions; but not that they would allow their King to change the Religion which they thought was recommended to them by Moses. So that they alwaies kept in store a pretext, either of Justice, or Religion, to discharge themselves of their obedience, whensoever they had hope to prevaile. Samuel was displeased with the people, for that they desired a King, (for God was their King already, and Samuel had but an authority under him); yet did Samuel, when Saul observed not his counsell, in destroying Agag as God had commanded, anoint another King, namely David, to take the succession from his heirs. Rehoboam was no Idolater; but when the people thought him an Oppressor; that Civil pretence carried from him ten Tribes to Jeroboam an Idolater. And generally through the whole History of the Kings, as well of Judah, as of Israel, there were Prophets that alwaies controlled the Kings, for transgressing the Religion; and sometimes also for Errours of State; (2 Chro. 19. 2.) as Jehosaphat was reproved by the Prophet Jehu, for aiding the King of Israel against the Syrians; and Hezekiah, by Isaiah, for shewing his treasures to the Ambassadors of Babylon. By all which it appeareth, that though the power both of State and Religion were in the Kings; yet none of them were uncontrolled in the use of it, but such as were gracious for their own naturall abilities, or felicities. So that from the practise of those times, there can no argument be drawn, that the right of Supremacy in Religion was not in the Kings, unlesse we place it in the Prophets; and conclude, that because Hezekiah praying to the Lord before the Cherubins, was not answered from thence, nor then, but afterwards by the Prophet Isaiah, therefore Isaiah was supreme Head of the Church; or because Josiah consulted Hulda the Prophetesse, concerning the Book of the Law, that therefore neither he, nor the High Priest, but Hulda the Prophetesse had the Supreme authority in matter of Religion; which I thinke is not the opinion of any Doctor.
After The Captivity The Jews Had No Setled Common-wealth
During the Captivity, the Jews had no Common-wealth at all
And after their return, though they renewed their Covenant with God, yet there was no promise made of obedience, neither to Esdras, nor to any other; And presently after they became subjects to the Greeks (from whose Customes, and Daemonology, and from the doctrine of the Cabalists, their Religion became much corrupted): In such sort as nothing can be gathered from their confusion, both in State and Religion, concerning the Supremacy in either. And therefore so far forth as concerneth the Old Testament, we may conclude, that whosoever had the Soveraignty of the Common-wealth amongst the Jews, the same had also the Supreme Authority in matter of Gods externall worship; and represented Gods Person; that is the person of God the Father; though he were not called by the name of Father, till such time as he sent into the world his Son Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind from their sins, and bring them into his Everlasting Kingdome, to be saved for evermore. Of which we are to speak in the Chapter following.
CHAPTER XLI. OF THE OFFICE OF OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR
Three Parts Of The Office Of Christ
We find in Holy Scripture three parts of the Office of the Messiah: the first of a Redeemer, or Saviour: The second of a Pastor, Counsellour, or Teacher, that is, of a Prophet sent from God, to convert such as God hath elected to Salvation; The third of a King, and Eternall King, but under his Father, as Moses and the High Priests were in their severall times. And to these three parts are corespondent three times. For our Redemption he wrought at his first coming, by the Sacrifice, wherein he offered up himself for our sinnes upon the Crosse: our conversion he wrought partly then in his own Person; and partly worketh now by his Ministers; and will continue to work till his coming again. And after his coming again, shall begin that his glorious Reign over his elect, which is to last eternally.
His Office As A Redeemer
To the Office of a Redeemer, that is, of one that payeth the Ransome of Sin, (which Ransome is Death,) it appertaineth, that he was Sacrificed, and thereby bare upon his own head, and carryed away from us our iniquities, in such sort as God had required. Not that the death of one man, though without sinne, can satisfie for the offences of all men, in the rigour of Justice, but in the Mercy of God, that ordained such Sacrifices for sin, as he was pleased in his mercy to accept. In the old Law (as we may read, Leviticus the 16.) the Lord required, that there should every year once, bee made an Atonement for the Sins of all Israel, both Priests, and others; for the doing whereof, Aaron alone was to sacrifice for himself and the Priests a young Bullock; and for the rest of the people, he was to receive from them two young Goates, of which he was to Sacrifice one; but as for the other, which was the Scape Goat, he was to lay his hands on the head thereof, and by a confession of the iniquities of the people, to lay them all on that head, and then by some opportune man, to cause the Goat to be led into the wildernesse, and there to Escape, and carry away with him the iniquities of the people. As the Sacrifice of the one Goat was a sufficient (because an acceptable) price for the Ransome of all Israel; so the death of the Messiah, is a sufficient price, for the Sins of all mankind, because there was no more required. Our Saviour Christs sufferings seem to be here figured, as cleerly, as in the oblation of Isaac, or in any other type of him in the Old Testament: He was both the sacrificed Goat, and the Scape Goat; "Hee was oppressed, and he was afflicted (Isa. 53.7.); he opened not his mouth; he brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is dumbe before the shearer, so opened he not his mouth:" Here he is the Sacrificed Goat. "He hath born our Griefs, (ver.4.) and carried our sorrows;" And again, (ver. 6.) "the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all:" And so he is the Scape Goat. "He was cut off from the land of the living (ver. 8.) for the transgression of my People:" There again he is the Sacrificed Goat. And again (ver. 11.) "he shall bear their sins:" Hee is the Scape Goat. Thus is the Lamb of God equivalent to both those Goates; sacrificed, in that he dyed; and escaping, in his Resurrection; being raised opportunely by his Father, and removed from the habitation of men in his Ascension.
Christs Kingdome Not Of This World
For as much therefore, as he that Redeemeth, hath no title to the Thing Redeemed, before the Redemption, and Ransome paid; and this Ransome was the Death of the Redeemer; it is manifest, that our Saviour (as man) was not King of those that he Redeemed, before hee suffered death; that is, during that time hee conversed bodily on the Earth. I say, he was not then King in present, by vertue of the Pact, which the faithfull make with him in Baptisme; Neverthelesse, by the renewing of their Pact with God in Baptisme, they were obliged to obey him for King, (under his Father) whensoever he should be pleased to take the Kingdome upon him. According whereunto, our Saviour himself expressely saith, (John 18.36.) "My Kingdome is not of this world." Now seeing the Scripture maketh mention but of two worlds; this that is now, and shall remain to the day of Judgment, (which is therefore also called, The Last Day;) and that which shall bee a new Heaven, and a new Earth; the Kingdome of Christ is not to begin till the general Resurrection. And that is it which our Saviour saith, (Mat. 16.27.) "The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his Angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." To reward every man according to his works, is to execute the Office of a King; and this is not to be till he come in the glory of his Father, with his Angells. When our Saviour saith, (Mat. 23.2.) "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat; All therefore whatsoever they bid you doe, that observe and doe;" hee declareth plainly, that hee ascribeth Kingly Power, for that time, not to himselfe, but to them. And so hee hath also, where he saith, (Luke 12.14.) "Who made mee a Judge, or Divider over you?" And (John 12.47.) "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." And yet our Saviour came into this world that hee might bee a King, and a Judge in the world to come: For hee was the Messiah, that is, the Christ, that is, the Anointed Priest, and the Soveraign Prophet of God; that is to say, he was to have all the power that was in Moses the Prophet, in the High Priests that succeeded Moses, and in the Kings that succeeded the Priests. And St. John saies expressely (chap. 5. ver. 22.) "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son." And this is not repugnant to that other place, "I came not to judge the world:" for this is spoken of the world present, the other of the world to come; as also where it is said, that at the second coming of Christ, (Mat. 19. 28.) "Yee that have followed me in the Regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his Glory, yee shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
The End Of Christs Comming Was To Renew The Covenant Of The Kingdome
Of God, And To Perswade The Elect To Imbrace It, Which Was The Second
Part Of His Office
If then Christ while hee was on Earth, had no Kingdome in this World, to what end was his first coming? It was to restore unto God, by a new Covenant, the Kingdome, which being his by the Old Covenant, had been cut off by the rebellion of the Israelites in the election of Saul. Which to doe, he was to preach unto them, that he was the Messiah, that is, the King promised to them by the Prophets; and to offer himselfe in sacrifice for the sinnes of them that should by faith submit themselves thereto; and in case the nation generally should refuse him, to call to his obedience such as should beleeve in him amongst the Gentiles. So that there are two parts of our Saviours Office during his aboad upon the Earth; One to Proclaim himself the Christ; and another by Teaching, and by working of Miracles, to perswade, and prepare men to live so, as to be worthy of the Immortality Beleevers were to enjoy, at such time as he should come in majesty, to take possession of his Fathers Kingdome. And therefore it is, that the time of his preaching, is often by himself called the Regeneration; which is not properly a Kingdome, and thereby a warrant to deny obedience to the Magistrates that then were, (for hee commanded to obey those that sate then in Moses chaire, and to pay tribute to Caesar;) but onely an earnest of the Kingdome of God that was to come, to those to whom God had given the grace to be his disciples, and to beleeve in him; For which cause the Godly are said to bee already in the Kingdome of Grace, as naturalized in that heavenly Kingdome.
The Preaching Of Christ Not Contrary To The Then Law Of The Jews,
Nor Of Caesar
Hitherto therefore there is nothing done, or taught by Christ, that tendeth to the diminution of the Civill Right of the Jewes, or of Caesar. For as touching the Common-wealth which then was amongst the Jews, both they that bare rule amongst them, that they that were governed, did all expect the Messiah, and Kingdome of God; which they could not have done if their Laws had forbidden him (when he came) to manifest, and declare himself. Seeing therefore he did nothing, but by Preaching, and Miracles go about to prove himselfe to be that Messiah, hee did therein nothing against their laws. The Kingdome hee claimed was to bee in another world; He taught all men to obey in the mean time them that sate in Moses seat: he allowed them to give Caesar his tribute, and refused to take upon himselfe to be a Judg. How then could his words, or actions bee seditious, or tend to the overthrow of their then Civill Government? But God having determined his sacrifice, for the reduction of his elect to their former covenanted obedience, for the means, whereby he would bring the same to effect, made use of their malice, and ingratitude. Nor was it contrary to the laws of Caesar. For though Pilate himself (to gratifie the Jews) delivered him to be crucified; yet before he did so, he pronounced openly, that he found no fault in him: And put for title of his condemnation, not as the Jews required, "that he pretended to be King;" but simply, "That hee was King of the Jews;" and notwithstanding their clamour, refused to alter it; saying, "What I have written, I have written."
The Third Part Of His Office Was To Be King (Under His Father)
Of The Elect
As for the third part of his Office, which was to be King, I have already shewn that his Kingdome was not to begin till the Resurrection. But then he shall be King, not onely as God, in which sense he is King already, and ever shall be, of all the Earth, in vertue of his omnipotence; but also peculiarly of his own Elect, by vertue of the pact they make with him in their Baptisme. And therefore it is, that our Saviour saith (Mat. 19.28.) that his Apostles should sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, "When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory;" whereby he signified that he should reign then in his humane nature; and (Mat. 16.27.) "The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his Angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his works." The same we may read, Marke 13..26. and 14.26. and more expressely for the time, Luke 22.29, 30. "I appoint unto you a Kingdome, as my Father hath appointed to mee, that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdome, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." By which it is manifest that the Kingdome of Christ appointed to him by his Father, is not to be before the Son of Man shall come in Glory, and make his Apostles Judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. But a man may here ask, seeing there is no marriage in the Kingdome of Heaven, whether men shall then eat, and drink; what eating therefore is meant in this place? This is expounded by our Saviour (John 6.27.) where he saith, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you." So that by eating at Christs table, is meant the eating of the Tree of Life; that is to say, the enjoying of Immortality, in the Kingdome of the Son of Man. By which places, and many more, it is evident, that our Saviours Kingdome is to bee exercised by him in his humane nature.
Christs Authority In The Kingdome Of God Subordinate To His Father
Again, he is to be King then, no otherwise than as subordinate, or Viceregent of God the Father, as Moses was in the wildernesse; and as the High Priests were before the reign of Saul; and as the Kings were after it. For it is one of the Prophecies concerning Christ, that he should be like (in Office) to Moses; "I will raise them up a Prophet (saith the Lord, Deut. 18.18.) from amongst their Brethren like unto thee, and will put my words into his mouth," and this similitude with Moses, is also apparent in the actions of our Saviour himself, whilest he was conversant on Earth. For as Moses chose twelve Princes of the tribes, to govern under him; so did our Saviour choose twelve Apostles, who shall sit on twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; And as Moses authorized Seventy Elders, to receive the Spirit of God, and to Prophecy to the people, that is, (as I have said before,) to speak unto them in the name of God; so our Saviour also ordained seventy Disciples, to preach his Kingdome, and Salvation to all Nations. And as when a complaint was made to Moses, against those of the Seventy that prophecyed in the camp of Israel, he justified them in it, as being subservient therein to his government; so also our Saviour, when St. John complained to him of a certain man that cast out Devills in his name, justified him therein, saying, (Luke 9.50.) "Forbid him not, for hee that is not against us, is on our part."
Again, our Saviour resembled Moses in the institution of Sacraments, both of Admission into the Kingdome of God, and of Commemoration of his deliverance of his Elect from their miserable condition. As the Children of Israel had for Sacrament of their Reception into the Kingdome of God, before the time of Moses, the rite of Circumcision, which rite having been omitted in the Wildernesse, was again restored as soon as they came into the land of Promise; so also the Jews, before the coming of our Saviour, had a rite of Baptizing, that is, of washing with water all those that being Gentiles, embraced the God of Israel. This rite St. John the Baptist used in the reception of all them that gave their names to the Christ, whom hee preached to bee already come into the world; and our Saviour instituted the same for a Sacrament to be taken by all that beleeved in him. From what cause the rite of Baptisme first proceeded, is not expressed formally in the Scripture; but it may be probably thought to be an imitation of the law of Moses, concerning Leprousie; wherein the Leprous man was commanded to be kept out of the campe of Israel for a certain time; after which time being judged by the Priest to be clean, hee was admitted into the campe after a solemne Washing. And this may therefore bee a type of the Washing in Baptisme; wherein such men as are cleansed of the Leprousie of Sin by Faith, are received into the Church with the solemnity of Baptisme. There is another conjecture drawn from the Ceremonies of the Gentiles, in a certain case that rarely happens; and that is, when a man that was thought dead, chanced to recover, other men made scruple to converse with him, as they would doe to converse with a Ghost, unlesse hee were received again into the number of men, by Washing, as Children new born were washed from the uncleannesse of their nativity, which was a kind of new birth. This ceremony of the Greeks, in the time that Judaea was under the Dominion of Alexander, and the Greeks his successors, may probably enough have crept into the Religion of the Jews. But seeing it is not likely our Saviour would countenance a Heathen rite, it is most likely it proceeded from the Legall Ceremony of Washing after Leprosie. And for the other Sacraments, of eating the Paschall Lambe, it is manifestly imitated in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; in which the Breaking of the Bread, and the pouring out of the Wine, do keep in memory our deliverance from the Misery of Sin, by Christs Passion, as the eating of the Paschall Lambe, kept in memory the deliverance of the Jewes out of the Bondage of Egypt. Seeing therefore the authority of Moses was but subordinate, and hee but a Lieutenant to God; it followeth, that Christ, whose authority, as man, was to bee like that of Moses, was no more but subordinate to the authority of his Father. The same is more expressely signified, by that that hee teacheth us to pray, "Our Father, Let thy Kingdome come;" and, "For thine is the Kingdome, the power and the Glory;" and by that it is said, that "Hee shall come in the Glory of his Father;" and by that which St. Paul saith, (1 Cor. 15.24.) "then commeth the end, when hee shall have delivered up the Kingdome to God, even the Father;" and by many other most expresse places.
One And The Same God Is The Person Represented By Moses, And By Christ
Our Saviour therefore, both in Teaching, and Reigning, representeth (as Moses Did) the Person of God; which God from that time forward, but not before, is called the Father; and being still one and the same substance, is one Person as represented by Moses, and another Person as represented by his Sonne the Christ. For Person being a relative to a Representer, it is consequent to plurality of Representers, that there bee a plurality of Persons, though of one and the same Substance.
CHAPTER XLII. OF POWER ECCLESIASTICALL
For the understanding of POWER ECCLESIASTICALL, what, and in whom it is, we are to distinguish the time from the Ascension of our Saviour, into two parts; one before the Conversion of Kings, and men endued with Soveraign Civill Power; the other after their Conversion. For it was long after the Ascension, before any King, or Civill Soveraign embraced, and publiquely allowed the teaching of Christian Religion.
Of The Holy Spirit That Fel On The Apostles
And for the time between, it is manifest, that the Power Ecclesiasticall, was in the Apostles; and after them in such as were by them ordained to Preach the Gospell, and to convert men to Christianity, and to direct them that were converted in the way of Salvation; and after these the Power was delivered again to others by these ordained, and this was done by Imposition of hands upon such as were ordained; by which was signified the giving of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, to those whom they ordained Ministers of God, to advance his Kingdome. So that Imposition of hands, was nothing else but the Seal of their Commission to Preach Christ, and teach his Doctrine; and the giving of the Holy Ghost by that ceremony of Imposition of hands, was an imitation of that which Moses did. For Moses used the same ceremony to his Minister Joshua, as wee read Deuteronomy 34. ver. 9. "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the Spirit of Wisdome; for Moses had laid his hands upon him." Our Saviour therefore between his Resurrection, and Ascension, gave his Spirit to the Apostles; first, by "Breathing on them, and saying," (John 20.22.) "Receive yee the Holy Spirit;" and after his Ascension (Acts 2.2, 3.) by sending down upon them, a "mighty wind, and Cloven tongues of fire;" and not by Imposition of hands; as neither did God lay his hands on Moses; and his Apostles afterward, transmitted the same Spirit by Imposition of hands, as Moses did to Joshua. So that it is manifest hereby, in whom the Power Ecclesiasticall continually remained, in those first times, where there was not any Christian Common-wealth; namely, in them that received the same from the Apostles, by successive laying on of hands.
Of The Trinity
Here wee have the Person of God born now the third time. For as Moses, and the High Priests, were Gods Representative in the Old Testament; and our Saviour himselfe as Man, during his abode on earth: So the Holy Ghost, that is to say, the Apostles, and their successors, in the Office of Preaching, and Teaching, that had received the Holy Spirit, have Represented him ever since. But a Person, (as I have shewn before, [chapt. 16.].) is he that is Represented, as often as hee is Represented; and therefore God, who has been Represented (that is, Personated) thrice, may properly enough be said to be three Persons; though neither the word Person, nor Trinity be ascribed to him in the Bible. St. John indeed (1 Epist. 5.7.) saith, "There be three that bear witnesse in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these Three are One:" But this disagreeth not, but accordeth fitly with three Persons in the proper signification of Persons; which is, that which is Represented by another. For so God the Father, as Represented by Moses, is one Person; and as Represented by his Sonne, another Person, and as Represented by the Apostles, and by the Doctors that taught by authority from them derived, is a third Person; and yet every Person here, is the Person of one and the same God. But a man may here ask, what it was whereof these three bare witnesse. St. John therefore tells us (verse 11.) that they bear witnesse, that "God hath given us eternall life in his Son." Again, if it should be asked, wherein that testimony appeareth, the Answer is easie; for he hath testified the same by the miracles he wrought, first by Moses; secondly, by his Son himself; and lastly by his Apostles, that had received the Holy Spirit; all which in their times Represented the Person of God; and either prophecyed, or preached Jesus Christ. And as for the Apostles, it was the character of the Apostleship, in the twelve first and great Apostles, to bear Witnesse of his Resurrection; as appeareth expressely (Acts 1. ver. 21,22.) where St Peter, when a new Apostle was to be chosen in the place of Judas Iscariot, useth these words, "Of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning at the Baptisme of John, unto that same day that hee was taken up from us, must one bee ordained to be a Witnesse with us of his Resurrection:" which words interpret the Bearing of Witnesse, mentioned by St. John. There is in the same place mentioned another Trinity of Witnesses in Earth. For (ver. 8.) he saith, "there are three that bear Witnesse in Earth, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Bloud; and these three agree in one:" that is to say, the graces of Gods Spirit, and the two Sacraments, Baptisme, and the Lords Supper, which all agree in one Testimony, to assure the consciences of beleevers, of eternall life; of which Testimony he saith (verse 10.) "He that beleeveth on the Son of man hath the Witnesse in himselfe." In this Trinity on Earth the Unity is not of the thing; for the Spirit, the Water, and the Bloud, are not the same substance, though they give the same testimony: But in the Trinity of Heaven, the Persons are the persons of one and the same God, though Represented in three different times and occasions. To conclude, the doctrine of the Trinity, as far as can be gathered directly from the Scripture, is in substance this; that God who is alwaies One and the same, was the Person Represented by Moses; the Person Represented by his Son Incarnate; and the Person Represented by the Apostles. As Represented by the Apostles, the Holy Spirit by which they spake, is God; As Represented by his Son (that was God and Man), the Son is that God; As represented by Moses, and the High Priests, the Father, that is to say, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that God: From whence we may gather the reason why those names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the signification of the Godhead, are never used in the Old Testament: For they are Persons, that is, they have their names from Representing; which could not be, till divers men had Represented Gods Person in ruling, or in directing under him.
Thus wee see how the Power Ecclesiasticall was left by our Saviour to the Apostles; and how they were (to the end they might the better exercise that Power,) endued with the Holy Spirit, which is therefore called sometime in the New Testament Paracletus which signifieth an Assister, or one called to for helpe, though it bee commonly translated a Comforter. Let us now consider the Power it selfe, what it was, and over whom.
The Power Ecclesiasticall Is But The Power To Teach
Cardinall Bellarmine in his third generall Controversie, hath handled a great many questions concerning the Ecclesiasticall Power of the Pope of Rome; and begins with this, Whether it ought to be Monarchicall, Aristocraticall, or Democraticall. All which sorts of Power, are Soveraign, and Coercive. If now it should appear, that there is no Coercive Power left them by our Saviour; but onely a Power to proclaim the Kingdom of Christ, and to perswade men to submit themselves thereunto; and by precepts and good counsell, to teach them that have submitted, what they are to do, that they may be received into the Kingdom of God when it comes; and that the Apostles, and other Ministers of the Gospel, are our Schoolemasters, and not our Commanders, and their Precepts not Laws, but wholesome Counsells then were all that dispute in vain.
An Argument Thereof, The Power Of Christ Himself
I have shewn already (in the last Chapter,) that the Kingdome of Christ is not of this world: therefore neither can his Ministers (unlesse they be Kings,) require obedience in his name. For if the Supreme King, have not his Regall Power in this world; by what authority can obedience be required to his Officers? As my Father sent me, (so saith our Saviour) I send you. But our Saviour was sent to perswade the Jews to return to, and to invite the Gentiles, to receive the Kingdome of his Father, and not to reign in Majesty, no not, as his Fathers Lieutenant, till the day of Judgment.
From The Name Of Regeneration
The time between the Ascension, and the generall Resurrection, is called, not a Reigning, but a Regeneration; that is, a Preparation of men for the second and glorious coming of Christ, at the day of Judgment; as appeareth by the words of our Saviour, Mat. 19.28. "You that have followed me in the Regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you shall also sit upon twelve Thrones;" And of St. Paul (Ephes. 6.15.) "Having your feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospell of Peace."
From The Comparison Of It, With Fishing, Leaven, Seed
And is compared by our Saviour, to Fishing; that is, to winning men to obedience, not by Coercion, and Punishing; but by Perswasion: and therefore he said not to his Apostles, hee would make them so many Nimrods, Hunters Of Men; But Fishers Of Men. It is compared also to Leaven; to Sowing of Seed, and to the Multiplication of a grain of Mustard-seed; by all which Compulsion is excluded; and consequently there can in that time be no actual Reigning. The work of Christs Ministers, is Evangelization; that is, a Proclamation of Christ, and a preparation for his second comming; as the Evangelization of John Baptist, was a preparation to his first coming.
From The Nature Of Faith:
Again, the Office of Christs Ministers in this world, is to make men Beleeve, and have Faith in Christ: But Faith hath no relation to, nor dependence at all upon Compulsion, or Commandement; but onely upon certainty, or probability of Arguments drawn from Reason, or from something men beleeve already. Therefore the Ministers of Christ in this world, have no Power by that title, to Punish any man for not Beleeving, or for Contradicting what they say; they have I say no Power by that title of Christs Ministers, to Punish such: but if they have Soveraign Civill Power, by politick institution, then they may indeed lawfully Punish any Contradiction to their laws whatsoever: And St. Paul, of himselfe and other then Preachers of the Gospell saith in expresse words, (2 Cor. 1.24.) "Wee have no Dominion over your Faith, but are Helpers of your Joy."
From The Authority Christ Hath Left To Civill Princes
Another Argument, that the Ministers of Christ in this present world have no right of Commanding, may be drawn from the lawfull Authority which Christ hath left to all Princes, as well Christians, as Infidels. St. Paul saith (Col. 3.20.) "Children obey your Parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord." And ver. 22. "Servants obey in all things your Masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singlenesse of heart, as fearing the Lord;" This is spoken to them whose Masters were Infidells; and yet they are bidden to obey them In All Things. And again, concerning obedience to Princes. (Rom. 13. the first 6. verses) exhorting to "be subject to the Higher Powers," he saith, "that all Power is ordained of God;" and "that we ought to be subject to them, not onely for" fear of incurring their "wrath, but also for conscience sake." And St. Peter, (1 Epist. chap. 2e ver. 13, 14, 15.) "Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man, for the Lords sake, whether it bee to the King, as Supreme, or unto Governours, as to them that be sent by him for the punishment of evill doers, and for the praise of them that doe well; for so is the will of God." And again St. Paul (Tit. 3.1.) "Put men in mind to be subject to Principalities, and Powers, and to obey Magistrates." These Princes, and Powers, whereof St. Peter, and St. Paul here speak, were all Infidels; much more therefore we are to obey those Christians, whom God hath ordained to have Soveraign Power over us. How then can wee be obliged to doe any thing contrary to the Command of the King, or other Soveraign Representant of the Common-wealth, whereof we are members, and by whom we look to be protected? It is therefore manifest, that Christ hath not left to his Ministers in this world, unlesse they be also endued with Civill Authority, any authority to Command other men.
What Christians May Do To Avoid Persecution
But what (may some object) if a King, or a Senate, or other Soveraign Person forbid us to beleeve in Christ? To this I answer, that such forbidding is of no effect, because Beleef, and Unbeleef never follow mens Commands. Faith is a gift of God, which Man can neither give, nor take away by promise of rewards, or menaces of torture. And if it be further asked, What if wee bee commanded by our lawfull Prince, to say with our tongue, wee beleeve not; must we obey such command? Profession with the tongue is but an externall thing, and no more then any other gesture whereby we signifie our obedience; and wherein a Christian, holding firmely in his heart the Faith of Christ, hath the same liberty which the Prophet Elisha allowed to Naaman the Syrian. Naaman was converted in his heart to the God of Israel; For hee saith (2 Kings 5.17.) "Thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering, nor sacrifice unto other Gods but unto the Lord. In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my Master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow my selfe in the house of Rimmon; when I bow my selfe in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." This the Prophet approved, and bid him "Goe in peace." Here Naaman beleeved in his heart; but by bowing before the Idol Rimmon, he denyed the true God in effect, as much as if he had done it with his lips. But then what shall we answer to our Saviours saying, "Whosoever denyeth me before men, I will deny him before my Father which is in Heaven?" This we may say, that whatsoever a Subject, as Naaman was, is compelled to in obedience to his Soveraign, and doth it not in order to his own mind, but in order to the laws of his country, that action is not his, but his Soveraigns; nor is it he that in this case denyeth Christ before men, but his Governour, and the law of his countrey. If any man shall accuse this doctrine, as repugnant to true, and unfeigned Christianity; I ask him, in case there should be a subject in any Christian Common-wealth, that should be inwardly in his heart of the Mahometan Religion, whether if his Soveraign Command him to bee present at the divine service of the Christian Church, and that on pain of death, he think that Mamometan obliged in conscience to suffer death for that cause, rather than to obey that command of his lawful Prince. If he say, he ought rather to suffer death, then he authorizeth all private men, to disobey their Princes, in maintenance of their Religion, true, or false; if he say, he ought to bee obedient, then he alloweth to himself, that which hee denyeth to another, contrary to the words of our Saviour, "Whatsoever you would that men should doe unto you, that doe yee unto them;" and contrary to the Law of Nature, (which is the indubitable everlasting Law of God) "Do not to another, that which thou wouldest not he should doe unto thee."
But what then shall we say of all those Martyrs we read of in the History of the Church, that they have needlessely cast away their lives? For answer hereunto, we are to distinguish the persons that have been for that cause put to death; whereof some have received a Calling to preach, and professe the Kingdome of Christ openly; others have had no such Calling, nor more has been required of them than their owne faith. The former sort, if they have been put to death, for bearing witnesse to this point, that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, were true Martyrs; For a Martyr is, (to give the true definition of the word) a Witnesse of the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah; which none can be but those that conversed with him on earth, and saw him after he was risen: For a Witnesse must have seen what he testifieth, or else his testimony is not good. And that none but such, can properly be called Martyrs of Christ, is manifest out of the words of St. Peter, Act. 1.21, 22. "Wherefore of these men which have companyed with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst us, beginning from the Baptisme of John unto that same day hee was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a Martyr (that is a Witnesse) with us of his Resurrection:" Where we may observe, that he which is to bee a Witnesse of the truth of the Resurrection of Christ, that is to say, of the truth of this fundamentall article of Christian Religion, that Jesus was the Christ, must be some Disciple that conversed with him, and saw him before, and after his Resurrection; and consequently must be one of his originall Disciples: whereas they which were not so, can Witnesse no more, but that their antecessors said it, and are therefore but Witnesses of other mens testimony; and are but second Martyrs, or Martyrs of Christs Witnesses.
He, that to maintain every doctrine which he himself draweth out of the History of our Saviours life, and of the Acts, or Epistles of the Apostles; or which he beleeveth upon the authority of a private man, wil oppose the Laws and Authority of the Civill State, is very far from being a Martyr of Christ, or a Martyr of his Martyrs. 'Tis one Article onely, which to die for, meriteth so honorable a name; and that Article is this, that Jesus Is The Christ; that is to say, He that hath redeemed us, and shall come again to give us salvation, and eternall life in his glorious Kingdome. To die for every tenet that serveth the ambition, or profit of the Clergy, is not required; nor is it the Death of the Witnesse, but the Testimony it self that makes the Martyr: for the word signifieth nothing else, but the man that beareth Witnesse, whether he be put to death for his testimony, or not.
Also he that is not sent to preach this fundamentall article, but taketh it upon him of his private authority, though he be a Witnesse, and consequently a Martyr, either primary of Christ, or secondary of his Apostles, Disciples, or their Successors; yet is he not obliged to suffer death for that cause; because being not called thereto, tis not required at his hands; nor ought hee to complain, if he loseth the reward he expecteth from those that never set him on work. None therefore can be a Martyr, neither of the first, nor second degree, that have not a warrant to preach Christ come in the flesh; that is to say, none, but such as are sent to the conversion of Infidels. For no man is a Witnesse to him that already beleeveth, and therefore needs no Witnesse; but to them that deny, or doubt, or have not heard it. Christ sent his Apostles, and his Seventy Disciples, with authority to preach; he sent not all that beleeved: And he sent them to unbeleevers; "I send you (saith he) as sheep amongst wolves;" not as sheep to other sheep.
Argument From The Points Of Their Commission
Lastly the points of their Commission, as they are expressely set down in the Gospel, contain none of them any authority over the Congregation.
We have first (Mat. 10.) that the twelve Apostles were sent "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," and commanded to Preach, "that the Kingdome of God was at hand." Now Preaching in the originall, is that act, which a Crier, Herald, or other Officer useth to doe publiquely in Proclaiming of a King. But a Crier hath not right to Command any man. And (Luke 10.2.) the seventy Disciples are sent out, "as Labourers, not as Lords of the Harvest;" and are bidden (verse 9.) to say, "The Kingdome of God is come nigh unto you;" and by Kingdome here is meant, not the Kingdome of Grace, but the Kingdome of Glory; for they are bidden to denounce it (ver. 11.) to those Cities which shall not receive them, as a threatning, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodome, than for such a City. And (Mat. 20.28.) our Saviour telleth his Disciples, that sought Priority of place, their Office was to minister, even as the Son of man came, not to be ministred unto, but to minister. Preachers therefore have not Magisteriall, but Ministeriall power: "Bee not called Masters, (saith our Saviour, Mat. 23.10) for one is your Master, even Christ."
Another point of their Commission, is, to Teach All Nations; as it is in Mat. 28.19. or as in St. Mark 16.15 "Goe into all the world, and Preach the Gospel to every creature." Teaching therefore, and Preaching is the same thing. For they that Proclaim the comming of a King, must withall make known by what right he commeth, if they mean men shall submit themselves unto him: As St. Paul did to the Jews of Thessalonica, when "three Sabbath days he reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening, and alledging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus is Christ." But to teach out of the Old Testament that Jesus was Christ, (that is to say, King,) and risen from the dead, is not to say, that men are bound after they beleeve it, to obey those that tell them so, against the laws, and commands of their Soveraigns; but that they shall doe wisely, to expect the coming of Christ hereafter, in Patience, and Faith, with Obedience to their present Magistrates.
Another point of their Commission, is to Baptize, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." What is Baptisme? Dipping into water. But what is it to Dip a man into the water in the name of any thing? The meaning of these words of Baptisme is this. He that is Baptized, is Dipped or Washed, as a sign of becomming a new man, and a loyall subject to that God, whose Person was represented in old time by Moses, and the High Priests, when he reigned over the Jews; and to Jesus Christ, his Sonne, God, and Man, that hath redeemed us, and shall in his humane nature Represent his Fathers Person in his eternall Kingdome after the Resurrection; and to acknowledge the Doctrine of the Apostles, who assisted by the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, were left for guides to bring us into that Kingdome, to be the onely, and assured way thereunto. This, being our promise in Baptisme; and the Authority of Earthly Soveraigns being not to be put down till the day of Judgment; (for that is expressely affirmed by S. Paul 1 Cor. 15. 22, 23, 24. where he saith, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive. But every man in his owne order, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christs, at his comming; Then Commeth the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdome of God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all Rule, and all Authority and Power") it is manifest, that we do not in Baptisme constitute over us another authority, by which our externall actions are to be governed in this life; but promise to take the doctrine of the Apostles for our direction in the way to life eternall.
And To Forgive, And Retain Sinnes
The Power of Remission, And Retention Of Sinnes, called also the Power of Loosing, and Binding, and sometimes the Keyes Of The Kingdome Of Heaven, is a consequence of the Authority to Baptize, or refuse to Baptize. For Baptisme is the Sacrament of Allegeance, of them that are to be received into the Kingdome of God; that is to say, into Eternall life; that is to say, to Remission of Sin: For as Eternall life was lost by the Committing, so it is recovered by the Remitting of mens Sins. The end of Baptisme is Remission of Sins: and therefore St. Peter, when they that were converted by his Sermon on the day of Pentecost, asked what they were to doe, advised them to "repent, and be Baptized in the name of Jesus, for the Remission of Sins." And therefore seeing to Baptize is to declare the Reception of men into Gods Kingdome; and to refuse to Baptize is to declare their Exclusion; it followeth, that the Power to declare them Cast out, or Retained in it, was given to the same Apostles, and their Substitutes, and Successors. And therefore after our Saviour had breathed upon them, saying, (John 20.22.) "Receive the Holy Ghost," hee addeth in the next verse, "Whose soever Sins ye Remit, they are Remitted unto them; and whose soever Sins ye Retain, they are Retained." By which words, is not granted an Authority to Forgive, or Retain Sins, simply and absolutely, as God Forgiveth or Retaineth them, who knoweth the Heart of man, and truth of his Penitence and Conversion; but conditionally, to the Penitent: And this Forgivenesse, or Absolution, in case the absolved have but a feigned Repentance, is thereby without other act, or sentence of the Absolvent, made void, and hath no effect at all to Salvation, but on the contrary, to the Aggravation of his Sin. Therefore the Apostles, and their Successors, are to follow but the outward marks of Repentance; which appearing, they have no Authority to deny Absolution; and if they appeare not, they have no authority to Absolve. The same also is to be observed in Baptisme: for to a converted Jew, or Gentile, the Apostles had not the Power to deny Baptisme; nor to grant it to the Un-penitent. But seeing no man is able to discern the truth of another mans Repentance, further than by externall marks, taken from his words, and actions, which are subject to hypocrisie; another question will arise, Who it is that is constituted Judge of those marks. And this question is decided by our Saviour himself; (Mat. 18. 15, 16, 17.) "If thy Brother (saith he) shall trespasse against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee, and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one, or two more. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican." By which it is manifest, that the Judgment concerning the truth of Repentance, belonged not to any one Man, but to the Church, that is, to the Assembly of the Faithfull, or to them that have authority to bee their Representant. But besides the Judgment, there is necessary also the pronouncing of Sentence: And this belonged alwaies to the Apostle, or some Pastor of the Church, as Prolocutor; and of this our Saviour speaketh in the 18 verse, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." And comformable hereunto was the practise of St. Paul (1 Cor. 5.3, 4, & 5.) where he saith, "For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have determined already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed; In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such a one to Satan;" that is to say, to cast him out of the Church, as a man whose Sins are not Forgiven. Paul here pronounceth the Sentence; but the Assembly was first to hear the Cause, (for St. Paul was absent;) and by consequence to condemn him. But in the same chapter (ver. 11, 12.) the Judgment in such a case is more expressely attributed to the Assembly: "But now I have written unto you, not to keep company, if any man that is called a Brother be a Fornicator, &c. with such a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judg them that are without? Do not ye judg them that are within?" The Sentence therefore by which a man was put out of the Church, was pronounced by the Apostle, or Pastor; but the Judgment concerning the merit of the cause, was in the Church; that is to say, (as the times were before the conversion of Kings, and men that had Soveraign Authority in the Common-wealth,) the Assembly of the Christians dwelling in the same City; as in Corinth, in the Assembly of the Christians of Corinth.
This part of the Power of the Keyes, by which men were thrust out from the Kingdome of God, is that which is called Excommunication; and to excommunicate, is in the Originall, Aposunagogon Poiein, To Cast Out Of The Synagogue; that is, out of the place of Divine service; a word drawn from the custom of the Jews, to cast out of their Synagogues, such as they thought in manners, or doctrine, contagious, as Lepers were by the Law of Moses separated from the congregation of Israel, till such time as they should be by the Priest pronounced clean.
The Use Of Excommunication Without Civill Power.
The Use and Effect of Excommunication, whilest it was not yet strengthened with the Civill Power, was no more, than that they, who were not Excommunicate, were to avoid the company of them that were. It was not enough to repute them as Heathen, that never had been Christians; for with such they might eate, and drink; which with Excommunicate persons they might not do; as appeareth by the words of St. Paul, (1 Cor. 5. ver. 9, 10, &c.) where he telleth them, he had formerly forbidden them to "company with Fornicators;" but (because that could not bee without going out of the world,) he restraineth it to such Fornicators, and otherwise vicious persons, as were of the brethren; "with such a one" (he saith) they ought not to keep company, "no, not to eat." And this is no more than our Saviour saith (Mat. 18.17.) "Let him be to thee as a Heathen, and as a Publican." For Publicans (which signifieth Farmers, and Receivers of the revenue of the Common-wealth) were so hated, and detested by the Jews that were to pay for it, as that Publican and Sinner were taken amongst them for the same thing: Insomuch, as when our Saviour accepted the invitation of Zacchaeus a Publican; though it were to Convert him, yet it was objected to him as a Crime. And therefore, when our Saviour, to Heathen, added Publican, he did forbid them to eat with a man Excommunicate.
As for keeping them out of their Synagogues, or places of Assembly, they had no Power to do it, but that of the owner of the place, whether he were Christian, or Heathen. And because all places are by right, in the Dominion of the Common-wealth; as well hee that was Excommunicated, as hee that never was Baptized, might enter into them by Commission from the Civill Magistrate; as Paul before his conversion entred into their Synagogues at Damascus, (Acts 9.2.) to apprehend Christians, men and women, and to carry them bound to Jerusalem, by Commission from the High Priest.
Of No Effect Upon An Apostate
By which it appears, that upon a Christian, that should become an Apostate, in a place where the Civill Power did persecute, or not assist the Church, the effect of Excommunication had nothing in it, neither of dammage in this world, nor of terrour: Not of terrour, because of their unbeleef; nor of dammage, because they returned thereby into the favour of the world; and in the world to come, were to be in no worse estate, then they which never had beleeved. The dammage redounded rather to the Church, by provocation of them they cast out, to a freer execution of their malice.
But Upon The Faithfull Only
Excommunication therefore had its effect onely upon those, that beleeved that Jesus Christ was to come again in Glory, to reign over, and to judge both the quick, and the dead, and should therefore refuse entrance into his Kingdom, to those whose Sins were Retained; that is, to those that were Excommunicated by the Church. And thence it is that St. Paul calleth Excommunication, a delivery of the Excommunicate person to Satan. For without the Kingdom of Christ, all other Kingdomes after Judgment, are comprehended in the Kingdome of Satan. This is it that the faithfull stood in fear of, as long as they stood Excommunicate, that is to say, in an estate wherein their sins were not Forgiven. Whereby wee may understand, that Excommunication in the time that Christian Religion was not authorized by the Civill Power, was used onely for a correction of manners, not of errours in opinion: for it is a punishment, whereof none could be sensible but such as beleeved, and expected the coming again of our Saviour to judge the world; and they who so beleeved, needed no other opinion, but onely uprightnesse of life, to be saved.
For What Fault Lyeth Excommunication
There Lyeth Excommunication for Injustice; as (Mat. 18.) If thy Brother offend thee, tell it him privately; then with Witnesses; lastly, tell the Church; and then if he obey not, "Let him be to thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican." And there lyeth Excommunication for a Scandalous Life, as (1 Cor. 5. 11.) "If any man that is called a Brother, be a Fornicator, or Covetous, or an Idolater, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner, with such a one yee are not to eat." But to Excommunicate a man that held this foundation, that Jesus Was The Christ, for difference of opinion in other points, by which that Foundation was not destroyed, there appeareth no authority in the Scripture, nor example in the Apostles. There is indeed in St. Paul (Titus 3.10.) a text that seemeth to be to the contrary. "A man that is an Haeretique, after the first and second admonition, reject." For an Haeretique, is he, that being a member of the Church, teacheth neverthelesse some private opinion, which the Church has forbidden: and such a one, S. Paul adviseth Titus, after the first, and second admonition, to Reject. But to Reject (in this place) is not to Excommunicate the Man; But to Give Over Admonishing Him, To Let Him Alone, To Set By Disputing With Him, as one that is to be convinced onely by himselfe. The same Apostle saith (2 Tim. 2.23.) "Foolish and unlearned questions avoid;" The word Avoid in this place, and Reject in the former, is the same in the Originall, paraitou: but Foolish questions may bee set by without Excommunication. And again, (Tit. 3.93) "Avoid Foolish questions," where the Originall, periistaso, (set them by) is equivalent to the former word Reject. There is no other place that can so much as colourably be drawn, to countenance the Casting out of the Church faithfull men, such as beleeved the foundation, onely for a singular superstructure of their own, proceeding perhaps from a good & pious conscience. But on the contrary, all such places as command avoiding such disputes, are written for a Lesson to Pastors, (such as Timothy and Titus were) not to make new Articles of Faith, by determining every small controversie, which oblige men to a needlesse burthen of Conscience, or provoke them to break the union of the Church. Which Lesson the Apostles themselves observed well. S. Peter and S. Paul, though their controversie were great, (as we may read in Gal. 2.11.) yet they did not cast one another out of the Church. Neverthelesse, during the Apostles time, there were other Pastors that observed it not; As Diotrephes (3 John 9. &c.) who cast out of the Church, such as S. John himself thought fit to be received into it, out of a pride he took in Praeeminence; so early it was, that Vainglory, and Ambition had found entrance into the Church of Christ.
Of Persons Liable To Excommunication
That a man be liable to Excommunication, there be many conditions requisite; as First, that he be a member of some Commonalty, that is to say, of some lawfull Assembly, that is to say, of some Christian Church, that hath power to judge of the cause for which hee is to bee Excommunicated. For where there is no community, there can bee no Excommunication; nor where there is no power to Judge, can there bee any power to give Sentence. From hence it followeth, that one Church cannot be Excommunicated by another: For either they have equall power to Excommunicate each other, in which case Excommunication is not Discipline, nor an act of Authority, but Schisme, and Dissolution of charity; or one is so subordinate to the other, as that they both have but one voice, and then they be but one Church; and the part Excommunicated, is no more a Church, but a dissolute number of individuall persons.
And because the sentence of Excommunication, importeth an advice, not to keep company, nor so much as to eat with him that is Excommunicate, if a Soveraign Prince, or Assembly bee Excommunicate, the sentence is of no effect. For all Subjects are bound to be in the company and presence of their own Soveraign (when he requireth it) by the law of Nature; nor can they lawfully either expell him from any place of his own Dominion, whether profane or holy; nor go out of his Dominion, without his leave; much lesse (if he call them to that honour,) refuse to eat with him. And as to other Princes and States, because they are not parts of one and the same congregation, they need not any other sentence to keep them from keeping company with the State Excommunicate: for the very Institution, as it uniteth many men into one Community; so it dissociateth one Community from another: so that Excommunication is not needfull for keeping Kings and States asunder; nor has any further effect then is in the nature of Policy it selfe; unlesse it be to instigate Princes to warre upon one another.
Nor is the Excommunication of a Christian Subject, that obeyeth the laws of his own Soveraign, whether Christian, or Heathen, of any effect. For if he beleeve that "Jesus is the Christ, he hath the Spirit of God" (1 Joh. 4.1.) "and God dwelleth in him, and he in God," (1 Joh. 4.15.) But hee that hath the Spirit of God; hee that dwelleth in God; hee in whom God dwelleth, can receive no harm by the Excommunication of men. Therefore, he that beleeveth Jesus to be the Christ, is free from all the dangers threatned to persons Excommunicate. He that beleeveth it not, is no Christian. Therefore a true and unfeigned Christian is not liable to Excommunication; Nor he also that is a professed Christian, till his Hypocrisy appear in his Manners, that is, till his behaviour bee contrary to the law of his Soveraign, which is the rule of Manners, and which Christ and his Apostles have commanded us to be subject to. For the Church cannot judge of Manners but by externall Actions, which Actions can never bee unlawfull, but when they are against the Law of the Common-wealth.
If a mans Father, or Mother, or Master bee Excommunicate, yet are not the Children forbidden to keep them Company, nor to Eat with them; for that were (for the most part) to oblige them not to eat at all, for want of means to get food; and to authorise them to disobey their Parents, and Masters, contrary to the Precept of the Apostles.
In summe, the Power of Excommunication cannot be extended further than to the end for which the Apostles and Pastors of the Church have their Commission from our Saviour; which is not to rule by Command and Coaction, but by Teaching and Direction of men in the way of Salvation in the world to come. And as a Master in any Science, may abandon his Scholar, when hee obstinately neglecteth the practise of his rules; but not accuse him of Injustice, because he was never bound to obey him: so a Teacher of Christian doctrine may abandon his Disciples that obstinately continue in an unchristian life; but he cannot say, they doe him wrong, because they are not obliged to obey him: For to a Teacher that shall so complain, may be applyed the Answer of God to Samuel in the like place, (1 Sam. 8.) "They have not rejected thee, but mee." Excommunication therefore when it wanteth the assistance of the Civill Power, as it doth, when a Christian State, or Prince is Excommunicate by a forain Authority, is without effect; and consequently ought to be without terrour. The name of Fulmen Excommunicationis (that is, the Thunderbolt Of Excommunication) proceeded from an imagination of the Bishop of Rome, which first used it, that he was King of Kings, as the Heathen made Jupiter King of the Gods; and assigned him in their Poems, and Pictures, a Thunderbolt, wherewith to subdue, and punish the Giants, that should dare to deny his power: Which imagination was grounded on two errours; one, that the Kingdome of Christ is of this world, contrary to our Saviours owne words, "My Kingdome is not of this world;" the other, that hee is Christs Vicar, not onely over his owne Subjects, but over all the Christians of the World; whereof there is no ground in Scripture, and the contrary shall bee proved in its due place.
Of The Interpreter Of The Scriptures Before Civill Soveraigns
St. Paul coming to Thessalonica, where was a Synagogue of the Jews, (Acts 17.2, 3.) "As his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath dayes reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, Opening and alledging, that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus whom he preached was the Christ." The Scriptures here mentioned were the Scriptures of the Jews, that is, the Old Testament. The men, to whom he was to prove that Jesus was the Christ, and risen again from the dead, were also Jews, and did beleeve already, that they were the Word of God. Hereupon (as it is verse 4.) some of them beleeved, and (as it is in the 5. ver.) some beleeved not. What was the reason, when they all beleeved the Scripture, that they did not all beleeve alike; but that some approved, others disapproved the Interpretation of St. Paul that cited them; and every one Interpreted them to himself? It was this; S. Paul came to them without any Legall Commission, and in the manner of one that would not Command, but Perswade; which he must needs do, either by Miracles, as Moses did to the Israelites in Egypt, that they might see his Authority in Gods works; or by Reasoning from the already received Scripture, that they might see the truth of his doctrine in Gods Word. But whosoever perswadeth by reasoning from principles written, maketh him to whom hee speaketh Judge, both of the meaning of those principles, and also of the force of his inferences upon them. If these Jews of Thessalonica were not, who else was the Judge of what S. Paul alledged out of Scripture? If S. Paul, what needed he to quote any places to prove his doctrine? It had been enough to have said, I find it so in Scripture, that is to say, in your Laws, of which I am Interpreter, as sent by Christ. The Interpreter therefore of the Scripture, to whose Interpretation the Jews of Thessalonica were bound to stand, could be none: every one might beleeve, or not beleeve, according as the Allegations seemed to himselfe to be agreeable, or not agreeable to the meaning of the places alledged. And generally in all cases of the world, hee that pretendeth any proofe, maketh Judge of his proofe him to whom he addresseth his speech. And as to the case of the Jews in particular, they were bound by expresse words (Deut. 17.) to receive the determination of all hard questions, from the Priests and Judges of Israel for the time being. But this is to bee understood of the Jews that were yet unconverted.
For the Conversion of the Gentiles, there was no use of alledging the Scriptures, which they beleeved not. The Apostles therefore laboured by Reason to confute their Idolatry; and that done, to perswade them to the faith of Christ, by their testimony of his Life, and Resurrection. So that there could not yet bee any controversie concerning the authority to Interpret Scripture; seeing no man was obliged during his infidelity, to follow any mans Interpretation of any Scripture, except his Soveraigns Interpretation of the Laws of his countrey.
Let us now consider the Conversion it self, and see what there was therein, that could be cause of such an obligation. Men were converted to no other thing then to the Beleef of that which the Apostles preached: And the Apostles preached nothing, but that Jesus was the Christ, that is to say, the King that was to save them, and reign over them eternally in the world to come; and consequently that hee was not dead, but risen again from the dead, and gone up into Heaven, and should come again one day to judg the world, (which also should rise again to be judged,) and reward every man according to his works. None of them preached that himselfe, or any other Apostle was such an Interpreter of the Scripture, as all that became Christians, ought to take their Interpretation for Law. For to Interpret the Laws, is part of the Administration of a present Kingdome; which the Apostles had not. They prayed then, and all other Pastors ever since, "Let thy Kingdome come;" and exhorted their Converts to obey their then Ethnique Princes. The New Testament was not yet published in one Body. Every of the Evangelists was Interpreter of his own Gospel; and every Apostle of his own Epistle; And of the Old Testament, our Saviour himselfe saith to the Jews (John 5. 39.) "Search the Scriptures; for in them yee thinke to have eternall life, and they are they that testifie of me." If hee had not meant they should Interpret them, hee would not have bidden them take thence the proof of his being the Christ; he would either have Interpreted them himselfe, or referred them to the Interpretation of the Priests.
When a difficulty arose, the Apostles and Elders of the Church assembled themselves together, and determined what should bee preached, and taught, and how they should Interpret the Scriptures to the People; but took not from the People the liberty to read, and Interpret them to themselves. The Apostles sent divers Letters to the Churches, and other Writings for their instruction; which had been in vain, if they had not allowed them to Interpret, that is, to consider the meaning of them. And as it was in the Apostles time, it must be till such time as there should be Pastors, that could authorise an Interpreter, whose Interpretation should generally be stood to: But that could not be till Kings were Pastors, or Pastors Kings.
Of The Power To Make Scripture Law
There be two senses, wherein a Writing may be said to be Canonicall; for Canon, signifieth a Rule; and a Rule is a Precept, by which a man is guided, and directed in any action whatsoever. Such Precepts, though given by a Teacher to his Disciple, or a Counsellor to his friend, without power to Compell him to observe them, are neverthelesse Canons; because they are Rules: But when they are given by one, whom he that receiveth them is bound to obey, then are those Canons, not onely Rules, but Laws: The question therefore here, is of the Power to make the Scriptures (which are the Rules of Christian Faith) Laws.
Of The Ten Commandements
That part of the Scripture, which was first Law, was the Ten Commandements, written in two Tables of Stone, and delivered by God himselfe to Moses; and by Moses made known to the people. Before that time there was no written Law of God, who as yet having not chosen any people to bee his peculiar Kingdome, had given no Law to men, but the Law of Nature, that is to say, the Precepts of Naturall Reason, written in every mans own heart. Of these two Tables, the first containeth the law of Soveraignty; 1. That they should not obey, nor honour the Gods of other Nations, in these words, "Non habebis Deos alienos coram me," that is, "Thou shalt not have for Gods, the Gods that other Nations worship; but onely me:" whereby they were forbidden to obey, or honor, as their King and Governour, any other God, than him that spake unto them then by Moses, and afterwards by the High Priest. 2. That they "should not make any Image to represent him;" that is to say, they were not to choose to themselves, neither in heaven, nor in earth, any Representative of their own fancying, but obey Moses and Aaron, whom he had appointed to that office. 3. That "they should not take the Name of God in vain;" that is, they should not speak rashly of their King, nor dispute his Right, nor the commissions of Moses and Aaron, his Lieutenants. 4. That "they should every Seventh day abstain from their ordinary labour," and employ that time in doing him Publique Honor. The second Table containeth the Duty of one man towards another, as "To honor Parents; Not to kill; Not to Commit Adultery; Not to steale; Not to corrupt Judgment by false witnesse;" and finally, "Not so much as to designe in their heart the doing of any injury one to another." The question now is, Who it was that gave to these written Tables the obligatory force of Lawes. There is no doubt but that they were made Laws by God himselfe: But because a Law obliges not, nor is Law to any, but to them that acknowledge it to be the act of the Soveraign, how could the people of Israel that were forbidden to approach the Mountain to hear what God said to Moses, be obliged to obedience to all those laws which Moses propounded to them? Some of them were indeed the Laws of Nature, as all the Second Table; and therefore to be acknowledged for Gods Laws; not to the Israelites alone, but to all people: But of those that were peculiar to the Israelites, as those of the first Table, the question remains; saving that they had obliged themselves, presently after the propounding of them, to obey Moses, in these words (Exod. 20.19.) "Speak them thou to us, and we will hear thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we die." It was therefore onely Moses then, and after him the High Priest, whom (by Moses) God declared should administer this his peculiar Kingdome, that had on Earth, the power to make this short Scripture of the Decalogue to bee Law in the Common-wealth of Israel. But Moses, and Aaron, and the succeeding High Priests were the Civill Soveraigns. Therefore hitherto, the Canonizing, or making of the Scripture Law, belonged to the Civill Soveraigne.
Of The Judicial, And Leviticall Law
The Judiciall Law, that is to say, the Laws that God prescribed to the Magistrates of Israel, for the rule of their administration of Justice, and of the Sentences, or Judgments they should pronounce, in Pleas between man and man; and the Leviticall Law, that is to say, the rule that God prescribed touching the Rites and Ceremonies of the Priests and Levites, were all delivered to them by Moses onely; and therefore also became Lawes, by vertue of the same promise of obedience to Moses. Whether these laws were then written, or not written, but dictated to the People by Moses (after his forty dayes being with God in the Mount) by word of mouth, is not expressed in the Text; but they were all positive Laws, and equivalent to holy Scripture, and made Canonicall by Moses the Civill Soveraign.
The Second Law
After the Israelites were come into the Plains of Moab over against Jericho, and ready to enter into the land of Promise, Moses to the former Laws added divers others; which therefore are called Deuteronomy: that is, Second Laws. And are (as it is written, Deut. 29.1.) "The words of a Covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Children of Israel, besides the Covenant which he made with them in Horeb." For having explained those former Laws, in the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, he addeth others, that begin at the 12. Cha. and continue to the end of the 26. of the same Book. This Law (Deut. 27.1.) they were commanded to write upon great stones playstered over, at their passing over Jordan: This Law also was written by Moses himself in a Book; and delivered into the hands of the "Priests, and to the Elders of Israel," (Deut. 31.9.) and commanded (ve. 26.) "to be put in the side of the Arke;" for in the Ark it selfe was nothing but the Ten Commandements. This was the Law, which Moses (Deuteronomy 17.18.) commanded the Kings of Israel should keep a copie of: And this is the Law, which having been long time lost, was found again in the Temple in the time of Josiah, and by his authority received for the Law of God. But both Moses at the writing, and Josiah at the recovery thereof, had both of them the Civill Soveraignty. Hitherto therefore the Power of making Scripture Canonicall, was in the Civill Soveraign.
Besides this Book of the Law, there was no other Book, from the time of Moses, till after the Captivity, received amongst the Jews for the Law of God. For the Prophets (except a few) lived in the time of the Captivity it selfe; and the rest lived but a little before it; and were so far from having their Prophecies generally received for Laws, as that their persons were persecuted, partly by false Prophets, and partly by the Kings which were seduced by them. And this Book it self, which was confirmed by Josiah for the Law of God, and with it all the History of the Works of God, was lost in the Captivity, and sack of the City of Jerusalem, as appears by that of 2 Esdras 14.21. "Thy Law is burnt; therefor no man knoweth the things that are done of thee, of the works that shall begin." And before the Captivity, between the time when the Law was lost, (which is not mentioned in the Scripture, but may probably be thought to be the time of Rehoboam, when Shishak King of Egypt took the spoils of the Temple,(1 Kings 14.26.)) and the time of Josiah, when it was found againe, they had no written Word of God, but ruled according to their own discretion, or by the direction of such, as each of them esteemed Prophets.
The Old Testament, When Made Canonicall
From whence we may inferre, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which we have at this day, were not Canonicall, nor a Law unto the Jews, till the renovation of their Covenant with God at their return from the Captivity, and restauration of their Common-wealth under Esdras. But from that time forward they were accounted the Law of the Jews, and for such translated into Greek by Seventy Elders of Judaea, and put into the Library of Ptolemy at Alexandria, and approved for the Word of God. Now seeing Esdras was the High Priest, and the High Priest was their Civill Soveraigne, it is manifest, that the Scriptures were never made Laws, but by the Soveraign Civill Power.
The New Testament Began To Be Canonicall Under Christian Soveraigns By the Writings of the Fathers that lived in the time before that Christian Religion was received, and authorised by Constantine the Emperour, we may find, that the Books wee now have of the New Testament, were held by the Christians of that time (except a few, in respect of whose paucity the rest were called the Catholique Church, and others Haeretiques) for the dictates of the Holy Ghost; and consequently for the Canon, or Rule of Faith: such was the reverence and opinion they had of their Teachers; as generally the reverence that the Disciples bear to their first Masters, in all manner of doctrine they receive from them, is not small. Therefore there is no doubt, but when S. Paul wrote to the Churches he had converted; or any other Apostle, or Disciple of Christ, to those which had then embraced Christ, they received those their Writings for the true Christian Doctrine. But in that time, when not the Power and Authority of the Teacher, but the Faith of the Hearer caused them to receive it, it was not the Apostles that made their own Writings Canonicall, but every Convert made them so to himself.
But the question here, is not what any Christian made a Law, or Canon to himself, (which he might again reject, by the same right he received it;) but what was so made a Canon to them, as without injustice they could not doe any thing contrary thereunto. That the New Testament should in this sense be Canonicall, that is to say, a Law in any place where the Law of the Common-wealth had not made it so, is contrary to the nature of a Law. For a Law, (as hath been already shewn) is the Commandement of that Man, or Assembly, to whom we have given Soveraign Authority, to make such Rules for the direction of our actions, as hee shall think fit; and to punish us, when we doe any thing contrary to the same. When therefore any other man shall offer unto us any other Rules, which the Soveraign Ruler hath not prescribed, they are but Counsell, and Advice; which, whether good, or bad, hee that is counselled, may without injustice refuse to observe, and when contrary to the Laws already established, without injustice cannot observe, how good soever he conceiveth it to be. I say, he cannot in this case observe the same in his actions, nor in his discourse with other men; though he may without blame beleeve the his private Teachers, and wish he had the liberty to practise their advice; and that it were publiquely received for Law. For internall faith is in its own nature invisible, and consequently exempted from all humane jurisdiction; whereas the words, and actions that proceed from it, as breaches of our Civil obedience, are injustice both before God and Man. Seeing then our Saviour hath denyed his Kingdome to be in this world, seeing he hath said, he came not to judge, but to save the world, he hath not subjected us to other Laws than those of the Common-wealth; that is, the Jews to the Law of Moses, (which he saith (Mat. 5.) he came not to destroy, but to fulfill,) and other Nations to the Laws of their severall Soveraigns, and all men to the Laws of Nature; the observing whereof, both he himselfe, and his Apostles have in their teaching recommended to us, as a necessary condition of being admitted by him in the last day into his eternall Kingdome, wherein shall be Protection, and Life everlasting. Seeing then our Saviour, and his Apostles, left not new Laws to oblige us in this world, but new Doctrine to prepare us for the next; the Books of the New Testament, which containe that Doctrine, untill obedience to them was commanded, by them that God hath given power to on earth to be Legislators, were not obligatory Canons, that is, Laws, but onely good, and safe advice, for the direction of sinners in the way to salvation, which every man might take, and refuse at his owne perill, without injustice.
Again, our Saviour Christs Commission to his Apostles, and Disciples, was to Proclaim his Kingdome (not present, but) to come; and to Teach all Nations; and to Baptize them that should beleeve; and to enter into the houses of them that should receive them; and where they were not received, to shake off the dust of their feet against them; but not to call for fire from heaven to destroy them, nor to compell them to obedience by the Sword. In all which there is nothing of Power, but of Perswasion. He sent them out as Sheep unto Wolves, not as Kings to their Subjects. They had not in Commission to make Laws; but to obey, and teach obedience to Laws made; and consequently they could not make their Writings obligatory Canons, without the help of the Soveraign Civill Power. And therefore the Scripture of the New Testament is there only Law, where the lawfull Civill Power hath made it so. And there also the King, or Soveraign, maketh it a Law to himself; by which he subjecteth himselfe, not to the Doctor, or Apostle, that converted him, but to God himself, and his Son Jesus Christ, as immediately as did the Apostles themselves.
Of The Power Of Councells To Make The Scripture Law
That which may seem to give the New Testament, in respect of those that have embraced Christian Doctrine, the force of Laws, in the times, and places of persecution, is the decrees they made amongst themselves in their Synods. For we read (Acts 15.28.) the stile of the Councell of the Apostles, the Elders, and the whole Church, in this manner, "It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things, &C." which is a stile that signifieth a Power to lay a burthen on them that had received their Doctrine. Now "to lay a burthen on another," seemeth the same that "to oblige;" and therefore the Acts of that Councell were Laws to the then Christians. Neverthelesse, they were no more Laws than are these other Precepts, "Repent, Be Baptized; Keep the Commandements; Beleeve the Gospel; Come unto me; Sell all that thou hast; Give it to the poor;" and "Follow me;" which are not Commands, but Invitations, and Callings of men to Christianity, like that of Esay 55.1. "Ho, every man that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, come, and buy wine and milke without money." For first, the Apostles power was no other than that of our Saviour, to invite men to embrace the Kingdome of God; which they themselves acknowledged for a Kingdome (not present, but) to come; and they that have no Kingdome, can make no Laws. And secondly, if their Acts of Councell, were Laws, they could not without sin be disobeyed. But we read not any where, that they who received not the Doctrine of Christ, did therein sin; but that they died in their sins; that is, that their sins against the Laws to which they owed obedience, were not pardoned. And those Laws were the Laws of Nature, and the Civill Laws of the State, whereto every Christian man had by pact submitted himself. And therefore by the Burthen, which the Apostles might lay on such as they had converted, are not to be understood Laws, but Conditions, proposed to those that sought Salvation; which they might accept, or refuse at their own perill, without a new sin, though not without the hazard of being condemned, and excluded out of the Kingdome of God for their sins past. And therefore of Infidels, S. John saith not, the wrath of God shall "come" upon them, but "the wrath of God remaineth upon them;" and not that they shall be condemned; but that "they are condemned already."(John 3.36, 3.18) Nor can it be conceived, that the benefit of Faith, "is Remission of sins" unlesse we conceive withall, that the dammage of Infidelity, is "the Retention of the same sins."
But to what end is it (may some man aske), that the Apostles, and other Pastors of the Church, after their time, should meet together, to agree upon what Doctrine should be taught, both for Faith and Manners, if no man were obliged to observe their Decrees? To this may be answered, that the Apostles, and Elders of that Councell, were obliged even by their entrance into it, to teach the Doctrine therein concluded, and decreed to be taught, so far forth, as no precedent Law, to which they were obliged to yeeld obedience, was to the contrary; but not that all other Christians should be obliged to observe, what they taught. For though they might deliberate what each of them should teach; yet they could not deliberate what others should do, unless their Assembly had had a Legislative Power; which none could have but Civill Soveraigns. For though God be the Soveraign of all the world, we are not bound to take for his Law, whatsoever is propounded by every man in his name; nor any thing contrary to the Civill Law, which God hath expressely commanded us to obey.
Seeing then the Acts of Councell of the Apostles, were then no Laws, but Councells; much lesse are Laws the Acts of any other Doctors, or Councells since, if assembled without the Authority of the Civill Soveraign. And consequently, the Books of the New Testament, though most perfect Rules of Christian Doctrine, could not be made Laws by any other authority then that of Kings, or Soveraign Assemblies.
The first Councell, that made the Scriptures we now have, Canon, is not extant: For that Collection the first Bishop of Rome after S. Peter, is subject to question: For though the Canonicall books bee there reckoned up; yet these words, "Sint vobis omnibus Clericis & Laicis Libris venerandi, &c." containe a distinction of Clergy, and Laity, that was not in use so neer St. Peters time. The first Councell for setling the Canonicall Scripture, that is extant, is that of Laodicea, Can. 59. which forbids the reading of other Books then those in the Churches; which is a Mandate that is not addressed to every Christian, but to those onely that had authority to read any publiquely in the Church; that is, to Ecclesiastiques onely.
Of The Right Of Constituting Ecclesiasticall Officers In The Time
Of The Apostles
Of Ecclesiastical Officers in the time of the Apostles, some were Magisteriall, some Ministeriall. Magisteriall were the Offices of preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Infidels; of administring the Sacraments, and Divine Service; and of teaching the Rules of Faith and Manners to those that were converted. Ministeriall was the Office of Deacons, that is, of them that were appointed to the administration of the secular necessities of the Church, at such time as they lived upon a common stock of mony, raised out of the voluntary contributions of the faithfull.
Amongst the Officers Magisteriall, the first, and principall were the Apostles; whereof there were at first but twelve; and these were chosen and constituted by our Saviour himselfe; and their Office was not onely to Preach, Teach, and Baptize, but also to be Martyrs, (Witnesses of our Saviours Resurrection.) This Testimony, was the specificall, and essentiall mark; whereby the Apostleship was distinguished from other Magistracy Ecclesiasticall; as being necessary for an Apostle, either to have seen our Saviour after his Resurrection, or to have conversed with him before, and seen his works, and other arguments of his Divinity, whereby they might be taken for sufficient Witnesses. And therefore at the election of a new Apostle in the place of Judas Iscariot, S. Peter saith (Acts 1.21,22.) "Of these men that have companyed with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the Baptisme of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a Witnesse with us of his Resurrection:" where, by this word Must, is implyed a necessary property of an Apostle, to have companyed with the first and prime Apostles in the time that our Saviour manifested himself in the flesh.
Matthias Made Apostle By The Congregation.
The first Apostle, of those which were not constituted by Christ in the time he was upon the Earth, was Matthias, chosen in this manner: There were assembled together in Jerusalem about 120 Christians (Acts 1.15.) These appointed two, Joseph the Just, and Matthias (ver. 23.) and caused lots to be drawn; "and (ver. 26.) the Lot fell on Matthias and he was numbred with the Apostles." So that here we see the ordination of this Apostle, was the act of the Congregation, and not of St. Peter, nor of the eleven, otherwise then as Members of the Assembly.
Paul And Barnabas Made Apostles By The Church Of Antioch
After him there was never any other Apostle ordained, but Paul and Barnabas, which was done (as we read Acts 13.1,2,3.) in this manner. "There were in the Church that was at Antioch, certaine Prophets, and Teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen; which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministred unto the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, 'Separate mee Barnabas, and Saul for the worke whereunto I have called them.' And when they had fasted, and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."
By which it is manifest, that though they were called by the Holy Ghost, their Calling was declared unto them, and their Mission authorized by the particular Church of Antioch. And that this their calling was to the Apostleship, is apparent by that, that they are both called (Acts 14.14.) Apostles: And that it was by vertue of this act of the Church of Antioch, that they were Apostles, S. Paul declareth plainly (Rom. 1.1.) in that hee useth the word, which the Holy Ghost used at his calling: For he stileth himself, "An Apostle separated unto the Gospel of God;" alluding to the words of the Holy Ghost, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul, &c." But seeing the work of an Apostle, was to be a Witnesse of the Resurrection of Christ, and man may here aske, how S. Paul that conversed not with our Saviour before his passion, could know he was risen. To which it is easily answered, that our Saviour himself appeared to him in the way to Damascus, from Heaven, after his Ascension; "and chose him for a vessell to bear his name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and Children of Israel;" and consequently (having seen the Lord after his passion) was a competent Witnesse of his Resurrection: And as for Barnabas, he was a Disciple before the Passion. It is therefore evident that Paul, and Barnabas were Apostles; and yet chosen, and authorized (not by the first Apostles alone, but) by the Church of Antioch; as Matthias was chosen, and authorized by the Church of Jerusalem.
What Offices In The Church Are Magisteriall
Bishop, a word formed in our language, out of the Greek Episcopus, signifieth an overseer, or Superintendent of any businesse, and particularly a Pastor or Shepherd; and thence by metaphor was taken, not only amongst the Jews that were originally Shepherds, but also amongst the Heathen, to signifie the Office of a King, or any other Ruler, or Guide of People, whether he ruled by Laws, or Doctrine. And so the Apostles were the first Christian Bishops, instituted by Christ himselfe: in which sense the Apostleship of Judas is called (Acts 1.20.) his Bishoprick. And afterwards, when there were constituted Elders in the Christian Churches, with charge to guide Christs flock by their doctrine, and advice; these Elders were also called Bishops. Timothy was an Elder (which word Elder, in the New Testament is a name of Office, as well as of Age;) yet he was also a Bishop. And Bishops were then content with the Title of Elders. Nay S. John himselfe, the Apostle beloved of our Lord, beginneth his Second Epistle with these words, "The Elder to the Elect Lady." By which it is evident, that Bishop, Pastor, Elder, Doctor, that is to say, Teacher, were but so many divers names of the same Office in the time of the Apostles. For there was then no government by Coercion, but only by Doctrine, and Perswading. The Kingdome of God was yet to come, in a new world; so that there could be no authority to compell in any Church, till the Common-wealth had embraced the Christian Faith; and consequently no diversity of Authority, though there were diversity of Employments.
Besides these Magisteriall employments in the Church, namely Apostles, Bishops, Elders, Pastors, and Doctors, whose calling was to proclaim Christ to the Jews, and Infidels, and to direct, and teach those that beleeved we read in the New Testament of no other. For by the names of Evangelists and Prophets, is not signified any Office, but severall Gifts, by which severall men were profitable to the Church: as Evangelists, by writing the life and acts of our Saviour; such as were S. Matthew and S. John Apostles, and S. Marke and S. Luke Disciples, and whosoever else wrote of that subject, (as S. Thomas, and S. Barnabas are said to have done, though the Church have not received the Books that have gone under their names:) and as Prophets, by the gift of interpreting the Old Testament; and sometimes by declaring their speciall Revelations to the Church. For neither these gifts, nor the gifts of Languages, nor the gift of Casting out Devils, or of Curing other diseases, nor any thing else did make an Officer in the Church, save onely the due calling and election to the charge of Teaching.
Ordination Of Teachers
As the Apostles, Matthias, Paul, and Barnabas, were not made by our Saviour himself, but were elected by the Church, that is, by the Assembly of Christians; namely, Matthias by the Church of Jerusalem, and Paul, and Barnabas by the Church of Antioch; so were also the Presbyters, and Pastors in other Cities, elected by the Churches of those Cities. For proof whereof, let us consider, first, how S. Paul proceeded in the Ordination of Presbyters, in the Cities where he had converted men to the Christian Faith, immediately after he and Barnabas had received their Apostleship. We read (Acts 14.23.) that "they ordained Elders in every Church;" which at first sight may be taken for an Argument, that they themselves chose, and gave them their authority: But if we consider the Originall text, it will be manifest, that they were authorized, and chosen by the Assembly of the Christians of each City. For the words there are, "cheirotonesantes autoispresbuterous kat ekklesian," that is, "When they had Ordained them Elders by the Holding up of Hands in every Congregation." Now it is well enough known, that in all those Cities, the manner of choosing Magistrates, and Officers, was by plurality of suffrages; and (because the ordinary way of distinguishing the Affirmative Votes from the Negatives, was by Holding up of Hands) to ordain an Officer in any of the Cities, was no more but to bring the people together, to elect them by plurality of Votes, whether it were by plurality of elevated hands, or by plurality of voices, or plurality of balls, or beans, or small stones, of which every man cast in one, into a vessell marked for the Affirmative, or Negative; for divers Cities had divers customes in that point. It was therefore the Assembly that elected their own Elders: the Apostles were onely Presidents of the Assembly to call them together for such Election, and to pronounce them Elected, and to give them the benediction, which now is called Consecration. And for this cause they that were Presidents of the Assemblies, as (in the absence of the Apostles) the Elders were, were called proestotes, and in Latin Antistities; which words signifie the Principall Person of the Assembly, whose office was to number the Votes, and to declare thereby who was chosen; and where the Votes were equall, to decide the matter in question, by adding his own; which is the Office of a President in Councell. And (because all the Churches had their Presbyters ordained in the same manner,) where the word is Constitute, (as Titus 1.5.) "ina katasteses kata polin presbuterous," "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest constitute Elders in every City," we are to understand the same thing; namely, that hee should call the faithfull together, and ordain them Presbyters by plurality of suffrages. It had been a strange thing, if in a Town, where men perhaps had never seen any Magistrate otherwise chosen then by an Assembly, those of the Town becomming Christians, should so much as have thought on any other way of Election of their Teachers, and Guides, that is to say, of their Presbyters, (otherwise called Bishops,) then this of plurality of suffrages, intimated by S. Paul (Acts 14.23.) in the word Cheirotonesantes: Nor was there ever any choosing of Bishops, (before the Emperors found it necessary to regulate them in order to the keeping of the peace amongst them,) but by the Assemblies of the Christians in every severall Town.