I. Wee have already in the foregoing Chapters, proved both by reason, and testimonies of holy Writ, that the estate of nature, that is to say, of absolute liberty, such as is theirs, who neither govern, nor are governed, is an Anarchy, or hostile state; that the precepts whereby to avoyd this state, are the Lawes of nature; that there can be no civill government without a Soveraigne; and that they who have gotten this Soveraigne command must be obey'd simply, that is to say, in all things which repugne not the Commandments of God: There is this one thing only wanting to the complete understanding of all civill duty, & that is, to know which are the Laws and Commandments of God. For else we cannot tell whether that which the civill power commands us, be against the Lawes of God, or not; whence it must necessarily happen, that either by too much obedience to the civill authority, we become stubborne against the divine Majesty; or for feare of sinning against God, we runne into disobedience against the civill power: To avoid both these rocks, its necessary to know the Divine Lawes. now because the knowledge of the Lawes, depends on the knowledge of the Kingdome, we must in what followes, speak somewhat concerning the Kingdome of God.
II. The Lord is King, the earth may be glad there of saith the Psalmist, Psal: 97 v. 1. And againe the same Psalmist, Psal. 99. v. 1. The Lord is King, be the People never so unpatient; he sitteth betweene the Cherubins, be the Earth never so unquiet; to wit, whether men will, or not, God is THE King over all the Earth, nor is he mov'd from his Throne, if there be any who deny either his existence, or his providence. Now although God governe all men so by his power, that none can doe any thing which he would not have done, yet this, to speake properly, and accurately, is not to reigne; for he is sayed to reigne, who rules not by acting, but speaking, that is to say, by precepts and threatnings. And therefore we account not inanimate, nor irrationall bodies, for Subjects in the Kingdome of God, although they be subordinate to the Divine power; because they understand not the commands, and threats of God; nor yet the Atheists, because they beleeve not that there is a God; nor yet those who beleeving there is a God, doe not yet beleeve that he rules these Inferiour things; for even these, although they be govern'd by the power of God, yet doe they not acknowledge any of his Commands, nor stand in awe of his threats. Those onely therefore are suppos'd to belong to Gods Kingdome, who acknowledge him to be the Governour of all things, and that he hath given his Commands to men, and appointed punishments for the transgressours; The rest, we must not call Subjects, but Enemies of God.
III. But none are said to governe by commands, but they who openly declare them to those who are govern'd by them; for the Commands of the Rulers are the Lawes of the Rul'd. But lawes they are not, if not perspicuously publisht, in so much as all excuse of Ignorance may be taken away. Men indeed publish their Lawes by word or voice, neither can they make their will universally knowne any other way; But Gods lawes are declar'd after a threefold manner: first, by the tacit dictates of Right reason: next, by immediate revelation, which is suppos'd to be done either by a supernaturall voice, or by a vision or dreame, or divine inspiration: Thirdly, by the voice of one man whom God recommends to the rest, as worthy of beliefe, by the working of true miracles. Now he whose voice God thus makes use of to signifie his will unto others, is called a PROPHET. These three manners may be term'd the threefold word of God, to wit the Rationall word, the sensible word, and the word of Prophecy: To which answer, the three manners whereby we are said to heare God, Right reasoning, sense, and faith. Gods sensible word hath come but to few; neither hath God spoken to men by Revelation except particularly to some, and to diverse diversely; neither have any Lawes of his Kingdome beene publisht on this manner unto any people.
IV. And according to the difference which is between the Rationall word and the word of Prophecy, we attribute a twofold Kingdome unto God: Naturall, in which he reignes by the dictates of right reason, and which is universall over all who acknowledge the Divine power, by reason of that rationall nature which is common to all; and Propheticall, in which he rules also by the word of Prophecy, which is peculiar, because he hath not given positive Lawes to all men, but to his peculiar people, and some certaine men elected by him. V. God in his naturall Kingdome hath a Right to rule, and to punish those who break his Lawes, from his sole irresistable power. For all Right over others is either from nature, or from Contract. How the Right of governing springs from Contract, we have already shewed in the 6. Chapter. And the same Right is derived from nature, in this very thing, that it is not by nature taken away. For when by nature all men had a Right over all things, every man had a Right of ruling over all as ancient as nature it selfe; but the reason why this was abolisht among men, was no other but mutuall fear; as hath been declared above in the second Chapter, the 3. art; reason namely dictating that they must foregoe that Right for the preservation of mankinde, because the equality of men among themselves according to their strength and naturall powers was necessarily accompanied with warre, and with warre joynes the destruction of mankinde. Now if any man had so farre exceeded the rest in power, that all of them with joyned forces could not have resisted him, there had been no cause why he should part with that Right which nature had given him; The Right therefore of Dominion over all the rest, would have remained with him, by reason of that excesse of power whereby he could have preserved both himselfe and them. They therefore whose power cannot be resisted, and by consequence God Almighty, derives his Right of Soveraignty from the Power it selfe. And as oft as God punisheth, or slayes a sinner, although he therefore punish him because he sinned, yet may we not say that he could not justly have punisht or killed him although he had not sinned. Neither, if the will of God in punishing, may perhaps have regard to some sin antecedent, doth it therefore follow, that the Right of afflicting, and killing, depends not on divine Power, but on mens sins.
VI. That question made famous by the disputations of the Antients, why evill things befell the good, and good things the evill, is the same with this of ours, by what Right God dispenseth good and evill things unto men. And with its difficulty, it not only staggers the faith of the vulgar concerning the divine providence, but also of Philosophers, and which is more, even of holy men. Psal. 73. v. 1, 2, 3. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. but as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipt. And why? I was grieved at the wicked, I doe also see the ungodly in such prosperity. And how bitterly did Job expostulate with God, that being just, he should yet be afflicted with so many calamities? God himselfe with open voyce resolved this difficulty in the case of Job, and hath confirmed his Right by arguments drawn not from Jobs sinne, but from his own power. For Job and his friends had argued so among themselves, that they would needs make him guilty, because he was punisht; and he would reprove their accusation by arguments fetcht from his own innocence: But God when he had heard both him and them, refutes his expostulation, not by condemning him of injustice, or any sin, but by declaring his own power, Job. 38. v. 4. Where wast thou (sayes he) when I laid the foundation of the earth, &c. And for his friends, God pronounces himself angry against them, Job. 42. v. 7. Because they had not spoken of him the thing that is right, like his servant Job. Agreeable to this is that speech of our Saviours in the mans case who was born blind, when, his Disciples asking him whether he or his Parents had sinned, that he was born blind, he answered, John 9. v. 3. neither hath this man sinned, nor his Parents, but that the works of God should be manifest in him. For though it be said, Rom. 5. 12. That death entred into the world by sinne, it followes not, but that God by his Right might have made men subject to diseases, and death, although they had never sinned, even as he hath made the other animalls mortall, and sickly, although they cannot sinne.
VII. Now if God have the Right of Soveraignty from his power, it is manifest, that the obligation of yeelding him obedience lyes on men by reason of their weaknesse; for that obligation which rises from Contract, of which we have spoken in the second Chapter, can have no place here, where the Right of Ruling (no Covenant passing between) rises only from nature. But there are two Species of naturall obligation, one when liberty is taken away by corporall impediments, according to which we say that heaven and earth, and all Creatures, doe obey the common Lawes of their Creation: The other when it is taken away by hope, or fear, according to which the weaker despairing of his own power to resist, cannot but yeeld to the stronger. From this last kinde of obligation, that is to say from fear, or conscience of our own weaknesse (in respect of the divine power) it comes to passe, that we are obliged to obey God in his naturall Kingdome; reason dictating to all, acknowledging the divine power and providence, that there is no kicking against the pricks. (By reason of their weaknesse) If this shall seem hard to any man, I desire him with a silent thought to consider, if there were two Omnipotents, whether were bound to obey; I beleeve he will confesse that neither is bound: if this be true, then it is also true what I have set down, that men are subject unto God because they are not omnipotent. And truly our Saviour admonishing Paul (who at that time was an enemy to the Church) that he should not kick against the pricks, seems to require obedience from him for this cause, because he had not Power enough to resist.
VIII. Because the word of God ruling by nature onely, is supposed to be nothing else but right reason, and the Laws of Kings can be known by their word only, its manifest that the Laws of God ruling by nature alone, are onely the naturall Lawes; namely those which we have set down in the second and third Chapters, and deduced from the dictates of reason, Humility, Equity, Justice, Mercy, and other Morall vertues befriending Peace, which pertain to the discharge of the duties of men one toward the other, and those which right reason shall dictate besides, concerning the honour and worship of the Divine Majesty. We need not repeat what those Naturall Laws, or Morall vertues are; but we must see what honours, and what divine worship, that is to say, what sacred Lawes, the same naturall reason doth dictate.
IX. Honour, to speak properly, is nothing else but an opinion of anothers Power joyned with goodnesse; and to honour a man, is the same with highly esteeming him, and so honour is not in the Party honoured, but in the honourer. Now three Passions do necessarily follow honour thus placed in opinion; Love, which referres to goodnesse; hope, and feare, which regard Power. And from these arise all outward actions, wherewith the powerfull are appeased, and become Propitious, and which are the effects, and therefore also the naturall signes of honour it selfe. But the word honour is transferred also to those outward effects of honour, in which sense, we are said to honour him, of whose power we testifie our selves, either in word, or deed, to have a very great respect; insomuch as honour is the same with worship. Now WORSHIP is an outward act, the sign of inward honour. and whom we endeavour by our homage to appease, if they be, angry or howsoever to make them favourable to us, we are said to worship.
X. All signes of the mind are either words or deeds, and therefore all worship consists either in words or deeds. Now both the one and the other are referred to three kindes; whereof the first is Praise, or publique declaration of goodnesse; The second, a publique declaration of Present Power, which is to magnify megalunois; The third, is a publique declaration of happinesse, or of Power, secure also for the future, which is called, makariomos. I say, that all kindes of honour may be discerned, not in words only, but in deeds too. But we then praise, and celebrate in words, when we doe it by way of Proposition, or Dogmatically, that is to say by Attributes, or Titles, which may be termed praysing, and celebrating, categorically, and plainly, as when we declare him whom we honour to be liberall, strong, wise; And then, in deeds, when it is done by consequence, or by hypothesis, or supposition, as by Thanksgiving, which supposeth goodnesse; or by Obedience, which supposeth Power. or by Congratulation, which supposeth happinesse;
XI. Now whether we desire to praise a man in words, or deeds, we shall find some things which signify honour with all men, such as among attributes, are the generall words of vertues and powers, which cannot be taken in ill sense, As Good, Faire, Strong, Just, and the like; and among actions, Obedience, Thanksgiving, Prayers, and others of that kinde, by which an acknowledgement of vertue and power is ever understood: Others, which signify honour, but with some, and scorne with others, or else neither; such as in Attributes, are those words which according to the diversity of opinions, are diversly referred to vertues or vices, to honest or dishonest things; As that a man slew his enemy, that he fled, that he is a Philosopher, or an Orator, and the like, which with some are had in honour, with others in contempt. In deeds, such as depend on the custome of the place, or prescriptions of civill Lawes, as in saluting to be bareheaded, to put off the shoes, to bend the body. to petition for any thing, and the like. Now standing, prostrate, kneeling, forms of ceremony, that worship which is alwayes, and by all men accounted honourable, may be called Naturall; the other, which followes places, and customes, Arbitrary.
XII. Furthermore, worship may be enjoyned, to wit by the command of him that is worshiped, and it may bee voluntary, namely such as seems good to the worshipper: If it be enjoyned, the actions expressing it, do not signify honour, as they signify actions, but as they are enjoyned: for they signify obedience immediately, obedience power; insomuch as worship enjoyned consists in obedience. Voluntary is honourable onely in the nature of the actions, which if they doe signify honour to the beholders, it is worship, if not, it is Reproach. Again worship may be either publique or private. But publique, respecting each single worshipper, may not be voluntary; respecting the City it may. For seeing that which is done voluntarily, depends on the will of the Doer, there would not one worship be given, but as many worships as worshippers, except the will of all men were united by the command, of one. But Private worship may be voluntary, if it be done secretly; for what is done openly is restrained, either by Lawes, or through modesty, which is contrary to the nature of a voluntary action.
XIII. Now that we may know what the scope and end of worshipping others is, we must consider the cause why men delight in worship: And we must grant what we have shewed elsewhere, that Joy consists in this, that a man contemplate vertue, strength, science, beauty, friends, or any Power whatsoever, as being, or as though it were his own; and it is nothing else but a Glory, or Triumph of the mind conceiving it selfe honoured, that is to say, lov'd and fear'd, that is to say, having the services and assistances of men in readinesse. Now because men beleeve him to be powerfull whom they see honoured (that is to say) esteemed powerfull by others, it falls out that honour is increased by worship; and by the opinion of power, true power is acquired. His end therefore who either commands, or suffers himself to be worshipt, is, that by this means he may acquire as many as he can, either through love, or fear, to be obedient unto him.
XIV. But that we may understand what manner of Worship of God naturall reason doth assigne us, let us begin from his Attributes: where, first it is manifest, that existence is to be allowed him; for there can be no will to honour him, who, we think, hath no being. Next, those Philosophers who said, that God was the World, or the worlds Soul, (that is to say, a part of it) spake unworthily of God, for they attribute nothing to him, but wholly deny his being. For by the word God we understand the Worlds cause; but in saying that the World is God, they say, that it hath no cause, that is as much, as there is no God. In like manner, they who maintain the world not to be created, but eternall; because there can be no cause of an eternall thing, In denying the world to have a Cause, they deny also that there is a God. They also have a wretched apprehension of God, who imputing idlenesse to him, doe take from him the Government of the world, and of mankind. For say they should acknowledge him omnipotent, yet if he minde not these inferiour things, that same thred-bare Sentence will take place with them, Quod supra nos, nihil ad nos; What is above us, doth not concern us. And seeing there is nothing for which they should either love, or fear him, truly he will be to them as though he were not at all. Moreover in Attributes which signifie Greatnesse, or Power, those which signifie some finite, or limited thing, are not signes at all of an honouring mind. For we honour not God worthily if we ascribe lesse Power, or greatnesse to him then possibly we can; but every finite thing is lesse then we can, for most easily we may alwayes assigne and attribute more to a finite thing; No shape therefore must be assigned to God, for all shape is finite; nor must he be said to be conceived, or comprehended by imagination, or any other faculty of our soul; for whatsoever we conceive is finite: And although this word Infinite signifie a conception of the mind, yet it followes not, that we have any conception of an infinite thing: For when we say that a thing is infinite, we signifie nothing really, but the impotency in our owne mind, as if we should say we know not whether, or where it is limited: Neither speak they honourably enough of God, who say we have an Idea of him in our mind; for an Idea is our conception, but conception we have none, except of a finite thing: Nor they, who say that he hath Parts, or that he is some certaine intire thing; which are also attributes of finite things: Nor that he is in any place; for nothing can be said to be in a place, but what hath bounds and limits of its greatnesse on all sides: Nor that he is moved, or is at rest; for either of them suppose a being in some place: Nor that there are more Gods; because not more infinites. Farthermore concerning attributes of happinesse, those are unworthy of God which signify sorrow (unlesse they be taken not for any Passion, but by a Metonomy for the effect) such as Repentance, anger, Pity: Or Want, as Appetite, Hope, Concupiscence, and that love which is also called lust, for they are signes of Poverty, since it cannot be understood, that a man should desire, hope, and wish for ought, but what he wants and stands in need. of. Or any Passive faculty; for suffering belongs to a limited power, and which depends upon another. When we therefore attribute a will to God, it is not to be conceived like unto ours, which is called a rationall desire; for if God desires, he wants, which for any man to say, is a contumelie; but we must suppose some resemblance which we cannot conceive. In like manner when wee attribute sight and other acts of the senses to him, or knowledge, or understanding, which in us are nothing else but a tumult of the minde raised from outward objects pressing the Organes, wee must not think that any such thing befalls the Deity; for it is a signe of power depending upon some other, which is not the most blessed thing. He therefore who would not ascribe any other titles to God, then what reason commands, must use such as are either Negative, as infinite, eternall, incomprehensible, &c. or superlative, as most good, most great, most powerfull, &c. or Indefinite, as good, just, strong, Creatour, King, and the like; in such sense, as not desiring to declare what he is (which were to circumscribe him within the narrow limits of our phantasie), but to confesse our own admiration, and obedience, which is the property of humility, and of a minde yeelding all the honour it possibly can doe. For Reason dictates one name alone, which doth signify the nature of God (i.e.) Existent, or simply, that he is; and one in order to, and in relation to us, namely God, under which is contained both King, and Lord, and Father.
XV. Concerning the Outward actions wherewith God is to be worshipped (as also concerning his Titles) its a most generall command of Reason, that they be signes of a mind yeelding honour; under which are contained in the first place, Prayers;
Qui fingit sacros auro, vel marmore vultus, Non facit ille Deos, qui rogat, ille facit.
For Prayers are the signes of hope, and hope is an acknowledgement of the divine Power, or goodnesse. In the second place, Thanksgiving; which is a signe of the same affection, but that prayers goe before the benefit, and thanks follow it. In the third, Guifts, that is to say oblations and sacrifices, for these are thanksgivings. In the fourth, not to sweare by any other. For a mans Oath is an, Imprecation of his wrath against him if he deceive, who both knowes whether he doe, or not, and can punish him if he doe, though he be never so powerfull; which only belongs to God: for if there were any man from whom his subjects malice could not lye hid, and whom no humane power could resist, plighted faith would suffice without swearing, which, broken, might be punisht by that Man; and for this very reason there would be no need of an Oath. In the fifth place, To speak warily of God; for that is a sign of fear, and feare is an acknowledgement of Power. It followes from this precept: That we may not take the name of God in vain, or use it rashly; for either are inconsiderate. That wee must not swear where there is no need; for that is in vain; but need there is none, unlesse it be between Cities to avoyd or take away contention by force, which necessarily must arise, where there is no faith kept in promises, or in a City, for the better certainty of Judicature. Also, That we must not dispute of the Divine nature: For it is supposed that all things in the naturall Kingdom of God are enquired into by reason only, that is to say, out of the Principles of naturall Science; but we are so far off by these to attain to the knowledge of the nature of God, that we cannot so much as reach to the full understanding of all the qualities of our own bodies, or of any other Creatures. Wherefore there comes nothing from these disputes, but a rash imposition of names to the divine Majesty, according to the small measure of our conceptions. It followes also (which belongs to the Right of Gods Kingdome) that their speech is inconsiderate, and rash, who say, That this, or that, doth not stand with divine justice; for even men count it an affront that their children should dispute their Right, or measure their justice otherwise then by the rule of their Commands. In the sixth. Whatsoever is offered up in Prayers, thanksgivings, and sacrifices, must in its kind be the best, and most betokening honour; namely, Prayers must not be rash, or light, or vulgar, but beautifull, and well composed. For though it were absurd in the Heathen to worship God in an image, yet was it not against reason to use Poetry, and Musick, in their Churches. Also Oblations must be clean, and Presents sumptuous, and such as are significative either of submission, or gratitude, or commemorative of benefits received; for all these proceed from a desire of honouring. In the seventh. That God must be worshipt not privately onely, but openly, and publiquely in the sight of all men; because that worship is so much more acceptable, by how much it begets honour, and esteem in others (as hath been declared before in the 13. art.). Unlesse others therefore see it, that which is most pleasing in our worship, vanisheth. In the last place. That we use our best endeavour to keep the Lawes of Nature. For the undervaluing of our Masters command, exceeds all other affronts whatsoever; as on the other side, Obedience is more acceptable then all other sacrifices. And these are principally the naturall Lawes concerning the worship of God, those I mean which Reason dictates to every Man; but to whole Cities, every one whereof is one Person, the same naturall Reason farther commands an uniformity of publique worship. For the actions done by particular Persons, according to their private Reasons, are not the Cities actions, and therefore not the Cities worship; but what is done by the City, is understood to be done by the command of him, or them who have the Soveraignty, wherefore also together with the consent of all the subjects, that is to say, Uniformly.
XVI. The naturall Lawes set down in the foregoing Article concerning the divine worship, only command the giving of naturall signes of honour; but we must consider that there are two kindes of signes, the one naturall, the other done upon agreement, or by expresse, or tacite composition. Now because in every language, the use of words, and names, come by appointment, it may also by appointment be altered; for that which depends on, and derives its force from the will of men, can by the will of the same men agreeing be changed again, or abolisht. Such names therefore as are attributed to God by the appointment of men, can by the same appointment be taken away; now what can be done by the appointment of men, that the City may doe; The City therefore by Right (that is to say, they who have the power of the whole City) shall judge what names or appellations are more, what lesse honourable for God, that is to say, what doctrines are to be held and profest concerning the nature of God, and his operations. Now actions doe signify not by mens appointment, but naturally, even as the effects are signes of their causes; whereof some are alwayes signes of Scorn to them before whom they are committed, as those, whereby the bodies uncleannesse is discovered, and whatsoever men are ashamed to doe before those whom they respect; Others are alwayes signes of honour, as to draw near, and discourse decently and humbly, to give way, or to yeeld in any matter of private benefit: In these actions the City can alter nothing. But there are infinite others, which, as much as belongs to honour, or reproach, are indifferent; now these, by the institution of the City, may both be made signes of honour, and being made so, doe in very deed become so. From whence we may understand, that we must obey the City in whatsoever it shall command to be used for a sign of honouring God, that is to say, for Worship; provided it can be instituted for a sign of honour, because that is a sign of honour, which by the Cities command is us'd for such.
XVII. We have already declared which were the Laws of God, as wel sacred as secular, in his government by the way of Nature onely. Now because there is no man but may be deceived in reasoning, and that it so falls out, that men are of different opinions concerning the most actions, it may be demanded farther, whom God would have to be the Interpreter of right Reason, that is to say, of his Lawes. And as for the Secular Lawes, I mean those which concern justice, and the carriage of men towards men; by what hath been said before of the constitution of a City, we have demonstratively shewed it agreeable to reason, that all Judicature belongs to the City, and that Judicature is nothing else but an Interpretation of the Laws, and by consequence, that everywhere Cities, that is to say, those who have the Soveraign power, are the Interpreters of the Lawes. As for the Sacred Lawes, we must consider what hath been before demonstrated in the fifth Chap. the 13. art. that every Subject hath transferr'd as much right as he could on him, or them, who had the supreme authority, but he could have transferred his right of judging the manner how God is to be honoured, and therefore also he hath done it; That he could, it appeares hence, that the manner of honouring God before the constitution of a City was to be fetcht from every mans private Reason; but every man can subject his private Reason to the Reason of the whole. City Moreover, if each Man should follow his own reason in the worshipping of God, in so great a diversity of worshippers, one would be apt to judge anothers worship uncomely, or impious; neither would the one seem to the other to honour God: Even that therefore which were most consonant to reason, would not be a worship, because that the nature of worship consists in this, that it be the sign of inward honour; but there is no sign but whereby somewhat becomes known to others, and therefore is there no sign of honour but what seems so to others. Again, that's a true sign which by the consent of men becomes a sign; therefore also that is honourable, which by the consent of men, that is to say, by the command of the City, becomes a sign of honour. It is not therefore against the will of God, declared by the way of reason onely, to give him such signs of honour as the City shall command. Wherefore Subjects can transferre their Right of judging the manner of Gods worship on him or them who have the Soveraign power. Nay, they must doe it, for else all manner of absurd opinions, concerning the nature of God, and all ridiculous ceremonies which have been used by any Nations, will bee seen at once in the same, City. whence it will fall out, that every man will beleeve that all the rest doe offer God an affront; so that it cannot be truly said of any that he worships God; for no man worships God, that is to say, honours him outwardly, but he who doth those things, whereby hee appeares to others for to honour him. It may therefore bee concluded, that the Interpretation of all Lawes, as well Sacred, as Secular, (God ruling by the way of nature only) depends on the authority of the City, that is to say, that man, or councell, to whom the Soveraign power is committed; and that whatsoever God commands, he commands by his voyce. And on the other side, that whatsoever is commanded by them, both concerning the manner of honouring God, and concerning secular affaires, is commanded by God himselfe.
XVIII. Against this, some Man may demand, first, Whether it doth not follow, that the City must be obeyed if it command us directly to affront God, or forbid us to worship him? I say, it does not follow, neither must we obey. For to affront, or not to worship at all, cannot by any Man be understood for a manner of worshipping; neither also had any one, before the constitution of a City, of those who acknowledge God to rule, a Right to deny him the honour which was then due unto him; nor could he therefore transfer a Right on the City of commanding any such things. Next, if it be demanded whether the City must be obeyed if it command somewhat to be said, or done, which is not a disgrace to God directly, but from whence by reasoning disgracefull consequences may be derived: as for example, if it were commanded to worship God in an image, before those who account that honourable? Truly it is to be done. For Worship is instituted in signe of Honour; but to Worship him thus, is a signe of honour, and increaseth Gods Honour among those who do so account of it. Or if it be commanded to call God by a name which we know not what it signifies, or how it can agree with this word, God? That also must be done; for what we do for Honours sake, (and we know no better), if it be taken for a signe of Honour, it is a signe of Honour; and therefore if we refuse to doe it, we refuse the enlarging of Gods Honour. The same judgement must be had of all the Attributes and Actions about the meerly rationall Worship of God which may be controverted, and disputed; for though these kind of commands may be sometimes contrary to right reason, and therefore sins in them who command them, yet are they not against right reason, nor sins in Subjects, whose right reason in points of Controversie is that, which submits its selfe to the reason of the City. Lastly, if that Man, or Councell, who hath the Supreme Power, command himselfe to be Worshipt with the same Attributes, and Actions, wherewith God is to be Worshipt, the question is, whether we must obey? There are many things which may be commonly attributed both to God, and Men; for even Men may be Praised, and Magnified; and there are many actions whereby God, and Men, may be Worshipt. But the significations of the Attributes, and Actions, are onely to be regarded: Those Attributes therefore, whereby we signify our selves to be of an opinion, that there is any man endued with a Soveraignty independent from God, or that he is immortall, or of infinite power, and the like, though commanded by Princes, yet must they be abstained from. As also from those Actions signifying the same, as Prayer to the absent; to aske those things which God alone can give, as Rain, and Fair weather; to offer him what God can onely accept, as Oblations, Holocausts; or to give a Worship, then which a greater cannot be given, as Sacrifice. For these things seeme to tend to this end, that God may not be thought to rule, contrary to what was supposed from the beginning. But genuflection, prostration, or any other act of the body whatsoever, may be lawfully used even in civill Worship. for they may signifie an acknowledgment of the civill power onely. For Divine Worship is distinguisht from civill, not by the motion, placing, habit, or gesture of the Body, but by the declaration of our opinion of him whom we doe Worship; as if we cast down our selves before any man, with intention of declaring by that Signe that we esteeme him as God, it is Divine Worship; if we doe the same thing as a Signe of our acknowledgment of the civill Power, it is civill Worship. Neither is the Divine Worship distinguished from Civill by any action usually understood by the words latreia and douleia, whereof the former marking out the Duty of Servants, the latter their Destiny, they are words of the same action in degree. Truly it is to be done We said in the 14. Article of this Chapter, That they who attributed limits to God, transgrest the naturall Law concerning Gods Worship. Now they who worship him in an Image, assigne him limits; wherefore they doe that which they ought not to doe, and this place seemes to contradict the former. We must therefore know first, that they who are constrained by Authority, doe not set God any bounds, but they who command them; for they who worship unwillingly, doe worship in very deed, but they either stand or fall there, where they are commanded to stand or fall by a lawfull Soveraign. Secondly, I say it must be done, not at all times, and every where, but on supposition that there is no other rule of worshipping God beside the dictates of humane reason; for then the will of the City stands for Reason. But in the Kingdome of God by way of Covenant, whether old, or new, where idolatry is expressely forbid, though the City commands us to worship thus, yet must we not do it. Which, if he shall consider, who conceived some repugnancy between this, and the 14. Article, will surely cease to think so any longer.
XIX. From what hath been said may be gathered, that God reigning by the way of naturall reason onely, Subjects doe sinne, First, if they break the morall Laws, which are unfolded in the second and third Chapters. Secondly, if they break the Lawes, or commands of the City in those things which pertain to Justice. Thirdly, if they worship not God, kata ta nomika. Fourthly, if they confesse not before men, both in words, and deeds, that there is one God most good, most great, most blessed, the Supreme King of the World, and of all worldly Kings; that is to say, if they doe not worship God. This fourth sinne in the naturall Kingdome of God, by what hath been said in the foregoing Chapter, in the second Article, is the sinne of Treason against the Divine Majesty; for it is a denying of the Divine Power, or Atheisme. For sinnes proceed here, just as if we should suppose some man to be the Soveraign King, who being himselfe absent, should rule by his Vice-Roy; against whom sure they would transgresse who should not obey his Vice-Roy in all things, except he usurpt the Kingdome to himself, or would give it to some other; but they who should so absolutely obey him, as not to admit of this exception, might be said to be guilty of Treason.
Of the Kingdome of God under the Old Covenant
I. Mankind, from conscience of its own weaknesse, and admiration of naturall events, hath this, that most men beleeve God to be the invisible Maker of all visible things, whom they also fear, conceiving that they have not a sufficient protection in themselves; but the imperfect use they had of their Reason, the violence of their Passions did so clowd them, that they could not rightly worship him. Now the fear of invisible things, when it is sever'd from right reason is superstition. It was therefore almost impossible for men without the speciall assistance of God to avoyd both Rocks of Atheisme and Superstition: for this proceeds from fear without right reason, that, from an opinion of right reason, without feare. Idolatry therefore did easily fasten upon the greatest part of men, and almost all nations did worship God in Images, and resemblances of finite things; and they worshipt spirits, or vain visions, perhaps out of fear calling them Devills. But it pleased the Divine Majesty (as we read it written in the sacred history) out of all mankind to call forth Abraham, by whose means he might bring men to the true worship of him, and to reveal himselfe supernaturally to him, and to make that most famous Covenant with him and his seed, which is called the old Covenant, or Testament. He therefore is the head of true Religion; he was the first that after the Deluge taught, that there was one God, the Creatour of the Universe; And from him the Kingdome of God by way of Covenants, takes its beginning. Joseph. Antiq. Jewes. lib. I. cap. 7.
II. In the beginning of the world God reigned indeed, not onely naturally, but also by way of Covenant, over Adam, and Eve; so as it seems he would have no obedience yeelded to him, beside that which naturall Reason should dictate, but by the way of Covenant, that is to say, by the consent of men themselves. Now because this Covenant was presently made void, nor ever after renewed, the originall of Gods Kingdom (which we treat of in this place) is not to be taken thence. Yet this is to be noted by the way, that by that precept of not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evill (whether the judicature of good and evill, or the eating of the fruit of some tree were forbidden) God did require a most simple obedience to his commands, without dispute whether that were good, or evill, which was commanded; for the fruit of the tree, if the Command be wanting, hath nothing in its own nature, whereby the eating of it could be morally evill, that is to say, a sinne.
III. Now the Covenant between God and Abraham, was made in this manner. Gen. 17. v. 7, 8. I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations,for an everlasting Covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the Land wherein thou art a stranger, all the Land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. Now it was necessary to institute some sign whereby Abraham and his seed should retain the memory of this Covenant; wherefore Circumcision was added to the Covenant, but yet as a sign onely. vers 10: This is my Covenant which yee shall keep between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, every man-child among you shall be circumcised, and ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of the Covenant between me and you. It is therefore Covenanted, that Abraham shall acknowledge God to be his God, and the God of his seed; that is to say, that he shall submit himselfe to be governed by him, and that God shall give unto Abraham the inheritance of that Land wherein he then dwelt, but as a Pilgrim, and that Abraham for a memoriall sign of this Covenant, should take care to see himselfe, and his male seed circumcised.
IV. But seeing that Abraham even before the Covenant acknowledged God to be the Creatour and King of the world, (for he never doubted either of the being, or the Providence of God) how comes it not to be superfluous, that God would purchase to himself with a price, and by contract, an obedience which was due to him by nature; namely by promising Abraham the Land of Canaan, upon condition that he would receive him for his God, when by the Right of nature he was already so? By those words therefore, To be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee, wee understand not that Abraham satisfied this Covenant by a bare acknowledgement of the power, and Dominion which God had naturally over men, that is to say, by acknowledging God indefinitely, which belongs to naturall reason; but he must definitely acknowledge him, who said unto him, Gen. 12. v. 1. Get thee out of thy Country, &c. Gen. 13. v. 14. Lift up thine eyes. &c. who appear'd unto him, Gen. 18. v. 1. in the shape of three celestiall men, and Gen. 15. v. 1. In a vision; and vers. 13. In a dream, which is matter of faith. In what shape God appeared unto Abraham, by what kinde of sound he spake to him, is not exprest, yet it is plain that Abraham beleeved that voyce to be the voyce of God, and a true Revelation; and would have all his to worship him, who had so spoken unto him, for God the Creatour of the world; and that his faith was grounded on this, not that he beleeved God to have a being, or that he was true in his promises, that which all men beleeve, but that he doubted not him to be God, whose voice, and promises he had heard; and that the God of Abraham signified not simply God, but that God which appeared unto him, even as the worship which Abraham owed unto God in that notion, was not the worship of reason, but of Religion, and Faith, and that, which not reason, but God had supernaturally revealed. V. But we read of no Lawes given by God to Abraham, or by Abraham to his family, either then, or after, secular, or sacred (excepting the Commandement of Circumcision, which is contained in the Covenant it selfe); whence it is manifest, that there were no other Lawes, or worship, which Abraham was obliged to, but the Lawes of nature, rationall worship, and circumcision.
VI. Now Abraham was the Interpreter of all Lawes, as well sacred as secular, among those that belonged to him, not meerly naturally, as using the Lawes of nature onely, but even by the form of the Covenant it selfe, in which obedience is promised by Abraham not for himselfe onely, but for his seed also; which had been in vain, except his children had been tyed to obey his Commands: And how can that be understood, which God sayes Gen. 18. vers. 18. 19. (All the Nations of the earth shall be blessed in him; for I know him, that he will command his children, and his houshold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to doe justice, and judgement) unlesse his children and his houshold were supposed to be obliged to yeeld obedience unto his Commands.
VII. Hence it followes, that Abrahams subjects could not sinne in obeying him, provided that Abraham commanded them not, to deny Gods Existence, or Providence, or to doe somewhat expresly contrary to the honour of God. In all other things, the word of God was to be fetcht from his lips only, as being the Interpreter of all the Lawes, and words of God. For Abraham alone could teach them who was the God of Abraham, and in what manner he was to be worshipped. And they who after Abrahams death were subject to the Soveraignty of Isaac or Iacob, did by the same reason obey them in all things without sin, as long as they acknowledged, and profest the God of Abraham to be their God. For they had submitted themselves to God simply, before they did it to Abraham; and to Abraham before they did it to the God of Abraham; againe, to the God of Abraham before they did it to Isaac. In Abrahams subjects therefore, To deny God was the only Treason against the Divine Majesty; but in their posterity it was also Treason to deny t he God of Abraham, that is to say, to worship God otherwise then was instituted by Abraham, to wit, in Images made with hands, as other Nations did, which for that reason were called Idolators. And hitherto subjects might easily enough discern what was to be observed, what avoyded in the Commands of their Princes. In Images made with hands In the 15. Chap. 14. Article, There wee have shewed such a kinde of worship to be irrationall; but if it be done by the command of a City to whom the written word of God is not known, nor received, we have then shewed this worship in the 15. Chap. art. 18. to be rationall. But where God reigns by way of Covenant, in which it is expresly warned not to worship thus, as in the Covenant made with Abraham, there, whether it be with, or without the Command of the City, it is ill done.
VIII. To goe on now, following the guidance of the holy Scripture, The same Covenant was renewed, Gen. 26. vers. 3, 4. with Isaac, and Gen. 28. vers. 14. with Iacob, where God stiles himselfe not simply God, whom nature doth dictate him to be, but distinctly the God of Abraham and Isaac; afterward being about to renew the same Covenant, by Moyses, with the whole People of Israel, Exod. 3. v. 6. I am saith he the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Afterward when that People, not only the freest, but also the greatest enemy to humane subjection, by reason of the fresh memory of their AEgyptian bondage, abode in the wildernesse near mount Sinai, that antient Covenant was propounded to them all to be renewed in this manner, Exod. 19. ver. 5. Therefore if yee will obey my voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, (to wit, that Covenant which was made with Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob) then shall yee be a peculiar Treasure unto me, above all People; for all the earth is mine, and yee shall be to me a Kingdome of Priests, and an holy Nation. And all the People answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken, will we doe, vers. 8.
IX. In this Covenant, among other things, we must consider well the appellation of Kingdom not used before. For although God both by nature & by Covenant made with Abraham, was their King, yet owed they him an obedience and worship only naturall, as being his subjects; & religious such as Abraham instituted, as being the Subjects of Abraham, Isaac, & Iacob, their naturall Princes; For they had received no word of God beside the naturall word of right reason, neither had any Covenant past between God and them, otherwise then as their wils were included in the will of Abraham, as their Prince. But now by the Covenant made at mount Sinai, the consent of each man being had, there becomes an institutive Kingdome of God over them. That Kingdom of God so renowned in Scriptures and writings of Divines, took its beginning from this time, and hither tends that which God said to Samuel, when the Israelites asked a King, 1. Sam. 8. 7. They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them; and that which Samuel told the Israelites, 1. Sam. 12. 12. Yee said unto me, nay, but a King shall reign over us, when the Lord your God was your King; and that which is said, Jer. 31. vers. 31. I will make a new Covenant, &c. Although I was an Husband unto them; And the doctrine also of Judas Galilaeus, where mention is made in Ioseph. Antiq. of the Iewes, 18. Book, 2. Chap. in these words: But Judas Galilaeus was the first authour of this fourth way of those who followed the study of wisdome. These agree in all the rest with the Pharisees, excepting that they burn with a most constant desire of liberty, beleeving God alone to be held for their Lord and Prince, and will sooner endure even the most exquisite kinds of torments, together with their kinsfolks, and dearest friends, then call any mortall man their Lord.
X. The Right of the Kingdome being thus constituted by way of Covenant, let us see in the next place, what lawes God propounded to them; now those are knowne to all, to wit, the Decalogue, and those other, as well judiciall as ceremoniall lawes, which we find from the 20. Chap. of Exodus to the end of Deuteronomie, and the death of Moyses. Now of those lawes deliver'd in generall by the hand of Moyses, some there are which oblige naturally, being made by God, as the God of nature, and had their force even before Abrahams time; others there are which oblige by vertue of the Covenant made with Abraham, being made by God as the God of Abraham, which had their force even before Moyses his time, by reason of the former Covenant; but there are others which oblige by vertue of that Covenant onely which was made last with the people themselves, being made by God, as being the Peculiar King of the Israelites. Of the first sort are all the Precepts of the Decalogue which pertaine unto manners, such as, Honour thy Parents, thou shalt not Kill, thou shalt not commit Adultery, thou shalt not Steale, thou shalt not beare false witnesse, thou shalt not Covet; For they are the Lawes of nature; Also the precept of not taking Gods name in vaine, for it is a part of naturall worship, as hath beene declar'd in the foregoing Chap. Art. 15. In like manner the second Commandement of not worshipping by way of any Image made by themselves; for this also is a part of naturall Religion, as hath beene shewed in the same Article. Of the second sort is the first Commandment of the Decalogue, of not having any other Gods; for in that consists the essence of the Covenant made with Abraham, by which God requires nothing else, but that he should be his God, and the God of his seede: Also the Precept of keeping holy the Sabbath; for the Sanctification of the seventh day is instituted in memoriall of the six dayes Creation, as appeares out of these words, Exod. 31. ver. 16, 17. It is a perpetuall Covenant, (meaning the Sabbath) and a signe betweene me, and the Children of Israel for ever, for in sixe dayes the Lord made Heaven, and Earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. Of the third kind are the Politique, judiciall and Ceremoniall lawes, which onely belong'd to the Jewes. The lawes of the first and second sort written in Tables of stone, to wit the Decalogue, was kept in the Ark it selfe. The rest written in the volume of the whole Law, were laid up in the side of the Arke. Deut. 31. ver. 26. For these retaining the faith of Abraham might be chang'd, those could not.
XI. All Gods Lawes are Gods Word; but all Gods Word is not his Law. I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the Land of AEgypt, is the word of God, it is no Law: Neither is all that which for the better declaring of Gods Word is pronounc't, or written together with it, instantly to be taken for Gods Word: For, Thus saith the Lord, is not the voice of God, but of the Preacher or Prophet. All that, and onely that, is the word of God which a true Prophet hath declar'd God to have spoken. Now the writings of the Prophets comprehending as well those things which God, as which the Prophet himselfe speaks, are therefore called the word of God, because they containe the word of God. Now because all that, and that alone, is the Word of God which is recommended to us for such, by a true Prophet, it cannot be knowne what Gods Word is, before we know who is the true Prophet; nor can we beleeve Gods Word, before we beleeve the Prophet. Moyses was beleev'd by the People of Israel for two things, His Miracles, and his Faith; for how great, and most evident Miracles soever he had wrought, yet would they not have trusted him, at least he was not to have beene trusted, if he had call'd them out of AEgypt to any other worship then the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob their Fathers. For it had beene contrary to the Covenant made by themselves with God. In like manner two things there are, to wit, supernaturall Prediction of things to come, which is a mighty miracle; and Faith in the God of Abraham their deliverer out of AEgypt, which God propos'd to all the Jews to be kept for marks of a true Prophet. He that wants either of these is no Prophet, nor is it to be receiv'd for Gods word which he obtrudes for such. If Faith be wanting, he is rejected in these words, Deut. 13. ver. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If there arise among you a Prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a signe, or a wonder, and the signe or the wonder come to Passe, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us goe after other Gods, & c. That Prophet, or that dreamer of dreames shall be put to death. If Praediction of events be wanting, he is condemn'd by these, Deut. 18. ver. 21, 22. And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a Prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to Passe, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the Prophet hath spoken it presumptuously. Now, that that is the word of God which is publisht for such by a true Prophet, and that he was held to be a true Prophet among the Jewes, whose faith was true, and to whose praedictions the events answer'd, is without controversie. But what it is to follow other Gods, and whether the events which are affirm'd to answer their praedictions, doe truly answer them, or not, may admit many controversies, specially in praedictions which obscurely, & aenigmatically foretell the Event, such as the praedictions of almost all the Prophets are, as who saw not God apparently like unto Moyses, but in darke speeches, and in figures. Numb. 12. ver. 8. But of these we cannot judge otherwise then by the way of naturall reason; because that Judgment depends on the Prophets interpretation, and on its proportion with the Event.
XII. The Jewes did hold the booke of the whole Law which was called Deuteronomie, for the written word of God, and that onely, (forasmuch as can be collected out of sacred history) untill the Captivity; for this booke was deliver'd by Moyses himselfe to the Priests to be kept, and layd up in the side of the Ark of the Covenant, and to be copyed out by the Kings; and the same a long time after by the authority of King Josiah acknowledg'd againe for the Word of God. Kings 23. ver. 2. But it is not manifest when the rest of the books of the Old Testament were first receiv'd into Canon. But what concernes the Prophets, Isaiah and the rest, since they foretold no other things then what were to come to passe, either in or after the Captivity, their writings could not at that time be held for Prophetique, by reason of the Law cited above. Deut. 18. ver. 21, 22. Whereby the Israelites were commanded not to account any man for a true Prophet but him whose Prophecies were answer'd by the events; And hence peradventure it is that the Jews esteem'd the writings of those whom they slew when they Prophesied, for Prophetique afterward, that is to say, for the word of God.
XIII. It being known what Lawes there were under the old Covenant, and that Word of God receiv'd from the beginning; we must farthermore consider with whom the authority of judging, whether the writings of the Prophets arising afterward, were to be receiv'd for the Word of God, that is to say, whether the Events did answer their praedictions or not, and with whom also the authority of interpreting the Lawes already receiv'd, and the written Word of God, did reside; which thing is to be trac't through all the times, and severall changes of the Commonwealth of Israel. But it is manifest that this power during the life of Moyses, was intirely in himselfe; for if he had not been the Interpreter of the Lawes and Word, that office must have belong'd either to every private Person, or to a congregation, or Synagogue of many, or to the High-Priest, or to other Prophets. First, that that office belong'd not to private men, or any Congregation made of them, appeares hence, that they were not admitted, nay they were prohibited, with most heavy threats, to heare God speake, otherwise then by the means of Moyses; for it is written, Let not the Priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them. So Moyses went downe unto the people, and spake unto them. Exod. 19. 24, 25. It is farther manifestly, and expresly declar'd, upon occasion given by the Rebellion of Core, Dathan and Abiram, and the two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly, that neither private men, nor the Congregation should pretend that God had spoken by them, and by Consequence that they had the right of interpreting Gods Word; for they contending, that God spake no lesse by them then by Moyses, argue thus, Yee take too much upon you, seeing all the Congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; wherefore then lift yee up your selves above the Congregation of the Lord? Numb. 16. ver. 3. But how God determin'd this controversie is easily understood by the 33. and 35. verses of the same Chapter, where Corah, Dathan, and Abiram went downe alive into the Pit, and there came out fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offer'd Incense: Secondly, that Aaron the high Priest had not this authority, is manifest by the like controversie betweene him (together with his Sister Miriam) and Moyses; For the question was, whether God spake by Moyses only, or by them also, that is to say, whether Moyses alone, or whether they also were interpreters of the Word of God. For thus they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken onely by Moyses? Hath he not also spoken by us? Numb. 12. ver. 2. But God reprov'd them, and made a distinction betweene Moyses and other Prophets, saying, If there be a Prophet among you, I the Lord will make my selfe knowne unto him in a vision, and will speake unto him in a dreame: My Servant Moyses is not so, &c. For with him will I speake mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in darke speeches, and the Similitude of the Lord shall he behold; wherefore then were yee not afraid to speake against my Servant Moyses? Ibid. ver. 6, 7, 8. Lastly, that the interpretation of the Word of God as long as Moses liv'd, belong'd not to any other Prophets whatsoever, is collected out of that place which we now cited concerning his eminency above all others, and out of naturall reason, for as much as it belongs to the same Prophet who brings the Commands of God to unfold them too; but there was then no other Word of God, beside that which was declar'd by Moyses. And out of this also, that there was no other Prophet extant at that time, who Prophesied to the people, excepting the 70. Elders who Prophesied by the Spirit of Moyses; and even that Joshuah, who was then Moyses his Servant, his successour afterward, beleev'd to be injuriously done, till he knew it was by Moyses his Consent; which thing is manifest by Text of Scripture, And the Lord came downe in a clowd, & c. and tooke of the spirit that was upon Moyses, and gave it unto the 70. Elders. Numb. 11. ver. 25. Now after it was told that they Prophesied, Joshuah said unto Moyses, Forbid them my Lord. But Moyses answered, Why enviest thou for my sake? Seeing therefore Moyses alone was the Messenger of Gods Word, and that the authority of interpreting it pertain'd neither to private men, nor to the Synagogue, nor to the High Priest, nor to other Prophets; it remaines, that Moyses alone was the Interpreter of Gods Word, who also had the supreme power in civill matters; And that the conventions of Corah with the rest of his complices against Moses and Aaron; and of Aaron with his Sister against Moyses, were rais'd, not for the salvation of their soules, but by reason of their ambition, and desire of Dominion over the People.
XIV. In Joshuahs time the interpretation of the Lawes, and of the Word of God, belong'd to Eleazar the High Priest, who was also under God, their absolute King. Which is collected first of all out of the Covenant it selfe, in which the Common-wealth of Israel is called a Priestly Kingdome, or as it is recited in the 1 Pet. 2. 9. A Royall Priesthood; which could in no wise be sayd, unlesse by the institution and Covenant of the People, the regall power were understood to belong to the High Priest. Neither doth this repugne what hath beene said before, where Moyses, and not Aaron, had the Kingdome under God; since it is necessary that when one man institutes the forme of a future Common-wealth, that one should governe the Kingdome which he institutes, during his life, (whether it be Monarchie, Aristocraty, or Democraty) and have all that power for the present, which he is bestowing on others for the future. Now, that Eleazar the Priest, had not onely the Priesthood, but also the Soveraignty, is expressely set downe in Joshuahs call to the administration; for thus it is written. Take thee Joshuah the Son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him, and set him before Eleazer the Priest, and before all the Congregation, and give him a charge in their sight, and thou shalt put some of thine honour uPon him, that all the Congregation of the Children of Israel may be obedient, and he shall stand before Eleazar the Priest, who shall aske Counsell for him after the judgment of Urim, before the Lord: at his word shall they goe out, and at his word shall they come in, and all the Children of Israel with him, even all the Congregation. Num. 27. ver. 18, 19, 20, 21. where to aske Counsell of God for whatsoever is to be done, (that is) to interpret Gods word, and in the name of God to Command in all matters, belongs to Eleazar; and to goe out, and, to come in at his word, that is to say, to obey, belongs both to Joshuah, and to all the People. Its to be observ'd also, that that speech, Part of thy glory; clearely denotes that Joshuah had not a power equall with that which Moyses had. In the meane time it is manifest, that even in Ioshuahs time, the Supreme power and authority of interpreting the word of God, were both in one Person.
XV. After Ioshuahs death follow the times of the Iudges untill King Saul, in which it is manifest that the right of the Kingdome instituted by God, remained with the High Priest. For the Kingdome was by Covenant Priestly, that is to say, Gods government by Priests; and such ought it to have been untill that form with Gods consent were changed by the people themselves: which was not done, before that requiring a King God consented unto them, and said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voyce of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them. 1. Sam. 8. 7. The supreme civill power was therefore Rightly due by Gods own institution to the High-Priest; but actually that power was in the Prophets, to whom (being raysed by God in an extraordinary manner) the Israelites (a people greedy of the Prophets) submitted themselves to be protected, and judged, by reason of the great esteem they had of Prophecies. The Reason of this thing, was, because that though penalties were set, and Judges appointed in the institution of Gods priestly Kingdome, yet, the Right of inflicting punishment, depended wholly on private judgement; and it belonged to a dissolute multitude, and each single Person, to punish or not to punish according as their private zeale should stirre them up. And therefore Moyses by his own command punisht no man with death; but when any man was to be put to death, one or many stirred up the multitude against him or them, by divine authority, and saying, Thus saith the Lord. Now this was conformable to the nature of Gods peculiar Kingdome. For there God reignes indeed where his Lawes are obeyed, not for fear of men, but for fear of himselfe. And truly, if men were such as they should be, this were an excellent state of civill government; but as men are, there is a coercive power (in which I comprehend both right and might) necessary to rule them. And therefore also God from the beginning prescribed Lawes by Moyses for the future Kings. Deut. 17. vers. 14. and Moyses foretold this in bis last words to the people, saying, I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt your selves, and turn aside from the way that I have commanded you, &c. Deut. 31. 29. When therefore according to this prediction there arose another generation who knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel, the children of Israel did evill in the sight of the Lord, and served Balaam, Iud. 2. 10, 11. to wit, they cast off Gods government, that is to say, that of the Priest, by whom God ruled, and afterward, when they were overcome by their enemies, and opprest with bondage, they looked for Gods will, not at the hands of the Priest any more, but of the Prophets. These therefore actually judged Israel, but their obedience was rightly due to the High Priest; Although therefore the Priestly Kingdome after the death of Moyses, & Ioshuah, was without power, yet was it not without Right. Now that the interpretation of Gods word did belong to the same High Priest, is manifest by this, That God, after the Tabernacle, & the Ark of the Covenant was consecrated, spake no more in mount Sinai, but in the Tabernacle of the Covenant, from the propitiatory which was between the Cherubims, whether it was not lawfull for any to aproach except the High Priest. If therefore regard be had to the Right of the Kingdome, the supreme civill Power, and the authority of interpreting Gods word, were joyned in the High Priest; If we consider the fact, they were united in the Prophets who judged Israel. For as Iudges, they bad the civill authority, as Prophets, they interpreted Gods word, and thus every way hitherto these two powers continued inseparable.
XVI. Kings being once constituted, its no doubt but the civill authority belonged to them, for the Kingdome of God by the way of Priesthood, (God consenting to the request of the Israelites) was ended; which Hierom also marks speaking of the books of Samuel: Samuel (sayes he) Eli being dead, and Saul slain, declares the old Law abolisht; Furthermore the Oaths of the new Priesthood, and new Soveraignty in Zadok, and David, do testifie, that the Right whereby the Kings did rule, was founded in the very concession of the People. The Priest could rightfully do only what God had commanded, but the King had by right whatsoever power over every man that each man by right had over himself; for the Israelites granted him a Right to judge of all things, and to wage warre for all men; in which two are contained all Right whatsoever can be conceived from man to man. Our King (say they) shall judge us, and goe out before us, and fight our battails, 1. Sam. 8. 20. Iudicature therefore belonged to the Kings; but to judge is nothing else then by interpreting to apply the facts to the Lawes; to them therefore belonged the interpretation of Lawes too. And because there was no other written word of God acknowledged beside the Law of Moyses, untill the Captivity, the authority of interpreting Gods word, did also belong to the Kings; Nay, forasmuch as the word of God must be taken for a Law, if there had been another written word beside the Mosaicall Law, seeing the interpretation of Lawes belonged to the Kings, the interpretation of it must also have belonged to them. When the book of Deuteronomie (in which the whole Mosaicall Law was contained) being a long time lost, was found again, the Priests indeed asked Counsell of God concerning that book; but not by their own authority, but by the Commandement of Iosiah, and not immediately neither, but by the meanes of Holda the Prophetesse. Whence it appears that the authority of admitting books for the word of God, belonged not to the Priest; neither yet followes it that that authority belonged to the Prophetesse, because others did judge of the Prophets whether they were to be held for true, or not. For to what end did God give signes, and tokens to all the People, whereby the true Prophets might be discerned from the false, namely, the event of predictions, and conformity with the Religion establisht by Moyses, if they might not use those marks? The authority therefore of admitting books for the word of God belonged to the King, & thus that book of the Law was approved, and received again by the authority of King Iosiah, as appears by the fourth book of the Kings, 22. 23. Chap. where it is reported that he gathered together all the severall degrees of his Kingdome, the Elders, Priests, Prophets, and all the people, and he read in their eares all the words of the Covenant, that is to say, he caused that Covenant to be acknowledged for the Mosaicall Covenant, that is to say, for the word of God, and to be again received, and confirmed by the Israelites. The civill power therefore, and the power of discerning Gods word from the word of men, and of interpreting Gods word even in the dayes of the Kings was wholly belonging to themselves. Prophets were sent not with authority, but in the form, and by the Right of Proclaimers, and Preachers, of whom the hearers did judge; and if perhaps these were punisht who did not listen to them plainly, teaching easie things, it doth not thence follow, that the Kings were obliged to follow all things which they in Gods name did declare, were to be followed. For though Iosiah the good King of Iudah were slain because he obeyed not the word of the Lord from the mouth of Necho King of AEgypt, that is to say, because he rejected good Counsell though it seemed to come from an enemy, yet no man I hope will say that Iosiah was by any bond either of divine, or humane Lawes obliged to beleeve Pharoah Necho King of AEgypt, because he said that God had spoken to him. But what some man may object against Kings, that for want of learning, they are seldome able enough to interpret those books of antiquity in the which Gods word is contained, and that for this cause it is not reasonable that this office should depend on their authority, he may object as much against the Priests, and all mortall men, for they may erre; and although Priests were better instructed in nature, and arts then other men, yet Kings are able enough to appoint such interpreters under them; and so, though Kings did not themselves interpret the word of God, yet the office of interpreting them might depend on their authority; and they who therefore refuse to yeeld up this authority to Kings, because they cannot practise the office it selfe, doe as much as if they should say that the authority of teaching Geometry must not depend upon Kings, except they themselves were Geometricians. We read that Kings have prayed for the People, that they have blest the people, that they have consecrated the Temple, that they have commanded the Priests, that they have removed Priests from their office, that they have constituted others. Sacrifices indeed they have not offered, for that was hereditary to Aaron, and his sonnes; but it is manifest, as in Moyses his life time, so throughout all ages from King Saul to the captivity of Babylon, that the Priesthood was not a Maistry, but a Ministry.
XVII. After their returne from Babylonian bondage, the Covenant being renewed, and sign'd, the Priestly Kingdome was restor'd to the same manner it was in from the death of Ioshuah to the beginning of the Kings; excepting that it is not expresly set downe that the return'd Jewes did give up the Right of Soveraignty either to Esdras (by whose directions they ordred their State) or to any other, beside God himselfe. That reformation seemes rather to be nothing else then the bare promises, and vowes of every man to observe those things which were written in the booke of the Law. Notwithstanding, (perhaps not by the Peoples intention) by virtue of the Covenant which they then renewed, (for the Covenant was the same with that which was made at Mount Sinai) that same state was a Priestly Kingdome, that is to say, the supreme civill authority, and the sacred were united in the Priests. Now, howsoever through the ambition of those who strove for the Priesthood, and by the interposition of forraigne Princes, it was so troubled till our Saviour Iesus Christs time, that it cannot be understood out of the histories of those times, where that authority resided; yet it's plaine, that in those times, the power of interpreting Gods Word was not severed from the supreme civill power. XVIII. Out of all this, we may easily know how the Iewes in all times from Abraham unto Christ were to behave themselves in the Commands of their Princes. For as in Kingdomes meerly humane men must obey a subordinate Magistrate in all things, excepting when his Commands containe in them some Treason; so in the Kingdome of God, the Iewes were bound to obey their Princes, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moyses, the Priest, the King, every one during their time in all things, except when their commands did containe some treason against the Divine Majesty. Now treason against the Divine Majesty was, first, the deniall of his divine providence, for this was to deny God to be a King by nature; next, Idolatry, or the worship not of other (for there is but one God) but of strange Gods, that is to say, a worship though of one God, yet under other Titles, Attributes, and Rites, then what were establisht by Abraham, and Moyses. For this was to deny the God of Abraham to be their King by Covenant made with Abraham, and themselves. In all other things they were to obey; and if a King or Priest having the Soveraign authority, had commanded somewhat else to be done which was against the Lawes, that had been his sinne, and not his subjects, whose duty it is, not to dispute, but to obey the Commands of his superiours.
Of the Kingdome of God by the new Covenant
I. There are many cleare prophesies extant in the old Testament concerning our Saviour Jesus Christ, who was to restore the Kingdome of God by a new Covenant, partly foretelling his regall Dignity, partly his Humility and Passion. Among others concerning his Dignity, these; God blessing Abraham, makes him a promise of his sonne Isaac, and addes, And Kings of People shall be of him, Gen. 17. vers. 16. Jacob blessing his sonne Judah, The Scepter (quoth he) shall not depart from Judah, Gen. 49. vers. 10. God to Moyses, A Prophet (saith he) will I raise them up from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him, and it shall come to Passe, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him, Deut. 18. vers. 18. Isaias, The Lord himselfe shall give thee a signe, Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Sonne, and shall call his name Emanuel, Isai 7. v. 14. The same Prophet, Unto us a child is born, unto us a Sonne is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name shall be called Wonderfull, Counsellour, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, Isai 9. vers. 6. And again, There shall come forth a Rod out of the stemme of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, &c. he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reProve after the hearing of his eares, but with righteousnesse shall he judge the Poor, &c. and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked, Isay 11. vers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Furthermore in the 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 60, 61, 62. Ch. of the same Isay, there is almost nothing else contained but a description of the coming, and the works of Christ. Jeremias, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, Jerem. 31. 31. And Baruch, This is our God. &c. Afterward did he shew himselfe upon earth, and conversed with men; Baruch 3. vers. 35, 37. Ezekiel, I will set up one Shepheard over them, and he shall feed them, even my Servant David, And I will make with them a Covenant of Peace, &c. Ezek. 34. vers. 23, 25. Daniel, I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Sonne of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the antient of dayes, and they brought him near before him, and there was given him Dominion, and Glory, and a Kingdome, that all People, Nations, and Languages should serve him, his Dominion is an everlasting Dominion, &c. Dan. 7. vers. 13, 14. Hagga, Yet once it is a little while, and I will shake the Heaven, and the Earth, and the Sea, and the drye Land, and I will shake all Nations, and the desire of all Nations shall come, Hagga 2. v. 8. Zachariah, Under the type of Joshuah the High Priest: I will bring forth my servant the Branch, &c. Zach. 3. v. 8. And again, Behold the man whose name is the Branch, Zach. 6. v. 12. And again, Rejoyce greatly O Daughter of Sion, Shout O Daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh to thee, he is just, having salvation, Zach. 9. v. 9. The Jewes moved by these, and other Prophesies, expected Christ their King to be sent from God, who should redeem them, and furthermore bear rule over all Nations. Yea this Prophesie had spread over the whole Roman Empire (which Vespasian too, though falsly, interpreted in favour of his own enterprises) That out of Judea should come he that should have dominion.
II. Now the Prophesies of Christs Humility and Passion, amongst others are these. Isa 53. v. 4 He hath born our griefes, and carried our sorrowes; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, & afflicted, and by and by, He was oPpressed, he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her Shearer is dumb, so opened he not his mouth, &c. vers. 7. And again, He was cut out of the Land of the living,for the transgression of my People was he stricken, &c. vers. 8. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoyle with the strong, because he hath poured out his soule unto death, and he was numbred with the transgressours, and he bare the sinne of many, and made intercession for the transgressours, vers. 12. And that of Zachary, He is lowly, riding upon an Asse, and upon a Colt the foale of an Asse. Zach. 9. vers. 9.
III. In the reign of Tiberius Cesar, JESUS our Saviour a Galilaean began to preach, the sonne (as was supposed) of Joseph, declaring to the people of the Jewes, that the Kingdome of God expected by them, was now come; and that himselfe was a King, that is to say, THE CHRIST: Explaining the Law; choosing twelve Apostles, and seventy Disciples, after the number of the Princes of the Tribes, and seventy Elders (according to the pattern of Moyses) to the Ministry; teaching the way of salvation by himselfe and them; purging the Temple; doing great signes, and fulfilling all those things which the Prophets had foretold of Christ to come. That this man, hated of the Pharisees, (whose false doctrine and hypocriticall sanctity he had reproved) and by their means, of the People accused of unlawfull seeking for the Kingdome, and crucified, was the true CHRIST, and King promised by God, and sent from his father to renew the new Covenant between them and God, both the Evangelists doe shew (describing his Genealogie, nativity, life, doctrine, death, and resurrection) and by comparing the things which he did, with those which were foretold of him, all Christians doe consent to.
IV. Now from this, That CHRIST was sent from God his Father to make a Covenant between him and the people, it is manifest, that though Christ were equall to his Father according to his nature, yet was he inferior according to the Right of the Kingdom; for this office to speak properly, was not that of a King, but of a Vice-roy, such as Moyses his Government was. For the Kingdom was not his, but his Fathers; which CHRIST himselfe signified when he was baptized as a subject, and openly profest, when he taught his Disciples to pray, Our Father, Thy Kingdome come, &c. And when he said, I will not drink of the blood of the grape, untill that day when I shall drink it new with you in the Kingdome of my Father, Mat. 26. vers. 29. And Saint Paul. As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christs, who beleeved in his coming; Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God even his Father, &c. 1. Cor. 15. vers. 22, 23, 24. The same notwithstanding is also called the Kingdome of Christ: for both the Mother of the sonnes of Zebedie petitioned Christ, saying, Grant that these my two sonnes may sit, the one on thy right hand, the other on thy left, in thy Kingdome, Mat. 20. vers. 21. And the Theef on the Cross, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom, Luke 23. vers. 42. And Saint Paul, For this know yee, that no whormonger, &c. shall enter into the Kingdome of God, and of Christ, Ephes. 5. ver. 5. And elsewhere, I charge thee before God, and the Lord Iesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing, and his Kingdome, & c. 2 Tim. 4. ver. 1. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evill worke, and will Preserve me unto his heavenly Kingdome, ver. 18. Nor is it to be marvelled at, that the same Kingdome is attributed to them both, since both the Father, and the Son, are the same God; and the new Covenant concerning Gods Kingdome, is not propounded in the Name of the FATHER, but in the name of the FATHER, of the SON, and of the HOLY-GHOST, as of one God.
V. But the Kingdome of God, for restitution whereof CHRIST was sent from God his Father, takes not its beginning before his second comming, to wit, from the day of Judgement, when he shall come in Majesty accompanied with his Angels: For it is promis'd the Apostles, that in the Kingdome of God, they shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Sonne of man shall sit in the Throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve Thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Mat. 19. ver. 28. which is not to be done till the day of judgement; CHRIST therefore is not yet in the throne of his Majesty, nor is that time when CHRIST was conversant here in the world call'd a Kingdome, but a regeneration, that is to say a renovation, or restitution of the Kingdome of God, and a calling of them who were hereafter to be receiv'd into his Kingdome; And where it is said, When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him, then shall he sit uPon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all Nations, and he shall seParate them one from another, as a Shepheard divideth his Sheep from the Goates, Mat. 25. ver. 31. we may manifestly gather, that there will be no Locall separation of Gods Subjects from his Enemies, but that they shall live mixt together untill CHRISTS second comming. Which is also confirm'd by the comparison of the Kingdome of heaven, with wheat mingled with Darnell; and with a net containing all sorts of fish. But a multitude of men, Enemies and Subjects, living promiscuously together, cannot properly be term'd a Kingdome. Besides, the Apostles, when they askt our Saviour, Whether he would at that time when he ascended into heaven, restore the Kingdome unto Israel? did openly testifie, that they then, when CHRIST ascended, thought the Kingdome of God not to be yet come. Farthermore, the words of CHRIST, My Kingdome is not of this world; And, I will not drinke, &c. till the Kingdome of God come: And, God hath not sent his Son into the World, to judge the World, but that the World through him might be sav'd. And, If any man heare not my words, and keepe them, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the World, but to save the World. And, Man, who made me a judge or divider betweene you? And the very Appellation of the Kingdome of Heaven testifies as much. The same thing is gathered out of the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, speaking of the Kingdome of God by the new Covenant, They shall teach no more every man his Neighbour, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them, to the greatest of them, saith the Lord, Jer. 31. v. 34. which cannot be understood of a Kingdome in this World. The Kingdome of God therefore, for the restoring whereof CHRIST came into the world, of which the Prophets did Prophesie, and of which praying wee say, Thy Kingdome come, (if it must have Subjects locally separated from Enemies, if judicature, if Majesty, according as hath beene foretold,) shall begin from that time, wherein God shall separate the Sheep from the Goats; wherein the Apostles shall judge the twelve Tribes of Israel; wherein CHRIST shall come in Majesty, and glory; wherein Lastly, all men shall so know God, that they shall not need to be taught, that is to say, at CHRIST his second comming, or the day of Judgement. But if the Kingdome of God were now already restor'd, no reason could be rendered why CHRIST having compleated the work for which he was sent, should come againe, or why we should pray, Thy Kingdome come.
VI. Now, although the Kingdome of God by CHRIST to be establisht with a new Covenant, were Heavenly, we must not therefore thinke, that they, who beleeving in CHRIST would make that Covenant, were not so to be govern'd here on the Earth too, as that they should persevere in their faith, and obedience promis'd by that Covenant. For in vaine had the Kingdome of heaven beene promis'd, if we were not to have been led into it. But none can be led, but those who are directed in the way. Moyses, when he had instituted the Priestly Kingdome, himselfe though he were no Priest, yet rul'd, and conducted the People all the time of their Peregrination untill their entrance into the promis'd Land. In the same manner is it our Saviours office (whom God in this thing would have like unto Moyses) as he was sent from his Father, so to governe the future Subjects of his heavenly Kingdome in this life, that they might attaine to, and enter into that, although the Kingdome were not properly his, but his Fathers. But the government whereby CHRIST rules the faithfull ones in this life, is not properly a Kingdome, or Dominion, but a Pastorall charge, or the Right of teaching, that is to say, God the father gave him not a power to judge of Meum and Tuum as he doth to the Kings of the Earth; nor a Coercive power; nor legislative; but of shewing to the world, and teaching them the way, and knowledge of Salvation, that is to say, of Preaching, and declaring what they were to doe, who would enter into the Kingdome of Heaven. That CHRIST had receiv'd no power from his father to judge in questions of Meum and Tuum, that is to say, in all questions of Right among those who beleev'd not; those words above cited doe sufficiently declare: Man, who made me a judge, or divider betweene you? And it is confirm'd by reason; for seeing CHRIST was sent to make a Covenant between God and men, and no man is oblig'd to performe obedience before the Contract be made, if he should have judg'd of questions of Right, no man had been tyed to obey his sentence. But that the discerning of Right was not committed to CHRIST in this world, neither among the faithfull, nor among infidels, is apparent in this, that that Right without all controversie belongs to Princes as long as it is not by, But it is not derogated God himselfe derogated from their authority; before the day of Judgement, as appeares by the words of Saint Paul, speaking of the day of Judgement, Then commeth the end when He shall have delivered up the Kingdome to God even the Father, when He shall have put downe all rule, and all authority, and Power, 1 Cor. 15. ver. 24. Secondly, the words of our Saviour reproving James, and Iohn, when they had said, Wilt thou that we call for Fyer from Heaven, that it may consume them (namely the Samaritans, who had denyed to receive him going up to Jerusalem) and replying, The Son of Man is not come to destroy soules, but to save them; And those words, Behold I send you as Sheep among Wolves; Shake off the dust of your Feet, and the like; And those words, God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world through him might be sav'd; and those, If any man heare my words, and keep them not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, & c. doe all shew, that he had no power given him, to condemne or punish any man. We reade indeed that the Father judgeth no Man, but hath committed all judgement to the Son, but since that both may, and must be understood of the day of future judgement, it doth not at all repugne what hath beene sayed before. Lastly, that he was not sent to make new Lawes, and that therefore by his Office, and mission, he was no Legislatour properly so called, nor Moyses neither, but a bringer and Publisher of his Fathers Lawes, (for God only, and neither Moyses, nor CHRIST, was a King by Covenant) is collected hence, that he sayed, I came not to destroy (to wit the Lawes before given from God by Moyses, which he presently interprets) but to fulfill; And, He that shall break one of the least of these Commandements, and shall teach men so, He shall be called least in the Kingdome of Heaven. CHRIST therefore had not a Royall, or Soveraigne power committed to him from his Father in this world, but consiliary, and doctrinall onely; which himselfe signifies, as well then when he call his Apostles, not Hunters, but Fishers of men; as when he compares the Kingdome of God to a graine of mustard seed, and to a little Leaven hid in meale.
VII. God promis'd unto Abraham first, a numerous seed, the possession of the Land of Canaan, and a blessing upon all Nations in his seed, on this Condition, that he, and his seed should serve him; next unto the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, a Priestly Kingdome, a Government most free, in which they were to be Subject to no humane power, on this Condition, that they should serve the God of Abraham on that fashion which Moyses should teach. Lastly, both to them, and to all Nations, a heavenly, and eternall Kingdome, on Condition that they should serve the God of Abraham, on that manner which Christ should teach. For by the new, that is to say, the Christian Covenant, it's covenanted on mens part, to serve the God of Abraham, on that manner which JESUS should teach: On Gods part, to pardon their sinnes, and bring them into his caelestiall Kingdome. We have already spoken of the quality of the heavenly Kingdome above in the 5. Article; but it is usually call'd, sometimes the Kingdome of Heaven, sometimes the Kingdome of Glory, sometimes the life Eternall. What's required on mens part, namely to serve God as CHRIST should teach, containes two things, Obedience to be performed to God, (for this is to serve God) and Faith in JESUS, to wit, That we beleeve JESUS TO BE THAT CHRIST who was promis'd by God: for that only is the cause why his Doctrine is to be followed, rather then any others. Now in holy Scriptures, Repentance is often put in stead of Obedience, because Christ teacheth every where, that with God the Will is taken for the deed; but Repentance is an infallible sign of an obedient mind. These things being understood, it will most evidently appear out of many places of sacred Scripture, that those are the Conditions of the Christian Covenant which we have nam'd, to wit, giving remission of sins, and eternall life on Gods part; and Repenting, and Beleeving in JESUS CHRIST, on Mens part. First, the words, The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent yee and beleeve the Gospell, Mark 1. 15. contain the whole Covenant: In like manner those, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance, and remission of sinnes should be preached in his Name among all Nations, begining at Jerusalem, Luke 24. vers. 46, 47. And those, Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come, &c. Acts 3. vers. 19. And sometimes one part is expresly propounded, and the other understood, as here, He that beleeveth in the Sonne, hath everlasting life; He that beleeveth not the Sonne, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him, Iohn 3. vers. 36, Where Faith is exprest, Repentance not mentioned. And in CHRISTS preaching, Repent, for the Kingdome of heaven is at hand, Mat. 4. 17. Where Repentance is exprest, Faith is understood. But the parts of this new Contract are most manifestly, and formally set down there, where a certain Ruler bargaining as it were for the Kingdom of God, asketh our Saviour, Good Waster, what shall I doe to inherit eternall life, Luke 18. v. 18. But CHRIST first propounds one part of the price, namely observation of the Commandements, or obedience, which when he answered that he had kept, he adjoynes the other, saying, Yet lackest thou one thing; Sell all that thou hast, and distribute to the Poor, and thou shalt have Treasure in Heaven, and come, follow me, v. 22. This was matter of Faith. He therefore not giving sufficient credit to CHRIST, and his heavenly Treasures, went away sorrowfull. The same Covenant is contained in these words: Hee that beleeveth, and is baptized, shall be saved, he that beleeveth not, shall be damned, Mark 16. vers. 15, 16. Where Faith is exprest, Repentance is supposed in those that are baptized; and in these words, Except a man be born again of water, and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdome of Heaven, Iohn 3. vers. 5. Where to be born of water, is the same with regeneration, that is to say, Conversion to CHRIST. Now that Baptisme is required in the two places cited just before, and in divers others, we must understand, that what Circumcision was to the old Covenant, that Baptisme is to the new: Seeing therefore, that was not of the Essence, but served for a memoriall of the old Covenant, as a Ceremony or signe (and was omitted in the wildernesse) in like manner this also is used, not as pertaining to the Essence, but in memory, and for a signe of the New Covenant which wee make with God; and provided the will be not wanting, the Act through necessity may be omitted; but Repentance and Faith, which are of the Essence of the Covenant, are alwayes required.
VIII. In the Kingdome of God after this life there will be no, Lawes. partly because there is no roome for Lawes, where there is none for sinne; partly because Laws were given us from God, not to direct us in Heaven, but unto Heaven. Let us now therefore enquire what Laws CHRIST (establisht not himselfe, for he would not take upon him any Legislative authority, as hath been declared above in the sixth Article, but) propounded to us for his Fathers. Wee have a place in Scripture, where he contracts all the Lawes of God publisht till that time, into two Preceps, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy minde: this is the greatest, and first Commandement. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy selfe. On these two Commandements hangs all the Law, and the Prophets, Mat. 22. vers. 37, 38, 39, 40. The first of these was given before by Moyses in the same words, Deut. 6. vers. 5. And the second even before Moyses; for it is the naturall Law, having its begining with rationall nature it selfe. And both together is the summe of all Lawes: for all the Lawes of divine naturall worship, are contained in these words, Thou shalt love God; and all the Lawes of divine worship due by the old Covenant, in these words, Thou shalt love thy God, that is to say, God as being the peculiar King of Abraham, and his seed; and all the Lawes naturall, and civill, in these words, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy selfe. For he that loves God and his neighbour, hath a minde to obey all Lawes, both divine, and humane. But God requires no more then a minde to obey. Wee have another place, where CHRIST interprets the Lawes, namely, the fifth, sixth, and seventh entire Chapters of Saint Matthewes Gospell. But all those Lawes are set down, either in the Decalogue, or in the morall Law, or are contained in the faith of Abraham; as that Law of not putting away a wife is contained in the faith of Abraham: for that same, Two shall be one flesh, was not delivered either by CHRIST first, or by Moyses, but by Abraham, who first publisht the Creation of the world. The Lawes therefore which CHRIST contracts in one place, and explaines in another, are no other then those to which all mortall men are obliged, who acknowledge the God of Abraham. Beside these, we read not of any Law given by CHRIST, beside the institution of the Sacraments of Baptisme, and the Eucharist.
IX. What may be said then of these kinde of Precepts: Repent, Be Baptized, Keep the Commandements, Beleeve the Gospell, Come unto me, Sell all that thou hast, give to the Poor, follow me, and the like? We must say that they are not Lawes, but a calling of us to the faith, such as is that of Isa. Come, buy wine, and milk without monie, and without Price, Isai 55. vers. 1. Neither if they come not, doe they therefore sinne against any Law, but against prudence onely; neither shall their infidelity be punisht, but their former sinnes. Wherefore Saint John saith of the unbeleever, The wrath of God abideth on him; he saith not, The wrath of God shall come upon him; And, He that beleeveth not, is already judged; he saith not, shall be judged, but is already judged. Nay it cannot be well conceived, that remission of sinnes should be a benefit arising from faith, unlesse we understand also on the other side, that the punishment of sinnes is an hurt proceeding from infidelity.
X. From hence, that our Saviour hath prescribed no distributive Lawes, to the Subjects of Princes, and Citizens of Cities, that is to say, hath given no rules whereby a Subject may know, and discerne what is his owne, what another mans, not by what forms, words, or circumstances, a thing must be given, delivered, invaded, possest, that it may be known by Right to belong to the Receiver, Invader, or Possessour, we must necessarily understand that each single subject (not only with unbeleevers, among whom CHRIST himselfe denyed himselfe to be a judge and distributer, but even with Christians) must take those rules from his City, that is to say, from that Man, or Councell, which hath the supreme power It. followes therefore, that by those Lawes, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steale, Honour thy Father and Mother, nothing else was commanded, but that Subjects, and Citizens, should absolutely obey their Princes in all questions concerning Meum & Tuum, their own and others Right. For by that Precept, Thou shalt not kill, all slaughter is not prohibited; for he that said, Thou shalt not kill, said also, Whosoever doth work uPon the Sabbath, shall be put to death, Exod 35. vers. 2. No, nor yet all slaughter the cause not being heard; for he said, Slay every man his Brother, and every man his Companion, and every man his Neighbour, Exo. 32. v. 27. And there fell of the People about three thousand men, v. 28. Nor yet all slaughter of an innocent Person; for Iephte vowed, Whosoever cometh forth, &c. I will offer him up for a burnt offering unto the Lord, Jud. 11. vers. 31. and his vow was accepted of God. What then is forbidden? Onely this: that no man kill another, who hath not a Right to kill him, that is to say, that no man kill, unlesse it belong to him to doe so. The Law of CHRIST therefore concerning killing, and consequently all manner of hurt done to any man, and what penalties are to be set, commands us to obey the City only. In like manner, by that Precept, Thou shalt not commit adultery, all manner of Copulation is not forbidden, but only that of lying with another mans wife; but the judgment which is another mans wife, belongs to the City, and is to be determined by the rules which the City prescribes: This precept therefore commands both male and female to keep that faith intire which they have mutually given, according to the statutes of the City. So also by the precept, Thou shalt not steal, all manner of invasion, or secret surreption is not forbidden, but of another mans. only. The subject therefore is commanded this only, that he invade not, nor take away ought which the City prohibits to be invaded or taken away; and universally not to call any thing murder, adultery, or t heft, but what is done contrary to the civill Lawes. Lastly, seeing CHRIST hath commanded us to honour our Parents, and hath not prescribed, with what Rites, what appellations, and what manner of obedience they are to be honoured, it is to be supposed that they are to be honoured with the will indeed, and inwardly, as Kings and Lords over their Children, but outwardly, not beyond the Cities permission, which shall assign to every man (as all things else, so also) his honour. But since the nature of justice consists in this, that every Man have his own given him, its manifest, that it also belongs to a Christian City to determin what is justice, what injustice, or a sinne against justice; Now what belongs to a City, that must be judg'd to belong to him or them who have the Soveraigne power of the City.
XI. Moreover, because our Saviour hath not shewed Subjects any other Lawes for the government of a City beside those of nature, that is to say, beside the Command of obedience, no Subject can privately determine who is a publique friend, who an enemy, when Warre, when Peace, when Truce is to be made; nor yet what Subjects, what authority, and of what men, are commodious, or prejudiciall to the safety of the Common-weale. These, and all like matters therefore are to be learned, if need be, from the City, that is to say, from the Soveraign powers.
XII. Furthermore, all these things, to build Castles, Houses, Temples; to move, carry, take away mighty weights; to send securely over Seas; to contrive engines, serving for all manner of uses; to be well acquainted with the face of the whole world, the Courses of the Starres, the seasons of the yeare, the accounts of the times, and the nature of all things; to understand perfectly all naturall and civill Rights; and all manner of Sciences, which (comprehended under the Title of Philosophy) are necessary partly to live, partly to live well; I say, the understanding of these (because CHRIST hath not delivered it) is to be learnt from reasoning, that is to say by making necessary consequences, having first taken the beginning from experience. But mens reasonings are sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and consequently that which is concluded, and held for a truth, is sometimes truth, sometimes errour. Now, errours even about these Philosophicall points doe sometimes publique hurt, and give occasions of great seditions, and injuries: It is needfull therefore, as oft as any controversie ariseth in these matters contrary to publique good, and common Peace, that there be some body to judge of the reasoning, that is to say, whether that which is inferred, be rightly inferred or not, that so the controversie may be ended. But there are no rules given by CHRIST to this purpose; neither came he into the world to teach Logick. It remaines therefore that the Iudges of such controversies be the same with those whom God by nature had instituted before, namely those who in each City are constituted by the Soveraign. Moreover, if a controversie be raised of the accurate and proper signification (i.e.) the definition of those names or appellations which are commonly us'd, in so much as it is needfull for the peace of the City, or the distribution of right, to be determin'd, the determination will belong to the City; for men by reasoning doe search out such kind of definitions in their observation of diverse conceptions, for the signification whereof, those appellations were us'd at divers times, and for divers causes. But the decision of the question whether a man doe reason rightly, belongs to the City. For Example. If a woman bring forth a Child of an unwonted shape, and the Law forbid to kill a man, the question is, whether the Childe be a man. It is demanded therefore what a man is. No man doubts, but the City shall judge it, and that without taking an account of Aristotles definition, that man is a rationall Creature. And these things (namely Right, Politie, and naturall Sciences) are Subjects concerning which CHRIST denies that it belongs to his Office to give any Praecepts, or teach any thing, beside this onely, that in all Controversies about them, every single Subject should obey the Lawes, and determinations of his City. Yet must we remember this, that the same Christ as God could not onely have taught, but also commanded what he would.
XIII. The summe of our Saviours Office was to teach the way, and all the meanes of Salvation, and aeternall life; but Iustice and civill obedience, and observation of all the naturall Lawes is one of the meanes to Salvation. Now these may be taught two wayes; one, as Theorems by the way of naturall reason, by drawing Right and the natural Lawes from humane Principles, and contracts; and this Doctrine thus deliver'd is subject to the censure of civill powers: The other, as Lawes, by divine authority, in shewing the will of God to be such; and thus to teach, belongs onely to him to whom the Will of God is supernaturally knowne, that is to say, to Christ. Secondly, it belong'd to the Office of Christ to forgive sinnes to the Penitent, for that was necessary for the Salvation of men who had already sinn'd; neither could it be done by any other; for remission of sinnes followes not Repentance naturally, (as a Debt) but it depends (as a free gift) on the will of God supernaturally to be reveal'd. Thirdly, it belongs to the Office of Christ to teach all those Commandements of God, whether concerning his worship, or those points of faith which cannot be understood by naturall reason, but onely by revelation; of which nature are those that he was the Christ; that his Kingdome was not terrestriall, but celestiall; that there are rewards, and punishments after this life; that the soule is immortall; that there should be such, and so many Sacraments, and the like. XIV. From what hath beene sayed in the foregoing Chapter, it is not hard to distinguish betweene things Spirituall, and Temporall. For since by Spirituall, those things are understood which have their foundation on the authority, and Office of CHRIST, and unlesse CHRIST had taught them, could not have beene known; and all other things are temporall; it followes, that the definition, and determination of whats just, and unjust, the cognizance of all controversies about the meanes of Peace, and publique defence, and the Examination of doctrines, and books in all manner of rationall science, depends upon the temporall Right. But those which are mysteries of faith, depending on CHRIST his word, and authority onely, their judgements belong to spirituall Right. But it is reasons inquisition, and pertaines to temporall Right to define what is spirituall, and what temporall, because our Saviour hath not made that distinction; For although Saint Paul in many places distinguish betweene spirituall things, and carnall things, and calls those things spirituall, which are of the spirit, to wit, the word of wisdome, the word of knowledge, faith, the gift of healing, the working of miracles, Prophesie, divers kindes of tongues, interpretation of tongues, Rom. 8. 5. 1 Cor. 12. 8, 9. All supernaturally inspired by the Holy Ghost, and such as the carnall man understands not, but he only who hath known the mind of CHRIST, 2. Cor. 2. 14, 15, 16. And those things carnall which belong to worldly wealth, Rom. 15. 27. And the men carnall men, 1 Cor. 3. vers. 1, 2, 3. yet hath he not defined, nor given us any rules whereby we may know what proceeds from naturall reason, what from supernaturall inspiration.
XV. Seeing therefore it is plain that our Saviour hath committed to, or rather not taken away from Princes, and those who in each City have obtained the Soveraignty, the supreme authority of judging & determineing al manner of controversies about temporall matters, we must see henceforth to whom he hath left the same authority in matters spirituall. Which because it cannot bee known, except it be out of the word of God, and the Tradition of the Church, we must enquire in the next place what the word of God is, what to interpret it, what a Church is, and what the will and command of the Church. To omit that the word of God is in Scripture taken sometimes for the Sonne of God, it is used, three manner of wayes; First, most properly for that which God hath spoken; Thus whatsoever God spake unto Abraham, the Patriarchs, Moses, and the Prophets, our Saviour to his Disciples, or any others, is the word of God. Secondly, whatsoever hath been uttered by men on the motion, or by Command of the Holy Ghost; in which sense we acknowledge the Scriptures to be the word of God. Thirdly, in the New Testament indeed the word of God most frequently signifies the Doctrine of the Gospell, or the word concerning God, or the word of the Kingdome of God by CHRIST: as where it is said that CHRIST preach't the Gospell of the Kingdome, Mat. 4. vers. 23. Where the Apostles are said to preach the word of God, Acts 13. vers. 46. Where the word of God is called the word of life, Acts 5. vers. 20. The word of the Gospell, Acts 15. vers. 7. The word of faith, Rom. 10. vers. 8. The word of truth, that is to say, (adding an interpretation) The Gospel of salvation, Eph. 1. 13. And where it is called the word of the Apostles; For Saint Paul sayes, If any man obey not our word, &c. 2. Thess. 3. vers. 14. which places cannot be otherwise meant then of the doctrine Evangelicall. In like manner where the word of God is said to be sowen, to encrease, and to be multiplied, Acts 12. vers. 24. and Chap. 13. vers. 49. it is very hard to conceive this to be spoken of the voyce of God, or of his Apostles; but of their doctrine, easie. And in this third acception is all that doctrine of the Christian faith which at this day is preacht in Pulpits, and contained in the books of divines, the word of God.
XVI. Now the sacred Scripture is intirely the word of God in this second acception, as being that which we acknowledge to be inspired from God. And innumerable places of it, in the first. And seeing the greatest part of it is conversant either in the prediction of the Kingdome of Heaven, or in prefigurations before the incarnation of CHRIST, or in Evangelization, and explication after, The sacred Scripture is also the word of God, and therefore the Canon and Rule of all Evangelicall Doctrine, in this third signification, where the word of God is taken for the word concerning God, that is to say, for the Gospel. But because in the same Scriptures we read many things Politicall, Historicall, Morall, Physicall, and others which nothing at all concern the Mysteries of our faith, those places although they contain true doctrine, and are the Canon of such kind of doctrines, yet can they not be the Canon of the Mysteries of Christian Religion. XVII. And truly it is not the dead voyce, or letter of the word of God, which is the Canon of Christian doctrine, but a true and genuine determination; For the minde is not governed by Scriptures, unlesse they be understood. There is need therefore of an Interpreter to make the Scriptures Canon. And hence followes one of these two things, that either the word of the Interpreter is the word of God, or that the Canon of Christian doctrin is not the word of God. The last of these must necessarily be false; for the rule of that doctrine which cannot be knowne by any humane reason, but by divine revelation only, cannot be lesse then divine; for whom we acknowledge not to be able to discern whether some doctrin be true or not, its impossible to account his opinion for a rule in the same doctrine. The first therefore is true, That the word of an Interpreter of Scriptures, is the word of God.
XVIII. Now that Interpreter whose determination hath the honour to be held for the word of God, is not every one that translates the Scriptures out of the Hebrew, and Greek tongue, to his Latine Auditors in Latine, to his French, in French, and to other Nations in their mother tongue; for this is not to interpret. For such is the nature of speech in generall, that although it deserve the chiefe place among those signes whereby we declare our conceptions to others, yet cannot it perform that office alone without the help of many circumstances; For the living voice hath its interpreters present, to wit, time, place, countenance, gesture, the Counsell of the Speaker, and himselfe unfolding his own meaning in other words as oft as need is. To recall these aids of interpretation, so much desired in the writings of old time, is neither the part of an ordinary wit, nor yet of the quaintest, without great learning, and very much skill in antiquity. It sufficeth not therefore for interpretation of Scriptures, that a man understand the language wherein they speak. Neither is every one an authentique Interpreter of Scriptures, who writes Comments upon them: For men may erre, they may also either bend them to serve their own ambition, or even resisting, draw them into bondage by their forestallings; whence it will follow that an erroneous sentence must be held for the word of God. But although this could not happen, yet as soon as these Commentators are departed, their Commentaries will need explications, and in processe of time, those explications, expositions; those expositions new Commentaries without any end: so as there cannot in any written Interpretation whatsoever be a Canon, or Rule of Christian doctrine, whereby the Controversies of Religion may be determined. It remains, that there must bee some Canonicall Interpreter whose legitimate Office it is to end Controversies begun, by explaining the word of God in the judgements themselves; and whose authority therefore must be no lesse obeyed, then theirs who first recommended the Scripture it selfe to us for a Canon of faith; and that one, and the same Person be an Interpreter of Scripture, and a supreme Judge of all manner of doctrines.
XIX. What concerns the word Ecclesia, or Church: originally it signifies the same thing that Concio, or a congregation does in Latin; even as Ecclesiastes, or Church man, the same that concionator, or Preacher, that is to say, He who speaks to the Congregation. In which sense wee read in the Acts of the Apostles, of a Church confused, and of a Lawfull Church, Acts 19. vers. 32, 39. that, taken for a Concourse of people meeting in way of tumult; this, for a convocated Assembly. But in holy writ by a Church of Christians, is sometimes understood the Assembly, and sometimes the Christians themselves, although not actually assembled, if they be permitted to enter into the Congregation, and to communicate with them. For example. Tell it to the Church, Mat. 18. vers. 17. is meant of a Church assembled; for otherwise it is impossible to tell any thing to the Church: But, Hee laid waste the Church, Acts 8. vers. 3. is understood of a Church not assembled. Sometimes a Church is taken for those who are baptized, or for the professors of the Christian faith, whether they be Christians inwardly, or feignedly, as when we reade of somewhat said or written to the Church, or said or decreed, or done by the Church; sometimes for the Elect onely, as when it is called holy, and without blemish, Ephes. 5. vers. 27. But the Elect, as they are militant, are not properly called a Church; for they know not how to assemble, but they are a future Church, namely in that day when sever'd from the reprobate, they shall bee triumphant. Againe a Church may bee sometimes taken (for all Christians collectively,) as when Christ is called the head of his Church, and the head of his body the Church, Eph. 5. vers. 23. Colos. 1. vers. 18. sometimes for its parts, as the Church of Ephesus, The Church which is in his house, the seven Churches, & c. Lastly, a Church as it is taken for a Company actually assembled, according to the divers ends of their meeting, signifies sometimes those who are met together to deliberate, and judge, in which sense it is also called a Councell, & a Synod; sometimes those who meet together in the house of prayer to worship God, in which signification it is taken in the 1 Cor. 14. vers. 4, 5. 23. 28. &c.
XX. Now a Church which hath personall Rights, and proper actions attributed to it, and of which that same must necessarily be understood, Tell it to the church, and, he that obeys not the church, and all such like formes of speech, is to be defin'd so, as by that word may be understood, A Multitude of men who have made a new Covenant with God in Christ, (that is to say, a multitude of them who have taken upon them the Sacrament of Baptisme) which multitude, may both lawfully be call'd together by some one into one place, and he so calling them, are bound to be present either in Person, or by others. For a multitude of men, if they cannot meet in assembly, when need requires, is not to be call'd a Person; For a Church can neither speak, nor discerne, nor heare, but as it is a congregation. Whatsoever is spoken by particular men, (to wit, as many opinions almost as heads) that's the speech of one man, not of the Church; farthermore, if an assembly be made, and it be unlawfull, it shall be considered as null. Not any one of these therefore who are present in a tumult shall be tyed to the decree of the rest, but specially if he dissent; and therefore neither can such a Church make any decree; for then a multitude is sayd to decree somewhat, when every man is oblig'd by the decree of the major part. We must therefore grant to the definition of a Church (to which we attribute things belonging to a Person) not onely a possibility of assembling, but also of doing it lawfully. Besides, although there be some one who may lawfully call the rest together, yet if they who are called may lawfully not appeare (which may happen among men who are not subject one to another) that same Church is not one Person. For by what Right they, who being call'd to a certaine time, and place, doe meet together, are one Church; by the same, others flocking to another place appointed by them, are another Church. And every number of men of one opinion is a Church, and by Consequence there will be as many Churches as there are divers opinions, that is to say, the same multitude of men will at once prove to be one, and many Churches. Wherefore a Church is not one, except there be a certaine, and known, that is to say, a lawfull power, by meanes whereof every man may be oblig'd to be present in the Congregation, either himselfe in person, or by Proxie. And that becomes One, and is capable of personall functions, by the union of a lawfull power of convocating Synods, and assemblies of Christians; not by uniformity of Doctrine: and otherwise, it is a multitude, and Persons in the plurall, howsoever agreeing in opinions.
XXI. It followes what hath beene already said by necessary connexion, that a City of Christian men, and a Church, is altogether the same thing, of the same men, term'd by two names, for two causes: For the matter of a City & a Church is one, to wit the same Christian men. And the forme which consists in a Lawfull power of assembling them is the same too; for 'tis manifest that every Subject is oblig'd to come thither, whither he is summon'd by his City. Now that which is call'd a City, as it is made up of men, the same, as it consists of Christians, is styled a Church.
XXII. This too is very cohaerent with the same points, If there be many Christian Cities, they are not altogether personally one church. They may indeed by mutuall consent become one Church, but no otherwise, then as they must also become one City; For they cannot assemble but at some certaine time, and to some place appointed. But Persons, places, and times, belong to civill Right; neither can any Subject or stranger lawfully set his foot on any place, but by the permission of the City, which is Lord of the place. But the things which cannot lawfully be done but by the permission of the City, those, if they be lawfully done, are done by the Cities authority. The Universall church is indeed one mysticall body, whereof CHRIST is the head, but in the same manner, that all men together acknowledging God for the Ruler of the world, are one Kingdome, and one City, which notwithstanding is neither one Person, nor hath it one common action, or determination. Farthermore where it is said that CHRIST is the head of his body the Church, it manifestly appeares, that that was spoken by the Apostle of the Elect, who as long as they are in this world, are a Church onely in potentia, but shall not actually be so before they be separated from the reprobate, and gather'd together among themselves, in the day of Judgement. The Church of Rome of old was very great, but she went not beyond the bounds of her Empire; and therefore neither was she Universall, unlesse it were in that sense, wherein it was also said of the City of Rome, Orbem jam totum victor Romanus habebat, when as yet he had not the twentieth part of it. But after that the civill Empire was divided into parts, the single Cities thence arising were so many Churches; and that power which the Church of Rome had over them, might perhaps wholy depend on the authority of those Churches, who having cast off the Emperours were yet content to admit the Doctours of Rome.
XXIII. They may be called Church-men who exercise a publique office in the Church. But of offices there was one a Ministery, another a Maistery; The office of the Ministers was to serve Tables, to take care of the temporall goods of the Church, and to distribute (at that time when all propriety of riches being abolisht, they were fed in common) to each man his portion; The Maisters according to their order, were called some Apostles, some Bishops, some Presbyters, that is to say Elders; yet not so, as that by the name of Presbyter, the age, but the office might be distinguisht; For Timothy was a Presbyter although a young man; but because for the most part the Elders were receiv'd into the Maistership, the word, denoting age, was us'd to signifie the office. The same Maisters, according to the diversity of their employments were called some of them Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastors or Teachers. And the Apostolicall worke indeed was universall; the Propheticall to declare their owne revelations in the Church; the Evangelicall to preach, or to be publishers of the Gospell among the infidels; that of the Pastors to teach, confirme, and rule the minds of those who already beleev'd.
XXIV. In the Election of Church-men two things are to be considered, the Election of the Persons, and their consecration, or institution, which also is called ordination. The first twelve Apostles CHRIST himselfe both elected, and ordain'd. After CHRISTS ascension Matthias was elected in the roome of Judas the Traitour, the Church (which at that time consisted of a Congregation of about one hundred and twenty men) choosing two men: And they appointed two, Joseph and Matthias; but God himselfe by lot approving of Mathias. And Saint Paul calls these twelve the first, and great Apostles, also the Apostles of the Circumcision. Afterward were added two other Apostles, Paul, and Barnabas; ordain'd indeed by the Doctours, and Prophets of the Church of Antioch, (which was a particular Church) by the imposition of hands, but elected by the command of the Holy Ghost. That they were both Apostles is manifest in the 13. of the Acts v. 2, 3. That they receiv'd their Apostleship from hence, namely because they were separated by command of the spirit for the work of God, from the rest of the Prophets, and Doctours of the Church of Antioch, Saint Paul himselfe shewes, who calls himselfe for distinctions sake an Apostle separated unto the Gospell of God, Rom. 1. ver. 1. But if it be demanded further; by what authority it came to passe that that was receiv'd for the command of the Holy Ghost, which those Prophets and Doctours did say proceeded from him, it must necessarily be answer'd; by the Authority of the church of Antioch. For the Prophets & Doctours must be examined by the Church before they be admitted; For Saint John saith, Beleeve not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whether they are of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the world; but by what Church, but that to which that Epistle was written? In like manner Saint Paul reprooves the Churches of Galatia, because they Judaized, Gal. 2. v. 14. although they seemed to doe so by the Authority of Peter; for when he had told them that he had, reprehended Peter himselfe with these words, If thou being a Iew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as doe the Iewes, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as doe the Iewes? Not long after he questions them, saying, This onely would I learne of you: Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? Gal. 3. ver. 2. Where it is evident, that it was Judaisme which he reprehended the Galathians for, notwithstanding that the Apostle Peter compelled them to Judaize. Seeing therefore it belonged to the Church, and not to Peter, and therefore also not to any man, to determine what Doctors they should follow, it also pertained to the authority of the Church of Antioch to elect their Prophets and Doctors. Now because the Holy Ghost separated to himself the Apostles Paul & Barnabas, by the imposition of hands from Doctors thus elected; its manifest, that imposition of hands, & consecration, of the prime Doctors in each Church, belongs to the Doctors of the same Church. But Bishops, who were also called Presbyters, although all Presbyters were not Bishops, were ordain'd somtimes by Apostles (for Paul & Barnabas when they had taught in Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium, ordained Elders in every Church, Acts 14. v. 23.) sometimes by other Bishops, for Titus was by Paul left in Crete, that he should ordain Elders in every City, Tit. 1. v. 5. And Timothy was advised not to neglect the gift that was in him, which was given him by Prophesy with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, 1. Tim. 4. v. 14. And he had rules given him concerning the Election of Presbyters. But that cannot be understood otherwise, then of the ordination of those who were elected by the Church; for no man could constitute a Doctor in the Church, but by the Churches permission. For the duty of the Apostles themselves was not to command, but to teach; and although they who were recommended by the Apostles, or Presbyters, were not rejected, for the esteem that was had of the recommenders, yet seeing they could not be elected without the will of the Church, they were also suppos'd elected by the authority of the Church. In like manner Ministers, who are called Deacons, were ordained by the Apostles; yet elected by the Church. For when the seven Deacons were to bee elected, and ordained, the Apostles elected them not, but look yee out, (say they) among you Brethren seven men of honest report, &c. And they chose Stephen, &c. And they set them before the Apostles, Acts 6. vers. 3. 6. It is apparent therefore by the custome of the Primitive Church under the Apostles, that the ordination, or consecration of all Church-men, which is done by Prayer, and imposition of hands, belonged to the Apostles, and Doctors; but the Election of those who were to be consecrated, to the Church.
XXV. Concerning the power of binding, and loosing, that is to say of remitting, and retaining of sinnes, there is no doubt, but it was given by Christ to the Pastors then yet for to come, in the same manner as it was to the present Apostles. Now the Apostles had all the power of remitting of sins given them, which Christ himselfe had; As the Father hath sent me (sayes Christ) so send I you, John 20. vers. 21. and he addes, Whose soever sins yee remit, they are remitted, and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. vers. 23. But what binding and loosing, or remitting and retaining of sinnes, is, admits of some scruple. For first, to retain his sinnes who being baptized into remission of sins, is truly penitent, seems to be against the very Covenant it selfe of the new Testament, and therefore could not be done by Christ himselfe, much lesse by his Pastors. And to remit the impenitent, seems to be against the will of God the Father, from whom Christ was sent to convert the world, and to reduce men unto obedience. Furthermore, if each Pastor had an authority granted him to remit and retain sinnes in this manner, all awe of Princes, and civill Magistrates, together with all kind of civill Government would be utterly destroyed. For Christ hath said it, nay even nature it selfe dictates, that we should not feare them who slay the body, but cannot kill the soule; but rather feare him who can cast both soule and body into hell, Mat. 10. vers. 28. Neither is any man so mad as not to choose to yeeld obedience rather to them who can remit, and retain their sinnes, then to the powerfullest Kings. Nor yet on the other side, it is to be imagined, that remission of sinnes is nothing else but an exemption from Ecclesiasticall punishments; for what evill hath excommunication in it, beside the eternall pains which are consequent to it? or what benefit is it to be received into the Church if there were salvation out of it? We must therefore hold, That Pastors have Power, truly, and absolutely to forgive sinnes, but, to the penitent; and to retain them, but, of the impenitent. But while men think that to Repent, is nothing else but that every one condemn his Actions, and change those Counsels which to himselfe seem sinfull, and blameable, there is an opinion risen, that there may be repentance before any Confession of sinnes to men, and that repentance is not an effect, but a cause of Confession; and thence, the difficulty of those who say that the sins of the penitent are already forgiven in Baptisme, and theirs who repent not, cannot be forgiven at al, is against Scripture, and contrary to the words of Christ, Whose soever sins ye remit, &c. We must therefore to resolve this difficulty know in the first place, that a true acknowledgement of sin is Repentance; for he that knows he hath sinned, knows he hath erred, but to will an errour is impossible; therefore he that knowes he hath sinned, wishes he had not done it, which is to repent. Farther, where it may be doubtfull, whether that which is done be a sin or not, we must consider, that repentance doth not precede confession of sins, but is subsequent to it: for there is no repentance but of sinnes acknowledged. The penitent therefore must both acknowledge the fact, and know it to be a sinne, that is to say, against the Law. If a man therefore think, that what he hath done, is not against the Law; its impossible he should repent of it. Before repentance therefore, its necessary there be an application of the facts unto the Law. But its in vain to apply the facts unto the Law without an Interpreter. for not the words of the Law, but the sentence of the Law-giver is the rule of mens actions; but surely either one man, or some men are the Interpreters of the Law, for every man is not judge of his own fact whether it be a sin or not; wherefore the fact of which we doubt whether it be a sinne or not, must be unfolded before some man or men, and the doing of this is confession. Now when the Interpreter of the Law hath judged the fact to bee a sinne, if the sinner submit to his judgement, and resolve with himselfe not to do so any more, tis repentance; and thus, either it is not true repentance, or else it is not antecedent, but subsequent to confession. These things being thus explained, it is not hard to understand what kinde of power that of binding and loosing is. For seeing in remission of sinnes there are two things considerable, one the Judgement or Condemnation whereby the fact is judged to be a sinne; the other, (when the Party condemned does acquiesce, and obey the sentence, that is to say, Repents) the remission of the sinne, or, (if he repent not) the Retention: The first of these, that is to say, the Judging whether it be a sinne or not, belongs to the Interpreter of the Law, that is, the Soveraign Judge; the second, namely Remission, or retention of the sinne, to the Pastor, and it is that concerning which the power of binding and loosing is conversant. And that this was the true meaning of our Saviour Christ in the institution of the same power, is apparent in the 18 of Mat. vers. 15, 16, 17, 18. thus, He there speaking to his Disciples, sayes, If thy Brother sinne against thee, goe, and tell him his fault betweene thee and him alone, (where we must observe by the way, that if thy Brother sinne against thee, is the same with, if he doe thee injury; and therefore Christ spake of those matters which belonged to the civill Tribunall) he addes, if he heare thee not (that is to say, if he deny that he hath done it, or if having confest the fact, he denies it to be unjustly done) take with thee yet one or two, and if he refuse to heare them, tell it the Church. But why to the Church, except that she might judge whether it were a sinne or not? But if he refuses to hear the Church, that is, if he doe not submit to the Churches sentence, but shall maintain that to be no sin, which She Judges to be a sinne, that is to say, if he repent not (for certain it is that no man repents himselfe of that action which She conceives not to be a sinne) he saith not, Tell it to the Apostles, that we might know that the definitive sentence in the question, whether it were a sin or not, was not left unto them, but to the Church; but let him be unto thee (sayes he) as an Heathen, or Publican, that is, as one out of the Church, as one that is not baptized, that is to say, as one whose sinnes are retained. For all Christians were baptized into remission of sinnes. But because it might have been demanded who it was that had so great a power, as that of withholding the benefit of Baptisme from the impenitent, Christ shewes that the same Persons to whom he had given authority to baptize the penitent into the remission of sinns, and to make them of heathen men, Christians, had also authority to retain their sins who by the Church should be adjudged to be impenitent, and to make them of Christian men Heathens; and therefore presently subjoynes, Verily I say unto you, Whose soever sinnes yee shall binde upon Earth, they shall bee bound also in Heaven, and whose soever sins yee shall loose upon Earth, they shall be loosed also in Heaven. Whence we may understand, that the power of binding, and loosing, or of remitting, and retaining of sinnes, which is called in another place, the power of the keyes, is not different from the power given in another place in these words, Goe, and teach all Nations, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the Holy Ghost, Mat. 28. ver. 19. And even as the Pastours cannot refuse to Baptize him whom the Church judges worthy, so neither can they retaine his sinnes whom the Church holds fitting to be absolv'd, nor yet remit his sinnes whom the Church pronounceth disobedient. And it is the Churches part to judge of the sinne, the Pastours, to cast out, or to receive into the Church those that are judg'd. Thus Saint Paul to the Church of Corinth, Do not ye judge, saith he, of those that are within? Yet he himself pronounc't the sentence of Excommunication against the incestuous Person, I indeed (saith he) as absent in body, but present in Spirit, &c.
XXVI. The act of retaining sinnes is that which is called by the Church Excommunication, and by Saint Paul, delivering over to Satan. The word Excommunication, sounding the same with aposunagogon poiein, casting out of the Synagogue, seems to be borrowed from the Mosaicall Law, wherein they who were by the Priest adjudged leprous, were commanded to be kept apart out of the Camp, untill by the judgement of the Priest they were againe pronounc't cleane, and by certaine rights (among which the washing of the body was one) were purified, Levit. 13. ver. 46. From hence in processe of time it became a custome of the Jewes, not to receive those who passed from Gentilisme to Judaisme, (supposing them to be uncleane) unlesse they were first washed; and those who dissented from the Doctrine of the Synagogue, they cast out of the Synagogue. By resemblance of this custome, those that came to Christianity, (whether they were Jewes, or Gentiles) were not receiv'd into the Church without Baptisme; and those that dissented from the Church were depriv'd of the Churches Communion. Now, they were therefore said to be deliver'd over to Satan, because all that was out of the Church, was comprehended within his Kingdome. The end of this kind of Discipline was, that being destitute for a time of the grace and spirituall priviledges of the Church, they might be humbled to salvation. But the effect in regard to secular matters, that being excommunicated, they should not onely be prohibited all Congregations, or Churches, and the participation of the mysteries, but as being contagious they should be avoided by all other Christians, even more then Heathen: for the Apostle allowed to accompany with Heathen, but with these not so much as to eate, 1 Cor. 5. ver. 10,
II. Seeing then the effect of Excommunication is such, it is manifest in the first place, that a Christian city cannot be excommunicated. For a Christian City is a Christian Church, as hath been declar'd above in the 21. Art. and of the same extension. But a Church cannot be excommunicated; For either she must excommunicate her selfe, which is impossible; or she must be excommunicated by some other Church, and this, either universall, or particular. But seeing an Universall Church is no Person, (as hath been prov'd in the 22. Artic.) and therefore neither acts, nor does any thing, it cannot excommunicate any man. And a particular church by excommunicating another Church doth nothing; for where there is not one common Congregation, there cannot be any Excommunication. Neither if some one Church (suppose that of Jerusalem) should have excommunicated an other (suppose that of Rome) would it any more have excommunicated this, then her selfe: for he that deprives another of his Communion, deprives himselfe also of the Communion of that other. Secondly, No man can excommunicate the subjects of any absolute government all at once, or forbid them the use of their Temples, or their publique worship of God. For they cannot be excommunicated by a Church which themselves doe constitute; for if they could, there would not onely not remain a Church, but not so much as a common-weale, and they would be dissolved of themselves; and this were not to be excommunicated, or prohibited. But if they be excommunicated by some other Church, that church is to esteem them as Heathen. But no christian Church by the doctrine of Christ, can forbid the Heathen to gather together, and Communicate among themselves, as it shall seem good to their Cities, especially if they meet to worship Christ, although it be done in a singular custome, and manner: therefore also not the excommunicated, who are to be dealt with as Heathen. Thirdly, a Prince who hath the Soveraign Power, cannot be excommunicated. For by the doctrine of Christ, neither one, nor many subjects together can interdict their Prince any publique, or private places, or deny him entrance into any Assembly whatsoever, or prohibit him the doing of what hee will within his own jurisdiction. For it is Treason among all Cities, for any one, or many subjects joyntly to arrogate to themselves any authority over the whole City; but they who arrogate to themselves an authority over him who hath the supreme power of the City, doe arrogate the same authority over the City it selfe. Besides, a Soveraign Prince, if he be a Christian, hath this farther advantage, that the City whose Will is contained in His, is that very thing which we call a Church; the Church therefore excommunicates no man, but whom it excommunicates by the authority of the Prince: but the Prince excommunicates not himselfe, his subjects therefore cannot doe it. It may be indeed that an Assembly of rebellious Citizens or Traytors, may pronounce the sentence of excommunication against their Prince, but not by Right. Much lesse can one Prince be excommunicated by another, for this would prove not an excommunication, but a provocation to Warre by the way of affront. For since that is not one church which is made up of Citizens belonging to two absolute Cities, for want of power of lawfully assembling them, (as hath been declar'd before in the 22. Art.) they who are of one Church are not bound to obey an other, and therefore cannot be excommunicated for their disobedience. Now, what some may say, that Princes, being they are members of the Universall church, may also by the authority of the Universall church be excommunicated, signifies nothing: because the Universall church (as hath beene shewed in the 22. Art.) is not one Person, of whom it may be said that shee acted, decreed, determin'd, excommunicated, absolv'd, and the like personall attributes; neither hath she any Governour upon Earth at whose command she may assemble, and deliberate: For to be guide of the Universall church, and to have the power of assembling her, is the same thing as to be Governour, and Lord over all the Christians in the world, which is granted to none, but God onely.
XXVII. It hath beene shewed above in the 18. Art. that the authority of interpreting the Holy Scriptures consisted not in this, that the interpreter might without punishment, expound, and explicate his sentence & opinion taken thence, unto others, either by writing, or by his owne voice; but, that others have not a Right to doe, or teach ought contrary to his sentence; insomuch as the interpretation we speak of is the same with the power of defining in all manner of controversies to be determined by sacred Scriptures. Now we must shew that that power belongs to each Church, and depends on his, or their authority who have the Supreme command, provided that they be Christians. For if it depend not on the civill authority, it must either depend on the opinion of each private Subject, or some forraigne authority. But among other reasons, the inconveniencies that must follow private opinions cannot suffer its dependance on them; of which this is the chiefe, that not onely all civill obedience would be taken away (contrary to Christ his praecept) but all humane society and peace would be dissolved (contrary to the Lawes of nature;) for seeing every man is his owne interpreter of Scripture, that is to say, since every man makes himselfe judge of what is pleasing and displeasing unto God, they cannot obey their Princes before that they have judg'd whether their commands be conformable to the Word of God, or not. And thus either they obey not, or they obey for their owne opinions sake, that is to say, they obey themselves, not their Soveraigne; civill obedience therefore is lost. Againe, when every man followes his owne opinion, it's necessary that the controversies which rise among them will become innumerable, and indeterminable; whence there will breed among men (who by their own naturall inclinations doe account all dissention an affront) first hatred, then brawles and warres, and thus all manner of peace and society would vanish. We have farthermore for an example, that which God under the old Law required to be observed concerning the book of the Law, namely, that it should be transcrib'd, and publiquely us'd, and he would have it to be the Canon of Divine doctrine: but the controversies about it not to be determined by private Persons, but onely by the Priests. Lastly, it is our Saviours Precept, that if there be any matter of offence between private Persons, they should hear the Church. Wherefore it is the Churches duty to define controversies; it therefore belongs not to private men, but to the Church, to interpret Scriptures. But that we may know that the authority of interpreting Gods Word, that is to say, of determining all questions concerning God, and Religion, belongs not to any forraign Person whatsoever, we must consider first what esteem such a power carries in the mindes of the subjects, and their civill actions. For no man can be ignorant that the voluntary actions of men by a naturall necessity, doe follow those opinions which they have concerning good, and evill, Reward, and Punishment; whence it happens that necessarily they would chuse rather to obey those by whose judgement they beleeve that they shall be eternally happy, or miserable. Now, by whose judgement it is appointed what Doctrines are necessary to salvation, by their judgement doe men expect their eternall blisse, or perdition; they will therefore yeeld them obedience in all things. Which being thus, most manifest it is, that those subjects who believe themselves bound to acquiesce to a forraign authority in those Doctrines which are necessary to salvation, doe not per se constitute a City, but are the subjects of that forraign power. Nor therefore although some Soveraign Prince should by writing grant such an authority to any other, yet so, as he would be understood to have retained the civill power in his own hands, shall such a Writing be valid, or transferre ought necessary for the retaining, or good administration of his command. For by the 2. Chap. 4. artic. no man is said to transferre his Right, unlesse he give some proper sign, declaring his Will to transferre it; but he who hath openly declared his will to keep his Soveraignty, cannot have given a sufficient sign of transferring the means necessary for the keeping it. This kinde of Writing therefore will not be a sign of Will, but of Ignorance in the contractors. We must consider next how absurd it is for a City, or Soveraign, to commit the ruling of his Subjects consciences to an enemy. For they are, as hath been shewed above in the 5. Chap. 6. artic. in an hostile state, whosoever have not joyn'd themselves into the unity of one Person. Nor contradicts it this truth that they doe not alwayes fight: (for truces are made between enemies) it is sufficient for an hostile minde, that there is suspition, that the Frontiers of Cities, Kingdomes, Empires, strengthned with Garisons, doe with a fighting posture and countenance, though they strike not, yet as enemies mutually behold each other. Lastly, how unequall is it to demand that, which by the very reason of your demand, you confesse belongs to anothers Right? I am the Interpreter of Scriptures to you who are the Subject of anothers Realme: Why? By what Covenants past between you and me? By Divine authority. Whence knowne? Out of holy Scripture. Behold the Book, read it. In vain, unlesse I may also interpret the same for my self; That interpretation therefore doth by Right belong to me, and the rest of my private fellow-subjects; which we both deny. It remains therefore that in all christian Churches, that is to say, in all christian Cities, the interpretation of sacred Scripture depend on, and derive from the authority of that man, or Councell, which hath the Soveraign power of the City.
XXVIII. Now because there are two kindes of controversies, the one about spirituall matters, that is to say, questions of faith, the truth whereof cannot be searcht into by naturall reason; such are the questions concerning the nature, and office of Christ, of rewards and punishments to come, of the Sacraments, of outward worship, and the like: the other, about questions of humane science, whose truth is sought out by naturall reason, and Syllogismes, drawne from the Covenants of men, and definitions (that is to say, significations received by use, and common consent of words) such as are all questions of Right, and Philosophy. For example, when in matter of Right its questioned whether there be a Promise, and Covenant, or not? that is nothing else, but to demand, whether such words spoken in such a manner be by common use, and consent of the Subjects, a Promise or Covenant; which if they be so called, then it is true that a Contract is made, if not, then it is false: that truth therefore depends on the compacts, and consents of men. In like manner when it is demanded in Philosophy whether the same thing may entirely be in divers places at once; the determination of the question depends on the knowledge of the common consent of men about the signification of the word entire: for if men when they say a thing is entirely somewhere doe signifie by common consent that they understand nothing of the same to be elsewhere, it is false that the same thing is in divers places at once: that truth therefore depends on the consents of men, and by the same reason in all other questions concerning Right, and Philosophy. And they who doe judge that any thing can be determin'd, (contrary to this common consent of men concerning the appellations of things) out of obscure places of Scripture, doe also judge that the use of speech, and at once all humane society, is to be taken away; for he who hath sold an whole field, will say, he meant one whole ridge, and will retaine the rest as unsold; nay, they take away reason it selfe, which is nothing else but a searching out of the truth made by such consent. These kinde of questions therefore need not be determin'd by the City by way of interpretation of Scriptures; for they belong not to Gods Word, in that sense wherein the Word of God is taken for the Word concerning God, that is to say, for the Doctrine of the Gospell; neither is he who hath the Soveraigne Power in the Church, oblig'd to employ any Ecclesiastical Doctours for the judging of any such kind of matters as these. But for the deciding of questions of Faith, that is to say, concerning God, which transcend humane capacity, we stand in need of a divine blessing (that we may not be deceiv'd at least in necessary points) to be deriv'd from CHRIST himselfe by the imposition of hands. For, seeing to the end we may attaine to aeternal Salvation, we are oblig'd to a supernatural Doctrine, & which therefore it is impossible for us to understand; to be left so destitute, as that we can be deceiv'd in necessary points, is repugnant to aequity. This infallibility our Saviour Christ promis'd (in those things which are necessary to Salvation) to his Apostles untill the day of judgement; that is to say, to the Apostles, and Pastors succeeding the Apostles who were to be consecrated by the imposition of hands. He therefore who hath the Soveraigne power in the City, is oblig'd as a Christian, where there is any question concerning the Mysteries of Faith, to interpret the Holy Scriptures by Clergy-men lawfully ordain'd. And thus in Christian Cities the judgement both of spirituall and temporall matters belongs unto the civill authority. And that man, or councell who hath the Supreme power, is head both of the City, and of the Church; for a Church, and a Christian City is but one thing.
Concerning those things which are necessary for our entrance into the Kingdome of Heaven.
I. It was ever granted that all authority in secular matters deriv'd from him who had the Soveraigne power, whether he were one Man, or an Assembly of Men. That the same in spirituall matters depended on the authority of the Church, is manifest by the next foregoing proofs; and besides this, that all Christian Cities are Churches endued with this kind of authority From whence a man though but dull of apprehension may collect, that in a Christian City, (that is to say, in a City whose Soveraignty belongs to a Christian Prince, or Councell) all Power, as well spiritual, as secular, is united under Christ; and therefore it is to be obey'd in all things. But on the other side, because we must rather obey God then Wen, there is a difficulty risen, how obedience may safely be yeelded to them, if at any time somewhat should be commanded by them to be done which CHRIST hath prohibited. The reason of this difficulty is, that seeing God no longer speakes to us by CHRIST, and his Prophets in open voice, but by the holy Scriptures, which by divers men are diversly understood, they know indeed what Princes, and a congregated Church doe command; but whether that which they doe command be contrary to the word of God, or not, this they know not, but with a wavering obedience between the punishments of temporall, and spirituall death, as it were sailing betweene Scilla and Carybdis, they often run themselves upon both. But they who rightly distinguish betweene the things necessary to Salvation, and those which are not necessary, can have none of this kind of doubt. For if the command of the Prince, or City be such, that he can obey it without hazard of his aeternall Salvation, it is unjust not to obey them, and the Apostles praecepts take place: Servants in all things obey your Wasters according to the flesh. Children obey your Parents in all things. Col. 3. v. 20, 22. And the command of CHRIST, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moyses chair, all things therefore whatsoever they command you, that observe, and doe. Mat. 23. v. 2. On the contrary, if they command us to doe those things which are punisht with aeternall death, it were madnesse not rather to chuse to dye a naturall death, then by obeying, to dye eternally; and then comes in that which CHRIST sayes, Feare not them who kill the body, but cannot kill the Soule. Mat. 10. v. 28. We must see therefore what all those things are, which are necessary to Salvation.
II. Now all things necessary to Salvation are comprehended in two vertues, Faith, and Obedience. The latter of these if it could be perfect would alone suffice to preserve us from damnation; but because we have all of us beene long since guilty of disobedience against God in Adam, and besides we our selves have since actually sinned, Obedience is not sufficient without remission of sinnes. But this, together with our entrance into the Kingdome of Heaven is the reward of Faith. Nothing else is requisite to Salvation; for the Kingdome of Heaven is shut to none but sinners, that is to say, those who have not perform'd due Obedience to the Lawes; and not to those neither, if they beleeve the necessary articles of the Christian Faith. Now, if we shall know in what points Obedience doth consist, and which are the necessary articles of the Christian Faith, it will at once be manifest what we must doe, and what abstaine from, at the commands of Cities, and of Princes.
III. But by Obedience in this place is signified not the fact, but the Will and desire wherewith we purpose, and endeavour as much as we can to obey for the future: in which sense the word Obedience is aequivalent to Repentance. For the vertue of repentance consists not in the sorrow which accompanies the remembrance of sinne; but in our conversion to the way, and full purpose to sinne no more, without which that sorrow is said to be the sorrow not of a Penitent but a desperate person. But because they who love God cannot but desire to obey the divine Law, and they who love their Neighbours cannot but desire to obey the morall Law, which consists as hath beene shewed above in the 3. Chapter, in the prohibition of Pride, ingratitude, contumely, inhumanity, cruelty, injury, and the like offences, whereby our Neighbours are prejudic't, therefore also Love or charity are aequivalent to Obedience. Justice also (which is a constant will of giving to every man his due) is aequivalent with it. But that Faith and Repentance are sufficient for Salvation, is manifest by the Covenant it selfe of Baptisme; for they who were by Peter converted on the day of Pentecost, demanding him what they should do? He answered, Repent, and be Baptiz'd every one of you in the name of Jesus for the remission of your Sins. Act. 2. v. 38. There was nothing therefore to be done for the obtaining of Baptisme, that is to say, for to enter into the Kingdome of God, but to Repent, and beleeve in the Name of JESUS. For the Kingdome of Heaven is promis'd by the Covenant which is made in Baptisme; farthermore, by the words of CHRIST answering the Lawyer who askt him what he should doe to inherit eternall life, Thou knowest the Commandements, Thou shalt not Kill, Thou shalt not commit Adultery, &c. which refer to Obedience; and, Sell all that thou hast, and come, and follow me, which relates to faith, Luke 18. ver. 20. Mar. 10. ver. 18. And by that which is said, The just shall live by Faith, (not every man, but the just) for justice is the same disposition of Will which Repentance and Obedience are; And by the words of Saint Mark, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdome of God is at hand, Repent yee, and beleeve the Gospell, by which words is not obscurely signified that there is no need of other Vertues, for our entrance into the Kingdome of God, excepting those of Repentance and Faith. The Obedience therefore which is necessarily requir'd to Salvation is nothing else but the Will, or endeavour to obey, that is to say, of doing according to the Lawes of God, that is the morall Lawes, which are the same to all men; and the civill Lawes, that is to say, the commands of Soveraignes in temporall matters, and the Ecclesiasticall Lawes in spirituall; which two kinds of Lawes are divers in divers Cities, and Churches, and are knowne by their promulgation, and publique sentences.
IV. That we may understand what the Christian Faith is, we must define Faith in generall, and distinguish it from those other acts of the minde wherewith commonly it is confounded. The object of Faith universally taken, namely for that which is beleev'd, is evermore a proposition, (that is to say a speech affirmative, or negative) which we grant to be true. But because Propositions are granted for divers causes, it falls out, that these kind of concessions are diversly called: But we grant Propositions sometimes which notwithstanding we receive not into our mindes; and this either for a time, to wit, so long, till by consideration of the consequencies, we have well examin'd the truth of them, which we call supposing; or also simply, as through feare of the Lawes, which is to professe, or confesse by outward tokens; or for a voluntary compliance sake, which men use out of civility to those whom they respect, and for love of Peace to others, which is absolute yeelding. Now the Propositions which we receive for truth, we alwaies grant for some reasons of our owne, and these are deriv'd either from the Proposition it selfe, or from the Person propounding. They are deriv'd from the Proposition it selfe, by calling to minde what things those words which make up the Proposition doe by common consent usually signifie: if so, then the assent which we give is called knowledge, or Science. But if we cannot remember what is certainly understood by those words, but sometimes one thing, sometimes another seeme to be apprehended by us, then we are said to thinke. For example, if it be propounded that two and three makes five; and by calling to minde the order of those numerall words, that it is so appointed by the common consent of them who are of the same language with us, (as it were by a certaine contract necessary for humane society) that five shall be the name of so many unities as are contain'd in two and three taken together, a man assents, that this is therefore true because two and three together, are the same with five. This assent shall be called knowledge, and to know this truth is nothing else but to acknowledge that it is made by our selves; For by whose will and rules of speaking the number... is called two,... is called three, &c... is called five, by their will also it comes to passe, that this Proposition is true, Two and three taken together makes five. In like manner if we remember what it is that is called theft, and what injury, we shall understand by the words themselves, whether it be true that theft is an injury, or not. Truth is the same with a true Proposition; but the Proposition is true in which the word consequent, which by Logicians is called the praedicate, embraceth the word antecedent in its amplitude, which they call the Subject; and to know truth is the same thing as to remember that it was made by our selves in the common use of words. Neither was it rashly, or unadvisedly said by Plato of old, that knowledge was memory. But it happens sometimes that words although they have a certaine, and defin'd signification by constitution, yet by vulgar use either to adorne, or deceive, they are so wrested from their owne significations, that to remember the conceptions for which they were first impos'd on things is very hard, and not to be maistered but by a sharpe judgement, and very great diligence. It happens too, that there are many words which have no proper, determin'd, and every where the same signification; and are understood not by their owne, but by vertue of other signes us'd together with them. Thirdly, there are some words of things unconceivable; of those things therefore whereof they are the words, there is no conception; and therefore in vaine doe we seeke for the truth of those Propositions, which they make out of the words themselves. In these cases, while by considering the definitions of words we search out the truth of some proposition, according to the hope we have of finding it, we thinke it sometimes true, and sometimes false; either of which apart is called thinking, and also beleeving; both together, doubting. But when our reasons for which we assent to some Proposition, derive not from the Proposition it selfe, but from the Person Propounding, whom we esteeme so learned that he is not deceiv'd, and we see no reason why he should deceive us; our assent, because it growes not from any confidence of our owne, but from another mans knowledge, is called Faith: And by the confidence of whom, we doe beleeve, we are said to trust them, or to trust in them. By what hath been said, the difference appeares first betweene Faith, and Profession; for that is alwaies joyn'd with inward assent, this not alwayes; That is an inward perswasion of the minde, this an outward obedience. Next, betweene Faith, and Opinion; for this depends on our owne reason, that on the good esteeme we have of another. Lastly betweene Faith and Knowledge; for this deliberately takes a proposition broken, and chewed; that swallowes downe whole and entire. The explication of words, whereby the matter enquir'd after is propounded, is conducible to knowledge; nay, the onely way to know, is by definition. But this is prejudiciall to Faith; for those things which exceede humane capacity, and are propounded to be beleev'd, are never more evident by explication, but on the contrary more obscure, and harder to be credited. And the same thing befalls a man who endeavours to demonstrate the mysteries of Faith by naturall reason, which happens to a sick man, who will needs chew before he will swallow his wholsome, but bitter Pills; whence it comes to passe, that he presently brings them up againe, which perhaps would otherwise, if he had taken them well downe, have prov'd his remedy.
V. We have seene therefore what it is to beleeve. But what is it to beleeve in CHRIST? Or what Proposition is that which is the object of our Faith in CHRIST? For when we say, I beleeve in CHRIST, we signifie indeed Whom, but not What we beleeve. Now, to beleeve in CHRIST is nothing else but to beleeve that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, namely Hee, who according to the Prophesies of Moyses, and the Prophets of Israel, was to come into this world to institute the Kingdome of God. And this sufficiently appeares out of the words of CHRIST himselfe to Martha: I am (saith he) the Resurrection and the life, HE THAT BELEEVETH IN ME, though he were dead, yet he shall live, and WHOSOEVER LIVETH, AND BELEEVETH IN ME, shall never dye. Beleevest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea Lord, I beleeve that THOU ART THE CHRIST the Son of God, which should come into the world. John 11. ver. 25, 26, 27. In which words we see that the question BELEEVEST THOU. IN ME? is expounded by the answer, THOU ART THE CHRIST. To beleeve in CHRIST therefore is nothing else but to beleeve JESUS HIMSELFE saying that he is THE CHRIST.
VI. Faith and Obedience both necessarily concurring to Salvation, what kinde of Obedience that same is, and to whom due, hath beene shewed above in the 3. Article. But now we must enquire what articles of Faith are requisite: And) I say, that to a Christian there is no other article of Faith requisite as necessary to Salvation, but only this, THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST. But we must distinguish (as we have already done before in the 4. Article) betweene Faith, and Profession. A Profession therefore of more articles (if they be commanded) may be necessary. for it is a part of our obedience due to the Lawes; but we enquire not now what Obedience, but what Faith is necessary to salvation. And this is prov'd first out of the scope of the Evangelists which was by the description of our Saviours life to establish this one Article. And we shall know that such was the scope, and counsell of the Evangelists, if we observe but the History it selfe. Saint Matthew beginning at his Genealogy shewes that JESUS was of the linage of David, borne of a Virgin, Chap. 1. that He was adored by the Wise men as King of the Jewes; that Herod for the same cause sought to slay him, Chap. 2. That his Kingdome was Preacht both by john the Baptist, and Himselfe, Chap. 3, 4. That He taught the Lawes, not as the Scribes, but as one having authority, Chap. 5, 6, 7. That he cur'd diseases miraculously, Chap. 8, 9. That He sent his Apostles the Preachers of his Kingdome throughout all the parts of judea, to proclame his Kingdome, Chap. 10. That He commanded the Messengers sent from john to enquire whether he were the CHRIST or not, to tell him what they had seene, namely the miracles which were onely competible with CHRIST, Chap. 11. That he prov'd and declar'd his Kingdome to the Pharisees, and others by arguments, parables and signes, Chap: 12. and the following Chapters to the 21. That He maintain'd himselfe to be the Christ against the Pharisees, That He was saluted with the title of King, when he entred into Jerusalem, Chap. 21. That he forewarn'd others of false Christs, and That He shewed in Parables what manner of Kingdome his should be, Chap. 22, 23, 24, 25. That He was taken, and accused for this reason, because He said He was a King; and that a Title was written on his Crosse, THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWES, Chap. 26, 27. Lastly, that after his resurrection, He told his Apostles that all power was given unto Him both in Heaven, and in Earth, Chap. 28. All which tends to this end, That we should beleeve Jesus to be the Christ. Such therefore was the Scope of Saint Matthew in describing his Gospell; but such as his was, such also was the rest of the Evangelists; which Saint Iohn sets down expresly in the end of his Gospel, These things (saith He) are written, that ye may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Sonne of the living God. Iohn 20. vers. 31. I say, that to a Christian. Although I conceive this assertion to be sufficiently proved by the following reasons, yet I thought it worth my labour to make a more ample explication of it, because I perceive that being somewhat new, it may possibly be distastfull to many Divines. First therefore when I say this Article, That Jesus is the Christ, is necessary to salvation; I say not that Faith onely is necessary, but I require justice also, or that Obedience which is due to the Lawes of God, that is to say, a Will to live righteously. Secondly, I deny not but the profession of many Articles, (provided that that profession be commanded by the Church) is also necessary to salvation; but seeing Faith is internall, Profession externall, I say that the former onely is properly Faith; the latter a part of Obedience; insomuch as that Article alone sufficeth for inward beleefe, but is not sufficient for the outward profession of a Christian. Lastly, even as if I had said that true and inward Repentance of sinnes was onely necessary to salvation, yet were it not to be held for a Paradox, because we suppose justice, Obedience, and a mind reformed in all manner of vertues to be contained in it: so when I say that the Faith of one Article is sufficient to salvation, it may well be lesse wondred at, seeing that in it so many other Articles are contained. For these words, Jesus is the Christ, do signifie that Jesus was that Person whom God had promised by his Prophets should come into the world to establish his Kingdom, that is to say, that Jesus is the Sonne of God, the Creatour of Heaven and Earth, born of a Virgin, dying for the sinnes of them who should beleeve in Him; that Hee was Christ, that is to say a King; that He reviv'd (for else He were not like to reign) to judge the world, and to reward every one according to his works, for otherwise he cannot be a King; also that men shall rise again, for otherwise they are not like to come to judgement. The whole Symbol of the Apostles is therefore contained in this one Article; which notwithstanding I thought reasonable to contract thus, because I found that many men for this alone, without the rest, were admitted into the Kingdome of God, both by Christ, and his Apostles; as the Thief on the Crosse, the Eunuch baptized by Philip, the two thousand men converted to the Church at once by Saint Peter. But if any man be displeased that I doe not judge all those eternally damned, who doe not inwardly assent to every Article defined by the Church (and yet doe not contradict, but if they be commanded, doe submit) I know not what I shall say to them; for the most evident Testimonies of Holy Writ which doe follow, doe withhold me from altering my opinion.
VII. Secondly, this is proved by the preaching of the Apostles. For they were the Proclamers of his Kingdome, neither did Christ send them to preach ought but the Kingdome of God, Luke 9. vers. 2. Act. 15. vers. 6. And what they did after Christ his Ascension may be understood by the accusation which was brought against them, They drew Jason (saith Saint Luke) and certain Brethren unto the Rulers of the City, crying, These are the men that have turned the world upside down, and are come hither also, whom Jason hath received; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another King, one Jesus. Acts 17. vers. 6, 7. It appears also what the subject of the Apostles Sermons was, out of these words: Opening, and alleadging out of the Scriptures (to wit, of the old Testament) that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that THIS JESUS IS THE CHRIST. Acts 17. vers. 2, 3. VIII. Thirdly, By the places in which the easinesse of those things which are required by Christ to the attaining of salvation, is declared. For if an internall assent of the minde were necessarily required to the truth of all and each Proposition which this day is controverted about the Christian Faith, or by divers Churches is diversly defined, there would be nothing more difficult then the Christian Religion. And how then would that be true, My yoke is easie, and my burthen light? Mat. 11. vers. 30. and that litle ones doe beleeve in Him? Mat. 18. vers. 6. and that it pleased God by the foolishnesse of Preaching, to save those that beleeve? 1 Cor. 1. vers. 21. or how was the thiefe hanging on the Crosse sufficiently instructed to salvation, the confession of whose Faith was contained in these words, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdome; or how could Saint Paul himselfe, from an enemy, so soon become a Doctor of Christians?
IX. Fourthly, by this, that that Article is the foundation of Faith, neither rests it on any other foundation. If any man shall say unto you, Loe here is Christ, or He is there, beleeve it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signes, and wonders, &c. Mat. 24. vers. 23. Whence it followes, that for the Faiths sake which we have in this Article, we must not beleeve any signes, and wonders. Although we, or an Angell from Heaven (saith the Apostle) should preach to you any other Gospel, then what we have preacht, let him be accursed. Gal. 1. 8. By reason of this Article therefore we might not trust the very Apostles, and Angels themselves (and therefore I conceive not the Church neither) if they should teach the contrary. Beloved, beleeve not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the world, hereby know yee the spirit of God, every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God, &c. 1 John 4. vers. 1, 2. That Article therefore is the measure of the Spirits whereby the authority of the Doctors, is either received, or rejected. It cannot be denied indeed, but that all who at this day are Christians, did learn from the Doctors, that it was Jesus who did all those things whereby he might be acknowledged to be the Christ; yet it followes not that the same Persons beleeved that Article for the Doctors, or the Churches, but for Jesus his own sake. For that Article was before the Christian Church, although all the rest were after it, and the Church was founded upon it, not it upon the Church. Mat. 16. vers. 18. Besides, this Article, that Jesus is the Christ, is so fundamentall, that all the rest are by Saint Paul said to be built upon it, For other foundation can no man lay, then that which is layd, which is Jesus Christ (that is to say, that Jesus is the Christ). Now if any man build uPon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stone, wood, hay, stubble; every mans work shall be made manifest: If any mans work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward; if any mans work shall be burnt, he shall suffer losse, but he himselfe shall be saved. 1 Cor. 3. vers. 11, 12, 13. &c. From whence it plainly appears, that by foundation is understood this Article, THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST. For gold, and silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (whereby the Doctrines are signified) are not built upon the Person of Christ; and also, that false Doctrines may be raised upon this foundation, vet not so, as they must necessarily be damned who teach them.
X. Lastly, that this Article alone is needfull to be inwardly beleeved, may be most evidently proved out of many places of holy Scriptures, let who will be the Interpreter: Search the Scriptures, for in them yee think yee have eternall life; and they are they which testify of me. John 5. 39. But Christ meant the Scriptures of the old Testament only: for the new was then not yet written. Now, there is no other testimony concerning Christ in the old Testament, but that an eternall King was to come in such a place, that He was to be born of such Parents, that He was to teach, and doe such things; whereby, as by certain signes, he was to be knowne: All which testify this one thing, that JESUS who was so born, and did teach, and doe such things, was THE CHRIST. Other Faith then was not required to attain eternall life, besides this Article. Whosoever liveth and beleeveth in me, shall never dye. John 11. vers. 25. But to beleeve in Jesus (as is there exprest) is the same with beleeving that JESUS WAS THE CHRIST. He therefore that beleeves that, shall never dye, and by consequence, that Article alone is necessary to salvation. These are written that yee might beleeve that JESUS IS THE CHRIST the Sonne of God, and that beleeving yee might have life through his name. Jo. 20. vers. 31. Wherefore he that beleeves thus, shall have eternall life, and therefore needs no other Faith. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. 1 Jo. 4. v. 2. And, Whosoever beleeveth that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, is born of God. 1 Jo. 5. vers. 1. And, Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that beleeveth that IESUS is the Son of God? 1 Jo. 5. v. 5. If therefore there be no need to beleeve any thing else, to the end a man may be of God, born of God, and overcome the world, then that IESUS IS THE CHRIST. that one Article then is sufficient to salvation. See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou beleevest with all thine heart, thou maist. And he answered and said, I beleeve that IESUS CHRIST is the Sonne of God. Acts 8. vers. 36, 37. If then this Article being beleeved with the whole heart, (that is to say, with inward Faith) was sufficient for Baptisme, it is also sufficient for salvation. Besides these places there are innumerable others which doe clearly, and expresly affirm the same thing. Nay, wheresoever wee read that our Saviour commended the Faith of any one, or that he said, Thy Faith hath saved thee, or that he healed any one for his Faiths sake, there the Proposition beleeved was no other but this, IESUS IS THE CHRIST, either directly, or consequently. XI. But because no man can beleeve IESUS TO BE THE CHRIST, who, when he knowes that by Christ is understood that same King who was promised from God by Moyses, and the Prophets, for to be the King, and Saviour of the world, doth not also beleeve Moyses, and the Prophets, neither can he beleeve these, who beleeves not that God is, and that he governs the world; it is necessary that the Faith of God, and of the old Testament be contained in this Faith of the new. Seeing therefore that Atheisme, and the deniall of the Divine Providence, were the only treason against the Divine Majesty in the Kingdome of God by Nature; but Idolatry also in the Kingdome of God by the Old Covenant; now in this Kingdome wherein God rules by way of a new Covenant, apostasie is also added, or the renunciation of this article once receiv'd, that JESUS IS THE CHRIST. Truly other Doctrines, provided they have their determination from a lawfull Church, are not to be contradicted; for that is the sinne of disobedience; but it hath been fully declar'd before that they are not needfull to be beleev'd with an inward Faith.
XII. Faith and Obedience have divers parts in accomplishing the salvation of a Christian; for this contributes the power, or capacity; that the Act. And either is said to justifie in its kinde. For Christ forgives not the sins of all men, but of the Penitent, or the Obedient, that is to say the just, I say not the guiltlesse, but the just; for justice is a Will of obeying the Lawes, and may be consistent with a sinner, and with Christ the Will to obey is Obedience; for not every man, but the just shall live by Faith. Obedience therefore justifies because it maketh just in the same manner as temperance maketh temperate, Prudence Prudent, Chastity chaste, namely essentially; and puts a man in such a state, as makes him capable of pardon. Againe, Christ hath not promis'd forgivenesse of sinnes to all just men, but only those of them who beleeve Him to be the Christ. Faith therefore justifies in such a sense as a judge may be said to justifie who absolves; namely by the sentence which actually saves a man. And in this acception of justification (for it is an aequivocall terme) Faith alone justifies, but in the other, Obedience onely: but neither Obedience alone nor Faith alone doe save us, but both together.
XIII. By what hath been said hitherto, it will be easy to discerne what the duty of Christian Subjects is towards their Soveraignes, who as long as they professe themselves Christians cannot command their Subjects to deny Christ, or to offer him any contumely; for if they should command this, they would professe themselves to be no Christians. For seeing we have shewed both by naturall reason, and out of holy Scriptures, that Subjects ought in all things to obey their Princes and Governours, excepting those which are contrary to the command of God; and that the commands of God in a Christian City concerning temporall affairs, (that is to say, those which are to be discust by humane reason) are the Lawes and sentence of the City deliver'd from those who have receiv'd authority from the City to make Laws, and judge of controversies; but concerning spirituall matters; (that is to, say those which are to be defin'd by the holy Scripture) are the Lawes, and sentences of the City, that is to say the Church (for a Christian City, and a Church, as hath beene shewed in the foregoing Chapter in the 20. Art. are the same thing) deliv'rd by Pastors lawfully ordain'd, and who have to that end authority given them by the City; it manifestly followes, that in a Christian Common weale, Obedience is due to the Soveraign in all things, as well Spirituall, as Temporall. And that the same obedience even from a Christian subject is due in all temporall matters to those Princes who are no Christians, is without any controversie; but in matters spirituall, that is to say, those things which concern Gods worship, some christian Church is to be followed. For it is an hypothesis of the Christian Faith, that God speaks not in things supernaturall, but by the way of Christian Interpreters of holy Scriptures. But what? Must we resist Princes when we cannot obey them? Truly no; for this is contrary to our civill Covenant. What must we doe then? Goe to Christ by Martyrdome. Which if it seem to any man to be an hard saying, most certain it is that he beleeves not with his whole heart THAT IESUS IS THE CHRIST the Sonne of the living God, (for he would then desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ) but he would by a feigned Christian Faith elude that obedience which he hath contracted to yeeld up unto the City.
XIV. But some men perhaps will wonder, if, (excepting this one Article, that IESUS IS THE CHRIST, which only is necessary to salvation in relation to internall faith) all the rest belong to obedience, which may be performed, although a man doe not inwardly beleeve, (so he doe but desire to beleeve, and make an outward profession, as oft as need requires, of whatsoever is propounded by the Church); how it comes about that there are so many Tenets which are all held so to concern our Faith, that except a man doe inwardly beleeve them, He cannot enter into the Kingdome of Heaven. But if he consider that in most controversies the contention is about humane Soveraignty; in some, matter of gain, and profit; in others, the glory of Wits; he will surely wonder the lesse. The question about the propriety of the Church, is a question about the Right of Soveraignty; for, it being known what a Church is, it is known at once to whom the Rule over Christians doth belong. For if every Christian City be that Church which Christ himselfe hath commanded every Christian subject to that city, to hear, then every subject is bound to obey his City, that is to say, Him, or them who have the supreme power, not only in temporall but also in spirituall matters. But if every Christian City be not that Church, then is there some other Church more universall, which must be obeyed. All Christians therefore must obey that Church just as they would obey Christ if He came upon Earth. She will therfore rule either by the way of Monarchy, or by some Assembly: This question then concerns the Right of ruling. To the same end belongs the question concerning infallibility; for whosoever were truly, and internally beleeved by all mankinde, that he could not erre, would be sure of all Dominion, as well temporall as spirituall, over all mankinde, unlesse himselfe would refuse it; for if he say that he must be obeyed in temporalls, because it is supposed he cannot erre, that Right of Dominion is immediately granted him. Hither also tends the priviledge of interpreting Scriptures. For he to whom it belongs to interpret the controversies arising from the divers interpretations of Scriptures, hath authority also simply and absolutely to determine all manner of controversies whatsoever. but he who hath this, hath also the command over all men who acknowledge the Scriptures to be the Word of God. To this end drive all the disputes about the Power of remitting, and retaining sinnes; or the authority of excommunication. For every man, if he be in his wits, will in all things yeeld that man an absolute obedience, by vertue of whose sentence he beleeves himselfe to be either saved, or damned. Hither also tends the power of instituting societies; for they depend on him by whom they subsist, who hath as many subjects as Monks, although living in an Enemies City. To this end also refers the question concerning the Iudge of lawfull Matrimony; for he to whom that judicature belongs, to him also pertains the knowledge of all those cases which concern the inheritance, and succession to all the goods, and Rights, not of private men onely, but also of Soveraign Princes. And hither also in some respect tends the Virgin-life of Ecclesiasticall Persons; for unmarried men have lesse coherence then others with civill society: and besides, it is an inconvenience not to be slighted, that Princes must either necessarily forgoe the Priesthood (which is a great bond of civill obedience) or have no hereditary Kingdome. To this end also tends the canonization of Saints which the Heathen called Apotheosis; for he that can allure forraign subjects with so great a reward, may bring those who are greedy of such glory to dare, and doe any thing. For what was it but an honourable Name with posterity? which the Decii and other Romans sought after, and a thousand others who cast themselves upon incredible perils? The controversies about Purgatory, and indulgencies, are matter of gain. The questions of Free-will, Iustification, and the manner of receiving Christ in the Sacrament, are Philosophicall. There are also questions concerning some Rites not introduced, but left in the Church not sufficiently purged from gentilisme; but we need reckon no more. All the world knows that such is the nature of men, that dissenting in questions which concern their Power, or profit, or preeminence of Wit, they slander, and curse each other. It is not therefore to be wondred at, if almost all tenets (after men grew hot with disputings) are held forth by some or other to be necessary to salvation, and for our entrance into the Kingdome of Heaven; insomuch as they who hold them not, are not only condemned as guilty of disobedience (which in truth they are after the Church hath once defined them) but of Infidelity, which I have declared above to be wrong out of many evident places of Scripture; to which I adde this one of Saint Pauls, Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth; for God hath received him. One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully perswaded in his own mind, Rom. 14. v. 3, 5.