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them in that day is honourable. The fruit of their industry then shall they reap with full contentment and satisfaction, but not till then. Wherein the greatness of their reward is abundantly sufficient to countervail the tediousness of their expectation. Wherefore till then, they that are in labour must rest in hope. O Timothy, keep that which is committed unto thy charge; that great commandment whieh thou hast received, keep till the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. In which sense, although we judge the apostle's words to have been uttered; yet hereunto do we not require them to yield, that think any other construction more sound. If therefore it be rejected, and theirs esteemed more probable which hold, that the last words do import perpetual observation of the apostle's commandment imposed necessarily for ever upon the militant church of Christ; let them withal consider, that then his commandment cannot so largely be taken to comprehend whatsoever the apostle did command Timothy. For themselves do not all bind the church unto some things, whereof Timothy received charge, as namely, unto that precept concerning the choice of widows: so as they cannot hereby maintain, that all things positively commanded concerning the affairs of the church, were commanded for perpetuity. And we do not deny that certain things were commanded to be, though positive, yet perpetual in the church. They should not therefore urge against us places that seem to forbid change, but rather such as set down some measure of alteration; which measure, if we have exceeded, then might they therewith charge us justly; whereas now they themselves, both granting and also using liberty to change, cannot in reason dispute absolutely against all change. Christ delivered no inconvenient or unmeet laws. Sundry of ours they hold inconvenient; therefore such laws they cannot possibly hold to be Christ's; being not his, they must of necessity grant them added unto his. Yet certain of those very laws so added, they themselves do not judge unlawful; as they plainly confess, both in matter of prescript attire, and of rites appertaining to burial. Their own protestations are, that they plead against the inconvenience not the unlawfulness of popish apparel;a and against the inconvenience not the unlawfulness of ceremonies in burial. Therefore they hold it a thing not unlawful to add to the laws of Jesus Christ; and so consequently they yield that no law of Christ forbiddeth addition unto church-laws.
a My reasons do never conclude the unlawfulness of these ceremonies of burial, but the inconvenience and inexpedience of them. And in the table. Of the inconvenience, not of the unlawfulness of Popish apparel and ceremonies in burial. T. C. lib. iii. p. 241.
The judgment of Calvin being alleged against them, to whom of all men they attribute most;a whereas his words be plain, that for ceremonies and external discipline the church hath power to make laws: the answer which hereunto they make is, That indefinitely the speech is true, and that so it was meant by him; namely, That some things belonging unto external discipline and ceremonies are in the power and arbitrement of the church : but neither was it meant, neither is it true generally, that all external discipline, and all ceremonies, are left to the order of the church, inasmuch as the sacraments of baptism and the supper of the Lord are ceremonies, which yet the church may not therefore abrogate. Again, excommunication is a part of external discipline, which might also be cast away if all external discipline were arbitrary and in the choice of the church. By which their answer it doth appear, that touching the names of ceremony and external discipline, they gladly would have so understood, as if we did herein contain a great deal more than we do. The fault which we find with them, is, that they overmuch abridge the church of her power in these things. Whereupon they recharge us, as if in these things we gave the church a liberty which hath no limits or bounds; as if all things which the name of discipline containeth were at the church's free choice. So that we might either have church-governors and government, or want them; either retain or reject churchcensures as we list. They wonder at us as at men which think it so indifferent what the church doth in matter of ceremonies, that it may be feared lest we judge the very sacraments themselves to be held at the church's pleasure. No, the
a Upon the indefinite speaking of Mr. Calvin, saying, Ceremonies and external discipline, without adding all or some, you go about subtilly to make men believe, that Mr. Calvin hath placed the whole external discipline in the power and arbitrement of the church. For if all external discipline were arbitrary, and in the choice of the church, excommunication also (wbich is a part of it) might be cast away; which I think you will not say.-And in the very next words before : Where you will give to understand, that ceremonies and external discipline are not prescribed particularly by the word of God, and therefore left to the order of the church : you must understand, that all external discipline is not left to the order of the church, being particularly prescribed in the Scriptures, no more than all ceremouies are left - to the order of the church, as the sacraments of haptism and the supper of the Lord. T. C. lib. i. p. 32.
name of ceremonies we do not use in so large a meaning, as to bring sacraments within the compass and reach thereof; although things belonging unto the outward form and seemly administration of them are contained in that name, even as
we use it. For the name of ceremonies we use as they themT.C. selves do, when they speak after this sort : “ The doctrine p 171. and discipline of the church, as the weightiest things, ought
especially to be looked unto; but the ceremonies also, as mint and cummin, ought not to be neglected.” Besides, in the matter of external discipline or regiment itself, we do not deny but there are some things whereto the church is bound till the world's end. So as the question is only, how far the bounds of the church's liberty do reach. We hold, that the power which the church hath lawfully to make laws and orders for itself doth extend unto sundry things of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and such other matters, whereto their opinion is, that the church's authority and power doth not reach. Whereas therefore in disputing against us about this point, they take their compass a great deal wider than the truth of things can afford; producing reasons and arguments by way of generality, to prove that Christ hath set down all things belonging any way unto the form of ordering his church, and hath absolutely forbidden change by addition or diminution, great or small (for so their manner of disputing is); we are constrained to make our defence by shewing, that Christ hath not deprived his church so far of all liberty in making orders and laws for itself, and that they themselves do not think he hath so done. For are they able to shew that all particular customs, rites, and orders, of reformed churches, have been appointed by Christ himself ? No: they grant, that in matter of circumstance they alter that which they have received ;a but in things of substance they keep the laws of Christ without change. If we say the same in our own behalf (which surely we may do with a great deal more truth), then must they cancel all that hath been before alleged, and begin to inquire afresh, whether we retain the laws that Christ hath delivered concerning matters of substance, yea or no. For our constant persuasion in this point is as theirs, that we have no where altered the laws of Christ, farther than in such particularities only as have the nature of things changeable according to the difference of times, places, persons, and other the like circumstances. Christ hath commanded prayers to be made, sacraments to be ministered, his church to be carefully taught and guided. Concerning every of these, somewhat Christ hath commanded, which must be kept till the world's end. On the contrary side, in every of them somewhat there may be added, as the church shall judge it expedient. So that if they will speak to purpose, all which hitherto hath been disputed of, they must give over, and stand upon such particulars only as they can shew we have either added or abrogated otherwise than we ought in the matter of church-polity. Whatsoever Christ hath commanded for ever to be kept in his church, the same we take not upon us to abrogate; and whatsoever our laws have thereunto added besides, of such quality we hope it as no law of Christ doth any where condemn. Wherefore, that all may be laid together and gathered into a narrow room ;
a We deny not but certain things are left to the order of the church, because they are of the nature of those which are varied by limes, places, persons, and other circumstances, and so could not at once be set down and established for ever. T. C. lib. i. p. 27.
First, so far forth as the church is the mystical body of 1. Christ and his invisible spouse, it needeth no external polity. That very part of the law Divine which teacheth faith and works of righteousness, is itself alone sufficient for the church of God in that respect. But as the church is a visible society and body politic, laws of polity it cannot want. Secondly, whereas therefore it cometh in the second II. place to be inquired, what laws are fittest and best for the church; they who first embraced that rigorous and strict opinion, which depriveth the church of liberty to make any Isa. kind of law for herself, inclined (as it should seem) thereun- xxix. 14. to; for that they imagined all things which the church doth ii. 22. without commandment of Holy Scripture, subject to that reproof which the Scripture itself useth in certain cases, when Divine authority ought alone to be followed. Hereupon they thought it enough for the cancelling of any kind of order whatsoever, to say, “ The word of God teacheth it not, it is a device of the brain of man, away with it therefore out of the church.” St. Augustine was of another mind, who, speaking of fasts on the Sunday, saith, " that he wbich would August.
Epist. 36. choose out that day to fast on, should give thereby no small offence to the church of God, which had received a contrary custom. For in these things, whereof the Scripture appointeth no certainty, the use of the people of God, or the ordi
nances of our fathers, must serve for a law. In which case, if we will dispute, and condemn one sort by another's custom, it will be but matter of endless contention; where, forasmuch as the labour of reasoning shall hardly beat into men's heads any certain or necessary truth, surely it standeth us upon to take heed, lest with the tempest of strife, the brightness of charity and love be darkened.” If all things must be commanded of God which may be practised of his church, I would know what commandment the Gileadites
had to erect that altar which is spoken of in the Book of Josh. Joshua. Did not congruity of reason induce them thereunto, xxii.
and suffice for defence of their fact? I would know what
commandment the women of Israel had yearly to mourn and Judg. lament in the memory of Jephthah's daughter; what comxi, 10. mandment the Jews had to celebrate their feast of dedication,
never spoken of in the law, yet solemnized even by our Saviour himself; what commandment, finally, they had for the ceremony of odours used about the bodies of the dead, after
which custom notwithstanding (sith it was their custom) John our Lord was contented that his own most precious body xix. 40.
should be entombed. Wherefore to reject all orders of the church which men have established, is to think worse of the laws of men in this respect, than either the judgment of wise men alloweth, or the law of God itself will bear. Howbeit, they which had once taken upon them to condemn all things done in the church, and not commanded of God to be done, saw it was necessary for them (continuing in defence of this their opinion) to hold, that needs there must be in Scripture set down a complete particular form of church-polity, a form prescribing how all the affairs of the church must be ordered, a form in no respect lawful to be altered by mortal men. For reformation of which oversight and error in them, there were that thought it a part of Christian love and charity to instruct them better, and to open unto them the difference between matters of perpetual necessity to all men's salvation, and matters of ecclesiastical polity : the one both fully and plainly taught in Holy Scripture; the other not necessary to be in such sort there prescribed : the one not capable of any diminution or augmentation at all by men, the other apt to admit both. Hereupon the authors of the former opinion were presently seconded by other wittier and better learned, who being loath that the form of church