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law of God, which in truth are nothing less : faulty also in urging some things by Scripture immutable; as their layelders, which the Scripture neither maketh immutable, nor at all teacheth, for any thing either we can as yet find, or they have been hitherto able to prove.

But hereof more in the books that follow. As for those marvellous discourses whereby they adventure to argue, that God must needs have done the thing which they imagine was to be done; I must confess, I have often wondered at their exceeding boldness herein. When the question is, whether God have delivered in Scripture (as they affirm he hath) a complete, particular, immutable, form of church-polity; why take they that other both presumptuous and superfluous labour to prove he should have done it; there being no way in this case to prove the deed of God, saving only by producing that evidence wherein he hath done it? But if there be no such thing apparent upon record, they do as if one should demand a legacy by force and virtue of some written testament, wherein there being no such thing specified, he pleadeth, that there it must needs be, and bringeth arguments from the love or good-will which always the testator bore him; imagining, that these or the like proofs will convict a testament to have that in it which other men can no where by reading find. In matters which concern the actions of God, the most dutiful way on our part is to search what God hath done, and with meekness to admire that, rather than to dispute what he in congruity of reason ought to do. The ways which he hath whereby to do all things for the greatest good of his church, are more in number than we can search; other in nature than that we should presume to determine, which of many should be the fittest for them to choose, till such time as we see he hath chosen of many some one; which

one, we then may boldly conclude to be the fittest because he hath taken it before the rest. When we do otherwise, surely we exceed our bounds; who, and where we are, we forget. And therefore needful it is,

that our pride in such cases be controlled, and our disputes Rom. xi. beaten back with those demands of the blessed apostle, “How

unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who was his counsellor?"

33, 34.

BOOK IV.

Concerning their third assertion, That our form of church-polity is corrupted with

popish orders, rites, and ceremonies, banished out of certain reformed churches, whose example therein we oaght to have followed.

THE MATTER CONTAINED IN THIS FOURTH BOOK.

1. How great use ceremonies have in the church.
2. The first thing they blame in the kind of our ceremonies, is, that we have not in

them ancient apostolical simplicity, but a greater pomp and stateliness.
3. The second, that so many of them are the same which the church of Rome useth ;

and the reasons which they bring to prove them for that cause blameworthy. 4. How when they go about to expound what popish ceremonies they mean, they

contradict their own arguments against popish ceremonies. 5. An answer to the argument, whereby they would prove, that sith we allow the

customs of our fathers to be followed, we therefore may not allow such customs as the church of Rome bath, because we cannot account of them which are of

that church as of our fatbers. 6. To their allegation, that the course of God's own wisdom doth make against our

conformity with the church of Rome in such things. 7. To the example of the eldest church, which they bring for the same parpose. 8. That it is not our best polity (as they pretend ii is) for establishment of sound

religion, to have in these things do agreement with the church of Rome being

upsound. 9. That neither the papists upbraiding us as furnished out of their store, nor any

hope which in that respect they are said to conceive, doth make any more against

our ceremonies than the former allegations have done. 10. The grief, which, they say, godly brethren conceive, at such ceremonies as we

have common with the church of Rome. 11. The third thing, for which they reprove a great part of our ceremonies, is, for

that as we have them from the church of Rome, so that church had them from

the Jews. 12. The fourth, for that sandry of them have been (they say) abused into idolatry,

and are by that means become scandalous. 13. The fifth, for that we retain them still, notwithstanding the example of certain

churches reformed before us, which have cast them out. 14. A declaration of the proceedings of the church of England, for the establish

ment of things as they are.

Such was the ancient simplicity and softness of spirit, which How great sometimes prevailed in the world, that they whose words use cerewere even as oracles amongst men, seemed evermore loath have in the to give sentence against any thing publicly received in the church. church of God, except it were wonderfully apparently evil; for that they did not so much incline to that severity which delighteth to reprove the least things it seeth amiss, as to that charity which is unwilling to behold any thing that duty bindeth it to reprove. The state of this present age wherein zeal hath drowned charity, and skill meekness, will not now suffer any man to marvel, whatsoever he shall hear reproved, by whomsoever. Those rites and ceremonies of the church

therefore, which are the self-same now, that they were when holy and virtuous men maintained them against profane and deriding adversaries, her own children have at this day in derision. Whether justly or no, it shall then appear, when. all things are heard which they have to allege against the outward-received orders of this church. Which inasmuch as themselves do compare unto mint and cummin, granting them to be no part of those things which in the matter of polity are weightier, we hope that for small things their strife will neither be earnest nor long. The sifting of that which is objected against the orders of the church in particular, doth not belong unto this place. Here we are to discuss only those general exceptions, which have been taken at any time against them. First, therefore, to the end that their nature and use whereto they serve may plainly appear, and so afterward their quality the better be discerned: we are to note, that in every grand or main public duty which God requireth at the hands of his church, there is, besides that matter and form wherein the essence thereof consisteth, a certain outward fashion whereby the same is in decent sort administered. The substance of all religious actions is delivered from God himself in few words. For example's sake in the sacraments," unto the element let the word be added, and they both do make a sacrament,” saith St. Augustine. Baptism is given by the element of water, and that prescript form of words which the church of Christ doth use; the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ is administered in the elements of bread and wine, if those mystical words be added thereunto. But the due and decent form of administering those holy sacraments doth require a great deal more. The end which is aimed at in setting down the outward form of all religious actions, is the edification of the church. Now men are edified, when either their understanding is taught somewhat whereof in such actions, it behoveth all men to consider, or when their hearts are moved with any affection suitable thereunto; when their minds are in any sort stirred up unto that reverence, devotion, attention, and due regard, which in those cases seemeth requisite. Because therefore unto this purpose not only speech, but sundry sensible means

a Matt. xxiii. 23. The doctrine and discipline of the church as the weighliest things, ought' especially to be looked unto : but the ceremonies also, as mint and cummin, onght not to be neglected. T. C. 1. iii. p. 171.

same.

besides have alway been thought necessary, and especially those means which being object to the eye, the liveliest and the most apprehensive sense of all other, have in that respect seemed the fittest to make a deep and strong impression. From hence have risen not only a number of prayers, readings, questionings, exhortings, but even of visible signs also, which being used in performance of holy actions,are undoubtedly most effectual to open such matter as men when they know and remember carefully must needs be a great deal the better informed to what effect such duties serve. We must not think but that there is some ground of reason even in nature, whereby it cometh to pass that no nation under heaven either doth or ever did some public actions which are of weight, whether they be civil and temporal, or else spiritual and sacred, to pass without some visible solemnity: the very strangeness whereof, and difference from that which is common, doth cause popular eyes to observe and to mark the

Words, both because they are common and do not so strongly move the fancy of man, are for the most part but slightly heard ; and therefore, with singular wisdom it hath been provided that the deeds of men which are made in the presence of witnesses, should pass not only with words, but also with certain sensible actions, the memory whereof is far more easy and durable than the memory of speech can be. The things which so long experience of all ages hath confirmed and made profitable, let not us presume to condemn as follies and toys, because we sometimes know not the cause and reason of them. A wit disposed to scorn whatsoever it doth not conceive, might ask wherefore Abraham should say to his servant: “ Put thy hand under my thigh and swear;" Gen. was it not sufficient for his servant to shew the religion of oath, by naming the Lord God of heaven and earth, unless that strange ceremony were added ? In contracts, bargains and

conveyances, a man's word is a token sufficient to express his will.

“ Yet this was the ancient manner in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging to establish all things; iv. 7. a man did pluck off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour; and this was a sure witness in Israel.” Amongst the Romans in their making of a bondman free, was it not wondered wherefore so great ado should be made ? The master to present his slave in some court, to take him by the hand, and not only to say in the hearing of the public magistrate, I will

an

xxiv.%.

Rath

that this man become free ; but after these solemn words uttered to strike him on the cheek, to turn him round, the hair of his head to be shaved off, the magistrate to touch him

thrice with a rod, in the end a cap and a white garment to be Exod. given him: to what purpose all this circumstance ? Amongst xxi.6.

the Hebrews how strange, and in outward appearance almost against reason, that he which was minded to make himself a perpetual servant, should not only testify so much in the

presence of the judge, but for a visible token thereof have also his ear bored through with an awl! It were an infinite labour to prosecute these things so far as they might be exemplified both in civil and religious actions. For in both they have their necessary use and force. " These sensible things which religion hath allowed, are resemblances framed according to things spiritually understood, whereunto they serve as a hand to lead, and a way to direct." And whereas it may peradventure be objected, that to add to religious duties such rites and ceremonies as are significant, is to institute new sacraments; sure I am they will not say that Numa Pompilius did ordain a sacrament, a significant ceremony he did ordain, in commanding the priests “to execute the work of their Divine service with their hands as far as to the fingers covered ; thereby signifying that fidelity must be defended, and that men's right hands are the sacred seat thereof.” Again, we are also to put them in mind, that themselves do not hold all significant ceremonies for sacraments, insomuch as imposition of hands they deny to be a sacrament, and yet they

give thereunto a forcible signification. For concerning it Eccles. their words are these: “ The party ordained by this ceremony

was put in mind of his separation to the work of the Lord, that remembering himself to be taken as it were with the hand of God from amongst others, this might teach him not to account himself now his own, nor to do what himself listeth; but to consider, that God hath set him about a work, which if he will discharge and accomplish, he may at the hands of

God assure himself of reward; and, if otherwise, of revenge.” Fol. 25. Touching significant ceremonies, some of them are sacra

dis. fol. 51.

ments, some as sacraments only. Sacraments are those, which are signs and tokens of some general promised grace,

* Τα μεν αισθητώς ιερών νοητών απεικονίσματα και επ' αυτά χειραγωγία και οδός. Dionys. p. 121.

b Manu ad digitos usque involuta rem Divinam facere, significantes, fidem tutandam, sedemque ejus etiam in dextris sacratum esse.

Liv. lib.i.

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