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them ancient

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which always really descendeth from God unto the soul that duly receiveth them; other significant tokens are only as sacraments, yet no sacraments: which is not our distinction, but theirs. For concerning the apostles' imposition of hands these are their own words, " magnum signum hoc et quasi sacramentum usurparunt;" they used this sign, or as it were a sacrament.

Concerning rites and ceremonies there may be fault, either The first in the kind or in the number and multitude of them. The thing they

blame in the first thing blamed about the kind of ours is, that in many kind of our

ceremonies, things we have departed from the ancient simplicity of

is, that we Christ and his apostles; we have embraced more outward have not stateliness, we have those orders in the exercise of religion,

, apostolical which they who best pleased God, and served him most de- simplicity,

but a greater voutly, never had. For it is out of doubt that the first state of things was best, that in the prime of Christian religion faith stateliness. was soundest, the Scriptures of God were then best understood disc. et T. by all men, all parts of godliness did then most abound; C. I. iii. and therefore it must needs follow, that customs, laws and ordinances devised since are not so good for the church of Christ; but the best way is, to cut off later inventions, and to reduce things unto the ancient state wherein at the first they were. Which rule or canon we hold to be ei certain, or at leastwise insufficient, if not both. For in case be it certain, hard it cannot be for them to shew us where we shall find it so exactly set down, that we may say, without all controversy these were the orders of the apostles' times, these wholly and only, neither fewer nor more than these. True it is, that many things of this nature be alluded unto, yea, many things declared, and many things necessarily collected out of the apostles' writings. But is it necessary that all the orders of the church, which were then in use, should be contained in their books ? Surely no. For if the tenor of their writings be well observed, it shall unto any man easily appear, that no more of them are there touched than were needful to be spoken of, sometimes by one occasion, and sometimes by another. Will they allow then of any other records besides? Well assured I am they are far enough from acknowledging, that the church ought to keep any thing as apostolical, which is not found in the apostles' writings, in. what other records soever it be found. And therefore, whereas St. Augustine affirmeth, that those things which the whole

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church of Christ doth hold, may well be thought to be apostolical, although they be not found written;a this his judgment they utterly condemn. I will not here stand in defence of St. Augustine's opinion, which is, that such things are indeed apostolical ; but yet with this exception, unless the decree of some general council have haply caused them to be received : for of positive laws and orders received throughout the whole Christian world, St. Augustine could imagine no other fountain, save these two. But to let pass St. Augustine, they who condemn him herein must needs confess it a very uncertain thing, what the orders of the church were in the apostles' times, seeing the Scriptures do not mention them all, and other records thereof besides they utterly reject. So that in tying the church to the orders of the apostles' times, they tie it to a marvellous uncertain rule ; unless they require the observation of no orders but only those which are known to be apostolical by the apostles' own writings. But then is not this their rule of such sufficiency, that we should use it as a touchstone to try the orders of the church by for ever. Our end ought always to be the same; our ways and means thereunto not so. The glory of God and the good of the church was the thing which the apostles aimed at, and therefore ought to be the mark whereat we also level. But seeing those rites and orders may

be at one time more which at another are less available unto that purpose, what reason is there in these things to urge the state of our only age as a pattern for all to follow? It is not, I am right sure, their meaning, that we should now assemble our people to serve God in close and secret meetings; or that common brooks or rivers should be used for places of baptism; or that the eucharist should be ministered after meat; or that the custom of church-feasting should be renewed; or that all kind of standing provision for the ministry should be utterly taken away, and their estate made again dependent upon the voluntary devotion of men. In these things they easily perceive how unfit that were for the present, which was for the first age convenient enough. The faith, zeal and godliness of former times is worthily had in honour ; but doth this prove that the orders of the church of Christ must be still the self-same with theirs, that nothing may be which was not then, or that nothing which then was may lawfully since have çeased ? They who recal the church unto that which was at the first, must necessarily set bounds and limits unto their speeches. If any thing have been rereceived repugnant unto that which was first delivered, the first things in this case must stand, the last give place unto them. But where difference is without repugnancy, that which hath been can be no prejudice to that which is. Let the state of the people of God when they were in the house of bondage, and their manner of serving God in a strange land, be compared with that which Canaan and Jerusalem did afford: and who seeth not what huge difference there was between them? In Egypt it may be, they were right glad to take some corner of a poor cottage, and there to serve God upon their knees, peradventure covered in dust and straw sometimes. Neither were they therefore the less accepted of God: but he was with them in all their afflicţions, and at the length, by working of their admirable deliverance, did testify that they served him not in vain. Notwithstanding in the very desert they are no sooner possessed of some little thing of their own, but a tabernacle is required at their hands. Being planted in the land of Canaan, and having David to be their king, when the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies, it grieved his religious mind to consider the growth of his own estate and dignity, the affairs of religion continuing still in the former manner: “Behold 2 Sam. now I dwell in the house of cedar-trees, and the ark of God renaineth still within curtains." What he did purpose, it was the pleasure of God that Solomon, his son, should perform, and perform it in manner suitable unto their present, not their ancient estate and condition; for which cause Solomon writeth unto the King of Tyrus : "the house which I 2 Chron. build is great and wonderful; for great is our God above all gods.” Whereby it clearly appeareth, that the orders of the church of God may be acceptable unto him, as well being framed suitable to the greatness and dignity of later, as when they keep the reverend simplicity of ancienter times. Such dissimilitude therefore, between us and the apostles of Christ,

a Tom. vii. de Bapt. contra Donalist. lib. v. cap. 23. T. C. l. ii. p. 181. If this judgment of St. Augustine be a good judgment and sound, then there be some things commanded of God which are not in the Scripture ; and therefore, there is no sufficient doctrine contained in Scripture, whereby we may be saved. For all the commandments of God and of the apostles are needful for our salvatiou. Vide Ep. 118.

vii. 2.

ü. 5.

remonies

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T. C. l. i.

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in the order of some outward things, is no argument of

default. Oor orders 3. Yea, but we have framed ourselves to the customs of and ce

the church of Rome; our orders and ceremonies are papistiblained, cal. It is espied that our church-founders were not so carein that so many of

ful as in this matter they should have been, but contented them are the themselves with such discipline as they took from the church same which the church

of Rome. Their error we ought to reform by abolishing all of Rome

popish orders. There must be no communion nor fellowuseth. Ecoles.

ship with papists, neither in doctrine, ceremonies, nor governDisc. fol. 12. ment. It is not enough that we are divided from the church of T.C. l. i.

Rome by the single wall of doctrine, retaining as we do part

of their ceremonies and almost their whole government; but 1. C. 1. i. government or ceremonies, or whatsoever it be which is po

pish, away with it. This is the thing they require in us, the
utter relinquishment of all things popish. Wherein, to the
end we may answer them according to their plain direct
meaning, and not take advantage of doubtful speech, where-
by controversies grow always endless; their main position
being this, that nothing should be placed in the church, but
what God in his word hath commanded, they must of neces-
sity hold all for popish which the church of Rome hath over
and besides this. By popish orders, ceremonies, and govern-
ment, they must therefore mean in every of these so much
as the church of Rome hath embraced without command-
ment of God's word: so that whatsoever such thing we have,
if the church of Rome hath it also, it goeth underthe name of
those things that are popish, yea, although it be lawful, al-

though agreeable to the word of God. For so they plainly T.C. 1. i. affirm, saying, “ Although the forms and ceremonies which

they (the church of Rome) used were not unlawful, and that
they contained nothing which is not agreeable to the word
of God, yet notwithstanding neither the word of God, nor
reason, nor the examples of the eldest churches, both Jewish
and Christian, do permit us to use the same forms and cere-
mories, being neither commanded of God, neither such as
there may not as good as they, and rather better, be esta-
blished." The question therefore is, whether we may follow
the church of Rome in those orders, rites, and ceremonies,
wherein we do not think them blameable, or else ought to
devise others, and to have no conformity with them, no not

p. 131.

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so much as in these things? In this sense and construction therefore as they affirm, so we deny, that whatsoever is popish we ought to abrogate. Their arguments to prove that generally all popish orders and ceremonies ought to be clean .abolished, are in sum these: “ First, whereas we allow the T.C. 1. i.

dgment of St. Augustine, that touching those things of P. 30. this

kind, which are not commanded or forbidden in the Scripture, we are to observe the custom of the people of God and the decrees of our forefathers; how can we retain the customs and constitutions of the papists in such things, who were neither the people of God nor our forefathers ? Se- T.C.1.i. condly, although the forms and ceremonies of the church of p. 131. Rome were not unlawful, neither did contain any thing which is not agreeable to the word of God, yet neither the word of God, nor the example of the eldest churches of God, nor reason, do permit us to use the same, they being heretics and so near about us, and their orders being neither commanded of God, noryet such, but that as good or rather better may be established. It is against the word of God to have conformity with the church of Rome in such things, as appeareth in that the wisdom of God hath thought it a good way to keep his people from infection of idolatry and superstition, by severing them from idolaters in outward ceremonies, and therefore hath forbidden them to do things which are in themselves very lawful to be done. And farther, whereas the Lord was careful to sever them by ceremonies from other nations, yet was he not so careful to sever them from any as from the Egyptians amongst whom they lived, and from those nations which were next neighbours to them, because from them was the greatest fear of infection. So that following the course which T. C. l.in the wisdom of God doth teach, it were more safe for us to conform our indifferent ceremonies to the Turks which are far off, than to the papists which are so near. Touching the example of the eldest churches of God, in one council it was Tom. ii. decreed, that Christians should not deck their houses with Braca. 73. bay leaves and green boughs, because the pagans did use so to do; and that they should not rest from their labours those days that the pagans did ; that they should not keep the first day of every month as they did. Another council decreed, Con. Afric: that Christians should not celebrate feasts on the birth-days cap. 27. of the martyrs, because it was the manner of the heathen. ‘O!(saith Tertullian)better is the religion of the heathen: for

p. 132.

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