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Ch. x, 8.

390 Immutability if granted would tell against Puritanism. BOOK nii, not commanded and yet may be received in the Church,

how can their former position stand, condemning all things in the Church which in the word are not commanded? If they be commanded and yet may suffer change, how can this latter stand, affirming all things immutable which are commanded of God? Their distinction touching matters of substance and of circumstance, though true, will not serve. For be they great things or be they small, if God have commanded them in the Gospel, and his commanding them in the Gospel do make them unchangeable, there is no reason we should more change the one than we may the other. If the authority of the maker do prove unchangeableness in the laws which God hath made, then must all laws which he hath made be necessarily for ever permanent, though they be but of circumstance only and not of substance. I therefore conclude, that neither God's being author of laws for government of his Church, nor his committing them unto Scripture, is any reason sufficient wherefore all churches should for ever be bound to keep them without change.

[8.] But of one thing we are here to give them warning by the way. For whereas in this discourse we have oftentimes profest that many piarts of discipline or church polity are delivered in Scripture, they may perhaps imagine that we are driven to confess their discipline to be delivered in Scripture, and that having no other means to avoid it, we are fain to argue for the changeableness of God himself, as if otherwise theirs of necessity

should take place, and that under which we live be abandoned.

There is no remedy therefore but to abate this error in ti directly to let them know, that if they fall into al conceit, they do but a little flatter their own cause. us, we think in no respect so highly of it. Our persuas

sion is, that no age ever had knowledge of it but only ours they which defend it devised it; that neither Christ his Apostles at any time taught it, but the contrary. If the fore we did seek to maintain that which most advantages

rth our own cause, the very best way for us and the stronge against them were to hold even as they do, that in Scripturo there must needs be found some particular form of church! polity which God hath instituted, and which for that very

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Whether Church Laws are declared immutable.


Ch. x 1, 2.

Christ have

which are set

cause belongeth to all churches, to all times 37. But with BOOK III.
any such partial eye to respect ourselves, and by cunning
to make those things seem the truest which are the fittest
to serve our purpose, is a thing which we neither like nor
mean to follow. Wherefore that which we take to be
generally true concerning the mutability of laws, the same we
have plainly delivered, as being persuaded of nothing more
than we are of this, that whether it be in matter of speculation
or of practice, no untruth 38 can possibly avail the patron
and defender long, and that things most truly are likewise
most behovefully spoken.

XI. This we hold and grant for truth, that those very laws Whether which of their own nature are changeable, be notwithstanding forbidden all

change of uncapable of change, if he which gave them, being of authority those lew* so to do, forbid absolutely to change them; neither may down in

they admit alteration against the will of such a law-maker.
Albeit therefore we do not find any cause why of right there
should be necessarily an immutable form set down in holy
Scripture; nevertheless if indeed there have been at any time
a church polity so set down, the change whereof the sacred
Scripture doth forbid, surely for men to alter those laws
which God for perpetuity hath established were presumption
most intolerable.

[2.] To prove therefore that the will of Christ was to
establish laws so permanent and immutable that in any sort to
alter them cannot but highly offend God, thus they reason.
First 39, if Moses, being but a servant in the house of God, did
37 «
Disciplina est Christianæ Ec- “ment in the Church.

If perma-
'clesia Politia, a Deo ejus recte “ nent, then not to be changed.
“ administrandæ causa constituta, “ What then do they, that (not only]

ac propterea ex ejus verbo petenda, “ hold it may be changed at the *** et ob eandem causam omnium “ magistrate's pleasure, but advise “ ecclesiarum communis et omnium “the magistrate by his positive “ temporum.” Lib. de Eccles. “ laws to proclaim, that it is his Discip. in Anal.

[See also p. 9,

“ will, that if there shall be a Cartwright's Translation.]

“ church within his dominions, he 38 'Εοίκασιν ουν οι αληθείς των “ will maim and deform the same ?” λόγων ου μόνον προς το είδέναι χρη- Μ. Μ. [Martin Marprelate, « Ha’ σιμώτατοι είναι, αλλά και προς τον ye any work for a Cooper ?"] p. βίον. Συνοδοί γάρ όντες έργοις, πισ- 16. “ He that was as faithful as Teúoytai. Arist. Ethic. lib. x. cap. 1. “ Moses, left as clear instruction

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purs, Christ

39 Heb. iii. 6. “ Either that com- “ for the government of the Church: “ mendation of the son before the 6 but Christ was as faithful as “ servant is a false testimony, or the “ Moses : Ergo.” Demonst. of “son ordained a permanent govern- Discip. cap. i. (p. 3. See also

If the Ivantage

stronge Scripture of church

that very

Ch. xi. 3.

392 Mutability no Mark of comparative Disfarour : BOOK 11. therein establish laws of government for perpetuity, laws

which they that were of the household might not alter; shall we admit into our thoughts, that the Son of God hath in providing for this his household declared himself less faithful than Moses? Moses delivering unto the Jews such laws as were durable, if those be changeable which Christ hath delivered unto us, we are not able to avoid it, but (that which to think were heinous impiety) we of necessity must confess even the Son of God himself to have been less faithful than Moses. Which argument shall need no touchstone to try it by but some other of the like making. Moses erected in the wilderness a tabernacle which was moveable from place to place; Solomon a sumptuous and stately temple which was not moveable: therefore Solomon was faithfuller than Moses, which no man endued with reason will think. And yet by this reason it doth plainly follow.

He that will see how faithful the one or the other was, must compare the things which they both did unto the charge which God gave each of them. The Apostle in making comparison between our Saviour and Moses attributeth faithfulness unto both, and maketh this difference between them; Moses in, but Christ over the house of God; Moses in that house which was his by charge and commission, though to govern it, yet to govern it as a servant ; but Christ over this house as being his own entire possession.

[3.] Our Lord and Saviour doth make protestation,“ I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me 10." Faithful therefore he was, and concealed not any part of his Father's will. But did any part of that will require the immutability of laws concerning church polity? They answer, Yea. For else God should less favour us than the Jews 41.


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Theses Martinianæ, 5th Thesis.

« Filio, et


Eliezerum “ If Christ did not ordain a church “ Isaaco in paterna domo præferagovernment which at the pleasure


Counterpoison, p. 9 " of man cannot be changed, then Penry's Appellation to the High “ he is inferior unto Moses : for the Court of Parliament, p. 18.]

government placed by him might 40 John xvii. 8.
no man alter, and thereto might

41 ~ Either God hath left a preno man add any thing. Heb. iii. “script form of government now, 2, 3." Eccl. Disc. fol. 7.

or else he is less careful under the “illum aliqua parte prophetici mu- “ New Testament than under the “ neris spoliemus, aut servum,

“ Old.” Demonst. of Dis. cap. i. " quantumvis fidelem, unigenito [T. C. i. 62. ap. Whitg. Def. 304.]





e.g. in the Matter of Civil Polity.

893 God would not have their church guided by any laws but his BOOK. 111.

And seeing this did so continue even till Christ, now to ease God of that care, or rather to deprive the Church of his patronage, what reason have we? Surely none to derogate any thing from the ancient love which God hath borne to his Church. An heathen philosopher 42 there is, who considering how many things beasts have which men have not, how naked in comparison of them, how impotent, and how much less able we are to shift for ourselves a long time after we enter into this world, repiningly concluded hereupon, that nature being a careful mother for them, is towards us a hard-hearted stepdame. No, we may not measure the affection of our gracious God towards his by such differences. For even herein shineth his wisdom, that though the ways of his providence be many, yet the end which he bringeth all at the length unto is one and the selfsame.

[4.] But if such kind of reasoning were good, might we not even as directly conclude the very same concerning laws of secular regiment? Their own words are these : “In the “ ancient church of the Jews, God did command and Moses “ commit unto writing all things pertinent as well to the “ civil as to the ecclesiastical state 43.” God gave them laws of civil regiment, and would not permit their commonweal to be governed by any other laws than his own. Doth God less regard our temporal estate in this world, or provide for it worse than for theirs ? To us notwithstanding he hath not as to them delivered any particular form of temporal regiment, unless perhaps we think, as some do, that the grafting of the

42 [Philemon, Fragm. Incert. xliii. ed. Cler.

πολύ γ' εστί πάντων ζώον αθλιώτατον
άνθρωπος, εί τις εξετάζοι κατά τρόπον.
τον γάρ βίον περίεργον εις τα πάντ' έχων,
άπορεί τα πλείστα διά τέλους, πονεί τ' αεί.
και τους μεν άλλοις πάσιν η γη θηρίοις
εκούσα παρέχει την καθ' ημέραν τροφήν,
αυτή πορίζουσ', ου λαβούσα πάνυ μόλις
ώσπερ το κατά χρέος κεφάλαιον εκτίει
το σπέρμα, τους τόκους ανευρίσκουσ' αεί

πρόφασίν τιν' αυχμόν, ή πάγην, ίν' αποστερή.]
43 Ecclesiast. Disc. lib. i. [fol. 5. “ statum (pertinent] .... diligenter
“ In vetere ecclesia Judæorum omnia “ descripta sunt, et a Deo præcepta,
“ quæ ad regendum non modo a Mose literis commendata.”]
« civilem sed etiam ecclesiasticum


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The Gospel less systematic than the Law.

BOOK II. Gentilés 44 and their incorporating into Israel 45 doth import Ch. xi. 5. 6.

that we ought to be subject unto the rites and laws of their whole polity. We see then how weak such disputes are, and how smally they make to this purpose.

[5.] That Christ did not mean to set down particular positive laws for all things in such sort as Moses did, the very different manner of delivering the laws of Moses and the laws of Christ doth plainly shew. Moses had commandment to gather the ordinances of God together distinctly, and orderly to set them down according unto their several kinds, for each public duty and office the laws that belong thereto, as appeareth in the books themselves, written of purpose for that end. Contrariwise the laws of Christ we find rather mentioned by occasion in the writings of the Apostles, than any solemn thing directly written to comprehend them in legal sort.

[6.] Again, the positive laws which Moses gave, they were given for the greatest part with restraint to the land of Jewry: “Behold,” saith Moses, “I have taught you ordinances “ and laws, as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye “ should do even so within the land whither ye go to possess “ it 46.” Which laws and ordinances positive he plainly distinguisheth afterward from the laws of the Two Tables which were moral 47. “ The Lord spake unto you out of the “ midst of the fire ; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw

no similitude, only a voice. Then he declared unto you “ his Covenant which he commanded you to do, the Ten “ Commandments, and wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the Lord commanded me that same time, that I should “ teach you ordinances and laws which ye should observe “ in the land whither ye go to possess it.” The same difference is again set down in the next chapter following. For rehearsal being made of the Ten Commandments, it followeth immediately 48, “ These words the Lord spake unto all

your multitude in the mount out of the midst of the fire, “ the cloud, and the darkness, with a great voice, and added

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no more; and wrote them upon two tables of stone, and “ delivered them unto me.” But concerning other laws, the people give their consent to receive them at the hands of

46 Deut. iv. 5. 44 Rom. xi. 17.

45 Ephes. ii. 12—16. 47 Deut. iv. 12–14.

48 Deut. v. 22.

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