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CONTAINING THEIR FIFTH ASSERTION, THAT OUR LAWS ARE CORRUPT
AND REPUGNANT TO THE LAWS OF GOD, IN MATTER BELONGING TO
BLISHED FOR THE EXERCISE OF THAT POWER.
THE MATTER CONTAINED IN THIS SIXTH BOOK.
1. The Question between us, Whether all Congregations or Parishes ought to have
Lay-elders invested with Power of Jurisdiction in Spiritual Causes ?
of Penitency; the one a private duty toward God, the other a duty of external
ceedeth; and of Contrition, the first part of that duty.
converted by the Schoolmen into a Sacrament; and of Confession, that which
1. THE same men which in heat of contention do hardly either speak or give ear to reason, being after sharp and guestion bitter conflicts retired to a calm remembrance of all their us. Wheformer proceedings; the causes that brought them into Congrequarrel, the course which their striving affections have or Pafollowed, and the issue whereunto they are come, may per- ought adventure, as troubled waters, in small time, of their own Lay-elaccord, by certain easy degrees settle themselves again, and vested so recover that clearness of well-advised judgment whereby Power
in Spiritual Causes?
diction they shall stand at the length indifferent both to yield and
admit any reasonable satisfaction, where before they could not endure with patience to be gainsaid. Neither will I despair of the like success in these unpleasant controversies touching Ecclesiastical Polity; the time of silence, which both parts have willingly taken to breathe, seeming now as it were a pledge of all men's quiet contentment to hear with more
indifferency the weightiest and last remains of that Cause,Lib. vi. Jurisdiction, Dignity, Dominion Ecclesiastical. For, let [not]
any man imagine, that the bare and naked difference of a few Ceremonies could either have kindled so much fire, or have caused it to flame so long; but that the parties which herein laboured mightily for change, and (as they say) for Reformation, had somewhat more than this mark whereat to aim.
Having therefore drawn out a complete Form, as they suppose, of public Service to be done to God, and set down their plot for the Office of the Ministry in that behalf, they very well knew how little their labours so far forth bestowed would avail them in the end, without a claim of Jurisdiction to uphold the fabric which they had erected; and this neither likely to be obtained but by the strong hand of the People, nor the people unlikely to favour it; the more, if overture were made of their own interest, right, and title thereunto. Whereupon there are many which have conjectured this to be the cause, why in all the projects of their Discipline (it being manifest that their drift is to wrest the Key of Spiritual Authority out of the hands of former Governors, and equally to possess therewith the Pastors of all several Congregations) the People, first for surer accomplishment, and then for better defence thereof, are pretended necessary Actors in those things, whereunto their ability for the most part is as slender as their title and challenge unjust. Notwithstanding (whether they saw it necessary for them to persuade the People, without whose help they could do nothing, or else, which I rather think, the affection which they bear towards this new Form of Government made them to imagine it God's own Ordinance), their doctrine is, That, by the Law of God, there must be for ever in all Congregations certain Lay-elders, ministers of Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, inasmuch as our Lord and Saviour by testament (for so they presume) hath left all Ministers or Pastors in the Church executors equally to the whole Power of Spiritual Jurisdiction, and with them hath joined the People as colleagues. By maintenance of which assertion there is unto that part apparently gained a twofold advantage, both because the People in this respect are much more easily drawn to favour it, as a matter of their own interest; and for that, if they chance to be crossed by such as oppose against them, the colour of Divine Authority, assumed for the grace and countenance of that Power in the Vulgar sort, furnisheth their leaders with great abundance of matter behoveful for their encouragement to proceed always with hope of fortunate success in the end, considering their cause to be as David's was, a just defence of power given them from above, and consequently, their adversaries' quarrel the same with Saul's, by whom the Ordinance of God was withstood. Now, on the contrary side, if this their surmise prove false; if such, as in justification whereof no evidence sufficient either hath been or can be alleged (as I hope it shall clearly appear after due examination and trial), let them then consider whether those words of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram against Moses and against Numb. Aaron, “ It is too much that ye take upon you, seeing all the Congregation is holy,” be not the very true abstract and abridgment of all their published Admonitions, Demonstrations, Supplications, and Treatise's whatsoever, whereby they have laboured to void the rooms of their Spiritual superiors before authorized, and to advance the new fancied sceptre of Lay-presbyterial Power. *
2. But before there can be any settled determination, The nawhether Truth do rest on their part or on ours, touching SpiriLay-elders, we are to prepare the way thereunto by expli- risdiccation of some things requisite and very needful to be considered; as, first, how besides that Spiritual Power
[“ I know that in the primitive Church they had, in every Church, certain Seniors to whom the Government of the Congregation was committed; but that was before there was any Christian Prince or Magistrate that openly professed the Gospel, and before there was any Church by public Authority established, or under Civil Government. Both the names and Offices of Seniors were extinguished before Ambrose' time, as he himself doth testify writing upon the fifth of the First to Timothy." WHITGIFT, Ans. to the Adm. p. 114. “That which I have said of the being of Senioru in every Church I say still; neither is that the question, for I ask the question of your Seniors, not of Ministers (whom I call Seniors); neither did I mean that in every particular Parish there was such a Seigniory, but in every chief City; nor that it was at all times, in persecution and where there was no Christian Magistrate, but sometimes ; neither that this kind of Government must be in such times, but that it may be. And therefore you (T. C.) had done well, if you had not been so sparing of your proofs, for all my grant.” WHITGIFT, Def. of the Ans. p. 633. Compare this Note with that in Vol. I. p. 33, and with Hooker's text connected with it.]
Mark xvi. 15. Mat. xxviii. 19.
which is of Order, and was instituted for performance of
Apostle doth speak of ruling the Church of God, and of 1 Tim. receiving accusations, his words have evident reference to
the Power of Jurisdiction : our Saviour's words, to the
“ A Bishop (saith Ignatius) doth bear the image of God and 1. Cor: of Christ; of God in ruling, of Christ in administering holy
things:"By this therefore we see a manifest difference
The Spiritual Power of the Church being such as neither
[“If the Rulers of the Church, the greatest of them, have only a Ministerial Power committed unto them, and are precisely limited thereto (Luke xxii. 25, Matt. xx. 26—28); if in the exercise thereof they are servants of the Church unto its edification, (Rom. xv. 1—3, 2 Cor. x. xiii. 10, Ephes. iv. 12, 13); if all lordly domination in an exaltation above the Church, or the Members of it, in dignity and authority of this world, and the exercise of Power by external coercive Jurisdiction, be forbidden unto them; if the whole Power and Rule of the Church be Spiritual and not Carnal, 'mighty through God,' 2 Cor. x. 4, and not through the Laws of men; and to be exercised by spiritual means for spiritual ends only; it is apparent how it hath been lost in, or cast out of the world, for the introduction of a lordly domination, a secular coercive Jurisdiction, with Laws and Powers no way derived from Christ in the room thereof. Neither is it possible for any man alive to reconcile the present government of some Churches, either as unto the Officers who have the administration of that Rule, or the Rules and Laws whereby they act and proceed, or Powers which they exercise, or the Jurisdiction which they claim, or the manner of their proceeding in its administration, unto any tolerable consistency with the Principles, Rules and Laws of the government of the Church, given by Christ himself. And this alone is a sufficient reason why those who endeavour to preserve their loyalty entire unto Jesus Christ, should in their own practice seek after the reduction of the Rule of the Church unto his commands and appointments.” The True Nature of a Gospel Church and its Government. By John OWEN, D.D. 1688. Posthu. 4to.
* Τίμα μεν τον Θεόν, ως αίτιον των όλων και κύριον Επίσκοπον δε, ως αρχιερέα, Θεού εικόνα φέροντα, κατά μέν τό άρχειν, Θεού, κατά δε το ιερατεύειν, Χριστού. Εpist. ad Smyrn.