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part of an honourable counsellor, not to allow of indirect dealings, but to allow and affect such a course in justice as is agreeable to the law of God. We have also a plain rule in the word of God, not to proceed any otherwise against any elder of the church; much less against one that laboureth in the word, and in teaching. Which rule is delivered with this most earnest charge and obtestation, “ I beseech and charge thee in the sight of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou keep those [rules] without preferring one before another, doing nothing of partiality, or inclining to either part;" which apostolical and most earnest charge, I refer to your honours' wisdom how it hath been regarded in so heavy a judgment against me, without ever hearing my cause; and whether, as having God before their eyes, and the Lord Jesus, by whom all former judgments shall be tried again; and, as in the presence of the elect angels, witnesses and observers of the regiment of the church, they have proceeded thus to such a sentence. They allege indeed two reasons in their letters, whereupon they restrain my ministry; which, if they were as strong against me as they are supposed, yet I refer to your honours' wisdoms, whether the quality of such an offence as they charge me with, which is in effect but an indiscretion, deserve so grievous a punishment both to the church and me, in taking away my ministry, and that poor little commodity which it yieldeth for
the necessary maintenance of my life ; if so unequal a balancing - of faults and punishments should have place in the commonwealth, surely we should shortly have no actions upon the case, , nor of trespass, but all should be pleas of the crown, nor any man amerced, or fined, but for every light offence put to his ransom. I have credibly heard, that some of the ministry have been committed for grievous transgressions of the laws of God and men, being of no ability to do other service in the church than to read, yet hath it been thought charitable, and standing with Christian moderation and temperance, not to deprive such of ministry and beneficence, but to inflict some more tolerable punishment. Which I write, not because such, as I think, were to be favoured, but to shew how unlike their dealing is with me, being through the goodness of God not to be touched with any such blame; and one who, according to the measure of the gift of God, have laboured now some years painfully, in regard of the weak estate of my body, in preaching the gospel, and, as I hope, not altogether unprofitably, in respect of the church. But I beseech your honours to give me leave briefly to declare the parti
cular reasons of their letter, and what answer I have to make
The first is, that, as they say, “ I am not lawfully called to the function of the ministry, nor allowed to preach, according to the laws of the church of England.”
For answer to this, I had need to divide the points. And first to make answer to the former; wherein, leaving to shew what by the Holy Scriptures is required in a lawful calling, and that all this is to be found in mine, that I be not too long for your weighty affairs, I rest.
I thus answer. My calling to the ministry was such as, in the calling of any thereunto, is appointed to be used by the orders agreed upon in the national synods of the Low Countries, for the direction and guidance of their churches ; which orders are the same with those whereby the French and Scottish churches are governed; whereof I have shewed such sufficient testimonial to my lord the archbishop of Canterbury, as is requisite in such a matter: whereby it must needs fall out, if any man be lawfully called to the ministry in those churches, then is my calling, being the same with theirs, also lawful. But I suppose, notwithstanding they use this general speech, they mean only, my calling is not sufficient to deal in the ministry within this land, because I was not made minister according to that order, which in this case is ordained by our laws. Whereunto I beseech your honours to consider thoroughly of mine answer, because exception now again is taken to my ministry, whereas, having been heretofore called in question for it, I so answered the matter, as I continued in my ministry; and, for any thing I discerned, looked to hear that no more would be objected unto me. The communion of saints (which every Christian man professeth to believe) is such, as that the acts which are done in any true church of Christ's according to his word, are held as lawful, being done in one church as in another. Which, as it holdeth in other acts of ministry, as baptism, marriage, and such-like, so doth it in the calling to the ministry; by reason whereof, all churches do acknowledge and receive him for a minister of the word, who hath been lawfully called thereunto in any church of the same profession. A doctor created in any university of Christendom, is acknowledged sufficiently qualified to teach in any country. The church of Rome itself, and the canon law holdeth it, that being ordered in Spain, they may execute that that belongeth to their order in Italy, or in any other place. And the curhches of the gospel never made any question of it; which if they shall now begin to make doubt of, and deny such to be lawfully called to the ministry, as are called by another order than our own;
may it well be looked for, that other churches will do the like: and if a minister called in the Low Countries be not lawfully called in England, then may they say to our preachers which are there, that being made of another order than theirs, they capnot suffer them to execute any act of ministry amongst them; which in the end must needs breed a schism, and dangerous divisions in the churches. Farther, I have heard of those that are learned in the laws of this land, that by express statute to that purpose, anno 19, upon subscription to the articles agreed upon, anno 62, that they who pretend to have been ordered by another order than that which is now established, are of like capacity to enjoy any place of ministry within the land, as they which have been ordered according to that which is now by law in this established. Which comprehending manifestly all, even such as were made priests according to the order of the church of Rome, it must needs be, that the law of a Christian land, professing the gospel, should be as favourable for a minister of the word, as for a popish priest; which also was so found in Mr. Whittingham's case, who, notwithstanding such replies against him, enjoyed still the benefit he had by his ministry, and might have done until this day, if God had spared him life so long; which, if it be understood so, and practised in others, why should the change of the person alter the right which the law giveth to all others ?
The place of ministry whereunto I was called, was not presentative: and if it had been so, surely they would never have presented any man whom they never knew; and the order of this church is agreeable herein to the word of God, and the ancient and best canons, that no man should be made a minister sine titulo: therefore having none, I could not by the orders of this church have entered into the ministry, before I had a charge to tend upon. When I was at Antwerp, and to take a place of ministry among the people of that nation, I see no cause why I should have returned again over the seas for orders here ; nor how I could have done it, without disallowing the orders of the churches provided in the country where I was to live. Whereby I hope it appeareth, that my calling to the ministry is lawful, and maketh me, by our law, of capacity to enjoy any benefit or commodity, that any other, by reason of his ministry, may enjoy. But my cause is yet more easy, who reaped no benefit of my ministry by law, receiving only a benevolence and voluntary contribution ; and the ministry I dealt with being preaching only, which every deacon here may do being licensed, and certain that are neither ministers nor deacons. Thus I answer the former of these two points, whereof, if there be yet any doubt, I bumbly desire, for a final end thereof, that some competent judges in law may determine of it; whereunto I refer and submit myself with all reverence and duty.
The second is, “ That I preached without licence.” Whereunto, this is my answer; I have not presumed, upon the calling I had to the ministry abroad, to preach or deal with any part of the ministry within this church, without the consent and allowance of such as were to allow me unto it. My allowance was from the bishop of London, testified by his two several letters to the Inner Temple, who, without such testimony, would by no means rest satisfied in it: which letters being by me produced, I refer it to your honours' wisdom, whether I have taken upon me to preach, without being allowed (as they charge) according to the orders of the realm. Thus having answered the second point also, I have done with the objection, “Of dealing without calling or licence.”
The other reason they allege is, concerning a late action, wherein I had to deal with Mr. Hooker, master of the Temple. In the handling of which cause, they charge me with an indiscretion, and want of duty, “in that I inveighed (as they say) against certain points of doctrine taught by him, as erroneous, not conferring with him, por complaining of it to them.” My answer hereunto standeth, in declaring to your honours the whole course and carriage of that cause, and the degrees of proceeding in it, which I will do as briefly as I can, and according to the truth, God be my witness, as near as my best memory, and notes of remembrance, may serve me thereunto. After that I have taken away that which seemed to have moved them to think me not charitably minded to Mr. Hooker; which is, because he was brought into Mr. Alvey's place, wherein this church desired that I might have succeeded: which place, if I would have made suit to bave obtained, or if I had ambitiously affected and sought, I would not have refused to have satisfied, by subscription, such as the matter then seemed to depend upon : whereas contrariwise, notwithstanding I would not hinder the church to do that they thought to be most for their edification and comfort, yet did I, neither by speech nor letter, make suit to any for the obtaining of it, following herein that resolution, which I judge to be most agreeable to the word and will of God; that is, that labouring and suing for places and charges in the church is not lawful. Farther, whereas, at the suit of the church, some of your bonours entertained the cause, and brought it to a near issue, that there seemed nothing to remain, but the commendation of my lord the archbishop of Canterbury, when as he could not be satisfied, but by my subscribing to his late articles, and that my answer agreeing to subscribe according to any law, and to the statute provided in that case, but praying to be respited for subscribing to any other, which I could not in conscience do, either for the Temple (which otherwise he said he would not commend me to), nor for any other place in the church, did so little please my lord archbishop as he resolved that otherwise I should not be commended to it. I had utterly here no cause of offence against Mr. Hooker, whom I did in no sort esteem to have prevented or undermined me, but that God disposed of me as it pleased him, by such means and occasions as I have declared.
Moreover, as I have taken no cause of offence at Mr. Hooker for being preferred, so there were many witnesses, that I was glad that the place was given him, hoping to live in all godly peace and comfort with him, both for acquaintance and good-will which hath been between us, and for some kind of affinity in the marriage of his nearest kindred and mine. Since his coming, I have so carefully endeavoured to entertain all good correspondence and agreement with him, as I think he himself will bear me witness of many earnest disputations and conferences with him about the matter; the rather, because that, contrary to my expectation, he inclined from the beginning but smally thereunto, but joined rather with such as had always opposed themselves to any good order in this charge, and made themselves to be brought indisposed to his present state and proceedings. For, both knowing that God's commandment charged me with such duty, and discerning how much our peace might further the good service of God and his church, and the mutual comfort of us both, I had resolved constantly to seek for peace; and though it should fly from me (as I saw it did by means of some, who little desired to see the good of our church), yet according to the rule of God's word, to follow after it. Which being so (as hereof I take God to witness, who searcheth the heart and reins, and who by his Son will judge the world, both quick and dead), I hope no charitable judgment can suppose me to have stood evil-affected towards him for his place, or desirous to fall into any controversy with him.
Which my resolution I pursued, that, whereas I discovered