To my Honoured friend Master Robert Peyton.
1. Julij. Your friend and servant,
A Letter from a Catholick Divine to a Lay Papist.
To my loving friend.
AT our last meeting, April 28. 1653. you desired me to give you some reasons, why I did not unite my self to the Church of Rome; you promised me, my reasons should be answered: The conclusion of our discourse, was; If your Answer, by your self, or Friend, convinced my Reasons, I was to be converted by you, and seek an admission into the Church of Rome; If otherwise, you were to be converted by me, and become a Member of the Catholique Church, and serve God the same way I do: what I promised, is performed in this paper; what you promised, I expect to be performed; and that is, My Conviction, or your Conviction. April 29. 1653.
I dare not convert to, you ought not to continue in the Church of Rome.
I. Because I have not yet received any Demonstration, or winning and irrefragable Argument, That the Church of Rome is the onely one , Antient , Visible , Catholique Church of Christ, out of which there is no Salvation.
1. Out of the onely one Catholique Church, I believe there is no Salvation: But I do not believe the Church of Rome to be that onely one Catholique Church, because the West is not all the World; and yet the onely one Catholique Church is the Universal Congregation of Christian men and women all over the World. There are Christians in the East, as well as in the West; Nor yet doth the Church of Rome take up all the West; For there are other Christians (and I hope better) than those which are Members of the Church of Rome, or Papists. As a Papist, I cannot be saved; as a Catholique, I may.
2. Out of the Antient Catholique Church I believe there is no Salvation: But I doe not believe the Church of Rome to be that Antient Catholique Church; because the Antient Catholique Church, both in Christ the true Head, and in the Apostles the true Conclave, and in Primitive Fathers, as well Disjunction, as Conjunction the true General Councils taught me.
To pray, Our father which art in Heaven; Not as the Church of Rome doth, and therefore not the Antient Catholique Church, O blessed Virgin, St. Peter, St. Paul, &c. which art in Heaven.
To believe the Scriptures; which if I do, I shall be saved; and not Traditions equally with the Scriptures, as the Church of Rome doth; and therefore not the Antient Catholique Church, which if I do not, I shall be damned.
To serve and worship God in Spirit and in truth; not as the Church of Rome doth, and therefore not the Antient Church, In, or by Images, Relatively or otherwise; which cannot father it self upon any farther Antiquity, than the 2. Council of Nice, 800 since, Anno 787.
To receive the Sacrament in both kinds, the Cup as well as the Pixe, the Wine as well as the Bread, the Blood as well as the Body; not as the Church of Rome doth, In one only; If I do receive as the Antient Catholique Church doth teach me, I shall be saved; If I do not receive as the present Church of Rome commands me, I shall not be damned.
3. Out of the Antient visible Catholique Church, I believe there is no Salvation; but I do not believe the Church of Rome to be that Antient visible Catholique Church; because the Antient visible Catholique Church appeared fair, and without Corruption; but the present Roman Church appeareth (to me at least) foul, and full of Corruption; because the present Roman Church departed from the visible purity of the Antient Catholique Church, to Innovations; and the present visible Catholique Church hath reformed from those Innovations to the purity of the Antient Catholique Church.
4. Out of the Antient, Visible, one Church, I believe there is no Salvation; but I do not believe, the Church of Rome to be that Antient Catholique, visible, one Church; neither in the Oneness or unity of affection, nor of opinion.
II. Because Bannes is as zealous as Calvin, and Lessus as calm as Luther, concerning absolute Reprobation: both famous Schollers in the Roman Church.
III. Because Sixtus the fifth dammes all men that use any other Bible but of the vulgar translation; and Clement the 8. curses all that uses any other but his own: both Popes of Rome.
Because I have not yet received any Demonstration, or convincing and irrefragable argument,
That the Pope is the head of the Church; The contrarie of this appears to me, even from that speech of Christ, which the Romans pretend is a Demonstration for it; viz. Thou art Peter and upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
For if my blessed Master had spoken this either Personally to Saint Peter, or Successively of Saint Peter, it is more than probable, That Saint Peter writing two Catholique Epistles, and in them mentioning his departure; would at least have acquainted the Catholique Christians, whom he writes to, with this unum necessarium, who should be his Successor, and by whom all controversies should be determined: But of this not a word; something in these Epistles more probable against this, if the Romans own exposition of one passage be allowed, concerning Babylon, in their signification, Rome, the seat of Antichrist. Yet more than probable it is; If the Pope were Head of the Church, by vertue of such succession; That the writers of the New Testament, are frequently forewarning men of Heretiques, of false Prophets, of false Christs, though never so much as once arme them against such Heretiques, against such false Prophets, against such false Christs, by letting them know this onely meanes of avoiding them, and turning them over to the Pope, the Head of the Church.
That so great a part of the new Testament should be emploied against Antichrist, and so little, indeed nothing at all, about the Vicar of Christ, and Guide of the Faithfull the Pope, or Bishop of Rome. Strange it seemes to me, that my blessed Saviour Jesus Christ should leave this the onely means for the ending of controversies, and speak so obscurely and ambiguously of it, that now our Judge is the greatest controversie, and greatest hinderance of ending them.
Strange it is to me, That there should be better evidence in the Scripture, to entitle the King to this Office, who disclaimes it, than the Pope, who pretends it.
Strange it seems to me, That if Saint Peter had been Head of the Church, he should never exercise over the Apostles in generall, and any one of them in particular, any one Act of jurisdiction, nor they, nor any one of them, should ever give him any one title of Authority over them.
Strange it seems to me, That if the Apostles did know that Saint Peter was made Head over them, when Christ said, Thou art Peter, &c. they should still contend, who should be the first, and that Christ should not tell them, St. Peter was the man.
Strange it appears to me, if this were true; That Saint Paul should say, He was in nothing inferiour to the very chief Apostles.
Strange still it seems to me, That the Catechumeni in the Primitive Church should never be taught this Foundation of their Faith. That the Fathers, Tertullian, Saint Hierome, and Optatus; when they flew highest in the commendation of the Roman Church, should attribute no more to her, than to other Apostolical Churches.
That in the Controversie about Easter, the Bishops of Asia should be so ill catechised, as not to know this principle of Christian Religion, The necessity of Conformity with the Church of Rome.
That they should never be pressed, with any such Conformity in all things, but onely with the particular Tradition of the Western Church in that point.
That Prycanus, and many other Bishops (notwithstanding, Ad hanc ecclesiam necesse est omnem Ecclesiam convenire) should not yet think that to be a necessarie and sufficient ground of excommunication, which the Church of Rome taught to be so.
That St. Cyprian, and the Bishops of Africa should be so ill instructed in their Faith, as not to know this Foundation of it.
That they were never urged with any such Conformity with the Church of Rome, nor were charged with Heresie or Error for denying it.
That when Liberius joyned in Communion with the Arians, and subscribed their Heresie, the Arians then should not be the Church and guide of Faith.
That never any Heretiques for five ages after Christ, were pressed with this Argument; The Pope is the Head of the Church; nor charged with the denyall of it, as a detestable Heresie; so that Aeneas Sylvius should have cause to say, Ante tempora Concilii Niceni quisque sibi vivebat, & parvus respectus habebatur ad Ecclesiam Romanam.
That the Ecclesiasticall story of those times mention no Acts of Authority of the Church of Rome over other Churches; as if there should be a Monarchy and Kings, for some ages together, should exercise no Acts of Jurisdiction in it.
That to supply this defect, The Decretall Epistles should be so impudently forged, which in a manner speak nothing but Reges & Monarchas, The Popes making Lawes for exercising Authority over all other Churches.
That the African Churches in Saint Austins time should be ignorant that the Pope was Head of the Church, and Judge of Appeales, Iure divino, and that there was a necessity of conformity with the Church of Rome in this and all other points of Doctrine.
That the Popes themselves should be ignorant of the true ground of their Authority, as to pretend to it not upon Scripture, and Universall Tradition, but upon an Imaginarie Canon of the Councill of Nice.
That Vincentius Lyrinensis, seeking for a Guide of his faith, and a preservative from Heresie, should be ignorant of this so ready a one; The Pope is the Head of the Church.
Your friend and Servant,
[To a Presbyterian.]
Sir, the Question is,
WHether it be lawfull for a Minister to give the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in that generall and promiscuous way that was usual in former times, and many now desire and contend for?
I hold the Negative, and that upon these ensuing grounds.
Respond. Sir, The Question was not this, For it was never questioned untill now; nor now by any but by yourself, and other of your selfish opinion. The question should be this, whether it be lawfull for a generall and promiscuous sinner to receive that Sacrament? And so it had been determined without breach of Unity, the Unity of Verity, the Unity of Charity, the Unity of Authority. For he that receives it so, receives it unworthyly; whereas the question that you have started, is the breach of all these Unities, and some more, viz. the Unity of Perswasion, and the Unity of Necessity. But Unity is the least desire of some men; also the flames of Controversie had e’re this been aslaked and extinguished, and some godly or tolerable peace re-established in the Church, even in this Church which is bleeding to death by the Spirits of Contention. Spirits that straine at Gnats, and swallow Camells. Spirits that raise such questions, and so many, as may puzzle a wise man to answer, and force a pious man to bedew with teares, and rather require silence then words for satisfaction. But you have proposed this question, and in it you hold the Negative; and that upon these three ensuing grounds.
Opponent. 1. To administer it so, seemes to me to be a manifest perverting of our Saviours intention and end in giving that Ordinance.
Respond. In this question I hold the Affirmative; and that upon these three ensuing grounds; and they are your own, to see if you will be the Master of your word, and confesse a Conquest; though I protest unto you, it is not Conquest, but Truth that I contend for; Verity, not Victory is my desire; and will therefore confine my selfe to your Teddar; and therefore I say,
1. So to administer it, seems to me: To me? yes, so it may. Bernardus non videt omnia; and the man whose eye is offuscated, may, and sometimes does take Auripigmentum, for Aurum, and so mistakes; and so do you. For not to administer it so seems to other men a manifest perverting of our Saviours intention and end in giving that Ordinance. For he gave it in a generall and promiscuous way; Just that way which hath been usuall in all times since, untill this very time: In that way which was usuall in all former times for the Passeover to be administred in, untill the Jewes made a defection of their obedience, and turned Rebells. Then indeed, but not untill then it was put to the question, whether Christ might supp with, and consequently give his supper to, Publicans and Sinners? and who resolved best upon this question, Christ, or the Pharisee, judge your self; If I durst be so bold with you, as you are with other men, I should imagine, you are for the Pharisee, not for Christ; For you say,
Opponent. Christ gave it to distinguish and confirm:
Respond. But do you believe it? Certainly Sir you do not; If you do, you believe not Christ: For his End of instituting this Sacrament, and which himself sets down in terminis is twofold. 1. Commemorative; Doe this in remembrance of me. 2. Consolative, or as you please to phrase it, Confirmative, to Confirm. This Cup is the new Testament in my blood, which is shed for you, Luke 22. 19. 20. or as Saint Matthew hath it, Mat. 26. 28. This is my blood of the new Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. These are the Ends of the Sacrament, to remember, and to confirme (for I will not dissent, where I may with safety consent) but not, to distinguish; and therefore certainly, Sir, you doe not believe, what you say is the end of this Sacrament; To distinguish, your Heart and Tongue are not friends; or (for I dare not judge any man an Hypocrite, it is not in my Commission) your tongue is not the truest, because your heart is not the wisest, unlesse you will be pleased to come truly and wisely off, by distinguishing the end by a distinction without end, and say, The end of this Sacrament is double 1. Chief. 2. Subordinate. 1. Maine 2. Mean. and you mean the mean end of this Sacrament is to distinguish, the main end is to remember and Confirm; To remember Christs death for us, To confirm our Faith in Christ, and Christs graces in us: The Church thought it fit to follow Christ in her admirable and incomparable Catechism; where to the 21. question, Why was the Sacrament of the Lords Supper ordained? It is thus answered, For the continuall remembrance of the Sacrifice of the death of Christ, and the benefits wee receive thereby. Thus it was in the old Church; but thus it is not in th enew Church; but if the new Church be not the true Church, give me leave to be of the old Church still, the rather, because she followeth the Truth which is Christ, and Christ which is the Truth; saying, Do this in remembrance of me. This is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sinnes: To distinguish, is not the end of this Sacrament, unlesse you mean the mean end. But you have said it, and thus you prove it.
Opponent. As Baptism doth distinguish all within the Pale of the Visible Church, from Turks and Heathens; so (because amongst those that do acknowledge God in Christ, many, nay most do it but onely in word, professing they know God, But in their workes and waies deny him, being indeed abominable: Tit. 1. 16.) the Sacrament of the Lords Supper is to distinguish those that acknowledge and hold forth Christ in their lives from the rest of the Christened sinners within the Pale of the Church.
Respond. This is a Symbolical argument, and Symbolical arguments cannot prove a thing; they may illustrate; and this illustrates you to be a Sophister, but no Logician; and of you it might be said, Cucullus non facit hominem; but I am not for sport; and therefore in the words of Sobernesse do say, you are very near of kin to Nicodemus, when he understood not the Principles of Religion; and I must ask you again; Do you believe that the end of Baptism is to distinguish? Certainly you do not, unlesse you again help your self at a dead lift with another meane distinction. I deny not but Baptism doth distinguish, and as a Liverie tells the World whose servants we are; but I deny it to be the end: the main end of Baptism. For the chiefe and Principall end of Baptisme, is, To seale the Covenant of Grace, to testifie our cleansing by Christ; and this I have learned from Saint Paul; Know yee not that they which are Baptised into Jesus Christ, are Baptised into his death? Rom. 6. 3. q. d. If you know not this, you know nothing. A lesse Principal, and mean end I confesse it may be called; and you must confesse, you have very meanly proved your Negative opinion of this question by your first argument. Nay, yo have not proved it at all; For if to distinguish be not the end of Baptism, the main end; than you have no proved, To distinguish, to be the maine end of the other Sacrament. But to distinguish is not the maine end of Baptism; therefore you have not by this, by this you cannot prove, To distinguish, to be the main end of the other Sacrament. Baptism, and the Lords supper may be called Notes of distinction; but the end of Baptism is Regeneration, the end of the Lords Supper is Commemoration; but you confound Ends and Notes, and take the one for the other: I wish you had not walled a piece of Scripture too, and condemned most Christians too. Quis te constituit judicem? who told you that most Christians do onely in word professe God? that most men in their lives and waies are abominable? If you have received such a new illumination, I pray yet let not the next word be carried in a dark lantern; and then, though I dare not say, most Christians are abominable, I shall dare to say, some are disobedient; and if you will give this word leave to be the Exegesis of the Precedent and Subsequent, as some Expositors of that verse do, you will believe those men to be abominable, and to every good work reprobate, that are disobedient; but this text you brought in by a Parenthesis; and for any good I can see it does you, you might as well have let it alone; It may be your next proof is of more weight; which you deliver thus.
Opponent. And further, Christ gave it to be a seal to confirm and strengthen, which doth suppose something in the Receivers to be confirmed and strengthened, viz. The Sanctifying and Justifying graces of God; whereof we all know, not many are partakers. Therefore unlesse there be some speciall care taken that Justifyed and Sanctifyed Persons (we guiding our selves by Scripture-light as well as we can) may be called out of the rabble of open sinners, to me nothing is clearer than that Christs end in the Institution of that Ordinance, is either carelesly neglected, or willfully perverted by us.
Respond. Sir, I shall observe the Apostles Canon, and as much as lies in me, live peaceable with all men. Rom. 12. and therefore I joyn with you in the acknowledgment of so much truth, as in the beginning of this Paragraph you have delivered; I confess with you , Christ did give this Sacrament to be a Seal to confirme and strengthen; and I pray you to observe the same Apostles Canon, and speak the truth. Ephes. 4. 25. confessing with me, Christ gave not this Sacrament, as the Principall end thereof, to distinguish; and let us both observe that other Canon of the same Apostle, Avoide foolish questions. Titus 3. 9. whereof this is one, and cannot be made good without breach of peace, to preserve which with you, I do again confesse, something is presupposed in the Receivers to be confirmed and strengthened. viz. the Justifying and Sanctifying graces of God; but now I must part with you fo ra while. For I professe my self none of those all that know, not many are partakers of those Justifying and Sanctifying graces. No, I am not; nor is any modest man living within the number of the
Opponent. My second ground is, If I so administer it, I do certainly make my selfe partaker of other mens sinnes; concerning which Paul warnes Timothy, and in him all Ministers especially, 1 Tim. 5. That it is a great sin for ungodly persons to come and partake of that Ordinance, I suppose will be granted me; but such cannot bring that guilt upon themselves without my hand and help; which if I knowingly hold forth unto them, I cannot acquit my self of their sinne; therefore it is not safe for me to do it.
Respond. Nay, certainly you contract a sinne upon your self in denying the Sacrament to all for some mens sake, to the good, because some are bad; That it is a sin for ungodly persons to receive, you have it granted; but his, not mine. The ungodly man sinnes by receiving unworthily; the Godly Minister sinnes not in administring it lawfully; and administer it lawfully he doth in giving it to all, who may be presumed fit, or after conference known able, without exception of any, but that ungodly man that is scandalous. It hath been the opinion of Divines, that it is a sinne for a man to refrain, because he thinkes himself not fitly prepared. To come not well prepared is an offence, and to stay away is no lesse; Staying in sinne, and staying from the meanes of Grace, are bothh sinfull; and therefore to keep away, to force away a man from the means, when for ought I know he is prepared, and doe what I can, I cannot know the contrary, is a sinne; For I cannot know whether any man be a resolute sinner, or a delighter in sinne; and when I know not that, I make not my self partaker of his sinnes, though by the help of my hand he adds sinne to sinne; because it was the desire of my heart, by that action of my hand, to take away all his sinnes. Nor is that text of Saint Paul (so I stile him) by you aptly and to your purpose in hand alledged; For it concerns not the Presbyter in administration of the Sacrament, but it concernes the Bishop in ordination by the imposition of hands; read the 22. verse of that Chapter; the verse by you intended; and you cannot by the Context give it any other exposition; Or, if any one will wrest this Scripture to this purpose, the summe of it will be, I must not preferre one before another; I must do nothing by Partiality; I must not administer the Sacrament suddenly to any man. These thins if I observe, I partake not of other mens sinnes. And therefore for all your second ground, you may safely administer it.
Oppon. My third and last ground is this, I so administring it, doe give testimonialls to men against the sufficient light of mine own Conscience; which is not good for any man to do.
Respond. Indeed it is not, and therefore it is not good for you to deny this Pearl to any but a swine, to deny this bread, to any but a dogg; and many in your Parish may be children, and questionlesse are; and will you deny the children bread, for fear the doggs should eat the Crumms under the table? No, not for this; but for fear you should give a testimoniall to man against the sufficient light of your owne Conscience. Not so neither; I rather think you give a testimoniall to your selfe against the sufficient light of your own conscience, that you discharge not your duty; your duty is to give the Sacrament to all; to all that are fit to receive, so they are not scandalous and notorious; so they are not to day, though they were yesterday; if to day they are unfeignedly sorry for what they yesterday did notoriously, and have a proportion of Faith, you sinne against your duty, if you deny such a man the Sacrament. The stream that was foul yesterday may be clear to day; and so your third ground is muddy: It may be in your dispatch we shall find a more sufficient light; For in your grounds we find a very light sufficiency; your dispatch is to answer some Objections, one (you say) may be this.
Oppon. Do you not deliver your own Soul from sinne, if you warne them of the danger of unworthy receiving? And then you answer it thus. Indeed in hearing the word preached, if they make it the Savour of death to themselves, it is enough to secure me if I warn them of it, because God hath given the vilest sinners leave to hear the word; and therefore when we have told them the danger of unprepared and unprofitable hearing, we have delivered our selves, and are a sweet Savour unto God in them that perish.
Respond. Pray Sir, where have you a greater charge upon you in the Gospel for delivering this Sacrament, than the Prophet had in the Law for delivering the word? God assured the Prophet that if he gave the wicked man warning, he should thereby deliver his own Soul, Ezeck. 3. 19. and Saint Paul thought the same was enough for delivering this Sacrament; read else that notorious Chaptr, 1 Cor. 11. and see if you can finde the Apostle denying it to any, but onely telling all the danger of an unworthy receiving, and their admitting all in a generall and promiscuous way. There were as bad I presume in Corinth, as there are in setting aside the sinns of Faction and Rebellion; such indeed Saint Paul would have markt and cut off. Rom. 16. 17. but the Gluttons and Drunkards, he onely tells them of the danger, and so admits them; & the Geneva note upon that danger, saies but thus, Let them look to themselves which come to this Sacrament without reverence, Let them look to themselves; not, Let the Minister put them by. Nor doth the humble advise of your Assembly at Westminster give you power to deny the Sacraments to any, onely they give you leave not to admit some. i.e. Ignorant and ungodly Persons; and them no longer then they remain such. It is in pag. 62. Sect. 8. under the title of the Lords Supper. Nor doth their Catechism enjoyne the Minister to examine the Communicants, but the Communicants to examine themselves, that they may worthily partake of the Lords Supper. pag. 36.
Opponent. But God hath not allowe them to feed at his table, till they shew themselves so and so qualified and adorned, that their Knowledge, Faith, Repentance, Love, &c. do appear upon them as a wedding Garment. And if he have forbidden them to receive it, surely he hath forbidden us to give it them; and therefore to tell them the danger, is not enough to excuse us, we give his holy things to doggs. It sufficeth not to tell them they are unclean. There are some holy things of God wee must denie them, as we would passe without rebuke another day.
Respond. No surely, The consequence is a very inconsequent, though the Premises were true. For there hath God forbidden them to receive it? He hath onely told them the danger if they receive unworthily: He hath not forbidden them to receive it. But though God had forbidden them to receive it, doth it therefore follow, that he hath forbidden us to give it to them? Not sure, God forbids the king to be a Tyrant; doth he therefore forbid the people to be Subjects? No surely, God forbids my Parishioner to pray, if he be not in charity; doth he therefore forbid mee to admit him into the Church? No surely, my duty is to open the Church-door, to invite him to pray, to invite him to receive; to tell him how he may pray effectually, how he may receive worthily. If he will pray malitiously, If he will receive unworthily, the fault is his; I am discharged. Hee should do his duty, I must doe mine. Else my not doing my duty, because he does not do his, does but make me second his sinne, or second in the sinne. Surely, Sir, your Rational argument is somewhat unreasonable; but you will make it clear by a Symbolical argument, So you go on.
Opponent. But to make it clearer, If one standing by me with a drawn sword set to kill himself; if my hands be bound behind me, (as in the case of the word they are) then I have done my full duty, if I tell him it is sinne, and beseech him as he would not destroy Gods Image, and send himself to Hell, to forbear that act: but if my hands be not bound, and I stronger than he, is it enough to warn and beseech him? I trow not; sure it is my duty to wrest the sword out of his hand, or hold him that he cannot do that wickednesse. But suppose the man come, and tell me before, what design is in his heart, and I after telling him the danger, and beseeching him, put a sword into his hand to do it withall, (and this onely comes up to the case in hand) am not I more guilty of the sinne than he himself is? Sure I am. Therefore it is not enough to warn open sinners of the danger of unworthy receiving.
Respond. Sure you are! yes sure you are, sure you are guilty of infinite folly. For will any wise man supponere non supponenda? Did ever any man, that intended to be Pelo de se, come and tell his Neighbour, his Friend, his Pastor, that he would hang himself with his Garter, or kill himself with his sword? and that which was never done, will any wise man suppose to be done? Sapientia nihil supponit quod non ponitur. But you suppose it; and withall you suppose you put a sword into his hand to do it withall (and this onely comes up to the case in hand) am not I more guilty of the Murther than he himself is? Sure I am; Yes, sure you are indeed; and I will suppose a clearer supposition for you. A Laick or Lay-man that hath a mind to shake off the yoak of obedience, and turn the Sonne of Belial, comes to you, and tells you, he would faine fight against the high Power, and kill him, if he were not affraid to receive damnation for his paines. In this case indeed, you should have wrested the sword of Disobedience out of his hand; or if you tell him; It is no Rebellion, it is no sinne to fight against the higher Power, and the higher Power, or any of his party be killed, you are more guilty of the Murther than himself; Yes, sure you are; and if this sanctified Rebell comes to you, to receive this Sacrament, and you give it him without any sign of Repentance for his unsanctified Rebellion, you adde guilt to guilt, the guilt of Countenance to the guilt of Counsell. But if a man that was drunk last week, comes the next week, and protests his Repentance for that sinne, and desires to receive the Sacrament as a Seal of forgivenesse for that very sinne, and you deny it him, you adde more guilt to your self, the guilty of Partiality to your guilt of Scrupulosity; For it is enough to warne any sinner, any, saving a notorious and obstinate sinner, of the danger of unworthy receiving.
Opponent. But did not our Saviour give the Sacrament to Judas, whom he calls a devill? and therefore why may not Ministers give the Sacrament to those they know to be willfull sinners? Indeed Luke 22.21. brings in our Saviour first, celebrating that Ordinance, and then speaking these words, Behold, the hnd of him that betraies me is with me on the table; and therefore I am enclined to believe that Christ did give it him; but thence can nothing be concluded against my Judgment.
Respond. It may be nothing against your Judgement, but something against your practise you may; For Christ knew Judas to be a willfull sinner; and yet rejected him not, but admitted him; you onely suspect some men to be willfull sinners, (for you cannot know any man to be a wilful sinner without his own acknowledgement) and yet you admit them not, butt reject them; and therefore something may be hence concluded against your practise; and it may be something against your Judgement too, if your Judgement be as you say.
Oppon. For 1. Our Saviour was God; and as he had Power to forgive sinners upon Earth, it might well be an Act of Divine Justice upon Judas for his Hypocrisie, to seale him up in this sinne, and make him fully ripe for Hell; when it can be cleared that it is the duty and work of a Gospel-Minister to punish sinne, then I think we may give the Sacrament to willfull sinners; but it may safely be thought that Christ did it by a Power that is above any, our Commission is invested withall.
Respond. Yes, our Saviour was God, is God, and will be God, blessed for ever; and as the Sonne of Man, (not God onely) he had Power to forgive sinners upon Earth; so farre we agree; and I wish you, if you are one of his Ministers, to use that key of Power, he hath trusted you with, as well to open as to shut. But in your next passage we are not so well agreed; you say, it might be, and I say it might not be an act of Divine Justice to seal up Judas in his sinne; Melius est dubitare de occultis, quam litigare de incertis; Take heed of comming too near this fire, it may else burne your beard. It becomes not a Gospel-Minister to say, Christ did make any man fully ripe for Hell; It is safer, and better becomes a Gospel-Minister to say with the Gospel-Apostle, Iesus Christ came into the World to save sinners, the chiefe of sinners, 1 Tim. 1. 15. and yet it is the duty of a Gospel-Minister to punish sin; Else the Apostle would never have given so many charges to the Gospel Bishops to rebuke, to correct, and in some cases sharply too; and yet neither that Apostle, nor any other Apostle, nor Jesus Christ himself hath given Power to any, Bishop, or Presbyter to give the Sacrament to a willfull sinner, on purpose to make him ripe for Hell. That is a Power indeed above any, our Commission is invested withall.
Opponent. But secondly, I can answer thus. Christ in that his transaction set a president to the Ministers of the Gospel, how they might carry themselves in that Administration free from guilt. Such as joyne themselves to the society of his people, that do outwardly professe Christ and his truth, do those duties of Religion materially tat true Protestants doe, and noting scandalous can be laid to their charge, though they be rotten Hypocrites; Yet it not being any mans work to search hearts, wee must think nothing but good of them, admit them, and though they be as unworthy Receivers as ever Judas was, we are clear, their blood lies upon their own heads; So that instance of Judas his admission to the Sacrament, in my apprehension, makes not at all against me, but for me. If you can give an instance, that our Saviour, or his Disciples gave it to any that had their soars running upon them, and easily to be observed by every Eye, let us hear it, and I shall confesse it is for your turne.
Respond. Confesse, then; For this your own instance makes altogether her against you, though in your apprehension it makes onely for you. Christ at this time supplyed the Ministers place. He admitted the Communicants, and amongst the rest he admitted Judas: Judas, a covetous wretch, an arrant Traytor, though in shew a zealous Saint, and a provident Almoner; His soar running upon him; his very Hypocrisie as apparent to Christ, as that mans impiety is that fights against Power to defend it; Iudas, that joyned imself to the society of Christs people; Iudas, that outwardly professed Christ and his truth: Judas, that did these duties of religion that true Presbyterians do, and yet intrinsecally was a Devill; and all this well known to Christ. Yes, and to two of his Apostles at least, if not to all the rest, Saint Peter and Saint John. Saint Peter, that prompted Saint John to ask, and Saint John that upon Saint Peters motion asked Christ, who it was that should betray him; even him, by your own concession, did Christ admit to his Table, without any more ado, then telling him the danger of his unworthy comming thither: whence may certainly be inferr’d; we shall not incurre any guilt for admitting the like Communicants, though we but do tell them the danger of unworthy receiving. And your next instance is as much for your purpose.
Opponent. Why it may be, you will tell me of the Church of Corinth; their drunkenesse, and sinne, sate down at Table with them; but let it be supposed, that Paul had come in when they were going to’t, many of them in that condition. I desire to know if you can believe he would have thought a reproofe or telling them the danger sufficient? for my part I verily think, he would have had his arme pull’d out of his shoulder-blade, rather than have given it to any such a one, though truly in Jesus Christ; and therefore much lesse would he have administred it to them, whose sins daily testified them to be voide of Faith, and the worke of grace in them.
Respond. At your suppositions again, and at impossible suppositions, at least, very unlikely: very like a man overcome with drink (I understand not those words otherwise, going to many of them in that condition) should go to receive the Sacrament. I dare say, you never saw any man offer it. And then, you think; what do you think? that such a one is truly in Iesus Christ? pretty still, Animally, and in semine he may. Actually, and in sensu he is not; and thence you conclude; Therefore much lesse would he have administred it to them, whose sinnes dayly testified them to be void of Faith and the work of grace in them. Marke Sir, if this conclusion follow upon your premises, or if you do not draw it against reason, your Maior a supposition, an unlikely, if not an impossible supposition; your Minor, I think St. Paul would not; your conclusion therfore much less would he. Well sir, I shall not further commend your skill in Logick; I shall onely help you to a better argument from your owne instance.
Upon what termes, and in what way Saint Paul administred the Sacrament at Corinth; upon the same termes and in the same way may Mr. —— administer the Sacrament at ——.
But upon exhortation and Information, in a generall and promiscuous way did Saint Paul administer the Sacrament at Corinth. Therefore upon Exhortation and Information in a generall and promiscuous way may Mr. —— administer the Sacrament at —— and this your next Instance will not gainesay.
Opponent. O, but charity thinketh well, 1. Cor. 13. 5. and therefore you ought to make the best of your brother, and not the worst. The word will very well bear, plotteth no ill in his minde against his brother.
Respond. By the way, you know the word will not bear it, neither in the Latine, nor Greek; neither in the Latine Cogito, or Meditor, nor in the Greek,
Νομίζεται; either of these words may signifie, to consider, to purpose, to cast in mind; but to Plot ill, they signifie not; and you are willing to wave; and therefore you say.
Opponent. But let it be taken for Suspecting his brother guilty of evill. This, tis true, Charity will not doe, where there is not just ground and cause for it. If that grace of Charity work jealousies, and evill surmisings concerning my brother, it will not dwell in me; but upon manifest ground and warrant, I may suffer them to arise, and consistent enough are they with that true grace of Charity in my heart. If I know that such or such a man followes the pot, gives himselfe ordinarily to wound and slander the good name of his neighbour, that sets no watch before the door of his lips, whose Religion is vain, saies Iames, that doth not read Scripture in his Family, nor catechise and instruct his Family in the saving Principles of Iesus Christ, nor pray constantly with his Family; to swear by his Faith and Troth, is ordinary in his discourse, his tongue is so used to’t, that he cannot forbear it in the company of his Minister. If I certainly know a man living in any one of these, or any other sinne, name what you will, the Charity which is of God will never forbid me to think evill of him. I may think, and if I be call’d to’t, say, that as yet Christ is not in him, and that he is unworthy to be a guest at the Lords table, till such time a Divine change and amendment appear in his conversation, as his sin hath done.
Respond. Confident enough, but not concluding enough; For though he live in any one of these sinnes, yet it may be none of these sinnes live in him; and the Apostles rule is observed, where he saies, Ne regnet, not Ne sit, Let not sinne reign in your mortall body, Rom. 6. 12. he doth not say, let not sinne be in your mortal body. Be there it will, so long as we be here, in the very best of us all; But be it admitted for your sake, that the man lives in the sinne, and the sinne lives in the man, because you say, If I know such a man followes the pot, &c. yet it is but for this time; it may be untill the day, or night before he come to receive the Lords supper; you know not what a change, what a Repentance, what a godly sorrow God hath in that day or night wrought in him; will you, because this change doth not appeare in him, account him unworthy, and therefore forbid him the Lords Table, and therefore force him from the Lords? As the text you have quoted saies, Charity thinks no ill. i. e. It works no jealousies and evill surmisings concerning my brother, according to your Exposition; which Exposition I wish you had forborne, for your Masters sakes. So, if you read two verses further, which is within the Context, you shall finde too, Charity hopes the best: your knowing him to follow those sinnes, may work you to suspect him, I will not say for want of Charity; but I will say, your ignorance, or not knowing of this change in him, may not move you to reject him, if you have the hope of Charity? But be it once more admitted for your sake, That such a Change is not, That noe change is wrought in the man; what then! why then, he is unworthy to come to the Lords Table; but it is not then your duty to put him, or keep him from that Table: and therefore you are to blame by this, and much more to blame by the Verdict of your next Instance.
Opponent. But if men come to you, and acknowledge such sinns they have lived in, and say, they are sorry for them; why should not you believe they are reall, & ’tis true repentance, and so admit them? Doubtlesse in that case, wee are not to deny the truth of their repentance; nor yet take it for granted upon their bare words, but ought to desire them to hold forth that change in life, and the graces contrary to his former vices, and withall tell him, that then he did eat and drink damnation to himself; whereof the Minister too would be guilty. But if his repentance be sound; If a saving change and Faith be wrought in him, it cannot be unsafe or prejudiciall to him to forbear that Ordinance a little while, because he may feed upon Christ, and derive his comforts and vertues from his death by the lively working of Faith without the Elements. ‘Tis not the want, but contempt of the signes that hinders our partaking of Christ and his benefits; and his forbearing for the Ministers, or churches sake, being great humility and self-denyall, would doubtlesse be considered of God, who would make up the losse of the Elements immediately by himself or spirit, and double comforts to him, when his conversation shall commend him to that table for a worthy receiver.
Respond. Sir, you have spoken much truth in this Paragraph; but you have exprest little charity; shewn much Schisme, and hinted a grain of Heresie, if other men had not Charity enough to believe the best of you. Heresie it is, to deny the Spirit of God to be God; you do not den it, but you intimate it; else why doe you say, God would by himself or Spirit? as if himselfe and Spirit were two, & several things; but I believe the best of you; you are not an Heretick; I wish you were not a Schismatick; but I must tell you, you goe against the generall Custome of the Universall Church, which hath alwaies willingly and chearfully admitted that man to receive , who is penitent; vos autem non sic, and you observe not the Apostles Canon, who would have every man so to eat and drink, i. e. upon his Repentance to receive; but you deny him; and whether this be Schisme, or not, I hope you can tell. Your want of Charity appears, in that you will suspect his Repentance to be but Verball, when himself affirms it to be Real; But for your sake be it admitted to be but Verball, though I do not, I dare not suppose it so, or so suspect it; yet it is not otherwise known to you than to be Reall, because you know not his heart; his sinne is onely thereby doubled for comming so unworthily; your sinne is not lessened for denying to admit him, because for ought you know he came worthily; and if his Repentance were Reall, as he protested, and you by the rule of Charity ought to have believed, your sinne is doubled in not admitting him; and all this, though he had acknowledged or made known so much to you; and this you evidence against your self in your next Instance; which is.
Opponent. But (Saint Paul saies,) Let a man examine himselfe, 1 Cor. 11. 28. he doth not bid the Minister or Church examine him; Indeed I think none ought to be forc’t to the Sacrament, but such as desire to partake of it; but because the Minister must have a hand with them in that act, there is all Christian reason why they should be willing and ready to give him an account of their Knowledge, Faith, and of that change that God hath wrought upon their Soules. If a Christian be bound to give a reason of his Faith and doings to every one that shall (not in any ensnaring way) aske him a reason or account, as Saint Peter hints he must, 1 Pet. 3. 15. how much more is he bound to doe it to his Pastor, to whose care God hath committed him, and who must give an account at the last day for him? Therefore that Precept, Let a man examine himself, and so eate, doth not hinder that the Minister with some godly judicious men deputed thereunto may examine all those that offer themselves to the Lords Table, not presuming on an infallible, but making a charitable discrimination, that the Table of the Lord be not prophaned.
Respond. And whence comes this Charitable discrimination? whence comes the deputation of Godly judicious men to be joyn’d with the Minister to examine all those that offer themselves to the Lords Table, e Praetorio, or e Sanctuario? Speak it, if you know it; From the Church of England it came not; and therefore not from the Primitive Church. For whatsoever the Primitive Church thought necessary either in Doctrine, or Discipline, the Church of England hath retained and enjoined; From the Apostles it came not; For Saint Paul, who alon eof all the Apostles, hath been precise in delivering the substance and Circumstance, the Doctrine and Discipline of this Sacrament, though he knew the Church of Corinth did abound with sundry Errors and Corruption, both in Faith and Manners, did yet give order for the Excommunication of one only sinner, & that one a Contumacious, a Notorious, a Scandalous sinner, and then sufficed himself with a generall proposall of the great danger of unworthy receiving, and remitted every other particular Person to a self-Examination. He gave order to none to exclude any from that holy Table upon their Examination; nor indeed gave he order to any, either Minister or Elder (much lesse Lay-Elders, as not being then planted) to examine; Nor doth Saint Peter thwart Saint Paul. For Saint Peter there speaks of a godly mans giving an account of his hope to a wicked Persecutor, as appears by the Context; Saint Paul here advises a man to a self-examination, that he may be a worthy receiver; and therefore your inference is not good of all Christian reason. For Reason and Christianity both tell us, we may very well content our selves with that course the Apostle took in administring and receiving the holy Sacrament in a generall and promiscuous way; unlesse you will be guilty of the next objection you frame, which is;
Opponent. But in denying us the Sacrament, the children lose their Bread, and Right !
Respond. Yes indeed do they, For if they be children, they have right to that Bread; and you that deny them, rob them of it. Answer it as you wil, and how well you do it, I shall now examine.
Opponent. I answer, First, they may enjoy it elsewhere, or in a more private way among themselves; which in some cases cannot be denyed to be warrantable enough.
Respond. Yes, but it can, and is, in all cases to be any way warrantable amongst themselves; Laity have nothing to do in the administration of this Sacrament; and if they receive it elsewhere, what thanks is that to you? or is your duty thereby discharged? you said erewhile, God had committed them to your charge, and you must give an account for them at the last day; and so you must for a Quis haec requisivit too; and for a Quare haec denegasti too. Nor will your next Answer discharge you.
Opponent. But secondly, will the children clamour, because it is suspended (they knowing a way to get strength and comfort from Christ, to get the thing signified, notwithstanding the suspension of the Elements) when the cannot enjoy it, but their Fathers Table is sure to be polluted, and his holy things perverted in their use, and end? For my part I think the children cannot but very much desire it; but things standing as they do, dare not clamour for it; the not feeding of their fences therewith, not at all threatning damnation to them.
Respond. What a concatenation of Absurdities are here? If they know a way to get Christ, without the Elements, they are worthy to receive the Elements; and why then are the Elements suspended? by whose fault? why, or by whom is their Fathers Table polluted, if they are worthy to receive it, and do not receive it? not by themselves, because they are worthy. Certainly by some other, who do receive it with them, or without them, unworthily: How is the use & end of the Sacrament perverted by their receiving, if they be worthy, or by whom? Dic bone Damaetas. For your part, you think they may desire; and for my part, I think not, I am sure, you may not deny it. It is against your duty; and why then may they not clamour (I take this word in the best construction) for it? because the not feeding of their fences, (how, Popery in a Presbyterian? wee feed not our fences, nor do our fences feed; wee feed our Faith, and our Faith feeds at the Sacrament) therewith not at all threatning damnation to them; but take heed, your not feeding them. i.e. your robbing them of their right, threatens not your self, I dare not say, with damnation; your last shift, and not modest comparison is no Postern for you.
Oppon. But as godly and learned men as your self constantly do it; And as godly and learned as they (I am sorry I am forc’t to make the comparison) dare not do it; and so the scales hang even.
Respond. No the scales doe not hang even: Saint Paul, as godly and learned a man as your self, did do it, at least did command it to be done; and where is your man as godly and learned as he, that now does it not, dares not do it? or why dares he not do it? If he have been wrapt up into an higher heaven than St. Paul was, and there received a new Illumination, let him produce it; till then you may be sorry for the Comparison, and asham’d of it too. I know no body forc’t you to it.
Oppon. Secondly, upon what grounds those godly and learned men do it, I know not. I would to God they might be put forth into the light, that so this pestering trouble between many Ministers and their people might be at an end.
Resp. This trouble never pestered any before this wardship of Religion came amongst us, by whom, it may be, you know, I speak not; which light is put forth (your own language) for you and other Ministers to view well; which if you doe, the people will soone see an end of this pestering trouble; though yet,
Oppon. Thirdly to me no examples are binding, but those of Christ and his Apostles. I am confident at the last day, neither no nor I dare plead the Example of the holiest and ablest men that are now alive. There is so much weaknesse in this objection (though it hath still come in for one against me) that had it not been to satisfie the weak, I would not have spent a penfull of inke upon it.
Respond. And indeed your Answer is so full of weaknesse to this objection full of strength, that had it not been to satisfie your self, you and I had said the same thing, and sent one another clean sheets. I dare not, as you dare not, plead the Examples of the holiest and ablest men that are now alive, at the last day; but if the holiest and ablest men that are now alive, do in this point follow the Examples of Christ and his Apostles, I dare follow their Examples, not because they are theirs, but because they are Christs and his Apostles. Christ instituted this Sacrament in a generall and promiscuous way, by admitting Judas with the rest; Saint Paul did the same; both onely proposing the danger of unworthy receiving; and I know Christ had, and Saint Paul, I believe as he thought, had the Spirit of God; and if for any respects I refuse to follow their Examples, and cannot plead them at the last day, I fear at that day they will plead against me.
Opponent. I hope you see by this time, that my non-administration of the Sacrament in that generall and promiscuous way it is desired, doth not lie in a willfullnesse to hinder my people of their Priviledges and comforts, (If I know mine own heart, I can be content to deny what of these Temporalls is most near and dear to me, to spend and be spent in building them up Heaven-ward) much lesse am I induced to it by some in the Family where I live, as it is groundlessly and upon their own meer phansie (I am assured) reported; I being of this judgement full two years since, but these Scriptures and argumentations here have done it.
Resp. In what Family you live, I know not, nor enquire. If I did, I should not think so thinly of you, as to satisfie them, you would decline your duty. He that is ruled by the Laity in his Ministry, is not fit for the Ministery. If you can be content to deny Temporals to save your people, I pray then deny them not this Spirituall, least you starve your people. You have been of this Judgement but two years; yet I hope you knew these Scriptures, if not these Argumentations too, many years before; and what was your Iudgement then? If it were then, that you might administer it in a generall and promiscuous way, I hope by this time you see, these Scriptures and Argumentations have no spell in them to alter your Judgement; I will not yet say, It is willfullnesse, I would not have you say, it is doubtfullnesse, lest Saint Paul say to you, Whatsoever is not of Faith, is sin. Rom. 14. 23. All that I say more is this.
Sir, you have an answer, according to your Expectation, To your plain Scripturall argumentative way: I have not studied to shew my self in producing humane Authorities, which but for your sake had been produced; but to satisfie Conscience, (I change not your words) giving your owne Scriptures their clear
πορισματα and rationall deductions; and waving your Zealous Menace, I give you this one or two more genuine deductions in the best way of reasoning, by Syllogism.
1. What Saint Paul did in the administration of the Sacrament, Ministers may do. But Saint Paul did in a generall and promiscuous way administer the Sacrament. Therefore Ministers may so do.
2. Ministers must perform their duty in the administration of the Sacrament, as Saint Paul performed his.
But Saint Paul performed his in a generall and promiscuous way of administration of the Sacrament. Therefore Ministers must so do.