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BO O K VI.
Containing their fifth assertion, that our laws are corrupt and repugnant to the laws
of God, in matter belonging to the power of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in tbal we have not throughout all charches certain lay-elders established for the exercise of
tion between us,
elders invested with
The same men which in heat of contention do hardly either the quesspeak or give ear to reason, being after sharp and bitter conflicts retired to a calm remembrance of all their former pro- whether all ceedings; the causes that brought them into quarrel, the congregacourse which their striving affections have followed, and the parishes
ought to issue whereunto they are come, may peradventure, as troubled
have laywaters, in small time, of their own accord, by certain degrees settle themselves again, and so recover that clearness of well-advised judgment, whereby they shall stand at the jurisdiction
in spiritual length indifferent both to yield and admit any reasonable sa- causes. tisfaction, 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, jurisdiction, dignity, dominion ecclesiastical. For, let not any imagine, that the bare and Lib. vi. vii. 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 their 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 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 Aaron, “ It is too much that ye take upon Nomb: you, seeing all the congregation is holy,” be not the very true xvi. S. abstract and abridgment of all their published admonitions, demonstrations, supplications, and treatises whatsoever, whereby they have laboured to avoid the rooms of their spiritual superiors before authorised, and to advance the new fancied sceptre of lay-presbyterial power.
The nalure of spiritual jurisdiction.
1 Tim. v. 19. Mark
But before there can be any settled determination, whether truth do rest on their part or on ours, touching lay-elders, we are to prepare the way thereunto by explication of some things requisite and very needful to be considered; as, first, how besides that spiritual power which is of order, and was instituted for performance of those duties whereof there hath been speech already had, there is in the church no less necessary a second kind, which we call the power of jurisdiction. When the apostle doth speak of ruling the church of God, and of receiving accusations, his words have evident reference to the power of jurisdiction. Our Saviour's words to the Acts xx. 28. power of order, when he giveth his disciples charge, saying, “ Preach, baptise: do this in remembrance of me.” Tíua vi. 15. Mat. 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. A bishop (saith Ignatius) doth bear the image of God and of Christ; of God in ruling, of Christ in administering, holy things. By this therefore we see a manifest difference acknowledged between the power of ecclesiastical order, and the power of jurisdiction ecclesiastical.
The spiritual power of the church being such as neither can be challenged by right of nature, nor could by human authority be instituted, because the forces and effects thereof are supernatural and Divine, we are to make no doubt or question but that, from him which is the head, it hath descended unto us that are the body now invested therewith. He gave
it for the benefit and good of souls, as a mean to keep them in the path which leadeth unto endless felicity, a
bridle to hold them within their due and convenient bounds, and, if they do go astray, a forcible help to reclaim them. Now although there be no kind of spiritual power, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not give both commission to exer cise, and direction how to use the same, although his laws in that behalf, recorded by the holy evangelists, be the only ground and foundation, whereupon the practice of the church must sustain itself; yet as all multitudes, once grown to the form of societies, are even thereby naturally warranted to enforce upon their own subjects particularly those things which public wisdom shall judge expedient for the common good; so it were absurd to imagine the church itself, the most glorious amongst them, abridged of this liberty, or to think that no law, constitution, or canon, can be farther made, either for limitation or amplification, in the practice of our Saviour's ordinances, whatsoever occasion be offered through variety of times and things, during the state of this inconstant world, which bringeth forth daily such new evils, as must of necessity by new remedies be redressed, did both of old enforce our venerable predecessors, and will always constrain others, sometime to make, sometime to augment, and again to abridge sometime; in sum, often to vary, alter, and change customs, incident unto the manner of exercising that power, which doth itself continue always one and the same. I therefore conclude, that spiritual authority is a power which Christ hath given to be used over them which are subject unto it for the eternal good of their souls, according to his own most sacred laws and the wholesome positive constitutions of his church.
In doctrine referred unto action and practice, as this is which concerns spiritual jurisdiction, the first sound and perfect understanding is the knowledge of the end, because thereby both use doth frame, and contemplation judge, all things.
Of penitency, the chiefest end propounded by spiritual jurisdiction. Two kinds
of penitency; the one a private duty towards God, the other a duty of external discipline. Of the virtue of repentance, from which the former daty proceedeth ;
and of contrition, the first part of that duty. Seeing that the chiefest cause of spiritual jurisdiction is to provide for the health and safety of men's souls, by bringing