T E S T I M O N Y
Truth of Jesus Christ,
Our Solemn League and Covenant;
Against the Errours, Heresies and Blasphemies
of these times, and the Toleration of them.
Wherein is inserted
A Catalogue of divers of the said Errours &c. All of them being collected out of their Authors own Books alleadged in the margin, and laid down in their own words; except one that was maintained in a dispute in Oxford, Decemb. 11.1646. and six or seven which were asserted before a Committee of the Honourable House of Commons in the Star-Chamber, and reported to the House, Sept.12.1643. Subscribed by the Ministers of Christ within the Province
of London, Decemb. 14 &c. 1647.
Stand, having your loynes girt about with T R U T H; and having on the brest-plate of righteousnesse; and your feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of peace. Eph.6.14,15.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound minde. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the T E S T I M O N Y of our Lord. 2 Tim.1.7,8.
De Cyprian. in Epist. Lxviij. §. 9. Edit S. Goulartij. 1953.
Viderit vel prevaricatorum numerus, vel proditorum, qui nunc in Ecclesia contra Ecclesiam surgere, & fidem pariter ac veritatem labefactare cæperunt.
L O N D O N,
Printed by A.M. for Tho. Underbill at the Bible in Woodstreet. 1648.
Truth of Jesus Christ
Our Solemn League and Covenant;
Against the Errours, Heresies, and Blasphemies
of these times, and the Toleration of them.
By the Ministers of CHRIST within the
Province of London, Decemb. 14. &c. 1647.
THE glory of the most high God being of all things dearest to himself, and his presence of Grace, of all enjoyments most comfortable to us, We the Ministers of Christ within the Province of London, account it our Duty to express our deepest sorrow for, and detestation of all those abominations, which directly oppose the advancing of the one, and the continuing of the other amongst us. We cannot therefore, but most sadly resent the Denial of the standing and perpetual Ordinances of Jesus Christ,1and that not in point of their exercise only (as heretofore) but even of their very present Being; The spreading Heresies, The cursed Blasphemies,The general looseness and profaneness of our times, The daring contempt of the Authority and Government of our Lord Jesus Christ; all which are swollen to such an heightened inundation, that they have in a manner born down before them, The Authority of the sacred Scriptures, The life and power of Godliness, and ourSolemn League and Covenant.2But above all our souls are wounded to think with what hope and industry, a Toleration of all these evils is endeavoured (in hopes whereof sundry Sectaries from other parts resort hither,) and with what a welcomed boldness, sundry odious heretics (which in other places have been banished and branded with infamy) do vent their poisonous opinions amongst us, as if they intended to make England a common Receptacle of all the sinful dregs of foreign Countries, as well as of former ages. Against these recited evils, (1) The Zeal we owe to the Glory of God, and his Truth. (2) The Duty of our Places, as Ministers, by office set for defence of the Gospel,3and bearing witness to the Truth against all opposing corruptions: (3) The dreadful judgments of an angry God both felt and feared, for these among other provocations: (4) The imitable examples of Ministers and others in all ages, raised up by God to bear witness to his truth against the errours and corruptions of their times:4 (5) The exemplary acquitting of our selves, as guiltless of those growing abominations, both to this present age, and to posterity. (6) The just expectation of the Reformed Churches, that in these evil times some should stand up for Jesus Christ, and give an honourable testimony to his Truth and Cause, that now lies a bleeding: (7) The unsuccessfulness of our former endeavours for England's healing: And in fine (8) the satisfying and supporting of our own hearts and consciences, if God should call us forth to suffer, enforce us to express our selves, not with a bitter, but a bleeding heart, in this ensuing Testimony.
Touching matters of Faith: having seriously perused and weighed, The humble Advice of the Assembly of Divines, now by Authority of Parliament sitting at Westminster, Concerning a Confession of Faith. &c. and finding it (to the abundant satisfaction of our judgments, and rejoicing of our spirits) most singularly pious, prudent, sound, full, faithful, and agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and Confessions of other reformed Churches; Hereupon we embrace and assent unto the whole, and with the Reverend Assembly concur in our humble and hearty desires that it may receive the approbation and Sanction of Authority, as the joint Confession of Faith, for these three Kingdoms, in pursuance of our Covenant.
As for all contrary unsound opinions, especially those abominable Errours, damnable Heresies [2 Pet. 2.1.], and Horrid Blasphemies (to be lamented, if it were possible, with tears of blood) which in these wicked and licentious times, are broached and maintained amongst us here in England, under the notion of New lightsand New Truths: In as much as we have just cause to judge (1) many of them destructive to the very fundamental Truths of Christianity, and the Power of Godliness; and (2) all of them utterly repugnant to the Sacred Scriptures; (3) The causes of much grief of heart to all the friends of Truth and Piety at home; (4) The Scandal and Offence of all the Reformed Churches abroad; (5) The imparalleled Reproach of this Church and Nation; (6) Totally inconsistent with our solemn National Covenant with the most high God, and the Covenanted Reformation. And in a word (7) The very dregs and spawn of those accursed Heresies, which have been already condemned, dead, buried, and rotten in their graves long ago, and are now in these unhappy days by evil men and seducers raked out and revived, to the poisoning and subverting [Acts 15.24.] of many thousands of precious souls, who being children in understanding, are tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of Doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive [Eph. 4.14.]; Of whom the Apostle prophesied, saying, The time will come when they will not endure sound Doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from Truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [2 Tim. 4.3,4.]
We therefore as the Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of the Mysteries of God [1 Cor. 4.1.], in zeal to God's Glory, Truth and Gospel, (far dearer to us than our dearest lives,) do for present, and hope we shall to our dying day from our very hearts and souls utterly detest and abhor [Gal. 1.8,9.] all the errours, heresies, and blasphemies whatsoever, swarming amongst us in these times, howsoever minced, masked, and palliated, and by whomsoever embraced and countenanced: most humbly and earnestly beseeching the God of all grace [1 Pet. 5.10.] and truth, to keep us, our families, Congregations, and the whole Church of England from falling into these, or any such like sinful snares; & to deliver them from such entanglements, who are ensnared already, that at last he may present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. [Jude 24.] But more particularly we abominate these infamous and pernicious Errours of late published among us, and hereafter recited in this ensuing Catalogue. viz.
Errours against the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures.
That, The Scripture, whether true Manuscript or no, whether Hebrew, Greek, or English, it is but Human; so not able to discover a Divine God. Then where is your command to make that your rule or Discipline, that cannot reveal you God, nor give you power to walk with God?
—Pilgrimage of Saints by Lawr. Clarkson. p.4.
That, It is no foundation of Christian Religion, to believe that the English Scriptures, or that book, or rather volume of books called the Bible, translated out of the Original Hebrew and Greek copies, into the English tongue, are the word of God.
—Hagiomastix. by J Goodwin. Lond. 1646. Sect. 18. p.37.
That, Questionless no writing whatsoever whether Translations or Originals, are the foundation of Christian Religion.
—The Divine Authority of the Scriptures. by I. G. Lond. 1648. p.18.
Errours against the Nature and Essence of God.
That, God hath a personal shape. Adam was made according to the likeness of God in personal shape. It is said, God shewed unto Moses his back-parts, but his face should not be seen: therefore if he have back-parts and a face, he hath a shape, which when he pleaseth he can make visible, as then he did.
—Little Non such. Lond. 1646. p. 3,4.
That, God is the name of a person, wherefore to take God otherwise than personally, is to take him otherwise than he is, and indeed to mistake him.
—12. Arguments by John Biddle. 1647. p.8.
That, it's a wretched distinction, to distinguish betwixt Essence and person.
—12. Arguments by John Biddle. 1647. p.7.
That, the Father, Son, and holy Ghost, the whole Godhead set itself bodily in Christ to suffer for the transgressing creature.
—Divine light. 1646. pag. 5.
That, God is the Author not of those actions alone, in and with which sin is, but of the very Pravity, Ataxy, Anomie, Irregularity, and sinfulness itself which is in them. Yea God hath more hand in men's sinfulness, than they themselves.
—Comfort for believers, &c. p. 36,37.
[See the Declaration of the Assemblie of Divines by way of Detestation &c. 1645. p.5.]
Errours against the Trinity of persons in Unity of Essence.
That, The Father is God essentially, the Son vicentially, the holy Spirit potentially.—But for the Son to be coequal to the Father, or the holy Spirit a distinct coequal person, I cannot find, (saith the Author.)
—Mysteries discovered. by Paul Best. 1647. p.4.
That, that of three coequal persons, is but the Chappell of Rome, for the Church of Christ, and that which keepeth the rest of the world in the Popes pound forth of his fold, both the Jews that believe the old Testament, the Turk and the great Mogoll, &c. according to the dictate of common intelligence, not corrupt in this kind by a contrary habit, who cannot be brought to believe in a Trinity, implying Polytheosy, or Apotheosy, i.e. many Gods, or a man-God.
—Mysteries discovered. by Paul Best. 1647. p.5.
That, The great whore is made Stigmaticall by her brand in the forehead, Rev. 17.5. by that which is in the very frontispiece of all the Catholick's Confessions concerning the Trinity.
—Mysteries discovered by Paul Best. 1647. p.11.
Errours against the Deity of the Son of God.
That, Christ being of his Father's most intimate Counsel, is a mighty God (not almighty God) above all appellative Gods, 1 Cor. 8.5.
—Mysteries discovered by Paul Best. 1647. p.6.
That, the better part of Christ's person is man: there being but a gradual difference betwixt him, and Moses, and us.
—Mysteries discovered by Paul Best. 1647. p.4.
That, To make Christ coequal to his Father, is to make another or a false Christ, or (to deal plainly with friends) an idol Christ, or two Gods, (as much as in us lieth) the great indignity to his imparalleled Father, with the indignation of his most pious Son, in wounding the father through his sides; and that which we now and others hereafter shall suffer for, as, Rev. 6.16,17. For as it is high treason to equalize even the King's son with the King himself: So it is high blasphemy to equalize the first born of every creature, Col. 1.15. with the Creator himself, Rom. 1.25. and that blasphemy of the beast with seven heads and ten horns, Rev. 13.1,3,5, &c. and that mystery of iniquity written in the forehead of the great whore, 17.5. diametrically opposite to that of the father's name written in the fore-heads of the 144000. [Rev.] 14. 126.96.36.199. &c.
—Mysteries discovered by Paul Best. 1647. p.4.
Errours against the Deity, and Divine Worship of the Holy-Ghost.
That, The Holy-Ghost is only a ministering Spirit; so that as there is one principal spirit among the evil Angels, known in the Scriptures by the name of Satan, &c. even so there is our principal spirit among the good Angels, called by the name of the Advocate, or the Holy Spirit.
—12. Arguments by John Biddle. 1647. p. 1,2.
That, The Holy Ghost is no more omni-present than the Devil, The Holy Spirit is no otherwise omni-present in the hearts of the faithful, than Satan the unclean Spirit is in the hearts of the wicked.
—12. Arguments by John Biddle. 1647. p. 18. per. tot.
That, the preaching of the worshipping of the holy Spirit as God; is such a plant as God never set in his word.
—12. Arguments by John Biddle. 1647. p. 4.
Errours against God's eternal decree of Election and Reprobation.
That, They labour to deny God, and Christ, and their own Salvation, under cunning pretences, wresting the whole Scriptures, falsifying and misconstructing the case of Election, and Predestination, who make as though none should every be saved, but the elect and predestinated.
—Divine light. 1646. pag. 14.
That, they who preach that none shall be saved, but the Elect, and Predestinate, are notable liars.
—Divine light. 1646. pag. 25.
That, If the love of God be limited to a few, it is far from being infinite. He that doth good, or sheweth mercy to one in misery, and passeth by another in the like condition, in every respect; the defect must be in his heart, or in his ability: Now we know that it is not for want of ability, if God shew not mercy to all; and to ascribe it to his heart, his disposition, will, or pleasure, is to blaspheme his excellent name and nature.
—Fulnesse of Gods love manifested, by L.S. 1643. p. 1,2.
That, It is not suitable to God to pick and choose amongst men, in shewing mercy; for he may as well cease to be, as to withhold mercy from any one in misery.
—Fulnesse of Gods love manifested, by L.S. 1643. p.2.
That, the Reprobate condition of men and Angels, shall be regained. We call them Reprobates only for distinction sake.
—Divine light. 1643. p.7.
Errours about Original Sin.
That, No man shall ever perish in Hell for Adam's sin, yea men have no more reason to blame themselves, for what Adam did before they were born, than an heir hath to blame himself, because his father spent his inheritance before he was born.
—Fulnesse of Gods love manifested by L.S. 1643. p.80,81.
That, If we had been to suffer in Hell in Relation to Adam or the Law, then Christ also should have suffered in Hell for us, which he did not.
—Fulnesse of Gods love. by L.S. 1643. p.56.
Errours against Jesus Christ our Mediatour.
That, Hypostatical union and communion of Properties, are but real Contradictions, and the frog-like croaking of the Dragon, the Beast and false Prophet, Rev. 16.13. by virtue of a Hocus Pocus, and a Babylonian mouth.
—Mysteries discovered. by Paul Best. 1647. p.14.
That, From Acts 1.31. It is clear, that Spirit, Life, Breath, or Soul are subject to the grave as well as body or flesh: For Christ's soul as well as his flesh was in hell, that is, the Grave, or bonds of death; So that he wholly or throughly died for us.
—Mans Mortality. by R.O. 1643. p.57.
That, Christ did not by his death purchase Life and Salvation, no not for the Elect, for it was not the end of God in the loving of Christ, to purchase Love and Life, but Christ himself was purchased by love, that he might make out love, and purchase us to love: For Christ came not to reconcile God to men, but men to God. For though Christ doth hold forth Love and Life, yet he did not purchase it, but was purchased by it.
—Paul Hobsons Serm. Christ the effect not the cause of the love of God. p.47.
That, Christ ascended upwards from the Earth into some part of the Celestial bodies above; Acts 1.10. Therefore without doubt, he must be in the most excellent, glorious, and heavenly part thereof, which is the Sun.
—Mans Mortality. by R.O. printed at Amsterdam by John Canne, 1643. p.33,34.
Errours touching universal, or general Redemption.
That, Christ was given to undergo a shameful death, voluntarily upon the Cross, to satisfy for the sin of Adam, and for all the sins of all mankind.
—Pract. Catechisme, by H. Hammond, 2. Ed. Lond. 1646. p.4,5.
That, It evidently appears that Christ intended the benefits of his death, viz. Remission of sins, and eternal Life, to those who by trusting in lying vanities forsake their own mercies, drawing back to perdition: as well as for those who believe to the saving of their souls.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love manifested. by L.S. 1643. p.34. & p.29,33.
That, As the death of Christ was extended to all: so likewise the benefits thereof, were both by the Father and Son intended for all.
—Fulnesse of Gods love. by L.S. 1643. p.35.
That, If God command the Gospel to be preached to all, and Christ died only for some, then God commands a lie to be preached to the most part of men.
—Fulnesse of Gods love. by L.S. 1643. p.15.
That, Those that teach, that Christ died only for a few, take away the true Gospel, and ground of Faith; and introduce a false Gospel, which affords men no ground to believe.
—Fulnesse of Gods love. by L.S. 1643. p.16[?].
That, The Damned shall be saved, for Christ descended into Hell, to break their bands, preaching peace to them.
—Divine Light. 1646. p.8.
That, The true Christian vocal Faith always maintaineth the Covenant of general Redemption, and that Christ laid down his life a ransom for all, to take away in due time the sins of the whole world, in manifestation, that all shall see, feel, and possess the blessedness of it to their everlasting Salvation and comfort. This Christian vocal Faith worketh to receive all things from God's free love, and great Jehovah mercies: seeing and believing, that although there were but three persons believers in the earth with Christ, yet God will have his whole creation, although not any else did believe but these three, in and with Christ.—These are the seed of blessedness, maintaining the Christian Faith, That Christ laid down his life a ransom for all, and that every immortal creature is made perfect by God himself in Christ, These are those believers in whom all nations shall be blessed through Christ.—These believers are that seed of blessedness unto all the Creation: with them, in them, and by them the whole Creation shall receive blessedness through the mighty power of God in Christ.
—Divine Light. 1646. p.13.
That, Heathens, Hypocrites, and Devils have for a time damned themselves; many thousands for a time have been imprisoned in the pit wherein there is no water, But by the Covenant of General Redemption, Our God will deliver the prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water; Zech. 9.11,12. which out of Question is the pit of Hell.
—Divine Light. 1646. p.19,20.
That, They are Devils incarnate, who are or shall be found to deny the Covenant of General Redemption.
—Divine Light. 1646. in Epist. To the Reader.
That, For a time Millions of Thousands were damned, yet not damned to perish forever, for there is none can be damned totally, but only in their own account they are damned.
—Divine Light. 1646. p.11.
Errours about Natural mans free will, and Power to good supernatural.
That, If God should deprive men of all ability and power to repent and to believe, and then should be still moving and persuading, still entreating and beseeching, urging and pressing them to believe with that patheticalnesse of affection wherein he expresseth himself in the Scriptures, even to those that perish, as well as to those that are saved, this would seem very hard, yea somewhat harder than injustice itself, but this is not so. If a King have caused a man's legs to be cut off, suppose he hath done it in a way of justice, yet if he should urge, press, and persuade such a man as this, whose legs he hath cut off, to run a race with those that have their limbs and are swift of foot, and should promise him with many expressions of Love exceeding great rewards, if he would quit himself in the race like a man, and come as soon to the goal, as they that run with him, this would be a carriage savouring more of a bloody and unmanlike insolency over the poor wretch in his misery, than of any real affection, grace, or respect towards him, or of any desire of his good: In like manner to conceive that God applieth himself with such moving and melting expressions of mercy, tenderness of bowels, love, grace, bounty, &c. towards his creature man (as Scripture from place to place emphatically asserts that he doth) yea towards very sinful and unworthy men, promising unto them life and glory and the great things of the world to come if they will believe, repent, and turn to him; and yet to suppose withall that these men to whom he maketh these rich and sweet applications of himself, are wholly destitute of all power to do what he requires of them in this case, to save them from destruction, and to confer the great things promised upon them, as viz. to believe and repent, is to represent the glorious God in his greatest expressions of mercy and grace and love unto the world, rather as laughing the world to scorn in that great misery wherein it is plunged, than as a God any ways truly desirous, or intending to relieve it.
—The Divine Authority of the Scriptures, Asserted by John Goodwin, Lond. 1648. p.168,169.
That, If Salvation were not to be had by Christ but through Faith, and condemnation came upon them through unbelief, and the condition of men were such that they could not believe, and God afforded them not power, then the eternal Ruin and damnation of the most part of men, was an inevitable effect of the death of Christ.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love by L.S. 1643. p.61,62. compare also. p.64.
That, If men in the state of nature, were unable to believe the Gospel when they heard it preached by the Ministers of Christ, then would it be the Ministry of life and righteousness no more than the Law was.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love by L.S. 1643. p.47.
That, The Gospel is the Ministry of life, not in itself only, but in respect of men's power to believe it, when it is preached or declared unto them.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love by L.S. 1643. p.48.
That, If Christ had spoken the things of God, plainly (not in Parables) it was possible if not probable, that they had seen, understood, and been converted.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love. by L.S. 1643. p.116,117.
That, If God should not make men capable of believing, I mean, endue men with such principles, abilities, or gifts of reason, judgment, memory, understanding, by the diligent improvement whereof, they might come to be convinced of a willingness or readiness in him to receive them into grace and favour, upon their repentance and turning to him (upon which conviction, that repentance and turning unto God, which we speak of always follows) they which are condemned would have their mouths open against God's proceedings with them thereunto, and furnished with an excuse.
—Divine Authority of the Scriptures Asserted by John Goodwin. p.200.
That, It were a needless thing, for Satan to blind the eyes of natural men, least the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, should shine unto them, if they had not eyes to see and receive this glorious light of the Gospel, when it was declared unto them. Indeed men are not blind for want of eyes, but for want of light: and when light or truth is discovered to them, they have faculties suitable, fit and apt to receive it.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love. by L.S. 1643. p.75.
That, If the Gospel were the power of God only to believers, and to unbelievers a dead letter, then unbelievers were as right in their thoughts (to whom it was foolishness) as believers to whom it was the wisdom and power of God; yea it had been foolishness in unbelievers to have esteemed it any other then foolishness in the point of their salvation, as a means unto which end it was propounded to them: for their condition was more desperate, considered with these means then before, it being unable to bring them to faith, and so to life, and yet bringing condemnation on them for their unbelief.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love. by L.S. 1643. p.43,44.
That, Men, though wicked and sinful, yet would not be obnoxious to the judgment of God [i.e. sinful and wicked enough for him to destroy] if they could plead any tolerable excuse for their sins, or why they should not be destroyed. Now of all, and all manner of excuses in the world, that ever were alleged, or can be alleged by any man, for not doing what he was commanded to do, there is none more plausible, none more reasonable, or fair than this; to say that he was not able to do it, neither mediately nor immediately, or that it was a thing impossible for him to do; yea to be able to say this with truth, and out of knowledge, it is not properly to make an excuse (as we commonly take the word) but it is to speak that, which according to the strictest rules of reason and equity, ought to exempt a man from all censure and punishment, though he doth not that which was commanded him.
—Divine Authority of the Scriptures. Asserted by John Goodwin. Lond. 1648. p.201.
And a little after he adds; As to the objection wherewith this opinion perhaps is burthened in the thoughts of many, as viz. that it is an Arminian doctrine, and maintains free will with the like; We shall answer no more for the present but this, that if it be a doctrine asserted by Paul and Peter (as most assuredly it is) it ought to suffer no disparagement for being found among the Tenets of Arminius.
That, It is a vain thing (and far from God) to exercise forbearance, and long-suffering in expectation of impossibilities, to wait when the Creature will do that which is impossible for him to perform: and then the forbearance of God could not (in any sense) be said to lead wicked men to repentance, but to destruction and ruin: For if God forbear never so long, they cannot repent, and the wrath of God comes on them for despising his patience and forbearance; and so the forbearance of God (instead of being rich in goodness) is rendered by this Doctrine, rich in wrath, in fire and brimstone, and such goodness might well be despised.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love by L.S. 1643. p.45.
That, Natural men may do such things as whereunto God hath by way of promise annexed grace and acceptation. A most dangerous errour, and of a sad consequence, as that which was charged upon Paul, when his adversaries accused him for teaching, that they were no Gods which were made with hands, Acts 19.26. For (doubtless) men are natural men, before they are spiritual and supernatural; and spiritual or supernatural they cannot be made, but by believing, and unto believing we all confess that God hath promised grace and acceptation. Therefore unless it be possible that natural men may believe; it is impossible that ever they should become spiritual, and if it be possible that they may believe, then may they do such things, whereunto God hath by way of promise annexed grace and acceptation.
—The Divine Authority of the Scriptures asserted by John Goodwin. Lond. 1648. p.26.
Errours against the true Nature and ground of Faith; and Justification.
That, Men say that faith is supernatural, but how can it be above nature to believe that which we see sufficient ground to believe? and to believe any thing of which we have no plain ground or reason, is so far from being above nature, that it is below it, and proper to fools, and not to reasonable men.
—Fulnesse of Gods Love by L.S. 1643. p.39 & 43.
That, Those that are without (I mean without the Gospel written, or preached, upon such terms as it is preached amongst us daily) they also have sufficient means (if not large and plentiful) for believing.
—The Divine Authority of the Scriptures asserted. by J. Goodwin. Lond. 1648. p.183.
Yea the same Author saith, That they who have only the heavens, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the goodness of God in the government of the world, to preach the Gospel unto them, they also have reason sufficient (if not in abundance) to think the same thought, and judge the same judgment with the other (i.e. that have the letter of the Gospel) in the point in hand (i.e. in believing the Gospel) for having the Gospel (I mean the substance and effect of it, the willingness and readiness of God to be reconciled unto the world) preached unto them, by the Apostles aforesaid, the Sun, Moon, Stars, the patience, goodness, and bountifulness of God in the government of the world, they cannot reasonably think, but that it is of great weight and moment unto them, to believe that which is so taught them by such a glorious Ministry sent from God.
That, It is clear from the Scriptures, that all the world, even those that are most straitened and scanted in this kind, those that have not the letter of the Gospel, have yet sufficient means of believing granted unto them, of believing I mean (1.) that God is. (2.) that he is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him: which is all the faith or belief that the Apostle makes simply and absolutely necessary to bring a man unto God, i.e. into grace or favour with him.—Heathen men and those that want the History of the Gospel, have yet a sufficiency of means whereby to believe, and so to prevent the wrath and indignation which is to come.
That, Neither Paul nor James exclude or separate faithful actions, or acts of Faith, from Faith, or the condition of Justification, but absolutely requiring them as the only things by which the man is justified.
—A Practicall Cathechisme by H. Hammond 2 Edit. Lond. 1646. p28. & p.36.
Errours touching the state of those which are in Christ, in reference to the Moral Law, to Sin, and to the Perfection of their Holiness and good-works in this life.
That, The Moral Law is of no use at all to a believer; no Rule for him to walk by, nor to examine his life by. And that Christians are free from the Mandatory power of it. Delivered by M. Randall and M. Simson; Witness M. Gataker.
—Gods eye on his Israel. By Th. Gataker, BD. 1645. Lond. Epist to he Reader. p.17,18.
Whence (it may well be) proceed those exclamations of one of them in the Pulpit, Away with the Law, Away with the Law: And that horrid speech of his, The Law cuts off a man's legs, and then bids him walk.
That, The Law and Christ are two contrary things, whereof the one cannot abide the other.
—Honie-comb of free justif. By John Eaton. Lond. 1642. p.449.
That, By Sins Believers are as much nurtured and fitted for heaven, as by any thing else: And God fits believers for service in this world, by leading them into sins.
—Comfort for believers, &c. p.48.
[See the Declaration of the Assembly by way of detestation, p.5.]
That, He that believeth that Christ hath taken away his sin, is as clean without sin, as Christ himself.
—Honie-comb of free justific. by Jo. Eaton, Lond. 1642. c.3. p.25.
That, It is as possible for Christ himself to sin, as for a child of God to sin. By M. Randall at Martins Orgars; witness M. Gataker.
—M Gataker, Gods eye, epist.
That, A child of God need not, nay ought not to ask pardon for sin, and that it is no less than blasphemy for him so to do. By M. Randall in private, and maintained in public by him. Witness M. Gataker.
—M Gataker, Gods eye, &c. epist. p.18.
That, Every elect vessel of God from the first instant of his being, is as pure in the eyes of God, I say, from the charge of sin, as he shall be in glory: No more sin shall be reckoned to him now, than he shall have in heaven.
—D. Crisp's Serm. intit. Our sins are already laid on Christ, p.274,275.
That, The Lord hath not one sin to charge upon any elect person from the first moment of Conception, till the last minute of his life, there is not so much as original sin to be laid on him.—Let me speak freely to you, and in so doing tell you, That the Lord hath no more to lay to the charge of an elect person, yet in the height of iniquity, and in the excess of riot, and committing all the abominations that can be committed, I say, even then, when an elect person runs such a course, the Lord hath no more to lay to that person's charge, than God hath to lay to the charge of a believer; nay, God hath no more to lay to the charge of such a person, than he hath to lay to the charge of a Saint triumphant in glory.
—D. Crisp in the same Sermon, p272.
That, If a man by the Spirit know himself to be in the state of grace, though he be drunk, or commit murder, God sees no sin in him. Averred by M. Simson; witness M. Gataker.
—Gods eye on his Israel By T. Gatak. Lon. 1645. in Epist. to the Reader, p. 18.
That, God doth not chastise any of his children for sin: nor is it for the sin of God's people that the Land is punished. Averred by M. Simson; witness M. Gataker.
—Gods eye &c. Ibid. p.18.
That, the fullness of the Godhead, the same fullness of the Godhead which is in Christ, dwells bodily in the Saints, in the same measure. Asserted by M. Erbury at Oxford, Dec. 11. 1646.
—Account to the Parliament by the Ministers sent to Oxford. Lond. 1647. p.30.
That, As well our works as persons, are perfectly holy and good.
—Assertion of grace by Rob. Town. p.85.
That, A Saint in this life, without any addition hereafter, is perfectly just, perfectly holy, completely glorious in this life, and is not capable of any addition after death in the least degree, by only in manifestation.
—The Saints perfect in this life or never, by N. Coulin, an officer in the Army, London 1647. p.1,2.
Errours against the Ordinances of Christ in general.
That, The fullness of time is not yet come for Ordinances.
—Smoak in the Temple, p.18.
That, There is no Church, nor Ordinance yet; That if they did not end with the Primitive and Apostolic times, yet are they to begin as in the Apostolic times with gifts and miracles. The Seekers opinion.
—Smoak in the Temple, &c. by Jo. Saltmarsh p.19.
That, Heretofore we have seen much of God in our outward formal fellowships one with another in fleshly Ordinances; as baptism of water, and breaking of bread; but now happily Christ is crucified in all these things to us; and we find nothing but dead flesh there, nothing that can administer any spiritual comfort in any of these things; see nothing but form and bare flesh, bare water, bare bread and wine; insomuch that we now confess, that our highest attainments of the knowledge of Christ, hath been but a knowledge after the flesh; now here lies Christ crucified to all these things, and the soul dead to its wonted discoveries.
—Antichrist in man by Joseph Salmon a member of the Army, Lond. 1647. p.31,32.
Errours against the Lord's Day Sabbath.
That, The true Christian Sabbath was the Father.—So as the spiritual Christian in the true discovery of God's fullness, lives in an eternal, every-day Sabbath, while some live in little more than the bare sign, or one day in the week.
—Sparkles of glorie, by John Saltmarsh, Lon. 266,267.
Errours against the Sacrament of Baptism.
That, (1.) Infant-baptism is not so ancient as is pretended, but as now taught, is a late innovation. (2.) Antipædobaptism hath no ill influence on Church or Common-wealth. (3.) Infant-baptism cannot be deduced from holy Scripture. (4.) Infant-baptism is a corruption of the Ordinance of baptism.
—Examen of M. Steph. Marsha's Serm. By Jo. Tombes B.D. Lond. 1645. in Title page.
That, The Baptism of water was a legal washing, and therefore reckoned among things that are legal, Heb. 9.10.
—Sparkles of glorie, by John Saltmarsh, Lon. 1647, p.29,30.
That, John's Baptism, which was by water, did end at the coming of Christ.
—Webbs Pamphlet against M. Edwards, p.6.
That, There must be a second institution of Baptism with water, or else it is not of that weight, as many of our friends take it to be. Which institution (saith the same Author) I read not of in any part of the N. Testament.
That, Baptism being but a shadow of Christ in the N.T. it is to go out, as the substance comes in; if not in use, yet in our esteem.
—Becons Catechisme, London 1646. p.194,195.
That, None ought to give Baptism now, because they cannot give the holy Ghost with it.
—Smoak, &c. by John Saltmarsh, Lond, p.17.
That, It is most certain, that the Baptism of infants is the greatest delusion, and a thing of as dangerous a consequence, as ever the man of sin brought into the world.
—Vanityie of childish baptisme, par.2. p.30.
Errours against lawful Oaths.
That, It is not lawful to call a wicked person to swear, to pray; as being actions of God's worship. By Roger Williams.
—M. Cottons letter examined and answered by Roger Williams, 1644. p.4,5.
That, If it be Adultery to look to lust, it is also forswearing of man's self to swear at all: if one be Adultery, the other is Perjury: So that in preaching the Toleration, nay the duty of an Oath; you preach the Toleration, yea the duty of Adultery itself.
—Simplicities defence by S. Gorton, London, 1646. p.22.
That, "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain" is undoubtedly no more, than "Thou shalt not forswear thyself."
—Pract. Catechisme. by H. Hammond, 2.Ed. Lond. 1646. p.120.
Errours touching Marriage and Divorce.
That, That Marriage is most just, which is made without any ambitious or covetous end: and if this liking and mutual correspondency happen betwixt the nearest of kindred, then it is also the most natural, the most lawful, and according to the Primitive purity and practice.
—Little Non-such, Lond. 1646. p.13.
That, The very next of kin may join in marriage both by custom and command: for example, we find that Sarah was Abraham's sister, whom he took to wife: a better precedent we cannot have, for he was the father of the faithful.—So naturally confident were the servants of God in propagating by the next of kind, that Lotsdaughters did not doubt to raise up seed to their father.—Lot might justly be blamed for drinking so liberally.—Yet we find no reproof upon the daughters, because what they did, was only for propagation according to the institution, and not to satisfy appetite.
—Little Non-such, Lon. 1646. p.5,6.
That, The prohibition of degrees in Leviticus, is to be understood only of fornication, and not of Marriage.
That, Indisposition, unfitness or contrariety of mind (betwixt man and wife) arising from a cause in nature unchangeable, hindering and ever likely to hinder the main benefits of conjugal society, which are solace and peace; are a great reason of Divorce, &c.
—Doctrine and Discipline of divorce, by J. M. Lond. 1644. p.6. Peruse the whole Book.
Errours against the future state of men's Souls after this life; denying the immortality of the Soul, and the actual being of Heaven or Hell till the day of Judgment; and of the torments of Devils till then, &c.
That, Whole man (as a rational creature,) is compounded wholly Mortal, contrary to that common distinction of soul and body: And that the present going of the soul into Heaven or hell, is a mere fiction.
—Mans Mortality by R.O. Printed at Amsterdam by J. Canne. 1643. Title Page.
It is also called, The Hell-hatched doctrine of the immortal soul; in verses in commendation of the Book by N.C.
That, Purgatory, limbus patrum, infantum, Prayers unto dead Saints, the Virgin Mary, and a world of such like fancies are grounded upon the invention of the soul: And that it fighteth against the Attributes of God, and undermineth Christ, undervalueth and lesseneth the purchase of his sufferings, and denieth the Resurrection. And the most grand and blasphemous Heresies that are in the world, the mystery of iniquity, and Kingdom of Antichrist depend upon it.
—Mans Mortality. Amsterd. 1643. p.56.
That, None ever entered into heaven since the Creation.
—Mans Mortality. 1643. p.8.
I may, and not without ground (saith the same Author) Positively affirm, That the place of glory for the dead Saints, is not yet, and shall not actually be, till the dissolution of those heavens, and this earth.
That, By the third Heavens and Paradise, in 2 Cor. 12.2,4. nothing else is meant, but such a rapture, as Daniel, Paul, John, &c. were in, when the Lord appeared to them in visions.
That, It is clear in Scripture that there is no resurrection of the natural body; but that resurrection spoken of, is the Resurrection of the body mystical, which is to be understood in two particulars (1.) A resurrection in this life out of a spiritual desertion.—(2.) There is another Resurrection of the mystical body, in respect of the Saints departed, concerning which Christ speaks to Martha.—And so this Resurrection spoken of in Scripture, is to be understood in a spiritual sense.
—Scripture Prophecies opened by E. Avery. Lond. 1647. p.43,44.
That, In the day of judgment—Christ shall appear, and all his Saints with him, which make but one incomprehensible God, one body, which is Christ: so this incomprehensible God, this Christ, the manifestation of the Father, shall appear in those living Saints, who shall live successively, and so this glorious manifestation shall come in more and more, until this incomprehensible God be comprehended in the Saints. And when it is thus, the body shall be clothed upon, and mortality shall be swallowed up of light, and these very bodies of flesh shall be annihilated, and brought to nothing.
—Scripture Prophecies opened by E. Avery. Lond. 1647. p.45.
That, The natural body is only a vail; and when this vail, which is the flesh, is put off, then man may be said to die, and then this vail, which is the body, returns to the earth, and the spirit returns to God that gave it. Now this shews that the reasonable soul, which is in all mankind, is God himself, who is in a wicked man, as well as in the Saints.
—Scripture Prophecies opened by E. Avery. Lond. 1647. p.38.
That, No man is yet in hell, neither shall any be there until the judgment, for God doth not hang first, and judge after.
—Fulnesse of Gods love. by L.S. 1643. p.25.
Not unlike unto this another saith. That, Hell is to come, else execution must go before judgment, which in a Commonwealth would be ridiculous injustice, as first to hang men, and then to judge them.
—Mans Mortality by R.O. Amsterdam, 1643. p.25.
That, Hell is a non-entity, and there can be no casting into hell, before hell be, which though it be ordained of old, Isa. 30.33. It is but in posse not in esse, till the Resurrection.—[The place of the damned] is that which we mean by Hell.
—Mans Mortality by R.O. 1643. p.24.
That, All other creatures as well as man, shall be raised and delivered from death at the Resurrection.—That, The death of the beasts is a part of the curse, that is to be taken away by Christ.
—Mans Mortality by R.O. 1643. p.50,51.
That, It is clear in Scripture, the wicked are not to be tormented till the day of judgment: for a spirit is not capable of torment, but when it is in the body, and so the spirit of the devil, that is in a wicked man, shall remain unto all eternity.
—All the infernal spirits which have acted in the spirits of the children of disobedience, from the beginning of the world, shall be comprehended in one body, which is a spiritual body, the spirit of the devils: and so all these infernal spirits being comprehended in one, shall be manifested in the flesh of the wicked, when God shall say, go ye cursed, &c. And so it is clear from Scripture that all the infernal spirits shall be tormented in the bodies of the wicked who shall live until the day of judgment.
—Scripture Prophecies opened. by E. Avery. Lond. 1647. p.45.
The Errour of Toleration, Patronizing and promoting all other Errours, Heresies, and Blasphemies whatsoever, under the grossly abused notion of Liberty of Conscience.
That, Little can be done, unless Liberty of Conscience, be allowed for every man, and sort of men, to worship God in that way, and perform Christ's Ordinances in that manner, as shall appear to them most agreeable to God's word, and no man punished or discountenanced by Authority for the same.
—Compassionate Samaritan. p. 5.
That, No detriment could redound either to Church or Common-wealth, by the Toleration of Religions, not Anti-political, but rather benefit, as we see by example in Holland, and Poland.
—Mysteries discovered by P. Best. 1647. p. 14.
That, (If security may be taken by the wisdom of the State for civil subjection) Why may not even the Papists themselves, and their consciences be permitted in the world? for otherwise, if England's Government, were the Government of the whole world, not only they, but a world of Idolaters of all sorts, yea the whole world must be driven out of the world. —And we desire it may be deeply pondered, what should be the kindling of the jealousy of God, to pour forth the blood of so many thousands of Protestants, by the bloody hands of the Papists (since most just he is and righteous in all his judgments) whether or no the Laws enacted, and violence offered, even to the consciences of the Papists themselves, have not kindled these devouring flames?
—Queries proposed to the five Holland Ministers, &c. Lond. 1644. p. 8.
That, It is the will and command of God, that (since the coming of his Son the Lord Jesus,) a Permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Antichristian Consciences and worships, be granted to all men in all Nations and Countries.
—Bloudy Tenent. 1644. (presumptuously dedicated to both Houses of Parliament,)
Positions before the Epistle, § 6.
That, An enforced uniformity of Religion throughout a Nation or civil State, confounds the civil and religions, denies the principles of Christianity and civility, and that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.
—Bloudy Tenent. ibid. § 10.
These are some of those many horrid and prodigious opinions which do in these unhappy days swarm amongst us: which (not without much grief and horrour of spirit) we here recite, that by this small taste of their wormwood and gall, all the world may the better judge of the deadly bitterness [Rev. 8.10,11.] of the rest; and the more freely justify the fervour of our indignation against them all. All which, As they are a clear indication to us, of God's heavy judgment upon this Nation, whilest God hath sent upon so many, throughout the land, a spirit of infatuation, and strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved [2 Thes. 2.10-12.]: so they are (without timely repentance) evident forerunners of swift destruction, impending those seducers and false-teachers, which have privily brought in such damnable Heresies [2 Pet. 2.1.]. And who ever have been the instruments (like raging waves of the Sea, thus foaming out their own shame [Jude 13.]) yet doubtless that old serpent called the devil and Satan [Rev. 12.9. & 2.24.] hath been the grand agent in propagating these stupendous Errours, with all his power and policy (especially in this time of Reformation,) that the way of truth may be evil spoken of [2 Pet. 2.2.], the endeavoured Reformation blotted and blasted, and his own kingdom advanced. All which Errours, Heresies, and blasphemies, with all others amongst us, we are confident we may, without the least breach of charity,5 to any the Authors, fautours, or abettours of them, utterly loath, execrate and abhor. Hoping that as God hath stirred up the Lords and Commons in Parliament, to publish their Ordinance, Concerning the growth and spreading of Errours, Heresies and blasphemies; setting apart a day of public humiliation to seek God's assistance for the suppressing and preventing the same:6 So in his rich mercy to England, he will at length find out some effectual means, by Authority of Parliament, for the utter abolition and extirpation of them all out of this distressed Church.
Furthermore we are abundantly convinced, that, for Preservation and defence of the Faith [Jude 3.], against all undermining Errours, and of true Piety and Religion against all corruptions and Scandals of conversation, a well ordered Church Government, is most necessary and effectual. And are well assured that Jesus Christ, whom God hath given to be head over all things to the Church [Eph. 1.22.], hath the Government upon his shoulder [Isa. 9.6,7.], having all judgment and all Authority in Heaven and Earth, committed to him [John 5.22. Matt. 28.18.]: And that he hath sufficiently revealed in his word how he will have his Church governed now under the New Testament [2 Tim. 3.16,17. with 1 Cor. 12.28, Matt. 18.15-22.]: And that the Presbyterial Government (truly so called,) byPresbyteries, and Synods, in a due line of subordination of the lesser to the greater, with prosperous success exercised in the best reformed Churches, is that Government which is most agreeable to the mind of Jesus Christ, revealed in Scripture. Concerning which the Reverend Assembly of Divines, have long since drawn up, and presented to both Honourable Houses of Parliament, their Humble advise: which we conceive so agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, that we can readily submit thereunto our selves, and shall think the Church of England, not a little blessed of God, when by the countenance of supreme Authority, ThePresbyterial Government and Discipline, shall be sincerely embraced and duly exercised in all the parts of this Kingdom. And such hath been our desire after the establishment of comely Order in this Church, that we have been willing to act and exercise (some necessary Cautions and Considerations,7 being first premised and published by us, for the clearing of our proceedings therein both to our own and others Consciences) those parts of this Government, which both Houses of Parliament have been pleased to own and establish: being encouraged by these earnests and first-fruits to wait for a more complete entertainment and establishment of the whole, when the Lord shall please further to smile upon us. And then we (with our Brethren) are confident this Government will make the Church of Christ amongst us, terrible as an army with banners, and like a strong and fenced City, against which the adversaries shall despair to prevail, but by making a breach in this wall, for when they have gained ground or gotten advantage, either the wall hath not been built, or being built hath been broken down, or not vigilantly maintained by the watchmen.8 Wherefore we sadly lament England's general backwardness to embrace, yea forwardness to oppose this Government, and therein her own mercy, whilst so many of all sorts set themselves against the Lord and against his Christ, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us [Psalm 2.2,3.], we will not have this man to reign over us [Luke 19.14,27.]. Yet herein we stay and comfort our selves, that the Kingdom is the Lord's[Psalm 22.28. Matt. 6.13.]; at last Jesus Christ will prevail and become Lord of Lords and King of Kings, [Rev. 19.16. & 11.15.] as for all his enemies he will bow them with his Scepter, or else break them with a rod or iron, and dash them in pieces like a potters vessel, [Psalm 2.9. Luke 19.27.] and who knows but Christ may permit us to be unwalled by want of this Government for a while, to convince as by the mischiefs and miseries of an ungoverned Church, of our own folly and the necessity of his Government, and to demonstrate to all the world at last how precious and prevalent his Government is, in healing and recovering this dying Church thereby out of her innumerable, inveterate, and desperate maladies? As it hath been experimentally found successful in preserving the Church of Scotland from Errours, Schisms, and Heresies from their first Reformation hitherto.
In order unto Reformation, and defence of Religion within these three Kingdoms, we shall never forget, how solemnly and cheerfully the sacred League and Covenant was sworn, with hands lifted up to the most high God; wherein the three Kingdoms stand engaged jointly and severally, sincerely, really, and constantly to endeavour the Reformation of Religion, in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, according to the Word of God, and the example of the best Reformed Churches. On which Covenant the Parliament hath been pleased to lay so great a stress, as that they have not only enjoined it to be taken by all men above eighteen years of age throughout the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales:9 But the Commons have also required it to be published on every monthly Fast-day,10 for the better remembrance and observation of it. We trust that they who have entered into it, did really and sincerely intend to perform it.
For our own parts, we were, and are abundantly satisfied that Covenant-making with God, orderly undertaken by the previous conduct of those that are in Authority, in Church or Common-wealth, is a Sacrifice acceptable to God, and the usual and successful course which God's people have taken, both in former and later ages for the better facilitating and carrying on a thorough Reformation in matters of Religion, against all impediments and oppositions.11 That Covenant-keeping with God, is a duty of high importance, sincerely to be performed.12 That Covenant-breaking13 with God or man, is a most heinous and dangerous offence, condemned, threatened, and severely plagued by God.14 And that our Solemn League and Covenant, of September 27. 1643. is not only warrantable for the matter of it, and manner of entering into it, but also of such excellency and importance (if the Contents of it, and parties to it, viz. the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, be well considered) that it will be very hard in all points to parallel it.15 And therefore as we did sincerely swear this Covenant with God, with all our heart, and with all our soul, much rejoicing at the Oath, with a true intention to perform it,16 and not for promoting any politic design: So we do believe and profess to the world, that we still stand as firmly engaged to the real performance of it with our utmost endeavors, as at the first taking of it; and that it is not in the power of any person or persons on earth to dispense with it, or absolve from it; Neither is this, nor any other Oath,17 otherwise to be interpreted, than according to the common, plain, and true Grammatical sense of it. Yet we cannot but observe to the great grief of our hearts, That this Solemn Covenant of our God, hath been, and is daily neglected, slighted, vilified, reproached, and opposed, even by too many that have entered into it; and that endeavours have been used wholly to enervate it, and render it useless; and that it hath been manifestly violated, to the dishonour of God, the prejudice of a real Reformation, the saddening of the hearts of God's people, and pulling down his dreadful judgments and vengeance upon us, and upon the whole Kingdom.
But as if all the Errours, Heresies, Sects, Schisms, Divisions, Looseness, Profaneness, and breach of Covenant amongst us were small matters; what secret and subtle endeavours, projects, methods, and practices are there amongst us, (in stead of a much desired union betwixt such as do dissent, that they may walk together in one way, and of a real Reformation long expected and Covenanted for,) to bring in an universal, boundless, lawless, abominable, and intolerable Toleration, to the filling up of the measure of our iniquities, and the pulling down of God's fierce indignation upon this Nation? When under the late Prelatical Government(which yoke far too heavy for us to bear, the Lord hath wonderfully broken, and by our Solemn Covenant, and Covenanted endeavours, removed it from our shoulder, of which great mercy we desire still to retain a most grateful remembrance) when (we say) under Prelacy, Arminianism, Popery, Superstition, Profaneness, and divers sinful Innovations in Doctrine and Worship did secretly slide in amongst us, and were so far connived at and countenanced by some in Authority, as to become the high-way to preferment; How deeply were the hearts of the godly wounded, God being thereby dishonoured, Godliness supplanted and persecuted, and National judgments feared! In midst of which fears and troubles this was some stay, that these were not so much National sins (the public laws and supreme judicatories of the Nation not patronizing them) as the exorbitancies and illegal miscarriages of some particular persons. For healing of these evils, how intensely was a well constituted Parliament longed after and desired! And when this present Parliament was unexpectedly called, all good men promised to themselves a speedy and thorough Reformation of Religion, having from this Parliament many encouraging foundations of hope, not only by their Protestations, Declarations, Remonstrances, and their Solemn Covenant: but also by some hopeful beginnings of Reformation. By all which, not only our hearts, but the hearts of the faithful generally throughout this Kingdom were even lifted up to heaven with joy and expectation of the happy and glorious days of Reformation, which this weather-beaten Church was not like to see.
But when we look upon the present rueful, deplorable, and deformed face of the affairs of Religion as they stand at this day, our spirits are amazed; our hearts are overwhelmed; Our words are swallowed up! [Job 6.3.] How shall we speak? how shall we hold our peace? And yet where shall we pour out our complaint? While the people of the Land generally prepare not their hearts for the God of their fathers [2 Chron. 20.33.]; while others politickly say, The time is not come, The time that the Lord's House should be built [Hag. 1.2.]; and while a third sort Tobiah and Sanballat-like [Neh. 4.6-8] oppose, affront, and discourage this spiritual Fabric, Reformation is delayed, and the House of the Lord lies waste. While we have slept, the envious man hath bestirred himself to sow tares. Instead of an establishment of Faith and Truth, we swarm with noisome Errours, Heresies, and Blasphemies: Instead of unity and uniformity in matters of Religion, we are torn in pieces with destructive schisms, Separations, Divisions, and subdivisions: Instead of true piety and power of Godliness, we have opened the very floodgates to all impiety and profaneness: Instead of submitting to the government of Christ, we walk in a Christless looseness and licentiousness: Instead of a Reformation, we may say with sighs, what our enemies heretofore said of us with scorn, we have a Deformation in Religion: and in a word instead of Extirpation of Heresy, Schism, Profaneness, &c. we have such an impudent and general inundation of all these evils, that multitudes are not ashamed to press and plead for a public, formal, and universalToleration.
Forasmuch therefore, as it is clearly evident to us; That Schisms, Divisions, Heresies, and all profane looseness, are manifest works of the flesh, so sinful and damnable in their nature, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God [Gal. 5.19-21. & 2 Pet. 2.1. & 1 Cor. 6.9,10.]; (2) And that thechildren of light should be so far from having any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, as that they ought to reprove them [Eph. 5.8,11.], to avoid such as practice them [Rom. 16.17. Titus 3.10,11.], to abstain from all appearance of evil [1 Thes. 5.22.], and to hate the very garment spotted with the flesh [Jude 23.]. (3) That the civil Magistrates have sufficient warrant from holy Scriptures, not only to punish Seditions, Treasons, Murders, Adulteries, Thefts, and other offences against Righteousness and Sobriety in the second table; but also to inflict punishment upon offenders for professed Atheism, false Doctrines, Idolatries, Blasphemies, Sabbath-profanations, and other transgressions against true piety and Religion in the first Table of the Decalogue [Job 31.26-28. Deut. 13.6-12. & 17.2-8. Zech. 13.2,3. Levit. 24.11-17. Neh. 13.15-22. Rom. 13.3-5. & 1 Tim. 2.1,2.]. (4) That those in Church and Common-wealth, that have respectively, according to the Sphere of their authority,18 restrained and punished the fore-cited evils have been approved, commended, and sometimes rewarded of God himself: but those who have either practiced them themselves, or have indulged or tolerated them in others, have been reproved, condemned, threatened, and plagued of God for so doing.19 (5) That a public and general Toleration, will prove an hideous and complexive evil, of most dangerous and mischievous consequence, if ever (which God forbid) it shall be consented to by Authority; for hereby, (1) The glory of the most high God will be laid in the very dust; (2) The Truth of Christ, yea all the fundamentals of faith will be razed to the ground; (3) All Christ's Ordinances, officers, worship, Religion and the power of godliness, will be utterly overthrown; (4) Thousands and ten thousands of poor souls which Christ hath ransomed with his own blood, shall hereby be betrayed, seduced, and endangered to be undone to eternity. (5) Magistracy, and Ministry, and with them Religious and comely Order in Church and Common-wealth, will be plucked up by the very roots. (6) Reformation of Religion in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, shall be utterly made void. (7) England shall be swallowed up with Sects, Schisms, Divisions, disorders, contentions, and confusions; and become an odious sink and common Receptacle of all the prodigious Errours, lies, heresies, blasphemies, Libertinism and Profaneness in the world, so that Rome itself shall not be a more odious puddle and cage of all abominations and uncleanness. (8) The godly shall sit down and lament us. (9) The wicked shall rise up and insult over us. (10) All the Nations about us shall be amazed at us. (11) All the reformed Churches shall be ashamed to own us: They shall all cry out against us. "Is this England that Covenanted and swore to the most high God, to endeavour such aReformation, and extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, Superstition, Heresy, Schism, Profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound Doctrine and the power of Godliness; and after so long travail hath she now brought forth an hideous Monster of Toleration? Hath England been nurtured with God's sore judgments, sword, famine, and pestilence: and doth she trespass yet more against the Lord in the days of her distress [2 Chron. 28.22.]? Hath England heretofore had such a large series of Gospel enjoyments, such a long time of peace, such a confluence of prosperity; and of late so many deliverances from heavy pressures, secret plots and open force, and so many reviving unexpected victories over her enemies, and doth she now render to the Lord for all his benefits a detestable Toleration? doest thou thus reward the Lord, oh foolish England and unwise [Deut 32.6.]?" (12) And to conclude, seeing we have just cause to fear, if this Toleration shall be entertained amongst us, the righteous God of heaven and earth will be provoked to plague us yet seven times more, and at last to translate his very Gospel and Kingdom (which is England's only glory) from us unto another Nation [Matt. 21.33-45.]. Therefore upon all these considerations, We the Ministers of Jesus Christ, do hereby testify to all our flocks, to all the Kingdom, and to all the reformed Churches, as our great dislike of Prelacy, Erastianism, Brownism and Independency: so our utter abhorrency of Antiscripturalism, Popery, Arianism, Socinianism, Arminianism, Antinomianism, Anabaptism, Libertinism,and Familism, with all such like, now too rife amongst us; and that we detest the fore-mentioned Toleration, so much pursued and endeavoured in this Kingdom, accounting it unlawful and pernicious. And whosoever they be that shall presume in any respects to make themselves accessory thereunto, and the mischiefs that will inevitably follow thereupon; yet for our own parts we hope that both in the Court of Heaven, and our own Consciences, before God and man, we shall be reputed guiltless.
Thus we have thought it necessary for us, at such a time as this is, with all sincerity, fidelity, zeal, and humility, (1) To own the Truth of God, (2) To disclaim the raging Errours and destructive Divisions of these times, (3) To declare for that Government which we conceive to be most agreeable to Scripture; (4) To avouch that Covenant which we have sworn to God in reference unto all these, (5) and to disavow that Toleration wherein we conceive none can engage without much sin. And all this we have done without any desire or intention to discontent or irritate any contrary party by any personal reflexions, or to blaze abroad our selves in any humour of vain-glory: but in the integrity of our hearts to discharge our duty conscientiously, in appearing for God, his Truth and Cause of Religion, when so many appear against them: If the world shall frown upon us for our faithfulness, let them remember, it is for God, and the love of Christ hath constrained us [2 Cor. 5.14.], for whom, we hope, we shall hold neither our liberty, blood, nor our lives dear unto us, that we may do him or his Truth any service thereby [Acts 20.24. & 21.13.] who himself first loved us so dearly, as to wash us from our sins in his own blood [Rev. 1.7.], On him we cast our selves, and the whole cause of Religion in this Kingdom, who is able to do therein abundantly above all that we can ask or think; often Remembering those words of our blessed Lord, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my father which is in Heaven: But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in Heaven [Matt. 10.32,33. & Luke 12.8,9.]. And, Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory, and in his father's, and of the Holy Angels [Mark 8.38. & Luke 9.26.].
Subscribed by us Decemb. 14. &c. 1647.
John Downame Pastor of Great Allhallowes Thames-street.
And. Janeway Min. of Allhallows in the Wall.
Arthur Jackson Pastor of Michaels Wood-street.
Jo. Wall Minister of Michael Cornhill.
Char. Offspring Pastor of Antholins.
Henry Robrough Pastor of Leonards East-Cheap.
John Fathers Pastor of George Southwark.
Sa. Clark Minister of Bennet Fynk.
Tho. Cawton Past. of Bartholomewes Exchange.
Ja. Nalton Pastor of Leonards Fosterlane.
Ja. Cranford Pastor of Christophers.
Fran. Roberts Pastor of the Church at Austins. Lond.
William Jenkyn Pastor of Christchurch. Lond.
Elidad Blackwell Pastor of Andrew Vndershaft.
Fulk Bellers Preacher of the Gospel at Michaels Cornehill.
John Wallis Minister of Gabriel Fen-Church.
Ro Mercer Minister of the Gospel.
Christopher Love Pastor of Anne Aldersgate. Lo.
George Fawler Minister of Bridewell.
Matthew Haviland Pastor of Trinity.
Pet. Witham Pastor of Albanes Woodstreet.
William Harrison Minister of Grass Church.
W. Wickins Pastor of Andrew Hubbard.
Fran. Peck Minister of the Gospel.
John Sheffield Minister of Swithins.
Thomas Gouge Pastor of Sepulchers Lond.
Ra Robinson Pastor of Mary Woolnoth Lumbardstreet. Lond.
William Taylor Pastor of Stephens Colemanstreet.
John Glascock Min. of Mildred Bread-street.
William Blackmore of Peters Cornhill.
Nath. Stanyforth Min. of Mary Bothaw. Lon.
Thomas Whately Pastor of Wool-Church.
Thomas Watson Pastor of Stephens Walbrook. Lond.
John After Minister of Allhallows Stayning.
Arthur Barham Pastor of Helens.
John Stern of Andrews Wardrobe.
Joseph Thompson Pastor of Olaves Silver-street.
Stephen Watkins Minister of the Gospel at Saviours Southwark.
Iohn Crodacott Minister of the Gospel at Saviours Southwark.
Although we whose Names are hereafter subscribed do not think it fitting for us to sign the first and third branches of this Testimony, relating to the Confession of Faith, and Directory for Church-Government, advised by the Assembly, (which we as members of it did tender to the Honourable Houses, and still wait upon their pleasure therein,) yet as Ministers of the Gospel within the Province of London, we do with our brethren willingly subscribe the rest, against Errours, Heresies, Blasphemies, and Toleration of them, and touching the Solemn League and Covenant.
William Gouge Pastor of Blackfriers. Lond.
Tho. Gataker Pastor of the Church at Rotherhith.
George Walker Pastor of Iohn Evangelists.
Daniel Cawdrey Preacher at Martins in the Fields.
Nicolas Proffet Minister of Fosters.
Anthony Tuckney Minister of Michaels Quern.
Edm. Calamy Pastor of Mary Aldermanbury.
Simeon Ashe Minister of Michael Basingshaw.
Tho. Case Minister of Mary Magd. Milkstreet.
La. Seaman Minister of Alh. Breadstreet.
Stanley Gower Minister of Martins Ludgate.
Henr. Wilkinson Min. of Dustans in the East.
Anthony Burgesse Minister of the Gospel at Lawrence Jewry.
F I N I S.
1.Saltmarsh Smoak, p. 18.; Bacons Catechisme, p 194, 195.; Saltmarsh, Sparkles of glorie, p. 29,30. & p. 266.
2. Solemn League and Covenant, published by authority of Parliament, Septemb. 27. 1643.
3. Phil. 1.7,17. Observa iterum benè locutionem de Evangelÿ defensione. Nam cum tanto honore nos Christus dignetur, que excusation si causæ ejus fuerimus pravaricatores? Aut quid nobis expectandum si illam nostro silentio prodiderimus, nisi ut nostram vicissim deserat qui solus apud Patrem Advocatus, vel Patronus est noster? Calv. in loc.
4. This is evident in the Ecclesiastical Historie of Eusebius and others. In Tertullian, Ireneus, Augustine, and many ancient Fathers, but especially in the Catalogus Testium veritatis. In the Centuriators Ecclesast. Hist. Who in the fifth Chapter of every Century, De hæresibus, recite both the heresies, and those that witnessed against them for 1300 years after Christ, and more succinctly in Alsted. Thesaur. Chronolog. Chron. xxxvij, p. 366 to 377, who brings down his Catalogue to Ann. 1628.
5. Maledicta sit charitas, quæ servatur cum jacturâ doctrinæ fidei cui omnia cedere debent, charitas Apostolus, Angelus è cælo, Luth. in Epist. ad Galat.
6. Ordin. of 4. Feb. 1646.
7. See certain Considerations and Cautions agreed upon by the Ministers of London and Westminster, and within the lines of Communication, June 19. 1646. according to which they resolve to put the Presbyterial government into execution upon the Ordinances of Parliament heretofore published.
8. Reformation of Church Government in Scotland. p. 3.
9. Ordinance of Feb. 5. 1643.
10. Die Veneris 29. January. 1644. Ordered by the Commons Assembled in Parliament, That the Solemn League and Covenant be on every day of Fast, and Public Humiliation, publicly read in every Church and Congregation, within the Kingdom, and that every Congregation be enjoined to have one of the said Covenants fairly printed in a fair letter, in a Table fitted to hang up in some public place of the Church to be read.
11. As in the days of Joshua, Josh. 24.25-27. Asa, 2 Chron. 15.12, &c. of Jehoiada, 2 Chron. 23.16, &c. of Hezekiah it was intended. Of Josiah, 2 King 23.3, &c. with 2 Chron. 34.31,32. of Nehemiah, Neh. 9.18. & ch. 10 throughout.
12. Psalm 50.5. with 14. Eccles. 5.4-6.
13. A Truce-breaker is reckoned up among the vilest of Christians, 2 Tim. 3.3. So a Covenant-breaker is listed among the worst of Heathens. M. Nyes exhort. at the taking of the Covenant. Septemb. 25.1643. p.5.
14. Rom. 1.31. 2 Tim. 3.3. Jer. 34.18-22. Ezek. 17.12-22. 2 Sam. 21.1,2, &c. compared with Joshua 9.15.
15. Such an Oath as for matter, persons, and other circumstances, the like hath not been in any age or Oath we read of in sacred or human stories, yet sufficiently warranted in both. The parties engaging in this League and three Kingdoms, famous for the knowledge and acknowledgement of Christ above all the Kingdoms in the world. M. Nyes Exhort. at taking of the Covenant. Sep. 25. 1643. pag. 1.
Again, This Oath is such, and in the Matter and Consequence of it of such concernment, as I can truly say, it is worthy of us, yea of all these Kingdoms, yea of all the Kingdoms of the world; for it is swearing fealty and allegiance unto Christ the King of Kings; and a giving up of all these Kingdoms, which are his inheritance, to be subdued more to his throne, and ruled more by his Scepter, upon whose shoulders the government is laid—ibid. p. 2.
16. And as for your Reverend brethren, that are Ministers of the Gospel, there is yet another obligation will lie upon you; let us look to ourselves, and make provision to walk answerable to this our Covenant for the Gospel's sake; It will reflect a great aspersion upon the truth of the Gospel, if we should be false or inconstant in any word or purpose, though in a matter of less consequence, as you can easily collect from that Apology of Paul, 2 Cor. 1.17,18. how much more in such a case as this is, if we should be found to purpose, nay more, to vow, and Covenant, and to swear, and all this according to the flesh, and with us there should be, notwithstanding all these obligations, yea, yea, and nay, nay, Ibid. p. 5.
17. Synops. Purior. Theolog. Disp. 20. § 21. Andr. Riveti Comment. in Psalm 24 & Explic. Decal. p. 76 b. Lagdun. 1637. G. Ames. De Consceint. l. 4. c. 22. Quest. 6. C. Eras. Brockmand. 18. Artic de Lege c. 8. Quest. 4. De Iurament. promissor. obligatione, A Rob. Sandersono, in Acedem. Oxon. Profess. Reg. Prelect 2. Sect. 3,4, &c.
18. Moses Ex. 32.27,28.; Elijah 1 Kings 18.30-41.; Asa 1 Chron. 15.12-16. compared with 19.; Hezekiah 2 Chron. 31.1,20,21. & 2 Kings 18.1-8.; Josiah 2 Kings 23.4-26.; And Manasses after he was humbled, 2 Chron. 33.15.
19. Solomon 1 Kings 11.4-12.; Jeroboam 1 Kings 12.28-13.2.; Tolerating of the High places. 1 Kings 15.24. & 2 Kings 12.3. & 14.4. & 15.4,35. & 2 Chron. 15.17. & 20.23. & 33.17.; Jehu, 2 Kings 10.31,32.; The Angel of the Church at Pergamus, Rev. 2.14,15.; The Angel of the Church at Thyatira, Rev. 2.20, &c.