An Affair Reckoning with Mr. Edwards
A True and Sober Answer, to a False Accusation;
Wherein (Among other things) is showed the
Unlawfulness of Giving the Name of Church to an
House Made of Lime and Stone;
And the Name of CHURCHES to Parochial Congregations.
Master of Arts,
Being One of Them Whom Master Edwards has Abused, Unjustly Calling them Sectaries, Time-Servers, and Innovators,
in His Gangraena, or Book of Slanders.
I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side: Report, say they, and we will report it.
2 Cor. 6:4, 8
In All Things Approving Ourselves as the Ministers of God,
By Honor, and Dishonor, by Evil Report, and Good Report, as Deceivers, and Yet True.
Printed by R. White, for Giles Calvert, at the Blackspred-Eagle, Near the West End of Pauls,
Although your Book of Slanders, by you entitled Gangraena, has been answered by divers of those whom you have abused, yet in as much as you have endeavored to defame me also in that Book, in two several places, and nothing has been particularly answered thereunto, it seems to be a meet and just thing, that you should hear a word also from me.
I judge it no honor to encounter with such a man as you by your writing appears to be, not caring whom you abuse and slander. Yet remembering what is written in Proverbs 19:25 and 26:5, I have thought it convenient to give you this ensuing Answer, partly (I confess) lest in the apprehension of some, my silence should argue a guiltiness of what whereof you accuse me, but principally (if my heard deceive me not) because I perceive that your drift in slandering me, is to disgrace the way of God in which I endeavor to walk. And observing the continuance and increase of the evil of your heart, and way, which has appeared abundantly, not only by your reprinting of your Gangraena, but also by your adding more thereunto, and discerning also some to be so foolish as to magnify your folly, and you therein, (though impartial Readers do show their loathing thereof, and the wiser sort of your friends are ashamed of it), I have resolved no longer to defer the publishing of this my Answer, and do now send it forth to the view of the world, committing it to the censure of every discreet and indifferent Reader.
The first place in which I find you naming me is in page 75 of the first edition of the first part of your Gangraena. There you have these words: "The full relation of the Time-serving, and Innovations of Den, Cox, Ellis of Colchester, Dr. Holms, Saltmarsh, Cummius, Wale of Norfolk, cum multis aliis, would make a new Book."
Seilicet, You could easily fill a new Book, as you have done this, with false and slanderous accusations of such Time-Serving and innovations, as we are as truly guilty of as Naboth was of Blasphemy. No wonder that you were so free in your promise to write books so frequently, being so stored with matter.
Many Former Bishops Turned Presbyterians
The next and last place in which I find you mentioning me, is in pages 95 and 96, of the same Book, where your words are these: "One Mr. Cox, who came out of Devonshire, &c."
What is the reason of this alteration? Before it was Den, Cox, Ellis, &c. Now, One Mr. Cox, &c. It seems at last that you remembered that I had sometimes been a man of your own coast; a Reverend Bishop, whom you and some others have now metamorphosed into a Presbyter, having laid his hand on my head as well as yours, and therefore now it is Mr. Cox. If I could handsomely claw you, following the example of the Epistles that you have printed, calling you, Good Mr. EDWARDS, Worthy Sir, Reverend Sir, &c. it where then probable that I should still be Mr. Cox, at every word. But as I account it no dishonor to be degraded or slighted by your Pen, so neither do I account it any honor to have from you any title implying respect, it being so familiar with you to contemn them that fear God, and to honor vile persons.
You add: "An Innovator, and great Time-Server in the Bishops' time." Here you speak of me as truly, and as charitably, as Tertullus spoke of Paul, when he said of him, "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a Ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes," Acts 24:5. Touching your numbering me here among those whom you are pleased to call Sectaries, (for so you do) you are no more able to prove me a Sectary, then Tertullus was able to prove Paul to be the ringleader of a sect. My true and direct answer hereunto shall not be much unlike to Paul's, in Acts 25:14, "After the way which they call Heresy (or Sect) so worship I the God of Israel, believing all things that are written in the Scriptures." Touching Innovations, I shall hear more from you, and you from me, by and by.
Stood Alone Against Profane Sports on the Lord's Day
Touching my Time-Serving, it partly appeared when I lived in London, in the year 1618, when that base and licentious Pamphlet, that proclaimed liberty for profane sports on the Lord's Day, came forth in King James' name, then (according as my conscience directed me) both in the public Meeting-House of great Alballows, where I was then Lecturer, and also at Paul's cross, I did in my public Preaching openly and earnestly reprove and condemn, as profane and hateful, those things to which liberty and commendation was given in that Pamphlet. So that it was admired at, that the Persecutions of those times did not then violently seize upon me.
Reproves Scandalous Ministers and Ungodly Society
Afterwards when I was Lecturer at Barstaple, (which was the first place in Devonshire that I lived in) my time-serving farther appeared by my open and sharp reproving of my Fellow-Ministers (as we then called one another) for their scandalous life, their not Preaching, and their preaching loose and false doctrine. Whereby I incurred the hatred of the Profane and Prelatical crew. That hatred appeared also by my reproving and condemning of their Doctrine, who hold bare Reading to be that Preaching which is required of a Minister, and by my justifying that Reproof, when I was questioned for it, and by my renewing and confirming of the same in a public Sermon, when a Recantion was required and expected. It appeared also by my bold declaring of the intolerable baseness of Stage-Players, (though then going about with the King's license) and my sharp reproving of the Magistrates for suffering them, and of others for seeing their Plays, and countenancing them, whereby I exceeding angered the profane Gentry in the adjacent parts of the country, and the profane ones in the Town, both Magistrates and others. For which also I was convented before Bishop Carey, but never yielded to any acknowledgment of any fault herein, or any relinquishing of my opposing of that baseness. It like appeared by my open reproving of the Magistrates, for their suffering Whoredom, Adultery, Drunkenness and Profane Swearing to so much unpunished, and by my continual standing up for Godly persons and their ways which did then lie under the contempt and reproach of the world.
These things were not done in a corner, neither can they be denied by my very enemies, which knew me at that time.
At my going off from Barstaple, I showed my Time-Serving, and Self-Seeking, by my leaving of that place, for another of less profit and less honor in the eye of the world, which was a place near Credition in the same Country of Devon, where I remained till my conscience would not permit me to possess any such place nay longer. To that place I then conceived myself to be called, not by the call of so many Pounds per annum, but by the desire and necessity of the people there.
Preaching Against Arminianism
There my Temporizing did in like manner appear, by my preaching constantly against the Arminian errors, not withstanding the King's Directions to the contrary, and against the profanation of the Lord's Day, notwithstanding King Charles' reviving of the base Pamphlet aforespoken of, (which Pamphlet the Ministers about me did publicly read, yet I neither read it myself, neither was it read by any other for me).
My Temporizing was further seen by my preaching against Altar-Worship, and against divers other evils which that time did favor, which my soul did (and still does) abhor.
Episcopal Prelacy a Human Thing
There in my latter time, my Temporizing did more fully appear by my preaching, that Episcopal Prelacy was a human thing, and by my giving to Bishop Hall a true and full copy of that Sermon, when I was questioned for it, and owning the same not only before him, but also before the Arch-Prelate of Canterbury, and coming off from that business with such an Explication of my self, as had not in any Recantation or Retracting of any one sentence that I had before delivered, and was immediately followed (in the same Sermon) with a sharp reproof of those Arminian tenets that were then defended, and divers evils which were then countenanced. All this was before this present Parliament.
God Gives More Light Against Anglican Practices and Preaches A Holy or Closed Communion
Presently after this followed (as God gave in more light) my casting away, and preaching against the Ceremonies, laying aside the Service Book, and refusing to admit the mix multitude to Communion. At the last, the leaving of my place, because I could not keep it with a quite conscience.
And now, Mr. Edwards I freely confess that I cannot object unto you any such time serving. For myself, If I am become a fool in glorying, you have compelled me.
Evils of Old Conformity
But this I freely confess, not so much to you, as to the people of God, into whose hands these lines shall come, that as though ignorance for a long time I swallowed (as well as others) the Bishop's Ordinations, and Licenses, and the Service-Book and old conformity, as you call it. So in part of that time, the expectation of a High-Commission suit, that I was threatened with, did make me for a season, through my weakness at that time, so exact in that Conformity, that I cannot now think of it without being ashamed. Yes, and touching bowing at the name of Jesus, I did for a while submit to that also, then seeing no more sin therein, then in the rest of that old conformity. But I still reproved those that urged it as a duty from Scripture, and I never pressed any to it. As soon as the Lord showed me the evil of it, I did not only forebear it, but also preach against it in the same place where I had practiced it, preferring the glory of God before my own credit among men. Thus I am, and will be fare, not only from denying nay thing that is true, but also from justifying my self in any thing wherein I can see that I have failed. But truly when I now consider how far I was then from a good way, wherein I thought I had been right, I acknowledge it to be the wonderful goodness of God unto me, that I did not then run much farther, and offend more grievously then I did.
Efforts to Purity and Cleanse the Evil Ways
It follows in your book, That against the will of the Bishop of Excester, Doctor Hall, in his Diocesan, brought in innovations into his Parish Church. This is as true as the rest of your slanders. The things which I did in my Meeting House, which you call my Parish Church, which in likelihood the Bishop might not approve of, were these:
1. I constantly refused to read the Lessons appointed in the Service-Book, that were any part of the Apocrypha, and read only the Canonical Scripture and did ordinarily read the Scriptures in order, not taking here one Chapter, and there another, according to the direction of the Service Book.
2. I usually expounded, sometimes more largely, and sometimes more briefly the Chapters that I read, specially in my later time, wherein I seldom read any part of the Scripture without expounding it.
3. When I read the Psalms, and other parts of Scripture that were corruptly translated in the Service-Book, I used not that corrupt translation, but the best translation (as I conceived) that was extant.
4. I refused to use the corrupt Metaphase of the Psalms, that was annexed to the Service-Book, and not then seeing the unlawfulness of that way of singing, I used sometimes King James's Metaphrase, yet not without some corrections, sometimes (in the use of some Psalms) a Metaphrase of mine own, and sometimes Mr. Rowse's Metaphrase when it was come forth.
5. I preached weekly lecture in my Public Meeting-House, without asking any leave of the Bishop to do so.
6. I did sometimes there keep public Fasts without any leave either from the Bishop, or any other man.
7. I refused (as the last) to read or use the Fast-Books sent about by the Prelates and when a public Fast was appointed by the King's Proclamation, I did not stay (as others did) for leave or order from the Bishop to observe it.
If I brought in any Innovations against the Bishop's will, it must be some of these things, or some such like. But I suppose, neither you, nor your informers will now object unto me any such thing as an offensive Innovation. Though it be probable that Bishop Hall did not like some of these things, or would not have seemed to have liked them, if he had taken notice of them, yet (that I may do him no wrong) he never gave me any reproof for any of these things, nor for any thing else, so far as I remember, saving only for preaching, that Prelatical Episcopacy was a Human tradition, whereat indeed he was exceedingly displeased. How far he was from disliking me, as one bringing in Innovations against his will, he did manifest, partly by settling me in the Lecture at Tiverton, which act of his he never recalled, but I continued enjoying the liberty of preaching that Lecture, till I myself (finding it a burden to me) did voluntary give it over, partly also by appointing me to preach at the Assize in Excester, immediately upon his receiving a strict order from authority to be very circumspect in his choice of me for that service. Partly also by his ready and earnest applying himself to free me out of trouble, when I had been vehemently prosecuted by his Chancellor Doctor Parrie, and began to be used in the High Commission by one Mr. John Weeks, for excepting against the said Mr. Week as an unfit person to be Clerk of the Convocation, though Bishop Hall himself had commended him to our choice for that place. Yea, when in his haste he had exposed me to no small danger (as he afterwards apprehended) by sending my Sermon to the Archbishop, in which I had declared his Episcopacy to be a Human Ordinance, and I had taken my journey towards London to answer that matter, he, himself, sent after me, such letters of commendation, and of earnest request in my behalf, as he thought would be most prevalent for my peace. Although he can neither be ignorant nor insensible of my utter disliking, and earnest opposing of that way which he has both walked in, and pleased for, yet I am so far persuaded of his respect to his conscience, credit, and honor, as that I dare refer this matter to his testimony, viz., whether this assertion of yours: That I brought in innovations into my Perish-Church, against the will of Dr. Hall my Diocesan, be not (as I affirm it to be) a mere calumniation.
Mr. Edwards and His Reporters are Liars and Slanderers
But you have (as you pretend) your informers, that must then take this off from you, and bear it upon their own shoulders. For this you have provided in this Parenthesis, (as some godly people that came out of those parts, have informed me.) But why, I pray you, are the names of these Godly Informers concealed? Is it because if you should name any Godly man as the givers of such information, they would clear themselves, and declare you to be a liar? Or is it because your Informers, by you falsely called Godly, being conscious to themselves of their false dealing, have given you order to conceal their names, least they should be discovered to have dealt dishonestly? Deal plainly, Mr. Edwards, and if they cannot reprove you as a false reporter, I shall prove them to be slanderers.
No True and Just Charge Against Mr. Cox
But now some reader may now enquire in his thoughts, was there not something from which some mighty possibly (though not justly) take occasion to raise some such report? My true answer is this, When the Jews cried out against Paul, that he had brought Greeks into the Temple, and had polluted that holy place, Acts 21:28, there was something from which they took occasion to raise that clamor, For they had been before with him in the City, Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into that Temple, verse 29. So I suppose the case here stands with me in respect of two things.
Moved the So-Called Communion Table
First in respect of the Communion Table (as men commonly call it) placed North and South, not East and West. Touching which, this is the true state of the business.
1. The Table was so placed on before there was any word spoken (that I heard of) of turning Tables into Altars, otherwise I should have given no consent to the placing of it in that manner. It stood so a long time before there was any offence taken by any (that I did ever hear of) at the standing of it in that sort.
2. It was so placed merely for convenience, the Chancel being very short, yea, shorter (as I remember) then the Table it self, and yet of a sufficient breadth.
3. The Table was not placed Altar-Wise, in as much as there was a fear between it and the East end of the Chancel, where people did ordinarily sit, and at the time of the Communion, that seat was made use of by the Communicants.
4. While the Table stood in that manner, I was so far in the favor of the Bishop, and had such frequent and familiar access unto him, as that if I had therein done any thing against his mind, that he had known and taken notice of, he would lovingly have told me of it. But he never so much as intimated the least dislike of ought that I did in this thing.
5. All this time there was no Altar-Worship, or bowing towards the Table there used. For as I always showed a detestation of that thing, so the people there did not use it, not in the last measure.
6. When I understood that some at last took offence at that standing of the Table, and put an ill construction upon it, though they were only strangers that did so, yet to remove the occasion of the offence, I caused that Table to be taken away, and a square Table to be set in the room of it.
Secondly Reading From The Table
Secondly, in respect of my reading some part of the Service sometime at that Table, touching this, my true Apology is as follows:
1. This thing also was done without any Altar-Worship, and without any looking upon one place as more holy than another, either by me, or by the people.
2. The meeting-house was so square, and the Chancel so short, that the whole congregation could hear me there, as well as in any other place.
3. Even this also was a part of the Old Conformity, as you call it, the Service-Book then Authorized by Parliament (as was then conceived) requiring this as well as any other Conformity.
4. The occasion of my so doing, was the trouble and censure in the High-Commission Court, of one Doctor Down, for his Non-Conformity, this being a part of his Non-Conformity that he was so troubled for, viz. his not reading the second Service (as they called it) at the Communion-Table. This wrought upon me, I being then in expectation of a High-Commission Suit, and knowing my self to be extremely maligned by the malignant crew.
5. I was so far from doing this against the Bishop's will, that I first advised with him before I did it, and he understanding the fashion of my Meeting-House, did advise me to do it for my safety. Yet do I now not justify myself in this action, for though I then discerned no evil in it, yet is it one of those things of which I am now ashamed.
But suppose I had formerly been such a Time-Server and Innovator, as you accuse me to have been, yea, suppose I had been a persecutor of the people of God (as you by your writing now appear to be)? Suppose I had persecuted men for not coming to Divine-Service, falsely co called, for not kneeling at the Communion? Suppose I had been an Altar-Worshipper, a setter up of Images, (which abominations and abominable persecutions through the grace of God I abhorred and shunned) suppose I say, I had then walked in those evil paths. Should this be not urged to the disgrace of my present practice most manifestly and directly contrary to such evils? Should it not rather be applied to the disgrace of that false way in which I then walked with you and others? Does not my present practice really manifest my abhorring of Time serving, and of having any fellowship with Popish Innovations? If I could apply myself to Temporizing, and to a shadowing of false ways, or but to a conniving at the same, I might (in all probability) as easily rise, and rustle in silks, as any of you. But I choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, and esteem the reproach of Christ far greater riches then the fattest Benefice, or largest Stipend.
Now tell me, Mr. Edwards, whether Paul when he was a baptized believer, and a Servant of Jesus Christ, hating all Blasphemy, Persecution, and Injuriousness, might yet have been justly reproached by some, because he had sometimes been a Blasphemer, and a Persecutor, and Injurious. And if any of the false Apostles had in that respect dealt with him, as you now deal (and that falsely too) with me, tell me whether they had not herein showed themselves the servants of the Devil, rather then the servants of God?
I may not omit yet further to examine this passage in your slander, Against the will of the Bishop. Do you conceive that they which swallowed the use of the Service-Book communicated with Fornicators, or Covetous Persons, or Idolaters, or Railers, or Drunkards, or Extortioners, and did many other acts of that nature, now known to be hateful unto GOD, may yet hold themselves to be excused, because though they did these things against the will of God, yet they did them not against the will of the Bishop? Will this serve their turn at the great day? Surely at that day neither the will of the Bishop heretofore, nor yet the will of any Assembly or Presbytery now, will be found sufficient to bear men out in the things not according to the will of God.
Edwards Now a Presbyterian but Could Just As Well Be an Anglican
I cannot but take notice also of the titles which you give to Dr. Hall, in that your aggravation of the offense unjustly laid to my charge, viz., The Bishop of Excester's Diocesan. This seems to intimate that I was then bound to conform to the will of Dr. Hall, because he was then the Bishop of Excester, my Diocesan. Do not you yet acknowledge this to be a truth, that their Prelatical Episcopacy was from man, not from God? If you do acknowledge it, tell me by what Law of God, or by what Just Authority of man, I was then bound to conform to the Bishop's will? By these titles thus given and made use of by you, you signify how well you could brook that Episcopacy again. Only I suppose, you had rather exercise that tyrannical power, then be under it.
A MEETING HOUSE OR A PERISH CHURCH IS NOT THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
I would next have it to be considered by what rule you call a meeting-house, a Parish-Church? The word in Scripture that is translated Church, used to signify A congregation called out of the world to be God's people, a company of people that are to be looked upon as sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, I Cor. 1:2. By what authority do you give this title to an house made of Stones and Timber?
The Word Church
Perhaps you will say the word Church is (like the Scottish word Kirk) derived from the Greek word KiriacoSYMBOL 86 \f "Symbol", which signifies, the Lord's or appertaining to the Lord, and that you call these houses Churches, because they are the Lord's Houses. But how came these to be the Lord's Houses, more than any other houses? They were consecrated indeed by Popish Bishops. But though these Bishops had power from the Pope, we know who gave to the Pope his power and his seat and great authority, Revelation 13:2. Yet all this power and authority is too weak, and too little, to make these houses the Lord's Houses. These house were also dedicated to Saints Canonized (or approved) by the Pope. Yet this also is not sufficient to make them the Lord's Houses. The Latin Mass-Book (in the last age refined and turned into an English Service-Book) has also been used in these houses as many times as there be untruths in your Gangraena. Yet this also is not enough to make these houses the Lord's Houses. It is not in the power of men, no not of the Pope, and all his Vassals, to make any place to be for ever the Devil's house, for then many of these places had been made such, so neither is it in the power of men, no not of an Assembly of Bishops or Presbyters, to make an house to be the Lord's House.
O. T. Temple Was The House of God
The Temple at Jerusalem was indeed called the House of God, because it was a type of Christ, as our Savior's words do intimate in John 2:19. Dare you to make these houses herein like unto the Temple? Dare you say that any house may now be looked upon as a type of Christ? Or dare you say that one place may now be looked upon as more holy than another? Do you not know that this would be found an implicate denying that Christ is come, and has suffered in the flesh and is risen again according to the Scriptures? Do you not know what is written in John 4:21, and what is means? "The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father." Do you knot know the words of Paul in I Timothy 2:8? "I will that men pray in every place."
The Gospel Meeting Places
Do you not know that Christ took every opportunity in every place to preach His Gospel? Do you not know that the Apostles did both preach, pray, and break bread in such houses as you call private houses? Do you not know that God neither puts difference now between place and place, nor gives to men any authority, warrant, or leave so to do? Yea, you know all these things. But if you should let the people know the same, your market would be marred.
The Pedobaptist's Market Places for their Unholy Goods
1. The glory of your preeminence in these supposed holy places, would then be darkened;
2. The people would not then reverence your Sermons (whether true or false, whether sound or rotten) for the supposed holiness of the place where they are preached;
3. You would not then be so able to stir up the people to persecute us for preaching, praying and breaking bread in those houses in which we meet for the performance of these actions. Therefore, you hide this truth from the people's eyes.
The Parish Assemblies are Not True Churches of Jesus Christ
But it may be you will say, that you call such an house, A Church, by a figure because the congregation that meets there, is a Church. If so, then let it be considered,
First, that no example in the word of God does teach us so to speak. The word rendered Church, in Corinthians 11:18 and 22 does there signify, not a meeting place, but the congregation of Christians.
Secondly, that there is a great difference between a Parish-Assembly and a true Church of Christ, as between Babylon and Sion, (There is a great difference between a Parish Assembly and a well ordered Church of Christ,) which I shall now prove:
Proofs That the Parish Assemblies Are Not True Churches of Jesus Christ
1. It is a most evident thing that the Parish Assemblies are not Congregations of Visible Saints, such as all true Churches are, I Corinthians 1:2, 14:33, and I Thessalonians 2:14.
2. It is also manifest that the Parish-Assemblies in this land in the days of Queen Mary (not withstanding the Reformation in King Edward's days) were part of those many waters on which the Whore sitteth, Revelation 17:1, 15. Then certainly they were not true Churches. (Then what kind of Churches were they?) Their state was no more changed afterwards by a second bringing in of the English Service-Book in the room of the Latin Mass Book, then it was changed by the first bringing in of the same in King Edward's days.
3. The few believers that yet remain in the Parish Assemblies, being that people of God who are called out Babylon, Revelation 18:4, are not there in the right state of a Church, nor can attain thereunto without coming out of Babylon, (are not there in the right state of a Church, nor can attain thereunto without coming out of it).
Here let it be laid to heart, that these Parish assemblies, being falsely persuaded (because persuaded) that they are Churches of Christ, are here miserably hardened in pride and profaness, and in security and presumption, whereby Satan is not a little strengthened to carry them away with ease to eternal destruction. The motives to you and others such, to Persuade them notwithstanding to look upon themselves as (right) Churches of God, do seem to be these:
1. By this means you seem to obtain the honor of Pastors of supposed Churches, (of Pastors of these Churches) as you call them.
2. Thus you seem to have some color to press all the people to maintain you by Tithes, or Oblations, or Stipends, &c.
3. You politically foresee, that if you should declare according to truth these Assemblies to be no true Churches, (no right Churches) then not only your honor, and your rich maintenance, and your Presbytery would all fall to the ground, but also you must undergo contempt and persecution from the World.
Hereupon (though it work to their eternal destruction) you bear them in hand that they are right Churches by all means, yea that their Infants are holy, and under the Covenant of Grace, and that the very place where they do meet, must, or may be called by the name of Churches. O that you were sensible of the sinfulness, of this your dealing. But I now hasten to that which you yet further add concerning me, and so to an end.
That which follows in your book is this: Why has put out a Pamphlet called, A Declaration Concerning the Public Dispute Which Should Have Been in the Public Meeting-House of Aldermanburie the Third of December, Concerning Infant's Baptism.
I am not ashamed of the assistance that I gave in putting out that Declaration. What have you to say against it? Can you therein find any one sentence swerving from the truth? If either you, or they that made a show of a mind to dispute with us, could therein have found any falsehood, we should surely have heard of it long ago. But it is enough that your Gravity calls it, A Pamphlet. Indeed, it is not very large, for it was not needful, as we conceived, that it should be large. But though we there us not many words, yet we write the words of Truth and Soberness. If you will blot out of your Gangraena all the words of Falsehood and Folly with which it is stuffed, it will, I suppose, be much shorter then this Pamphlet.
Having thus answered these things in your book that do particularly concern me, I will rake no further in such an unfavorable heap. I desire that you, yourself, may at the last be so sensible of the ill favor thereof, as that you may be moved to a loathing of it, and that you may not have a miserable experimental knowledge of the truth, of that word of truth in Proverbs 29:1, "He that being often reproved, hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
POSTSCRIPT TO THE READER
How Far May Baptized Saints Go Toward Others
Who Are Not Of Due Order?
Though I have reproved Master Edwards, for giving this name, or title, Church, to an House made of Lime and Stone, yet I desire you not to judge me an approver of their practice, who now give such names to Houses that have been called Churches, as tend only to the provoking and exasperating of their spirits that use to meet in them. I exceedingly approve of this name, A Public Meeting House. This would be found neither to favor superstition, neither yet to provoke men's spirits by any intimation of contempt.
Of those that yet use to hear and pray in those Houses, there are many who give good evidences of sincerity. Why then should we unnecessarily embitter their spirits by our expressions? We are also to seek the salvation of those who are yet unconverted. Why then should we causelesly provoke them to wrath so as to harden their hearts and stop their ears against our words? Also, in as much as they which yet meet in these Houses, are fellow-members together with us, of the same Political Body, and the same common enemy (seeking the destruction both of them and us) strives to set them at variance with us, that he may the more easily destroy both, it is therefore both just and necessary that they should find us not only faithful to them in our dealings, but also respectful, and not provoking in our expressions, we still being careful to have no fellowship with any evil.
Concerning Hearing, Praying and Appearing in Houses for Public Worship
Moreover, I think it not unmeet to acknowledge by my pen, what I declare by my practice, viz., that I cannot see it to be an unlawful thing, to preach or to pray in those houses, nor yet to hear in them, so far as it may be done without having any fellowship (either really, or in appearance) with any false Church-State, False Worship, False Doctrine, or False Ministry.
The Building is Nothing But a Mere Building
I do not recede from my professed and utter disliking of their ill dealing, of their misapplying (and so abusing) of the Scriptures, which write upon the doors and walls of those houses: "This is the house of God. The Lord is in this place. My house shall be called the house of Prayer. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the House of God. Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, the house of the God of Jacob," and the such like. Yea, because of this my spirit has been, and still is, stirred within me, even as it has been a vexation to my spirit, to hear men say with relation to these houses, that they are now met in God's own house, that He still keeps open the doors of His sanctuaries, ect. But men's misnaming these places the Houses of God do not make them to be the house of the Devil, no more than their miscalling another place the house of the Devil can make it to be the House of God. Yea, as it is also a great error to ascribe holiness to these places, so it is also an error to imagine any unholiness to be inherent in them. Even here we have need to beware of Satan's wiles, and to take heed that he carry us not from one extreme to another and to the unnecessary and dangerous disturbance both of our selves and others. For our safety herein, let us be careful that we swerve not from the rule of the Word, neither in Allowing, neither yet in Condemning.
Thus courteous Reader, as I have not sincerely expressed my mind unto thee, so through the Grace of God I shall still remain,
A True Seeker Both of Your
Temporal and Eternal Peace,
A Second Postscript
Such was the cautiousness of that friend, for whom this book is printed, that he would not have it to be printed for him without License, and such was the cautiousness of the Licenser, that he would not license it without some alterations. This has caused this printing copy to fall a little short of that which I wrote, viz., in these places ((I have made these correction in this edition-REP)), page 9, line 11, (as you by your writing now appear to be) my copy added, a persecutor of the people of God. Page 12, line 5, 6, 7, (That there is a great difference between a Parish-Assembly, and a well ordered Church of Christ), I wrote, That there is as great a difference between a Parish-Assembly and a true Church of Christ, as between Babylon and Sion. Line 14, (Then what kind of Churches were they?) I had written, Then certainly they were not true Churches. Line 21, 22, (Are not there in the right state of a Church, nor can attain thereunto without coming out of it), I wrote, Are not there in the state of a Church, nor can attain thereunto, without coming out of Babylon. Line 23, 24, (Those Parish-Assemblies because persuaded), I wrote, being falsely persuaded. Line 28, 29, (as right Churches), I wrote, As Churches. Line 30, 31, (Of Pastors of the Churches, as you call them), I wrote, Of pastors of supposed Churches. Line 35, (No right Churches), I wrote, No True Churches. Page 13, line 1, (That they are right Churches), I wrote, That they are Churches, &c. Thus courteous Reader, thou has now the whole of that which was written, and given forth to be printed upon this Subject, by your loving friend.
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