To my Reuerend & Louing Freind
and Brother in Christ Mr
Iohn Dury bee these
[above, another hand:] Mr Lane to Mr. Durie
[Dury:] Mr Lane Aug. 26 1651.
Since you haue bene pleased to declare your Mind so largely vnto mee in answer to what I had written vnto you, I conceiue it very requisite that I returne you a Reply; and though it bee late, for which I might alledge somewhat (as you haue done for the Retarding of yours) viz a totall forbearance one while from writing vnto you, being not willing to meddle any further in this matter, otherwhiles bodily Infirmities with other interuening hinderances, yet it comes vnto you clothed with as much Moderation as the Cause in hand will permit, & accompanyed with such Brotherly Loue vnto you, as you haue professed to beare vnto mee. It was farre from my Thoughts when I first took notice of that part of your Discourse now in Dispute to enter into any Controuersy with you, neither shall I willingly after this present dispatch write againe about it. There is too much Wrangling amongst vs already, o that wee would rather ioyne together to preach & proclaime the glad Tidings of the Gospell, & to carry on the Cause of Christ against the Common Adversary, which doubtles would bee a Worke more acceptable to God, & conduce more to the Furtherance [
for the?] of the Kingdome of the Lord Iesus & our owne Peace, then this Careering with Speare in Rest against one another in Polemicall Disputations
That which I am constrained to write of at present vnto you must bee
partly partly to Vindicate my Selfe against that you haue Inuriously charged vpon mee & partly to let you know my Sense concerning that Satisfaction which you <haue> endeauoured to giue <mee>
First you tell mee that I say you Foment Seducers in their Errours. Truely Sir when I first began to looke vpon your Letter, & found this in the Front of it it made presently Feare that I should scarcely meet with that in the Sequel which I expected from you. Looke againe I desire you, & see [left margin: +] whether I haue charged you in that manner as you now relate it. I told you indeed that Seducers haue deriued somewhat from your Epistolicall Discourse to Foment their Errours, & doe make it their Boast that you doe fully agree with them in their Opinion concerning the Nullitie of a Visible Church in these times, and withall I declared how my Spirit was troubled within mee that your Name should bee made vse of in the carrying on of so pernicious a Tenet, fearing too as I afterwards told you that you had giuen too iust an Occasion vnto them to Triumph as they doe I appeale now to any impartiall Reader whether I haue said, as you [left margin: +] charge mee, that you foment Seducers in their Errours. Is the information that I giue you become an Accusation of you? and is my Feare & Sorrow [catchword: for you]
for you become a ground of your Insultation ouer mee? Or did you præfix this in your Writing as a meanes to Skrew vp your Spirit to a Magisteriall height, to the End you might Censure my Arguing with you as most absurd & preposterous? which immodest Termes as you might well haue Spared, & I doubt not but I shall easily quit my Selfe of them, so if I were willing I could Retort them againe vpon you, but for Loue's sake I will forbeare
You begin to tell mee that in bearing Witnes so farre as you are Inlightned, you looke vpon the Truth as it is naked in it selfe, you respect no Mans Opinion, nor any party, Your Thoughts are not Biassed for any Interests, but you speake your Sense of Diuine Truthes as in the Sight of God. And as in the Sight of God let mee speake vnto you my Sense concerning this matter. Truely (Sir) I haue that Charitable opinion of you that you loue the Truth not as it is in Luther or Caluin in Presbyterian or Independent in Englishman or Scot, but as it is in Iesus, and very vnworthy is that Man to bee a Minister of Christ & Steward of the Mysteries of God that doth Cauponate the Sincere Word of Truth vpon any Carnall respects whatsoeuer, or in bearing Witnes thereunto should prostitute his Iudgment to any priuate Interests, That bee farre from you, & from mee also! Neuertheless at such a time as this, when the Catholike Church of Christ is traduced & defamed by the Virulent Tongues & Pens of Schismaticall Persons, insomuch as that against the whole Visible Estate thereof they belch out that Edomitish blasphemy Rase it, Rase it euen to the Ground whether it were not better to appeare in the Vindication of the Church then to helpe forward her affliction by proclaiming her Imperfections, iudge you. And admit that it bee a Truth that the Churches haue no Perfection at all in them, are wee therefore obliged, who professe our Selues to bee Children of the Church, to vncouer her Nakednes, so as to giue Occasion thereby to her Enemies to trample the more vpon her? When the Beauty of Israel was slaine, Dauid would not haue it told in Gath, nor published in the Streets of Askelon; much lesse when the most sweet & beautifull Spouse of Christ shall bee laid vpon her Bed of Supine Negligence, & <for a while> seeme to sleight her Beloued, should priuate persons interpose themselues to pronounce their Censure vpon her to the Loathing of her Person amongst all that are round about her. All Truthes are not of the same Ranke or of Equall Necessitie, & some may sometimes bee forborne [catchword: especially]
especially if they bee not cleer & manifest It was once accounted sage Counsell which a Reuerend Diuine gaue vnto one intending the Ministery ; Let mee aduise you saith hee to walke euer in the beaten Road of the Church, not to run out into single Paradoxes; and if you meet at any time with priuate Conceits that seeme more probable, suspect them & your Selfe, & if they can win you to assent yet smother them in your Breast, & doe not dare to vent them out either by Hand or Tongue to trouble the Common Peace. You your Selfe haue said elsewhere that Ministers who are Godly & Holy men doe ouershoot themselues when they prefer a particular Duty too much & indiscreetly lay too great a Weight vpon it towards all without Distinction of Cases. And you know Sir who said it Dissidijs magnis et Controuersijs non sunt redimendæ minores istæ Veritates, i, Truthes of a lesser Size are not to bee prosecuted with such Vehemency as to hazard the publike peace. I will adde further euen in bearing Witnes to [Truths?] of a higher Alloy, respect is to bee had though not to the Opinions and Interests of particular men, yet to their Persons in reference to their inward Qualifications, [verbi gratia?], To preach of the Kingly Office of Christ at some times, & in some places, & to some Persons may I conceiue bee more seasonable then to preach of his Preistly; People must haue their due Dimensum, Comfort to whom Comfort belongs, Terror to whom Terror & this I thinke you will not deny. Our Sauiour aduiseth to beware of men, & would not haue that which is holy to bee cast vnto Dogges, [least? MS torn] they should turne againe; Yea hee forbeareth awhile to discouer to [the? MS torn] Apostles some Truthes that were necessary because they were not [able? MS torn] as then to beare them; If so, surely then much more may there bee amongst vs a forbearance sometimes of diuulging Truthes of a lesse Consequence, especially when the Publication of them may bee accompanyed with vanauoidable Scandall, caused thorough the Misconstructions that are made thereof by men of Corrupt Minds And it was well said by one Aliud est scribere Vni, aliud omnibus; Had that which you haue written which is now in Debate betweene vs bene deliuered by you in priuate to such as are Wise & Godlie who would haue Lamented & bewailed with you the sad & deplorable Estate of the Churches of Christ at this day, it had bene somewhat suitable to that Christian Prudence that hath bene obserued in Mr. Dury; But as the matter hath bene handled, I am loth to say further what ill Consequents may follow thereupon
Three things I obserue there are that you vndertake to make good [catchword: First]
First that all the visible estates of all the Churches calling vpon the Name of Christ are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion.
Secondly that there is not any Perfection in any of those Churches
Thirdly that these 2 expressions of yours viz of the Churches comming out of the Wildernes, & of the Brides comming from Heauen are not Inconsistent
Concerning the First you thus write; "I haue said, & doe still say that the Visible Estate of the Churches calling vpon the Name of Christ is in a Wildernes of Spirituall Confusion; and this I say because it is apparant that their Outward Estate is vnsetled, Changed, tossed to & fro, & carried about by Power in Subordination to the Policie of those who Manage the Affaires of this World, and Because in their Relation to each other the Churches are not one Entire Body, growing vp Visibly in Christ etc etc"
Here I must first Mind you, how your Words now & in sundry other places of your Letter differ from what you had written before in your Discourse; You had said that all the Visible Estates of all the Churches are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion, taking your Warrant from Reuel: 12th Chap: as it appeares, but how iustly shall bee examined hereafter: You who Alleuiate the matter in your Letter, & sometimes say they are in a Wildernes, sometimes in a Wildernes of Confusion etc but neuer in such downe right Termes as before, that they are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion; Which to mee argues some Hæsitancy in you both concerning your Censure of the Churches, & also your Sense of that place, because you doe not so punctually speake of the Wildernes, & as you haue very often phrased it in that your Epistolicall Discourse
But in answer hereto, first I shall take leaue to consider the Charge that you put vpon the Churches, and then see whether it can bee confirmed by those Scriptures & Arguments which you haue alledged, & whereby you vndertake to make good that Charge
First the Charge that you haue laid vpon the Churches in respect of their Outward Estate is that <they> are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion. It seemes Sir you haue in your Peregrinations amongst the Churches found some things amisse (as alas when & where hath it bene, or whiles this World standeth shall it bee otherwise) & thus you speake of them as you say according to your owne Experience
But I pray let mee aske you haue you not found[altered] also many things in them (as to their Outward Estate) worthy of your approbation?
Could you see no Order or Decencie in their outward Administrations? Are they growne so weake as that there is no Power left in them to withstand & oppose the Kingdome of Satan & his Antichrist? Is there no Beauty or Comelines at all vpon them to make them amiable in the eyes of their Beloued? For my part when I looke vpon their Confessions & see how vnanimously they agree in the Maine & how good a Progresse there hath bene amongst them in the Worke of Reformation, though in some more then other, I cannot but Reioyce, & say as the Apostle said to the Church of Colosse Col: 2. 5. Though I bee absent in the Flesh, yet am I with them in the Spirit, ioying & beholding their Order, & the Stedfastnes of their Faith in Christ. What? Is the Reformation that in these times hath bene so cryed vp & applauded now lost in a Wildernes of [Spirituall? MS torn] Desolation & Confusion? Then may Antichrist well triumph and say Luctationibus robustis Luctatus sum, et etiam palmam tuli, With great Wrastlings haue I wrastled, & haue preuailed. As to vs indeed here in England Rome & Hell haue done much that Way, & I heartily wish that such amongst vs, who haue by their Nonconcurrence in things good & lawfull bene Instrumentall in helping forward their AntiChristian Stratagems might bee made so spiritually Wise as to discerne their owne Station, & what furtherance they giue vnto the Beast against the Lambe. But
wee though wee & some other particular Churches may sit downe & take vp a Lamentation & say, How is the Gold become dim! how is the most fine Gold changed! the Stones of the Sanctuary are poured out in the Top of euery Street, The precious Sons of Zion comparable to fine Gold how are they esteemed as Earthen pitchers, the Worke of the hands of the Potter! Yet I hope I may say of the Catholike Church that shee hath her Ornaments still vpon her, being decked with Gold & Siluer, her Raiment of fine Linnen & Silk & broidered Worke, that shee doth eat fine Flower & Hony & Oile, & is exceeding Beautifull in the Eyes of Christ, & though by reason of Persecution her Outward Estate may in some places bee lost or lessened, yet in this last age of the World especially shee shall & doth (like the Sea) gaine thereby; To which purpose saith Bernard well Ser: 13. super Cant. Quod Ecclesiæ deest in Vno, habet in Altero, secundum Mensuram donationis Christi, ad moderationem Spiritus diuidentis singulis prout vult. And another, Ecclesia Lunæ similis, si in unâ parte obscuratur, in alterâ Illuminatur. Let then these Words of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion bee written vpon Babilon, as that Irreuersible Sentence [catchword: which]
which is already pronounced against it, but let them not bee once
named <heard> within the Gates of the Daughter of Sion, for that God whose delight is to dwell there is not the Author of Confusion but of Peace, as in all the [ com?] Churches of the Saints.
Not heare of them youle say when the Scripture is so cleere that the Outward Estate of the Church is at this day trod vnder Foot, & that the Church is in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion?
But let vs see now whether these things bee so or no. For the First If it should bee granted that your Sense of that place (Reu: 11. 2) should bee the Sense of the Holy Ghost, yet I cannot see how it can <therefore> follow that the Church is shut vp in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion; If the Church lie vnder Persecution at any time, must it thereupon bee made Spiritually Desolate, & must Spirituall Confusion ceaze vpon it? For a wide Difference there is betweene Spirituall Desolation & Confusion, and Wandring vp & downe in Vncertainties & Desolate places, as you now render it: the Former implying both the Churches Separating her Selfe from God, ouerthrowing that Order which hee had established, and also Gods Iudiciary Forsaking of her vpon that her Separation from him, so that such a Desolation must needs bee equiualent with a Totall Dissolution; the Latter onely declaring the effect which the said Persecution in all probabilitie would produce. If the Church bee at any time afflicted, surely God is so farre from Forsaking it, that euen in her Affliction hee is afflicted
e too. But for my part I question the Truth of the Interpretation which is here giuen of <that> place. The Text saith the Outward Court must not bee measured, but left out, for it is giuen to the Gentiles, and the Holy Citie shall they tread vnder Foot etc.
Hereupon you say that all the Visible Estate of the Church is the Outward Court, which is giuen to the Gentiles, wherein say you to this day they tread the Holy Citie vnder Foot. First I must mind you that in this latter Clause you adde the Word (Wherein) which is not in the Text, & in your Letter as also in your Discourse you say too that the Outward Court is trod vnder Foot by the Gentiles also, of which that place of Scripture saith nothing at all. Secondly I shall grant that the Outward Court is the Visible Estate of the Church giuen to the Gentiles, yet not to bee trod vnder Foot, but rather to bee preserued by them, that so God might haue a People amongst them calling vpon his Name, when the Iewes should bee no more a People, & the Iudaicall Sacrifices should cease, being particularly measured out by Gods immediate [catchword: appointment]
appointment for an Annihilation. Now why I should not haue the Liberty to giue this Interpretation, seing it is not repugnant with Scripture elsewhere, but Consonant thereunto, I see not: And I shall here shew
vnto you what Warrant I haue for the Sense that I giue of the place, and therewithall declare vnto you why I dissent from what you & the Author in his following Treatise haue written of it. Know then that the Words (Giuen to the Gentiles) sound to mee in this place as a Donation of Bounty, as the Word [Greek: edothe] in the verse before, which is the same with this, & the Word [Greek: doso] in the verse following doe, There was giuen to Iohn a Reed, which (whatsoeuer vse hee was to put it to yet it) surely carrieth in the Front of it Fauour to him; and when it was said I will giue vnto my two Witnesses, that they may Prophesie, it cannot bee vnderstood but as a Gift of Grace, so that why this intermediate Word which is the same with the other in the Originall should not carry the same Sense, I know not; I confesse that Word Giuen may sometimes signifie a permissive punitiue power, or a Conniuence & allowance to doe mischeife, as you would here haue it, yet seing there is nothing rendred in the Text that doth incline the Sense that way, but onely the Words being thus Nakedly set downe, The Court which is without the Temple leaue out, & measure it not for it is giuen vnto the Gentiles. I cannot but adhære to what I haue said, viz, That when God tooke away the Mosaicke Institutions hee then gaue vnto the Gentiles Leaue to approach vnto him, & to exercise a visible Order in such their Approches, signified by the Outward Court now opened vnto them, which formerly they had not for they had no such Priuiledge granted vnto them before so much as once to come into the Outward Court of the Temple, it being reserued onely for the People of the Iewes. If it shall bee now said that the Context both before & after may suffice to silence this Sense which I here giue, I shall shew how that rather to my Vnderstanding it makes the Sound thereof louder. In the last verse of the Chapter before the Angell tells Iohn that hee, that is (as your Countryman Napier will haue it), the whole Ministery must prophecy againe [Greek: epi laois ki ethnesi] In or coram Gentibus, Amongst or before the Gentiles: How should this bee brought to passe seing they were a People without? The Angell shewes him that God had giuen to the Gentiles a place & a Name within his House & within his Walls, wherein they shall partake of all Gospell ordinances, & haue accesse vnto him in as Free a manner, & as perfect an Order, as euer the Israelites had in the Outward Court of the Temple: And therefore also what is before spoken of measuring the Temple, the Altar, & them that Worship therein I conceiue is properly to bee vnderstood of the abolishing of all Legall [catchword: Sacrifices]
Sacrifices & the Leuiticall Preisthood, which when they were taken away, the Holy Citie that is Metanymiccos all the Politie & Republike of the Iewes whereby they were glorious in the Midst of the Nations should bee subdued & kept vnder as it is this day, according to that prophecy of Christ himselfe Luk: 21. 24 Ierusalem shall bee troden downe of the Gentiles, vntill the times of the Gentiles bee fulfilled: And this I conceiue to bee the Genuine Sense of the Place. What is it now that you say? First by Measuring is signified the Building & propagating the Church etc (as in Ezek: 40. Zach: 2) But what Constat there is for it, that it should bee so here doth not appeare. True it is measuring sometimes in Scripture is for Preseruation, & as true also it is that is sometimes for Destruction. E.g. 2. Sam: 8. 2. And hee smote Moab, & measured them with a Line, casting them down to the Ground. Habac: 2. 6. Hee stood & measured the Earth, hee beheld & droue asunder the Nations etc Lam: 2. 8. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the Wall of the Daughter of Zion hee hath stretched out a Line, hee hath not withdrawn his hand from Destroying: And as one saith well this phrase of Measuring with a Line or with a Reed is grounded vpon the Custome of absolute Conquerors, who hauing <gotten> a Countrey into their Power doe dispose it as they please, some part to Desolation, some to Inhabitation or els it is a Similitude borrowed from Husbandmen that measure out Land, some to Waste, some to Tillage, & some to Pasture. From all which I conclude that this Word here may at least bee taken in my Sense as in that wherein you render it: But as for the Construction that is made by your Author of the Subiect measured I must craue leaue to dissent from it. First because hee makes the Temple of God & them that Worship therein one & the same thing: For what Difference is there betweene the true Inuisible hidden Church, & the Roiall Preisthood? Is it not the same vnder seuerall denominations? If so, how shall the Text then bee freed from a Tautologie. Secondly because hee makes the Altar measured to bee the Sufferings & Miseries which the Church should vndergoe; If hee had said, as some, that by Altar there is meant by a Synechdoche Cultus Diuinus, the Holy & Diuine worship of God, which should bee continued in the Churches malgrè all the Persecutions that should pursue them, I suppose such an Interpretation would haue bene better resented by the Iudicious then this, which notwithstanding all the Ambages that are vsed to force it in carries with it much Ambiguitie[altered]
And now (Sir) by this time I hope you see that what you or your Coagent haue written concerning the outward estate of the Visible Church hath not so cleere a Foundation vpon that Scripture as is pretended, so that you will giue mee leaue to conclude that the present outward estate of the Catholike Church is Glorious, & though it bee much opposed & oppressed by Enemies
by E both without & within, yet it shall prosper & Flourish more & more, & is at this day terrible as an Army with Banners to Antichrist, as hath bene already said
You adde in the next place that the Church as to her Outward Estate is in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion, & you proue it from Reuel: 12th Chap: Where the Church is said to Fly into the Wildernes But what my Conceptions are concerning that place, I haue already shewed you, whereunto you make no Reply at all. And truely since you would vndertake to frame such an Answer vnto my Letter, because you were as you pretended so very desirous to giue mee that Satisfaction which is due to a Christian and to a Brother vnsatisfied you should haue done well either to
h.[blot] haue[altered] shewed what Inualiditie in your Account there might bee of that my Interpretation, & to haue conuinced mee of my Errour therein, or els to haue Confirmed your owne which I had scrupled, with solid Argumentation. Yet <if> what I haue said should not please you, I shall present you with another probable Construction that may bee made thereof The Church may bee said to Fly into the Wildernes, when being beset with the Entising Vanities of this World shee casts them off with a holy Disdaine & Selfe deniall, making an Escape thereby from the Dragon that persecuted her; euen as it is said in Daniel Dan: 11. Edom & Moab, & the Cheife of the Children of Ammon should escape out of the hand off the King of the North, (who should destroy many Countreyes) by reason that their Dwelling as some conceiue was vpon the Mountaines & Desert places, such as Mount Seir & the Wildernes of Moab whereas the Egiptians, Libians & Ethiopians, who inhabited pleasant Countreyes, possessing treasures of Gold & Siluer & other precious things should bee subdued vnder him; Whereby the Prophet did ænigmatically set forth, that those who did liue in Delight & Pleasure should become a Prey to Antichrist, but such as were Crucified to the World, and the World vnto them should escape from him. [catchword: Now]
Now truely for my part I should rather approue either of this Sense or the other which I mentioned formerly, then that which you hold forth For it cannot enter into my heart to imagine that Christ would send his poore afflicted Church for Refuge into a place, where shee should bee sure to meet with Desolation & Confusion. Or that the Church would Voluntarily flee from the Persecution that then pursued her, vnto a Worse Condition For Spirituall Desolation & Spirituall Confusion is questionles accounted by all that Feare God worse then any outward affliction whatsoeuer
But let mee now come to the Arguments whereby you vndertake to proue that the Visible estate of the Churches is in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion. First say you "because that their outward Estate is vnsetled, Changed, tossed to & fro & carried about by Power in Subordination to the Policie of those who manage the affaires of this World"
In answer hereunto, I must first tell you that you are very vncertaine in the Description that you make of the Outward Estate of the Church: One while I find you speake of it in reference to the People of God in their Temporall State & Being with others in this World Another while in reference to the publike Order that is exercised in the Churches in outward Administrations: That you speak of it in this latter Sense is apparant by what you say in your Preface, & now againe in your Letter, viz That all the Visible Estates of all the Churches are the outward Court, whereby must bee meant the Whole Frame of Outward Administrations in vse amongst the Churches; And your Clauis Apocal: saith, page 61 that by Outward Court is vnderstood by the Outward Worship & Seruice of God; & thus also are you vnderstood by the Sectaries That you speake of it in the other Sense is as manifest, for where you vndertake to conuince mee of that Absurditie you charge vpon mee, you argue in this Manner: "What <can> there bee no true Church in the Wildernes? Was not Israel the People of God before they came into Canaan, or before the Temple of Solomon was built? Nay before there was any Tabernacle at all was there not in Egipt it selfe a true Congregation of Gods people? & so farr Visible as that they were not mixed with the Egiptians, but distinguished from them in their Habitations, by their Customes and by a greiueous oppression of the Egiptian Tyrannie; & yet although[altered] [catchword: then]
then their Visible Estate was trod vnder Foot, Moses did not then argue as Mr Lane now doth that therefore hee ought to separate from them Moses could <see> that the Israelites although they had no outward visible estate in the World, but were vnder Pharaoh yet were the true people of God, & for want of such a State they ought <not> to bee separated from ( ) but rather ioyned vnto". And a litle after you adde; "I cleerely professe notwithstanding this Desolation & Confusion, wherein the outward State of the Professors of Christianitie doth stand, that there is still a true Church etc Hence it is that you speake of the Churches wandring about in Vncertainties & Desolate places, &
ther here of their being vnsetled, tossed to & fro etc etc" And thus cleerely it appeareth that the Sense of this particularis doubted by you, & accordingly you make vse of it, When being conuinced of your Errour in the one, you make an Euasion to the other; As when you find that it cannot bee made good that the Orderly Course in Ecclesiastick administrations signified by the vtter Court is in the Wildernes as you haue said, you then fall into this, that the People of God themselues haue bene alwaies & still are vnder Persecution, which was not the Thing in Question, nor euer denied by mee, or any Man els that I know But (Sir) notwithstanding your Waiuing the Matter with this Tergiuersation (which is so farre from giuing that Satisfaction as you haue pretended, that it rather encreaseth the Offense) I must stick to that Sense which hath bene first giuen by <you> & your Author, viz That by the Outward Court that is the Visible Estate of the Churches is vnderstood is vnderstood the Outward Worship or Seruice of God: Now Whether this bee so vnsetled, changed, tossed to & fro, & carried about by Power in Subordination to the Policie of those who manage the affaires of this World, as that it must therefore bee concluded to bee in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion comes now to bee Examined
And first if it should bee granted that the said Visible Estate of the Churches is vnsetled changed etc must it therefore follow that it is made wholly Desolate & Confounded? The people of Israel euen in Egipt were as you say the true Church of God, & I say that in all likelihood[altered] they had an Outward Worship & Seruice of God then & then set vp amongst them; For they kept the Sabbath, Circumcised their Children neither did they (as Reuerend Mr Arthur[altered] Iackson obserueth well in his Annotations vpon Exodus) during the time of their Bondage in Egipt, wholly [catchword: neglect]
neglect their Duty in offering vp sacrifices to the Lord; They hauing Elders & officers & Heads of the Tribes distinctly Knowne amongst them from the rest of the people (the Life of Ioseph himselfe wanting but 50 yeeres of halfe the time of their abode in that Land, & of Leui but 27 [left margin: so Alstedius] yea Amram the Father of Moses dying but 13 yeeres before their going <
forth?> [ forth?] forth) who would surely bee Exemplary to the younger sort, & instruct them in the manner & Forme of Gods publike Worship & Seruice, as they had receiued it from their Fathers before; And therefore though they were oppressed by Pharaoh in respect of their Temporall State, yet you cannot therehence inferre, that they were in a Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation etc in respect of their Ecclesiasticall; And if it had been so, Moses would haue argued then, as Mr Lane now doth Seing this People haue forsaken the Lord, & the Lord hath forsaken them Why should I now ioyne my Selfe vnto them? So also in the Times of the Apostles the Temporall State of the Church was trodden vpon by Herod, & by the Romane Presidents of Syria, yet notwithstanding euen then you cannot but say that there was an Excellent Order held vp & maintained amongst the Faithfull in the managing of Ecclesiasticall Administrations. And afterwards in the following Centuries of yeeres successiuely, though the Heathen Emperours mightily endeauoured to root out the Gospell, & to bring Spirituall Desolation & Confusion vpon all the Churches, yet they could neuer bring it to passe. The Churches then had their Synodall meetings if not Oecumenicall yet Prouinciall at least, notwithstanding the Persecutions they wer vnder, wherein though sometimes they stood too much vpon Niceties (as wee in this Age doe, the greater is our shame) yet it is cleere to all that are not Strangers to Historie that they did laudably reforme many things that grew vp to bee grossely amisse amongst them, Casting out pertinacious Heretickes & other Scandalous offendors[altered], & Receiuing them in againe vpon their Repentance, As I might here set before you a Cloud of Witnesses to that purpose, if need were. So that though your Antecedent here should bee granted, the Consequence that you deriue from thence is (I will not say in the Language of Mr Dury most absurd & preposterous but) inualid and of no Force. [catchword: Yea altered from But?]
Yea let it bee supposed also that the Visible estate of the Church, i, the outward Worship[altered] & Seruice of God were vnsetled, changed, tossed <to> & fro, & carried about by Power etc must it <then> necessarily follow that Spirituall Desolation & Confusion should come vpon it? For my part I beleeue the Church of Christ now vnder the Gospell shall neuer bee in such a State of Dereliction, whatsoeuer Deprauation may happen to bee in her in the vse of Holy & Diuine Ordinances, occasioned by the Power & Policie of those who manage the Affaires of this World. For it is not with the Church now as in Former times, when the Iewes were alone in Couenant with God; They were still in a possibilitie to haue a Bill of Diuorce giuen vnto them, so to bee put away, & at last they had it But the Church that the Lord hath betrothed vnto him since shall neuer bee put away, And that which you wrongfully apply to a Future estate of perfect peace (which neuer shall bee in this World) is most certainely applicable to the Church all along vnder the Gospell, declaring and asserting her perpetuitie to the End of the World. The 54th of Isaiah is a Chapter that tendeth fully to the Confirmation hereof. Therefore to make vse of your Words, The Church that now is, is I say a Tabernacle that shall not bee taken downe. A State whereof none of the [Stakes?] and Constitutions shall euer bee remooued, nor shall any of the Lords thereof (the Obligations & Relations vnder which wee stand) euer bee broken So that in my Iudgment your Consequence will not hold in what Sense soeuer you take the Visible estate of the Church.
But I must now reassume that which I haue here Hypothetically[altered] granted concerning the vnsetlednes of the Visible estate of all the Churches Is the outward Worship & Seruice of God (for vnlesse you speake of that you doe not speake ad Rem) so vnsetled changed, tossed to & fro & carried about by Power in Subordination to the Policie of those who manage the affaires of this World, as you pretend? What? are all the Diuine ordinances which Christ hath sett vp in his Church made to dance attendance vpon the Powers of the World? To say nothing of those Ordinances of Christ which belong to the Key of Iurisdiction & Discipline; Is publike Prayer & Thanksgiuing; the publike Ministery of the Gospell consisting in publike Reading, publike Preaching [catchword: Catecheticall]
Catecheticall propounding or expounding of the Word, the Administration of Euangelicall Sacraments all made seruiceable to the Pride & Policie of Sinfull men? O poore Church of Christ if it bee thus with thee Whither is thy Beloued gone? Whither is thy Beloued turned aside? [left margin: Cant: 6] But it is well said of thee, My Beloued is gone (not into the Wildernes) but into his Garden, that is, to the particular Assemblies of his People which are his Garden of pleasure, & wherein hee walketh for his Delight wherein are the Buds of Spices, that is, Varieties of sweet & fragrant Administrations, orderly set & appointed by himselfe, to Feed in the Gardens & to gather Lillies, that is, there to Solace himselfe with those Fruits of Righteousnes & New obedience, which are presented vnto him. In a Word if it bee thus, where is the Promise of Christs abiding with his Church to the End of the World? And how doth hee rule in the midst of his Enemies, if the World as you seeme to say haue so much power ouer his holy & Diuine Ordinances, as to Forme & Transforme them at pleasure, till they bee made Conformable not to the Patterne in the Mount, but to the Policies of men, yea to the Depthes of Satan? Surely Iesus Christ is the Euerlasting Father of his Church, & his Couenant an euerlasting Couenant, his Kingdome an Euerlasting Kingdome, & the Faith is said to bee Once & but once deliuered vnto the Saints, Now how can all this bee if the Outward Worship & Seruice of God bee as you say, vnsetled, changed, tossed to & fro & carryed about by Power in Subordination to the Policie of those who manage the Affaires of this World. To conclude this particular I shall onely mind you of three things that will necessarily follow vpon this your Argumentation. First that you doe amongst others asperse the present Power that by Diuine Prouidence ruleth ouer vs here in this Nation, & to which you haue engaged your selfe charging it with treading vnder Foot the
of outward & Visible estate of the Church, whiles they are managing the Affaires of this World Secondly that your Words which haue occasioned this Debate are not Wrested [catchword: misconstrued]
misconstrued nor misapplied by mee in my Friendly addresse vnto you nor by those Boute-feux who haue greedily catcht at them to strengthen their Braine-sick Tenet concerning the Nullitie of a Visible Church in these times, the proper, genuine & Natiue Sense thereof tending thereunto. Thirdly that whereas I had argued (not as you wrongfully relate it, but) in this manner, (If it bee so that all the Visible Estates of all the Churches, that is, as it is now manifest, the outward Worship & Seruice of God in euery setled & rightly constituted Congregation, bee trod vnder Foot, & are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion. Let vs then all passe ouer to the Tents of those Separatists whom wee haue hitherto blamed, & take vnto our Selues that Shame as is meet for ioyning with them no sooner) It doth now appeare to bee in such absurd Consequence or preposterous arguing, as you haue bene pleased to Taxe it, but which is Consonant to the Rules of Truth, amd right Reason. And thus I haue done with your first Argument.
You further say that all the Visible estates of all the Churches are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion, because in their Relation to each other they are not one entire Body growing vp visibly in Christ, nor the Saints ioyned together, and Compacted by that which euery Ioynt supplieth to the Edification of themselues in Loue
To which I answer your Consequence also in this is as failing as in the Former; If seuerall Churches bee at Variance sometimes must Confusion & spirituall Desolation therefore ineuitably fall vpon them? I could neuer haue imagined that Mr Dury would haue argued in this manner, especially when hee proclaimes himselfe to the World to bee One who hath trauelled heretofore in the Worke of Peace among the Churches, & to haue made it a good part of his Worke (as hee saith) to visit them all, & to consider them all in their Wayes aswell abroad as at home in respect of their seuerall [Associations? MS torn] [catchword: Good]
Good Sir let mee aduise you not to bee weary of Welldoing At least doe not now contrary to your former Actings, lift vp your hand against euery man, & say in your haste that all men are Liars. for then euery mans hand will bee against you: Let not your Good bee euill spoken of, Giue not Occasion to the World to say Is this the Fruit of all Mr Dury'es peregrinations amongst the Churches, to publish their Shame whom hee hath laboured hitherto to reconcile? Or because hee hath mist of his Expectations in his Endeauours, is hee now Incensed against them? I need not tell you that there is an Elfe (otherwise called Selfe) lieth lurking in the Hearts of vs all, which will sometimes bee perking vp in our best Actions, It concernes vs all to beware of it and I hope you haue bene so carefull as not to suffer it heretofore to Creepe out & mingle with your Vndertakings of that Nature, & I beseech you also take heed of it now. It is no new thing you know for the Saints to stand at a Distance one from another Paul & Barnabas though they were set apart by the immediate appointment of the Holy Ghost to bee ioynt-agents in the Worke of the Ministery, & had trauelled together through many dangers both by Sea & Land, God blessing their Labours with admirable Successe, yet wee see how that for a matter but of small Moment [left margin: Acts: 15] there grew vp so sharpe a Contention betweene them, that they departed asunder one from another; What then? Did the Worke cease thereupon? or did Desolation & Confusion fall vpon the Churches thereby? Nothing lesse, Nay the Gospell gained by that their Contention, For as Gualtherus obserues well vpon the place Ex tristi Apostolorum Dissidio hoc Boni oritur, vt plures vno eodemque tempore inuisantur et Confirmentur Ecclesiæ
But let vs consider the matter well: Are not the Churches one entire Body growing vp Visibly in Christ? etc How know you that? [catchword: There]
There may bee a Visible Growth, & you not perceiue the manner of the growing. For the Kingdome of God saith our Sauiour [left margin: Mark: 4[altered]. 26] is as if a Man should cast Seed into the Ground, and should sleep and rise night & Day, & the Seed should Spring & grow vp hee knoweth not how, For the Earth bringeth forth Fruit of her Selfe, first the Blade, then the Eare, after that the full Corne in the Eare But when the Fruit is brought forth immediately hee putteth in the Sickle, because the Haruest is come. If the Churches bee not growen vp Visibly into one Body, how are they come to that Stature as they are at this Day? They haue bene growing vp euer from the Beginning; and notwithstanding the Obstruction they haue met from the Weakenes of many parts, euery Ioynt not alwaies doing its office in supplying its due proportion of Strength to the perfecting of the Whole, as it may bee at this present they doe not, yet holding the Head, & hauing Constant
motion Nourishment from it, they haue Encreased with the Encrease of God: And though this Machina Mundi this great Engine Frame & Structure of the World shall decrease & diminish in its Strength & Beauty, by reason of the Clashings & Shakings that happen amongst the parts thereof, till that which is now [Greek: Kosmos] bee made a [Greek: Chaos] againe, Yet I doubt not to say it, that, seing God will in his Wise prouidence order all things for the Best vnto his people, euen the Differences & Contentions that happen amongst vs shall & doe contrary to their Nature tend to the Growth & Furtherance of the Churches; and as Poison sometimes when it is Corrected workes more effectually for the Health of a sicke Patient then a Wholesome Herbe, so for ought wee know may the Church grow better, by not hauing a Supply from euery Ioynt, then if there were a generall Concurrence of all to the preseruation of the Whole. Now that which I inferre from hence is not in the least degree to iustifie the Vnbrotherly Contentions that arise amongst the Churches, God knoweth I haue alwaies protested against them, & doubtless Woe will bee to them by whom such offences come: But this I say that you may see [catchword: the]
the Churches may bee in their Growth whiles you thinke they are declining. I said before that the Church hath bene growing vp euer from the Beginning, for it is built vpon the Foundations
of not onely of the Apostles, but also of the Prophets, Inter Prophetas autem numeratur Adam, saith an Antient, amongst the Prophets the first man Adam is to bee reckoned. It began in him when the World began, for as Montacutius saith in the first Day of his Creation God made the Woman out of Man & brought her vnto Man to bee his Wife, making them two[altered], to bee one Flesh in a Mysterie fore-designing the Vnion betwixt Christ & his Church. Now albeit the Church after her first Springing was much checked, & had her Turbida Interualla in her seuerall Generations, yet alwaies shee recouered her selfe againe. From Adam all along still there was a people growing vp that were peculiar to God, & though sometimes there were Defections, yet they hindered not the Visible growth of the Church in respect of the Succession of Beleeuers one after another, but the Lord added to the Church still in euery Generation such as should bee saued His Seruice neuer failed or vtterly ceased in the World, but was founded & fastned first in the Families of the Patriarchs before & after the Flood, which was not euen in those <times> carried on & managed without Ecclessi Ecclesiasticall Order: For as our Learned Antiquary [left margin: Godwyn] obserueth, The Fathers of their seuerall Families, & their First-borne after them exercised all kind of Gouernment both Ecclesiaticall & Ciuill, being both Kings & Preists in their owne Houses. They had power ouer their owne Families to blesse, curse, Cast out of Doores, Disinherit, & to punish with Death, as is apparant by these Examples of Noah towards Cham Gen: 9. 25. of Abraham towards Hagar & Ismael Gen: 21. 10. of Iacob towards Simeon & Leui Gen: 49. 3. & of Iudah towards Thamar Gen: 38. 24. Afterwards was the Church spread abroad & enlarged thorough the Posteritie of Israel, who notwithstanding many Alterations Apostacies Rebellions & profane Impietie still continued Gods people & peculiar [catchword: a]
a Visible Church vpon the Face of the Earth vntill the Comming of the Messiah, & though God punished them often (as they well deserued) for their Iniquities, yet still when they cryed vnto him in their Trouble, hee deliuered them out of their Distresse. But when the Times of the Gentiles were come in, then the Seed of Abraham according to the promise grew as the Starres & as the Dust for Multitude, & the Children of the Desolate were more then the Children of the Married Wife. And the Prophet applies that promise to Israel by Promise, when those after the Flesh should bee dissipated, [left margin: Num: 23. 10.] & become no People, yet saith the Prophet, [left margin: Hosea: 1. 10] the Number of the Children of Israel shall bee as the Sand of the Sea which cannot bee measured nor numbered etc meaning the Israel of God among the Gentiles Adde hereunto this thriuing of the Church in her sundry Generations might bee discerned not onely by the Multiplication of her parts growing still as the Waters did that issued out of Sanctuary in Ezekiels Vision, [left margin: Ezek: 47] First to the Ancles, then to the Loines, then to a Riuer that could not bee passed ouer, but by the seuerall Discoueries also that God made of his Grace still more & more manifesting himselfe till his People might with open Face behold him as in a Mirroir E.g. In that first Age of the World which continued so many yeeres God had in the beginning thereof promised that the Seed of the Woman should breake the Serpents Head; and this in all likelihood was the Doctrine that the Patriarchs then those Preachers of Righteousnes insisted vpon, Grace being manifested vnto them onely vnder that Notion; & to this purpose Luther Speaking of Enoch saith Summa Fiducia præ aliis Patriarchis Satanæ et Cainitarum Ecclesiæ se opposunt confitendo Semen Mulieris, et prædicando de Conterendo Capite Serpentis. But afterwards when the Earth was filled with Violence, & God had brought the Flood vpon the World of the Vngodly, that it migth appeare that hee was still mindfull of his Couenant, therefore would hee now by a new Way of Entaylement ([Greek: tou koinou idiopoioumenos] as one phraseth it) hauing bene God common make himselfe ouer to his People by peculiar Interest & appropriation[altered] [catchword: And]
And thus wee find Shem the Sonne of Noah that great high Preist of the most high God (as it may bee probable, which, because the Holy Ghost is silent in it, I will not determine) first of all men vpon Earth had God entailed vnto himselfe in a Speciall reserued sort of peculiar appropriation; For vntill the Dayes of Abraham, and his Separation from his Kindred, God Almightie the Lord of the World & of all things therein was peculiarly stiled the Lord God of Shem Gen: 9. 26. yea & Noah prophecies their concerning him that God should dwell in his Tents, that is, that his Church should run along visibly in his Familie: So Musculus renders the Sense of that place Genesis: 9. 27. in these Words. Meo Iudicio simplicius est vt Intelligamus loqui Noe de Deo, qui fuerit habitaturus in Tabernaculis Shem, id est, omnia illius et posteros quoque Bendicturus, in omnibus illi Adfuturus, ac in illius ac posterorum eius tabernaculis habitaturus. Thus hee. After this when the Generations following grew to bee Idolatrous & had forsaken the Lord God of Shem, to cleaue vnto the [
Wor?] Varieties of the Heathen, yet then neither did God forsake his Church, or banish her into a Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion, but as Sinne abounded, so Grace did superabound Hee calls Abram aside from the rest makes him the Representaiue of his whole Church, giues him his Couenant, & now more then euer causeth a Seale to bee affixed vnto it, saying also vnto him in appropriated termes with addition aboue Shem for his Posteritie, I will bee thy God, & the God of thy Seed after thee, and accordingly proclaimes himselfe afterwards in his Word for him & his Seed saying, I am the God of Abraham the God of Isaac, & the God of Iacob, this is my Name for euer, this is my Memoriall vnto all Generations, that is, till the Time of Regeneration should come spoken of Math: 19. 28 For then the Kindnes & Loue of God towards man appeared more [ n?] cleerely more plentifully then euer before being now discouered to the Church vnder the Title of the God & Father of our Lord Iesus Christ [catchword: in]
in whom hee hath opened all the Treaures of his Bounty, in whom his Name is more magnified, & his Grace more Exalted then in all the Ages that euer were from the Beginning. And in this glorious Manifestation of the presence of God in Christ the Church now triumpheth & shall so doe without any more Changes of the Administration of the Euangelicall Couenant to the End of the World. From all which I conclude that the Churches are one Entire Body growen vp visibly in Christ, & this Citie thus set on a Hill cannot bee hid
from them But if you looke for an externall Coadunation of all the Churches together, so as that there should bee a Constant & full agreement in all things, before the Comming of Christ to Iudgment as your Words in many places seeme to import, for my part I thinke your Expectation will bee frustrated, For such an Vnanimitie is proper onely to the Generall Assemblie that is to come, & will not bee found but amongst the Spirits of Iust men made perfect. I beleeue there is a Catholike Church (which is the Spouse of Christ) whereof I am a Member though most Vnworthy, and I beleeue this Catholike Church doth & shall Flourish & prosper more & more; & this as I [left margin: X] haue ha said may bee plainely seene by the eye of Faith, but it [left margin: X] shall neuer bee so seene as that you or I may Digito Demonstrare point it out & say there it is. The Kingdome of God commeth not with[altered from without] outward Shew saith our Sauiour Luk: 17. 20. Faith & Sight are 2 distinct things (2. Cor: 5. 7) Nam si Vides non est Fides saith an Antient, If thou seest, thou beleeuest not, for Faith [left margin: Heb: 11. 1.] is the euidence of things not seene. Indeed when that Word of the [left margin: 2 Cor: 5. 7.] Apostle shall bee inuerted, and wee shall say [Greek: Dia eidous peripatoumeu [letter deleted] oudia pisteos], then shall this sweet & Louely Spouse of Christ bee seene in one Entire Body in the Armes of her Beloued without any Spot or Wrinckle or any such thing
And whereas you say that the Saints are not ioyned together & compacted by that which euery Ioynt Supplieth to the Edification of themselues in Loue, I must tell you because I beleeue also a Communion of Saints here on Earth, & am interessed therein, and receiue much Comfort from it, I conceiue it to bee a great Iniury done to the whole Church for you to say that the Saints are not Ioyned [catchword: together]
together etc Neuerthelesse this I will adde that I am ready with you or any Man els to Lament & bewaile the Wofull Distractions which at this Day are to bee found amongst many Beleeuers, though I will not speake of them in that Generall Sense as you haue done, least I should offend against the Generation of the Righteous.
And thus that first matter of Vnsatisfaction as you call it is so farre from being cleered, that I suppose you are <made> able to see that is is rather increased. I shall contract my Selfe in that which remaines hauing bene larger in that which I haue already written, then I first intended. I am glad Sir to heare you say that you doe now acknowledge a Perfection to bee in the Churches as they are here in Viâ, & I could wish that it might bee inserted in the Margines of all those Bookes where you haue said the Contrary.
B But then you tell mee (what is out of Question) that you looke for a Perfection to come hereafter when Christ shall haue giuen vp the Kingdome etc & that wee shall effectually partake of the Fathers Loue, wherewith hee loued the Son, when say you that Loue shall bee in vs, & Christ in vs, then shall wee bee in the full height of perfection whereunto wee can bee brought, & wherein wee shall remaine vnto all eternitie. In all which I doe fully agree with you excepting those Words of Christs being in vs at that time, which I conceiue cannot bee made good; For when Christ shall haue deliuered vp the Kingdome of his Oeconomicall office to God euen the Father, hee is not then said any more to bee in the Saints, But the Sonne himselfe saith the Apostle is made subiect to him that put all things vnder him, that God might bee all in all; And further seing that Christ is said to dwell [left margin: Eph: 3. 17] in the Hearts of his People by Faith, When Faith therefore ceaseth its worke in laying hold vpon Christ, then also I conceiue doth Christ quatenus Mediator relinquish his Tenure in the Hearts of the Saints though as God I beleeue hee shall bee All in All with the Father vnto all eternitie. As for your Quotation Ioh: 17. 26. Christ speakes it in reference to his Apostles Statu quo as they were vpon Earth employed in his Seruice, not as they should afterwards bee with him in Heauen Neuerthelesse if you shall continue otherwise minded concerning this point, I shall desire to see your Warrant, & what Foundation you build your Iudgment vpon, that if it bee Firme & Sound I may also ioyne with you; for truely I should bee very sorry to bee found Guiltie of an Errour in a point of such high Concernment as this is, But I beleeue what I haue here written of it is agreeable to Truth [catchword: you]
You adde further that before wee come to this perfect Estate in Heauen, there shall bee seuerall intermediate Degrees of Growth, which in Comparison to the State wherein wee now are, may bee called so many perfections. If you had said that in Comparison of that perfect Estate in Heauen these what euer they are or shall bee might bee called so many Imperfections, I should sooner haue consented vnto you. That which I haue said & do still say is, that there is a Perfection discernable for the present in the Churches of Christ, & that there is a perfection also to come, wherein the Generations following shall haue their peculiar Reioycing But I conceiue also wee should bee very vnthankefull to God, if wee should haue our Eyes so fixed vpon that future Estate (which neither will bee free from Imperfections) as to make no Reckning at all of what wee enioy for the present God hath bene pleased to make knowne his Mind vnto the Churches already in all the sauing Truthes that concerne the Kingdome of Heauen, insomuch that whatsoeuer is necessary to Saluation hath bene already discouered. Neither shall the Ages to come haue a more perfect Knowledge of the Way of Life, then <some of> the Ages that haue bene before them; They may indeed come to haue a more perfect Vnderstanding of some Prophetick places of Scripture by the Actuall performance of those things that are there written then wee can for the present possibly attaine vnto; The Light of the Gospell may happily not bee so Clouded with the Interposition of the foggie Mists of Popery & Superstition as it is for the present in many places (though I beleeue the Sonne of Righteousnes will neuer shine out so fully in this Hemisphere of his Church as to bee wholly free from Eclipses, as hee doth in the other) Yea further there may hereafter bee a more plentifull Concurrence of Christs Sheep together into his Fold, when (as I haue acknowledged) Antichrist shall bee throwen downe, & the Iewes shall bee called: And yet notwithstanding all this the present Condition of the Churches of Christ may in some respects haue the preheminence; Is it nothing thinke you to bee set in the Front, & to giue the first Onset & Charge vpon the Common Enemie? Nothing to prepare & make way for that great Increase & Spreading forth of the Kingdome of Christ in after ages? Sir let <not> the Day of small things bee thus despised. Though the Downefall of that Antichrist of Rome may as I haue said conduce much to the Splendor of the Church whensoeuer it happeneth, yet I argued not thereby but that the Church would euen then [catchword: meet]
meet with Enemies still. There are many Antichrists saith the Apostle And wee find by Experience that though wee here in England haue cast off the Yoke of that Romish Antichrist long agoe, which hath bene the Glory of our Church & Nation, yet wee find other Heads of the Satanicall Hydra haue appeared snarling against Truth & Peace, the Dragon is still Warring against the Remnant of the Womans Seed amongst vs, casting out a Flood of Errors to the End that our Church might bee swallowed vp therewith; And why it may not bee so hereafter when the whole Church shall bee freed from that Antichristian bondage, I know not. This I know the Promises that are made to the Church whiles shee is Militant are accompanyed with this Prouiso. viz That shee must looke for Persecution Mark: 10. 30. 2. Tim: 3. 12. Neither indeed is it meet that the Spouse should find her Way more Easy then her Husband that is gone before her: Shee must looke to haue Fellowship with him in his Sufferings, & [to?] made Conformable vnto his Death, as well as to bee glorified with him. I know also that in the Latter times there will bee those that will depart from the Faith, giuing heed to Seducing Spirits etc and a generall Securitie shall ouerspread the World Math: 24. 38. 39. and because Iniquitie <will abound> the Loue of many shall wax cold: Yea it is apparant out of Scripture that what <with> Cruelties of open Enemies, & what with Trecheries of seeming Freinds, What with Impostures of False Teachers, & what <with> the Commotions & Fearefull Desolations that shall come vpon all the Kingdomes & Nations of the Earth, the Tribulations that then shall bee in those times shall bee so great that the like had bene since the Beginning of the World. Where is then that Glory that is said to shine forth in the Church in the last age of the World? Not certainely in the Enioyment of any such perfection as the Chiliasts haue imagined which neuer any of the Churches of the Christ to this day haue expected. Yea rather the opinion thereof hath <bene> exploded from amongst as vnsound (whereunto notwithstanding I now find you too much inclining) But as I haue said the Glory of the Church that is to come will bee seene when the Place of her Tent shall bee enlarged, & the Curtaines of her Habitations Stretched forth, when her Cords shall bee Lengthned & her Stakes strengthned, For shee must breake forth on the right hand & on the left, & her Seed shall inherite
shall inherit the Gentiles I may adde the Iewes also, & make the Desolate Cities to bee inhabited: When Gods wayes are Knowen vpon Earth, & his Sauing Health among all Nations, When the House of the Lord shall bee established vpon the Top of the Mountaines, & exalted aboue all Hills, i, the Gospell shall preuaile against & aboue all Mountaines & Hills of opposition, & people shall flow vnto it, And many Nations shall say goe & say, Come let vs goe vp to the Mountaine of the Lord, to the House of the God of Iacob, Hee will teach vs his Wayes, & wee will walke in his pathes, for out <of> Zion shall goe forth the Law, & the Word of the Lord from Ierusalem, & hee shall Iudge among the Nations & shall rebuke many people, that is, Christ by his Gospell will [catchword: righteously]
righteously condemne all those that oppose themselues against his Kingdome When the Hearts of Lions, Tigers, Wolues, Leopards & Cockatrices shall bee taken from them, & the Hearts of Lambes & Children giuen to them, When those that now Breath out Thretnings & Slaughters against the poore Church of Christ shall come Trembling & with Meekenes reeiue the ingrafted Word, & as new borne Babes desire the Sincere Milke thereof, that they may liue & grow thereby, When those other Sheep that are not yet of this Fold shall bee also brought, & they shall heare the Voice of Christ, & there bee but one Fold & one Shepheard, yet all this in Troublous Times Dan: 9. 25. Such Glory as this may the Church haue before the End come; And not onely so, but as the Apostles phrase is, Shee shall glory in tribulations
too too, accounting her Selfe highly Honoured by them, being thereby made to resemble Christ her Head, (for euen hee was made perfect thorough Sufferings) so that <shee> shall triumph in the midst of them all saying, Now am I like my Lord and Husband. This then being the Perfection that I acknowledge in the Ages to come, I added in my Letter, As for any other Visible perfection the Want whereof should so farre prouoke the Lord Iesus Christ as to pronounce Lo ammi against his Churches, I know none etc Hereupon you inferre a Supposition of your owne Framing & impute it vnto mee; for you tell mee that I supposed you haue said that the present Reformed Orthodox Churches are to bee counted by Christ Lo ammi by reason of the Want of that perfection, which is not yet Come, but in due time shall come; Thus you Frame it, & then passe your Censure vpon it. But I must tell you againe that I supposed no such matter, neither can such a Supposition bee gathered from my Words without apparant wresting of them; For I was then onely insisting vpon the Perfection that is to come, telling you what I thought it to bee, & as for any other the Want of which should make a Separation betweene Christ & his People in after times, I said I Knew none, if you did, I desired you to impart it vnto mee. Notwithstanding if I had supposed some such thing as you say, My Supposition had not bene much differing from your Position, When you say, If wee Repent <not> & become Zealous in the Way of Righteousnes, & of holy Communion without partialitie, & without Hypocrisie, (Which perfection you say the Churches shall attaine vnto, when they are come out of the Wildernes) no doubt Christ will spue vs all out of his Mouth, & call vnto him another people which shall bee made ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lambe. So that if it bee an vnreasonable assertion, it concernes you hereafter to bee better aduised in what you assert. [catchword: But]
But now after all this to giue mee Satisfaction as you say you will declare what your Meaning
is was, when you said that you had not seene any Perfection in any of the present Churches, You say you meant it not Absolutely of any thing which in any repect may bee called Perfection, no not in Comparison of those that haue no Truth in them at all (the Sense of which Words I confesse I cannot reach & therefore shall let them passe as I will doe most of that which followes) but onely Secundum Subiectam Materiam, as your Word is, whereof you say you did then & there speake which was concerning the Adorning of the Bride to fitt her for the Marriage-Supper of the Lambe. Now as for the latter part of this Distinction I shall first speake to the Sense of it, & <then> to the Matter thereof
Here it seemes you make the Adorning of the Bride that is the Church, and fitting her for the Marriage-Supper of the Lambe to bee the Subiecta Materia of the Church, Whereas indeed it is rather Forma Ecclesiæ, then Materia For as Keckerman saith well past all Contradiction Materia Subiecta Ecclesiæ sunt Membra Capitis Christi, Forma autem eius est Vnio, eaque duplex tum Membrorum cum suo Capite, tum Eorundem inter sese. The adorning therefore of the Bride comprehending euen in your Sense also
as both these particulars as may bee gathered from your owne Words cannot possibly bee as you haue phrased it the Subiecta Materia of the Church. But then secondly whereas you <say> that that Perfection which consists in the Adorning of the Bride to fitt her for the marriage Supper of the Lambe, is not to bee found in the present Churches, I must tell you againe as I haue told you before, that though they are not the Bride ready trimmed for that great Solemnitie at the Marriage Supper, yet that they are the Spouse of Christ both in respect of Intrinsecall & estrinsicall Relations vnto him, & that they are acknowledged by the Children of the Bride- chamber to bee arrayed in that manner, as that they are altogether Louely in the Sight of their Beloued; And though it doth not yet appeare what the Bride shall bee (1. Ioh: 3. 2.) that being laid vp with God [Greek: eu apokryphois] in the Reuestries of Eternitie, which you notwithstanding vndertake to describe, (& because the present Churches are not attained to that perfection, which indeed is not incident vnto them, whiles they are here in Viâ, therefore you taxe them) yet shee is euery day preparing to meet her Lord, adorning her Selfe with precious Habili Habiliments, Costly & Incomparable Array that when the Marriage Supper shall come shee may bee perfect & Comely thorough that Comelines which her Beloued hath & will put vpon her. [catchword: You]
You say in the next place that you know none of the particular Churches which you can call that Bride which Reuel: 19.v. 7. 8. doth mention as yet fitted for that Supper, which is there spoken of
I answer (because you desire mee if I know any to shew her vnto you) Not any one them is, yea I will say more, not any one of them shall bee, neither did euer any of them I am Confident pretend vnto such a Claime. None of them all taking them seuerally is now in this day of their Espousalls properly entituled to that Honour to bee the Spouse of Christ, for that is due onely to the Church in Generall, and Omni pars repectu Totius sui est Incompletum quid saith the Logician[altered] much lesse shall they hereafter at the marriage Supper of the Lambe That Honour is reserued for that Ierusalem which is the common Mother of vs all, & commeth downe from God out of Heauen, & which is the Church glorified as Napier interprets it prepared as a Bride trimmed for her Husband. But why should that bee expected from any particular Church which is not incident vnto all? It is a Rule vndeniable, Quicquid recipitur secundum modum recipientis recipitur. Now the Catholike Church as it is for the present is not in a Capacitie to partake of so much glory as shee shall here after at that Marriage Supper which you speake of, whereof saith Napier the Supper of the Lord is a perfect Type & Symboll, which will not certainely bee whiles shee is Militant here on Earth For by Supper there, I conceiue vndoubtedly to bee meant that Happines which the Church shall enioy with Christ in Heauen; and therefore is it called Supper Quoniam est Vltima Refectio (saith one) in qua exautlatis Laboribus et sepositis Curis Sempiterna Quiete perfruetur Ecclesia, that is, Because it is the last Refreshing wherein after all Labour & Trauell is ended & Care laid aside the Church shall enioy euerlasting Quietnes. But when is it that the People of God shall rest [left margin: Reu: 14] from their Labours? Surely not till such time as they die in the Lord And then when all the Guests are sweetly met together, the Lambe & his Bride taking their Fills of Loue each with other, then euery Euill is remoued from them whether it bee Passibilitatis or Inordinationis Penall or Culpable, Then all Teares are Wiped away, The Righteous Soule of Lot is no more vexed with the Wickednes of Impure Sodomites St Paul complaines no more of the Thorne in the Flesh or the Body of Death Holy Dauid doth no more tune his Harpe to that Iarring & Lugubrious Song, Why art thou cast downe o my Soule, & why art thou disquieted within mee, for his Soule at this Supper is satisfied as with Marrow & Fatnes Then haue the Saints no more need of Watch of Conflict or of Care [catchword: there]
there being no Wily Serpent to beguile them, no Wrestling with Temptations no strugling with Flesh & Blood, their onely Exercise being then to Reioyce to Triumph, to Sing Halleluiahs to the Lambe which hath brought them to this Banquet, & will make them Welcome vnto it for euer
this Six I take to bee the true Sense of the Holy Ghost concerning the Marriage Supper of the Lambe, & it is that I thinke in which all the Churches of Christ haue Vnanimously accorded; And therefore it is not to bee expected before the finall Consummation of all things
You goe on to discouer what you haue found in all parties etc etc But I will not follow you in euery particular; I could bewaile the many Failings that [
a?] I feare are too frequently to bee found amongst the Churches, but being Conscious to my Selfe of a great many in my owne Bosome, I forbeare to Curious an Inquisition after the Failings of others; You find a Laodicean Righteousnes you say in all parties & you find none truely Zealous for the Righteous & perfect way of Holy Communion without partialitie etc & I find the Churches are beset with Strong Temptations in these times, & that Satan hath great Wrath & rageth horribly against them because his Time is but Short; And I could <&> doe pray heartily that the Spirit of Loue & of a Sound Mind may bee giuen to the Saints, that as a Power is granted vnto them, whereby they shall preuaile in the End, so they may manage that Power with Loue & Sobrietie one towards another as becomes them
The Issue of all is this you <say> that the Churches are in the Wildernes of Spirituall Desolation & Confusion, I acknowledge no such thing
You say there is no perfection at all in any of the Churches, I haue said & prooued that there is, though not such as is to come
And for a Conclusion hereof I desire you sadly to consider with your- <selfe> of these things. First seing that besides what you haue already charged vpon all the Churches, you now againe say of them, that you find a Laodicean Righteousnes in all parties, & none to bee truely Zealous for the Righteous & perfect Way etc whether I say you doe not make our Nationall Couenant vseles as to that particular of Conformitie to the Example of other Churches Secondly whether your Words that haue bene here
excepted <discussed> against doe not giue iust occasion of Offence to all the Churches of Christ.
But I must conclude forbearing to write any thing of the
th e last particular though truely there are many things that you haue <now> written vnder that Head that are more to bee excepted against, then the thing it Selfe you vndertake to maintain
The Lord Iesus Christ bee with your Spirit, Amen
Thus writeth & prayeth Your louing Freind who is
willing to follow you so
farre as you follow Christ
Aug: 26. 1631. Edward Lane