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ed duty so to do. (5.) And we find that the same old silly people who took the commandments for a prayer, took the creed to be so too; when yet none kneeled at the creed; by which it appeareth that it is not kneeling which deceived them.
Quest, Lxxxix. What gestures are fittest in all the public worship?Answ. 1. The customs of several countries, putting several significations on gestures, much varieth the case. 2. We must not lightly differ from the customs of the churches where we live in such a thing. 3. According to the present state of our churches, and the signification of gestures, and the necessities of men's bodies, all considered, I like best, (1.) To kneel in prayer and confession of sin (unless it be in crowded congregations where there is not room). (2.) To stand up in actions of mere praise to God, that is, at the singing and reading of the psalms of praise, and at the other hymns. (3.) To sit at the hearing of the Word read and preached ; (because the body hath a necessity of some rest.) 4. Had I my choice, I would receive the Lord's supper sitting; but where I have not, I will use the gesture which the church useth. And it is to be noted that the church of England requireth the communicant only to receive it kneeling; but not to eat or drink it kneeling when they have received it. The ancient churches took it for an universal custom, established by many general councils, (and continued many hundred years) that no churches should kneel in any act of adoration upon any Lord's day in the year, or any week-day between Easter and Whitsuntide; but only stand all the time. But because the weariness of the body is apt to draw the mind into consent, and make God's service burdensome to us, it seemeth a sufficient compliance with their custom and the reasons of it, if we stand up only in acts of praise (and at the profession of our assent to the Christian faith and covenantp)
5. And because there is so great a difference between the auditors in most assemblies, some being weak and not
r 1 Chron. xvii. 16. 2 Sam. vii. 18.
able to stand long, &c., therefore it is utterly unmeet to be too rigorous in urging an uniformity of gesture, or for any to be too censorious of other men for a gesture.
Quest, xc. What if the pastor and church cannot agree about singing psalms, or what version or translation to use, or time or place of meeting? 6)c.
Answ. 1. It is the office of the pastor to be the guide and ruler in such things, (when the magistrate interposeth not) and the people should obey him. 2. But if the pastor injure the church by his mis-guidance and mal-administration, he ought to amend and give them satisfaction; and if he do not, they have their remedy before-mentioned. 3. And if the people be obstinate in disobedience upon causeless quarrel, the pastor must first labour to convince them by reason and love, and his authority; and if no means will bring them to submission, he must consider whether it be better as to the public good of the church of Christ that he comply with them, and suffer them, or that he depart and go to a more tractable people; and accordingly he is to do. For they cannot continue together in communion if one yield not to the other: usually or ofttimes it will be better to leave such an obdurate self-willed people, lest they be hardened by yielding to them in their sin, and others encouraged in the like by their example; and their own experience may at last convince them, and make them yield to better things, as Geneva did when they revoked Calvin. But sometimes the public good requireth that the pastor give place to the people's folly, and stay among them, and rather yield to that which is not best (so it be otherwise lawful) as a worse translation, a worse version, liturgy, order, time, place, &c., than quite forsake them. And he that is in the right, may in that case yield to him that is in the wrong, in point of practice. Quest, xci. What if thepastor excommunicate a man, and the people will not forbear his communion, as thinking him unjustly excommunicated?
Answ. 1. Either the pastor or the people are in the error. 2. Either the person is a dangerous heretic, or grossly wicked, or not. 3. Either the people do own the error or sin, for which he is excommunicated, or only judge the person not guilty. 4. The pastor's and the people's part in the execution must be distinguished. And so I conclude, 1. That if the pastor err and wrong the people, he must repent and give them satisfaction: but if it be theirerror and obstinacy, then 2. If the pastor foreknow that the people will dissent, in some small dispensible cases he may forbear to excommunicate one that deserveth it: or if he know it after, that they will not forbear communion with the person, he may go on in his office, and be satisfied that he hath discharged his own duty, and leave them under the guilt of their own faults. 3. But if it be an intolerable wickedness or heresy (as Arianism, Socinianism, &c.) and the people own the error or sin as well as the person, the pastor is then to admonish them also, and by all means to endeavour to bring them to repentance; and if they-remain impenitent to renounce communion with them and desert them. 4. But if they own not the crime, but only think the person injured, the pastor must give them the proof for their satisfaction; and if they remain unsatisfied, he may proceed in his office as before.
Quest, xcii. May a whole church, or the greater part be excommunicated?
Answ. 1. To excommunicate is by ministerial authority to pronounce the person unmeet for Christian communion, as being under the guilt of impenitence in heinous sin; and to charge the church to forbear communion with him, and avoid him, and to bind him over to the bar of God. 2. The pastor of a particular church may pronounce all the church incapable of Christian communion and salvation till they repent, e. g. If they should all be impenitent Arians, Socinians, blasphemers, &c., for he hath authority, and they deserve it. But he hath no church that he is pastor of, whom he can command to avoid them. 3. The neighbour pastors of the churches about them, may upon full proof, declare to their own churches, that such a neighbour church that is fallen to Arianism, &c., is unmeet for Christian communion and to be owned as a church of Christ; and therefore charge their flocks not to own them, nor to have occasional communion with their members when they come among them. For there is authority, and a meet object, and necessity for so doing; and therefore it may be done. 4. But a single pastor of another church may not usurp authority over any neighbour church, to judge them and excommunicate them, where he hath neither call nor full proof, as not having had opportunity to admonish them all, and try their repentanceq. Therefore the pope's excommunications are rather to be contemned, than regarded. 5. Yet if many churches turn heretics notoriously, one single neighbour pastor may renounce their communion, and require his flock for to avoid them all. 6. And a pastor may as lawfully excommunicate the major part of his church, by charging the minor part to avoid them, as he may do the minor part; except that accidentally the inconveniences of a division may be so great, as to make it better to forbear: and so it may oft fall out also, if it were the minor part.
Quest, Xciii. What if a church have two pastors, and one excommunicate a man, and the other absolve him, what shall the church and the dissenter do?Answ. It was such cases that made the churches of old choose bishops, and ever have but one bishop in one church. But, 1. He that is in the wrong is first bound to repent and yield to the other. 2. If he will not, the other in a tolerable ordinary case may for peace give way to him, though not consent to his injurious dealing. 3. In a dubious case they should both forbear proceeding till the case be cleared. 4. In most cases, each party should act according to his own judgment, if the counsel of neighbour pastors be not able to reconcile them. And the people may follow their own judgments, and forbear obeying either of them formally till they agree. Quest, xciv. For what sins may a man be denied communion, or excommunicated? Whether for impenitence in every little sin; or for great sin without impenitence?
* 2 Jolui x. 11. 3 John ix. 10. Rev. ii. 5.16. iii. 3. 6.Id.
Armo. 1. I have shewed before that there is a suspension which is but a forbearance of giving a man the sacrament, which is only upon an accusation till his cause be tried; and an innocent person may be falsely accused, and so tried. 2. Some sins may be of so heinous scandal, that if the person repent of them this day, his absolution and reception may be delayed till the scandal be removed. 1. Because the public good is to be preferred before any man's personal good. 2. And the churches, or enemies about, cannot so suddenly know of a man's repentance. If they hear of a man's murder, perjury or adultery to-day, and hear that he is absolved to-morrow, they will think that the church consisteth of such, or that it maketh very light of sin. Therefore the ancient churches delayed and imposed penances, partly to avoid such scandal. 3 And partly because that some sins are so heinous, that a sudden profession is not a sufficient evidence of repentance, unless there be also some evidence of contrition. 3. But ordinarily no man ought to be excommunicated for any sin whatsoever, unless impenitence be added to the sinr. Because he is first to be admonished to repent». And repentance is the Gospel condition of pardon to believers. 4. A man is not to be excommunicated for every sin which he repenteth not of. Because, 1. Else all men should be excommunicated. For there are in all men some errors about sin and duty, and so some sins which men cannot yet perceive to be sins. 2. And ministers are not infallible, and may take that for a sin which is no sin, and so should excommunicate the innocent. 3. And daily unavoidable infirmities, though repented of, yet awaken not the soul sometimes to a notable contrition; nor are they fit matter for the church's admonition'. A man is not to be called openly to repentance before the church for every idle word, or hour. 4. Therefore to excommunication these two must concur, 1. A heinousness in the sin. 2. Impenitence after due admonition and patience.
'Lukexiii.3.5. Actsii. 37—39, &c. • Matt. xviii. 15, 16. Tit. Hi. 10.
• Gal. vi. 1—4. James iii. 1—3.