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any that are supra-ordinate, co-ordinate, or derogatory to their office, or that stand on the like pretended ground, and for equal ends. 10. To make new spiritual societies or church-forms which shall be either supra-ordinate, co-ordinate, or derogatory to the forms of Christ's institution ".
11. Any impositions upon the churches (be the thing never so lawful) which is made by a pretended power not derived from God and the Redeemer'.
12. Any thing that is contrary to the church's good and edification, to justice, charity, piety, order, unity, or peace ".
13. Any unnecessary burden imposed on the consciences of Christians; especially as necessary either to their salvation, communion, liberty, or peace. 14. And the exercise of any power, pretended to be either primitive and underived, or infallible, or impeccable, or absolute. 15. In general, any thing that is contrary to the authority, matter, form, obligation, honour, or ends of the laws of God, in nature or Scripture. 16. Any thing which setteth up those Judaical laws and ceremonies which Christ hath abrogated, in that form and respect in which he abrogated them. 17. Where there is a doubt among sober, conscionable Christians, lest in obeying man they should sin against God and disobey his laws, and the matter doubted of is confessed unnecessary by the imposers: so infinite is the distance between God and man, and so wholly dependent on him are the highest, that they should be exceedingly unwilling to vie with the authority of their Maker in men's consciences, or to do any thing unnecessary which tendeth to compel men to tread down God's authority in their consciences, and to prefer man's. Much more unwilling should they be, to silence the sober preachers of Christ's Gospel upon such accounts.
• Gal.H. 5. 'Acts xy. 24, 25. 28.
0 2 Cor. x. 8. xiii. 10. 1 Cor. xiv. 5. 12. 26. 2 Cor. »ii. 19. Ephes. iv. 12.16. lTiin. i. 4.
Quest, cxxxn. Is it unlawful to obey in all those cases, where it is unlawful to impose and command? Or in what cases? And how far pastors must be believed and obeyed?Answ. I must intreat the reader carefully to distinguish here, 1. Between God's law forbidding rulers to do evil; and his law forbidding subjects or private men. 2. Between obedience formally so called; which is, when we therefore obey in conscience, because it is commanded, and the commander's authority is the formal reason and object of our obedience: and obedience material only, which is properly no obedience, but a doing the thing which is commanded upon other reasons, and not at all because it is commanded. 3. Between formal obedience to the office of the ruler in general, and formal obedience to him, as commanding this very matter in particular. 4. Between such authority in the ruler as will warrant his impositions before God for his own justification; and such authority as may make it my duty to obey him. And so I answer, 1. We shall not be judged by those laws of God which made the ruler's duty, but by that which made our own. It is not all one to say, 'Thou shalt not command it,' and to say, 'Thou shalt not do it.' 2. Whatever God absolutely forbiddeth men to do, we must not do whoever command it. 3. There are many of the things forementioned absolutely and always unlawful, as being evil of themselves, which no man may either command or do; and there are some of them, which are only evil by accident, which may not be commanded, but may be done when contrary, weightier accidents do preponderate. 4. Many such things may be done materially on other reasons (as for the church's good, the furtherance of the Gospel, the winning of men to God, the avoiding of scandal, or of hurt to others or ourselves, &c.) when they are not to be done in formal obedience, out of conscience to the authority imposing; (as if it be commanded by one that hath no just power). 5. Our actions may participate of obedience in general, as being actions of subjects, when they are not obedience in the full and perfect formality as to the particular. The last leaf of Rich. Hooker's eighth book of Eccles. Polit. will shew you the reason of this. He that hath not just power to command me this one particular act, yet may be my ruler in the general, and I am bound to honour him in general as my ruler; and to disobey him in a thing lawful for me to do, though not for him to command, may be dishonouring of him, and an appearance of disobedience and denial of his power". A parent is forbidden by God to command his child to speak an idle word, or do a vain and useless action, (much more a hurtful). Yet if a parent should command a child to speak an idle word, or do a vain action, the duty of obedience would make it at that time not to be vain and idle to him; yea, if he bid him throw away a cup of wine, or a piece of bread, which is evil when causeless, the child may be bound to do it: not only because he knoweth not but the parents may have lawful ends and reasons for their command, (as to try and exercise his obedience;) but also if he were sure that it were not so; because he is a subject, and the honouring of a parent is so great a good, and the dishonouring him by that disobedience may have such ill consequences, as will preponderate the evil of the loss of a cup of wine, &c. Yet in this case, the act of obedience is but mixed: it is an act of subjection or honour to a parent, because in general he is a governor: but it is but materially obedience in respect of that particular matter, which we know he had no authority to command. 6. In this respect therefore, a ruler may have so much power as may induce on the subject an obligation to obey, and yet not so much as may justify his commands before God, nor save himself from Divine punishment. I add this so distinctly, lest any should misapply Mr. Rich. Hooker's doctrine aforesaid, Eccl. Pol. lib. viii. p. 223, 224. 'As for them that exercise power altogether against order, though the kind of power which they have may be of God, yet is their exercise thereof against God, and therefore not of God, otherwise than by permission as all injustice is. Usurpers of power, whereby we do not
» Epb. v. 24. Col. iii. 20. 22. Rom. xiii. 1—6. mean them that by violence have aspired unto places of highest authority, but them that use more authority than they did ever receive in form and manner, beforementioned. Such usurpers thereof, as in the exercise of their power, do more than they have been authorized to do, cannot in conscience bind any man to obedience.' Lest any should gather hence that they are never bound in conscience to obey their parents, their king, their pastors, in any point wherein they exercise more power than God gave them, I thought meet to speak more exactly to that point, which needed this distinguishing. For the ground is sure that 'There is no power but of God; and that God hath given no man power against himself, his laws and service:' but yet there are many cases in which God bindeth children and subjects to obey their superiors, in such matters as they did sinfully command. 7. It greatly concerneth all sober Christians therefore to be well studied in the law of God, that we may certainly know what those things are which God hath absolutely forbidden us to do, whoever command them, and to distinguish them from things that depend on mutable accidents: that as the three witnesses and Daniel", we may be true to God whatever we suffer for it; and yet may obey men in all that is our duty to them. Thus the apostles knew that no man had power from God to silence them, or persecute them for the Gospel. Therefore they would not obey those that forbad them to preach: and yet they would appear before any magistrate that commanded them, and obey their summons; and so we may do even to an usurper, or a private man. 8. The principal and most notable case, in which we must obey when a ruler sinfully commandeth, is, when the matter which he commandeth is not such as is either forbidden us by God, or out of the verge of his place and calling at all to meddle with and command, nor yet such as is destructive of our duty to God; but such as in general belongeth to his office to determine of according to God's general rules; but he misseth it in the manner and goeth against those rules; yet not so far as to destroy the duty we owe to God, or the end of it. For instance, it is not in the ruler's power to determine whether there shall be preaching or none, true doctrine or false, &c. But it is in his power to regulate the circumstances of time, place, &c. (next to be recited.) Now if he do these to order, unity, and edification, I will obey him formally and fully for conscience sake. If he so do it as is destructive to the end, (as is aforesaid,) as to say, you shall meet only at twenty miles distance, or only at midnight, &c. I will obey him no farther than necessity and the common good requireth me. If he do it only with a tolerable inconvenience, (as to say, you shall meet no where but in the open fields, &c.) I will obey for conscience sake, as 1 am in general a subject bound to honour the magistrate; but not as he nameth an unmeet circumstance, in that respect my obedience shall be but material. I need not handle it as a distinct question, Whether pastors are to be believed or obeyed any farther than they show a word of God revealing or commanding the particular thing? Divine faith and obedience is one thing, and human is another. 1. If as a preacher he shall say,' This is God's word, believe it and obey it as such,' you must believe with ahuman faith that it is more likely that he knoweth what he saith, than you do, (unless, (1.) You see evidence; (2.) Or the consent of more credible persons to be against him, and then you are not to believe him at all). Even as a child believeth his teacher in order to learn the things himself, so you are so far to take his word while you are learning to know whether it be so or not. But not to rest in it as certain, nor to take your belief of him and obedience to him, to be a believing and obeying God formally, though a duty.
Quest, ex xx Ii i. What are the additions or inventions of men, which are not forbidden by the Word of God, (whether by rulers or by private men invented)?
Anstv. This is handled under the Directions for Worship; to which I refer the reader, as also for part of the answer to the former cases. Yet here I shall trouble you with so much repetition, as to say, that, 1. Such inventions and additions are lawful as God hath