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commanded men, (rulers, pastors, parents, or private persons,) to make under the regulation of his general laws. 2. All such additions are lawful as are merely subordinate and subservient to God's laws and orders, and not forbidden by him, among the forementioned prohibited additions. Instances are many. 1. All such modes of a duty as are necessary ' in genere,' or one way or other to be determinedof, but left to human prudence as to particulars. As, 1. Whether I shall (this week or month) publish the Gospel by speaking, or by writing, or by printing. 2. Whether I shall use this method or that, or another method in this sermon. 3. Whether I shall use these phrases and words, or other words. 4. Whether I shall use notes for my memory or not. And whether large ones or short ones. 5. Whether I shall be an hour or two in preaching. 6. Whether I shall preach with a loud voice or a low. 7. Whether I shall at this time more endeavour explication or application, comfort or terror, reprehension or direction, &c. All which are to be varied by man's lawful invention according to God's general rules. 2. It is also lawful and needful, that our own invention or our superior's, according to God's general law, do determine of the particular subjects of our office; which Scripture doth not particularly determine of, viz. 1. Scripture telleth not ministers what country, parish, or church they shall bestow their labours in. 2. Nor to how many they shall be a pastor. 3. Nor what text or subject they shall preach on. 4. Nor what singular persons they shall apply comfort, counsel, or terror to, this or that. 5. Nor whom they shall admit to the sacrament, (but by the general rule or description). 6. Nor whom they should openly rebuke or excommunicate. 7. Nor whom they shall absolve. It telleth them not whom the persons be to whom the Scripture character doth belong, in any of these cases. 8. Nor whether the witnesses say truly or falsely who accuse a man. 9. Nor whether the accused be to be taken as guilty of heresy, scandal, or schism, &c. 3. It is also a lawful invention of man, to find, choose, and use, such natural helps, as are useful to further us in the obedience of God's laws, and the practice of his worship, and are not forbidden by him. Yea, 'in genere' they are commanded, and yet never particularly determined of in the Scripture; as, 1. What will clear a preacher's voice, to speak audibly. 2. The advantage of a pulpit to be above the people. 3. The use of spectacles to them that need them to read the Scripture. 4. The translating of the Scriptures into our native language. 5. Which translation of many we shall use in the churches. 6. The printing of the Bible. 7. The dividing it into chapters and verses. 8. The printing of good books, to expound and apply the Scripture; commentaries, sermons, &c. 9. The forms of school-exercises, disputations, &c., to prepare students for the ministry; and what books of divinity tutors shall read to their pupils, or every student shall have in his library. 10. The manner and tune of singing psalms in the churches. 11. What version or metre to use, this or that. 12. What form of catechism, (verbal, written, or printed,) to use among many, in the church or family. 13. Whether to pray in the same words often, or in various. 14. Whether to use words of our own composing or invention primarily, or of other men's; and that by direction, persuasion, or command. 15. To use a written or printed form, or neither; to read it on the book, or speak it by memory. 16. To use Scripture forms only, of prayer, praise, psalms and hymns, or those that are of later composure also. 17. To print the Bible and use it with marginal notes, and contents, or without. 18. To baptize in a river, well, pool, or font. 19. To have sponsors or witnesses of the parent's trustiness, and the child's covenant, or not. 20. At how many days old children shall be baptized. 21. Whether they shall be named in baptism, or before, or after. 22. Whether one of the ministers shall be a tutor or teacher to the rest that are younger. 23. How far the rest shall submit their judgments to one that is eldest and ablest, and be ruled by him. 24. Whether there shall be any deaconnesses in the church. 25. Whether a church shall have one minister, two, or more. 26. Who shall be the men. 27. What space of ground shall be the church bounds, for the co-habitation of the members. 28. How many neighbour churches shall make a synod; and which be they? 29. How many members a synod shall consist of. 30. Who shall be president. Or whether any. And who shall gather the votes. 31. Who shall record their acts, as scribe. 32. What messenger shall carry them to the churches. 33. What letters for correspondence and communion shall be written to the churches. 34. When pastors shall remove from one church to another; and to which. 35. Who shall be ordained ministers to preach, baptize, and gather churches. 36. How many the ordainers shall be. 37. Whether there shall be any music by instruments in the church or house, for the praises of God; and what. 38. Who shall lead the psalm. 39. Who shall read. 40. What words the church's profession of faith shall be expressed by. 41. By what signs the church shall signify their consent; whether lifting up the hand, standing up, bowing the head, or by voice, or writing. 42. By what sign or ceremony men shall take an oath; whether lifting up the hand towards heaven, or laying it on a book, or kissing the book, &.c. 43. Whether the people at the sacrament sit near the table, or keep farther off. 44. Whether it be put into each person's hand, or they take it themselves. With many more such like. 4. And it is a lawful invention to determine of mere circumstances of time and place which God hath not determined of in Scripture: as, 1. At how many times in the year or week, baptism shall be administered. 2. At what age persons be admitted to the Lord's supper. 3. On what days and hours of the week there shall be lectures, or church-assemblies. 4. How oft and when ministers shall catechise and instruct the people privately. 5. On what hour the church shall assemble on the Lord's days, and receive the sacrament. G. How long prayer, reading, and sermon shall be. 7. At what hour to end the public exercises. 8. At what hours to pray in families or in secret. 9. How often disciplinary meetings shall be held, for the trial of accused members. 10. How often synods shall meet; and how long continue. Of holy days before. 5. The same is to be said for the places of holy exercises. 1. What edifices the church shall have for such uses? 2. In what places they shall be situate? 3. Where the pulpit shall stand? 4. And where the font? 5. And where the table? 6. Where each of the people shall sit?
7. Where synods shall meet? 8. How many temples shall be in a city, &c. 6. The same is to be said of all accidental, subordinate officers: as lecturers, clerks, door-keepers, church-wardens and many more before mentioned. 7. The same is to be said of church-utensils: as table, cups, linen, pulpits, fonts, clock, hour-glass, bells, seats, decent habit of clothes, &c. 8. The same may be said of decent gestures, not particularly commanded: as what gesture to preach in, standing or sitting? What gesture to read in? What gesture to hear in? What gesture to sing psalms in? Whether to be covered or bare-headed? In what gesture to receive the Lord's supper? (In which Scripture no more regulateth us, than of the room, the hour of communicating, the number of communicants, the place; in all which Christ's example was not a particular law.) 9. The same may be said of order. 1. Whether the pastor shall begin with prayer, reading, or exhortation? 2. Whether the people shall begin with prayer or ejaculations privately? 3. Whether we shall make but one or two long continued prayers, or many short ones? 4. Whether we shall pray before sermon immediately, and after, in the pulpit or in the reading place? 5. When the psalms shall be said or sung, and how many? 6. How many chapters shall be read? and which and in what order? 7. Whether baptism shall be before, or after, or when? 8. When the catechumens and learners shall be dismissed, and the proper eucharistical church-exercises begin? 9. When collections made, &c. But, O Lord, have compassion on thy scattered flocks, who are afflicted and divided by the imperiousness of those pastors, who think it not enough for the exercise of their domination, to promote all thine own holy laws and doctrines, and to make their own canons in all these cases, or such like; but they must needs make more work than all this cometh to, for themselves and for their flocks, even unto those distractions, and dissipations, and fierce persecutions and contentions, which many hundred years have exercised the Greek and Latin churches, and many more throughout the world.
Quest, exxxiv. What are the mischiefs of unlawful additions in religion?Answ. Alas! many and great. 1. They tend to dethrone Christ from his sovereignty, and legislative prerogative. 2. And to advance man, blind and sinful man into his place. 3. And thereby to debase religion, making it but a human or a mixed thing; (and it can be no more noble than its author is). 4. And thereby they debase also the church of God, and the government of it, while they make it to be but a human policy, and not Divine. 5. They tend to depose God from his authority in men's consciences, and to level or join him there but with man. 6. They tend to men's doubtfulness and uncertainty of their religion; seeing man is fallible, and so may his constitutions be. 7. They tend to drive out all true religion from the world, while man that is so bad is the maker of it; and it may be suspected to be bad, that is made by so bad an author. 8. And it taketh off the fear of God, and his judgment; for it is man that must be feared, so far as man is the maker of the law. And it destroyeth the consolation of believers, which consisteth in the hopes of a reward from God; for he that serveth man, must be rewarded by man; and though they do not exclude God, but join him with themselves, yet this mixture debaseth and destroyeth religion, as the mixture of God and mammon in men's love, and as mixed and debased metals do the sovereign's coin. 9. It hardeneth infidels and hindereth their conversion; for they will reverence no more of our religion than we can prove to be Divine: and when they find one part of it to be human, they suspect the rest to be so to, and contemn it all; even as Protestants do Popery, for the abundance of human trinkets and toys with which we see them exercise, and delude their silly followers. 10. It is the great engine of dividing all the churches, and breeding and feeding contentions in the Christian world. 11. And because men that will command, will be obeyed, and they that are absolutely subjected to God, will obey none against him, whatever it cost them (as Dan. iii. vi. Heb. xi. Luke xiv. 26. 33. Matt. v. 10—12.) therefore it hath proved the occasion of bloody persecutions in the