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Gentiles, and upbraided with being a Jew, and teaching their Customs ; the same Paul is baled and ready to be killed by the Jews, for breaking the Law, and defiling the Temple with the Gentiles. The like batb also befallen these faithful Witnesses and Me sengers, whom God has raised up in this Day to witness fer bis Truth, which hath long been in a great Meafure bid; but now is again revealed, and many brought to be Witnesses of it, who thereby are come to walk in the Light of the Lord.
This people thus gathered, have not wanted those Trials, that usually accompany the Church of Christ, both on the right Hand and on the left ; 'each ChaTaEterizing them in such Terms, as they have judged would prove inost to their Disadvantage. From wbesce, as the Testimony of the false Witnesses against tbeir Lord did not agree, neither do these against us, fome will have us to be foolish, mad Creatures ; others to be deep, füblile Politicians ; * fome to be illiterate, ignorant Fellows ; others to be learned, (tinning Jesuits, under a meer Vizzard : Divers Projeljors will have us to be only Pensioners of the l'ope, undoubtedly Papists; but the Papifts abhor as as Hereticks: Sometimes we are a disorderly, confused Rabble, leaving every one to do as they list, against all good Order and Government; at other Fines we are so much for Order, -as we admit not Men to exercise the Liberty of their own Judgments. Thus are our Reputations tossed by the Envy of our Adversaries; which yet cannot but have this Effeet upon lober-minded People, as" to see what Malice works against us; and how ibele Men, by their confradictory Allerlions concerning us, save us the Pains, while they refute one another..
* John Owen charges us with so much Ignorance, that tho' he writes against usin Latin, he fears we will not understand it. And Thomas Danfon, about the fame Tinie, accuses us of teing Jefuits, sent from Abroad under this Vizzard.
True it is, we have laboured to walk amidst there Extremities ; and upon our appearing for the Truth, we have found Things good in themjelves abused on both Hands : For such hath always been the Work of an Apostacy, to keep up the Shadow of certain Trulbs; that ibere-through they might shelter other Evils. Thus, ibe Jews made Use of the Law and the Prophets to vindicate their Abuses ; gea, and to crucify Christ :
And how much many Christians abuse the Scriptureso and the Traditions of the Apostles, to uphold Things quite contrary to it, will in the general be readily acknowledged by most.
But to descend more particularly; there be two Things especially, botb of which in their Primitive Use were appointed, and did very much contribute towards the
Edification of the Church : Tbe one is,
The otber is, That Privilege given to every Christian under the Gospel, to be led and guided by the Spirit of Christ, and to be taught thereof in all Things.
Now, both thele in the Primitive Church wrought effe&tually towards the same End of Edification; and did, as in their Nature they may, and in their Use they ought to do, in a good Harmony very well confix togee ther : But by the Workings of Satan, and Perversness of Men, they are made to fight against and destroy one another. For on the one Hand the Authority and Power, that resided in the Apostles, while it is annex. ed and entailed to an outward Ordination and Succellion of. Teachers, is made Use of to cloak and cover all Manner of Abuses, even the Height of Idolatry and Superstition. For by Virtue of this Succession, these Men claiming the like Infallibility, that was in the Apostles, though they be Strangers to any inward Work,
of Manifeftation of the Spirit in their Hearts, will needs oblige all orbers to acquiefce and agree to their Conclusions, however different from, or contrary to the Truths of the Gospel ; and yet for any to call fucke. Conclusions in Question, or examine them, is no less than a bainous Heresy, deserving Death, &c. Or while the Revelation of God's Mind is wholly bound up to these Things already delivered in the Scriptures, as if God bad spoke his last Words there to bis People *, we are put wilb our own natural Understandings to debate about tbe Meanings of it, and forced to interpret. ihem not as tbey plainly speak, but according to the Ana. logy of a certain Faith made by Men, not so much conịrived to answer the Scriptures, as the Scriptures are frained to vindicare it : Wbich to doubt of is also counted Herely, deserving no less than Ejection out of our Native Country, and to be robbed of the common Aid our Nativity entilles us to. And on this Hand, we may boldly say, both Papifts and Protestants bave greatly gone aside.
On the other Hand, some are so great Pretenders to Inward Motions and Revelations of the Spirit, that there are no Extravagances so wild, which they will not cloak with il; and fo much are they for every one's following their own Mind, as can admit of no Chriftian Fellowship and Community, nor of that good. Order and Discipline, which the Church of Christ never was, nor never can be, without. This gives an open Door to all Libertinism, and brings great Reproach to the Christian Faith. And on this Hand have foully fallen the German Anabaptifts, so called, John of Leyden Knipperdolling, &c. in case these monProus Thing's committed by them be such as they are related, and some more moderate of that Kind bave been found among the People in England, called Ranters ;
* So faith James Durham, a noted Man among the Presby. terians, in his Exposition upon the Revelations
as it is true, the People called Quakers bave been branded with both of tbefe Extreams: It is as true, it hatb been, and is their work to avoid them ; and to be found in that even and good Path of the Primitive Church, where all were, no doubt, led and afted by the Holy Spirit ; and might all have prophesied one thing one ; and yet Ibere was a Subjection of the Propbers, to the Spirits of the Prophets. There was an Auibority fome bad in tbe Church, and yet it was for Edification, and not for Defru&tion: There was an Obedience in The Lord to such as were set over; and a being taught by fuch, and yet a knowing of the Inward Anointing, by which each Individual was to be led into all Truib. The Work and Testimony the Lord bath given us is, to restore this again, and to set both these in their right Place, without causing them to destroy one another. TO manifest bow this is a complished, and accomplishing among us, is the Business of this Treatise ; which, I bope, will give fome Satisfaction to Men of fober Judge ments, and impartial and unprejudicate Spirits; and may be made useful in the good Hand of tbe Lord, to confirm and establifh Friends against tbeir prefent OppoJers; which is mainly intended and earnestly prayed for by : :
The 17th of the 8th
Section II. Concerning the Ground and Cause of this
Section III. Whether there be any Order or Govern.
ment in the Church of Christ. Section IV. Of the Order and Government we plead
Section V. In what Cafes, and how far, this Govern
Section VI. Hów far this Government extends in
Matters Spiritual and purely Conscientious.
Section VIII. How this Government altogether differeth
from the oppressing and perfecuting Principality of the Church of Rome, and other Antichristian AlFeinblies.