« PreviousContinue »
MISREPRESENTATIONS of ME,
Power and AUTHORITY of GOD's SPIRIT, in . Governing his CHURCH, testified to :
By one whom it hath pleased the Lord to make a Member of the Church,
which he hath gathered, and preserveth by his own Almighty Arm; who accounteth it his Duty and Honour in the Lord, to be subject to the Government and Ordering of his Spirit and Power in his Church,
ISAAC PENING TO N.
That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and
laboureth, 1 Cor. xvi. 16. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch
for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy,
and not with grief ; for that is unprofitable for you, Heb. xiii. 17. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder ; yea, all of you be sub
jeet one to another, and be cloatbed with humility : for God refifteth the proud,
end giveth grace to the bumble, i Peter v. 5. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess : but be filled with the Spirit, and
submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God, Ephes. v. 18. 21,
IPON occasion of the suffering of our dear friends and brethren in
New-England, cruel imprisonments, many hard usages, and at last (lome of them) death itself, for their obedience and faithful testimony to the Lord, and his precious truth; and because of the undue covering thereof, by the grounds and causes produced to justify their proceedings; I was engaged to shew the nakedness and unreasonableness thereof, in a book, intituled, " An Examination of the Grounds or Causes, which are said to « induce the Court of Boston in New-England, to make that Order or Law « of Banishment upon pain of Death against the. QUAKERS, &c." Whereunto somewhat was added (being very proper to the subject in hand) about the authority and government which Christ excluded out of his church, which also occasioned somewhat concerning the true church-government.
Now this latter part (about church-government) hath been so misreprefented, as if, because the wrong church-government was excluded, the exclusion of all church-government was intended by me, there being no notice taken of my owning the true church-government, but only fome passages of my disowning the false produced, as if they intended to overturn and deny all church-government, which never was intended by me: for in that very book, which is thus made use of, I did positively affirm the necefsity and use of the true church-government, which may more fully appear in that which hereafter follows.... nr.
MISREPRESENTATIONS of ME,
O R the manifesting that I am misrepresented, and the clearing of my innocency from those misrepresentations, this is on my heart;
First, To set down those words which John Pennyman hath cited out of
that part of my book which speaks of the authority and government
which Christ excluded out of his church. Secondly, To add somewhat, in way of confirmation of that truth and
tender sense, which was then upon my heart. Thirdly, To propose some questions, as I shall find them arise in my
heart, further to open and manifest the intent of my heart in this
thing. Fourthly, To annex somewhat, which is mentioned and immediately
added in the very fame part of the book, concerning true churchgovernment, which plainly manifesteth that I was not against the true church government, nor did mention or intend any of those things to hinder, deny, or oppose the true church-government, of which I do
there infer an absolute necessity. Fifihly, It is on my heart to add a few considerations further, concern
ing the necessity, usefulness, and benefit of the true church-govern-. ment.
The first words John Pennyman cites out of this part of my book, concerning the authority and government which Christ excluded out of his church, from Matt. xx. 25. to 29. are these.
Here Christ cuts off that power and authority, which grows up in the corrupt
nature of man, which was ever and anon springing up even in the disciples; bere be wholly excludes it out of "bis church, and faith exprefly, be would have no fuch thing amongst them, no such kind of greatness, no such kind of authority.
Confirm. It is the full belief of my heart, that Christ hath cut off that power and authority which grows up in the corrupt nature of man, and wholly excluded it out of his church, even very exprelly in this forecited scripture; plainly signifying therein, that he would have no such kind of greatness, no such kind of authority among his gathered and chosen people.
Queft. But doth this signify or imply, that he would have no authority at all ? Doth this exclude the authority and government of his Spirit and power in his church? Doth nor he, notwithstanding this, say, Ġo tell the church? And enjoin the members of the church to hear the church, upon the penalty of being accounted Heathens and publicans? And did not the Holy Ghost make and appoint overseers over the church? Afts XX. 28. And what is an overseer? Or in what were they to oversee? Were they not to oversee in the true light, to wbich every child of light is to be subject ? And they that did resist the light, Spirit, and power of the Holy Ghoft in any of the overseers; were they not unruly, and departers from the light in themfelves, though they might pretend they were still for the light, and that it was the overseers that were departed and erred from it?
The next Words he cites are thefe :
w o things are here excluded by Christ, from whence all the mischief
ariseth in the church, all the tyranny and oppression of mens consciences, and of their persons, estates and liberties for conscience-sake. First, Greatnefs : Secondly, The exercising dominion and authority by those that would
be great therein. Confirm. It is my belief, that all the mischief in the church, tyranny, and 'oppression of mens consciences, and of their personis, eftates, and liberties for conscience-fake, doth arise from a wrong greatness, and from the exercising of a wrong dominion and authority, by those that would be great therein; and that these two things are here excluded by Christ, in the forementioned scripture.
Quest. But is there not a true greatness? Those that lie low before the Lord, and have humbled themselves under his mighty hand; doch not the Lord exalt them in due time, filling them with his Spirit, life, virtue, and power? And is not that great in them ? And are they not highly favoured, and exalted in the eye of the Lord therein ? (Oh! none knows how great those are in the eye of the Lord, who are poor and low, and nothing in their own eyes!) And is there not a true authority and dominion of God's Spirit in the church in general, as well as in the particular, over the spirit and power of darkness? Because of which Spirit, because of which power, because of which holy authority and dominion, the gates of hell shall not be able to prevail against it.
His next citation is this (which though fomewhat long, I am willing to recite punctually, that my innocency may the more appear.)
THIS Spirit must be kept out from amongst you, this aspiring spirit, this lofty,
ruling Spirit, which loves to be great, which loves to have dominion, which would exalt itself because of the gifts it bath received, and would bring others into subjection; this Spirit must be subdued amongst Christ's disciples, or it will ruin all. The Lord gives grace and knowledge for another end, than for men to take upon them to be great, and rule over others because of it. And be, that because of this, thinks himself fit to rule over other mens consciences, and to make them bow to what be knows, or takes to be truth, he loseth his own life thereby; and so far as be prevails upon others, be doth but destroy their life too. Therefore the disciples, or church of Christ, are to watch over every such Spirit; to beat it down, to testify against it, to turn from it, to lay it flat, to put it in its proper place, that is, beneath all, and so not to suffer it to arise.
Before I come to the confirmation of this, I judge it meet to set down the foregoing clause or paragraph omitted by him, which will very much help to clear the naked drift and intent of these words. The foregoing paragraph runs thus :
Such a kind of greatness as is in the world, is the destruction of the life of
Chrift; and such a kind of dominion and authority as is among the nations, is a direct overturning of the kingdom of Christ. It sets up another power than Christ's, another greatness than Christ's, another kind of authority than Christ's; and to eats out the virtue and life of his kingdom, and makes it just like one of the kingdoms of this world.
This (which immediately went before) being thus added, may sufficiently open the thing of itself. Yet for further satisfaction, I shall add a confirmation to the truth of that which he hath cited; and that in several particulars, because of the length of the citation.
Confirm. First, An aspiring spirit, a lofty, ruling spirit, which loves to be great, which loves to have dominion, which would exale itself, &c. must be kept out from among the disciples and church of Christ. There must not be such a spirit, or loving to be great, or such a ruling among them, Vol. II. Dddd