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Containing their fifth Affertion, that our Laws
are corrupt and repugnant to the Laws of God, in matter belonging to the power of Ecclefiaftical Jurisdiction, in that we have not throughout all Churches certain Lay-Elders established for the exercise of that power.
HE same men, which in heat of contention do BOOK hardly either speak or give ear to reason, being after VI. sharp and bitter conflicts retired to a calm remem.my brance of all their former proceedings; the causes that tion bebrought them into quarrel, the course which their tween
whether all striving affections have followed, and the issue where- congregaunto they are come, may peradventure, as troubled to
parishes waters, in small time, of their own accord, by certain ought to easy degrees settle themselves again, and so recover that Elders in
o have Layclearnels of well advised judgment whereby they shall vefted with
power of stand at the length indifferent both to yield and ad-purifdition mit any reasonable satisfaction, where before they in spiritual
Book could not endure with patience to be gainsaid.
Neither will I despair of the like success in these unpleasant controversies touching Ecclesiastical Polity; the time of silence which both parts have willingly taken to breathe seeming now as it were a pledge of all men's quiet contentment to hear with more indifferency the weightiest and last remains of that cause,
Jurisdiction, Dignity, Dominion Ecclefiaftical. For, Lib. vii. Lib. viii. let not any imagine that the bare and naked difference
of a few ceremonies could either have kindled so much fire, or have caused it to flame so long ; but that the parties which herein laboured mightily for change, and (as they say) for reformation, had somewhat more than this mark whereat to aim.
Having therefore drawn out a complete form, as they suppose, of public service to be done to God, and set down their plot for the office of the ministry in that behalf, they very well knew how little their Jabours fo forth bestowed would avail them in the end, without a claim of jurisdiction to uphold the fabric which they had erected; and this neither likely to be obtained but by the strong hand of the people, nor the people unlikely to favour it; the more, if overture were made of their own intereft, right, and title thereunto. Whereupon there are many which have conjectured this to be the cause, why in all their projects of their discipline (it being manifeft tbat their drift is to wrest the key of fpiritual authority out of the hands of former governors, and equally to possess therewith the paftors of all several congregations) the people first for surer accomplishment, and then for better defence thereof, are pretended necessary actors in those things, whereunto their ability for the moft part is as fender as their title and challenge unjust.
Notwithstanding, (whether they saw it neceffary for them to persuade the people, without whose help they could do nothing, or else (which I rather think) the affection which they bear towards this new form
of government, made them to imagine it God's own BOOK ordinance,) their doctrine is, that, by the Law of VI. God, there must be for ever in all congregations certain Lay-Elders, ministers of Ecclesiastical jurif.. diction, inasmuch as our Lord and Saviour by testament (for fo they presume) hath left all ministers or pastors in the Church, executors equally to the whole power of spiritual jurisdiction, and with them hath joined the people as colleagues. By maintenance of which assertion there is unto that part apparently gained a twofold advantage, both because the people in this respect are much more easily drawn to favour it, as a matter of their own interest; and for that, if they chance to be crossed by such as oppose against them, the colour of divine authority, affumed for the grace and countenance of that power in the vulgar fort, furnisheth their leaders with great abundance of matter behoveful for their encouragement to proceed always with hope of fortunate succefs in the end, considering their cause to be as David's was, a just defence of power given them from above, and consequently their adversaries' quarrel the fame with Saul's, by whom the ordinance of God was withstood.
Now, on the contrary fide, if their surmise prove false ; if such, as in justification whereof no evidence sufficient either hath been or can be alleged, as I hope it fhall clearly appear after due examination and trial,) let them then consider whether those words of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram against Mofes and Numb, avi, against Aaron, It is too much that we take upon you, feeing 3. olibe congregation is holy, be not the very true abItract and abridgment of all their published admonitions, demonstrations, supplications, and treatises whatsoever, whereby they have laboured to avoid the rooms of their spiritual fuperiors before authorized, and to advance the new fancied sceptre of Lay-Prefbyterial power.