John Lightfoot.

The whole works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, master of Catharine Hall, Cambridge (Volume 13) online

. (page 20 of 43)
Online LibraryJohn LightfootThe whole works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, master of Catharine Hall, Cambridge (Volume 13) → online text (page 20 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

2. Here is a difference which one apostle could not deter-
mine ; ergo, not doctrine : only, 3. The persons sent are
designed, and had something conferred upon them by the
church ; ergo, for something above doctrine. 4. The con-
vention at Jerusalem argues more than doctrinal ; for any one
apostle could determine that. 5. The decree was provisional
and prudential, because occasional ; for if it had been doc-
trinal, it bound us till now. 6. This was done as Moses did
by these things ; but Moses delivered these authoritatively.

Mr. Seaman urged again, that the Independents would
prove that doctrine is not of government.

Mr. Ni/e answered, that the ordinance that calls us to-
gether, doth plainly distinguish betwixt doctrine and go-

Here we had a long and smart debate upon this and other
points, which held us very long. At last it was even putting


210 JOURNAL OF THE [March 13, 1644.

to the question, when Mr. Goodwin desired a longer time,
which was backed by Mr. Rutherford; and so we adjourned.
Wednesday, March 13.] — This morning we had a sermon by
a probationer.

Being set, Dr. Gouge moved for our speedy meeting in
the morning.

Then fell we again upon Acts xv.

Mr. Goodwin first moved, to prove that this meeting was
for the government of Jerusalem.

To this I answered, that these churches would never
have sent for determination of points of government for
them, had they not known the presbytery constantly sitting
at Jerusalem, for acts of government of their own church.

To this Mr. Bridges answered. That then it was no synod.
They met for acts of government finally, to find out the
truth ; but not formally, to exercise the acts of government.

To this I answered again, that the consequences doth not
hold. It was a presbytery before ; ergo, no synod now.
2. That their meeting about the Pharisees in Jerusalem, that
were of the same mind with them at Antioch, which he had
said did make this consequence, that then they met for the
government of their own church. 3. That this doth infer
their act of government formally, that Paul and Barnabas,
ministers of the circumcision, come to Jerusalem, to ques-
tion about a business which concerned the converted Gen-
tiles. Now if it had been only to find out the truth, Peter
and James, ministers of the circumcision, had been most fit
to have determined this point with them : why then should
they convene the elders, if not for an act of government?

Mr. Seaman backed me, and spoke at large upon some
other things.

Mr. Hutherford answered to Mr. Bridges also : That the
adequate end of this synod was to determine upon points
of scandal, and to condemn them that had given them, and
not only to resolve this question.

Mr. Herle : 1. The matter here is an ecclesiastical con-
stitution or law : and these two things make it so : 1. Sanc-
tion ; 2. Obligation. The sanction in these words, " It
seeined good to the Holy Ghost and to us." The obliga-
tion, no doubt, lay upon the Gentiles, or else it was decreed
in vain.

Mr. Burroughs retorted tbis argument of Mr. Seaman

March 13, 1644.] ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES. 211

upon himself. '' Those acts that bound other churches,
bound the church of Jerusalem ;" he thus retorted. Those
acts that bound the church of Jerusalem, no otherwise than
other churches, were no acts of government ; but, ergo.

Mr. Vines answered : The question is Trtpt rwv Wvwv.

Mr. Calami/ : There is a fallacy in this argument ; for
that this place is doubly taken, some for an extraordinary
synod, some for an ordinary.

Mr. Herle denied the major ; for that it might be an act
of presbyterial government, and apostolic both.

Mr. Vines: The propositions are both negative, and
" ex puris negativis non concluditur."

Mr. Gillespie : Those decrees did not equally bind the
church of Jerusalem and all the churches in the world ; for
here was an ordinary synod ; then none could not be formally
bound, but those who had their commissioners here : it is
said, indeed, that all the Gentiles might be bound either
" respectu materiae," or " potestate apostolica," but not
" formali obligatione synodi."

When they say 'iSo^e rtjJ irv^vfxaTi, &.c. it is because they
had proved the thing affirmed from the conversion of the
Gentiles, from miracles, and from scripture : and Dr. Whit-
tacre saith. That any synod, grounding upon undoubted
scripture, may say so. And he proved the apostles did not
here act as apostles: 1. For then Paul and Barnabas could
not have been sent by the church of Antioch: for then the
power of the church had been above the apostles. But
Paul and Barnabas, in the way they act, are subject to the
presbytery at Antioch. 2. In this debating they were not
infallibly acted by the Holy Ghost: as appeareth, 1. Be-
cause Peter speaks short of the removing of the scandal,
but only he speaks of the point of justification. 2. He is
moderated by James.

3. Here is the form of an ordinary synod. 1. Here are
commissioners from Antioch. 2. The elders are in it as
well as apostles. 3. Things are carried by debate. 4.
After the deliberative voice, they make a decisive voice, and
promulgate it.

4. If the apostles decreed this as apostles, then this
decree might not be tried by the judgment of discretion;
but here it may, because elders are joined with them. And
then he answered Mr. Goodwin's arguments that he had


212 JOURNAL OF THE [March 13, 1644.

urged yesterday, from point to point. And among things,
he conceived that the word " brethren," in Acts xv. doth
not signify the whole church, but some preachers be-
sides the apostles and elders : for, ver. 22, Judas and
Silas are called chief men among the brethren, who were
preachers : so is the phrase, 2 Cor. viii. 22, 23 ; for the
whole church could not be present. But if " brethren"
mean the whole church, then it is to be understood of their
being acquainted with the decree, and their liking of it.

My, Vines again excepted at Mr. Burroughs' syllogism,
and turned it into Latin, and would find it negative ; but
the Assembly hardly agreed with him in it.

Mr. Seaman: The>!e decrees did not bind all, qua pres-
byterial, but qua synodical.

Mr. Goodwin would have spoken, but for a while could
not satisfy the Assembly that he was speaking to the pro-
position before us : at last he spake to this purpose :

1. If they met as a synod, then not as an eldership ; for
here they were cast in, in common with the other elders :
and this did constitute a new government in the church of

2. Beza makes ver. 5 to be the speech of Paul relating
what was done at Antioch. If the Pharisees had risen
up before these men came from Antioch, then was it a
neglect of the church to meet no sooner: or it may be there
was some occasion at home concurring, which concerned
their own church ; but then you must distinguish their acts,
what they did for their own church, and what for the other.

3. Docrmatical and doctrinal declarino; is not an act of
government ; because by an act of government we vmder-
stand the whole matter of jurisdiction. Although there be
a dogmatical power, yet there is not a penal power.

4. The elders in Jerusalem had power in their own church ;
but if they were many congregations, you must find them
exercising the same power over them that they did over the
other churches ; but here is no excommunication, which is
properly jurisdiction.

5. The elders of Jerusalem could have no share of juris-
diction over all the churches.

6. The same acts may be done in a congregation single,
and in a synod; and yet one want the formal power that
another hath.

March 13, 1644.] ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES. 213

7. It is plain that this distinction ought to be in council,
" ego dissentiens subscribo, et ego consentiens ;" for here
the brethren, yea the elders, could not subscribe or vote, as
the apostles did.

8. This epistle of the council is formal scripture, for it
is for our instruction.

9. Upon choosing of arbitrators there is obligation and
not jurisdiction j and so was it here. This is not an ordinary
synod ; for,

1. Here are but two churches, Antioch and Jerusalem ;
and though they travelled through Phcenice and Samaria,
yet they took no elders thence ; nay, it is not express
that there were any elders from Antioch : and in chap.
xvi. 4, mention is only of the elders of Jerusalem. If
that Silas was sent to Antioch, it argues they had not sent

2. The elders of Jerusalem are only judges; ergo, no
elders from elsewhere.

3. They say, "We gave them no command." Now this
cannot be elders of other places ; for when were they met
before ?

4. They needed not to have sent brethren to the churches,
if their elders had been present.

" It seemed good to us and the Holy Ghost;" i. e. to
us, being guided by the Holy Ghost : as Paul, " I think
I have the Spirit of God."

And he answered Mr. Gillespie's reasons, — that the
apostles did not act as apostles :

1. Paul and Barnabas were parties in this question, and
the church sent them not in an authoritative way, but thought
it necessary they should go up.

And they two are included under the phrase 'apostles,'
in " apostles and elders."

2. To speak infallibly was proper in an apostle, but not
to speak all the truth at once, especially when other apostles
were by ; and so Peter might speak as an apostle, yet not
speak to the whole matter.

3. These decrees might be examined, though it be still
said " apostles and elders."

And then he proved they acted as apostles ; thus : —
1. They are distinguished from the elders by the name
of the " apostles."

214 JOURNAL OF THE [March 14, 1644.

2. They are either elders, if elders, of this particular
church, or of all the world ; but neither these.

3. " We gave no such command ;" these words suit not
with elders : and, " so it seemed good to us and to the Holy

4. Though they used reasons in their arguing, yet doth
not that infringe their apostleship; for they were to shew
the analogy of the New Testament with the Old.

Then did he fall upon the arguments given to the con-
trary, to give answer to them, and spake very long.

As soon as ever he had done, it was put to the question,
and voted affirmatively, that Acts xv. 4, 6, 22, should be
brought to prove that clause in the proposition, *' elders
meeting in acts of government."

After which. Dr. Gouge read Mr. Coleman, of the Tower,
his submission, for his presuming to give orders to Mr.
Belcher: and it was desired that something might be drawn
up, and ordered, for his acquitting and our satisfaction ; but
it was not thought fit: and so we were adjourning till to-
morrow, when Mr. Palmer moved, that it might be deter-
mined, "That this proposition is proved, which we have had
so long in hand ;" and this cost some debate ; and the Inde-
pendents opposed it, and again and again spake and re-
spake, and stopt, and it came to a very hot agitation : at last
it was put to the question, and voted affirmatively, "That
the instance of the church of Jerusalem shall be brought to
prove, that many several congregations may be under one
presbyterial government."

Then fell out a large debate what to fall upon to-morrow ;
and at last it was concluded we should take in hand the
report of the second committee; and so we adjourned.

Thursday, March 14.] — This morning we had a sermon
by a probationer.

Being set, our first work was, that Mr. Palmer reported
from the committee appointed for the accommodation be-
tween the Independents and us, thus :

1. That there be a presbytery, or meeting of many
neighbouring congregations' elders to consult upon such
things as concern those congregations, in matters ecclesi-
astical : and such presbyteries are the ordinances of Christ,
having his power and authority.

2. Such presbyteries have power in cases that are to

March 14, 1044.] ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES. 215

come before them ; to declare and determine doctrinally
what is agreeable to God's word ; and this judgment of
theirs is to be received with reverence and obligation as
Christ's ordinance.

3. They have power to require the elders of those con-
gregations to give an account of any thing scandalous in
doctrine or practice.

Then did Mr. Palmer move for the continuance of this
committee, to proceed upon these beginnings : which cost
some debate ; for some put in this argument against it. That
it would anticipate the work of the Assembly by taking into
hand the matter of censures : but at last it was ordered that
the committee should go on, having liberty to take into
consideration any thing that may tend to accommodation,
and to make report on when conveniently may be.

Then Dr. Burgess, being to-day in the chair, moved for
our earlier meeting in the morning : and it was ordered
there should be no sermon after nine o'clock.

Then began we upon this proposition of the second

1. " There is one general church visible held forth in the
New Testament." 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13, and xv. 9.

Mr. Ni/e excepted at the difficulty of the terms, for that
if we take the church for any political body, he denied it.
This cost some debate.

Mr. Goodwin suspected there might be some snare in
this proposition : for some, saith he, " rise to church-govern-
■ment, ' ascendendo,' from particular congregations to the
church universal, some * e contra descendendo ;' ergo, there
may be some scruple and entanglement in this business."
Whereupon the whole report of the committee was read to
give him satisfaction ; which being done, Mr. Vines urged.
Let follow what can, if it be the truth, and may serve for
truths to follow, we are not to refuse it : and the church is
called visible, in regard, 1. Of profession ; 2. Of commu-
nion of this profession, not under any one visible pastor, but
in regard of the community of ordinances.

Here Dr, Burgess moved, that we might adjourn for a very
little space, for that he was troubled with the cholic, which
we did. When he was come in again, Mr. Herle spoke for
the proposition, that we might not stand upon it; and so
did Mr. Rutherford thus: The 'body' in 1 Cor. xii. must

216 JOURNAL OF THE [March 14, 1644-

needs be a politic body, and the universal catholic church ;
for ver. 28 so explains it : and there is a third opinion besides
those two mentioned by Mr. Goodwitt, of" ascendendo" and
" descendendn," which is, that " ecclesia presbyterialis" is
*' ecclesia prima." And for his part he conceived that the
church catholic is " totura integrale," and what power is
given to it is neither " ascendendo," nor " descendendo/'
but immediately from Christ upon every part ; as life " or-
dine naturae," is in the whole body, as the integral ; but the
life of every member " ordine temporis," is immediately to
every part.

Mr. Seaman here moved also, that a second report of the
second committee might be read for farther satisfaction to
the jealous party ; which was done accordingly : which be-
ing done, Mr. Selden reported a message, and brought an
order from the House of Commons, for the printing of our
letters to the churches beyond the seas : which was ordered

Then fell we upon our proposition, and it was called to
the question ; when Mr. Aj/e interposed, and excepted against
the order of the proposition^ though not against the

Mr. Rutherford: This visible church in 1 Cor. xii. 28,
is either a particular congregation, or the general church,
or one " intermedia ;" but neither the first, nor the last;

It was again called to the question, to see whether it be
truth ; when Mr. Goodwin interposed, and doubted still a
snare in it: and desired to have the word ' politic' put, and
then to debate it.

Mr. Herle moved to put this proposition and the second
together ; but that was not liked.

Mr. Goodwin again urged the ambiguity of this proposi-
tion ; and would not be satisfied. And so did Mr. Nye in-
terpose again and again, when the business was going to the
question : and he said that the proposition would urge an
appeal to a general council, which he thought of ill conse-

To which Mr. Rutherford answered. That none of our di-
vines condemned Luther for appealing to a general council
from Leo the Tenth.

At last it was put to the question, and voted affirmatively.

March 15,1641.] ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES. 217

" That this proposition should be put to the question in' ter-
minis.' "

And the proposition being again put to the question, it
wa^ also voted affirmatively, " neraine contradicente."

Then fell we upon the proof, 1 Cor. xii. 13, 14. 28.

Mr. Carter here, from the word " spirit," understood the
body invisible.

Mr. Seaman answered, that it meaneth a spiritual so-

Mr. Goodwin : By " spirit" is here meant the Holy
Ghost; ergo, it speaketh of the invisible body.

Among others I answered that the apostle here speaks
of the embodying of Jews and Gentiles, ver. 12; and to this
he limiteth ver. 2, " Ye were Gentiles ;" and ver. 27, jutXij Ik
liipovg, i. e. " Ye were members of one part of that body ;"
viz. of Gentiles : others also spake to this at large. At last
Mr. Vines moved, that the whole chapter might be taken,
and this was ready to go to the question, when Mr. Ruther-
ford opposed it, and called for an answer to the argument
that had been given for the verses pointed out. And hereon
grew some debate, which held a good while. At last it was
put to the question, " Whether these verses should be put to
the question, and voted affirmatively ?" and being put to the
question, it was voted affirmatively. Then was it put also
to the question, " Whether these words,together with the rest
of the chapter, should be added ?" and it was voted affirma-
tively; and so we adjourned.

Friday, March 15.] — This morning, Mr. Ash brought in
a letter from my Lord of Manchester, and withal articles
against Drs. Beak, Cosins, Sterne, Lang, Martin, to shew the
just cause of his casting them out of their masterships ; and
withal nominating Mr. Palmer, Mr. Arrowsmith, Mr. Viness
Mr. Seaman, and Mr. Yonng, in their places, if the Assembly
should think fit: and withal he reported at large of the good
progress of the covenant in those parts : and of my Lord's
proceeding in the university in several particulars ; and his
request to us to hasten ordination. His relation was very
long and large ; which when he had done. Dr. Burgess made
a long answer of gratulation, &.C. and urged exceedingly for
the hastening of ordination : and withal desired that the
members of our Assembly nominated by the Earl might not
be dismissed from the Assembly, but attend the service

218 JOURNAL OF THE [March 18, 1644.

here ; to which Mr. Ash answered, that it was my Lord's in-
tention to withdraw them from us.

These businesses took up a great part of the morning ; at
last Dr. Burgess and Mr. Hill were appointed to draw up a
letter of thanks and satisfaction to his Lordship ; and withal
an order was drawn up for our testifying with our five mem-
bers ; but Mr. Fines and Mr. Young desired that they might
be excused, but this they were referred to deal with my Lord
of Manchester: and it was put to the vote, and voted in the
approval of my Lord of Manchester's choice ; but we had a
great deal of tussle from the Independents, before we could
conclude upon the business.

Then was a motion made about falling upon ordina-
tion ; and this cost a great deal of debate : at last it was
resolved to fall upon it on Monday, and so we adjourned till

Monday, March 18.] — This morning we had a sermon by
a probationer.

Being set, Mr. Ley read divers letters from my Lord of
Manchester, for admission of some men to benefices, and
for their examination here : whereupon Dr. Burgess moved,
that his Lordship might be desired to be careful that none
there [*] renounce their orders and livings,which was ordered
accordingly, that the committee appointed for answer to
my Lord's letter should recommend it to his Lordship.

Then Dr. Temple, chairman of the third committee, re-
ported concerning ordination. I. That none ought to take
upon him the office of a minister without a lawful call, John
iii. 27, Rom. x. 14, 15, Jer. xiv. 4, Heb. v. 4. 2. That none
be ordained to that office without a designation to such
particular congregation or charge. Acts xiv. 23, Tit. i. 3,
Acts XX. 17. 28.

To the full and orderly calling of a minister, are requi-
site; 1. That he be duly qualified, both for life and ministe-
rial abilities, according to 1 Tim. iii. 2 — 6, Tit. i. 5 — 9.

'2. That he be examined and approved by them by whom
he is to be ordained, 1 Tim. iii. 7. 10, and v. 22.

3. That by them he be recommended to the people of
the congregation, where he is to be minister, and have their
assent, unless they can shew just cause of exception against.
Acts vi. 3.

4. That he be ordained by prayer and imposition of

March 18, 1044] ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES. 219

hands, by such preaching presbyters, as shall be appointed
for the purpose, 1 Tun. v. 22 ; Acts xiv. 23.

While this was in reporting, Mr. Fowwg's sermon, preached
before the House of Commons the last fast, was given to
every one of us.

Then fell we upon our work about ordination, viz. upon
the report lately read. And, 1st. The first proposition was
ordered without controvertino; at: viz. "That none is to be ad-
mitted for a minister without a lawful calling ;" and so were
the Scriptures ready to be, when Dr. Gouge excepted against
John iii. 27, as improper, and so also did Mr. Herle : and
this cost us some debate ; for that this place speaks of the
immediate calling from God: but at last it was voted to

Then came Rom. x. 14, 15, to agitation, and Mr. Gatta-
ker, out of Calvin, urged that that place is used only of
sending out men, already ordained, to preach in such and
such a place, and not of ordaining men. And Mr. Goodwin
also urged, that this, applied as we are about to do, will in-
fer that none can be converted but by ministers ; and this
cost some large debate : at last it was put to the question,
and voted to pass also. Jer. xiv. 14, was voted without any

Then came Heb. v. 4, to examination ; and Mr. Coleman
excepted against it as speaking of Christ. Mr. Palmer also
excepted against it as speaking of priests, not of ministers.
At last it was voted ; but to it I gave ray negative, having
suspended my vote in all the rest.

Then came we to the second proposition, " That none may
be ordained to that office without designation to some par-
ticular place."

Mr. Seaman first spake to this, and conceived that mi-
nisters may be ordained without a designation ; for that
otherwise those that are without, as Heathens and Pagans,
cannot be converted : but in " ecclesia stabilita," to be or-
dained, "sine titulo," is to be an Utopian minister: there-
fore he desired that something might be added to the pro-

Dr. Temple answered, that the word "charge," added to
the words " particular congregation," doth resolve the

Mr. Seaman was not so satisfied, but urged again, that

220 JOURNAL OF THE [March 18, 1644.

suppose the savages in IVevv England should desire men to
preach to them, were it not fit to ordain some for that pur-

Old Mr. Wilkinson pleaded, that if none should be or-
dained, till they be fixed to some place, how will it be pos-
sible they should ever get a fixed place, when they have not
given any trial of their parts?

Dr. Burgess added, that fellows in colleges are bound by
the statutes at such a time to take orders if they will be

Mr. Palmer : Apollos, who is owned for a minister,
1 Cor. iii. and no evangelist, and yet he had no fixed place.

Mr. Seaman : If we expect a designation was before or-
dination, it implies an election : now what will be done in
Wales, if they may not have a minister sent unto them,
before he be chosen by them ? For the first three hundred
years, they had a college of ministers in every great city,
to see to the ministry of that city without any fixed con-

Mr. Ley; Amesius saith, to ordain a minister, ''sine
titulo," is a ridiculous ordination ; and so disgraceth our
whole English ministry.

Mr. Marshal: In Cyprian's time, if there were never
so many presbyters that preached to so many congregations,
they were not " sine title."

Mr. Calami/ : The canon in our church was not so
much made for the point of ordination, that none should
be ordained without a designation, but to provide for the
subsistence of the ministry, and preventing of begging

Online LibraryJohn LightfootThe whole works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, master of Catharine Hall, Cambridge (Volume 13) → online text (page 20 of 43)