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A09313 The letters patents of the presbyterie vvith the plea and fruits of the prelacie. Manifested out of the scriptures, fathers, ecclesiasticall histories, Papists, and sundrie other authors. By Iames Peregrin. [Peregin, James].; Partridge, James, attributed name. aut 1632 (1632) STC 19622B.5; ESTC S103890 43,655 62

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of their plea are plainly a bused made meere shifts mights as vv●ll haue serued the Papists against VValdo Luther Caluin as them against the Eldership If they vvould speake truth they might rather say as by Constantines so by Queen Flizabeths comming to the crovvne vvith peace entred plentie honour and vvith them anibition coueteosnes corruption So in short time and by degrees it fared vvith those ancient Bishops their feare tovvard God in matters of their Hierarchie traditions and ceremonies began to be taught by the precepts of men vvith these ambition and coueteousnes entred into the church therefore first in these then in other things their vvisdome began to be hid and perishing so that they could not see the mischiefes follovving diocessan and prouinciall Bishops 4 The church of Rome at that time the Bulvvark and authoritie of diocessan Episcopacie vvas not then knovvne to be the VVhore ef Babylon and mother of fornications but for her integritie in other matters as against Arrians and other hereticks vvas thought the pillar of truth and for the greatnes of her Bishop not opposed by many but rather applauded 〈◊〉 the most therefore fevv or none vvould then speake against her custome and tenets vvhich indeede made their ovvne Episcopall authoritie to be held the more lavvfull and necessarie the rather because of the honour profit that accompanied it So prone is all mankinde to encline to those vanities and be blinded by them 5. Though it vvere vvithout all true authoritie of Scripture yet custome and consent of Synods had established and increased it as they also did the primacie and povver of the Pope in the Nicence Sardean and other councels therefore it vvas thought an heresie in Aerius to dissent from them vvhereas the heresie vvas rather in them that dissented from the institution and practise of the church in the time of the Apostles but indeed the misterie of iniquitie could not other vvise haue vvrought that the church of Rome should become the great vvhore and her Bishop the Antichrist For these ordinances that set vp diocessan Bishops Archbishops and Patriarchs vvith many many nevv rites and ceremonies furthered the greatnes and authoritie of the Bishop and church of Rome and such vvas then the custome and doctrine of that church implying that they vvere necessarie therefore it vvas counted Schisme and heresie to hold any thing to the cōtrarie though taught in scriptures the name of the church did carrie it against all proofes vvhatsoeuer If any opposed and saide these things vvere Ievvish heathenish or Antichristian or tended that vvay they could not vvant instrumentall daubers to quiet or confound them vvith abusing such places as that Gal. 5.15 Ephes 4.3 If ye bite deuoure one another take heede ye be not deuoured one of another Keepe the vnitie of the Spirit in the bond of peace Dispute not about things indisterent but rather obserue vnitie and vniformitie vvith due obedience to the church to Bishops to Synods and their ordinances and neuer say they are ill carried be not so seditious schismaticall or peruerse they are your guides and you should be guided and ruled by them By these and the like meanes and deuises they passed from errour to errour Euen as at this day in England the Supporters of the Hierarchie and Arminianisme preuaile by the same reasons by abusing the same and the like places and by saying the ancient Synods ordained Archbishops and Bishops and the custome and doctrine of the church of England doe implie and teach that they and their traditions and gouernment are necessarie therefore it is schisme and heresie to dissent from them that is though you hold vvith the scriptures the name of the church of England must carrie it against all proofes vvhatsoeuer and therefore though they vvill not be accounted Papists as those are vvho stand for the Pope yet are they Pontificians such as maintaine diocessan and prouinciall Bishops the opposers thereof to be schismaticks and hereticks For they knovv that as it vvas of old so at this day the calling of them hereticks is next to povver custome and humaine constitution the best argument to defend their Hierarchie and the traditions thereof For vvhile they scoffe at them and their Tenets and call them hereticks Puri●ains peruerse Spirits that labour to proue that the Hierarchie ought to be abolished the Eldership restored this makes Princes nobles ministers and people to stop their eares and eyes against all the best reasons and proofes of Scripture in these cases and in like manner to scoffe at them * Luk. 16.14 Iohn 9.29 So the Pharises derided Christ like as at this day the greatest defence of Romish religion is scoffing at the Protestant faith calling it heresie them hereticks that professe it this makes Princes Priests and people to looke no further but to stop their eares against all proofes as against the Sophistrie of hereticks VVith this deuise also hath the church of Rome preuailed from time to time and by it ran from one errour to another till she became full of abhominations and to haue such povver that no man durst vndertake to conuince her And so may the church of England vvho hath begun such a progresse in some popish ceremonies Arminian errours vvhich are maintained by practises as beeing such as they vvill suffer no man to dispute against but vvith povver and cunning pretences prohibit all from gainsaying her Prelates in any thing * 2. Cor. 1.24 as the church of Rome did This is to haue dominion ouer mens faith vvhich the Apostles abhorred seeing the truth of God is in these points reuealed and things reuealed belong to vs to vvhome it is giuen to contend for the faith VVhence it must needes follovv that they also vvill get a povver to doe teach vvhat they list and yet no man shall dare to conuince them For Christ saith He that is vniust is the least Luk. 16.10 is vniust also in much Let no man therefore say these are small differences that the authoritie of Bishops should be receiued in them or that they are matters too high for the people seeing they are not higher then the mysteries of the Trinitie vvhich being also taught in Scriptures should be held of all and not forbidden as these are to open a gap for * Which is the drift of the pro●ectors and Abettors poperie to enter For such euer haue bene such are and such must needes be the fruit of greatnes in the clergie And therefore vvhereas some say as the church grevv larger and larger so there might be nevv offices officers ordained hauing greater honour and more ample iurisdiction and command ouer vvhole countries and Prouinces they see here the fruits of it in Rome and in England It is not the putting of religious men into the papacie or into English Bishopvvricks that vvill helpe these things if the callings be of men and not of
peremptorie Take heede to your selues to all the flock ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops there vvere diuers Elders of the church of phesus the places that bordered neer it as of that of Philippi or Ierusalem act 21.18 to them all Paul saith The holy Ghost hath made you bishops to feede the church So Phil. 1. To all the saints vvhich are at Philippi vvith the Bishops Deacons that is vvith the Elders presbiters Phil. 1.1 and deacons for ye see the presbiters are bishops or othervvise you must graunt that there vvere more bishops then one in 〈◊〉 citie therefore Theodore vvell vnderstands it of the presbiters vvhich Bellarmine obseruing can not denie Bellar. de Clericis l 4 c. 14. Tit. but that here also presbiters are called Bishops VVhich is yet more cleere by that to Titus I left thee in Creete that thou shouldest ●●daine presbiters in euerie citie if any be blamelesse the husband of one vvife haueing faithfull children not accused of riot ●r vnrulie for a bishop that is the Presbiter before mentioned must be blamelesse c. Vbi supra All vvhich places are so cleare that Bellarmine confesseth that in them all the presbiters are called Bishops consequently that the Trent fathers cried vvho vvould proue that Diocessan Bishops are instituted by Christ and superiour to Presbyters iure diuino Histor of the councel of Trent pag. 597. 598. english because Paul saith Take heede to all the flock ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops vvhich by his ovvne confession is spoken to Presbyters therefore he ansvvers to all the three places verrie poorely that in those daies these names Bishop Presbyter vvere common to all preists as if Phil. 1. vvith the Bishops and deacons the sense must be thus VVith the Preists theire ministers the deacons vvhich is a vveake shift of a Iesuit and so learned a Cardinal For did the Apostle call the presbyters Bishops in all these three places say the holy Ghost had made them Bishops ouer the flocke yet are they not so And if it vvere then a name so common to all preists why should it novv be thus restrained to one in a countie or prouince and he accounted an heretick that vvith the holy Ghost affirmeth the presbiters to be Bishops as in these three places And therefore out of all doubt 1. Tim. 3. vvhen Paul saith If any man desire the office of a Bishop he desireth a good vvorke c. That is the office of a presbiter or Elder vvho is a Bishop that so he addeth These things vvrite I unto thee that thou mightest know how thou a Bishop or presbiter oughtest to behaue thy selfe Othervvise he vvould not haue passed as he doth from the duty of a Bishop to the duty of a deacon but rather first from the duty of a Bishop to the duty of a presbiter or pastor that is if it had not beene one and the fame office somtime set forth vnder the name of an Elder or presbiter Tit. somtime of a Bishop as in that to Titus before alleadged vvhich shevves vs that vvhen it is said of Titus that he vvas ordained the first Bishop of the Cretians that must needes be the first presbiter Chrisost in 1. Tim. 3. so Timothie 2. Tim. in fin vvhich in effect is acknovvledged by Chrysos in his Comentarie on that chapter to Timothie vvho though he liued in a time vvhen canons custom and cloaked ambition had made a litle difference saith There is almost no difference betweene a Bishop and a presbyter seeing the care of the church is also graunted to the presbyters surely by giuing of orders only they are their superiours herein they only seeme to be more then the presbiters Bellarmin acknovvledgeth that Primasius Bellar. de clerìcis l. 4. c. 14. Theophilact and Oecumenius in their Comentaries vpon the same place do teach the same thing almost in the same vvords VVherin they come but litle short of that vvhich is more plainly affirmed by Hierom on the first of Titus Hieron in Tit. 1. A presbiter and a Bishop is one and the same thing and before by the instinct of the deuil factions vvere made in religion and it vvas said among the people I am of Paul I of Apollo I of Cephas the churches vvere gouerned by the common consent of the presbiters but after euery one thought those which he had baptised to be his not Christs it vvas ordained in all the vvorld that one chosen from among the presbiters should be set ouer the rest unto vvhome all the care of the church should pertaine and the seedes of Sbhismes should be taken away And a litle lovver As therfore presbiters know themselues to be subiect by the custome of the church to him that is set ouer them so let the Bishops know it is rather by the custom of the church then by any disposition of the diuine truth that they are greater then the presbiters and that the church ought to be gouerned in commune Vbi supra Bellarmin doth not only cite these places thus but confesseth farther that Hierō hath the like things in his 85. Epistle to Euagrius Yet he vvould faine haue it thought that Hierō held a Bishop to be greater then a presbiter iure diuino contenting himselfe for lack of a better to take that for a sufficient proofe vvhere he saith to Euagrius vvhat doth the Bishop giueing of orders excepted vvhich the presbiter may not also doe vvhereas indeede this doth rather proue the contrarie namely that presbiters had decisiue voices in councels might excommunicate or doe any thing else in their flocks belonging to gouernment saue the giuing of orders this beeing all the difference of povver and authority the Bishops had them gained VVherein you must needes vnderstand him as before that it is rather by the custome of the church then any disposition of the diuine truth that they vvere herein greater then the Elders the same or the like humain ordinance custom vvhich restrained the title of a Bishop to one in a Diocesse vvhich before vvas common to all presbiters gaue him also the sole povver of giuing of orders vvhich before belonged to presbiters in common 1. Tim. 4.14 as is cleere by that Neglect not the gift that is in thee vvhich vvas giuen thee by prophesie vvith the laying on of the hands of the presbiterie Kemnitius therefore doth vvell obserue here Vbi supra that a Bishop may be ordained by Presbiters therefore there is no difference betweene a Bishop and a presbiter Bellarmin hereat offended ansvvers vvith the Greekes verie vveakely By the presbiterall name they vnderstood the quire or companie of the presbiters that i● of the Bishops vvhich laide their hands on the new bishop They that laied their hands on him vvere presbiters but that is say Bellarmin and others Bishops So saith
God as is proued in both For out of this opinion Antichrist arose to his greatnes and the church of Rome to her authoritie errour and tyrannie Luk. 16.15 and that vvhich is highly esteemed amongst men is oft times abhomination in the sight of God that punisheth mens inuentions and presumptions VVhich in this case vvere verie absurd For the church vvas much enlarged in the Apostles daies yet did they not appoint diocessan Bishops and Archbishops Act. 14.23 Tit. 1.5 but as churches vvere daily founded in any kingdome so they ordained them Elders and deacons in euery church or congregation hauing no other spirituall head then Christ nor no other meanes to repr●sse errour and Schisme then vvas in the Apostles time to vvit calling of Synods to reduce doctrine and discipline to that of the Apostles VVhich indeed should be furthered cherished and maintained by kings and Magistrates as by nursing fathers VVherein all should remember those things Remoue not the ancient bounds Pro. 22.28 Eccle. 10.8 vvhich thy Fathers haue set He that breaketh an hedge a Serpent shall bite him The Inuentours enlargers and maintaimers of Diocessan Episcopacie haue remoued and broken the bounds the Apostles set and haue planted Diocessan and Prouinciall Bishops trees that brought out fruits accordingly many biting errours haue bene propagated by the great names of Bishops and Popes such as Paulus Semosateneus Liberius Nestorius and many others after the bounds were brokē which should haue bin better obserued And if in any congregation by reason of the largenes of the parish or the many and rich people that dvvell in it some ministers come to better meanes then other happy man by his lot that is the greatest difference that ought to haue bene betvveene one Pastor an other The choice of ministers lying most in the parish and such ministers and Elders as dvvell neere about them And this vvay ministers and people should haue bene better prouided for then novv they are vvhen some haue double benefices Bishopvvricks Denaries comendaes and in a vvord some fevv haue all though they preach litle but the most haue litle or neuer a vvhit though they vvould preach and instruct Therefore vvhereas some say these places are better encouragments to make Schollars studdie then the paritie of the Puri●ains vve see here that they are rather nurseries of superstition briberie simonie non residencie idlenes ambition and errour and meere allurements to make men studdie to maintaine such traditions and ceremonies as make the vvord of none effect to get dominion ouer mens faith and euen to mold religion after the pleasure of such as can aduance them to those great places so exceedingly doe they corrupt the church And therfore that hath and vvill more fully be found of them vvhich Zanchie saith of the Hierarchie ordinances of the ancient fathers and councels * All things by succession of times vver● brought to an extreame tyrannie and ambition Zanch. sides de religio Christia cap. 25. See 12. vvhich is the reason vvhy by so much the neerer as men approach in these orders of ministers to the simplicitie of the Apostles by so much the more ought they to be approued by vs and vvee iudge th●● men ought to indeauour that things may euery where be brough● ●o that order All the Reformed Churches hold and follovv ●he proofes of this opinion Ioh. 3.20 Only the Prelates and Doctors of England account them verie strange and therefore hate ●he light in this point So that God may say of them as of ●phraim I haue vvriten to him the greate things of my law Hos 3.12 ●ut they vvere counted as a strang thing They haue a better ●pinion of their ovvne ordinances and are better acquainted ●vith them they suffer Princes and people to heare and ●novv them and all the reasons they haue for them but not ●he proofes that are for the Eldership though our Lord say He that is of God heareth Gods vvords Ioh. 8.47 yee therefore heare ●hem not because ye are not of God chap. 18.37 Euery one that is of the Truth heareth my voice VVherein they are not the more ●xcusable because these or the like things haue bene in some ●ort vsed by the ancient churches or are commanded by Kings States vvhen indeed it hath commonly bene at the ●nstance of the Bishops or their faction It is strang that men ●hat thus beare all the svvay in the church rule all things and ●uen giue lavves to others haue no other vvarrant for this ●heir office authority then custome Ecclesiastical constitu●●on vvherein themselues haue bene the Iudges or the con●ent and appointment of Kings For as to such custome and ●onstitution that which a learned Author saith in a like case ●s vvorthy obseruation Histor of the counc of Trent pag. 18. The impietie of Nestorius had diuided Christ making two sonnes and denying him to be God who was borne ●f the blessed virgin the church to inculcate the Catholike truth in the ●indes of the faithfull made often mencion of her in the churches as ●vell of the East as of the West with this title Marie the mother of God This being instituted only for th● honour of Christ was by litle and litle ●ommunicated also to the mother and finally applied to her alone and ●herefore when Images began to multiplie Christ was painted as a babe ●n his mothers armes to put vs in minde of the worship due vnto him ●uen in that age But in progresse of time it was turned into the worship ●f the mother without the sonne he remaining as an appendex in the ●icture The writers and Preachers especiallie those that were contem●latiue caried with the terrent of the vulgar which is able to doe much in these matters leauing to mencion Christ inuented with one accord new praises Epithites and religious seruices In so much that aboute the yeere 1050. a daily office was instituted to the blessed virgin distinguished by seuen Canonical howres in a former which anciently was euer vsed to the honour of the diuine maiestie and in the next hundred veers the worship so increased that it came to the height euen to attribute that vnto her which the Scriptures speake of the diuine wisdome And amongst these inuented nouities this was one her totall exemption from originall sinne Yet this remained only in the breasts of some few priuate men hauing no place in Ecclesiasticall ceremonies or amōgst the learned He shevveth hovv it vvas opposed and yet after came to be receiued by the industrie of Scotus and other Franciscans vvhich is a Storie too lōg for this place From this part of the narration wee see hovv many euils sprung from that ancient inuention of painting Christ as a babe in his mothers armes vvhich it may be did litle hurt at the first and vvas beheld as a thing indifferent vvith litle or no offence accounted tollerable if allovved by authoritie The inuentors might meane as
THE LETTERS PATENTS OF THE PRESBYTERIE VVith THE PLEA AND FRVITS OF THE PRELACIE Manifested out of the Scriptures Fathers Ecclesiasticall Histories Papists and sundrie other Authors By Iames Peregrin LVK. 16.14.15 All these things also heard the Pharises vvho vvere coueteous and they derided him And he said vnto them ye are they vvhich iustifie your selues before men but God knoweth your hearts for that vvhich is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of God Printed MDCXXXII To the sacred honour of the Lord God Creator of all things and Iudge of all men ALmightie and euerlasting God vvho hast set thy king vpon thy holy hill of Sion giuen him a kingdom that all nations and languages should serue him a kingdom that shall haue no ende giue vs vvee beseech thee to knovv vvhat it is to haue him for the Christ the only King and Lavvgiuer of his church the Anointing that thou hast giuen vs and to see that vvee haue no neede that any man teach vs but as the same anointing teacheth vs of all things by himselfe and by his Apostles and Prophets O teach vs at last to abide in him as he hath taught vs that vvhen he shall appeare vvee may not be ashamed before him at his comming Thou only O Lord canst best iudge vvhat are the things that truly belong to his kingdom and gouerument vvhat subordinate officers thou hast giuen to guide thy church and vvho are Intruders and vsurpers vvho serue aright to maintaine thy Truth and gouernment and vvho to obscure and oppresse the same vvho serue thy kingdom in a right vvay vvho only pretend it not seruing thee the Lord but theire owne bellies To vvhome then but to thee O dreadfull God should I thy poore seruant dedicate these his vveake labours For thou o Lord God best knowest the work that thou hast vvrought in thine thou art best able to trie and teach others to trie the Spirits vvhether they be of God or noe thou searehest the heart the reines the end and scoape of euery mans vndertakings vvho are led by thy Spirit into all Truth and vvho are only lifted vp in an opinion thereof vvho finding thy guidance in some things presume that thou teachest them all vvhich they beleeue or to vvhich they are conformable and doe not rather thinke it better to beleeue all that thou teachest to be conformed to that and be reformed by it vvho haue thy Truth in respect of the persons authoritie and benefits of men and vvho in respect of thee alone the only fountaine of Truth Thou o God the righteous Iudge seest vvhether I haue collected these proofes obseruations for the cause of Christ alone or for sinister respects thou best knovvest thy ovvne Truth and art best able to defend it and all them that seeke it Princes are men such as trust to much to theire iudgment and protection do oft finde themselues revvarded accordingly Thou hast the hearts of kings and all other men in thy hand thou canst turne them to see and acknovvledge thy truth Thou only that makest light to shine out of darknes canst shine in theire hearts to giue them true knovvledge and obedience Other Patrons can a litle countenance a booke vvith their greate names favours but thou o Kings of kings hast a name aboue all names thou only canst persvvade Iapheth to dvvell in the tents of Shem. Thou only canst informe and assure the heart in thy ovvne Truth VVho is able to hinder the light thereof vvhen thou vvilt haue it knovvne acknovvledged O therefore be mercifull vnto vs cause the light of thy countenance to shine vpon vs that thy vvay may be knovvne vpon earth thy sauing health vnto all nations that they may see the things that belong vnto their peace least haueing them hid from theire eies they groape at noone day straine at a gnat swallow a Camel Thou art the greate God that vvilt take account of euerie mans vvorkes and bring euerie secret vvorke and counseil vnto light It is thy grace and protection that I stand in neede of O be vvith me and forsake me not but shevv thy might in my vveakenes This g●ace vvhat else thou knovvest needefull for me the Reader or any of thy afflicted people grant vnto vs all for Iesus Christ his sake the Sonne of thy loue to vvhome vvith thee and thy holy Spirit three persons and one God be ascribed as due is all honour might maiestie and dominion novv and for euer To the Christian Reader IF a man Christian Reader liuing in Rome Spaine or any other kingdom where the truth is in any point oppressed should to conuince and conuert his nation be desirous to set out a booke on that subiect he would easely conceiue that by making himselfe publick he should nothing benefit the cause he might fall and perish in the inquisition before three men could come to reade it and that therefore it were better to liue obscurely and get it secretly printed and dispersed who could for this either blame him or vnder nice pretences reiect his proofes fairely deducted out of Gods word So if I considering that I haue liued an obscure life a● smale and of no reputation that in this case to make my self publick would doe no good but rather raise against me many mightie and vndeserued ennemies get my labour in Christs cause the sooner suppressed haue therfore tooke a like priuate course to the ende that Gods Truth might finde the more vnpreuentible passage thinke not that it will excuse any man to say of me he is a libeller or as the Pharises did of our Lord and Sauiour As for this fellow vvee knovv not vvhence he is Ioh. 9.29.33 But if God by so weake a meanes as I am open thine eyes in a point of any consequence say rather of the poore seruant as the man borne blinde of the Lord and maister If this man vvere not of God he could doe nothing Let me not be reckoned an * Gal. 4.16 enemie for manifesting Gods truth but remember that herein thou shewest thy * 1. Ioh. 5.3 loue to God if his doctrine his commandements be not grieuous vnto thee For his sake therefore reade this smale treatises and hereby thou maiest see a reason why many learned ministers do not or will not know or regard the truth in this point why the most in England are so vnwilling to know any thing thereof seast it should hinder them from subscribing and hauing of a good liuing or cause them to be put to silence if they should either preach write or speake against the gouernment of the Bishops If I haue proued that it makes greatly to the saluation of the Church and the preseruing of the faith it selfe in that puritie and simpliciue wherein it was left vnto vs by the Apostles and Prophets that the Truth of God be well knowne and manifested in this point remember it is thy duty