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A DIALOGUE, OR THE SUM OF A CONFERENCE BETWEEN SOME
GENTLEMEN, you were pleased to appoint us this time to confer with you, and to propound such questions as might give us satisfaction in some things wherein we are ignorant, or at least further light to some things that are more obscure unto us. Our first request therefore is, to know your minds concerning the truc and simple meaning of those of The Separation, as they are termed, when they say the Church of England is no Church, or no true Church.
For answer hereunto, first, you must know that they speak of it as it then was under the hierarchical prelacy, which since have been put down by the State, and not as it is now unsettled.
2. They nowhere say, that we remember, that they
· That is, the Dialogue was held or written in 1648.
THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND NO TRUE CHURCH.
are no Church. At least, they are not so to be under- CHAP. stood ; for they often say the contrary.
3. When they say it is no true Church of Christ, they do not at all mcan as they are the elect of God, or a part of the Catholic Church, or of the mystical body of Christ, or visible Christians professing faith and holiness, (as most men understand the church); for which purpose hear what Mr. Robinson in his Apology,
“ If by the Church,” saith he, “ be understood the Catholic Church, dispersed upon the face of the whole earth, we do willingly acknowledge that a singular part thereof, and the same visible and conspicuous, is to be found in the land, and with it do profess and practise, what in us lies, communion in all things in themselves lawsul, and done in right order."
4. Therefore they mean it is not a true church as it is a National Church, combined together of all in the land promiscuously under the hierarchical government of archbishops, their courts and canons, so far differing from the primitive pattern in the Gospel.
Wherein do they differ then from the judgment or practice of our churches here in New England ?
Truly, for matter of practice, nothing at all that is in any thing material ; these being rather more strict and rigid in some proceedings about admission of members, and things of such nature, than the other ; and for matter of judgment, it is more, as we conceive, in words and terms, than matter of any great substance ; for the churches and chief of the ministers
BROWNISTS AND SEPARATISTS.
CHAP. here hold that the National Church, so constituted and
governed as before is said, is not allowable according
any such are evident, we suppose the other will not disagree about an implicit covenant, if they mean by an implicit covenant that which hath the substance of a covenant in it some way discernible, though it be not so formal or orderly as it should be. But such an implicit (covenant] as is no way explicit, is no better than a Popish implicit faith, (as some of us conceive,) and a mere fiction, or as that which should be a marriage covenant which is no way explicit.
Wherein standeth the difference between the rigid Brownists and Separatists and others, as we observe our ministers in their writings and sermons to distinguish them?
The name of Brownists? is but a nickname, as
· The learned and ever-memora- charitable sentiment; Difference ble John Hales, of Eton, said of of opinion may work a disaffection this word Separatist, “Where it in me, but not a detestation. I may be rightly fixed and deservedly rather pity than hate Turk and charged, it is certainly a great of- infidel, for they are of the same fence ; but in common
metal and bear the same stamp as among us, it is no other than a I do, though the inscriptions differ. theological scarecrow." Works, i. If I hate any, it is those schismatics xv. Foulis, 1765.
that puzzle the sweet peace of our James Howell, in one of his church; so that I could be content letters, aping the style, whilst de- to see an Anabaptist go to hell on a void of the liberal spirit of Sir Brownist's back.” Letters, p. 270, Thomas Browne, has the following (ed. 1754.)
PURITANS AND HUGUENOTS.
Puritan · and Huguenot, &c., and therefore they do CHAP. not amiss to decline the odium of it in what they may. But by the rigidness of Separation they do not so much mean the difference, for our churches here in New England do the same thing under the name of secession from the corruptions found amongst them, as the other did under the name or term of separation from them. Only this declines the odium the better. See Reverend Mr. Cotton's Answer to Mr. Baylie,
page the 14th.3
That some which were termed Separatists, out of some mistake and heat of zeal, forbore communion in lawful things with other godly persons, as prayer and hearing of the word, may be seen in what that worthy man, Mr. Robinson, hath published in dislike thereof.
We are well satisficd in what you have said. But they disser also about synods.
I See note' on page 12.
du nom des Eignots de Genève, un ? The origin of this word is un peu autrement prononcé.” The known. Some have thought it term was first applied to the Calwas derived from a French and vinists of the Cevennes in 1560. faulty pronunciation of the German See Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. iv. word eidgnossen, which signifies 368; Fleury, Hist. Eccles. xviii. confederates, and which had been 603. An admirable Memoir of the originally the name of that valiant French Protestants, both in their part of the city of Geneva, which native country and in America, entered into an alliance with the written by that accurate annalist, Swiss cantons in order to maintain Dr. Jlolmes, is contained in the their liberties against the tyranni- Mass. Hist. Coll. xxii. 1–84. cal attempts of Charles III. duke 3 “ Neither was our departure of Savoy. These confederates were from the parishional congregations called eignots, and from thence very in England a separation from them probably was derived the word hu as no churches, but rather a secesguenots. The Abbé Fleury says, sion from the corruptions found . Ils y furent appelés Huguenots, amongst them."
NO SYNODS AMONG THE SEPARATISTS.
It is true we do not know that ever they had any solemn Synodical Assembly. And thc rcason may be, that those in England living dispersed and could not mcet in their ordinary mcctings without danger, much less in synods. Neither in Holland, where they might have more liberty, were they of any considerable number, being but those two churches, that of Amsterdam and that of Leyden. Yet some of us know that the church [of Leyden] sent messengers to those of Amsterdam, at the request of some of the chief of them, both elders and brethren, when in their dissensions they had deposed Mr. Ainsworth and some other both of their elders and brethren, Mr. Robinson being the chief of the messengers sent; which had that good cflect, as that they revoked the said deposition, and confessed their rashness and error, and lived together in peace some good time after. But when the churches want neither peace nor light to exercise the power which the Lord hath given them, Christ doth not direct them to gather into synods or classical meetings, for removing of known offences either in doctrine or manners; but only sendeth to the pastors or presbyters of each church to reform within themselves what is amongst them.
" A plain pattern,” saith Mr. Cotton in his Answer to Mr. Baylie, page 95, “in case of public oflences tolerated in neighbour churches, not forthwith to gather into a synod or classical meeting, for redress thereof, but by letters and messengers to admonish one another of what is behooveful; unless
· Ilere something seems to have been omitted.