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most of the people born and bred in a country, so made and called Christian, are Christians the same way that people born and bred in a Heathenish or Mahometan country, are Heathens or Mahometans. Thus we have heard of a great church, and lesser churches also come of her, and separated from her, boasting of being the spouse of Christ, and the mother of God's children, while, at the same time, the most of the children appear plainly never to have been begotten by the feed of God's word, but by the influence of the kings of the earth, standing in connection with the church. And this is very like what the New Testament speaks of the mother of harlots, committing fornication with the kings of the earth. And in consequence of this, the children of the true church, that appeared to be begotten by the word of God, have been seen living with that mother of harlots, and with these harlots sprung of her, and separated from her, as children in the same family with that spurious brood; yea, and so far imposed on, as to call any of these harlots their mother; and yet this is nothing else but the daughter of Zion dwelling with the daughter of Babylon. And the Lord's call to them now is to come forth, that they share not in her sins, and in consequence of that, of her plagues : for he that scattered Ifrael will gather him and feed him as a shepherd doth his flock, and bring his sheep out of all places, , where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark Ana tichristian day.

The native consequence of this conjunction of the church, and the kings of the carth, to bring forth Christians, was such a form of the Christian profession, as is consistent with a visible denial of the power of it, or such as under which men might visibly seek themselves, and follow the course of this world, and fulfill the lufts thereof, and so Christianity become a broad way, wherein all the people of a nation might walk with ease, as Chrift foretold false prophets would make it, and not a strait and narrow way, as our Lord and his apostles made it : for the nations, peoples, and multitudes, begotten between the church and the kings of the earth, could not walk in that way: The gate was too strait, and the way too narrow for them. And it can be no wonder, to see even a great multitude stirred up to great zeal for the strictest form of national Christianity, while others are for a more easy form ; because the strictest form of it must Nill be so easy as to admit of a whole nation under it : and men must be fond of a way wherein they may walk with


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some ease to their lusts, and yet believe they are in the nara row way that leads to eternal life. Though the disappointment will be hard upon them in the issue, yet, in the mean time, it gives their consciences some more ease, and it soothes their pride too.

Another consequence of this connection of the church with the powers of the earth, is that which is called the coercive power of the magistrate about the church: for by the same influence behoved the nations to be kept in fubjection to the national form of Christianity, by which they were at first brought under it : and as this was not owing to the influence of the word of the gospel, so neither could the clergy trust to it for the other. And as

And as if the sanctions of Chrilt's laws were not sufficient, and he not sufficient to make them effectual unto all their ends, the magistrate behoved to annex fanctions of his own to the laws of Christ; and so make them effectual upon a people that would not be influenced by the fanctions that Jesus Christ had apnexed to his laws: So that the profeffed subjection of these people to these laws, was not a profession of subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority, as was the professed subjection of men to the gospel at the first; but a profession of subjection to the magistrate instead of Christ. Thus Mr Erskine, in one of his fermons, cannot be defended from bringing an unrighteous charge against these potentates, that take upon them to grant a toleration to any doctrine, or any worship, inconsistent with the doctrine, worship, and government, that Christ hath instituted; when he ranks them among these that justle Christ out of his place, as he on whose shoulders the government of the church is laid : for if these potentates he may mean did otherwise, they would then stand in his place, and take his government upon their shoulders, and rule the fear, or worship and service of God, instead of him who is the ruler of the fear of God; yea, and bring in their own fear in the room of the fear of God.

By this power of the kings of the earth about these national churches, they stood adorned with the furniture of the kings of the earth, who also shielded them in the enjoyment of the privileges that they bestowed on them, and defended them against heretics and schismatics : whereas Jesus Christ is the shield and glory of the true church, that is cloathed with him, and has this world under her feet, and wears the doc. trine of his apostles as her crown.

And this is also another fruit of the connection of the church with the kings of the earth, that a church fo connected with them laboured under difficulties, in keeping up the pretence of her connection with Jesus Christ, in a con. sistency with her connection with the legislative powers of the earth, whereby she was established. And no wonder if hereupon should ensue two parties in such a church ; fome, as their interest led, chusing to insist on the pretence of her connection with Jesus Christ; unto the weakening of the other connection, and others insisting on the real connection with the legislative power that established her, unto the weakening of the other pretended connection ; and these that are at the helm in church-courts going this last way, while others, that cannot get into the management, strive to ftir


up the people the other way. And if they that manage the church should, at any time, insist vehemently on the pretence of connection with Jesus Christ, unto the weakening of the other, it could not miss to produce such convullions in the nation, as the contention of a man and wife for the pre-eminence makes in a family. But, however it be, this connection of the church and the kings of the earth makes it fome way necessary for the members of the church, as fuch, to be politicians as well as Christians, and to be let in to the affairs of the state, as well as into the affairs of the kingdom of heaven.

Further, when, by the legiflative power of the nation, the maintenance of the ministers of the church is provided for, and their authority over the people of the nation raised and fecured, this must, in the nature of the thing, be an allure. ment to worldly men to f:ek into the ministry, that seek no. thing but their own honour, gain, and case, and to lay out themselves for it, as men do for any honourable, gainful, and easy worldly employment. And whatever professions or subscriptions be required of them, when connected with such temporal advantages, these will be complied with by multicudes that have nothing but these advantages in view.

When there are several candidates for the oversight of a parish, and contending parties, there is a necessity for some standing rule to go by, to avoid utter confusion; and this role müst be confiftent with the connection betwixt the church and the legislative power of the nation, whereby a lone that set of clergy that poffeffes parishes has the pofsession of them.

In this case, it is not possible that this stated rule can be agreeable to the role observed by Christians, when there was VOL. I.

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no connection between the church and the powers of thie earth, and no worldly advantages secured unto the ministers of the gospel, or connected with the ministry of the word, by the legislative power of any nation of this world, and no maintenance provided for them by any law but the law of Christ that influences only his willing people. And it is easy for the party that finds not this rule calculated for them, co raise a cry against it, as not agreeable to the practice of the fi: Christians, recorded in scripture, and therefore disagreeable to the law of Christ. But was there a national church and a national covenant, and the coercive power of the magistrate about the church, cutting off heretics, and giving no toleration to any but the right fort of Christians; or, was there a national church by law established among the first Christians ? And why then do not these men cry out on these things alfo, as disagreeable to the kingdom of Christ? The answer is, Ay, but that was the infancy of the church, when there was no Christian magiftrate, and so no legal efta. blidhment. And this answer will serve in the other case alfo: fo that, if our worldly honour, gain, and ease, will not fuffer us to be conformed to that infancy of the church in these things, why will we be conformed to that infancy in this thing, that behoved to alter with the other alterations, and as a consequent of them ? But even then, when it is faid, the church was in infancy, they that contributed to the maintenance of the pastors chused them ; church-members chused them : so that the alteration is at least no greater here than it is in the other things. To tell a man, in those days, that he would be obliged to maintain the teacher, though he had no liberty to chuse his own teacher, would have been then an odd story. And yet we have not heard any outcry or scruple at taking stipend from a difaffected heritor, or rai. fing an augmentation from his estate by law; though the ground of scruple, in this case, be the same as in the other.

As to the liberty of the Christian people, it cannot be said to be more taken away by this act of afsembly, than it has been by all the acts and methods of doing about fettling parilhes that have been in Scotland : for the majority of heads of families destroyed the liberty of the minority, and the greater part of all focieties is not always the belt, the head of a family representing the family, and yet at last differing from them in his choice, destroyed the liberty of the persons in his family capable to chufe, and perhaps better Chrillians than himself; and lay-elders representing the people may

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the same. And if a master of a family may thus represent his servant, a better Christian than himself, what is the difference, as far as Christ's law is concerned, betwixt this and a Jandlord's representing his tenant ? So that unless it be re. duced to the old consent of the whole church, (without the lording of any one church member over another, either as to the receiving or rejecting of a minister), when there was no connection between the church and the kings of the earth, and every Christian professed subjection to Christ in support. ing his paftor, it is no great matter which way men be put in parishes, and in possession of the benefice afforded by law, providing it be still in the greatest agreeableness to the legislative power of the nation, and to the connection between that and the national church.

But the ancient Christian liberty remains entire, not withstanding patronage, as it now stands, and the present act of assembly: for while they provide teachers for people that would neither chufe nor maintain them, if left to themselves, there is nothing in these acts, under the present government, that offers violence to no man's conscience, to hinder any that are not satisfied with the public teachers to chuse their own teachers, and contribute to their maintenance, as they chuse their own physicians. But it is far calier for the people to make grievous complaints of the want of liberty to chuse teachers, whose maintenance is otherwise provided for, without any foundation in the scriptures, than to chuse them, and be at the charge of maintaining them according to the scriptures. And it is easier for ministers to be popu. lar, by contending for the liberty of the people, while they enjoy the public maintenance, than to Icave their worldly ad. vantages, to serve the Christian people in the ministry, and live as they are capable to enable them, and on the provi. dence of the head over all things to the church. Though yet, if none of these that are bred for the legal maintenance will deny themselves, and serve them in the ministry of the word, it is still agreeable to Mr Erskine's sermon, that they ihould chuse from among themselves, men not educated for the stipends that the law provides, but knowing more of God, and of the things of God, than even the builders that reckon them among the accursed mob. And these may be as easily maintained as the first Christian elders, before whom Paul sec himself, at the same time, as an example of great labour in the ministry, and of labour with his hands : and if his ex. ample be to be followed by elders, or ministers of the word,

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