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is limited in both alike.
do things unreasonable, and without cause. So that | for the matter, it is all there described and appointit will be an unequal challenge, and a peevish quar-ed; and to those determined senses the Spirit must rel to allow of set forms of prayer made by private assist, or not at all, only for the words he shall take persons, and not of set forms made by the public his choice. Now I desire it may be considered spirit of the church. It is evident that the Spirit sadly and seriously, is it not as much injury to the Spirit to restrain his matter, as to appoint his words? Which is the more considerable of the two, sense or language, matter or words? I mean when they are taken singly, and separately. For so they may very well be, for as, if men prescribe the matter only, the Spirit may cover it with several words and expressions; so, if the Spirit prescribe the words, I may still abound in variety of sense, and preserve the liberty of my meaning: we see that true, in the various interpretations of the same words of Scripture. So that, in the greater of the two, the Spirit is restrained when his matter is appointed; and to make him amends, for not trusting him with the matter without our directions and limitations, we trust him to say what he pleases, so it be to our sense, to our purposes. A goodly compensation surely.
117. But if, by "conceived forms" in this objection, they mean extempore prayers, (for so they would be thought most generally to practise it,) and that in the use of these, the liberty of the Spirit is best preserved; to this I answer, that the being extempore, or premeditate, will be wholly impertinent to this question of limiting the Spirit. For there may be great liberty in set forms, even when there is much variety; and there may be great restraint in extempore prayers, even then when it shall be called unlawful to use set forms. That the Spirit is restrained, or that it is free in either, is accidental to them both; for it may be either free, or not free, in both, as it may happen.
118. But the restraint is this, that every one is not left to his liberty to pray how he list, (with premeditation or without, it makes not much matter,) but that he is prescribed unto by the spirit of another. But if it be a fault thus to restrain the Spirit, I would fain know, is not the Spirit restrained when the whole congregation shall be confined to the form of this one man's composing? Or shall it be unlawful, or at least a disgrace and disparagement, to use any set forms, especially of the church's composition? More plainly thus:
119. Secondly; Doth not the minister confine and restrain the spirit of the Lord's people, when they are tied to his form? It would sound of more liberty to their spirits, that every one might make a prayer of his own, and all pray together, and not be forced or confined to the minister's single dictate and private spirit. It is true, it would breed confusions, and, therefore, they might pray silently till the sermon began, and not for the avoiding one inconvenience run into a greater, and to avoid the disorder of a popular noise restrain the blessed Spirit; for even in this case, as well as in the other, where the Spirit of God is, there must be liberty.
120. Thirdly; If the spirit must be at liberty, who shall assure us this liberty must be in forms of prayer? And if so, whether also it must be in public prayer, and will it not suffice that it be in private? and if in public prayers, is not the liberty of the spirit sufficiently preserved, that the public spirit is free? That is, the church hath power, upon occasion, to alter and increase her litanies. By what argument shall any man make it so much as probable, that the Holy Ghost is injured, if every private minister's private spirit shall be guided (and therefore, by necessary consequence, limited) by the authority of the church's public spirit?
121. Fourthly; Does not the Directory that thing, which is here called restraining of the Spirit,-does it not appoint every thing but the words? And after this, is it not a goodly palladium that is contended for, and a princely liberty they leave unto the Spirit, to be free only in the supplying the place of a vocabulary, and a "copia verborum?" For as
122. Fifthly; Did not Christ restrain the spirit of his apostles, when he taught them to pray the Lord's prayer, whether his precept to his disciples concerning it was, Pray this," or "Pray thus;" "Pray these words," or Pray after this manner?" Or though it had been less than either, and been only a directory for the matter, still it is a thing which our brethren, in all other cases of the same nature, are resolved perpetually to call a restraint. Certainly then, this pretended restraint is no such formidable thing. These men themselves do it by directing all of the matter, and much of the manner, and Christ himself did it, by prescribing both the matter and the words too.
123. Sixthly; These restraints, as they are called, or determinations of the spirit, are made by the Spirit himself. For I demand, when any assembly of divines appoint the matter of prayers to all particular ministers, as this hath done, is that appointment by the Spirit or no? if no, then for aught appears, this directory, not being made by God's Spirit, may be an enemy to it. But if this appointment be by the Spirit, then the determination and limitation of the spirit is by the Spirit himself; and such indeed is every pious and prudent constitution of the church, in matters spiritual. Such as was that of St. Paul to the Corinthians, when he prescribed orders for public prophesying, and interpretation, and speaking with tongues. The spirit of some he so restrained, that he bound them to hold their peace; he permitted but two or three to speak at one meeting, the rest were to keep silence, though possibly six or seven might, at that time, have the spirit.
124. Seventhly; Is it not a restraint of the spirit to sing a psalm in metre, by appointment? Clearly, as much as appointing forms of prayer, or eucharist; and yet that we see done daily, and no scruple made. Is not this to be partial in judgment, and inconsiderate of what we do?
125. Eighthly; And now after all this strife, what harm is there in restraining the spirit in the present sense? What prohibition? What law?
What reason or revelation is against it? What inconvenience in the nature of the thing? For, can any man be so weak as to imagine a despite is done to the Spirit of grace, when the gifts given to his church are used regularly, and by order? As if prudence was no gift of God's Spirit, as if helps in government, and the ordering spiritual matters, were none of those graces, which Christ, when "he ascended up on high," gave unto men. But this whole matter is wholly a stranger to reason, and never seen in Scripture.
126. For, divinity never knew any other vicious restraining the spirit, but either suppressing those holy incitements to virtue and good life, which God's Spirit ministers to us externally, or internally, or else a forbidding by public authority the ministers of the word and sacraments, to speak such truths as God hath commanded, and so taking away the liberty of prophesying. The first is directly vicious "in materia speciali:" the second is tyrannical and antichristian. And to it persecution of true religion is to be reduced. But as for this pretended limiting or restraining the spirit, viz. by appointing a regular form of prayer, it is so very a "chimæra," that it hath no footing or foundation upon any ground, where a wise man may build his confidence.
127. Ninthly; But lastly, how if the spirit must be restrained, and that by precept apostolical ? That calls us to a new account. But if it be not true, what means St. Paul by saying, "The spirits of the prophets must be subject to the prophets ?" What greater restraint than subjection? If subjected, then they must be ruled; if ruled, then limited; prescribed unto, and as much under restraint, as the spirits of the superior prophets shall judge convenient. I suppose by this time, this objection will trouble us no more. But perhaps another will.
128. For, why are not the ministers to be left as well to their liberty in making their prayers, as their sermons? I answer, the church may if she will, but whether she doth well or no, let her consider. This I am sure, there is not the same reason, and I fear the experience the world hath already had of it, will make demonstration enough of the inconvenience. But, however, the differences are many.
129. First; Our prayers offered up by the minister, are in behalf and in the name of the people; and, therefore, great reason they should know beforehand what is to be presented, that if they like not the message they may refuse to communicate, especially since people are so divided in their opinions, in their hopes, and in their faiths; it being a duty to refuse communion with those prayers, which they think to have in them the matter of sin or doubting. Which reason, on the other part, ceases. For the minister being to speak from God to the people, if he speaks what he ought not, God can right himself, however, is not a partner of the sin,-as, in the other case, the people possibly may be.
130. Secondly; It is more fit a liberty be left in preaching than praying, because the address of
our discourses and exhortations is to be made according to the understanding and capacity of the audience, their prejudices are to be removed, all advantages to be taken, and they are to be surprised that way they lie most open; "But being crafty, I caught you," saith St. Paul to the Corinthians. And discourses and arguments "ad hominem," upon their particular principles and practices, may more move them than the most polite and accurate that do not comply, and wind about their fancies and affections. St. Paul, from the absurd practice of being baptized for the dead, made an excellent argument to convince the Corinthians of the resurrection. But this reason also ceases in our prayers. For God understandeth what we say sure enough; he hath no prejudices to be removed, no infirmities to be wrought upon, and a fine figure of rhetoric, a pleasant cadence and a curious expression, move not him at all: no other twinings and compliances stir him, but charity, and humility, and zeal, and importunity, which all are things internal and spiritual. It was observed by Pliny, "Deos ipsos, non tam accuratis adorantium precibus, quàm innocentiâ, et sanctitate lætari: gratioremque existimari, qui delubris eorum puram castamque mentem, quàm qui meditatum carmen intulerit." " And, therefore, of necessity, there is to be great variety of discourses to the people, and permissions accordingly, but not so to God,-with whom a "Deus miserere" prevails, as soon as the great office of forty hours, not long since invented in the church of Rome, or any other prayers spun out to a length beyond the extension of the office of a pharisee.
131. Thirdly; I fear it cannot stand with our reverence to God, to permit to every spirit a liberty of public address to him, in behalf of the people. Indeed, he that is not fit to pray, is not always fit to preach; but it is more safe to be bold with the people, than with God, if the persons be not so fit. In that there may be indiscretion, but there may be impiety and irreligion in this. The people may better excuse and pardon an indiscretion, or a rudeness, if any such should happen, than we may venture to offer it to God.
132. Fourthly; There is a latitude of theology, much whereof is left to us, so without precise and clear determination, that without breach either of faith or charity, men may differ in opinion: and if they may not be permitted to abound in their own sense, they will be apt to complain of tyranny over consciences, and that men lord it over their faith. In prayer this thing is so different, that it is imprudent, and full of inconvenience, to derive such things into our prayers, which may with good profit be matter of sermons. Therefore, here a liberty may well enough be granted, when there it may better be denied.
133. Fifthly; But indeed, if I may freely declare my opinion, I think it were not amiss, if the liberty of making sermons were something more restrained than it is, and that either such persons only were intrusted with the liberty, for whom the church herself may safely be responsive, that is, to men Plin. Panegyr. Trajan. dictum.
they have considered, and many such cases will occur in extempore or unlicensed prayers, that need much considering before we attest them. But if the people be not intelligent, they are apt to swallow all the inconveniences which may multiply in so great a license and therefore it were well that the governors of the church, who are to answer for their souls, should judge for them, before they say
learned and pious, and that the other part the "vulgus cleri" should instruct the people out of the fountains of the church, and the public stock, till by so long exercise and discipline in the schools of the prophets, they may also be intrusted to minister of their own unto the people. This, I am sure, was the practice of the primitive church; when preaching was as ably and religiously performed as now it is; but in this I prescribe nothing. But truly I" Amen;" which judgment cannot be without set think the reverend divines of the assembly are many of them of my mind in this particular, and that they observe a liberty indulged to some persons to preach, which, I think, they had rather should hold their peace, and yet think the church better edified in their silence, than their sermons.
134. Sixthly; But yet methinks the argument objected so far as the extempore men make use of it, if it were turned with the edge the other way, would have more reason in it; and instead of arguing, "Why should not the same liberty be allowed to their spirit in praying as in preaching?" it were better to substitute this: "If they can pray with the Spirit, why do they not also preach with the Spirit?" And, it may be, there may be in reason or experience, something more for preaching and making orations by the excellency of a man's spirit and learning, than for the other, which, in the greatest abilities, it may be unfit to venture to God, without public approbation: but for sermons, they may be fortunate and safe, if made extempore. "Si calor ac spiritus tulit, frequenter accidit, ut successum extemporalem consequi cura non possit; Deum tunc adfuisse, cum id evenisset, veteres oratores, Cicero ait," dictitabant."x Now let them make demonstration of their spirit, by making excellent sermons extempore: that it may become an experiment of their other faculty, that after they are tried and approved in this, they may be considered for the other and if praying with the Spirit be praying extempore, why shall not they preach extempore too, or else confess they preach without the Spirit, or that they have not the gift of preaching? For to say that the gift of prayer is a gift extempore, but the gift of preaching is with study and deliberation, is to become vain and impertinent. "Quis enim discrevit ?" "Who hath made them of a different consideration?" I mean as to this particular, as to their efficient cause? Nor reason, nor revelation, nor God, nor man.
135. To sum up all. If any man hath a mind to exercise his gift of prayer, let him set himself to work, and compose books of devotion; (we have need of them in the church of England, so apparent need, that some of the church of Rome have made it an objection against us ;) and this his gift of prayer will be to edification. But, otherwise, I understand it is more fit for ostentation, than any spiritual advantage. For God hears us not the sooner for our extempore, long, or conceived prayers, possibly they may become a hinderance, as in the cases before instanced. And I am sure, if the people be intelligent, and can discern, they are hindered in their devotion; for they dare not say "Amen," till * Quintilian. 10, 7, 14.
forms of liturgy. My sentence therefore is, iva μévwμev woñeρ loμèv, "let us be as we are already;" few changes are for the better.
136. For if it be pretended, that in the liturgy of the church of England,-which was composed with much art and judgment, by a church that hath as much reason to be confident,—she hath the spirit and gift of prayer, as any single person hath; and each learned man, that was at its first composition, can as much prove that he had the Spirit, as the objectors now-a-days (and he that boasts most, certainly hath the least): if, I say, it be pretended, that there are many errors and inconveniences, both in the order and in the matter of the common prayer-book, made by such men, with so much industry: how much more, and with how much greater reason, may we all dread the inconveniences and disorders of extempore and conceived prayers? Where respectively there is neither conjunction of heads, nor premeditation, nor industry, nor method, nor art, nor any of those things, or at least, not in the same degree, which were likely to have exempted the common prayer-book from errors and disorders. "If these things be done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry ?"
137. But if it be said, the extempore and conceived prayers will be secured from error by the Directory, because that chalks them out the matter; I answer, it is not sufficient, because, if when men study both the matter and the words too, they may be, and, it is pretended, are actually, deceived,
much more may they, when the matter is left much more at liberty, and the words under no restraint at all. And no man can avoid the pressure and the weight of this, unless the compilers of the Directory were infallible, and that all their followers are so too, of the certainty of which I am not yet fully satisfied.
138. And after this, I would tain know, what benefit and advantages the church of England, in her united capacity, receives by this new device? For the public, it is clear, that whether the ministers pray before they study, or study before they pray, there must needs be infinite deformity in the public worship, and all the benefits which before were the consequents of conformity and unity, will be lost; and if they be not valuable, I leave it to all them to consider, who know the inconveniences of public disunion, and the public disunion that is certainly consequent to them, who do not communicate in any common forms of worship; and to think that the Directory will bring conformity, is as if one should say, that all who are under the same hemisphere, are joined "in communi patriâ," and will love like countrymen. For under the Directory
there will be as different religions, and as different desires, and as differing forms, as there are several varieties of men and manners under the one half of heaven, who yet breathe under the same half of the globe.
139. But ask again, what benefit can the public receive by this form, or this no form? For I know not whether to call it. Shall the matter of prayers be better in all churches? shall God be better served? shall the word of God, and the best patterns of prayers, be always exactly followed? It is well if it be. But there is no security given us by the Directory; for the particulars, and special instances of the matter, are left at every man's dispose for all that, and we must depend upon the honesty of every particular for it and if any man proves a heretic, or a knave, then he may introduce what impiety he please into the public forms of God's worship: and there is no law made to prevent it, and it must be cured afterward, if it can, but beforehand it is not prevented at all by the Directory, which trusts every
learning is required. He that knows not this, knows nothing of the craft that may be in the preacher's trade. But what? Is God better served? I would fain see any authority, or any reason, or any probability for that. I am sure, ignorant men offer him none of the best sacrifices extempore, and learned men will be sure to deliberate and know, God is then better served when he is served by a public, than when by a private spirit. I cannot imagine what accruements will hence come to the public: it may be some advantages may be to the private interests of men. For there are a sort of men, whom our blessed Saviour noted, "Who devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers."-They " make prayers," and they "make them long;" by this means they receive double advantages, for they get reputation to their ability, and to their piety. And although the common prayer-book, in the Preface to the Directory, be charged with unnecessary length, yet we see that most of these men, they that are most eminent, or would be thought so, make their prayers longer, and will not lose the benefits which their credit gets, and they, by their credit, for making their prayers.
140. But I observe that all the benefit which is pretended, is, that it will make an able ministry. "Maximus verò studiorum fructus est, et præmium quoddam amplissimum longi laboris, extempore 141. Add this, that there is no promise in Scripdicendi facultas," said an excellent person.y And ture, that he who prays extempore shall be heard it is very true; to be able to speak excellent things, the better, or that he shall be assisted at all to such without long considering, is an effect of a long in- purposes; and, therefore, to innovate in so high a dustry, and greatest learning; but, certainly, the matter, without a warrant to command us, or a progreatest enemy in the world to its production: much mise to warrant us, is no better than vanity in learning, and long use of speaking, may enable a the thing, and presumption in the person. He, man to speak upon sudden occasions, but speaking therefore, that considers that this way of prayer is without consideration will never make much learn- without all manner of precedent in the primitive ing. "Nec quisquam tantum fidi ingenio, ut sibi church, against the example of all famous churches speret incipienti statim posse contingere, sed sicut in all christendom, in the whole descent of fifteen in cogitatione præcipimus, ita facilitatem quoque ages, without all command or warrant of Scripextemporalem à parvis initiis paulatim perducemus ture; that it is unreasonable in the nature of the ad summam :' " And to offer that, as a means of thing, against prudence and the best wisdom of getting learning, which cannot be done at all as it humanity, because it is without deliberation; that ought, but after learning is already gotten, in a very it is innovation in a high degree, without that augreat degree, is highest mistaking. I confess I am thority which is truly, and by inherent and ancient very much from believing the allegation, and so will right, to command and prescribe to us in external every man be, that considers what kind of men forms of worship; that it is much to the disgrace they are that have been most zealous for that way of the first reformers of our religion; that it gives of conceived prayer. I am sure that very few of encouragement to the church of Rome to quarrel, the learnedest, very many ignorants, most those with some reason, and more pretence, against our who have the least abode in the schools of the pro-reformation, as being by the Directory confessed to phets. And that I may disgrace no man's person, we see tradesmen of the most illiberal arts, and women, pretend to it, and do it with as many words, (and that is the main thing,) with as much confidence, and speciousness of spirit, as the best among them." Sed nec tumultuarii nec fortuiti sermonis contextum mirabor unquam, quem jurgantibus etiam mulierculis superfluere video;" said Quintilian. And it is but a small portion of learning that will serve a man to make conceived forms of prayer, which they may have easily upon the stock of other men, or upon their own fancy, or upon any thing in which no
have been done in much blindness, and, therefore, might err in the excess as well as in the defect, throwing out too much, as casting off too little (which is the more likely, because they wanted no zeal to carry them far enough): he that considers the universal deformity of public worship, and the no means of union, no symbol of public communion being publicly consigned; that all heresies may, with the same authority, be brought into our prayers, and offered to God in the behalf of the people, with the same authority that any truth may, all the particular matter of our prayers being left to the
choice of all men of all persuasions,—and then ob- | ticular men are not fit to be intrusted to offer in pubserves, that actually there are in many places heresy, and blasphemy, and impertinency, and illiterate rudenesses, put into the devotion of the most solemn days and the most public meetings; and then, lastly, that there are divers parts of liturgy for which no provision at all is made in the Directory, and the very administration of the sacraments left so loosely, that if there be any thing essential in the forms of sacraments, the sacrament may become ineffectual for want of due words, and due administration ;—I say, he that considers all these things (and many more he may consider) will find that par
lic with their private spirit to God, for the people, in such solemnities, in matters of so great concernment, where the honour of God,-the benefit of the people, the interest of kingdoms,—the being of a church,—the unity of minds, the conformity of practice,-the truth of persuasion,-and the salvation of souls, are so much concerned as they are in the public prayers of a whole national church. An unlearned man is not to be trusted, and a wise man dare not trust himself: he that is ignorant cannot, he that is knowing will not.