Project Canterbury


Of Christian Communion,

To be kept on

In the unity of Christ's Church and among the Professors of Truth and Holiness,


Of the obligations, both of faithful pastors to administer orthodox and holy offices, and of faithful people to communicate in the same.

Fitted for persecuted or divided or corrupt states of churches when they are either born down by secular persecutions or broken with schisms or defiled with sinful offices and ministrations.

[By John Kettlewell]

In three parts.

Printed Anno Dom. 1693.



Part I. Of the duty of pastors, to exercise their spiritual powers, and afford the people orthodox and holy ministrations.

Chapter I. Of the differences here treated of, and of the schism consequent thereon.

Some grand allegations of both parties, under the differences here treated of. Of a state of schism thereby. When the sufferers may, and when they may not remedy this, by receding, and letting fall their pastoral claims and ministrations.

Chapter II. Of the immoral ways, introduced by a wrong payment of allegiance.

Under state deprivations, bishops and clergy still retain their spiritual powers. To be inquired then, whether they are still bound to exercise, and make use thereof. A representation of the immoral ways, which are brought in by a wrong payment of allegiance. The same are incurred by paying it to any, as a mere king in fact. Of these immoralities, as appearing not only in practice, but in worship and devotions. Of the care to nurse people up therein, at such times.

Chapter III. Of the cases wherein faithful bishops and ministers, are bound to stick to their pastoral powers and ministrations.

This they are bound to, when there is need thereof in the cause of religion, and for the safety of souls. It lies on them to see the faithful supplied, and the churches provided. 1. With a sinless and unpolluted worship. This in respect of immoralities as well as of idolatry and superstition in worship. Though they cannot afford it free from the company of immoral practicers, yet they ought to afford it free of immoral prayers. 2. With the ministration of all necessary truth, not only in faith, but also in practice. More particularly, 1. When dangerous and immoral practices are setting up; especially if like to become general. 2. When they are not only set up, but justified. 1. In some particular cases, especially of general concern.

Chapter IV. More of the cases, wherein faithful bishops and ministers are bound to stick to their pastoral powers and ministrations.

They are still more bound to this ministration, when 2. This justification of immoral practices, is, by eluding and vacating of moral precepts opposite thereto, by doctrinal salvos. Instances of these salvos. How they vacate the respective moral precepts. Such salvos make a change in moral doctrine, though men still own the duties under their general names. The duty of pastors to defend and bear up moral duties against such salvos, by their ministrations, shown at large. And this, when such corrupt salvos, are only the doctrines of the pastors, not the determinations of the church. They are more strictly obliged thereto, if the immoral practices justified by such salvos, are, 1. Extremely scandalous to religion. 2. Generally preached up by seducers. Or, 3. Come strongly recommended to carnal passions and interests; chiefly if driven on by general persecutions.

Chapter V. Of the obligations to actual ministration, which lie upon them in the foresaid cases.

These deduced from their office and characters, as they relate. 1. To God, and stand in place, 1. Of his messengers. 2. Of his ministers and ambassadors. The various obligations laid on them thereto by this. 3. Of his co-workers. 2. As they relate to religion, as they are ministers and stewards of its word and mysteries. The obligations arising hence.

Chapter VI. More of the obligations to actual ministration, which lie upon them in the foresaid cases.

3. As they relate to the souls of men, and are set over the church. 1. As watchmen. 2. As overseers. 3. As guides or leaders. 4. As pastors or shepherds. 5. As doctors, or standing teachers of the church. As lights of the world, and the salt of the earth. Their obligations to such exercise in the foresaid cases, from all the foresaid characters. Different degrees in this obligation. A spirit of love and zeal to Christ and his church, which stand not upon strict terms, the spring and principle of this exercise. How this clears the duty of deprived bishops and clergy, as to this exercise on such revolutions. Answerable to this obligation of the pastors, to afford such ministrations at such times, is the people's obligation to adhere to them, and attend on them for participation thereof.

Part II. Of deprivations by civil states, or ecclesiastical synods.

Chapter I. Of the force of state deprivations in the foresaid cases.

The plea of a deprivation of state, represented in bar of their ministrations in the foresaid cases. Concerning which, 1. This is to be pressed only under a supposed legal, and rightful state. 2. Its deprivation, is no conscionable discharge from their spiritual ministrations in the foresaid cases. This is meant only of pure spiritual ministrations. Not 3. Of any temporal accessions and enforcements of those ministrations; over which, the state has power, because it conferred them. As also, over some other powers belonging to the church, whilst it kept separate, which it gives up to the state, during its incorporation with it. These it gives up 1. With a salvo to the interests, of religion, and of souls. 2. Only whilst it continues protected, not when the state puts true religion under persecution.

Chapter II. Of the king's ecclesiastical supremacy received and asserted by our church.

It lies not in his being invested with, or having a sovereign disposal of the powers of orders. But 1. In retaining his civil power over all persons, whether laymen or ecclesiastics. In virtue of this civil power over the persons of ecclesiastics, he can command them faithfully to discharge their spiritual functions. 2. In the subordination of ecclesiastical courts and causes, wherein ecclesiastics are content to act subordinately, on the score of their secular mixtures and jurisdictions. And in holding all this 3. In opposition and bar of all other earthly dependence, especially of all foreign jurisdiction and appeals. This supremacy excludes not spiritual ministrations of deprived clergy in the foresaid cases. This may be collected from their adversaries' concessions.

Chapter III. Remarks on the preceding account of the force of state deprivations, and instances of deprivations alleged to the contrary, considered and cleared up.

The preceding account of the force of state deprivations, is not 1. To deny the civil power, the cognizance of bishops and ministers in civil matters. Nor any just power over ecclesiastics. 2. Nor to set the church above the state, as the papal usurpations pretend to do. Nor to mistake, or overlook the condition of an incorporate church. The deprivation of Abiathar by Solomon, considered and cleared. As also, the frequent depositions of the Jewish high priests, by the Roman governors. And of the Greek patriarchs by the Turks. And of the popish bishops, by a commission of state, pursuant to an act of parliament in Queen Mary's days.

Chapter IV. Of deprivations by synods in the foresaid cases.

Deprivation of bishops, most fit and proper for synods. Their deprivation no discharge from ministrations in the foresaid cases, as shown by reasons. And by the practice of the church. This is meant, when synods deprive for the cause of the truth; not of other mere personal crimes, where the injured must acquiesce, till relieved by regular sentence. That regard is to be had to the decisions of synods in these cases.

Part III. Of schism.

Chapter I. Of the nature of schism. And of the schism of particular members from their own church, in throwing off subjection and dependence on their own bishops.

Of the union of a society, which schism breaks. One way of uniting societies, is by uniting them under the same heads. These, in church societies, are the bishops. Union of particular members to their own church, is in keeping subject and dependant on their own lawful bishops. And their schism lies in breaking off from them; especially in setting up opposite or anti-bishops against them. So 1. In such oppositions, the anti-bishop and his adherents make the schism, if the former bishop was orthodox, and is still rightful bishop of the church. Of George the Cappadocian and Athanasius. 2. The unity of the church doth not go with the greatest numbers. What distinguisheth meetings in the unity of the church, from schismatical conventicles. Schismatics too oft the more numerous party. Much less doth it go with places of assemblies. 3. Therefore in pressing ecclesiastical unity, men must be pressed to keep united to their own orthodox rightful bishop, not to any opposite bishop. The gospel precepts of love, and peace, &c. All on this side, and not to be urged the other way. Such a schism not to be cared by the recessions of the suffering bishops in the foresaid cases.

Chapter II. Of the schism of particular churches, from other sister churches by rejecting fraternal communion therewith.

Unity of one body, to be kept up among all particular churches. This is chiefly by the union and accord of the respective bishops and pastors thereof. All orthodox bishops and churches keep this up, 1. By receiving each others members, as if they were their own members. 2. And in like sort, by refusing each others schismatics. And excommunicates: and admitting each others reconciliation and re-union of members: of communicatory letters fox those purposes.

Chapter III. Of just grounds to break off communion: particularly, of making impious and unlawful things, or unrighteous usurpations and encroachments, the terms of their communion.

Just ground to break off communion from any churches, 1. When they put impious or unlawful things into their sacred offices. Reasons hereof. Faith and worship spoke of as the great ligaments, which bind us to any church. 2. More still, if they admit none to communion in the good parts, unless they particularly concur in the corrupt ones too. 2. A second ground, is, if they make unrighteous usurpations the condition of their communion.

Chapter IV. Heresy a just ground to break off communion.

Christ's first end, was to publish a religion. Next, to incorporate it into a church or society, for the profession of it, Christian doctrine, the foundation of church society and unity. So we are not bound to associate or unite with any, longer than they keep to this doctrine, but are discharged by their heresy. And on the evidence of the fact itself, before synodical sentence. This liberty 1. For the people, and clergy, towards their own local guides, and bishops. 2. For clergy, and people of one church, towards those of another. And on defections from grand and necessary doctrines of practice, as well as of faith. Chiefly, when the ministerial defence of either, is no longer allowed in their communion. Being thus set loose from their own erring bishops and clergy, they are free to unite with others who are orthodox. And those others, are free to receive them. Canonical rules against intermeddling in others diocese, &c. No hindrance thereto. Rules of unity, not pleadable by such defectors, for uniting with them. The guilt of making the schism, lies on the defectors. Should their brethren come over, that would not cure, but make the breach from the catholic church wider.

Chapter V. Of the communion of good Christians, or with whom they are to join in divine offices under a schism.

Their obligations to stick to their orthodox rightful bishops, and to stand off from the anti-bishops and their adherents, in the forementioned cases. As retaining their baptism, they may own the schismatics as brethren: but as being in a schism, they must stand off from their communion. A great sense of the obligations, to shun the communion of schismatics, and corrupt teachers, in the first times. This was most, when charity was at the height. This will bar communion 1. With the electors, and ordainers of such anti-bishops. 2. With their clergy and people, or the assemblies of their diocese. 3. With other bishops and churches, who take their part, and communicate with them. 4. With the bishops of a province, who turn over to an anti-primate or opposite metropolitan. Of provincial union, and the rules for maintenance thereof. 5. When church divisions are made for opposite ways of worship and tenets, men will unite with such as are of their own mind, and hold communion with those, who are for the same way of necessary worship and tenets with themselves.

Chapter VI. Of ordinations of anti-bishops, which, though always schismatical, are not always nullities.

Of St. Cyprian's saying the anti-bishop is not secundus, but nullus. That anti-bishops are real bishops, and their ordinations are not null in themselves; but were admitted, in the Novatians, by the Council of Nicea. In the Donatists, by the Roman and African councils. The same shown in several other cases. Though men have orders, yet they cannot exercise the same in assemblies of the faithful, without the communion of the church. Such offenders received, sometimes to clerical, sometimes only to lay-communion, as the church saw cause. The case of the anti-bishops ordained by the schismatic Meletius. Ecclesiastical laws and discipline asserted, or abated in such receptions, as was judged most expedient for the church. The Donatists made schism, to take away the powers of orders, and are opposed therein by St. Austin. How St. Cyprian and the Africans of his age, seem to have done the same, which St. Basil disliked in them. Although their nulling the ministerial acts of schismatics, seems to be only in the way of asserting discipline and canons, by denying communion to them in their churches; not that they thought them null in themselves. How the admission of ordination of anti-bishops, consists with the bishops being the principle of unity, and is not against the nature of the spiritual monarchy. A difference as to this, between secular and spiritual monarchies: and of local limitations in conferring orders.

Chapter VII. Of the excusableness of the people's receiving ministerial offices from men in schism, rather than live without any at all.

This wants the malignity of schism. The excusableness thereof shown, 1. From the nature and importance of the things themselves. Where of the great importance of public worship, or of communion in ministerial offices. 2. From the abatements God himself has been willing to make on such necessity, in other like duties. 2. From the practice of God's people under the greatest schisms: this necessity being thought to legitimate it. 1. Among the ten tribes, whose ministrations were all in a schism. 2. With the schismatical Novatians in the height of the Arian persecution. 3. In the schismatical extirpation of episcopacy among us, in the great rebellion. 4. Under the schism of foreign churches, where the protestants have no bishops. Of the abatements the church has made, where it had great reason, in the point of shunning the communion of schismatics, and excommunicate persons, especially before they were sentenced by the church. The same equitably applicable to this case. How both a due sense of the criminallness of schism, and exercise of public worship, is provided for by this means.

Chapter VIII. Of communicating in like necessity, where there are some prayers sinful in the matter of them.

To concur or go along in any unrighteous petition or thanksgiving, is most unrighteous and profane. Of mixed prayers, where the mixtures are idolatrous, &c. Or where some immoral petitions are added to a service not exceptionable on any other accounts. Of bearing such immoral mixtures, whilst they do not particularly concur therein, but express dissent from the same, and resorting still to the assemblies where they are used, in care of keeping peace and union. Of bearing the same, for the necessity of having some ministerial offices in want of other opportunities. Mere presence at such immoral additions, no interpretative profession of concurrence therein. Chiefly if dissent be shown by some external sign. Of these concessions of favour and ease. All highly concerned to take the right way in the points here debated. Unsafe, should they take the wrong, to trust to the plea of mistake and ignorance. Of zeal against Popery alleged therein. The conclusion.

Project Canterbury