This leading Puritan advocated theocracy over democracy: “I do not conceyve that ever God did ordeyne as a fitt government eyther for church or commonwealth”
The word of God doe conteyne a short … platforme, not onely of theology, but also of other sacred sciences … attendants, and hand maids thereunto, which he maketh ethicks, eoconomicks, politics, church-government, prophecy, academy. It is very suitable to Gods all-sufficient wisdome, and to the fulnes and perfection of Holy Scriptures, not only to prescribe perfect rules for the right ordering of a private mans soule to everlasting blessednes with himself, but also for the right ordering of a mans family, yea, of the commonwealth too, so farre as both of them are subordinate to spiritual ends, and yet avoide both the churches usurpations upon civill jurisdictions … and the commonwealths invasion upon ecclesiastical administrations … , and conformity to the civill state. Gods institutions (such as the government of church and of commonwealth be) may be close and compact, and co ordinate one to another, and yet not confounded. God hath so framed the state of church government and ordinances, that they may be compatible to any commonwealth, though never so much disordered in his frame. But yet when a commonwealth hath liberty to mould his owne frame … I conceyve the scripture hath given full direction for the right ordering of the same …. Mr. Hooker doth offer that noe man fashioneth his house to his hangings, but his hangings to his house. It is better that the commonwealth be fashioned to the setting forth of Gods house, which is his church, than to accommodate the church frame to the civil state. Democracy I do not conceyve that ever God did ordeyne as a fitt government eyther for church or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed? As for monarchy, and aristocracy, they are both of them clearely approoved, and directed in scripture, yet so as referreth the soveraigntie to himselfe, and setteth up Theocracy in both, as the best forme of government in the commonwealth, as well as in the church.When your Lordship doubteth, that this corse will draw all things under the determination of the church … (seeing the church is to determine who shall be members, and none but a member may have to doe in the government of a commonwealth) be pleased (I pray you) to conceyve, that magistrates are neyther chosen to office in the church, nor doe governe by direction from the church, but by civill lawes, and those enacted in generall corts, and executed in corts of justice by the governors and assistants. In all which, the church (as the church) hath nothing to doe: onely, it prepareth fitt instruments both to rule, and to choose rulers, which is no ambition in the church, nor dishonor to the commonwealth; the apostle, on the contrary, thought it a great dishonor and reproach to the church of Christ, if it were not able to yield able judges to heare and determine all causes amongst their brethren. I Cor. VI. 1 to 5. Which place alone seemeth to me fully to decide this question; for it plainely holdeth forth this argument: It is a shame to the church to want able judges of civill matters (as v. 5) and an audacious act in any church member voluntarily to go for judgment, other where than before the saints (as v. 1.) then it will be noe arrogance nor folly in church members, nor prejudice to the commonwealth, if voluntarily they never choose any civill judges but from amongst the saints, such as church members are called to be. But the former is cleare: and how then can the latter be avoyded? If this therefore be (as your Lordship rightly conceyveth) one of the maine objections if not the onely one which hindereth this commonwealth from the entertainment of the propositions of those worthy gentlemen, wee intreate then, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to consider, in meekness or wisdome, it is not any conceite or will of ours, but the holy counsell and will of the Lord Jesus (whom they seeke to serve as well as wee) that overruleth us in this case; and we trust will overrule them also, that the Lord onely may be exalted amongst all his servants. What pittie and griefe were it, that the observance of the will of Christ should hinder good things from us!
But your Lordship doubteth, that if such a rule were necessary, then the church estate and the best ordered commonwealth in the world were not compatible. But let not your Lordship so conceyve. For, the church submitteth it selfe to all the lawes and ordinances of men, in what commonwealth soever they come to dwell. But it is one thing, to submit unto what they have noe calling to reforme; another thing, voluntarily to ordeyne a forme of government, which to the best discerning of many of us (for I speake not of my selfe) is expressly contrary to rule. Nor neede your Lordship feare (which yet I speak with submission to your Lordships better judgment) that this corse will lay such a foundation, as nothing but a mere democracy can be built upon it. Bodine confesseth, that though it be status popularis, where a people choose their owne governors; yet the government is not a democracy, whether one (for then it is a monarchy, though elective) or by many, for then (as you know) it is an aristocracy. In which respect it is, that church government is iustly denyed … to be democratical, though the people choose their owne officers and rulers.
Nor neede wee feare, that this course will, in time, cast the commonwealth into distractions, and popular confusions. For (under correction) these three things doe not undermine, but doe mutually and strongly mainteyne one another (even those three which wee principally aime at) authority in magistrates, liberty in people, purity in the church. Purity, preserved in the church, will preserve well ordered liberty in the people, and both of them establish well-balanced authority in the magistrates. God is the author of all these three, and neyther is himselfe the God of confusion, nor are his wayes the wayes of confusion, but of peace