Daniel Cawdrey, a prolific Westminsterian writer on Church Government, explains how to heal the divisions in Christ’s church. This is a treatise on church government and one of Cawdrey’s most popular defenses.
A Vindication of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven into the Hands of the Right Owners, by Daniel Cawdrey (1588-1664)
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Dr. Edmund Calamy called Daniel Cawdrey, “a man of great consideration, eminently learned, and a noted member of the assembly of divines.” He preached sometimes to the members of parliament…was ejected from his living at Great Billing, and separated from his friends and his flock by the act of uniformity, after having labored, for the edification of his people in that place, for 37 years.” (Taken from Thomas Smith’s, “Select Memoirs of the English and Scottish Divines,” also Published by Puritan Publications.)
Over 10,000 documents on the subject of church government during the time of the Westminster Assembly were written and published. Daniel Cawdrey was among the most able writers in defense of Presbyterial Government. In this work Cawdrey deals with the issue of authority, power, rule, ordination, church planting and lawful preaching. He writes against the prolific writer and minister of New England congregationalism, John Cotton. Cotton had written a number of tracts, and Cawdrey answers them ably.
In following Cawdrey’s lucid arguments one must take notice of the quandary that John Cotton falls quickly into; contradiction and downright confusion. Cawdrey is looking to unite the churches of Jesus Christ, not separate them. He is writing against schism. Cawdrey’s writings were always laced with hard truth, but filled with a desire for people to think rightly about the topic, with fairness and desire to see Christ’s church united, not ripped apart.