A SERMON TO THE CLERGY: [ A] [ B] [ C] ON
1 CORINTH. xiv. 1.
IT is the wisdom of Gods dispensation with his Church under both the Testaments, he founded them both, and trained them up under Promises, and Expectations. In the former, Pater promisit Filium. The Patriarchs and Prophets, they hoped, and longed for the Incarnation of the Son. In the found∣ing of the second Testament, Filius promisit Spiritum. The A∣postles, and Disciples, and the Christian Church, they expect∣ed, [ E] and waited for the descent of the Spirit. S. Chrysostom ob∣serves, and makes this difference: Christ, at his coming, he was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 then the law was accomplished, and it, with old Simeon died with Christ in his arms, at the receiving of him; the Page 396 Spirit, that is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, the fulfilling and accom∣plishment [ A] of the Gospel. The Spirit then, that's the portion, and expectation of Christians.
Of Christians in general; but principally, and in the first place, promised, and imparted to the Ministers, and Governours of the Church of Christ; and then by their Ministery conveyed to others. As S. Ierom distinguishing 'twixt Bishops, and Priests, Episcopus, Patres Ecclesiae generat; Presbyter, Filios; so Christ, first provides and sanctifies Patres Ecclesiae, afterwards by them, he doth generare filios, the common believers. Graces and gifts in a Minister, they are virtually as much, as in multitude of au∣ditours. [ B] They are like Seals, or Prints; one character in them, begets the like in thousands that take impression from them. The Apostles, they first received the promise of the Spirit; they, like Gideo•…s fleece, were moistned with this heavenly dew, when all about them were wholly dry; by them it was derived to common Christians. S. Augustine compares this de∣scent of the Spirit to the first rising of the Sun; first it enlightens the Mountains, and from them reflects into the lower Valleys; The Apostles, and Ministers, they are these holy Mountains, re∣flecting their Beams upon inferiour Christians. S. Ierom likens [ C] them to those twelve Fountains at Elim; other disciples must be planted by them, and draw moisture from them, like the se∣venty Palm-trees.
Which makes S. Paul direct this passage of his Epistle touch∣ing the gifts of the Spirit, especially to the Sons of the Prophets, that aimed at the publick Ministry, and Service of the Church of Corinth. As the Lacedaemonians, fitting their children to some trade of life, brought them into a room full-furnished with instruments of all Professions, that so they might choose in what trade they might be serviceable to the Common-wealth; so the [ D] Apostle brings them into the Church, Officinam gratiarum, the Store-house of all Gods graces, that in the view, and conside∣ration of them, they may make their choice. And lest, like children, they should fancy the gayest, omit the most useful, he gives them direction for the most serviceable graces to the Church of God. And this he doth in the representation of a most lively, and elegant Allegory. As S. Peter in a vision being called to preach, had a vessel let down full of the bodies of di∣vers beasts for his choice, and use; (their conpora bruta, were animae humanae, the beasts signified men;) so in these twelve, [ E] and thirteen, and fourteen Chapters, here is a representation of the body, and several members of man, head, hands, eyes, feet; here membra humana, are dona divina, for our choice and practice.
Page 397And as in the disposition, and frame of our bodies, so in this [ A] dispensation of these gifts of grace, three things are observable in the Apostles discourse, severally handled in these three Chap∣ters, and together collected, and united in my Text:
- 1. Varietas m•…mbrorum; A body consists of diverse parts, branches it self into manifold members; so here is, multiplicitas donorum, the Spirit diffuses it self into manifold gifts; Effundam Spiritum meum, not a drop, or two, but a plentiful showre of all kind of graces; here are healings, languages, miracles, and all comprised in my Text, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, all kind of graces. That's the first, Varietas donorum, Plenty and variety. [ B]
- 2. A second thing remarkable in the body, is disparitas mem∣brorum; all are not alike useful, none equally beautiful; so here is disparitas donorum; This holy body, herein is like to that a∣bominable image in Daniel; The arms of silver, the thighs of brass, the legs of clay, and mean composure; The graces of the Spi∣rit, though none are superfluous, yet some are more useful, and of special Improvement; That's included in the other branch of my Text, in this Comparative, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. That's the second choice and disparity.
- 3. A third thing in the body, is Excellentia unius membri; [ C] some one hath the preheminenoy above the rest, is more vital, and useful, more beautiful, and comely, like that Head of gold, Dan. ii. 32. So here is Excellentia doni; that's in the first, and chiefest branch of my Text, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Saint Paul pre∣ferrs Charity, before Faith, and Hope, and all other Graces; That's the third thing observable, Preheminence and Excel∣lency.
The Words are the Apostle's direction, for a fitting enable∣ment to the work of the Ministery; and it consists upon three Particulars: [ D]
- 1. Here are tria objecta; the Apostle propounds and com∣mends to them three Objects;
- 1. Charity.
- 2. Spiritual Gifts.
- 3. Prophecy.
- 2. Here are tres actus; three acts he preswades them to, tend∣ing to these objects:
- 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, An act of Prosecution.
- 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, An act of Emulation; The next is implied in,
- 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, And that is Eligite, an act of Choice and E∣lection. [ E]
- 3. Here are tres gradus; he orders them into three degrees answerable to their true worth, and opposite to the erroneous esteem of these Corinthians. Amongst these three, Charity, Spi∣ritualPage 398Gifts, Prophecy, they did set the chiefest price, and most [ A] doted upon the least profitable, Miracles and Languages; All would speak Tongues, and work Miracles, but little account was made of Prophecy. Like those Sons of Sceva, Acts xix. they would work miracles themselves, leave preaching to others, We adjure you by Iesus, whom Paul preacheth. And even those who did prophesie, did it in strife, and much contention, puf∣fing up themselves, not building up others. All their gifts were void of Charity, no thought had of that. The Apostle inverts this order; like the Master of the Feast, Luke xiv. displaces those that had got the highest room; preferrs the lowest, sets [ B] Charity in the first place; Follow after Charity: next after it, preferrs Prophecy,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: leaves the third and last room to Tongues and languages. Thus as Christ in the raising of Iairus his daughter to life, so S. Paul at Corinth, in the converting of a sinner;
- 1. He puts out the Minstrels, an unlikely means to re∣cover life again; displaces Languages, which S. Paul, Vers. 7. compares to Minstrels, a dead sound of piping, and harping: Then,
- 2. He brings in Prophecy, that is a quickning word, like [ C] Christs word to the Damosel; that, fetches her to life again: Then,
- 3. He brings in Charity, like the Parents of the Damosel, to feed and nourish her; that, feeds, and maintains, and streng∣thens her.
Come we to the,
First Object, Charity; that is the principal, and the chiefest Grace; and the Observation hence, is briefly this; that, Charity and Compassion to the Church of Christ, above all other graces, [ D] is a principal gift required in a Minister. Look upon Aaron the High Priest, in his holy attire, and then ask David the mora∣lity of all that Ceremony; As the precious oyntment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aarons beard, that went down to the skirts of his garment, Psal. cxxxiii. 2. without which, it was death to serve in the Temple; so comely, and ne∣cessary, in the office of a Minister, is charity, and compassion to the Church of God. S. Paul preferrs it before faith, and hope, and all other graces. Though not for personal, and private use, yet for service, and benefit to the Church of God, it ex∣ceeds them all. 'Tis a fundamental preparative, and disposi∣tion [ E] for all other graces, and enablements; and that in these three respects:
- 1. Ut habeat; It fits and enables him for the receipt, and obtaining of them. In this case, it is with the working of the Page 399 Spirit, as with his Being. As naturally he proceeds, per modum amo∣ris; [ A] so, graciously he inspires and sanctifies, per modum charitatis. Multa remissa, many sins forgiven, because she loved much; and so, multa concessa, many graces infused, if we love much. This was represented in the first effusion of the Holy Ghost. The Apo∣stles were in one house, and in one mind, in a charitable union; and then they received those cloven tongues. Of which S. Aug. speaks, alluding to those two descents of the Holy Ghost: they had first Spiritum unitum in columba, before divisum in linguis; He descended in the appearance of a Dove; the Emblem of Cha∣rity; after that, In linguis divisis, in tongues and languages: [ B] They were together in one mind, and in one house combined in charity. As Origen observs of Iob's children; Mark, saith he, their charitable affection! Satan could sooner kill them all toge∣ther, then by any breach of love, make them fall out, and live asunder. This Chrysostom notes in S. Paul's Conversion, and Call to the Ministery; God observed his zealous affection to the Synagogue, how strongly he loved his Mother-Church; Christ would especially gain him to his service: As a Captain, who sees in his enemies Camp, a valiant, and resolute Souldier for the good of his Country, labours by all means to work him [ C] on his side, and furnishes him with his choisest armour; so God calls S. Paul, and enables him with his richest graces. That's the first thing observable; Ut habeat, it fits and enables him for all other graces.
- 2. Ut Ecclesiae habeat. When they are infused, Charity stirrs them up, and improves them to the use, and advantage of the Church of Christ. Other gifts, without charity, rest in the person into whom they are infused; charity disperses, and con∣veys them to others. See this express'd in S. Paul's Similitude; The whole body is compacted by that which every joynt supplies— [ D] and makes an increase of the body unto the edifying of it self in love. Other graces without charity, as meat received into the body without the natural warmth, lies clogging the stomach; but Charity, like the vital heat, concocts, and conveys them to every member; it makes a supply to every part, Eph. iv. 16. That's the reason, that of all other graces, God requires our charity to be bestowed on his Church; he seems to part with his own right in it, and sets it over to his Church. If God so loved us; What then? The inference, we should think, were more natu∣ral; Then we must love him again: But God parts with his in∣terest, [ E] bestows it on his children; Then ought we to love one another, 1 Ioh. iv. 11. He requires us to exhibit it to his Church.
- 1. In signum amoris; then 'tis best tryed. Every man Page 400 will love God: it is best discovered in our love to [ A] his Church.
- 2. In fructum amoris; the fruit of our charity cannot reach to him. As David, desiring to shew love to Ionathan even after his death, inquires out Mephibo∣sheth, or any of his children, that they might enjoy what Ionathan could not. Quod homini proficit, Deo servit, saith Tertullian. Then charity is most service∣able to God, when it is profitable to his Church.
The Church, that is commended especially to our love and charity. As S. Bernard observes of Christs provision for his Mo∣ther [ B] at his death; he commended her to S. Iohn his loving disci∣ple, and in terms of love, Behold thy Mother, and, Behold thy Son; so in the disposition, that's the principal affection to which Christ commits it. Art thou a Minister? conceive Christs voice from his Cross to thee, Behold thy Mother, behold thy Son. This was the Preface to S. Peter's charge; Peter, lovest thou me? then, feed my flock. Of both which Speeches to S. Peter, and S. Iohn, Aquinas conceits, that, answerable to their affection, so was their commission. Saint Peter loved Christum mysticum in membris, Christ in his members; to him therefore the Church was by [ C] name commended. Saint Iohn loved Christum personalem, Christ in his person; to him therefore he committed the care of his Mother.
Love is the affection that's principally required. This we see typified in Aarons brest-plate; the names of the Israelites they were ingraven, and set upon the holy Pectoral, not upon his shoulders onely for care and burden, but upon his breast, the seat of love; they must be dear and tender to him. It is a sin in any man to be void of Charity; but it is an hainous impiety in a Priest. It had been cruelty in any Jew, not to regard his bro∣ther's [ D] wounded and bleeding body; but for a Levite, and a Priest to pass by, and neglect the body, nay the soul, of their brother without charity and compassion, what sin more abo∣minable?
Without this gift, all other graces they are fruitless and un∣profitable, sine hac, nihil sum, saith the Apostle; not minor, or parvus, but nihil sum. Had I all Languages, even to the tongues of Angles; had I all Miracles, to remove Mountains; had I all Patience, even to the enduring of Martyrdom, (Quale crimen, saith Cyprian, quod nè Mariyrio quidem potest expiari?) sine hac [ E] nihil sum. And cum hac, omnia sum. Charity bears all, believes all, hopes all. Strange! The act of Charity is onely to love; Elicit suum actum, imperat omnem. As a spring in a clock sets all the wheeles going; or the Primum mobile in Heaven carries Page 401 all the Spheres with it. Art thou to Prophesy? Charit•… cogit, [ A] saith the Apostle, The love of Christ constrains. Hast thou Lan∣guages? they are unprofitable in themselves divided from Cha∣rity. Charity directs and unites them together, Ex una lingua, factae sunt multae, hoc superbia fecit; ex multis facta est una, hoc charitas facit. Aug. Saint Iames speaking of malicious tongues, saith, They are set on fire of Hell, and they set on fire, the whole course of nature in strife and confusion; so these gifts of tongues, being set on fire by charity, as by fire from Heaven, they set on fire the whole course of nature, in grace and conversion.
Not, as if Charity were absolutely necessary; as if none but [ B] a Convert could convert others. Tongues, and Miracles, as we see in Iudas, they may do good; but not so kindly, as when love imployes them. As S. Augustine observes of Christ's Mira∣cles, they prevailed the more with his Auditours, because they were not onely signa potentiae, but fructus amoris. They were miracula salutaria, helpful, and beneficial. Had they been no∣civa, as Moses his were in Egypt, they would have bred hatred and terrour, driven men farther from him; or, had they been innocua, to remove Mountains, to fly in the air, they would have wrought wonder, and astonishment; but they were salu∣taria, [ C] healing, and feeding, and raising from the dead; these were beneficial, and provoked love, and affection. As the Prophet, when he laid his staff upon the child, which was signum potentiae, it never fetch'd life; but the embracing of his arms, that was fructus amoris, that warm'd and enliven'd him. Miracles, and languages, they may do good, but not so kindly.
Much more, Prophesying, though divided from Charity, hath its use and profit for the conversion of others. To this purpose, S. Augustine, alluding to that of S. Paul, Some preach Christ of [ D] good will, others on by-respects, Quidam, saith he, non castè prae∣dicant Christum; tamen, his auditis, fideles nascuntur. As in na∣tural generation, so likewise in spiritual, Quidam ad concubi∣tum ingrediuntur, non voluntate generandi, sed luxuriandi libi∣di•…e, in lust, not in love, and desire of posterity; and yet they beget children, ex f•…cunditate seminum, non ex turpitudine vi∣tiorum. The seed of the word, it hath vim plasticam, & pro∣lificam, a power of regenerating, though dispensed and applied by one not-converted. Let the seed be good that is sown in the furrows, it skils not what the hand be that scatters it abroad. [ E] Pastores mali, saith S. Augustine against the Donatists, bad Shep∣herds may feed the flock in good Pastures. Prophecy without Charity hath a power of converting, but not so kindly. As a Chirurgeon, or Physician, is more affectionately careful of his Page 402 own body, then of a stranger's life. The one he doth Ex Arte, [ A] to shew his skill; the other In Affectu, in Sympathy of affection. The one preaches, Ut lucretur famam, for credit and ostenta∣tion; the other, Ut lucretur fratrem; Thou hast gained thy bro∣ther, saith our Saviour, accounting every Christian, as S. Paul did Onesi•…us, his own bowels; and esteeming S. Iames his reward, the best encouragement; Hast thou converted a sinner? Know thou hast saved a soul from death, and hast hid a multitude of sins. That's a second Inforcement, Ut Ecclesiae habeat. Charity improves all his gifts for the benefit of the Church.
- 3. Ut Sibi habeat. Charity makes them comfortable, and [ B] profitable to his own soul. That's the excellency of Charity above these other Graces. Tongues without Prophecy, edifie no man; Prophecie without Charity, edifies others, helps not him∣self; Charitas, & alios, & seipsum; He saves himself, and those that hear him. Tongues without Prophecie, like Nimrod, they build a Babel, they confound themselves, and bring confusion to others. Prophecie without Charity, like Noah's workmen, they build an Ark, edifie the Church, but themselves perish. Cha∣rity, with Noah, builds for himself and his whole family, saves himself and the Church of Christ. Prophecie without Charity, [ C] it is like light in the Stars, Lucem in se, Galorem in aliis, it's light onely in it self, begets heat in others: Prophecie with Cha∣rity, is like light in the fire, Lucet, & Ardet, lightens, and en∣flames both himself, and others. Prophecie without Charity, nourishes others, feeds not himself: Non gustat; as that Samari∣tan Governour, provides for the people, but himself starves; or, Tantùm gustat, hath some smack or relish of saving truth, but feeds not upon it; Like Nurses, that taste onely of that, their children live upon. Charity eats, and digests, and grows by it. Prophecie without Charity, doth Sua Deo, Se Diabolo, as Saint [ D] Gregory speaks, bestows his fruits and pains upon God, himself upon the Devil. Plus dat qui & fructum, & arborem dat, quàm qui solum fructum, saith Aquinas out of Anselm. Charity conse∣crates both tree and fruit, himself and his labours, to God and his Church. That's a third Inforcement, Ut sibi habeat. Chari∣ty is a fundamental spiritual Grace; then, Prophecie; then other gifts, are like colours well laid. Charity is a ground-colour, Prophecie upon it, is a lasting-tincture; then Tongues, and Languages, like varnish upon these, are for show and orna∣ment. [ E]
That's the first Object propounded and commanded, Charity. Pass we on to the
Second,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉▪ Spiritual gifts. And from hence observe, that the right aim, and chiefest desire of a faithfull, and worthy Page 403 Minister, 'tis for spiritual blessings; And this we may con∣sider, [ A]
- 1. In the Kind,
- 2. In the Parts of them.
I. The Kind and Condition of them will appear in a double Opposition:
- 1. Is Spiritualia, not Naturalia. He contents not himself with natural endowments, strength of wit, largeness of memory, quickness▪ of apprehension; nay, denies them, being severed from Grace, as fruitless, and unprofitable. Stultus fito, ut fias sapiens, is the Apostle's word. Thou, in thy Calling to be a Minister, must [ B] be in S. Pauls case, struck blind, before enlightened; Lucem occoecantem habuit, before illuminantem; (As the light of the Sun will put out a Candle); and circumfusam before in•…usam, saith Saint Bernard, to make him know how he came by it, before he received it. Natural knowledge, in S. Iames his account, 'tis earthly, sensual, devillish; earthly in the original, sensual in the use, devillish in the end and issue of it. The mysteries of our Calling are above the reach of created nature. Animae creationem, intel∣ligunt & Daemones; the Devil is a better Naturalist, then the greatest Philosopher; Animae conversionem, ignorant & Angeli; [ C] the Angels adore these mysteries of Conversion. The strongest natural parts, they are no better then Crab-stocks in this Garden of the Church; if they have not that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as S. Iames terms it, the word engraffed upon them, they continue fruitless. As S. Augustine, discoursing of Moses and Paul, the great spirit and courage they shewed before their calling; Moses his valour in slaying the Egyptian, Pauls zeal for the Jewish Synagogue; he compares them to rich grounds untilled, overgrown with weeds; Non virtutum fructibus inutiles erant, quamvis vitiosa magnae fertilitatis ferebant indicia; they might prove good, if [ D] well husbanded; but as they are, quò meliores, eo deteriores; the greater are our parts, the greater are our sins. And yet how ready are we to judge and account all to be natural? Which makes S. Paul challenge these Corinthians; What hast thou that thou hast not received? 'Tis purposely meant of Ministerial en∣dowments. And S. Iames foresees how soon we mistake; and therefore saith he, Err not, my dear brethren, they are all from above; no parts of nature, but gifts of grace. That's the first Opposition; Spiritualia, not Naturalia.
- 2. Spiritualia, not Temporalia; and that in a double Con∣sideration. [ E]
- 1. Not Temporale, Spirituali contrarium.
- 2. Not Temporale, Spirituali annexum.
- 1. Not Spirituali contrarium; Not that it is incompa∣tible, Page 404 and cross to our spiritual Calling: No, but the aim of a [ A] Christian, (especially of a Minister) 'tis spiritual, and heavenly. Christ taught us this Lesson in his first Call; He chose the poorest, those who were loosest from the world, to be his Embassadours. Temporal Kings, Per divites ad pauperes, they publish their Laws by rich men, to the poor; Christ, Per pauperes ad divites, he sends the poor to preach to the rich. Temporal blessings, be they at the best, are unworthy to be nam'd, as the aim of a Mi∣nister; Aestimant Sor•…em pretio vilissimo, bono temporali; we abase our Calling to prize it no higher. Coelum, Thro•…s Dei; ter∣rena, bona Scabelli. Prayest thou for spiritual graces? he reach∣eth [ B] thee them from his Throne in heaven. Art thou craving temporals? he spurns to thee those from his Footstool on earth. Spiritual blessings, they come near to the nature of God; earthly are heterogeneous, and of a lower condition. By graces, we are made partakers of the divine nature, saith the Apostle Saint Peter. To neglect these for temporal good things, 'tis to loath Mannah, and long for Onyons, and Garlick of Egypt. Allium & Coepe, prae Coelo spirant, saith Tertullian. That's the first Conside∣ration; not Temporale contrarium.
- 2. Not Spirituali annexum; Even those temporals [ C] that are due, every way due (for such there be, think Church∣robbers what they list) and by God himself annext to our Cal∣ling, they are not the chief aim and choice of the Minister. Non vestra, sed vos, is the Apostle's profession; We seek not yours, but you; no, not Nostra, though originally due; with Solomon, craving Wisdom in the first place, riches and honours God will cast upon him; with Elisha, desiring of God the doubling of Elijah's spirit upon him, the Mantle for warmth and ornament he takes up afterwards. As Christ, not onely preferring his spi∣ritual food, Verbum Dei, before Satans bread that's Spirituali [ D] oppositum; but Voluntatem Patris, the doing of his Fathers will, before his Disciples bread, which they bring to him, that's Spiri∣tuali annexum.
And indeed, 'tis fit they should be void of these earthly inferiour distractions, that are to mind heavenly. These fowls of heaven should be provided for, without their sowing and reap∣ing; these Lillies of Paradise should not toil, nor spin, and yet grow and flourish. As S. Augustine alluding to Gods ourse upon Cain for killing of his brother, Let the earth be barren unto thee, when thou tillest it; Quid congruentius, saith he, quàm ut illum cujus [ E] scelere frater occisus est, in terra laborantem sterilitas sequeretur; illis, quorum ministerio salvantur, de crastino minime cogitanti∣bus fructuosa terra serviret? Cain, who kill'd his brother, even when he labours, is curst with barrenness; Ministers, who save Page 405 their brethren, even though they labour not, must be provided [ A] for with fruitfulness; That's the second, Not Spirituali an∣nexum.
That's the Kind; I come
II. To the Parts of them;
1. It is Spirituale donum; Seek, and labour for spiritual en∣ablements. The inclinations of nature must be strengthened, and elevated with gifts of grace. The weightiest employments require the greatest enablements. Those three great Callings, Kings, Priests, Prophets, they were all anointed; to signifie that large measure of grace, that those Callings required. Nay, the [ B] High-Priest had all the holy oyl poured out upon him; to signifie his Calling required plenty of grace; the inferiour Servitors were but onely sprinkled in a sparing manner. Indeed, to be gifted, and fitted by the holy Spirit, 'tis the only comfortable assurance to thy conscience of thine inward Calling; Gods Seal set 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, without which, the warrant of the Church, 'tis but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Ink and Paper, as S. Paul distinguishes.
And yet, how many run before they be sent? suing, like Ahi∣maaz to the Ioabs of Israel; But what if I run? though they have no tidings. Who, if they were questioned, whether they [ C] have received the Holy Ghost in some competencie of gifts, must return the answer of those uncatechiz'd Novices, Act. xix. We know not whether there be any Holy Ghost, yea, or no. No, God never em∣ploys, but he always enables; as Saul did with David, when he sent him to fight, he put on his own Armour; he will strengthen thee with his own Spirit, to discharge His business.
That's the first; Spirituale donum.
- 2. Is Spirituale ut officium; Seek and labour for spiritual em∣ployments. And indeed, Donum obligat ad officium; the conferring of a gift, it is the exacting of a service: 'Tis like Press-money, [ D] if once thou receivest it, thou art bound to do service. Thou art a servant and thou must, and thou hast a Talent and thou mayst be profitable to thy Masters advantage. To have the first, Spirituale donum, without this second, it is to no advantage. Do∣num in habitu, 'tis Talentum in sudario; Donum in exercitio, 'tis Talentum in mensario, it gains, and increases. Donum in habitu, 'tis a Candle in a bushel; exercise and employ it, 'tis set on a Candlestick. Without exercise and practice, saith S. Bernard, thou art Lux modii; with it, thou art Lux mundi. Not onely the mispending, but the neglecting of this gift condemns thee. S. Paul [ E] bids Timothy〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; fire goes out for want of blowing, as well as with quenching. Mettal, not onely wears out by use, but is eaten with rust. And what saith S. Iames? The rust of your gold shall witness against you, not onely the mispending. The rust of our Page 406 gifts, as well as the mis-using shall rise up, and condemn us. To be [ A] able to preach, and not to perform it, S. Augustine counts it like the sin of Onan, Maledictus qui non suscitat semen in Israel; prae∣dicando Christum, generare Christianum. Art thou invited to preach, and yet refusest? Art thou shod with this preparation of the Gospel, and yet refusest when the Church calls for thine help? thou shalt be discalceatus in Israel. If thou wilt not raise up seed to thy elder brother Christ, the Church may pull off thy shoes, and spit in thy face; Nè sis in eorum numero, quorum pedes sunt speciosi. 'Tis S. Augustine's Allegory. That's the second; Spirituale, ut officium. [ B]
- 3. Spiritualem potestatem. Labour for, and desire onely spiritual power, and authority. As in the first, Donum obligat ad officium; so here, Officium disponit ad potestatem. Our authority, and power is onely spiritual. The weapons of our warfare, are divinitùs potentia. Thus S. Chrysostom magnifying and prefer∣ring his spiritual power; To a King, are bodies committed; to a Priest, souls; they fight with sensible armour, we with spiri∣tual: They fight against Barbarians, I fight against Devils; as he speaks elswhere: his doctrine is to him, as fire and sword. The censures are onely spiritual, that the Church inflicts. This thun∣der [ C] of the Church, like that from Heaven, melts the metal, med∣dles not with the sheath; works upon the soul.
And yet what a stirr keeps that Priest of Rome for his tempo∣ral Power to be joyned with spiritual? Joyning with his Pasto∣ral Staff, an Imperial Sword; (as we see some Rapiers sheathed up in Staves;) in censuring of the Church, wishing as Balaam did in beating of his Ass, I would my staff were a sword in my hand, for then would I kill thee.
And yet we exclude not all temporal power as utterly unlaw∣ful. 'Tis not a consequent from our spiritual, but yet it is com∣patible [ D] with it. Christ doth not command it, but the Prince may conferr it. Onely of our selves, 'tis meerly spiritual. That's the third part; Spiritualem potestatem, a spiritual authority.
I come briefly to the,
Third Object propounded to them, and that is Prophecy. And by it, I conceive, with Expositors, not any extraordinary mira∣culous Revelation, but an ordinary set course of preaching, and interpreting, and opening the Mystery of the Gospel; in S. Pauls description, A speaking to men to edifying, to exhortation, and comfort. And then take notice of the nature, and honour of this [ E] holy function. Preaching, 'tis Prophesying.
- 1. It is loco Prophetiae; 'tis in the room and stead of Reve∣lation and Prophecy. As the Israelites were first fed with Man∣nah, afterwards, that ceasing, they fed on the fruit of the Land. Page 407 Prophecy now ceasing, we must wait for no more Visions, but [ A] rest our selves on the set word of God. See this observable in the closure of both the Testaments. Malachi, the last of the old Prophets, shuts up the Old Testament with this Seal; Re∣member ye the Law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, with the Statutes, and Iudgments, till Elias comes; there were no more Prophets till Iohn at Christs first Coming. S. Iohn, the last of the Apostles, he seals up the New Testament with the same Closure; no more additions to the New Testament, till Christs second Coming. We have Mo∣ses and the Prophets, Christ and the Apostles, in stead of Reve∣lation: [ B] It is loco Prophetiae.
- 2. It is aequale Prophetiae; 'tis as good as Prophecy, of the same nature, springing from the same Fountain, and Original: As the fire on the Altar, though maintained, and fed with ordi∣nary fewel; yet is counted heavenly, because the first Original of it was from Heaven. The Scriptures contain fully the mar∣row and pith of all former Prophecies in the Old Testament. As at the first Creation, the Lord made an extraordinary light, but after, conveyed it into the body of the Sun, and Moon, and all light now arises from them; so in the beginnings of the Church, [ C] God set up an extraordinary light of Prophecy: now he con∣veys it all into the body of the Scripture, comprehending all sa∣ving truths that they reveal. It is, aequale Prophetiae.
- 3. It is, melius Prophetiae; it is better then Prophecy. The ordinary Word, especially of the Gospel, is more excellent, and useful, then extraordinary Revelations under the Law;
- 1. Ratione certitudinis. Saint Peter calls the Scripture, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a surer word, then a voice from Hea∣ven. As the motion of a star is more certain and re∣gular then an extraordinary Comet. [ D]
- 2. Ratione claritatis. The Gospel is more clear and evi∣dent then either Prophecy, or Priesthood in the Old Testament. That was but Lucerna, saith S. Peter, this is Lucifer; that was but like a Candle, this like the Day∣star springing in our hearts.
The clearness of the Old Testament, it was but splendor vul∣tus, the face of Moses did onely shine in his Revelations; the clearness of the New Testament, is splendor pedum, their very feet are glorious that preach the Gospel. The shining of the Old Testament was splendor in velamine, as S. Paul observes; [ E] the very clearness of that was hidden, and vail'd over with much obscurity; Christs shining in the New Testament, 'tis far more evident, 'tis velamen in splendore: his very garments are clear, and glorious as the Sun. The clear preaching of Christ,Page 408 made Iohn the Baptist, greater then the Prophets; the meanest of [ A] our Calling, greater then Iohn the Baptist. This evident preach∣ing, and pointing out Christ, makes some of the Fathers com∣pare Prophets to Cocks, the nearer the Sun-rising, the lowder they crow: The nearest to Christ, makes the clearest preach∣ing.
- 3. Ratione perpetuitatis: Preaching is better then prophe∣sying, in the lasting continuance and perpetuity. Pro∣phecy, it is but temporary, as a Candle in S. Peter's account. Lucerna, & accendi debet, & extingui po∣test, saith S. Aug. A Candle, it is soon put out. The [ B] Ministery of the Gospel, is as the Sun in the Firma∣ment, not to be darkned till the last day. 'Tis an everlasting Gospel, Rev. xiv. 6. Preaching, and Bapti∣zing have a Patent of eternity; Lo, I am with you al∣way, even unto the end of the world, Matth. xxviii. 20. Thus S. Gregory compares miraculous gifts in the In∣fancy of the Church, to a Childs Standing-stool; when the Child is grown, and strong, that's taken away. God hath withdrawn these extraordinary Support∣ments in this grown age of his Church. That's the [ C] third; it is, melius Prophetiae.
- 4. Let me add one Parallel more 'twixt Preachers and Prophets, and that by way of Exhortation. Saint Augustine, discoursing of the state of the Patriarchs, that their whole car∣riage and life was full of mysteries, concludes, Primorum patru•… dico, non tantum linguam, verum etiam & vitam fuisse propheti∣cam, illudque regnum Hebraeorum magnum quendam fuisse Prophe∣tam; their Common-wealth was a Prophet, it was so full of My∣steries. As they in Mysterie, so now in Morality, should not the lives of our Preachers, should not the state of our Churches, [ D] even in this sense, prophesie? equal and parallel them in sanctity and piety? prophesying in our lives, preaching in our examples? every action to be a doctrine? the whole carriage of our lives a continued instruction to those that behold us, not onely by speaking, but even 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; as Na•…ianzen professes of his own endeavour. When we are silent, by example edifying, non tantum lingua, sed etiam & vita fuit prophetica.
So much for the Objects. Now follow, Secondly, the three Acts;
- 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, An Act of Prosecution. [ E]
- 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, An Act of Emulation.
- 3. In 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, An Act of Election.
- 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, That inferrs these Particulars;
- 1. Ex parte Objecti;
- 1. Distantiam Objecti, Distance and Remoteness. This [ A] heavenly grace, 'tis not inbred, or hard at hand, presently at∣tained to; 'tis remote, it requires prosecution.
- 2. Difficultatem Objecti; 'tis beset with Difficulties, it costs much pains, and striving. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 implies hardship, and ex∣tremity; If by any means I may attain, saith S. Paul.
- 3. Excellentiam Objecti; Rareness and excellency. It must sure be some excellent thing that deserves so much pains in prosecuting and obtaining; a precious pearl, that is worth so much inquiring. Charity, 'tis a remote, 'tis a difficult, 'tis an ex∣cellent endowment. [ B]
- Consider it,
- 2. Ex parte actus; It implies two things,
- 1. Intensionem actus; Intension and vehemency, 'Tis an act vehement, and violent. Saint Chrysostom observes upon these words of S. Paul,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, persequens Ecclesiam, justitiam, that S. Paul was as violent, and extreme for, as against, Christ; in prosecuting, as in persecuting. 'Tis a vehement intension.
- 2. Extensionem actus; Extension and continuance: it holds out, gives not over. S. Paul in Philip. iii. expresses 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 [ C] by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and that signifies, the last girds and stretchings out of the body at the end of a race, for fear of falling short. That's the extension.
- 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, That's the second act; an earnest desire upon a comparative emulation of other mens gifts. Aemulamini that implies,
- 1. Agnitionem profectus alieni, an ingenuous acknowledg∣ment of another mans Proficiency.
- 2. Confessionem defectus proprii, an humble confession of his own deficiency. [ D]
- 3. Desiderium imitationis, a strong endeavour to imitate, and equal them.
- 3. In 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, there's the third act, Eligite; an act of choice and election: And that implies two things,
- 1. Non posse omnia; we are put to our choice; ingross all gifts we cannot. God will have a necessitude, and dependen∣cy of one anothers graces. S. Paul forbids those uncharitable terms of one member to another, I have no need of thee, and I have no need of thee, arising from conceit of self-sufficiency. That's the first, Non posse omnia. [ E]
- 2. Velle meliora; make choice of the best, the most glori∣ous to God, the most profitable to his Church, the most comfor∣table to thy self; and that's Prophecy.
Let us beseech him, who is the Father of lights, from whom pro∣ceeds Page 410 every good and perfect gift, that he would pour out his [ A] Spirit upon all flesh, that our old men may prophesie, and our young men see Visions; And He make us faithful dispensers of his manifold gifts, to the building up of his Church in Cha∣rity and Unity, through Him, in whom he vouchsafes them to us, Iesus Christ, our Saviour:
To whom, &c.