TRVTH and LOVE Happily Married in the SAINTS, And in the Churches of Christ.
PAuls chains and tears have had a prevailing rethorique; he hath wept as well as swet over his hearers with good success:* when he was to preach to Felix, though a Prison∣er, though with a Chain, he made him tremble; and here in the first Verse, he comes as a Prisoner for their sakes to beseech them; and a further and special Emphasis,* he comes to perswade them to that which is most pleasing, namely, To Vnity; to which purpose he uses four several Arguments;
First, There is a common engagement of all Saints to Vnity: I beseech you walk worthy of your Vocation, whereunto you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love; there is one body, one spirit, even as you are all called in one Page 2 hope of your calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all; here is a whole bundle of Arguments, in this first consider your Vocation, those Priviledges to which you are advanced thereby; and they leave a very great obligation upon you, as Saints to study Vnity.
[ 2] Secondly, There is an Argument from the Equity of the thing,* in the 7. Verse. Vnto every one of us is given grace, accord∣ing to the measure of the gift of Christ: unto every one of us; eve∣ry one hath some gift, as it pleases Iesus Christ to proportion out such a measure to this Saint, and such a measure to that Saint; the little finger in the mystical body, so much as is fit for him, in the hand, so much as is fit for him, and this with a common respect, that there might be a mutual use of all those, with sub∣serviency to the whole; in reference to the mystical body of Christ, there is an equity in it.
[ 3] Thirdly, There is a very great congruity; and that argu∣ment you shall finde in the 8, 9, and 11, Verses:* Jesus Christ when he did ascend, he gave gifts to men; all the gifts that are in the Churches, and graces, they are derived from the same efficient cause, and therefore it is most incongruous, that they should be distracted and divided, so as to reflect dishonorably upon him that is the sole efficient cause of them, and that with common intents and purposes, for good of the mystical body.
[ 4] But then fourthly and lastly, You have here another Argu∣ment from the necessity of it,* till we all come to the Vnity of Faith, and that we be no more tossed to and fro as children, and carried up and down with every wind of Doctrine; but that we speak the truth in love, and so grow up into Jesus Christ in all things, who is the head; here is the necessity of it, you'l never grow up to intimate communion and fellowship with Jesus Christ, you'l never make a wise improvement of him, as mem∣bers of the mystical body, unless you learn this heavenly skill, namely, How to advance Vnity; and so I come to shew you what propositions this last Argument, drawn from the necessity of the thing,* will afford us; in the 15. Verse, which by Gods assistance, according as the weak measure of strength I have will bear, I shall insist upon at this time, But speaking or following the Page 3 Truth in Love, grow up into Christ in all things, which is the head: where first, its clear,
*Jesus Christ is the head of Saints, the head of the Church.
*2. The Lord Jesus Christ when he ascended and gave gifts to men, did intend, did expect, that there should be such an entertain∣ment of the gospel, that we should grow up into Christ in all things, who is the head.
*3. Thinking, speaking, following the truth in love, is the Go∣spel method to our Spiritual welfare; I'le begin with the first,
Christ is the head of particular Saints, & the head of the Church:* In the state of innocency, Adam was the head of the great fami∣ly of the world, when he forfeited his headship, and all that he did enjoy, by eating the forbidden fruit, that family was dissolved, he was turn'd out of Paradice, all was scattered abroad, and we with him, were then cast into a desperate con∣dition, unless God would be pleased to finde out a second Head; and to that purpose, out of the riches of his Grace, and the infiniteness of his Wisdom, that which Angels could not reach, which men had not so much as any thoughts of, or desires after, God pitched upon, namely, Christ, and designed him the Head of the Corporation of his Church, of a certain number given unto him in his eternal Counsel, for whom he should undertake; and this learned Expositors conceive to be the meaning of that place, where he speaks of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 there in Ephesians 1.10. That he might gather together all things,* that all things might be headed under one; headed under Jesus Christ: Now before the fall, all were headed under the old Adam; now when they were in a shatter'd condition, they should be reconciled and col∣lected, headed under Jesus Christ; for the better opening of this, you may be pleased to take notice of three particulars:
[ 1] First, Here is the Headship it self.
[ 2] Secondly, Here is the Appropriation of this Headship, to whom he is a Head.
[ 3] Thirdly, Here is the Title to this Headship.
*First, For the Headship it self; he is a Head,
*1. In regard of his preheminence; it is an expression in 1 Col. 17.18. In all things having the preheminence, he is the Page 4Head; every member in the mystical body hath a Dignity, and is advanced to an excellency, to some degree of it, but he that is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that hath the preheminency, he is the Head, that is Christ; but this is not all, if you look upon a Picture, there the head of a man hath a preheminence, therefore we must have more then this: He is head,
*2. In regard of Direction, and in regard of Power, being a wise head, able to advice, and guide, and govern the body; as the Apostle Peter speaks of him in 1 Pet, 3.22. Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, Angels, Authorities and Powers being made subject to him; he hath a universal, and absolute regiment over all things in heaven and earth, over men and Devils: but then
*3. In regard of that Influence that he doth convey to the bodies: Sence and Motion is derived from Christ as the spring; it is true, that in the natural body, there the heart is primum vivens, but in the mystical body, the head is primum vivens, and he gives life to us, and we derive our life from Jesus Christ, the head; he hath life, and he hath it abundantly in himself, and he lives, that we may live; as I remember there is such an expression in John 10.10.
*4. In regard of Vnion, he doth tie altogether; the nerves and sinews would not unite the members of the mystical body, unless Jesus Christ were the Head; As he is the Foundation stone, and so supports the building, so he is the Corner stone, both the beauty, and strength, and union of the building, Fundatio fundatissima, as Junius renders it, in Isa 28.16. a most sure foun∣dation, and the Corner stone, as Peter hath it, in 1 Pet. 2.7, 8. with reference to that place; and so in these four particulars Jesus Christ hath a Headship:* the next thing is now, The ap∣propriation of this Headship, to whom is he a head? He is an ex∣ternal Head to all the members of the visible Church, to all professors as he is a vine, and doth communicate some sap to those that are in him, no way but by an external profession, as you have it intimated in John 15.2. Every branch in me that bears not fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire; and there∣fore there are some branches in him externally, as he is an ex∣ternal Head to the Church, as he is a vine; but indeed, he is pro∣perly Page 5the Head of his body, the Saviour of his body; he is a Head to those, to whom he is a Saviour, in Ephesians 5.23. As the King hath a common relation to all his Subjects, but a more pe∣cular relation to the Queen, who is a Subject and a Spouse,* and so hath Jesus Christ to his Church; and the reason is this, because there is a full commensuration betwixt all the three glorious persons in the Trinitie; they are grossly mistaken that will make Jesus Christ to dye for all, and yet will not in their sence, so as to make them Salvabiles if they will, and yet cannot say, That either God hath given Christ to all, or gi∣ven all to Christ, or that the Spirit of God will apply that Re∣demption to all, for there is a commensuration, there is an adae∣quation, betwixt the three glorious Persons in the Trinity, and their workings for the Salvation of the Saints: Jesus Christ dyes for those whom God hath given to him, with pur∣poses of Salvation; I do not deny, but all the wicked in the world, may have some benefit by the death of Christ, as all have some common pledges of the bounty of God, and all may have some common operations of the Spirit of God; but if you'l speak of any thing as to Salvation, there is a commensuration be∣twixt the three persons in the Trinity, and their workings; Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, San∣ctification of the Spirit, and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, in 1 Pet. 1.2. indeed in 1 John 2.2. He is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours onely, but for the sins of the whole world:* to whom did John write that Ep•stle? to the Jews; and therefore to shew that they had not all Religion now en∣gross'd amongst them, and that the Election of God did not still run amongst them, only he speaks in that dialect, he did not intend every particular man in the world, for then he must intend men that sin against the Holy Ghost, which is im∣possible that they should be saved: No man will say that understands any thing, even in Catechistical Divinity, that Je∣sus Christ dyed to save them, which he must do, if he dyed for every man in the world, with such purposes to save them; and so in 1 Tim. 1.4, 5, 6. He is given a ransom for all; why all? There is one God, and one Mediator, now Jews and Gentiles; as Jesus Christ did take our nature upon him, both Jews and Page 6 Gentiles, all estates shall have the common priviledge, and be∣nefit, and advantage of being in a capacity to receive bles∣sings from him, spiritual saving blessings, that is, all conditions, whether Kings, and all in Authority, or Servants, or others, not every particular person, but as in one place Jews or Gentiles, so in another place, not this or that condition, but all estates, and all relations, and all conditions; but still the Appropriation is to the Church, as here he saith, from whom the whole body is joyned together in the 16. Vers. from whom, from Christ the whole body is joyned together, so it is the body that hath this influence from him;* but then
3. What is his Title to his Headship? it is threefold;
[ 1] First, The designation of God and the Father: God the Fa∣ther hath sealed him, he gave him to be a Head to the Church over all things, in Ephe. 1.22, 23. and then
[ 2] Secondly; His personal fitness: Of his fulness we all receive grace for grace, In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom; and then
[ 3] Thirdly, His own propitious readiness: We were not in any degree so willing to be saved, as he is to save us; He came down to seek and to save that which is lost;* the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and anointed him to preach the Gospel, it was his business; and as he had a Commission from his Father, and came under the Broad-Seal of Heaven, so he had a strong in∣clination•••m his own bowels, to engage him to it; there is his Title: the use of this,
* 1. To trie the title of the Popes Headship to the Church; how comes he by it? for a Church to have two Heads, one body to have two heads, it is a Monster, you'l make it Monstrous; we do allow in a good sence, That the Supreme Magistrate is, Caput politicum in the Church, to command good things ac∣cording to the Word of God, and to restrain evil according to that Word; we hold forth confidently, that Jesus Christ, he is the onely proper Head of the Church, that doth convey all saving spiritual blessings; life, nourishment, direction, and all those admirable advantages to the body;* we cannot allow a Caput Vicarium, a Ministerial Head, there is no need of that; Jesus Christ is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Head; here is an ArticlePage 7 that gives an Emphasis, what needs it any other? Jesus Christ is present always in his Church; when he withdrew his Cor∣poral presence, he would then requite his Church with his Spi∣ritual presence; and that presence of his Spirit, it should accom∣pany them to the end of the World: But the Pope as great as he is, cannot be present in every place; we need not spend any more time in crying down that that is so prodigious: so many several Saints, and so many several Churches, in several parts of the world, how is it possible that a Pope can be Head of them all? but then
2. Beware of being injurious to the least member of Jesus Christ: If Christ be the Head of the body,* surely his body is dear to him; never think to ruine the body, or to drown the body, as long as the Head is able to keep it self above wat••; never think to hurt the body, as long as the head is able to se∣cure it, and protect it, and defend it; there are very notable expressions in several of the Prophets, as in Daniel, There are four great Monarchies,*then came a little stone hewen out of the mountain, and breaks them all, one after another; All opposite powers to the Kingdom, and Headship of Jesus Christ, shall be confounded, in despight of the Pope, and Turks, and Devil and all: All the Kingdoms of the earth shall at last become the Lords, and his Christs, and then in the 12. of Zachary, you shall finde there in the 5. Verse, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls numerously, for I, saith the Lord, will be •nto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the middest of her; a wall of fire to burn up the Enemy, and I will be the glory in the midd'st of her, for the comfort of his people, the presence of God is the glory of any place, and therefore he saith, He will create a defence upon the glory; an admirable place in the 4. of Isaiah,* Pour upon them a Spirit of burning and judge∣ment, to direct them, and consume the Enemies, and he will create a defence upon all the glory, upon his Saints which are the glory, so he is pleased to count them, though there be no prepara∣tions in them to raise a defence, he will create it; yea in Zach. 12.2. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all peo∣ple round about: And in that day I wil make Jerusalem a burthen∣some stone for all people, all that burthen themselves with it shall Page 8 be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth shall be gathered together against it;* O what encouragement is here for the poor Saints, the Citizens of Jerusalem! let all the desperate Atheists, and prophane opposites, combine against the people of God and plot, although they may have it may be some particular advantages, as it is said of the Romans, they were Pralio victi, but not Bello, it may be now and then they may get an advan∣tage in this combate against the Church, but yet they shall never totally and finally overcome them, though they be all gathered together; God will make Jerusalem a burthensome stone to all that burthen themselves with it: There will a time come, when the Lord will grinde to pieces, all those that have any Antipathy against Jerusalem, when God will trample Satan and all other Enemies under the feet of his Jerusalem,* when God will call for all them forth, that would not have him to rule over them, Bring forth mine Enemies that would not I should raign over them, and slay them before me, in Luke 19.27. there is the second Use.
*3. If Jesus Christ be the Head of the Church, then surely he must have a body; an head without a body were prodigious, and therefore that Doctrine of the Arminians must needs prove false, That would have Jesus Christ come into the world upon these terms, and to dye upon such considerations, that all things should be left so far to mans Free-will, that it was in their power, unless they would be so good natur'd as to believe, when Jesus Christ call'd upon them, that he should not have one Member,* no body at all: This is the erronious Doctrine of Arminius and his Followers, that go upon his principles; is it impossible that Jesus Christ should not have one Member, for he gives onely posse, he gives not velle, if you will not believe, and improve your Free-will, you may chuse whether ever you will believe or no; they will not allow, that Jesus Christ by an invinciable, by an almighty power, shall carry men, and over∣come men so far, as to make them of unwilling, to be willing to believe; yea, where Arminius hath four decrees concerning the Salvation of men, you may be within the compass of all those four decrees,* and yet not be saved, a miserable condition; he tells you, God hath decreed to give Christ, and means, and Page 9 that all who believe shall be preserved and saved, but he tells you not that he hath decreed to give faith and repentance to any one man, to enable him to believe,* and therefore it is a most dishonorable Doctrine to the Headship of Christ; blessed be God that it so much discover'd, and we are so far delivered from it, though it is most unhappily of late in some parts of it, got into too many Popular hands. But then
4. Take heed (I beseech you) of any obstructions that might hinder a sweet communion betwixt the Head and the Mem∣bers,* that might hinder an intercourse betwixt Jesus Christ and your souls; let this rather be your care, to gain that heavenly skill, how you may make use of Jesus Christ as the Head.
[ 1] 1. Give him the glory of his Soveraignty, let him be all in all; the Soveraignty of his Grace, and the Soveraignty of his Independency, to save whom he pleaseth, and to do what he pleases with men,* to have mercy on whom he will have mer∣cy, and because he will have mercy.
[ 2] 2. Give him the glory of his Wisdom as a Prophet, seek wis∣dom from God, and it shall be given you, in James 1.5. as you should give him the honor of his Soveraignty, allowing him this, that as the Potter, he may make some vessels to honor,*and some to dishonor, as he pleaseth.
[ 3] 3. Give him the honor of his Riches and Fulness, seek sup∣plies from him, do not live upon your selves, nor upon your du∣ties, nor upon ordinances onely, but live upon Jesus Christ in all, so give Christ the honor of being the spring of your Supplies; in him are fresh springs.
[ 4] 4. Give him the honor of being the best friend in the world, and labor for such an intimacy with him, that he and you may be acquainted, for he saith, If ye love him, and keep his com∣mandments, he and his Father will come and take up his abode with you, and he will manifest himself to you, in John 14.23. O how much of heaven will that soul have upon earth, that he should have Jesus Christ come and dwell with him! and when he goes to Prayer, manifest himself, when he goes to read the Scriptures, paraphrase upon the Bible, and suggest sweet hints to him; when he is in any straights, overpower him with a Di∣vine instinct, though he hath not an express revealed will to Page 10 walk with, as we have not in every particular circumstance of an action; O that then Jesus Christ should particularize some general Scripture to you, or bring something to your minde that you have heard in a Sermon, it may be a dozen years ago; give him the glory of this, and improve him to this blessed purpose.
*The Lord Jesus Christ did intend, and doth expect, that upon his ascension and giving gifts▪ there should be such an entertain∣ment of the Gospel, that we might grow up into him in all things, who is the Head: It is the perfection of a Christian, to improve all the three Persons in the Trinity; when you look upon God and his attributes, to finde proportionable impressions upon your souls, by his greatness, to learn to fear him, by his godness to love him; when you look upon the Spirit of God, and his work∣ing, then likewise to feel some stamps answerable thereunto, that you may have an inclination to comply with him in all things; so likewise when ye behold Jesus Christ in the passages of his re∣demption, to make use of all, that there may be some proportiona∣ble correspondency betwixt his dispensations towards you, and your improvement of them. And here I shall briefly desire you to consider under this point, these three particulars:
[ 1] First, The intention it self, and the expectation of Jesus Christ.
[ 2] Secondly, The grounds of it: and
[ 3] Thirdly, The ends of it.
*1. For the intention and expectation of Jesus Christ himself, when he did ascend and gave gifts, it is this, in three particulars:
[ 1] That there should be a growth.
[ 2] That there should be a growing up into Christ.
[ 3] That there should be a growing up into Christ in all things: I beseech you mark these three particulars.
First, That there should be a growth; how a growth? so as to compleat the number of all the Saints,* that not one of them be lost: Jesus Christ hath undertaken, that he will not lose one that God the Father hath given him, and therefore all those must be called in; and it is conceived by learned Expositors, that that is the meaning of this place, Christ hath given gifts, for the per∣fecting of the Saints; that is, for the compleating the number;
To fill up the number of persons, that so many as were Page 11 elected from eternity, so many might be called in: and then [ 1]
For the compleating of the graces of those Saints, both in the degrees, and in the activity of them, for Jesus Christ (it is [ 2] an admirable condescending expression) reckoneth not himself compleat, till all his members be compleat; I beseech you take notice of that first Chap. and the last verse of the Ephesians, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all:* Jesus Christ fills all in all, and yet (he saith) his body is the fulness of him; he is pleased not to account himself compleat as head of the Church, till his members be compleated, as to the number of them, and till their graces likewise be compleat to such a degree as he intended: but then
Secondly, There must be a growing up, there must be the maner, grow up into Christ;* not onely a concorporating with Jews, as the Gentile Churches did, in the 3. of the Ephesians, not onely an incorporating into Jesus Christ, though that is ve∣ry much, into the body of Christ, but a transforming into Christ, that you may be moulded in Christ; I would not be too bold with those expressions of Nazianzen, because I see they are abused, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 It is an admirable one that Atha∣nasius hath, That Jesus Christ took the nature of man upon him, that so we might have the nature of God conveyed to us, the di∣vine nature; there is a ground for that expression, in 2 Pet. 1.4. and a delivering up into Christ, into his word, in Rom. 6.17. the form of doctrine into which you were delivered; here is an admirable improvement of Christ, when a Sermon is delivered to you, the minde of Jesus Christ discovered, for you to be de∣livered up to it, that you may go out of the assembly under the power of that truth, and moulded in it; and then withal, that Christ might be in you, and you might be in Christ, that there might be a mutual in-dwelling, as in that place in John, yea, that we may come to live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, in Gal. 5.25. yea, and that the very life of Faith, the life that we live, may be by faith in the Son of God, in Gal. 2.20. not onely now and then to pray in faith, but to live by faith, to act all in faith; here is a growing up into Christ, not onely a growing to some knowledge of Christ, or to some profession of Christ, or to make towards Christ, but to be moulded, to be transformed in∣to Page 12 Christ; here is the entertainment and improvement of the Gospel that Christ expects: but then
*Thirdly, Growing up in all things unto Christ; There is the proportion, or the dimension, as a Head, Our growth must be as large as his Headship; now as he is a Prophet, so we must grow up into him, that we may have wisdom, and all those supplies from him; as he is a Priest grow up in him, that we may have Righteousness from him, for the covering of all our sins; as he is a King grow up in him, that we may have a Redemption from all our snares, bondages and enthralments; for our being and well being, having our subsistence in him, in God the Father, and in Christ Jesus, as in 1 Thess. 1.1. when we are converted, we come to have a new subsistence in Christ: for Truth, and for Degrees of Grace grow up into him, for habits and acts, for the velle, as well as for the posse, for converting and renewing grace, for it is he that works in you the will and the deed, of his own good pleasure, as in Phil. 2.13. for comforts, and for hopes, in 1 Pet. 1.8. That you may have joy through believing, and the God of peace fill you with hope, in Rom. 15.13. all our strength and comfort lies in union with Christ, and influence from him:* It is an easie matter to sprout in hypocrisie, and in self-love, and in earthliness, and so in a formal external profession, and to have a bulk of outward performances; but its an hard matter to grow into an inward communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ, to be transformed into him. So I have done now with the first thing, the sum of the expecta∣tion; the next is,
*The ground, why Jesus Christ expects this; for very good reasons,
*1. This is the grand purpose and effect of Christs ascension; he did ascend to give gifts, he did ascend to give his Spirit, and that is the great promise of the New Testament; he promised to give his Spirit, and shall he give his Spirit which he purchased at so dear a rate, and shall the Spirit give gifts to men, and those gifts be actuated, and exercised, and prepared for you, and shall not we improve them? O what an ill requital is here!
*2. He hath a vehement desire of union and communion with all those that God the Father hath given to him, Behold I stand Page 13 and knock at the door, if any will hear my voyce, then I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me; that is a melt∣ing place, a winning place, in Rev. 3.20. Jesus Christ is impa∣tient (as it were, I may speak it with reverence) to want communion with them who are his in Gods eternal counsels. But then thirdly, Christ may well expect this,
Because attaining the intended stature and measure of the ful∣ness of Christ,*we are fit for heaven, as in Ephe. 4.13. Till we all come to the unity of faith, and to the perfect stature of the ful∣ness of the age in Christ, therefore there is such a pitch, and Je∣sus Christ expects it; you will never be fit for him, till you come to your pitch: there is a minimum quod sic, as Philosophers speak about natural bodies, so about every member of the mystical body, you must come to such a degree of grace before you are fit for heaven; now God hath designed you that, that you may be meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the Saints in light: it is not slipping out of a drunkards habit,* and to de∣sire to be dissolved, or to receive the communion, or to give such and such legacies, or to send for a Minister, and say, Lord have mercy on me: No; thou hast been a drunkard and an Atheist all thy days, thou art not meet to go to heaven; Paul blesseth God that hath made him meet: Heaven is a holy place, and God is a holy God, and thou hast a very cursed sinful nature, very unfit for heaven, till thou be pollished, fashioned and framed; now Jesus Christ expects this: The third particular follows; I shall not dispatch all, you'll give me leave to consult for my own health. As you have had the expectation it self, and the grounds of it, so you shall have
The end: Now the ends of it are two,* why Christ intended this, and expects this:
[ 1] First, For your stability in Christ: and
[ 2] Secondly, For your improvement of Christ.
[ 1] 1. Your stability in Christ.
[ 2] 2. Stability in judgement; O that is an admirable thing:* Health of body is a great matter, but truly soundness of faith, especially in these unstable times, is much greater: It is a good thing to have the heart established with grace; that is, with the doctrine of grace, and not with meats, not to be carried up and Page 14 down with this wanton opinion, and that wanton opinion, in Heb. 13.9. A good thing to have the heart established in grace.
*To have a stability in affection; that thy affections may cen∣tre upon Christ, as thy love, and thy desire, and thy hope, and thy joy; thou mayest desire other things, yet thou mayest be able to say,*I have none in heaven but thee, and none in earth that I desire in comparison of thee; you may love other things, but you may be able to say, I love Jesus Christ for himself, and love my self and all other things in reference to him; I value power, and estate, learning, and all outward thing, nothing, but with re∣ference and subservience to Jesus Christ: O here is a sweet stabi∣lity of affection! and that Jesus Christ may not onely be thy joy, but the exceeding gladness of thy joy,* a triumph of joy, to joy more in knowledge of Christ, and communion with Christ, then you do in all outward comforts and advantages whatso∣ever: here is a sweet stability of affection; these people will not be carried up and down so much with either crosses or com∣forts, as very many are. But then
*There is a stability of conversation, that is, a blessed stability, in James 1.8. A double minded man is unconstant in all his ways; as long as you have an end and an end, a heart and a heart, a minde and a minde, you'll never be constant; you know not where to finde any men in the world, but godly men, because they have fixed principles,*they make conscience; but come to a co∣vetous man, when you speak of his covetousness, there you have him, when you speak against his earthliness, there you lose him; he hath a double minde, something for God, and something for the world, hath no more Religion then suits with his worldly designs; he will hear a Sermon because it is cheap, yet he will (it may be) deceive you in his shop, because there is his interest; and he will (it may be) be jolly and frollick, and scoff over a cup of sack at the people of God soon after Sermon, though he hath expressed (it may be) a great deal of zeal to the Minister; why, there lies his interest, he is a jolly man, a professor at large, & he must be bold: O here is no stability. It is a blessed thing, and a sweet advantage▪ and Jesus Christ intends this, that you should be grounded in Christ, being rooted, and grounded, and stablished Page 15 in the faith, in Colosians 2.7. Now the next end is this,
Your improvement of Christ: An improvement of him,* for what purpose?
Why, for all necessary gifts; as a Magistrate, as a Mini∣ster in any place of trust, he hath variety of gifts, in 1 Cor. 12.
For all graces; he hath variety of graces, he hath abundance of Spirit, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God, as I remember in Eph. 3.19.
In all conditions and relations;* that you may know how to be sick, and how to be poor; how to be Magistrates, how to be Ministers; I have learned to want and abound, I can do all things through Christ enabling me (saith Paul) in Philippians 4.13. And then,
In all duties; you can do nothing without Christ,* but as he gives in, as he communicates himself, and vouchsafes to assist you; when he withdraws, you flag, you wither.
I'le be bold to say a word to my Brethren of the Ministery:* O that Ministers would chiefly study and minde this work, this is proper Pulpit-work, to put people upon such an enter∣tainment of the Gospel, that they might improve Jesus Christ, and grow up to a stability in him; Paul was sent, had a Com∣mission, according to the faith of Gods elect,* in Tit. 1.1. and Gal. 4.19. I travel in birth with you (saith Paul) till Christ be formed in you: O what pain it cost him every Sermon. It was a great speech, yet I have heard it as a certain truth concern∣ing Reverend Mr. Bains, That every Sermon cost him as much in his sence (as he thought) as it did ordinarily cost a woman to bring a childe into the world; I travel in birth, till I see Jesus Christ formed in you; Pulpits are not for News onely,*and to lead people this way, and that way, upon politique designs, and some∣times upon our own carnal interest; Pulpits were never intend∣ed for passionate invectives, to cry up this party, or cry down that party, in a vehement passionate manor; let us rather use hard rea∣sons, and soft words: If we conceive they be in an Error, under∣mine their Error, and avoid any exasperating provoking names, which rather alienates them, & hardens them, then recovers them: This is not the method to preach men unto Christ, but rather to preach away the most and best of our hearers.
Page 16* Is it thus, that Jesus Christ intendeth this entertainment of-the Ministery, that we may grow up into him in all things; then I beseech you give me leave to call upon you, & I do not know where I could speak more fitly in any place of the world, then in this famous City, and never more seasonably, then when the Representative of the City is met, namely, that you would con∣sider, What means you enjoy, what Gospel-light the Lord hath entrusted you with,* and what he expects from you; will it not be much easier for Sodom and Gomorrah, then for London another day? you that have been lifted up with Capernaum to heaven, if you improve not the means, make account, if one place in hell be hotter then another, to be thrown down into it: And all I have to say, is this, Let it be your care so to improve the Gospel, that you may derive more from Christ, and live more in Christ, and express more of Christ▪ that you may be inclined and enabled to do more for Christ: Here accept these two short hints;
*1. Growth must be proportionable to the means you do enjoy: Brethren, let me confidently say it, That measure of growth that might please God in some parts of England, will not sa∣tisfie God from you that live in London; why? because as you have higher food, and more spiritual and more glorious Gos∣pel-discoveries, the Lord expects proportionable improvements: And let me say this,
*2. There must be a growth of all the members of the body; that is a rule Philosophers give, Augmentation is of all the parts, and therefore to grow upwards and downwards; to grow more humble, more in faith, more in love to the Saints, more in acti∣vity for God; this it is the Lord expects, 2 Pet. 3.18.
*This may rectifie our judgements concerning the Ministery of the Gospel, and that in two great points:
*First, Behold it in its Original, it is the Ordinance of Christ, and it is the fruit of the ascension of Jesus Christ; they are to be instructed and pitied (I believe many of them may go ac∣cording to their present apprehensions, and therefore it were happy if they might be with a spirit of meakness reduc'd) that will cry down all our Ministery as Antichristian; why? because there were or are some defects in Ordination by Bishops, or whoever; admit that to be true, but I beseech you, what is the Page 17 Original? from Christ; and if any man will ask an able godly Minister in England, where had you your Ministery? you'l say from the Prelates, he will say from Jesus Christ, though it is true, the maner of conveying the power of exercising the Ministery be by men, for Paul saith,* He was an Apostle nei∣ther of men, nor by men; not of men, so he differ'd from false Apostles, not by men, so he differ'd from ordinary Ministers: Now suppose I, or any other Minister of the Gospel,* have had our Ministery conveyed to us from Christ by men, and there hath been some defects in the maner, will you say, that that de∣fect in the maner, destroys the thing?* I think not any body would say, the Marriage was null, because they were not so right∣ly married in every particular, as to the maner, or to say, that a Magistrate is no Magistrate, because in every particular, it may be he received not his Magistracy, in the due form accord∣ing to the Statutes, &c. there is a great deal of difference (my brethren) betwixt the grounds of nullifying, and reforming a thing; we are all sensible of it, and desire God to pardon what hath been amiss, and to heal what is still out of frame; there hath been defects in the maner of conveying our Ministery, or else why do we desire to reform it, but we confidently affirm our Ministery is from Jesus Christ; Christ gave gifts, with the office and Authoritie, but what? not onely Prophets and Apostles, but Pastors and Teachers: then
2. Behold the Ministry, in Christs intention in giving it:* Why did he give it? it were a sweet thing to consider, and I am perswaded it were a good method to cure some of London di∣stempers; no marvel, if you that have such admirable gifts, be still so lean and crazy in spirit: what will cure that distem∣per? look at the Ministry of the Gospel, as the Ordinance of Christ, and the fruit of the ascension of Christ; therefore when you go to a Sermon, say not, I'le not hear this man or that man, because he is a fierce Independent, I'le not hear that man, because he is a rigid Presbyterian, nor such a man, because he is a vehement Independent, away with all such unseasonable words; but say this, I'le go and attend upon the Ordinance of of Christ, and I'le go and attend upon that which is a fruit of the ascension of Christ; and withal let me adde this, and I Page 18 desire it may be remembred,* I wish I had more strength to insist upon it, because it is a most dangerous opinion, and doth un∣dermine the very foundation of the Gospel, namely, to hold as some do, and vent it with much boldness, That the Ordi∣nances and the Ministery cease, and because that Popery did once overspread the world; now we have no Ordinances, and now we have no Ministery: and what place do they bring, it is a most strange confidence, and it is in Print, and many of you know the Book, it is cryed up sufficiently: One interprets this place of Scripture (I beseech you let us consider it in the fear of God, and with the spirit of meekness) Christ promises he will be with them, he gives his Apostles commission to go abroad, and saith, He will be with them to the end of the world, Mat. 28.20. (the Lord pardon and heal all wresting of Scripture,* if it be his will, and prevent it for time to come) To the end of the world, saith he in print, that is, to the end of this age of Ministration, they are his own words, to the end of this dispensation: Now he makes account that this Gospel-dispensation is ended, and now we are come under a third Dispensation or Administration; we were all under low Administrations, the Gospel is in a ma∣ner at an end,* and God is all in all immediately in his Saints. O that Scripture should be made to serve our purposes! weigh the place meekly, I desire not to meddle with mens persons, but I must be faithful to Jesus Christ, and the souls of his people; and according to the light he hath given me, I shall endeavor to make it appear, that Interpretation is not consistent with the Text:
*Jesus Christ in the 18. Verse of the 28. of Matthew saith, All power is given to me in heaven and earth, go therefore and teach all nations.
Teach all nations; surely if this Dispensation be now end∣ed, if the Ministry be at an end, all nations cannot be taught, and so Jesus Christ will lose some of his elect, for they cannot be call'd in, for there must be no Teaching (it seems) no Mini∣stery.
2. Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I com∣manded you: All nations will never be taught all things, what∣soever Jesus Christ commands them, and the Apostles and Mi∣nisters Page 19cannot fulfil their commission if the Ministery be ceased,*and we must have no Ministery, and no Ordinances to instruct them in all these things.
And lo (lo, Christ would have you take notice of it) I am with you, not onely I will be with you, but am with you, and that every day, he is with you always, always even to the end of the world.
4. The end of the world: What, to the end of this Dispensa∣tion, and for the age of this Ministration only? brethren, I could fetch it out of the very Original it self; whereas he saith,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Signifies an Age, I grant it doth, but it signifies Eternity many times in Scripture, For thine is the Kingdom, Power and Glo∣ry, for ever and ever, I am sure of it, there it is not a Dispen∣sation onely. And then for the end,
I could fetch it not onely out of Plato,* but also out of the Septuagint, and out of other places, where that Greek word signifies Consummation, therefore there must be an end; but let us go on further.
Il'e ask any man that will say these words, that I am with you to the end of the World, That is, to the end of this Dis∣pensation; When did this Dispensation begin? in what year did it begin? Let any man tell me that Jesus Christ will be with his Disciples or Ministers, to this hundred year, or to this age, and then he forbears: Is it to all persons, or to these per∣sons onely? then who are they? I would very fain have these plain Questions resolved: O you'l say, it is till the Spirit comes; the Spirit comes! Why, the Spirit was coming ever since Jesus Christ ascended, and doth come with new lights daily, and the Spirit will be coming, till Jesus Christ come again the second time.
6. And I would ask further, I beseech you, unless there be a Ministery, how shall we have Popery confuted? You say, be∣cause Popery hath defiled the Ministery, there is no Ministery; I say, Popery must be confuted by the Ministery: you may burn an Arrian on the head, but Arrianism must be confounded by the Ministery; you may hang a Papist, but we know that you can never confute Popery, but by the light of the Ministe∣ry; and Paul hath said this, The Pope shall be destroyed by the Page 20 brightness of Christs coming,* viz. in the ministry of the Gospel.
7. I would know this also, If the faith were once delivered to the Saints, that is, Once for all, as Interpreters have ex∣pounded it;* What, shall we have a new Edition, or a new Gospel? had we not an everlasting Gospel before? Nay further, Jesus Christ will give up all things to the Father, When? when he hath conquer'd all his Enemies,* and after the Resurrection, and then God will be all in all: Well, they say, they are Goded and Christed, and God is immediately in them, and they are under the third Dispensation, and we are still under these low Administrations, then they must make us believe, the Resur∣rection is past; for God shall never come to be all in all, and Jesus Christ never give up his Kingdom, till the Resurrection be past; and then further, go now to the neighbor words of my Text, He gave gifts to men, that all might come to the Vnity of the faith,*and to a perfect stature. All come, and therefore be confident, I dare venture my soul upon it (which is a great word) that Jesus Christ will have a Ministery more or less, till he have brought in all the Elect, and I have this ground for it out of the word, He gave gifts, Pastors and Teachers, till all come to the Unity of the faith, and to the acknowledgement of the Son of God, and to a perfect stature: Now if they say there is no Ministery, then they must make us believe, that all the Saints are come in, and that there is a perfect number, &c. and their graces compleated; but I must spare my self, the time is past, I have had late and sad experience, what it is to spend too much upon weak Spirits, not recovered; though I confess I intended most upon the third point, Following the truth in love.
*What is this Truth? Why, as Gods glory is the Constellation of his Attributes, as Gods happiness is the absoluteness of his self-sufficency, as Gods holiness is the impression of his image, as comfort from God is the glimpse of his loving countenance, as the learning we receive, is a beam of his wisdom falling upon us, so indeed Truth is the issue, the representation, and the discovery of his revealed will, and of his minde to us concerning Do∣ctrine and Worship, What we should know, and what we should practice.
Page 21What is Love? not onely a Love to the Truth, that is good,* not onely a love to Christ the head, that is as good, and the pro∣per genius of Saints, carries them to both these,* but indeed a love to the Saints, to the Members, love the brethren, love the corporation of Saints, in 1 Pet. 2. v. 7.
What is it to follow or speak the Truth here?*
For Explication, where three things considerable; The Greek word here signifies, sometimes,
To speak the Truth, in Gal. 4.16.*
To do the Truth, in John 3.21. and in Eph. 4.24.
To follow the Truth with a sincere constancy;* so learned men interpret it, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 doth answer to an Hebrew word, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Niphal, that signifies to be firm, and to be constant; and so doubtless it is a great part of the meaning here, by the oppositi∣on, That you may be no more as children tossed to and fro,*but following the Truth in Love, that is, following it with con∣stancy, and firmness, and cleaving to it.
I humbly conceive, To speak the Truth here, is too straight, as will appear, if you please to compare the Context.* I chuse rather to take the largest sence (adoring the deep and mysterious fulness of holy Scripture) so to seek, follow and embrace the Truth with that firm constancy, that we should be ready to speak and do the Truth upon all oc∣casions. Indeed, Truthing it in love,* which were an admirable Motto for Saints, and most seasonable in these unsound and censorious times, Truthing it in love.
Truthing it in love, seeking and following the Truth with con∣stancy, is the Gospel method of our spiritual welfare; This was Johns counsel to the Elect,* and his comfort concerning the La∣dy (a practice worthy it seems of great persons:) This was Johns joy concerning her and her children, and concerning his Gaius too, in the beginning of his third Epistle, That they walked in the Truth, and the Truth dwelt in them,*and they in Truth, loving one another; Here is Truthing it in Love: now in short,* what reasons why this is the Gospel method to our welfare; first, considered,
Singly, Truth and Love, as they are in themselves, contribute much.
First, For Truth, It hath a soveraign vertue to prevent and to cure those spiritual maladies, which are most obstructive to the good of Persons and Churches: Truth keeps from Igno∣rance, from Superstition, from Errors, from Heresies, yea from prophaneness.
Love keeps from Strife, from Schism (although there bee some differences amongst Saints, all men see not by the same Light) if there be Love, it will keep them from making a difference in affection;* or keep them from all unwar∣rantableness, disclayming communion with their Brethren; It is want of Love that doth that.
Secondly, Truth, if there be differences in judgement (as there may be) yet it hath this power, that it will teach men to hold their Christian liberty, by satisfying their conscieriees in the lawful use of it.
Love will teach them not to use their Liberty unseasonably to the offence of their Brethren; the Truth makes you free, if you know the Truth, in John 8.32. Truth will give us a Free∣dom, that we shall not suffer our selves to be under unnecessary and unwarrantable humane impositions, but shall see our Free∣dom;* and in the use of indifferent things, Love will make me so tender, and so Indulgent to the Conscience of my Brother, that Ile rather deny my self, then offend him; here is Love and Truth singly, as to the preventing of evil. And then
*Secondly, Here is Truth and Love, that have a direct Sub∣servience to promote the best good of Saints in their Communion with Christ; now Truth enlightens the minde concerning the whole Councel of God, concerning agenda, and credenda; teach∣ing us, that like as Usurpers, not as Libertines, we encroach upon the Headship of Christ; and Love enflames us, and enclines to embrace Truth, and reject Falshood, and what ever is prophane, Psal. 119.127, 128. I hate every false way, I love thy statutes, &c. Truth will not onely inform us, but engage us to inform others, to teach and instruct them, that they should know what they should do, and Love will teach us to do it with Meekness;*Exhort them that are con∣trary Page 23 minded with meekness; oftentimes we preach smart Ser∣mons, give hot reproofs, like as when Physitians give Potions scalding hot, they will spit them out again, and cannot endure them, and they go away prejudic'd; I cannot endure to hear such a man, he is so hot and furious, and vents his own spirit: O it's Love and meekness causes us to deal tenderly, and softly, meekly with our Brother, and this is indeed the Spirit of the Gospel; There is no more diabolical Spirit, then a furious Spi∣rit, and no more Gospel Spirit, then a meek and calm Spirit: But I must contract. The next thing is,
Love and Truth joyntly,* when they are married joyntly to∣gether, and go hand in hand, and Saints by them joyn-heads and hearts, O then, and then onely they operate fruitfully: Truth without Love, breeds onely empty dry Speculations, which puff up; Love without Truth, is a blinde, if not a Popish, yet an unwarrantable devotion amongst formal Protestants;* What is the reason? you shall see now amongst many of your dull and cold Protestants, more zeal about Christmas day, then the Lords day, about hearing a Passion Sermon upon that they call Good Fryday, then upon any other day: Here is Love with∣out Truth, now Truth and Love joyned together, would keep the people from being too fond about these unwarrantable pra∣ctises; But will some say, what, do ye blame us about Easter, and a Communion at Easter? &c. Have we it not in Scripture? See what Scripture they have for it, I would this secret were declared to all the world, it would break many snares with which divers are intangled:
In the Acts, there is the word Easter indeed,* in the twelfth Chapter, When he had apprehended him, he put him in Prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of Soldiers to keep him, intending after Easter to bring him forth to the peo∣ple: There is Easter, but will you hear now, how it came in first? You'l easily believe that it must be jumbled in one way or other, if you understand the Original; There was the word Passover, but no Easter, the word Easter was not found out in many hundred years after this was spoken of Peter: But here was a secret.
It was a glorious work of King James, he set divers OxfordPage 24 men, and Cambridge men, and City Ministers, with others to Translate the Bible, a glorious work, how ever Trans∣lations may be slighted amongst us, yet Bugenhagius and other Divines, when they had the Bible Translated into the Dutch language,* they kept that day of the year a Feast of Thanksgiving for the Translation of the Bible, they were so affected with the mercy, but it's a great unhappiness, when the Translation of the Bible shall be brought to serve our purposes.
I have it from certain hands, such as lived in those times, that when the Bible had been Translated by the Translators appoint∣ed, the New Testament was looked over by some of the great Prelates, (men I could name some of their persons) to bring it to speak Prelatical Language, and they did alter (as I am in∣formed by the means of one that was a great observer in those times, and lived then) Fourteen places in the New Testament, to make them speak the Language of the Church of England, that was so cryed up: and I'le tell you some of them.
*First, In the first of the Acts, speaking of Judas, Let ano∣ther man take his Bishoprick; it is forc'd, it signifies Charge or Inspection: but that you may believe that the Bishops are the Apostles Successors, let another man take his Bishoprick.
Again, In the second of the Acts, it is Not suffer my Soul to lie in Hell; this is clear, Former Translations have it, not suffer my Soul to lie in the Grave; But it was learned Bilsons Opinion, and thrust into the Thirty nine Articles, that Christ did Locally descend into hell; and to make that Translation agree with the Articles, they must change Grave into Hell.
*Also the Fourteenth of the Acts, They ordained them Elders, they loved to cry up Consecration of Churches, and Dedica∣tion, and such kinde of things, and Episcopal Ordination too (for these all advanced the power of the Priests and the Bishops, which brought in Transubstantiation amongst Papists) and therefore in the Geneva Translation,* that was render'd, cho∣sen by suffrages, by lifting up of hands, the word Primarily imports that, it may be in some of the Fathers it includes both, they will tell you, because afterwards having chosen Elders by Suffrages or Voyces, they did Ordain them.
Next, I come to the first of the Corinthians, 12.28. An abomina∣ble Page 25 violence offered to the Original, God hath set in the Church, Apostles, Teachers, Helps, Governments, and you shall finde here a great imposture, it may be now altered, appearing so gross, but I have seen it, and read it in some Translations, Helps in Government;* which is a most horrible prodigious violence to the Greek words, for they are both the Accusa∣tive case, Helps; there are Elders, Government, there are Dea∣cons; now to obscure these, you must put it, helps in Govern∣ment.
And then lastly, for Easter; this was another place that was altered (as you have heard) to keep up that holy time of Easter, as they would think it, for herein was the innocency (though unhappiness unto us) of the Primitive Worthies, and other Christians; these had fair intentions in bringing in many things, they thought to win upon the Heathen, and therefore would not wholly anull, but change things, change some of their great Feasts into Christmas-time, change now (it may be) Pentecost into Whitsontide, and the Passover into Easter; it had a good intent: but minding their own intentions, more then Gods Word, their Rule, you see how these constitutions of men are degenerated. Now I beseech you, let us not suffer our selves to be abused, when a word Easter shall be thrust in (for it was divers hundred years after Peter, that the word Easter came in) shall we therefore go and keep up an Easter Communion above all times else, for such pretences as these are? Brethren, the more you joyn Truth and Love together, the more you'll be free from these fond kinde of Devotions: And let me say this, Page 26 It is Blinde Devotion indeed; and many men that are so zea∣lous for these, and women too, they think to get protection for other courses.
It may be many a Lady that paints and spots, and trifles away precious time, if she be but zealous at an Easter Communion, she thinks to get a protection for all vanities else: A Citizen, if he be a Patron to such a Minister, frequent Lectures, then he may be frollick, and vain, and loose, &c. Here is Love without Truth.
Let me adde this, Truth without Love makes many swell, and contemn others; and Love without Truth edifies to Su∣perstition and to Idolatry sometimes; What brought in Praying to Saints, but Love without Truth? But you'll allow me to be so indulgent to my self, as that if either the ordinary place, or the ordinary time be not observed, to pity a man that hath se∣ven moneths labored under a quartane Ague, and had a fit late last night. I might make three Uses: and the first should have been this,
*To shew you, why many Professors are so barren, and many Christians so dry, and unstable amongst you, because they have not minded this conjunction of Truth and Love; which is the Gospel method to grow up into Christ, and so to our Spiritual thriving: For upon him all our fruit is found, Hos. 14.8.
*Take this as a Use of Caution, I beseech you, would to God I knew what language to speak to win upon you: I would be∣seech you, this Honorable Representative City, who have so great an influence, have been so much concerned, and are still so much interested, to beware that you suffer not your selves, by any policies of men, or cunning undermining whatsoever, to be cheated of your Truth and Love, lest you lose your selves, and Religion, and City, and Estates, and indeed the Kingdom. Brethren, there are desperate Designs on foot; and as so much good hath been brought to this Kingdom heretofore by the City, and their Zeal, and their Purses, and their Courage, and their Fidelity; so now there hath been of late great tryings of conclusions, how to work upon the City so far, to make them instrumental for the destruction of all, and the Devil hath many active Soldiers abroad.
Page 27 [ 1] First,* There is indeed one unhappy Regiment of those that are Erroneous though divers of them very honest-hearted, and of those that are not such friends to love as they should be; and certainly, much hath been our misery, by reason of uncharitable mistakes, of Errors in matter of Faith, and Schisms in point of Love.
[ 2] Secondly, There is another Jesuitical, Atheistical, Prophane Party, that take advantage of these Errors, and these Divi∣sions, as he saith, They do fish in troubled waters,* that know how to improve all these Errors and Divisions, to drive on their own Design; and nothing more ordinary then for some Malignants (though I love not names) or disaffected persons, call them what you will, those that are no friends to Truth and Love, nor Parliament, nor Army, nor any Scripture-Reforma∣tion, they will come in one company, and aggravate the Mis∣carriages of the Parliament and Army, Now what is their plot? to keep open the Breach, that so at last Episcopacy and the old Common-Service-Book may come in again: Who sees not this? And I confidently say, and pray God it may be con∣sidered in time, that you, out of any Discontent, or out of any passionate Animosities (I hope the Lord will keep so wise a City from it) suffer not your selves to be ridden by them: Do you not remember first they would have divided Army and Parliament? there was a time God prevented that: Do you not remember there was a time they would have divided City and Army? the Lord keep you from that evil: And now their last conclusion is, to divide those that are Friends, and en∣gaged in one Covenant, to try if they can set England and Scotland at variance, and engage them in Blood again: And this is their Plot, and how shall they bring this about? O, by that malignant Jesuite Contzens Rules (there is a little Book called Look about you, Translated out of his Works) and he gives you Eight Rules to cheat people of their Reli∣gion, and to serve in Popery by Art: I would you could all get that little Book,* and you should see that very Contzens Spi∣rit is amongst Malignants, and they walk by the same Rule, Come by Degrees, and come by Compulsions, and such poli∣tique strains he hath there: Take notice of your wayes; and Page 28 (my Brethren) it is most clear, your Friends grieve for it, your Enemies begin to triumph in it, that they can have such a Power in the City, and with several well-affected people in the Land, who are friends to Truth, to Peace, and to the Go∣vernment of Christ: They will come and tell you, What, no Government; Can ye believe they are friends to Government? What,* Drunkards, and Atheists, and Prophane wretches friends to Government? They that cannot endure a personal Refor∣mation, would they have an Ecclesiastical Reformation? Will you trust them with a Government? and a Government of their own setling? what Government think you we should have? Now so many of the well-affected both of Ministers, and Gen∣tlemen, and Noblemen in Scotland are against an Engagement in War, and so are they in England, who are they that are forward to engage? I'le put no Character upon them, you know who in England are, and you have heard who in Scotland, and what Government think you they would settle? God keep us from a Government of such mens settling; for we should have Prophaneness, and loosness, they would make such a la∣titude in Government, that all should return to the old track again; We must have as grosly mix'd Communions as ever, and their old Ceremonies, their zeal for Christmas-day, and their Good-Friday (more zeal this year then last, for these things, and more last then before) And what do these men aym at, I beseech you? The Lord God of Heaven inform us aright, if I be mistaken, I wish I might see my Error; If any of you may through discontent, be transported, the Lord discover it to you; And let us take heed of this, that while we are jarring one with another, we do not betray our selves and all to a third Party, to a Common Party, that would destroy both: It may be here may be the advantage, which is but a poor one, first de∣stroy Independents, and then destroy Presbyterians, and set up Prophaneness and Loosness as much as ever. Now the Lord cause you to joyn Faith, and Love, and Truth so together, that you may not be cheated by such men. The third Use: And truly, I have one word more to say, and if I thought I should dye the next Fit, I should desire to speak to this City, and that is this:
Page 29I come hither this day,* (and though I do it chearfully to ob∣serve your pleasures, yet not without some hazard to my health) that I may say a few things to you, and the Lord help me, that I may deliver what I did intend, and that you may entertain it with the same affection I tender it to you: My business should be, if I had power this day, as a poor unworthy friend to the Bridegroom, to draw a Contract between Truth and Love, in all you Citizens of London, that all you, though you may have some different Opinions, yet I would have Truth and Love matched and married happily together in you. Brethren, I confess that there are many Errors, but take heed you be not more offended then needs,* or at least thereby per∣verted by the politique Designs of those that serve themselves in these Divisions, and upon you.
First, I do not think all Opinions are Errors,* that some men call Errors.
Secondly, All Errors are not alike, not equally opposite to the Faith.
Thirdly, Clubbing, and Imprisoning, and Compelling, is not the proper way to cure Errors, though there may be some course taken to restrain erroneous persons, when they are oppo∣site to the peace and welfare of the State, &c. But that I would say, is this, That Errors, they must be reduced and confuted by Truth; and then withal, it is most certain, That Errors abound not by reason of a Reformation (and therefore to charge it up∣on a Reformation, is very gross) but there is a defect in our Reformation which gives occasion to them.
And as for Love, they cry for Love, for Love, and it is a wonder, men that are against the very Substantials of the Go∣spel, yet they will cry out against any little Heterodox Opinion, and for Love: How can they ever expect that godly and wicked men should joyn together in Love? What Churches then should we have? indeed we will love the most carnal men in the world with a love of pity, but not with a love of complacency and delight: And Jesus Christ expects it not, but that we should love as he loves. But then further, what love should we have? such a love as indeed doth tend to Edification, and doth tend to Reformation, and such a love as is Soul-love, and such a love Page 30 as is a love to the Head, as well as to the Members; such love as is not complemental, and frothy, and flattering. O there∣fore let it be your care still, not to suffer your selves to be any ways misled, because there are some defects, and want of Truth and Love, it hath always been so: In Origens time and Chry∣sostoms, they came to them, complaining, that there are Divi∣sions amongst Saints; they answered, And Divisions will be: Are all Philosophers of a minde? Are all Physicians of a minde? and if all Saints be not of a minde, it is no marvel; onely let them have a care to preserve Affection, though they differ in Opinion. But to close up all.
That great Oracle of the Law, learned Sir Edward Cook in his Institutes, gives five properties of a Parliament-man, and I think they will as well agree to an Alderman, to a Common-Councel-man: I desire they may be considered;
First, saith he, He must be wise, and constant, so able to di∣scern and know things aright, persons, circumstances, that he be inflexible.
Secondly, He should have a good Memory, so to remember past evills, that he labor to prevent future dangers. The other three he takes from the Elephant: First, saith he,
*Thirdly, An Elephant is without gall, that gall that he hath doth transire in nutrimentum corporis; if he have heat he will use it, not out of a selfish passionate respect, but rather guide and direct it to a zeal for the good of the whole Body the Com∣mon-wealth. And then secondly, for that too he draws from the Elephants;
*Fourthly, The Elephants they never go alone, but they go gregatim; and those creatures that go alone, Bears and Foxes, they are hurtful; those creatures that are most innocent, they go together: If you'll shew you are most useful, and innocent creatures, like sheep, O keep together. And then the third is,
Fifthly, The Elephant is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he saith, that the Ele∣phant loves men: I would have all these properties meet in every one of these Worthy Citizens, that are any way betrusted with the Government of the City: The God of Heaven give you wisdom, and give you to remember all Providential Dis∣pensations Page 31 that are past, and deliver you from passion, and gall, and make you flock together, and head together, and teach you to love men; All this would still engage you against a common Enemy: Love men as men, love the bodies of men; and you have given a most glorious accompt of that this year, to your praise I must report it, here is this year, &c. why, here is a glo∣rious proof of your love to men; Love their bodies, love their souls, love them as Christians, especially love them as Saints, have a care to breed them up in Callings, train them up in some degree of learning; this is most honorable, and, I hope, being done with an honest heart, it will further your accompt at the great Day.
I yet dare take the boldness to adde the Rules,* which I chiefly intended: Some Rules now for your pursuance of Truth, and some for the pursuance of Love, that they may be happily married this day.
For Truth, let the Word of God be Rule and Judge; when you enquire after Truth, study the revealed will of God, and make use of revelations in concurrence with the Word of God; but do not set up revelations against the Word of God. It was a desperate expression from Valde, in a Book of his in great request now adays; it is true, he had many things good in him, considering the darkness of the times wherein he lived, a Spaniard; saith he, We must use the Scriptures, as we use Pictures (he was a Papist) use Pictures for a while, till we get apprehension of the thing or person realized to us, then throw them away, because now we can pray without Pictures: So, use the Scriptures till we have got our mindes raised and elevated, and then we need no Scriptures. The Lord deliver us from this Opinion, which tends to undermine the very Word of Christ.
Far be it from me to say any thing against New-Light, pro∣perly so called, though there is some so called, which is, I doubt, Darkness; nor against all Revelations, for there is a Spirit of Revelation: but I desire it may be wisely considered, how the Spirit of Revelation discovers it self; Thus chiefly, not in bringing in a New Gospel, and such New Dispensations to us, as many talk of; but in Discovering that Word which he hath re∣vealed, Page 32 and we have by us, in raising our mindes to understand that word more fully, and those works of God that are in it more clearly: I would heartily bless God for it in my self, or in others, if it were such a Spirit of Revelation, as should help me to see any Word of God, or any Work of God in me more clearly:* This is the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation the Apo∣stle to the Ephesians speaks of; but if you'll talk of Revela∣tions, that you have Revelations beyond the Word, and it may be sometimes in a maner contrary to the Word;* surely this is not the way of truth. There is a poor old man Hero in Cassianus, that thought he had a Revelation, that when he was in the bottom of a pit, he should get out; but for all his Revelation, he was deceived. I desire such things may be considered. The next thing is this,
*Minde Truth wisely: I would say under this head,
1. Be sure it be Truth that you contend for; not for unwar∣ranted Ceremonies, not for trifles, for those things that de∣serve not the name of Divine Truth: And then
2. Proportion your zeal to the nature of Truth: There are some Truths de fide, circa fidem, and in some sence praeter fidem; I must not allow the like zeal for all; I will have the Substantial part of my zeal for Substantial Truths, and for other Truths, so much zeal as the nature of them calls for: This is to minde Truth wisely, this is that that becomes you. And then withal,
*Minde Truths according to the directions of Truth:
1. Meddle not with things too high, be sober; A Spirit of Sobriety in Divine things, and Modesty in Secret things, is most suitable to a Saint, Rom. 12.3.
2. Minde not Curiosities, with neglect of those things that are necessary: Affirm constantly (saith Paul to Titus) that those that are believers maintain good▪works, but as for fables, let them go, Tit. 3.8.
3. If you'll do what becomes you concerning Truth, Do not clap a Jus Divinum rashly upon every one of your Opinions: O that brings us into a great deal of bondage; divers things may be very good, and yet better, and more safely settled as Prudentials, as Humane Constitutions, then as Divine Consti∣tutions,Page 33 unless we be sure we are upon Scripture-grounds, then I say nothing against it. What is the reason now that the Pope cannot alter?* I have heard it from some that have spoke with learned sober Papists, asking them, What think you of Tran∣substantiation, or the like Opinions? they profess, Though we would, yet we cannot alter them, the Pope having asserted them, who is infallible; so that if we change one Point of our Re∣ligion, we spoil all. Truly, if we clap a Jus Divinum,* we can∣not alter it, for we are engaged to hold it, though we were mistaken: I had rather settle too little, then too much, then we leave room for New Discoveries; We may better adde then diminish: I cannot take away a Jus `Divinum, without a great deal of disparagement.
Do not presently obtrude with confidence your own conceits upon others,* but rather mistrust them: Learned men have had their Errors, the wisest men have been deceived; and do not rashly run from one Extremity to another. Chrysostom he would, and others they would run from the Manichees so far, that they went too far towards Pelagius: Many of us run so far from Popery and Prelacy,* that we run into other Extre∣mities, very dangerous and unhappy. O take heed, let me adde this further, as you would be friends to truth,
Know that you have to deal with those men,* that will bring in Errors, sensim sine sensu; as the Devil dealt with Adam and Eve at first, how did he beguile them? he corrupted their mindes by degrees (take heed of his methods) from the simpli∣city that is in Christ:* You shall first have a little step, and something like a Truth, and that may be disputed at first, then comes another, and then comes another, and so at last you are involved in inextricable Errors. But the sixth and last thing I shall say under this head;
Take heed of being too far engaged in a party;* it is the way to sell a mans judgement: for if I be one of a party, I must strain hard to say as they say, and subscribe as they sub∣scribe, else I shall be an Apostate; this is dangerous, then all must be proclaimed Heretical that differ. Many a man hath broke his Conscience, violated his peace, by this Engagement,*be∣cause he must not break with his Party.
Page 34It is a notable rule Politicians have,* He that inclines to neither Party, is master of both: And I profess, I know not any generation in England that sleep so quietly, as those that are un∣engaged to this or that Party: What there is good in Episco∣pacy, they will not decline it, because the Bishops had it; What there is good amongst the Independents, they will close with it; What there is good in Presbytery, they will entertain that: And these are the men that Preach with Freedom, that converse with Freedom. I do desire and hope there may be a good Mo∣derate Presbytery settled amongst us; yet I'le profess to the world, I'le not be so engaged to own every thing in it, that I will not embrace any thing that is good in another way: The Lord keep us from being engaged to such Parties, that will make as slaves in our Consciences to them.
*In your contending for Truth, let there not be an abatement of Love: Think it not enough to be an Orthodox, unless you be a loving christian too, that all things may be done in love, that there you may walk in love, and be clothed with love; three places are to that purpose. Let me adde this then further, that you may advance this happy Union and Marriage betwixt Truth and Love,
*Love men more for the work of God you see in them, then you slight them for any such defects or mistakes, as are con∣sistent with godliness and with Saintship, Eph. 4.1, 2, 3, 4.
*Do not think ever to recover men with passionate invectives; Do not think to confute their Opinions with vehement reproach∣ful speeches: It is Love that melts, that wins upon them: And I desire that you, and I, and all Ministers might practice this, That when we deliver the most sharp reproofs, it might be Scri∣pture-language, and with a Scripture-Spirit, that may be the way to recover them, wheras the other hardens them it may be they will never hear you more, and then what have you got by it? you may preach against them absent, and that prejudices them still, till at last it may be you have preached away almost all your hearers. Further, that you may advance this happy Union of Truth and Love,
*Study to please, every one your godly Neighbor, for his good to edification; and such as are strong, must bear the infir∣mities Page 35 of the weak, and not to please our selves, saith Paul.* It argues a great deal of proud fondness of thy own conceit,* and want of love to thy Brother, when thou wilt contemn every one who attains not thy measure. There must be a Christian personal Toleration, forbearing one another in love; though there may not be a State-Toleration of all Religions.
Do not delight in affixing reproachful Names;* to cry down people under this or that Name, never any good comes by it: for there is this inconvenience, You wrap in all, that it may be do not deserve it, not going so far as others: As to cry down all men under the name of Anabaptists, though it may be some of them do onely scruple about the Baptizing of Infants, and are far from the opinions of the German Anabaptists, who deny Magi∣stracy, &c. and so, many such like instances I might give. Let me adde this: If you would indeed get a Spirit of love, and advance it, let this be your care,
That in the midst of all differences of Judgement,* you main∣tain a sweet harmony of affection, and labor to study a sweet compliance: What if thy Brother be not come up to thy Light, wilt thou therefore renounce him, and reject him? It may be God intends not to all men the same proportion: Shall I contemn my Brother, because I have more grace?* If another man should renounce me, that hath more grace then I, what would become of me: These and many such Rules I might give. I have but this one word, and that is as a means by way of direction, how to marry these, Truth and Love together: O that the Lord would help us to enter into Covenant to compleat the Marriage, se∣riously to resolve now, That for time to come we labor more to Truth it in love, and more to love with Truth; labor lovingly to embrace the Truth, and sincerely to pursue Love:* The very Heathen could say this, and it is a good Rule, I wish we Christi∣ans might learn it too. If you would be too hard for the common Enemy, and not suffer him to gain advantage against you, agree, otherwise he will prevail over both Parties of honest-hearted Christians (for so I am confident there are amongst those that differ in Church-matters) God forbid either of them should be destroyed: I say, if you would keep a third Party from de∣stroying both, let there be Concord; your union will be strength▪Page 36 it will engage the presence of God; whereas your Divisions alie∣nate and estrange God from you.* And here let me tell you a Story out of Livy, There was one Packuvius, that if he had not been so vicious, had been happy, and more worthy of our imitation, but his practice herein is commodious for you, There being a great difference betwixt the Commons and the Senators, and nothing would satisfie the Commons, but the Senators death; he gets all the Senators once by a stratagem into the Senate-house, and locks them in, and comes to the Commons, Well, I have now got them at your mercy; and then they were frollick, and would be revenged; he resolves to give them out one by one, and they had the first out: But I pray you Gentlemen, said he, let us consider, if we destroy all the Senators, who shall we have in the place of them to govern the City? Who shall come in the stead of them to rule? Why, one man would have this Governor, another man would have that; so at last they fell all to pieces, and they were glad to let the Senators alone: then he quieted the Com∣moners, and fetcht off the Senators, because they could not a∣gree upon a Successo; you have discontents in the City and Countrey too too many, and if it be the Lords blessed will, I would they might be healed: and some would have the Army destroyed, and a great many care not what becomes of the Par∣liament, and I fear, many care not what becomes of the City; but suppose this, That either Parliament or Army should for present be destroyed (I speak to wise Citizens) before you would have either of them destroyed,* consider who should come in their places: If Malignants should come into their Power, and destroy you and the Kingdom too, better the Commons had spa∣red the lives of the Senators. Remember this Story, and make this use of it. I have said enough to wise men, and I'le end all with that Prayer of John in his second Epistle to the elect Lady, and her Children, Grace be with with you, mercy and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Fa∣ther, in truth and Love: And hope you'll all say Amen to it.