The V. Sermon.
LUKE IX. 55.
OF all Errours or Ignorances, there are none so worthy our pains to cure, or caution to pre∣vent, as those that have influence on practice. The prime ingredient in the making up a [ D] a wise man, saith Aristotle in his Metaphy∣sicks, is to be well advised 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, what doubts must first be made, what ignorances earliest provided for: and there is not a more remarkable spring and principle of all the Scripture folly (that is wickedness) among men, than the beginning our Christian course unluckily, with some one, or more false infu∣sions, which not only are very hardly ever corrected afterward, [ E] like the errors of the first concoction, that are never rectified in the second; but moreover have an inauspicious, poysonous pro∣priety in them, turn all into nourishment of the prevailing humour: and then as the injury of filching some of that corn that was de∣livered out for seed, hath a peculiar mark of aggravation upon it; is not to be measured in the garner, but in the field; not by the quantity of what was stoln, but of what it would probably have proved in the Harvest: so the damage that is consequent to this in∣felicity, [ F] is never fully aggravated, but by putting into the Bill against it, all the Sins of the whole life; yea, and all the damna∣tion that attends it.
Of this kind, I must profess to believe the ignorance of Gospel-Spirit to be chief, an ignorance, that cannot chuse, but have an influence on every publick action of the life. So that as Padre PaoloPage 62 was designed an handsome office in the Senate of Venice, to sit by, and [ A] observe, and take care nequid contra pietatem; so it were to be wished, that every man on whom the Name of Christ is called, had some assi∣stent Angel, some 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; be it conscience, be it the re∣membrance of what I now say unto him, to interpose in all, especially the visible undertakings of the life, nequid contra spiritum Evangelii, that nothing be ventured on, but what is agreeable to the spirit of the Gospel. Even Disciples themselves may it seems run into great inconveniences for want of it; James and John did so in the Text; [ B] ignem de coelo, fire from Heaven on all that did not treat them so well as they expected; but Christ turned and reproved them, saying, You know not what spirit,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, what kind of spirit you are of; and that with an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 on 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, you Disci∣ples, you Christians, You know not what spirit you are of.
In the words it will be very natural to observe these 3. Parti∣culars; 1. That there is a peculiar Spirit that Christians are of, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; 2. That some prime Christians do not know the [ C] kind of spirit, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; even so James and John, You know not, &c. 3. That this ignorance is apt to betray Christians to unsafe, unjusti∣fiable designs and actions: You that would have fire from Heaven, do it upon this one ignorance, You know not, &c.
I begin first with the first of these, That there is a Peculiar Spirit that Christians are of: A spirit of the Gospel; and that must be con∣sidered here, not in an unlimited latitude, but one as it is opposite to the Spirit of Elias,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; Wilt thou do as he did? It [ D] will then be necessary to shew you the peculiarity of the Gospel Spirit, by its opposition to that of Elias, which is manifold for instance; First, Elias was the great assertor of Law, upon which ground Moses and he appear with our Saviour at his transfiguration: So that two things will be observable, which make a difference betwixt the Legal, and the Gospel spirit: 1. That some Precepts of Christ now clearly (and with weight upon them) delivered by Christ, were, if in substance delivered at all; yet sure not so clearly, and at length, and intelligibly [ E] proposed under the Law. You have examples in the fifth of Matthew, in the opposition betwixt the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, what was said by Moses to the Ancients, and the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Christs saying to his Disciples; which if they be interpreted of Moses Law, (as many of the particulars are evidently taken out of the Decalogue, Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, perjury,) Christs are then clearly superadditions unto Moses; or if they refer to the Pharisees glosses, (as some others of them possi∣bly may do) then do those glosses of those Pharisees (who were none [ F] of the loosest, nor ignorantest persons among them; but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for their lives, the strictest; & they sit in Moses Chair, & what∣ever they teach, that do, for their learning most considerable) argue the Mosaick Precepts not to be so clear, and incapable of being mis∣interpreted; and so still Christ's were additions, if not of the substance,Page 63 [ A] yet of light and lustre, and consequently improvements of the obliga∣tion to obedience, in us Christians, who enjoy that light, and are precluded those excuses of ignorance that a Jew might be capable of: From whence I may sure conclude, that the Ego autem, of not re∣taliating, or revenging of injuries, (for that is sure the meaning of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which we render resist not evil) the strict precept of loving, and blessing, and praying for Enemies, and the like, is more clearly preceptive, and so more indispensably obligatory to us Christi∣ans, [ B] than ever it was to the Jews before. And there you have one part of the Spirit of the Gospel, in opposition to a first notion of the legal Spirit: And by it you may conclude, that what Christian so∣ever can indulge himself the enjoyment of that hellish sensuality, that of revenge, or retributing of injuries; nay that doth not practise that high piece of (but necessary, be it never so rare) perfection of over∣coming evil with good; and so heap those pretious melting coals of love, of blessings, of prayers, those three species of sacred vestal fire, upon [ C] all Enemies heads; Nescit qualis spiritûs, He knows not what kind of spirit he is of.
But there is another thing observable of the Law, and so of the Judaical Legal Spirit; to wit, as it concerned the planting the Israe∣lites in Canaan, and that is the command of rooting out the nations; which was a particular case, upon God's sight of the filling up of the measure of the Amorites sins, and a judicial sentence of his proceeding upon them; not only reveal'd to those Israelites, but that with a pe∣remptory [ D] command annext to it, to hate, and kill, and eradicate some of those Nations. Which case because it seldom or never falls out to agree in all circumstances, with the case of any other sinful people, cannot lawfully prescribe to the eradicating of any other (though in our opinion never so great) enemies of God, until it appear as de∣monstrably to us, as it did to those Israelites, that it was the will of God they should be so dealt with: and he that thinks it necessary to shed the blood of every enemy of God, whom his censorious faculty [ E] hath found guilty of that charge, that is all for the fire from Heaven, though it be upon the Samaritans, the not receivers of Christ, is but as the Rabbies call him sometimes one of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉sons of blouds, in the plural number, and sons of fire; yea, and like the Disciples in my Text Boanerges, sons of thunder, far enough from the soft temper that Christ left them; Ye know not what kind of spirit ye are of.
In the next place, Elias Spirit was a Prophetick Spirit; whose dictates [ F] were not the issue of discourse and reason, but impulsions from Hea∣ven. The Prophetick writings, were not, saith S. Peter,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (I conceive in an agonistick sense) of their own starting, or in∣citation, as they were moved or prompted by themselves, but as it follows, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as they were carried by the Holy Ghost; not as they were led, but carried (when the Lord speaks, Page 64 who can but Prophecy?) And so likewise are the actions Prophe∣tick; [ A] many things that are recorded to be done by Prophets in Scrip∣ture, they proceed from some peculiar incitations of God; I mean not from the ordinary, or extraordinary, general, or special direction, or influence of his grace, cooperating with the Word, as in the breast of every regenerate man, (for the Spirit of Sanctification, and the Spirit of Prophecy, are very distant things) but from the extraordinary re∣velation of God's Will, many times against the setled rule of duty, acted and animated not as a living creature, by a Soul, but mov'd as [ B] an outward impellent, a sphear by an intelligence, and that frequent∣ly into eccentrical and planetary motions; so that they were no fur∣ther justifiable, than that prophetick calling to that particular enter∣prize will avow: Consequent to which is, that because the prophe∣tick office was not beyond the Apostles time to continue constantly in the Church, any further, than to interpret, and superstruct upon what the Canon of the Scripture hath setled among Christians; (Christ and his Word in the New Testament, being that Bath-Col, [ C] which the Jews tell us, was alone to survive all the other ways of Prophecy:) he that shall now pretend to that Prophetick Spirit, to some Vision, to teach what the Word of God will not own; to some incitation, to do what the New Testament Law will not allow of; he that with the late Fryar in France,* pretends to ecstatical revelations, with the Enthusiasts of the last age, and Phanaticks now with us, to ecstatical motions;* that with Mahomet, pretends a dialogue with God, when he is in an Epileptick fit, sets off the most ghastly diseases, [ D] I shall add most horrid sins, by undertaking more particular acquain∣tance and commerce with the Spirit of God, a call from God's Provi∣dence and extraordinary Commission from Heaven, for those things, which if the New Testament be Canonical, are evaporate from Hell; and so first leads captive silly women, (as Mahomet did his Wife) and then a whole Army of Janizaries into a War, to justifie and pro∣pagate such delusions, and put all to death that will not be their Pro∣selytes, is far enough from the Gospel Spirit that lies visible in the [ E] New Testament, (verbum vehiculum spiritûs, and the preaching of the Word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) and is not infused by dream or whis∣per, nor authorized by a melancholy, or phanatick phansie; and so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, knows not what kind, &c.
In the third place, Elias was the great precedent and example of sharp unjudiciary procedure with Malefactors, which from the com∣mon ordinary awards on Criminals in that execution, proceeded Trial, and the Malefactor suffered 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, without attending [ F] the formalities of Law.
Of this kind, two Examples are by Mattathias cited, 1 Macab. ii. one of Phinees,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that zeal'd a zeal, and in that run through Zimri and Cozbi, and so (as the Captain once answered for the killing the drowsie Sentinel) reliquit quos invenit, found Page 65 [ A] them in unclean embraces, and so left them: (And the variety of our interpretations in rendring of that passage in the Psalm, Then stood up Phinehas and prayed, in the Old, and then stood up Phinehas and exe∣cuted judgment, in the New Translations, may perhaps give some ac∣count of that action of his, that upon Phinehas Prayer for Gods dire∣ction what should be done in that matter, God raised him up in an ex∣traordinary manner to execute judgment on those offenders.) And the other of Elias in the Text, and he with some addition, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 [ B] , In zealing the zeal of the Law, called fire from Heaven upon those that were sent out from Ahazai, to bring him to him. And this fact of his (by God's answering his call, and the coming down of the fire upon them) was demonstrated to come from God also, as much as the prediction of the Kings death, which was confirm'd by this means.
It may very probably be guest by Matathias his words in that place that there were no precedents of the zelotick spirit in the Old Testa∣ment, [ C] but those two; for among all the Catalogue of examples menti∣oned to his sons, to enflame their zeal to the Law, he produceth no o∣ther; and 'tis observable, that though there be practises of this nature mentioned in the story of the New Testament, the stoning of S. Stephen, of St. Paul at Iconium, &c. yet all of them practised by the Jews, and not one that can seem to be blameless, but that of Christ (who sure had extraordinary power) upon the buyers and sellers in the Temple; upon which the Apostles remembred the Psalmists Prophecy, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [ D] the zeal of Gods house carried him to that act of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of in∣dignation and punishment upon the transgressors. And what mischief was done among the Jews by those of that sect in Josephus, that call'd themselves by that name of Zealots, and withal, took upon them to be the saviours and preservers of the City, but as it prov'd, the hastners & precipitators of the destruction of that Kingdom, by casting out, & killing the High-Priests first, and then the Nobles and chief men of the Nation, and so embasing, and intimidating, and dejecting the [ E] hearts of the people, that all was at length given up to their fury, Josephus, and any of the learned that have conversed with the Jewish Writers will instruct the enquirer: And ever since, no very ho∣nourable notion had of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the New Testament; one of the fruits of the flesh, Gal. v. of the Wisdom that comes not from Heaven, Jam. iii. and in the same 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a bitter zeal, a gall that will im∣bitter all that come near it. The short of it is, the putting any man to death, or inflicting other punishment upon any terms, but that [ F] of legal, perfectly legal process; is the importance of a zelotick Spirit, as I remember in Maimonides, him that curses God in the name of an Idol,* the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that meet him, kill him, i. e. the zealots permit∣ted, it seems, if not authorized to do so. And this is the Spirit of Elias, that is of all others, most evidently reprehended and renounced by Christ. The Samaritans no very sacred persons, added to their ha∣bitual Page 66 constant guilts, at that time to deny common civility of enter∣tainment [ A] to Christ himself; and the Disciples asked whether they might not do what Elias had done, call for fire from Heaven upon them in that case; & Christ tells them, that the Gospel-Spirit was of another complexion from that of Elias,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, turn'd to them as he did to Peter, when he said, Get thee behind me Satan; as to so many fiery Satanical-spirited men, and checkt them for that their fu∣rious zeal, with an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. The least I can conclude from hence is this, that they that put any to death, by any but perfectly [ B] legal process; that draw the sword upon any, but by the supreme Ma∣gistrates command, are far enough from the Gospel-Spirit, whatever precedent they can produce to countenance them: And so if they be really, what they pretend, Christians, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, they are in a pro∣digious mistake, or ignorance; They know not what Spirit they are of.
Yet farther is it observable of Elias, that he did execrate and curse, call for judgments from Heaven upon mens persons; and that [ C] temper of mind in the parallel, you may distribute into two sorts; First in passing judgments upon mens future estates, the censorious reproba∣ting Spirit, which though we find it not in Elias at this time, yet is a consequent of the Prophetick Office, and part of the burthen re∣ceived from the Lord, and layed upon those guilty persons, con∣cerning whom it hath pleased Almighty God to reveal that secret of his Cabinet; but then this rigor cannot, without sin, be pretended to by any else; for in the blackest instances, charity believes all things & [ D] hopes all things, and even in this sence, covers the multitudes of sins. Now this so culpable an insolent humour, rashly to pass a condemning sentence, was discernible in the Pharisees, (this Publican whose pro∣fession and trade is forbidden by that Law, and this people that know not that Law, is cursed) so likewise in the Montanists, (nos spirituales, and all others animals and Psychici) so in the Romanists (who con∣demn all but themselves) and in all those generally whose pride and malice conjoyned, (most directly contrary to the Gospel-Spirit of hu∣mility [ E] and charity) doth (prepare them one and the other) inflame them to triumph, and glut themselves in this spiritual assassinacy, this deepest dye of blood, the murthering of Souls; which because they cannot do it really, they endeavour in effigie, anathematize, and slaughter them here in this other Calvary, the place for the crucifying of reputations, turning them out of the Communion of their charity, though not of bliss; and I am confident, reject many whom the An∣gels entertain more hospitably. Another part of this cursing Spirit [ F] there is, more peculiarly Elias's, that of praying (and so calling) for curses on mens persons; and that being upon the enemies of God, and those appearing to Elias, a Prophet to be such, might be then lawful to him, and others like him, David perhaps, &c. in the Old Testament, but is wholly disliked and renounced by Christ under this state of Page 67 [ A] higher Discipline, to which Christians are designed by him in the New. I say, not only for that which concerns our own enemies, for that is clear, When thine enemy hungreth, feed him; and somewhat like that in the Old Testament, When thine enemies Ox, &c. But I extend it even to the enemies of God himself, and that I need not do upon other evidence than is afforded from the Text; the Samaritans were enemies of Christ himself, and were barbarous and inhumane to his person, and they must not be curst by Disciples. And he that can now curse even [ B] wicked men, who are more distantly the enemies of God, can call for (I say, not discomfiture upon their devices, for that is charity to them, to keep them from being such unhappy Creatures as they would be, contrivers of so much mischief to the world; but) Plagues and Ruine upon their persons, (which is absolutely the voice of Revenge, that sulphur-vapor of Hell) he that delighteth in the misery of any part of Gods Image (and so usurps upon that wretched quality, of which we had thought, the Devil had gotten the Monopoly (that of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [ C] joying in the Brother's misery) but now see with horror, is got loose out of that pit to rave among us;) he that would mischief, if it were in his power, and now it is not, by unprofitable wishes of execration, shews his good will toward it, is quite contrary to the Gospel-spirit, and so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he knows not, &c.
Lastly, Elias was not only rapt to Heaven, but moved on Earth in a Fiery Chariot,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith the Author of the Book of Macchabees; his zeal had fire and fire again (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 comes [ D] from 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 an excessive fervency) and agreeable to his temper is his ap∣petite; he desires nothing but fire upon his adversaries, calls for fire, and fire, and fire, as you may see it in the story: And the Gospel-Spirit is directly contrary to this, an allaying, quenching spirit, a gentle lambent flame, that sits on the Apostles heads to enlighten and adorn; by its vital warmth, expelling partial hectick heats, and burning Feverish distempers, that spiritual〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 mentioned in the Gospel; and putting in the place, a cool, sedate, and equable temper, to have [ E] peace with all men, and chiefly with our selves, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (an admirable phrase in St. Paul) to use as much diligence to restore the Earth to peace again, as all the wind, or air, or perhaps fire in its bowels (I mean, ambitious, contentious men) do, to set it a shaking; and he that will not contribute his utmost to quench those flames; that will not joyfully do any thing, that may not directly, or by con∣sequence include sin, toward the extinguishing a fire thus miserably gotten into the veins and bowels of a calamitous Kingdom, is far [ F] enough from the Gospel-Spirit, and so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he knows not, &c.
I shall not clearly give you the Gospel-Spirit, unless I proceed from its opposition to Elias his act, to that other, the opposition to the motion of those Disciples, considered in the particular circumstances. The case stood thus, Christ was going up to Jerusalem, thereupon the Sama∣ritansPage 68 receive him not; the Disciples will have fire from Heaven upon [ A] those Samaritans. Jerusalem was at that time the only proper place of God's worship, & may note to us as an embleme, the true established Protestant Religion of this Kingdom: The Samaritans were great ene∣mies to this, enemies to Jerusalem; being, first, Hereticks in Religion, took in the Assyrian Idols into the worship of the true God; they fear∣ed the Lord, and served their own gods, as it is in the story, and con∣tinued their wont when they turned Christians, make up the first sort of Hereticks in Epiphanius his Catalogue. Secondly, They were [ B] Schismaticks in an eminent manner, fet up a new separation by them∣selves, on Mount Gerizim: And farther yet in the third place, pre∣tended to the only purity and antiquity, they lived where Jacob once lived; and therefore, though Assyrians by extraction, they boast they are Jacob's seed; and pretend more antiquity for that Schism of theirs, because Jacob once worshipped in that Mountain, than they think can be shewed for the Temple at Jerusalem, which was but in Solomon's time, of a latter structure: Just as they which pretended, though never [ C] so falsly, that they were of Christ; have still despised and separated from all others as Novelists, which walked in the Apostles steps and practises; and so Samaritans under guilts enough: First, Haters of Jerusalem. Secondly, Hereticks. Thirdly, Separatists. Fourthly, Pretenders (though without all reason) to the first antiquity, and so ar∣rogant Hypocrites too: And fifthly, beyond all, prodigious, but still confident Disputers; and yet, sixthly, one higher step than all these, Contemners and haters of all, even of Christ himself, on this only [ D] quarrel, because he was a friend to Jerusalem, and looked as if he were a going thither, as if he had some favour to the established Religion of the Land. I wish this passage did not hitherto parallel it self; but see∣ing it doth too illustriously to be denied, or disguised, I shall imagin that that which follows, may do so too.
All this together, was temptation to two honest Disciples, to think fire from Heaven a but reasonable reward for such Samaritans; and having flesh and blood about them, compounded with Piety. You [ E] will not much wonder at them, that they were wrought on by the temptation; and yet this very thought of theirs, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is presently checked by Christ, as being against the Gospel-spirit; you know not what spirit you are of. Haters of the Church, Hereticks, Schismaticks, Hypocrites, Irrational Pretenders, Enemies, Contumelious, even to Christ himself, must not presently be assigned the Devils por∣tion, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, may be yet capable of some mercy, some humanity, not instantly devoted to be sacrifices to our fury. The [ F] Gospel-spirit will have thoughts of peace, of reconciliableness toward them. And let me beseech God first, and then you Right Honorable; God, that he indue and inspire your hearts with this piece of the Gospel spirit, so seasonable to your present consultations: And you, that you would not reject my Prayers to God, but open your hearts to receive Page 69 [ A] the return of them, and not imitate, even the Disciples of Christ, in that they are Boanerges; but stay till the cool of the day, till you have them in a calmer temper, when Christ's Word and Doctrine hath stil∣led those billows, as once he did the other tempestuous Element. It was Antonius his way to be revenged on his enemies, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not to imitate them, whatever he did. And this was but an Essay or ob∣scure shadow of the Christian Magnanimity, that goes for poverty of spirit in the World, but proceeding from the right principle of un∣shaken [ B] patience, of constant unmoveable meekness, of design to be like our Royal Master-sufferer. (Father forgive them that crucifie me, and go and preach the doctrine of the Kingdom to them, after they have crucified me. And you know all, we Ministers ever since are but Ambassadours of Christ, to ingrate, crucifying enemies, Praying them in Christs name and stead, that they would be reconciled, that they that have done the wrong will vouchsafe to be friends.) What is it, but that eminent piece of Gospel-spirit, which they that can be perswaded to part with for all [ C] the sweetness that thirst of Revenge can promise or pretend to bring in unto them, are unhappily ignorant of the richest Jewel, that ever came within their reach: They know not, &c.
I have as yet given you the Gospel-spirit, in one colour or notion, that of its opposition to Elias first, and then to the Boanerges. It will be necessary to add somewhat of the Positive consideration of it, though that must be fetched from other Scriptures. And this will be but ne∣cessary to this Text, because that which is here mentioned, is the [ D] 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 spirit in the extent, not only that one part of it that respect∣ed the present action; where (though any one eminent defect, that particularly wherein those Disciples offended, were destructive to the Gospel-spirit, Malum ex quolibet defectu, yet) all the several branches of it, are required to integrate or make up the Gospel-spirit, Bonum ex essentiâ integra. And what these branches are, I cannot better direct you, than by putting you in mind of these few severals. First, Christ's badge or cognizance, By this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, [ E] if you love one another:* Not of one opinion, but of love. Add, Nun∣quam laeti sitis, &c. as Jews rend Garments at Blasphemy; so we at Un∣charitableness. Secondly, Christs legacy, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Thirdly, Christ's copy, Learn of me; what's beyond all his other perfections, I am meek. Fourthly, The Nature of that Wisdom which cometh from above, Jam. iii. First pure, then peaceable. Fifthly, The quality of the fruits of the Spirit, in St. Paul, Gal. v. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [ F] meekness, &c. Sixthly, The gallantry of meekness in St. Peter, Orna∣ment of a meek and quiet spirit. Seventhly, Titus's charge, that all Christians are to be put in mind of, Tit. iii. 1. To be subject to Principa∣lities, to obey Magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉no fighters, but gentle, shewing all meekness to all men. Things, that it seems nothing but Christianity Page 70 could infuse; For we our selves were sometimes fools, dis•bedient, &c. [ A] But after the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, then room for this Spirit.
I cannot give you a readier Landskip to present them all to your view together, than that excellent Sermon of Christ upon the Mount, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as Chrysostom calls it, That top pitch of Divine Philosophy, worthy to be imprinted in every mans heart; and of which, he that hath not been a pondering student, and resolved to regulate his practice by it, as much as his Faith by the Apostles [ B] Creed; yea, and to lay down his life a Martyr of that Doctrine, though he hath all Faith, I cannot promise my self much of his Christianity. If you will have the Brachygraphy of that, the Manual picture that maybe sure, either in words or sense, never to depart from your bosom, but remain your constant Phylactery or Preservative, from the danger of all ungospel spirits, then take the Beatitudes in the front of it: And among them (that I may, if it be possible, bring the whole Iliads into a Nutshel) those that import immediately our [ C] duty towards men; for in that the Gospel-spirit especially consists, en∣creasing our love to Brethren; whose flesh Christ now assumed, and in whose interests he hath a most immediate concern. And if you mark, in the Chapter following, all the improvements mentioned except only that of swearing, belong to the commands of the Second Table. And then the integral parts of this Gospel-spirit, will be these four con∣stantly, Humility, meekness, mercifulness, peaceableness, and if need be, suffering too: Every of these four brought in to us, with a checker [ D] or lay of duty towards God, of mourning betwixt humility and meek∣ness, hungring and thirsting after Righteousness, betwixt meekness, and mercifulness; purity of heart betwixt mercifulness, and peaceableness, and persecution, and reproaches, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 every Rabshakeh Topick of railing Rhetorick vomited out upon us (Blessed persecution, blessed reproaches, when our holding to Christ, is that which brings them all upon us) the consummation and crown of all.
Having but named you these severals, Humility, meekness, merci∣fulness, [ E] peaceableness, and if need be, patience of all stripes, both of hand & tongue; the sparkling gems in this Jewel, blessed ingredients in this Gospel-spirit, you will certainly resolve it full time for me to descend to my second particular, at first proposed, That some Disci∣ples there were, some prime Professors do not know the kind of that spirit,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, You know not what kind of spirit you are of.
James and John it appears were such Disciples, and that after [ F] they had been for some competent time followers and auditors of his Sermons, so far an easier thing it is to leave their worldly condition, and follow Christ than to leave their carnal prejudices and ignorances and obey him; especially those that had such hold in their passions, (as revenge, they say, is the pleasingest piece of carnality in the heap;) Page 71 [ A] cheaper to hear his Gospel-Sermons, than to practise them. And you will less wonder at these two, when you see that St. Peter himself, after a longer space of proficiency, in that school, even at the time of Christs attachment, had not yet put off that ignorance, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, say the Fathers, Peter was of an hot Constitution, and Christs Doctrine had not yet got down deep enough into his heart, to allay or cool him; Nondum concipiens in se Evangelicam patientiam illam tra∣ditam sibi a Christo, &c. saith Origen; that Gospel-patience and peace∣ableness [ B] that Christ had commended to him, he had not it seems yet received into an honest heart, and so he makes no scruple to cut off Malchus ear, when he was provoked to it. I have heard of a Fryar, that could confess that Malchus signified a King, and yet after made no scruple to acknowledg him in that notion, to be the High-Priests Ser∣vant. And secondly, to justifie St. Peters act, and avoid Christs re∣prehension, by saying that he was chid, not for doing so much, but for doing no more; not for cutting off his Ear, but for not directing the [ C] blow better, to the cutting off his Head: And how far this Fryar's barbarous Divinity hath been justified of late by the Writings of some (who will yet perswade us that Christ did not reprehend St. Peter for that act) and by the actions of others, I have little joy to represent to you; God knows, I love not to widen breaches; only I am sure the Fathers are clear; that though formerly St. Peter were ignorant, and from that ignorance and zeal together, ran into that fury, yet Christ〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* desirous to tune him [ D] to that sweet harmonaical Gospel temper, tells him he must not use the sword, (he having no Commission, especially against those that have it, though they use it never so ill) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, though it were to avenge even God himself. And having given you these proofs of this ignorance in three Disciples, I think 'tis possi∣ble I might extend it to the rest of them, that they were in this parti∣cular ignorant too▪ (as it seems they were in many other things) till the Holy Ghost came according to promise to teach them all things, and [ E] to bring to their remembrance, (to thaw their memories, that the words of Christs, like the voice in Plutarch that had been frozen, might at length become audible; or as Plato's Precepts were learned by his Scholars, when they were young, but never understood till they were Men of full age, and tamer passions:) I say, to bring to their remembrance whatsoever Christ had in Person said unto them. And I wish to God it were uncharitable to charge this ignorance still upon Disciples, after so many solemn Embassies of the Holy Ghost un∣to [ F] us, to teach us, and remember us of this Duty. Nay, I wish, that now after he hath varied the way of appearing, after he hath sat upon us in somewhat a more direful shape, not of a Dove, but Vultur (tear∣ing even the flesh from us on purpose; that when we have less of that carnal Principle left, there might be some heed taken to this Gospel-Spirit) there were yet some proficiency observable among us, some Page 72 heavings of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that hath so long been a working [ A] in the World; I am confident there were no such way of designing a prosperous, flourishing, durable Kingdom, as to found its policy upon Gospel-Principles, and maintain it by the Gospel-Spirit. I have au∣thority to think, that was the meaning of that Prophecy of Christs turning swords into plough-shares, not that he should actually bring peace, he tells you that it would prove quite contrary; but because the fabrick of the Gospel is such, that would all men live by it, all wars & disquiets would be banished out of the World. It was a madness in [ B] Machiavel to think otherwise, and yet the unhappiness of the World, that Sir Thomas Moor's Book that designed it thus, should be then called Utopia, and that title to this hour remain perfect Prophecy, no place to be found where this Dove may rest her foot, where this Gospel-Spirit can find reception. No not among Disciples themselves, those that profess to adventure their lives to set up Christs Kingdom in its purity; none so void of this knowledge, as they. Whether we mean a speculative or practical knowledge of it, few arrived to that [ C] height or vacancy of considering whether there be such a Spirit, or no. Some so in love with nature, that old Pelagian Idol, resolve that suffi∣cient to bring them to Heaven, if they but allow their brethren what they can claim by that grand Character, love of Friends, those of the same perswasion, those that have obliged them; they have natures leave, and so are resolved to have Christs, to hate, pursue to death whom they can phancy their Enemies. And I wish some were but thus of Agrippa's Religion, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, so near being Christi∣ans, [ D] as nature it self would advance them; that gratitude, honour to Parents, natural affection, were not become malignant qualities, dis∣claim'd as conscientiously, as obedience and justice, and honouring of betters. Others again so devoted to Moses's Law, the Old Testament Spirit, that whatever they find practised there, they have sufficient authority to transcribe. And 'tis observable, that they which think themselves little concerned in Old Testament Duties, (which have a long time past for unregenerate morality, that faith hath perfectly [ E] out-dated) are yet zealous Assertors of the Old Testament Spirit, all their pleas for the present resistance fetch'd from them, yea, and confest by some, that this liberty was hidden by God in the first ages of the Christian Church, but now revealed we cannot hear where yet; but in the Old Testament, and from thence a whole CIX. Psalm full of Curses against God's Enemies and theirs, (and generally those pass for synonymous terms) the special devotion they are exercised in; and if ever they come within their reach, no more mercy for them, than [ F] for so many of the seven nations, in rooting out of which, a great part of their Religion consists. I wish there were not another Prodigy also abroad under the name of the Old Testament Spirit, the opinion of the necessity of Sacrifice, real bloody Sacrifice, (even such as was but sel∣dom heard of among Indians, and Scythians themselves) such sacri∣fices, Page 73 [ A] of which the Cannibal Cyclops Feasts may seem to have been but attendants, (furnished with the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that come from such savage Altars) sacrificing of Men of Christians, of Protestants, as good as any in the World, to expiate for the bloud shed by Papists in Queen Mary's days; and some Prophets ready to avow, that without such Sacrifice, there is no remission, no averting of judg∣ments from the Land. What is this, but like the Pharisees, To build and garnish the Sepulchres of the Prophets, and say, That if they had lived [ B] in their Fathers days, they would never have partaken of the blood of the Prophets, and yet go on to fill up the measure of their Fathers? the very men to whom Christ directs thee, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest, in the present tense, a happy turn, if but the Progeny of those Murtherers, and what can then remain, but the Behold, your house is left unto you desolate, irreversible destruction upon the Land. A third sort there is again that have so confined the Gospel to Promises, and a fourth so perswaded that the Unum necessarium is to [ C] be of right perswasions in Religion; i. e. of those that every such Man is of, (for he that did not think his own the truest, would sure be of them no longer) that betwixt those two popular deceits, that of the Fiduciary, and this of the Solifidian, the Gospel spirit, is not con∣ceived to consist in doing any thing; and so still those practical Gra∣ces, Humility, Meekness, Mercifulness, Peaceableness, and Christian Pa∣tience, are very handsomly superseded; that one Moses's Rod, called Faith, is turned Serpent, and hath devoured all these for rods of the [ D] Magicians; and so still you see Men sufficiently armed and fortified against the Gospel-Spirit. All that is now left us, is not to exhort, but weep in secret, not to dispute, but pray for it, that God will at last give us eyes to discern this treasure put into our hands by Christ, which would yet like a whole Navy and Fleet of Plate, be able to recover the fortune and reputation of this bankrupt Island, fix this floting De∣los, to restore this broken shipwrackt Vessel to harbour and safety, this whole Kingdom to peace again. Peace! seasonable, instant peace, the [ E] only remedy on earth to keep this whole Land from being perfect Vastation, perfect Africk of nothing, but wild and Monster; and the Gospel-Spirit, that Christ came to Preach, and exemplifie, and plant among men, the only way imaginable to restore that peace. Lord that it might at length break forth among as! the want of it is certainly the Author of all the miseries we suffer under; and that brings me to the third and last particular, That this ignorance of the Gospel-Spirit, is apt to betray Christians to unsafe, unjustifiable enterprizes: You that [ F] would have fire from Heaven, do it upon this one ignorance, You know not, &c.
It were too sad, and too long a task, to trace every of our evils home to the original; every of the fiends amongst us, to the mansion in the place of darkness, peculiar to it: If I should it would be found too true, what Du Plesse is affirmed to have said to Languet, as the Page 74 reason why he would not write the story of the Civil Wars of France, [ A] That if he were careful to observe the causes, and honest to report them, 〈◊〉 must hound the Fox to a Kennel, which it was not willing to acknow∣ledge; drive such an action to the Brothel-house, that came speciously and pretendedly out of a Church: Find that to be in truth, the animo∣sity of a rival, that took upon it to be the quarrel for Religion; or as in Polybius oft, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to be a thing very distant from the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 ,the colour from the cause.
In the mean it will not be a peculiar mark of odium on the em∣broylers [ B] of this present State and Church, to lay it at their doors, which I am confident never failed to own the like effects in all other Christi∣an States, the Ignorance (i. e. in the Scripture phrase, Not Practising) of those Christian Rules which the Gospel-spirit presents us with.
I might tire you but with the names of those effects that flow constantly from this Ignorance, such are usurping the Power that be∣longs not to us, which Humility would certainly disclaim; such resist∣ing the Powers under which we are placed by God, to which Meekness [ C] would never be provoked; such the judging and censuring mens thoughts and intentions any further than their actions enforce, most unreconcileable with the forgiving part of mercifulness; such the do∣ing any kind of evil. that the greatest or publickest good may come, designing of Rapine or Blood to the sanctifiedst end, which S. Paul and Peaceableness would never endure; such Impatience of the Cross, shaking a Kingdom to get it off from our own shoulders, and put it on other men, diametrally opposite to the suffering and patience of [ D] a Christian.
To retire from this Common, to the Inclosure, and to go no far∣ther than the Text suggests to me, To call fire from Heaven upon Sa∣maritans, is here acknowledged the effect of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the want of knowledge, or consideration of the quality of their spirit.
And what may that signifie to us? Why fire you know is the embleme of a Civil War, which is called a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a combustion, or being farther broken out into flames, a conflagration; and I conceive [ E] should be so rendred in that place of S. Peter, where we read the Fiery Tryal.
Now fire you know, belongs most naturally to Hell; and there∣fore when the fire and brimstone came down upon Sodom, the phansie of the Fathers calls it Gehennam de Coelo: And so generally the Civil Fire, the Combustion in a State, its original is from thence too; part of that wisdom that is not from above. These Tares so apt for burning, are sowed by Satan, the Enemy-man. From whence come Wars and [ F] strivings among you,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Wars of all sizes, are they not from your lusts, that war in your flesh? saith S. James. The lusts from the Flesh, but the War from Hell, the Devil, the Spiritus suf∣flans that sets them a warring. Believe it, they would not be able to do it in this manner, prove such fiery boutefeus, if they were not in∣flamed Page 75 [ A] from beneath, if they were not set on fire by Hell. And there∣fore to call fire from Heaven, to entitle God or Heaven to that fire, is to do both of them great injury; nay, though it be on Samaritans, that are not so friendly to Christ as might be expected: And so to call fire from Heaven upon Samaritans, is (by accommodation at least) to pre∣tend God, or Heaven, or Religion, for the cause of War, which of all things hath least to do it, if the Gospel-spirit may have leave to be considered. Indeed, very few kinds of War there are that will be [ B] justified by Gospel-principles. It was truly said, (though by a rough Soldier) That if the Lord of Hosts were permitted to sit in the Council of War, there would soon be a cessation of Arms, and disbanding of Armies: Though that all War is not unlawful will appear by John Baptists ad∣dress to the Soldiers, who gave rules to regulate their Militia, but did not disband them; and the example of the Convert Centurion, a Centurion still after his Conversion: Where yet this still remains as an infallible resolution, that Wars are to be used like the Regia Medi∣camenta, [ C] never but when the Physician sees there is no other means available; never upon the wantonness of the Patient, but command of the Physician, and never but when peace appears to be impossible; for if it be possible, the precept is of force, Follow peace with all men. And then to shed the blood of Christians, when blood may be spared, what an hideous thing it is, you may guess by that Emperor, that having beheaded a Christian, was by the sight of a fishes head that came to his Table so astonished, phancying, that it was the head of [ D] that slaughtered Christian gaping on him, that he scarce recovered to his wits; or of that poor penitent David in his pathetick expressi∣on, Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O Lord: A wonderful delive∣rance, it seems, to get clear from that. And what an Ocean of fishes heads, may appear one day gaping on some Men, I have no joy to tell: Deliver us from blood-guiltiness, O God.
I have done with my third particular also, and have now no more to importune you with, but my requests to you, and to Heaven for [ E] you, that the time past of all our lives be sufficient to have spent in the will of the Gentiles, after the dictates of that Heathen spirit, the natural or Jewish principles: That you be content at length to go up to the Mount with Christ, and be auditors of his Sermon; to that other Mount with the same Christ and be transfigured after him to that spi∣rit of humility, spirit of meekness, spirit of all kind of mercifulness; that peaceable, patient spirit, which will give you a comfortable pas∣sage through this valley of Achor here; yea, though it prove a Red [ F] Sea of Blood, and will fit you for a Crown, that true Olympick Olive Crown; the peaceable fruits of righteousness, an eternal weight of glory hereafter. Which God of his infinite mercy grant, through the merit and promise of his Son.
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