England's deliverance from the northern presbytery, compared with its deliverance from the Roman papacy by Peter Sterry, once fellow of Emmanuel Colledge in Cambridge, now preacher to the Right Honorable the Councell of State, sitting at White-Hall.
Sterry, Peter, 1613-1672.
Page  [unnumbered]Page  5



IT may seem strange, that in the Thanksgi∣ving on this Day I have exalted the prai∣ses of the present season above the head of this Ancient Mercy. If I deceive not my self, I have not done this to the disadvan∣tage of those old loving kindnesses, nor without great Examples.

Is not this the beaten way of JESUS CHRIST with his Church, to make succeeding visits and loves, by be∣ing a grave to those that have been already, to become a Re∣surrection to them, giving them a more Excellent Being in this Relative State and Subordination, than they had in their absolutenesse? Did John the Baptist encrease his glory by any thing more, than by that sweet readinesse to de∣crease before JESUS CHRIST? How do the holy Pen∣men in all their Prophesies, or Praises, frequently make every present subject, but as a sight to direct their eye, while their spirits fly to this mark, the Heavenly glory of CHRIST in this last Appearance, which is now from the midst of its Thunders, Lightning upon the Earth.

Right Honourable, I hambly intreat your Patience a little further, while I present you faithfully with my Sense in the Comparison which I make between the Papacy, and Rigid Presbytery. I shall do this in three words, spoken to three things; Forms, Persons, Principles.

Page  6 1. As to Forms. I grant some to be purer than others. I al∣low the Church-form of Presbytery, to excell the Papacy, as the fairnesse of the Moon, doth the darknesse of the Night. I allow it to be in the first Rank of the purest outward Forms, although not the first of that Rank. I believe it the duty of every Christian to follow after the best Forms. Yet is there a more excellent way, which is that of Love. My Brethren, our Joseph, our Jesus, chargeth us not to fall out on the way,* though we walk in different paths. We are Brethren, let no outward Forms divide us one from another, if they divide us not from CHRIST, if they have not in their own nature an enmity to the naturall Image of CHRIST, which is Ci∣vility, Morality; or the Heavenly Image, which is Spiri∣tuality: Let us receive one another into the Glory of GOD, * as CHRIST receiveth us, though that Cloathing of the out∣ward Form be not of the same fashion upon all, nor on some so well shap'd, as on others, to the Proportion of the Body, which is CHRIST The Lord JESUS hath his Concubines, his Queens, his Virgins; Saints in Remoter. Forms, Saints * in Higher Forms, Saints unmarried to any Form, who keep themselves single for the immediate embraces of their Love. But CHRISTS Dove in all these is One, the New Creature in CHRIST, the spirituall birth of the Spirit, the only One of her Mother, that Hierusalem above, which is the City compact, that Band of Peace, that Unity of Saints, the Holy Ghost.

2. As to Persons; Fathers, and Brethren of the Presbyte∣ry! You together with me, desire after, sit drwn under the sha∣dow feed upon the sweet fruit of the same Apple-tree, in the * midst of the trees of the Forrest, though not of the same Arm and Bough of that Tree. I would not in any thing offend you, who are in the number of the excellent Ones, in which is all *CHRIST'S Delight on earth. If I grieve you, what shall Page  7 make me glad? There are of you, who are ready to answer this government of JESUS CHRIST, as Peter did CHRIST; Thou knowest that I love thee. Feed then the sheep, feed the Lambs, in those fresh Pastures into which He now leads you. You who are of another mind, appear to me, like good old Zachary: Though an Angel from Heaven witnesse, that the things now come to passe, are the very answers to those pray∣ers * which your selves put up many years agone: yet you can∣not believe, because the way is not in the ordinary track of your Principles and Expectations. Therefore are you struck dumb for a season, that you cannot make a good confession of these Appearances of GOD. But when the Child shalbe born, the Glory perfectly brought forth then your selves shal name it John, which being interpreted, is Grace; then shall even your tongues be loosed, to praise this Day-spring from on high, which hath visited us; then shal you acknowledg that this was the gate of heaven, though you were not aware of it.

Now the Lord himself bring it to pass that all you, who in your p•…st dispensations have been fathers to these present dis∣coveries, may suddenly turn your hearts to your children, lest he come, and for your sakes smite the earth, even all flesh with a curse.

3. As to Principles. The marriage between our Saviour and the Soul is a marriage of Spirits, a marriage in one spi∣rit. No union with any form makes this Marriage, or dissolvs it. That which alone stands in enmity to these Heavenly E∣spousals is union with a strange spirit. This strange spirit is the Great Whore Babylon, Mother of fornications. One of her names is Mystery, because she puts her self into all forms, from the lowest to the highest; from the most outward to the most inward; from the darksomest among men, to the lightsomest amongst Angels. This is the great work of a Saint, to watch, to watch the Spirit of CHRIST, as be Page  8 makes his removes out of one Appearance into another; to watch the spirit of Antichrist, as that also shifts its forms.

Right Honorable, For this I have desired in my Preach∣ing, in my Prayers, to work with GOD, even for the opening of the eyes of men to see, that the same spirit which lay in the polluted Bed of Papacy, may meet them in the perfumed Bed of Presbytery; that the fornications and sorceries of this Whore are then greatest, when they are most Mysterious, that she is able by her sorceries to bewitch those that have attained to a great degree of spirituality as the Galatians. To this pur∣pose have I in my Sermon represented the same spirit which dwels in the Papacy, when it enters into the Purer form of Presbytery, as fuller of mystery, so fuller of despight, of danger, not to make the form or persons, but that Principle, that spirit unfit to be cherished by any Person in any fo•…m. The Highest Godlinesse, and the Highest Wickeanesses are those, which are most Spirituall. Now, O Christians, you fight not with Flesh and Blood, but Principalities and Powers, spirituall wickednesses in Heavenly forms. But this is your comfort, spirituall wickednesses ascend as high as the Heavens, even into Angelical forms: but spiritual God∣linesse goes up above all Heavens, together with CHRIST into the bosome of the Eternall Spirit, from whence it looks down upon the Angels, and all forms, as ministring to it. In vain is the snare laid before those Doves, which have these spirituall eyes and wings. In the number of which, that you may be ever found, is the Prayer of

Right Honourable, Your Honours most faithfull Servant in CHRIST, PETER STERRY.