The first Treatise. AN EXPOSITION OF THAT PART OF SCRIPTVRE out of which Domesticall Duties are raised.
EPHES. 5. 21.
§. 1. Of the Apostles transition from generall duties to particulars.
AS there are two vocations whereunto it hath pleased God to call euery one; one Generall, by vertue whereof certaine common duties which are to be perfor∣med of all men, are required, (as know∣ledge, faith, obedience, repentance, loue, mercie, iustice, truth, &c.) the other Particular, by vertue whereof certaine peculiar duties are required of seuerall persons, according to those distinct places wherein the Diuine Prouidence hath set them in Common-wealth, Church, or family; so ought Gods Ministers to be carefull in instructing Page 2 Gods people in both kindes of duties; both those which concerne their generall, and those also which concerne their particular calling. Accordingly S. Paul (who, as aMoses, was faithfull in all the house of God) after he had sufficiently instructed Gods Church in such generall duties, as belong to all Christians, of what sex, state, degree, or condition soeuer they be, proceedeth to lay downe cer∣taine particular duties, which appertaine to particular cal∣lings and conditions: among which, he maketh choise of those which God hath established in a family. With excel∣lent Art doth he passe from those generals, to these particu∣lars: laying downe a transition betwixt them, in these words, Submitting your selues one to another in the feare of God; which words haue reference both to that which go∣eth before, and also to that which followeth after. The forme and manner of setting downe this verse, with a par∣ticiple thus, submitting, sheweth that it dependeth on that which went before, and so hath reference thereunto. Againe, the word it selfe being the very same which is vsed * in the next verse following, sheweth, that this verse con∣taineth the summe of that which followeth, and so hath re∣ference thereunto, as a generall vnto particulars. This man∣ner of passing from one point to another, by a perfect tran∣sition which looketh both wayes, both to that which is past, and to that which commeth on, as it is very elegant, so is it frequent with this our Apostle. Whereby he teacheth vs, * so to giue heed to that which followeth, as we forget not that which is past: as we must giue diligent attention to that which remaineth, so we must well retaine that which we haue heard, and not let it slip: otherwise, if (as one naile driueth out another) one precept maketh another to be for∣gotten, it will be altogether in vaine to adde line vnto line, or precept vnto precept.
§. 2. Of ioyning seruice to men with our praising of God.
As this verse hath reference to that which was deliuered before, concerning our dutie to God, it teacheth vs this lesson:
Page 3It is the dutie of Christians as to set forth the praise of God, so to be seruiceable one to another. For this purpose in the * Decalogue to the first table, which prescribeth that duty which we owe to God, is added the second table, which declareth the seruice that we owe one to another: and he that said, bThe first and great Commandement is this, Thou shalt loue the Lord, &c. said also, The second is like to this, Thou shalt loue thy neighbour, &c. whereupon the c Apostle declaring what those sacrifices be wherewith God is well pleased, ioyneth these two together, to giue thankes to God, and to doe good to man. The seruice which in the feare of God we performe one to another, is an euident and reall de∣monstration of the respect we beare vnto God. dTo God our goodnesse extendeth not.e He is so high aboue vs, so perfect and compleat in himselfe, that neither can we giue to him, nor he receiue of vs. But in his owne stead he hath placed our brother like to our selues; to whom, f as we may doe hurt, so by our faithfull seruice we may doe much g good: in doing whereof God is much honoured.
This discouereth their hypocrisie, who make great pre∣tence * of praising God, and yet are scornfull, and disdain∣full to their brethren, and slothfull to doe any seruice to man: These mens religion is vaine. By this note did the Pro∣phets * in their time, and Christ and his Apostles in their time also, discouer the hypocrisie of those among whom they liued: and so may we also in our times. For many there be, who frequently in their houses, and in the mid∣dest of the Congregation sing praise vnto God, and per∣forme other parts of Gods outward worship, but towards one another, are proud, stout, enuious, vnmercifull, vniust, slanderous, and very backward to doe any good seruice. Surely, that outward seruice which they pretend to per∣forme to God, doth not so much wipe out the spot of pro∣phanesse, as their neglect of dutie vnto man brandeth their foreheads with the stampe of hypocrisie. *
For our parts, let vs not vpon pretext of one dutie, though it may seeme to be the waightier, thinke to shift off another; lest that fearefull woe which Christ denounced Page 4 against the Scribes and Pharisies fall vpon our pates. As God is carefull to instruct vs how to carrie our selues both to his owne Maiestie, and also one to another, so let vs in both approue our selues to him: remembring what Christ said to the Pharisies, These ought ye to haue done, and not to leaue the other vndone. The same Lord that requireth praise to his owne Maiestie, inioyneth mutuall seruice one to ano∣ther; the neglect of this, as well as of that, sheweth too light respect of his will and pleasure: What therefore God*hath ioyned together, let not man put asunder.
§. 3. Of euery ones submitting himselfe to another.
Againe, as this verse hath reference to that which fol∣loweth, it declareth the generall summe of all, which is mutually to submit our selues one to another in the feare of God. The parts hereof are two:
- 1. An Exhortation.
- 2. A Direction.
In the exhortation is noted, both the dutie it selfe in this word submit, and also the parties to whom it is to be perfor∣med, one to another.
Both branches of the exhortation, viz. the dutie, and the parties ioyned together, afford this doctrine, that
It is a generall mutuall dutie appertaining to all Christians,*to submit themselues one to another: For this precept is as generall as any of the former, belonging to all sorts and de∣grees whatsoeuer: and so much doth this word one another* imply: in which extent the Apostle in another place ex∣horteth to serue one another: and againe, euery man to seeke*anothers wealth.
Concerning inferiours, it is without question cleare, that * they ought to submit themselues to their superiours: yea, concerning equals no great question can be made, but they in giuing honour must goe one before another, and so submit * themselues: but concerning superiours, iust question may be made, whether it be a dutie required of them to submit themselues to their inferiours.
Subiection of reuerence is that whereby one testifieth an eminencie and superioritie in them whom he reuerenceth, and that in speech, by giuing them titles of honour; or in gesture, by some kinde of obeysance; or in action, by a ready obeying of their commandement. This is proper to inferiours.
Subiection of seruice is that whereby one in his place is * ready to doe what good he can to another. This is com∣mon to all Christians: a dutie which euen superiours owe to inferiours, according to the fore-named extent of this word one another: in which respect euen the highest gouer∣nour on earth is called a minister, for the good of such as * are vnder him.
Secondly, we must put difference betwixt the worke it * selfe, and the manner of doing it. That worke which in it selfe is a worke of superioritie and authoritie, in the man∣ner of doing it may be a worke of submission, viz. if it be done in humilitie and meeknesse of minde. The Magistrate by ruling with meeknesse and humilitie, submitteth him∣selfe to his subiect. In this respect the Apostle exhorteth that nothing (no not the highest and greatest workes that * can be) be done in vaine-glory, but in meeknesse.
Thirdly, we must distinguish betwixt the seuerall places wherein men are: for euen they who are superiours to some, * are inferiours to others: as he that said, I haue vnder me, and am vnder authoritie. The master that hath seruants vn∣der him, may be vnder the authoritie of a Magistrate. Yea, God hath so disposed euery ones seuerall place, as there is not any one, but in some respect is vnder another. The wife, though a mother of children, is vnder her husband. The husband, though head of a family, is vnder publike Magistrates. Publike Magistrates one vnder another, and all vnder the King. The King himselfe vnder God and his word deliuered by his Ambassadours, whereunto the highest are to submit themselues. And Ministers of the word, as subiects, are vnder their Kings and Gouernours. Page 6 He that saith, Let euery soule be subiect to the higher powers,* excepteth not Ministers of the word: and he that saith, obey them that haue the ouersight of you, and submit your selues,* excepteth not kings: only the difference is in this, that the authoritie of the king is in himselfe, and in his owne name he may command obedience to be performed to himselfe: but the authoritie of a Minister is in Christ, and in Christs name only may he require obedience to be performed to Christ.
The reason why all are bound to submit themselues one * to another is, because euery one is set in his place by God, not so much for himselfe, as for the good of others: where∣upon the Apostle exhorteth, that none seeke his owne, but euery man anothers wealth. Euen Gouernours are aduanced * to places of dignitie and authoritie, rather for the good of their subiects then for their owne honour. Their callings are in truth offices of seruice, yea burdens vnder which they must willingly put their shoulders, being called of God, and of which they are to giue an account concerning the good which they haue done to others: for the effecting whereof, it is needfull that they submit themselues.
Let euery one therefore high and low, rich and poore, * superiour and inferiour, Magistrate and subiect, Minister and people, husband and wife, parent and childe, master and seruant, neighbours and fellowes, all of all sorts in their se∣uerall places take notice of their dutie in this point of sub∣mission, and make conscience to put it in practice: Magi∣strates, by procuring the wealth and peace of their people, as Mordecai: Ministers, by making themselues seruants * vnto their people, not seeking their owne profit, but the * profit of many, that they may be saued, as Paul: Fa∣thers, by well educating their children, and taking heed that they prouoke them not to wrath, as Dauid: Husbands,* by dwelling with their wiues according to knowledge; gi∣uing honour to the wife as to the weaker vessell, as Abra∣ham:*Masters, by doing that which is iust and equall to their seruants, as the Centurion: Euery one, by being of like * affection one towards another, and by seruing one another Page 7 in loue, according to the Apostles rule. Let this dutie of * submission be first well learned, and then all other duties will better be performed.
Be not high minded, nor swell one against another. * Though in outward estate some may be higher than other, yet in Christ all are one whether bond or free: all members of one and the same body. Now consider the mutuall affection (as I may so speake) of the members of a naturall body one towards another: not any one of them will puffe it selfe vp, * and rise against the other: the head which is the highest * and of greatest honour will submit it selfe to the feet in per∣forming the dutie of an head, as well as the feet to the head in performing their dutie; so all other parts. Neither is it hereby implied that they which are in place of dignitie and authoritie should forget or relinquish their place, dignitie, or authoritie, and become as inferiours vnder authoritie, no more than the head doth: for the head in submitting it selfe doth not goe vpon the ground and beare the body, as the feet; but it submitteth it selfe by directing and gouer∣ning the other parts, and that with all the humilitie, meek∣nesse, and gentlenesse that it can. So must all superiours: much more must equals and inferiours learne with hu∣militie, and meeknesse, without scorne or disdaine, to per∣forme their dutie: this is that which was before by the Apo∣stle * expresly mentioned, and is here againe intimated; none are exempted and priuileged from it. We know that it is vnnaturall, and vnbeseeming the head to scorne the feet, and to swell against them, but more than monstrous for one hand to scorn another: what shall we then say if the feet swel against the head? Surely such scorne and disdaine among the members, would cause not only great disturbance, but also vtter ruine to the body. And can it be otherwise in a politique body? But on the contrarie, when all of all sorts shall (as hath beene before shewed) willingly submit them∣selues one to another, the whole body, and euery member thereof will reape good thereby: yea, by this mutuall sub∣mission, as we doe good, so we shall receiue good.
§. 4. Of the feare of God.
Hitherto of the exhortation. The direction followeth. In the feare of the Lord. This clause is added, to declare partly the meanes, how men may be brought to submit themselues readily one to another: and partly the manner, how they ought to submit themselues. The feare of the Lord is both the efficient cause that moueth a true Christian wil∣lingly to performe all dutie to man, and also the end where∣unto he referreth euery thing that he doth. For the better conceiuing whereof, I will briefly declare
- 1. What this feare of the Lord is.
- 2. How the Lord is the proper obiect of it.
- 3. What is the extent thereof.
- 4. Why it is so much vrged.
First, feare of God is an awfull respect of the diuine Ma∣iestie. * Sometimes it ariseth from faith in the mercy and goodnesse of God: for when the heart of man hath once felt a sweet taste of Gods goodnesse, and found that in his fauour only all happinesse consisteth, it is strucken with such an inward awe and reuerence, as it would not for any thing dis∣please * his Maiestie, but rather doe whatsoeuer it may know to be pleasing and acceptable vnto him. For these are two effects which arise from this kinde of feare of God:
1. A carefull endeuour to please God, in which respect * good king Iehosaphat hauing exhorted his Iudges to execute the iudgement of the Lord aright, addeth this clause as a motiue thereunto, Let the feare of the Lord be vpon you: implying thereby that Gods feare would make them ende∣uour to approue themselues to God.
2. A carefull auoiding of such things as offend the Maiesty of God, and grieue his spirit: in which respect the Wiseman * saith, The feare of the Lord is to hate euill: and of Iob it is * said that he fearing God departed from euill.*
Sometimes againe, awe and dread of the diuine Maiestie ariseth from diffidence: For when a mans heart doubteth of Gods mercy, and expecteth nothing but vengeance, the very thought of God striketh an awe or rather dread into him, and so maketh him feare God.
Page 9 From this double cause of feare, whereof one is contrary * to another, hath arisen that vsuall distinction of a filiall or sonne-like feare, and a seruile or slauish feare: which di∣stinction is grounded on these words of the Apostle, ye haue not receiued the spirit of bondage againe to feare (this is * a seruile feare) but ye haue receiued the spirit of adoption*whereby we cry, Abba, father: this causeth a filiall feare. The filiall feare is such a feare as dutifull children beare to their fathers. But the seruile feare is such an one as bondslaues beare to their masters. A sonne feareth simply to offend or displease his father: so as * it is accompanied with loue. A bondslaue feareth nothing but the punishment of his of∣fence; so as it is ioyned with hatred: and such an one fea∣reth not to sinne, but to burne in hell for sinne. Faithfull Abraham like a gratious childe feared God (as Gods An∣gell beareth witnesse, Gen. 22. 12.) when he was ready rather to sacrifice his only sonne, then offend God by refusing to * obey his commandement. But faithlesse Adam like a ser∣uile bondslaue feared God (as he himselfe testifieth against himselfe Gen. 3 10.) when after he had broken Gods com∣mandement, he hid himselfe from the presence of God. This slauish feare is a plaine diabolicall feare (for the deuils* so feare as they tremble:) It maketh men wish there were no hell, no day of Iudgement, no Iudge, yea no God. This is that feare without which we must serue the Lord. In this * feare to submit ones selfe is nothing acceptable to God: It is therefore the filiall feare which is here meant.
Secondly, of this feare God is the proper obiect, as by * this and many more testimonies of Scripture is euident, where the feare of God and of the Lord is mentioned. This feare hath so proper a relation vnto God, as the Scripture stileth God by a kinde of proprietie, with this title Feare: for where Iaakob mentioneth the feare of Isaak, he meaneth * the Lord whom Isaak feared.
It is then vnlawfull to feare any but God? *
No: Men also may be feared, as Princes, Parents, Ma∣sters, * and other superiours; For the Apostle exhorting to giue euery one their due, giueth this instance, feare,*Page 10to whom feare is due. But yet may God notwithstanding be said to be the proper obiect of feare, because all the feare that any way is due to any creature, is due to him in and for the Lord whose image he carrieth: so as in truth it is not so much the person of a man, as the image of God placed in him, by vertue of some authoritie or dignitie appertaining to him, which is to be feared. If there should fall out any such opposition betwixt God and man, as in fearing man our feare would be withdrawne from God, then the rule of Christ is to take place, which is this, feare not them which*kill the body, but are not able to kill the soule: but rather feare him which is able to destroy both soule and body in hell.
Thirdly, the extent of this true filiall feare of God is * very large. No one point throughout the whole Scripture is more vrged than this feare of the Lord. It is oft added to other duties, as that whereby they are seasoned, and with∣out which they cannot well be performed: wherefore we are commanded to serue the Lord in feare, to perfect holinesse*in the feare of God, to worke out our saluation with feare: and * the Churches are commended for walking in the feare of the**Lord: so likewise particular men as aAbram,bIoseph,cIob, and many other: yea the whole worship of God is oft com∣prised vnder this branch of feare: whereupon our Sauiour Christ alleaging this text, thou shalt feare the Lord thy God,* thus expresseth it, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. And * againe where the Lord by his Prophet Isay saith, Their feare*toward me is taught by the precept of men, Christ thus quo∣teth that text, In vaine doe they worship me, teaching for do∣ctrines*the commandements of men: out of which places com∣pared together, it is euident, that vnder the feare of God, is comprised the worship of God. Yea, all that dutie which we owe to God and man is comprised vnder this title, the feare of God: for Dauid when he would in one word de∣clare the summe and substance of all that which a Minister ought to teach his people, saith, I will teach you the feare of*the Lord.*
Fourthly, The reason why the Holy Ghost so much vr∣geth the feare of God, and that in so large an extent as hath Page 11 beene shewed, I take to be this; to shew a difference be∣twixt that integritie and perfection of Gods image which was at mans creation first planted in him, and the renoua∣tion thereof while here he liueth in this world. So com∣pleat and perfect was then Gods image in man, as he nee∣ded no other motiue to prouoke him to any dutie but loue. Wherefore when the Holy Ghost would set forth that per∣fection of Gods image first planted in man, he addeth this title Loue vnto other duties, whether they concerne God or man. Concerning God, Moses exhorteth Israel to loue the*Lord and serue him: and againe, to loue the Lord, to walke in*his waies, to keepe his commandements, &c. Concerning man, the Apostle exhorteth to serue one another by loue: and to doe*all things in loue. Yea, sometimes the Holy Ghost is pleased * to comprise all duties vnder loue: In which respect Christ calleth this commandement (Thou shalt loue the Lord) the*great commandement, which compriseth all the commande∣ments of the first table vnder it: and for the second table, S. Paul saith, that loue is the fulfilling of the law. But by Adams* fall, and the corruption which thereby infected mans na∣ture, the loue of God hath waxed cold in man, and though the Saints be created againe according to that image of God, yet while in this world they liue, that image is not so perfect as it was, the flesh remaineth in the best: in which respect God hath fast fixed this affection of feare in mans heart, and thereby both restraineth him from sinne, and also prouoketh him vnto euery good dutie.
§. 5. Of the feare of God mouing vs to doe seruice to men.
Hauing briefly declared the nature, obiect, extent, and vse of feare, I returne to the point in hand, viz. to shew 1. how it is here laid downe as a motiue to stirre vp men to performe the dutie here required: for by this clause, in the feare of the Lord, the Apostle implieth that
It is the feare of God which moueth men conscionably to sub∣mit*themselues one to another. This made dDauid so well to rule the people of God: and eIoseph to deale so well with Page 12 his brethren: yea, f this is noted to be the cause of the righteous regiment of Christ himselfe. Well did that good King Iehosaphat know this, and therefore when he appoin∣ted Iudges ouer his people, as a motiue to stirre them vp to execute the iudgements of the Lord aright, he saith vnto them, Let the feare of the Lord be vpon you. So also S. Peter,* to moue subiects to honour their King, prefixeth this ex∣hortation, Feare God.*
By feare of man, may one be brought to submit himselfe * to another: as a magistrate may be moued to deale iustly and mildly with his people through feare of insurrections and rebellions: subiects may by seuere lawes and tyrannie be brought to submit themselues: and so other inferiours also by threats, by hard vsage, and other by-respects.
1. Though feare of man be a motiue, yet it followeth * not, that therefore feare of God should be no motiue: it may be another motiue, and a better motiue.
2. The submission which is performed through feare of * man is a forced and a slauish submission, nothing acceptable to God: but that which is performed through a true filiall feare of God, is a free, willing, ready, cheerefull, conscio∣nable submission: such a submission as will stirre vs vp to doe the best good we can thereby vnto them, to whom we submit our selues, and so is more acceptable to God, by rea∣son of the cause thereof, and more profitable vnto man, by reason of the effect and fruit thereof.
For a true feare of God maketh vs more respect what * God requireth and commandeth, than what our corrupt heart desireth and suggesteth: It subdueth our vnruly pas∣sions, and bringeth them within compasse of dutie: It ma∣keth vs deny our selues and our owne desires: and though through the corruption of our nature and inborne pride we be loth to submit, yet will Gods feare bring downe that proud minde, and make vs humble and gentle. It will keepe those who are in authoritie from tyranny, crueltie, and ouer-much seueritie: and it will keepe those who are vnder subiection from dissimulation, deceit, and priuie con∣spiracies.
Page 13 Behold how necessarie it is, that a true feare of the Lord * be planted in mens hearts, in the hearts of Kings and all Gouernours, in the hearts of subiects and all people, whether superiours or inferiours. Where no feare of God is, there will be no good submission vnto man. Abraham* thought that the men of Gerar would haue no respect to him or his wife, nor make conscience of common honestie, nor abstaine from innocent bloud, because he saw no feare of God in that place: and the Apostle hauing reckoned vp * many notorious effects of mans naturall corruption, con∣cludeth all with this, as the cause of all, There is no feare of God before their eyes. Wherefore let Magistrates, Parents, Masters, and all in authoritie, haue especiall care that their subiects, children, seruants, and all vnder them may be taught and brought to feare the Lord. I dare auouch it, that such inferiours which are taught to feare God, will doe bet∣ter seruiee to their superiours, than such as feare their supe∣riours only as men, and feare not God. Let Ministers espe∣cially vrge and presse vpon the consciences of men a feare of God. Let all inferiours pray that the feare of the Lord may be planted in the hearts of their superiours, that so they may liue a quiet and peaceable life in all godlinesse and honestie vnder them. Happie is that kingdome where Magistrates and subiects feare the Lord. Happie is that Church where Ministers and people feare the Lord. Hap∣pie is that family where husband and wife, parents and children, master and seruants feare the Lord. In such a Kingdome, Church, and family, will euery one, to the mu∣tuall good one of another, submit themselues one to ano∣ther. But if such as feare not God submit themselues, whe∣ther they be superiours or inferiours, it is for their owne ends and aduantages, and not for their good to whom they submit themselues.
§. 6. Of limiting all dutie to man, within the compasse of the feare of God.
Againe, as this clause (In the feare of the Lord) declareth the manner of submission, it sheweth, that
Page 14No submission is to be performed vnto man, but that which*may stand with the feare of God. Whereby we shew that we haue respect to God, and labour aboue all to approue our selues to him. Thus Dauid is commanded to rule in the*feare of God: and other Magistrates to performe their dutie *in the feare of the Lord: which Nehemiah that good Gouer∣nour * was carefull to doe. So also subiects are to obey in the feare of the Lord, which the Apostle implieth by prefixing * this precept, Feare God, before that, Honour the King; as if he had said, so honour the King, as in and thereby you may manifest your feare of God: let not this latter crosse the for∣mer. Seruants likewise are commanded to be obedient vn∣to their Masters with this prouiso, fearing the Lord. Such * phrases as these, For the Lords sake, As vnto the Lord, In the*Lord, As seruants of Christ, with the like, being annexed to * the duties of inferiours, doe imply as much.
Great reason there is that all seruice should be limited * with the feare of God: for God is the highest Lord to whom all seruice primarily and principally is due: whatsoeuer seruice is due to any man, high or low, is due in and for the Lord. The Lord hath set superiours in the places of emi∣nencie, wherein they beare the image of God. The Lord also hath set inferiours in their places, and commended them as his charge to the gouernment of those who are ouer them. He that obeyeth not those who are ouer him in the feare of God, sheweth no respect of Gods image: and he who gouerneth not those who are vnder him in the feare of God, sheweth no respect of Gods charge.
Besides, God is that great Iudge to whom all of all sorts, * superiours and inferiours are to giue an account of their seruice. Though by our seruice we haue neuer so well ap∣proued our selues to men, yet if we haue not therein had re∣spect vnto God, and approued our selues to him, with what face may we appeare before his dreadfull iudgement seat? * Can the fauour of those whom we haue pleased in this world, protect and shelter vs from the fury of Gods dis∣pleasure?
Behold the folly of such Gouernours as wholly apply Page 15 themselues to the fancie of their people, yea though it be against the Lord and his word. This was Adams folly, who * at his wiues motion did eat of the forbidden fruit. This was Aarons folly, who to please the people, erected an * Idoll. And this was Sauls folly, who against Gods expresse * prohibition suffered his people to take some of the spoile of the Amalekites. The like may be said of Ioash, who * hearkned to his Princes to set vp Idols: and of Pilate, who * to please the people, against his conscience, deliuered Christ to be crucified. The fearefull issue of this their submission, not seasoned with a feare of God, but contrary thereunto, may be a warning to all superiours, to take heed how they seeke to please them that are vnder them, more than God who is aboue them. The issue of Adams, Aarons, Sauls, and Ioash his base submission, is noted by the Holy Ghost in their seuerall histories. Of Pilate it is recorded, that being * brought into extreme necessitie, he laid violent hands vp∣on himselfe.
Neither is it to be accounted folly only in superiours to submit themselues to their inferiours against the Lord, but also in inferiours to their superiours: for thereby they shew that they feare man more than God, which Christ expresly * forbiddeth his friends to doe. The captaines which went * to fetch Eliah, obeyed their king therein; but what got they thereby? was the king able to saue them from the fire which God sent downe from heauen vpon them? The wo∣men * reproued for offering incense to the Queene of hea∣uen, did it not without their husbands, yet were they not excused thereby. The children and others in the familie * submitted themselues to Dathan and Abiram in standing in the doore of their tents at defiance against Moses; but be∣cause it was not in the Lord, but against him, they were not exempted from the iudgement. Wherefore let all of all sorts set the feare of God as a marke before them to aime at in all their actions. Let superiours a neither doe any thing to giue content to their inferiours: b nor suffer any thing to be done for their sakes by their inferiours, which cannot stand with the feare of God. And let inferiours c nor doe, *Page 16d nor forbeare to doe at the will of their superiours any thing sweruing from the feare of God: but euery one submit themselues one to another in the feare of God.
§. 7. Of performing the duties of particular callings.
EPHES. 5. 22.
Wiues submit your selues vnto your owne husbands, as vnto the Lord.
FRom that generall direction concerning mutuall submis∣sion, the Apostle commeth to certaine particulars, by which he exemplifieth the same: and teacheth vs, that
It is not sufficient to performe generall duties of Christianitie,*vnlesse also we be conscionable in performing the particular du∣ties of our seuerall callings. A conscionable performance of those particular duties is one part of our awalking worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called: and therefore the Apo∣stle, for illustration and exemplification thereof, doth rec∣kon vp sundry particulars, both in this and b other Epistles: and so doe c other Apostles. And dTitus is charged to teach them. God himselfe hath giuen a patterne hereof in his Law: for the maine scope of the fifth Commandement * tendeth to instruct vs in the particular duties of our seuerall callings.
Hereby much credit is brought to our profession, and the edoctrine of God our Sauiour is adorned. And much good is hereby both mutually communicated one to ano∣ther, and receiued one from another: for our particular places and callings are those bonds whereby persons are firmely and fitly knit together, as the members of a naturall body by nerues, arteries, sinewes, veines, and the like, by which life, sense and motion is communicated from one to another.
Let therefore notice be taken of the particular callings * wherein God hath set vs, and of the seuerall duties of those Page 17 callings, and conscience be vsed in the practise of them. He is no good Christian that is carelesse herein. A bad husband, wife, parent, childe, master, seruant, magistrate or minister, is no good Christian.
§. 8. Of the lawfulnesse of priuate functions in a familie.
Among other particular callings the Apostle maketh choice of those which God hath settled in priuate fa∣milies, and is accurat in reciting the seuerall and distinct orders thereof, (for a family consisteth of these three or∣ders,
|Husbands,||Parents,||Masters,||all which he|
The priuate vocations of a family, and functions appertaining*thereto, are such as Christians are called vnto by God, and in the exercising whereof, they may and must imploy some part of their time. For can we thinke that the Holy Ghost (who, as the Philosophers speake of nature, doth nothing in vaine) would so distinctly set downe these priuate duties, & so for∣cibly vrge them, if they did not well become, and neerely concerne Christians? All the places in Scripture which re∣quire family-duties, are proofs of the truth of this doctrine.
The reasons of this doctrine are cleere; for the family is * a seminary of the Church and common-wealth. It is as a Bee-hive, in which is the stocke, and out of which are sent many swarmes of Bees: for in families are all sorts of people bred and brought vp: and out of families are they sent in∣to the Church and common-wealth. The first beginning of mankinde, and of his increase, was out of a family. For first did God ioyne in mariage Adam and Eue, made them husband and wife, and then gaue them children: so as hus∣band and wife, parent and childe, (which are parts of a family) were before magistrate and subiect, minister and people, which are the parts of a Common-wealth, and a Church. When by the generall deluge all publike societies were destroyed, a familie, euen the family of Noah, was Page 18 preserued, and out of it kingdomes and nations againe rai∣sed. That great people of the Iewes which could not be numbred for multitude, was raised out of the family of Abram. Yea euen to this day haue all sorts of people come from families, and so shall to the end of the world. Whence it followeth, that a conscionable performance of domesticall and houshold duties, tend to the good ordering of Church and common-wealth, as being meanes to fit and prepare men thereunto.
Besides, a familie is a little Church, and a little common∣wealth, * at least a liuely representation thereof, whereby triall may be made of such as are fit for any place of autho∣ritie, or of subiection in Church or common-wealth. Or rather it is as a schoole wherein the first principles and grounds of gouernment and subiection are learned: where∣by men are fitted to greater matters in Church or common∣wealth. Wherupon the f Apostle declareth, that a Bishop that cannot rule his own house, is not fit to gouerne the Church. So we may say of inferiours that cannot be subiect in a fami∣lie; they will hardly be brought to yeeld such subiection as they ought in Church or common-wealth: instance Abso∣lom, and Adoniah, Dauids sonnes.
This is to be noted for satisfaction of certaine weake * consciences, who thinke that if they haue no publike cal∣ling, they haue no calling at all; and thereupon gather that all their time is spent without a calling. Which conse∣quence if it were good and sound, what comfort in spen∣ding their time should most women haue, who are not ad∣mitted to any publike function in Church or common∣wealth? or seruants, children, and others who are wholly imployed in priuate affaires of the familie? But the fore∣named doctrine sheweth the vnsoundnesse of that conse∣quence. Besides, who knoweth not that the preseruation of families tendeth to the good of Church and common-wealth? so as a conscionable performance of houshold du∣ties, in regard of the end and fruit thereof, may be accoun∣ted a publike worke. Yea, if domesticall duties be well and throughly performed, they will be euen enough to take vp Page 19 a mans whole time. If a master of a family be also an hus∣band of a wife, and a father of children, he shall finde worke enough: as by those particular duties, which we shall after∣wards shew to belong vnto masters, husbands, and parents, may easily be proued. So a wife likwise, if she also be a mo∣ther and a mistris, and faithfully endeuour to doe what by vertue of those callings she is bound to doe, shall finde enough to doe. As for children vnder the gouernment of their parents, and seruants in a familie, their whole calling is to be obedient to their parents and masters, and to doe what they command them in the Lord. Wherefore if they who haue no publike calling, be so much the more diligent in the functions of their priuate callings, they shall be as well accepted of the Lord, as if they had publike offices.
Yet many therebe, who hauing no publike imployment, thinke they may spend their time as they list, either in idle∣nesse, * or in following their vaine pleasures and delights day after day, and so cast themselues out of all calling. Such are many masters of families who commit all the care of their house either to their wiues, or to some seruant, and mispend their whole time in idlenesse, riotousnesse, and voluptu∣ousnesse. Such are many mistresses, who spend their time in lying a bed, attiring themselues, and goshipping. Such are many young gentlemen liuing in their fathers houses, who partly through the too-much-indulgencie and negli∣gence of their parents, and partly through their owne headstrong affections, and rebellious will, runne without restraint whither their corrupt lusts lead them. These, and such other like to these, though by Gods prouidence they be placed in callings, in warrantable callings, and in such callings as minister vnto them matter enough of imploy∣ment, yet make themselues to be of no calling. Now what blessing can they looke for from the Lord? The Lord vseth * to giue his blessing to men, while they are busied in their callings. gIaacobs faithfull seruice to his vncle Laban mo∣ued God to blesse him. hIosephs faithfulnesse to his master Potiphar was had in remembrance with God, who aduan∣ced him to be ruler in Egypt. iMoses was keeping his Page 20 father in lawes sheepe when God appeared to him in the bush, and appointed him a Prince ouer his people. kDauid was sent for from the field, where he was keeping his fa∣thers sheepe, when he was anointed to be king ouer Israel. lElisha was plowing when he was anointed to be a Pro∣phet. m The shepherds were watching their sheepe, when that gladsome tidings was brought to them, that the Saui∣our of the world was borne. Not to insist on any more parti∣culars, the promise of Gods protection is restrained to our callings: for n the charge which God hath giuen to the Angels concerning man is, to keepe him in all his waies.
As for those who haue publike offices in Church or n common-wealth, they may not thereupon thinke them∣selues exempted from all family-duties. These priuate duties are necessarie duties. Though a man be a magistrate or a minister, yet if he be an husband, or a father, or a master, he may not neglect his wife, children, and seruants. In∣deed they who are freed from publike functions, are bound to attend so much the more vpon the priuate duties of their families, because they haue more leisure thereunto. But none ought wholly to neglect them. oIosuah, who was a Captaine and Prince of his people, and very much imployed in publike affaires, yet neglected not his familie: for he professeth that he and his house would serue the Lord. It seemeth that pEli was negligent in performing the du∣tie of a father, and qDauid also. But what followed there∣upon? Two of Elies sonnes proued sacrilegious, and lewd Priests. Two of Dauids sonnes proued very ill common∣wealths-men, euen plaine traitors.
§. 9. Of the Apostles order in laying downe the duties of husbands and wiues in the first place.
There being three especiall degrees, or orders in a fami∣lie, * (as we heard before) the Apostle placeth husband and wife in the first ranke, and first declareth their duties, and that not without good reason: for
First, The husband and wife were the first couple that * euer were in the world. Adam and Eue were ioyned in Page 21 mariage, and made man and wife before they had children, or seruants. So falleth it out for the most part euen to this day in erecting, or bringing together a familie: the first couple is ordinarily an husband and a wife.
Secondly, most vsually the husband and his wife are the * chiefest in a familie, all vnder them single persons: they go∣uernours of all the rest in the house. Therefore most meet it is, that they should first know their dutie, and learne to practise it, that so they may be an example to all the rest. If they faile in their dutie one to another, they giue occasi∣on to all the rest vnder them to be carelesse, and negligent in theirs. Let an husband be churlish to his wife, and de∣spise her, he ministreth an occasion to children and ser∣uants to contemne her likewise, and to be disobedient vnto her: yea, to be churlish and froward one to another, espe∣cially to their vnderlings. Let a wife be vntrustie and vn∣faithfull to her husband, let her filch and purloine from him, children and seruants will soone take courage, or ra∣ther boldnesse from her example priuily to steale what they can from their father, and master. Thus is their breach of * dutie a double fault: one in respect of the party whom they wrong, and to whom they denie dutie: the other in respect of those to whom they giue occasion of sinning.
Know therefore, O husbands and wiues, that yee, aboue * all other in the familie, are most bound vnto a conscionable performance of your dutie. Greater will your condemna∣tion be, if you faile therein. Looke to it aboue the rest: and by your example draw on your children and seruants (if you haue any) to performe their duties: which surely they will more readily do, when they shall behold you as guides going before them, and making conscience of your ioynt and seuerall duties.
§. 10. Of the Apostles order in setting downe inferiours duties in the first place.*
In handling the duties of the first forenamed couple, the Apostle beginneth with wiues, and layeth downe their par∣ticular duties in the first place. The reason of this order I Page 20〈1 page duplicate〉Page 21〈1 page duplicate〉Page 22 take to be the inferiority of the wife to her husband. I doe the rather take it so to be, because I obserue this to be his vsuall method and order, first to declare the duties of infe∣riours, and then of superiours: For in handling the duties of a children and parents, and of b seruants and masters, he beginneth with the inferiours, both in this, and c in other Epistles; which order also dS. Peter obserueth: yea, e the law it selfe doth in the first place, and that expresly, menti∣on the inferiours dutie, only implying the superiours to follow as a iust consequence, which is this, If the inferiour must giue honour, and by vertue thereof performe such duties as appertaine thereto, then must the superiour carrie himselfe worthy of honour, and by vertue thereof performe answerable duties.
Quest. Why should inferiours duties be more fully * expressed, and placed in the first ranke?
Answ. Surely because for the most part inferiours are most vnwilling to vndergoe the duties of their place. Who is not more ready to rule, than to be subiect?
I denie not but that it is a farre more difficult and hard matter to gouerne well than to obey well. For to rule and * gouerne requireth more knowledge, experience, wisdome, care, watchfulnesse, diligence, and other like vertues, than to obey and be subiect. He that obeyeth hath his rule laid before him, which is the will and command of his * superiour in things lawfull, and not against Gods will. But the superiour who commandeth, is to consider not only what is lawfull, but also what is most fit, meet, conuenient, and euery way the best: yea also he must forecast for the time to come, and so farre as he can obserue whether that which is now for the present meet enough, may not be dangerous for the time to come, and in that respect vnmeet to be vrged. Whence it followeth, that the superiour in au∣thoritie may sinne in commanding that which the inferiour in subiection may vpon his command doe without sinne. Who can iustly charge Ioab with sinne in numbring the * people, when Dauid vrged him by vertue of his autho∣ritie * so to doe? Yet did Dauid sinne in commanding it. Page 23 Without all question Saul did sin in charging the people by an oath, to eat no food the day that they pursued their ene∣mies (a time when they had most need to be refreshed with food, as Ionathans words implie) and yet did not the peo∣ple * sinne in forbearing: witnesse the euent that followed on Ionathans eating, though he knew not his fathers charge. Who seeth not hereby, that it is a matter of much more difficultie to rule well, than to obey? which is yet further euident by Gods wise disposing prouidence in ordering who should gouerne, who obey. Commonly the younger * for age, the weaker for sex, the meaner for estate, the more ignorant for vnderstanding, with the like, are in places of subiection: but the elder, stronger, wealthier, wiser, and such like persons, are for the most part, or at least should be in place of authority. Woe to thee ô land (f saith Salomon) when thy king is a childe. And gIsaiah denounceth it as a curse to Israel, that children shall be their Princes, and babes shall rule ouer them, and complaineth h that women had rule ouer the people.
Now to returne to the point, though it be so that gouer∣nours haue the heauiest burden laid on their shoulders, yet inferiours that are under subiection thinke their burden the heauiest, and are lothest to beare it, and most willing to cast it away. For naturally there is in euery one much * pride and ambition, which as dust cast on the eies of their vnderstanding, putteth out the sight thereof, and so maketh them affect superiority, and authority ouer others, and to be stubborne vnder the yoke of subiection: which is the cause that in all ages, both by diuine, and also by humane lawes, penalties and punishments of diuers kinds haue beene ordained, to keepe inferiours in compasse of their dutie: and yet (such is the pride of mans heart) all will not serue. What age, what place euer was there, which hath * not iust cause to complaine of subiects rebellion, seruants stubbornnesse, childrens disobedience, wiues presump∣tion? Not without cause therefore doth the Apostle first declare the duties of inferiours.
Besides, the Apostle would hereby teach those who are Page 24 vnder authority, how to moue them that are in authority ouer them, to deale equally and kindly, not hardly and cruelly with them, namely, by endeuouring to performe their owne dutie first. For what is it that prouoketh wrath, rage, and fury in gouernours? What maketh them that haue authority, to deale roughly, and rigorously? is it not for the most part disobedience, and stoutnesse in those that are vnder gouernment? though some in authority be so proud, so sauage, and inhumane, as no honour done to them, no performance of duty can satisfie and content them, but they will (as iDauids enemies) reward euill for goodnesse, yet the best generall direction that can be prescribed to in∣feriours, to prouoke their gouernours to deale well with them, is, that inferiours themselues be carefull and conscio∣nable in doing their duty first. If their gouernours on earth be nothing moued therewith, yet will the highest Lord in heauen graciously accept it.
Lastly, men must first learne to obey well, before they * can rule well: for they who scorne to be subiect to their go∣uernours while they are vnder authority, are like to proue intolerably insolent when they are in authority.
Learne all that are vnder authority, how to win your go∣uernours fauour: how to make your yoke easie, and your burden light: how to preuent many mischiefes which by reason of the power of your superiours ouer you may other∣wise fall vpon you: First doe ye your duty.
There are many weighty reasons to moue gouernours * first to begin to doe their dutie. For,
First, by vertue of their authority they beare Gods image, therefore in doing their duty they honour that image.
Secondly, by reason of their place they ought to goe be∣fore such as are vnder them.
Thirdly, a faithfull performance of their duty, is an espe∣ciall means to keepe their inferiours in compasse of theirs.
Fourthly, their failing in duty is exemplary: it causeth others vnder them to faile in theirs, and so it is a double sin.
Fiftly, their reckoning shall be the greater: for of them who haue receiued more, more shall be required.
Page 25 It were therefore to be wished that superiours and inferi∣ours would striue who should beginne first, and who should * performe their owne part best, and in this kinde striue to excell, as runners in a race striue in running to out-strip one another.
But if question be made who shall beginne, I aduise infe∣riours not to stand out in this strife, but to thinke the Apo∣stle * first inciteth them: and that it is the safest for them to begin: for in this contention inferiours are like to fare the worst, by reason of the power which superiours haue ouer them. And though it be more against our corrupt, proud, and stout nature, to be subiect and obey, yet let vs so much the more endeuour to yeeld duty in this kinde. For it is an especiall part of spirituall prudence, to obserue what our corrupt nature is most prone vnto, and wherein it most swelleth up, that therein we may most striue to beat it downe: nature is contrary to grace, and thekwisdome of the flesh is enmitie against God.
§. 11. Of the reasons why wiues duties are first taught.
Quest. Why among other inferiours are wiues first brought into the schoole of Christ to learne their duty?
Answ. Many good reasons may be giuen of the Apostles order euen in this point.
First, of all other inferiours in a family, wiues are farre the most excellent, and therefore to be placed in the first ranke.
Secondly, wiues were the first to whom subiection was inioyned: before there was childe or seruant in the world, it was said to her, thy desire shall be subiect to thine husband.*
Thirdly, wiues are the fountaine from whence all other degrees spring: and therefore ought first to be cleansed.
Fourthly, this subiection is a good patterne vnto chil∣dren and seruants: and a great means to moue them to be subiect.
Fiftly, I may further adde as a truth, which is too mani∣fest by experience in all places, that among all other parties of whom the Holy Ghost requireth subiection, wiues for Page 26 the most part are l most back ward in yeelding subiection to their husbands. But yee wiues that feare God, be carefull of your duty: and though it may seeme somewhat contrary to * the common course and practise of wiues, yet follow not a multitude to doe euill. Though it be harsh to corrupt nature, * yet beat downe that corruption: yea though your husbands be backward in their duties, yet be ye forward, and striue to goe before them in yours: remembring what the Lord saith (Mat. 5. 46, 47.) If you loue them which loue you, what singular thing doe ye? Yea remembring also what the Apo∣stle saith, (1 Tim. 2. 14.) The woman was first in the trans∣gression,m and first had her duty giuen vnto her, and nwas made for the man, and not man for the woman.
Thus shall ye deserue that commendation of good wiues, oMany haue done vertuously, but ye excell them all.
Hauing hitherto handled the forenamed generall instru∣ctions, I will proceed to a more distinct opening of the words; and collect such obseruations as thence arise, and then particularly declare the seuerall duties which the three orders in a family owe each to other.
§. 12. Of wiues subiection.
EPHES. 5. 22.
THe p word by which the Apostle hath noted out the duties of wiues, is of the middle voice, and may be translated passiuely as q many haue done, or r actiuely as our English doth (submit your selues) and that most fitly: for there is a double subiection.
1. A necessary subiection: which is the subiection of order.
2. A Voluntary subiection: which is the subiection of duty. The necessary subiection is that degree of inferioritie, Page 27 wherein God hath placed all inferiours, and whereby he hath subiected them to their superiours, that is, set them in a lower ranke. By vertue thereof, though inferiours seeke to exalt themselues aboue their superiours, yet are they sub∣iect unto them, their ambition doth not take away that or∣der which God hath established. A wife is in an inferiour degree, though she domineere neuer so much ouer her hus∣band.
The Uoluntary subiection, is that dutifull respect which inferiours carry towards those whom God hath set ouer them: whereby they manifest a willingnesse to yeeld to that order which God hath established. Because God hath placed them vnder their superiours, they will in all duty ma∣nifest that subiection which their place requireth.
Because it is a duty which is here required, the Voluntary subiection must needs be here meant: and to expresse so much, it is thus set downe, submit your selues.
Though the same word be here vsed that was in the for∣mer verse, yet it is restrained to a narrower compasse, name∣ly to *subiection of reuerence.
Here learne that to necessary subiection, must voluntary sub∣iection*be added: that is, duty must be performed according to that order and degree wherein God hath set vs. This is to make a vertue of necessity.
Vnder this phrase (submit your selues) all the duties which a wife oweth to her husband are comprised, as I shall * afterwards more distinctly shew.
§. 13. Of the persons to whom wiues must be subiect.
In setting downe the parties to whom wiues owe sub∣iection, the Apostle noteth a particle of restraint (*owne) and that to shew that a wife ought to haue but one hus∣band, which is more plainly expressed in another place by the same phrase, let euery woman haue her owne husband: that * is, only one proper to her selfe: so as
It is vnlawfull for a wife to haue more than one husband at once.
A wife must submit her selfe only to that one, proper *Page 28 husband, and to no other man (as she is a wife and yeeldeth the duty of a wife) so as the subiection of adulteresses is here excluded: and the duty required is, that
A wife must yeeld a chaste, faithfull, matrimoniall subiecti∣on*to her husband.
Here by the way note the foo∣lish * collection of Adamites, Fami∣lists, and such like licentious liber∣tines, who from the generall words which the Apostle vseth (men* and women) inferre that all women are as wiues to all men, and that there needeth not any such neere coniunction of one man with one woman. Which beastly opinion as it is contrary to the current of Scripture, and to the ancient law of mariage (two shall be one flesh) so also to this clause (their owne husbands.) The Apostle, in vsing those generall words, followed the Greeke phrase, which putteth those two words (men women) for hus∣bands and wiues: so also doe other tongues, yea and our En∣glish. The particular relation, which is betwixt the per∣sons who are meant by those two words, doth plainly shew how they are to be taken, and when they are to be restrained to man and wife. To take away that ambiguity, our English hath well translated them, husband and wife.
To direct and prouoke wiues vnto their duty, the Apo∣stle addeth this clause (as vnto the Lord) which is both a Rule and a Reason of wiues subiection. It directeth wiues by noting the restraint of their obedience, and the manner thereof.
The restraint in that wiues ought so to obey their husbands*as withall they obey the Lord; but no further: they may not be subiect in any thing to their husbands, that cannot stand with their subiection to the Lord.
The manner in that wiues ought to yeeld such a kind of sub∣iection*to their husbands, as may be approued of the Lord.
Page 29 Thus the Apostle himselfe expoundeth this phrase, chap. 5. vers. 5, 6.
It prouoketh wiues to submit themselues to their hus∣bands, by noting the place of an husband, which is, to be in the Lords stead, bearing his image, and in that respect hauing a fellowship and partnership with the Lord, so as
Wiues in subiecting themselues aright to their husbands are subiect to the Lord. And on the contrary side, *
Wiues in refusing to be subiect to their husbands, refuse to be subiect to the Lord.*
§. 14. How an husband is his wiues head.
EPHES. 5. 23.
THe place of an husband intimated in the last clause of the former verse, is more plainly expressed, and fully explained in this verse. His place is expressed vnder the metaphor of an head: and amplified by his resemblance therein vnto Christ.
The particle of connexion (FOR) sheweth that this verse is added as a reason: which may fitly be referred both to the duty it selfe: and to the manner of performing it.
The metaphor of an head enforceth the duty.
The amplification thereof by the resemblance that is made to Christ, enforceth the manner of performing the duty.
A wife must submit her selfe to an husband, because he is her head: and she must doe it as to the Lord, because her husband is to her, as Christ is to the Church.
The metaphor of an head declareth two points:
|1. The dignitie||of an husband.|
|2. The duty|
Page 30 1. As an head is more eminent and excellent than the body, and placed aboue it, so is an husband to his wife.
2. As an head, by the vnderstanding which is in it, go∣uerneth, protecteth, preserueth, prouideth for the body, so doth the husband his wife: at least he ought so to doe: for this is his office and duty: this is here noted to shew the benefit which a wife receiueth by her husband: so as two motiues are included vnder this metaphor.
The first is taken from the husbands prerogatiue, whence note that
Subiection must be yeelded to such as are ouer vs. For this is a maine end of the difference betweene partie and par∣tie. * To what end is the head set aboue the body, if the bo∣dy be not subiect to it?
The second is taken from the benefit which a wife rea∣peth by her husbands superiority: and it sheweth that
They who will not submit themselues to their superiours are*iniurious to themselues: as the body were iniurious to it selfe, if it would not be subiect to the head.
§. 15. Of the resemblance of an husband to Christ.
The more to enforce the forenamed reason, the Apostle addeth the resemblance that is betwixt an husband and Christ, as this note of comparison (*euen as) sheweth: whence it followeth that
It is as meet for a wife to submit her selfe to her husband, as*for the Church to submit it selfe to Christ. This amplificati∣on is especially added for Christians. Heathens may be mo∣ued to subiect themselues to their gouernours, by the re∣semblance taken from a naturall body. How much more ought Christians to be moued by the resemblance taken from the mysticall body of Christ?
These words (and he is the Sauiour of the body) as they doe declare the office of Christ, and the benefit which the Church reapeth, so they note the end why an husband is appointed to be the head of his wife, namely that by his prouident care he may be as a sauiour to her. It is here no∣ted rather to shew the benefit which a wife reapeth by her Page 31 husband, then the dutie which he oweth: for that the Apo∣stle declareth afterwards, vers. 25, &c. The meaning then is, That as Christ was giuen to be an head of the Church which is his body, that he might protect it, and prouide all needfull things for it, and so be a Sauiour to it, euen so * for that very end are husbands appointed to be the head of their wiues.
Vpon this ground the Apostle inferreth the conclusion in the next verse.
§. 16. Of the resemblance betwixt
- The Church to Christ.
- A wife to her husband.
EPHES. 5. 24
THis conclusion setteth forth not only the dutie it selfe, but also another Reason, and another Rule to prouoke and direct wiues to performe their dutie: and that vnder the patterne of the Church.
The reason may be thus framed, That which the Church doth to Christ, a wife must doe to her husband. But the Church is subiect to Christ. Therefore a wife must be subiect to her husband.
The proposition is grounded on that resemblance which is betwixt the Church in relation to Christ, and a wife in relation to her husband: for an husband is that to his wife, which Christ is to the Church; therefore a wife must be so to her husband, as the Church is to Christ.
Quest. Is mortall and sinfull man to be obeyed as the Lord Christ the eternall Sonne of God?
Answ. This extent is to be restrained to the generalitie of the things in question. As in other places, where the Page 32 Apostle saith, all things are lawfull for me, he meaneth all * indifferent things, for of them his speech was in that place. And where againe he saith, Whatsoeuer is set before you, eat,* he meaneth, whatsoeuer good and wholsome meat: for of that he spake.
Thus much of the maine drift of the Apostle in setting before wiues the example of Christ, to whom husbands are like in dignitie, and the example of the Church, to whom wiues ought to be like in dutie.
I will further consider these examples of Christ and the Church more distinctly by themselues, without any relation to man and wife: and out of them note such generall in∣structions as concerne all Christians.
§. 17. Of the relation betwixt Christ and the Church.
EPHES. 5. 23, 24.
|BEhold here the mutuall relation betwixt||Christ,|
Wherein note concerning Christ,
- 1. His preheminence ouer the Church, (he is her head.)
- 2. His goodnesse to her, (he is her Sauiour.)
Note also concerning the Church,
- 1. Her prerogatiue, (she is the body of Christ.)
- 2. Her dutie. In laying downe whereof there is noted,
- 1. Wherin it consisteth (The Church is subiect to Christ)
- 2. How farre it extendeth, (in euery thing.)
The title Head, is giuen to Christ in two respects.
1. In regard of his t dignitie and dominion ouer the Church.
2. In regard of the u neere vnion betwixt him and the Church.
Page 33 This vnion is more fully expressed afterwards, vers. 30.
The dignitie of Christ is here principally intended: so as Christ is the highest in authoritie ouer the Church: the titles *dLord,eFather, Master, Doctor,fProphet,gFirst-borne, with the like, being by a kinde of excellencie and proprietie attri∣buted to him, proue as much.
The causes hereof are
- 1. The good pleasure of God his Father.
- 2. The dignitie of his person being God-Man.
- 3. The merit of his sacrifice whereby he hath redeemed and purchased his Church vnto himselfe.
- 4. The omnipotencie of his power whereby he is able to protect it.
- 5. The all-sufficiencie of spirit, whereby he is able to giue to euery member all needfull grace.
Till the Pope of Rome can shew so good reason for this * title (Supreme head of the whole Church) we will account him a blasphemous vsurper thereof.
Object. He is not accounted an Imperiall head as Christ is, * but only a Ministeriall head.
1. This distinction is without all ground or warrant of Scripture.
2. It implieth plaine contradiction. For to be a ministeri∣all head, is to be an head and a minister, which is all one as an head and a member in relation to the same thing.
3. Though in these two words (Imperiall, Ministeriall) they may seeme to aduance Christ aboue the Pope, yet in their owne interpretation of these words they make the Pope equall * to Christ, if not aduance him aboue Christ. For they say that Christ is an imperiall head to quicken the Church inwardly: and the Pope a ministeriall head to gouerne it outwardly. First let it be noted, how little congruitie this exposition hath with the words expounded. Doth this word (imperiall) intimate a quickning vertue? Doth this word (ministeriall) implie a gouerning power? Nay, is there not great incongruitie in this, that Christ should be the Imperiall head, and yet the Pope an head to gouerne? Besides, doth not this rend asunder two of Christs offices, and leauing one to Christ, giue another to the Page 34 Pope, and so make him equall with Christ? If the particular branches of this gouernment which is giuen by papists vnto the Pope by vertue of his headship be obserued, we shall finde that to be verified in him, which the Apostle hath foretold concerning Antichrist, that as God he sitteth in the temple of*God, shewing himselfe that he is God. For they giue to him the keyes of heauen and hell, to shut or open the one or other as * pleaseth him: they giue him power to dispense with Gods lawes, to coine articles of faith, to make lawes to binde mens consciences directly and immediatly, to giue pardon for sinne, to free subiects from allegeance to their Soueraignes, to cano∣nize Saints, and what not? But to let these impious blasplie∣mies passe, beside that this prerogatiue of Christ (to be head of*the Church) is incommunicable (for thereby the Apostle pro∣ueth Christ to be aduanced farre aboue all principalitie, and po∣wer, and might, and dominion, and every name, &c.) Christ nee∣deth not for the execution of his office therein any Vicar, or Deputie: for as head he filleth all in all things: and by his eter∣nall spirit is he in heauen, earth, and euery place where any of his members are, according to his * promises made vnto his Church.
Much comfort and great confidence must this needs mini∣ster * to all such as haue assurance that they are of this bodie: for hauing so mightie, so wise, so mercifull an head, an head so sufficient euery way, who can instruct, direct, guide, gouerne, protect, and helpe them in all their needs whatsoeuer, what need they feare? When we are assaulted by Satan, or any way set vpon by any of his instruments, or are in any distresse or need, let vs lift vp the eies of our faith higher then we can the eies of our bodie, and in heauen behold this our head, who is inuisible, and we cannot but receiue from thence much com∣fort, and incouragement.
§. 18. Of the benefit of Christs headship.
The Goodnesse of Christ is set downe in these words (and he is the Sauiour of the bodie) Euery word almost hath his emphasis.
1. The copulatiue particle (AND) sheweth that
The goodnesse which Christ doth for his Church, he doth be∣cause*he is the head thereof.
Page 35 O how happie a thing is it for the Church that it hath such an head! an head that doth not tyrannize ouer it, nor trample it vnder foot: an head that doth not pole, or peele the Church: but procureth peace and safetie to it. When Naomi sought to make a match betwixt Boaz and Ruth, that he might be her * head, what saith she? Shall I not seeke rest for thee that it may be well with thee? It is therefore the office of an head to be a Sauiour, to procure rest and prosperitie to the bodie whose head it is.
Happie were it for Kingdomes, Common-wealths, Cities, Churches, Families, wiues, and all that haue heads, if they were such heads: that, because they are heads, they would en∣deuour to be Sauiours.
§. 19. Of Christ a sufficient Sauiour.
In laying forth the goodnesse of Christ three things are noted.
- 1. The Kinde of goodnesse, which is Saluation (the Sauiour)
- 2. The person that performeth it (he himselfe.)
- 3. The parties for whom he performeth it (the body.)
1. The Greeke word translated *Sauiour is so emphaticall that other tongues can hardly finde a fit word to expresse the emphasis thereof: it being attributed to Christ, implieth that
Christ is a most absolute and perfect Sauiour, he is euery way a sufficient Sauiour: *able perfectly to saue euen to the very vttermost. He saueth Soule and Body: he saueth from all manner of miserie: which is intimated by that particular from * which he saueth, namely sinne: he shall saue his people from their sinnes. Sinne is the greatest, and most grieuous euill; yea, the cause of all miserie: they who are saued from it, are saued from all euill: for there is nothing hurtfull to man, but that which is caused by sinne, or poisoned by it.
Before sinne seazed on man he was most happie, free from all miserie: and so shall he be after the contagion, guilt, punish∣ment, dominion, and remainder of sinne is remoued. But he that remaineth in the bondage of sinne is in a most wofull plight. In that Christ saueth from sinne, he saueth from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, the venome of all outward Page 36 crosses, the tyranie of Satan, the sting of Death, the power of the graue, the torments of hell, and what not?
The puritie of Christs nature, and excellencie of his person * is it that maketh him so sufficient a Sauiour: which reason the Apostle himselfe noteth: for where he saith that Christ is able to saue to the vttermost, he addeth, for proofe thereof, that he * is Holy, harmlesse, vndefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher then the heauens.
Great matter of reioycing, and of confidence doth this mini∣ster * vnto vs. When the Angell first brought this newes, To you is borne a Sauiour, he saith, Behold I bring you good tidings of great ioy. This made the Virgin Mary say, My spirit hath re∣ioyced in God my Sauiour, and for this did Zacharias blesse God that redeemed his people, and raised vp an horne of saluation.* When the eies of old Simeon had seene this Saluation, he de∣sired no longer to liue, but said, Lord now lettest thou thy ser∣uant*depart in peace.
They who beleeue in this Sauiour will be of like minde: and as they reioyce in him, so they will trust vnto him, and say with the Apostle, we are more then conquerors through him*that loued vs, &c.
This being so, to what end serueth the supposed treasure of*the Church, wherein are said to be stored vp indulgences, par∣dons, merits, workes of supererogation, and I know not what trash, to adde to the satisfaction of this Sauiour? either Christ is not a sufficient Sauiour, or these are (to speake the least) vaine. But vaine they are: & an emptie, filthie, detestable trea∣sure that is, which God will destroy with all that trust therein.
§. 20. Of Christ the only Sauiour.
This relatiue particle (* HEE) hath also his emphasis; for as it pointeth out Christ the head of the Church, so it restraineth this great worke to him: it may thus be translated, he himselfe: that is, he in his owne person, he by himselfe, he and none but he. So as to speak properly,
Christ is the only Sauiour of men: in which respect he is * called bthe horne of saluation, yea cSaluation it selfe: which titles are giuen to him by an excellency and propriety: and in the same respect the name dIesus was giuen vnto him.
Page 37 Here by the way note the blas∣phemous arrogancie of those great sectaries among the Papists, who stile themselues Iesuits: assuming that name which is proper to this great office of Iesus Christ.
Obiect. Why is this name more blasphemous, then the title Chri∣stians?
Answ. One of their owne reli∣gion doth thus resolue that Ob∣iection: We are called Christians of Christ, not Iesuits of Iesus, because we partake of the thing signified by the name Christ, that is anointing: for (as the Apostle saith) we all re∣ceiue of his fulnesse. But he hath not communicated to vs the thing sig∣nified by the name Iesus; for it be∣longeth to him alone to saue, as saith the scripture, he shall saue his people: as if he should say, he alone, and no other. A Christo dicimur*Christiani, non autem à Iesu Iesuani, seu Iesuitae: quia rem signatam no∣mine Christus, scil. vncti∣onem nobis communicauit. Nam, ut ait Apostolus, omnes nos de plenitudine eius accepimus: sed rem significatam nomine Iesus *non communicauit: nam saluare ipsi soli conuenit: ipse enim (vt dicitur in scriptura) saluum faciet*populum suum: ac si di∣ceret, ipse solus, & non alius. Guil. Lindwood in Prouinc. siue Constitut. Angl. lib. de Consuetud.
But to returne to our matter, Saint Peter doth most plainly and fully proue the forenamed doctrine in these words spo∣ken of Iesus Christ, eThere is not saluation in any other: for there is none other name vnder heauen giuen among men whereby we must be saued. None is able, f none is worthy to worke so great * a worke: he must doe it, or it can not be done. But g he is so * able, and so worthy as he can doe it of himselfe, and needeth none to assist him.
What a dotage is it to trust to other Sauiours? Legions of * Sauiours haue Papists to whom they flie in their need. All the Angels in heauen, and all, whom at any time their Popes haue canonized for Saints (which are many millions) are made Sauiours by them. hBe astonished, O ye heauens, at this: for they haue committed two euils: they haue forsaken Christ the foun∣taine of liuing waters, and hewed them out cisternes, broken ci∣sterns that can hold no water.
Page 38 Let vs for our parts flie vnto this Sauiour only, and wholly * rely vpon him, as we desire to be saued. Thus shall we ho∣nour him by preferring him before all: yea by reiecting all but him: and thus shall we be sure to bring helpe, ease and comfort to our owne soules.
§. 21. Of the Church the body of Christ.
The persons who receiue any benefit by this Sauiour, are all comprised vnder this metaphor the bodie: whereby the samething is meant that was meant before by the Church.
Church according to the notation of the Greeke word sig∣nifieth * an assembly called together. It is in Scripture by a propriety attributed to them who are called to God.
This calling is twofold:
1. Outward, which is common to all that make profession * of the Gospell: in this respect it is said, many are called and few chosen.
2. Inward, which is proper to the elect, none but they, and all they in their time shall both outwardly be called by the word to a profession of Christ, and also inwardly and effectu∣ally by the spirit to beleeue in Christ, and obey his Gospell. This is stiled ban heauenly calling, which is c proper to the Saints. These make that Church, whereof Christ is properly the head: and therefore in relation to that metaphor of an head, they are called the Bodie: and that in these respects;
- 1. They are vnder Christ, as a body vnder the head.
- 2. They receiue spirituall life and grace from Christ, as a body naturall receiueth sense, and vigour from the head.
- 3. Christ gouerneth them, as an head the body.
- 4. They are subiect to Christ, as a body to the head.
§. 22. Of the extent of Christs goodnesse to all his body.
This metaphor, by which the persons that reape the bene∣fit of Christs office are set forth, noteth two points.
1. All that are once incorporated into Christ shall be saued. The bodie compriseth all the parts and members vnder it: not only armes, shoulders, breast, backe, and such like: but Page 39 also hands, fingers, feet, toes, and all. Christ their head be∣ing their Sauiour, who can doubt of their saluation?
2. None but those that are incorporated into Christ shall be saued. For this priuiledge is appropriated to the bodie.
The former point is clearely set forth by a resemblance, which the Apostle maketh betwixt Adam and Christ, thus: As by the offence of one, iudgement came on all men to condemna∣tion,*euen so by the righteousnesse of one, the free gift came on all men vnto iustification of life. Here are noted two roots, one is Adam, the other is Christ: both of them haue their number of branches, to all which they conuey that which is in them, as the root conueyeth the sap that is in it, into all the branches that sprout from it. The first root, which is Adam, conueyeth sinne and death to all that come from him: and the other root, which is Christ, conueyeth grace and life to euerie one that is giuen to him: for saith he, All that the Fa∣ther*giueth me, shall come to me: and him that commeth to me, I will in no wise cast out: and a little after, he rendreth this rea∣son, This is the Fathers will, that of all which he hath giuen me*I should lose nothing, but should raise it vp againe at the last day.
Obiect. Christ himselfe maketh exception of one, where he saith, none is lost but the sonne of perdition.*
Answ. That phrase sonne of perdition, sheweth that Iudas was neuer of this body: for can we imagine that Christ is a Sauiour of a sonne of perdition?
Obiect. Why is he then excepted?
Answ. By reason of his office and calling he seemed to be of this body, and till he was made knowne, none could other∣wise iudge of him, in which respect Saint Peter saith, he was*numbred with vs.
2. Answ. Christ there speaketh in particular of the twelue Apostles, and to be an Apostle of Christ was in it selfe but an outward calling.
This is a point of admirable comfort to such as haue assu∣rance * of their incorporation into Christ, they may rest vpon the benefit of this office of Christ, that he is a Sauiour. We need not thinke of climing vp to heauen, and searching Gods records to see if our names be written in the booke of Life. Page 40 Let vs only make triall whether we be of this body or no. * For our helpe herein, know we that this metaphor of a body implieth two things.
- 1. A mysticall vnion with Christ.
- 2. A spirituall communion with the Saints.
- 1. By vertue of that vnion they who are of Christs body,
- 2. By reason of their communion with the Saints be∣ing fellow members,
§. 23. Of the restraint of the benefit of Christs headship to them only that are of his body.
That none but those who are of Christs body, shall partake of the benefit of his office, is cleare by other like titles of re∣straint, as uhis people, andxhis sheepe: but especially by denying to the world the benefit of his intercession. yI pray not for the world, saith he. In this respect this position (out of the Church no saluation) is without exception true: for the body is the true, Catholike, inuisible Church: he that is not a member of this Church, but is out of it, hath not Christ to be his head * and Sauiour, whence then can he haue saluation?
The former point is not more comfortable to those that haue assurance that they are members of this body, then this is terrible to those that giue too great euidence they are no members thereof; as all they doe that haue not the spirit of Christ ruling in them, but rather rebell against him: and beare no loue to the Saints, but rather hate them, and doe them all the spight they can.
§. 24. Of the Churches subiection to Christ.
EPHES. 5. 24.
THe duty which the Church in way of thankfulnesse per∣formeth to Christ her head for this great benefit, that he is her Sauiour, is Subiection: Vnder which word is comprised all that obedience and duty, which in any kinde Christ requi∣reth of the Church, in and by the word.
Quest. Is it possible for that part of the Church which is here on earth, to yeeld such obedience?
Answ. It will faithfully endeuour to doe what it can: and that honest and vtmost endeuour Christ graciously accepteth for a perfect performance of all.
In that it is here taken for grant, that the Church is subiect to Christ; I may, as from a generall to particular, infer that
Whosoeuer is of the true Catholike Church is subiect to Christ, and yeeldeth obedience to his word. We will runne after thee,* saith the Church to Christ. My sheepe heare my voice and follow*me, saith Christ of that flocke, which is his Church. *
For Christ conueyeth his owne spirit into his mysticall body the Church, and into every member thereof: which spi∣rit is * much more operatiue, and liuely then the soule of man. If therefore mans soule quickning euery part of the naturall body, make them subiect to the head, much more will the spi∣rit of Christ bring the members of his mysticall body in subiection to himselfe. If the spirit of him that raised vp Iesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised vp Christ from the dead,*shall also quicken your mortall bodies, by the spirit that dwelleth in you.
Hereby let triall be made of particular visible Churches and of particular persons, whether they are in deed of this true Ca∣tholike * Church or no. Those visible Churches which refuse to be gouerned by Christs word, and are wholly gouerned by humane traditions, which rise against Christ and play the adul∣teresses Page 42 by committing Idolatry, are not of this Catholike Church which is subiect to Christ. No more are Infidels that defie Christ, Heretiques that deny him, ignorant persons that know not his will, profane persons that despise him, word∣lings that lightly esteeme him, nor any that persecute or scorne him in his members. By this we may see that many haue a name that they are of the Church, who in deed are not.
Obiect. Many such persons may belong to Gods election, and so be of that body whereof Christ is a Sauiour.
Answ. Election in deed giueth them a title to Christ, but they cannot reape any benefit by that title till they haue a pos∣session of Christ by vertue of their spirituall vnion with him. Neither can they haue any assurance of their election, till they finde by the quickning vertue of the spirit, that they are vni∣ted vnto Christ. Wherefore so long as men remaine destitute of the Spirit of Christ, and are possessed with a contrary spirit, they may well be iudged for the present to be none of this bo∣dy, nor to haue any part in Christ, their future estate being re∣ferred to him who only knoweth what it shall be.
§. 25. Of the extent of the Churches subiection.
The extent of the Churches subiection to Christ is without any restraint at all, in every thing. For there is nothing which Christ requireth of her, but she may with a good conscience, and must in obedience yeeld unto. Iust, and pure, and perfect are all his commandements, there is no error in any of them: no mischiefe or inconuenience can follow vpon the keeping of them. This extent being here taken for grant, I may further inferre that
They who are of the true Catholike Church will yeeld vniuersall*obedience to Christ: they will obey him in all and euery of his commandements. Dauid turned not aside from any thing that*the Lord commanded him. Iosiah turned to the Lord with all his*heart according to all the law: and Zacharias, and Elizabeth, walked in all the commandements of God. All these were of this Church: and of their minde are all others that are of this Church.
For the spirit of Christ which is in them worketh a thorow *Page 43 reformation: euen as the flesh leadeth a naturall man on to eue∣ry sinne, so the spirit of Christ stirreth him vp to euery good duty. In which respect it is said, that whosoeuer is borne of God*doth not commit sinne.
Obiect. The best Saints in all ages haue transgressed in many * things.
Answ. Their sinnes though grieuous, haue not wilfully in open rebellion against Christ beene committed, but they haue slipped from them partly through their owne weaknesse, and partly through the violence of some temptation. So as that which the Apostle saith of himselfe, may be applied to all that are of the body of Christ, That which I doe I allow not: Now then*is it no more I that doe it, but the sinne that dwelleth in me.
This extent is a good proofe of the truth of subiection, for * herein lieth a maine difference betwixt the vpright, and the hypocrite; yea betwixt restraining and renewing grace. That restraining grace which is in many hypocrites stirreth them to doe many things which Christ commandeth, if at least they crosse not their honour, profit, ease, and the like. Herod that notorious hypocrite did many things. None that beareth the * name of the Church, but will be subiect in somethings. But none but the vpright, who are indeed renewed by the sancti∣fying spirit of Christ, will in all things make Christs will their rule, and in euery thing hold close to it, preferring it before their pleasure, profit, preferment, or any other outward allure∣ment. They who so doe, giue good euidence that they are of the body of Christ, and may rest vpon it, that Christ is their Sauiour.
§. 26. Of the summe of Husbands duties.
EPHES. 5. 25.
FRom Wiues duties the Apostle proceedeth to presse Hus∣bands duties. And as he propounded to Wiues for a pat∣terne, the example of the Church, so to Husbands he propoun∣deth Page 44 the example of Christ: and * addeth thereunto the pat∣terne of a mans selfe, in regard of that naturall affection which he beareth to his body. Thus he addeth patterne to patterne, * and doth the more largely and earnestly presse them, because husbands hauing a more honourable place, their failing in du∣ty is the more hainous, scandalous, and dangerous.
The Apostle restraineth the duties of Husbands to their *owne Wiues, as he did the duties of Wiues to their “owne Husbands. For though the same word be not here vsed which was before, yet a word of like emphasis is vsed: and as good reason there is that our English translators should haue put in this particle (owne) in this verse, as in the 22. verse, for proofe whereof read 1 Cor. 7. 2. Where * these two words are vsed, and both of them translated owne.
This I haue the rather noted, because many who hold that a Wife must haue but one Husband, conceit that a Husband may haue more Wiues then one: which conceit this particle (owne) wipeth away. All the duties of an Husband are comprised vn∣der this one word *Loue. Wherein that an Husband might be the better directed, and whereto that he might be the ra∣ther prouoked, the forenamed example of Christ, and of his loue to the Church, is very liuely set forth: first generally in these words, euen as Christ loued the Church: and then more particularly in the words following.
§. 27. Of the example of Christs loue.
The note of comparison (*Euen as) requireth no equality, as if it were possible for an Husband in that measure to loue his wife, as Christ loued his Church; (for as Christ in excellency and greatnesse exceedeth man, so in loue and tendernesse) But it noteth an equity, and like quality.
An equitie, because there is as great reason that Husbands by vertue of their place should loue their Wiues, as that Christ by vertue of his place should loue the Church.
A like quality, because the loue which Christ beareth to the Church is euery way without exception: and a loue which tur∣neth to the good and benefit of the Church. Hence note two points.
Page 45 1. Husbands must come as neare as they can to Christ in louing their wiues. In which respect, because they can neuer loue so much as Christ did, they must neuer thinke they haue loued enough.
2. Though their loue in measure cannot equall Christs loue, yet in the manner thereof it must be like Christs, a preuenting, true, free, pure, exceeding, constant loue.
The measure and manner of Christs loue is distinctly noted, Treat. 4. §. 61. &c. and the loue which an husband oweth his wife paralleld & applied ther∣to, which application may be also made of that Christian mutuall loue which we owe one to another.
The loue of Christ to the Church is amplified,
- 1. By an Effect thereof, in these words, He gaue himselfe for it.
- 2. By the End of that effect, largely set downe, verse 26, 27.
|The effect is noted partly as a||Confirmation of the truth||of Christs loue.|
|Declaration of the measure|
The Act (he gaue) sheweth that his loue was in deed and truth: not only in shew and pretence.
The Object (himselfe) sheweth that he loued his Church more then his owne life. A greater euidence of loue could not be giuen: for greater loue hath no man then this, that a man*lay downe his life for his friend.
The end of Christs loue (set forth vers. 26, 27.) is noted to shew that he so loued his Church for her good and happi∣nesse, rather then for any aduantage to himselfe.
As this example of Christs loue to his Church is set before husbands: so it may and ought also to be applied to all Chri∣stians: and that in a double respect.
1. As a motiue to stirre them vp to loue both Christ him∣selfe, and also their brethren.
2. As a patterne to teach them how to loue.
A motiue it is to loue Christ, because loue deserueth loue: especially such a loue, of such a person as the loue of Christ is. Yea, our loue of Christ is an euidence that we are loued of Christ, as smoake is a signe of fire. Wherefore both in thank∣fulnesse to Christ, for his loue to vs, and for assurance to our owne soules of Christs loue to vs, we ought in all things that we can to testifie our loue to Christ.
Page 46 A motiue it is also to loue our brethren, because Christ being in heauen, our bgoodnesse extendeth not to him: but our brethren on earth stand in his stead, and the loue we shew to them, we shew to him; and he accepteth it as done to him: cYe fed me, yee visited me, saith Christ to them that fed and visited his brethren. This loue also, euen the d loue of our brethren, is an euidence that we are loued of God. Wherefore eif Christ so loued vs, we ought also to loue one another.
How the loue of Christ is a patterne, I will * afterwards shew.
§. 28. Of Christs giuing himselfe.
EPHES. 5. 25.
THis fruit and effect of Christs loue extendeth it selfe to all * the things that Christ did or suffered for our redemption: as, that he descended from heauen, tooke vpon him our nature, and became a man; that he subiected himselfe to the law, and perfectly fulfilled it; that he made himselfe subiect to many temptations of the deuill and his instruments; that he tooke vpon him our infirmities; that he became a King to gouerne vs, a Prophet to instruct vs, a Priest to make an attonement for vs: that he subiected himselfe to death, the cursed death of the crosse, and so made himselfe an oblation & sacrifice for our sins; that he was buried; that he rose againe; that he ascended into heauen, and there sitteth at Gods right hand to make interces∣sion for vs. For after that Christ had taken vpon him to be our head and Sauiour, he wholly set himselfe apart for our vse, and our benefit: so as his person, his offices, his actions, his suffe∣rings, his humiliation, his exaltation, the dignitie, the puritie, the efficacie of all is the Churches, and to her good doe they all tend. This in generall is the extent of this fruit of Christs loue, he gaue himselfe for it.
Page 47 More particularly, we may note these three points:
- 1. The action, what he did, (he gaue.)
- 2. The obiect, what he gaue, (himselfe.)
- 3. The end, why he gaue himselfe, (for it) for the Chur∣ches good.
The action hauing relation to the obiect, most especially pointeth at the death of Christ. The * Greeke word is a com∣pound word, and signifieth to giue vp. It implieth two things,
1. That Christ willingly died: the simple word (gaue) inti∣mateth so much.
2. That his death was an oblation: that is, a price of redem∣ption, or a satisfaction: the compound word (gaue vp) inti∣mateth so much.
§. 29. Of the willingnesse of Christ to die.
That Christ willingly died is euident by the circumstances noted about his death: when Peter counselled him to spare himselfe, and not to goe to Ierusalem (where he was to be put to death) b he called him Satan, and said, he was an offence to him: when Iudas went out to betray him, c he said vnto him, That thou doest, doe quickly:d When Iudas was gone out to get companie to apprehend him, he went to the place where he was wont, so as Iudas might readily finde him; yea, he met them in the mid-way that came to take him; and he asked them whom they sought, though he knew whom they sought: and when they said, Iesus of Nazaret, he answered, I am he: When they came to him, he droue them all backward with a word of his mouth, and yet would not escape from them: e He could haue praied to the Father to haue had more then twelue legions of Angels for his safeguard against those that appre∣hended him, but would not: f when by his aduersaries he was prouoked to haue come downe from the Crosse, and could haue done so, he would not. a At the instant of giuing vp the ghost, he cried with a loud voice: which sheweth that his life was not then spent, he might haue retained it longer if he would: and thereupon the Centurion gathered that he was the Sonne of God. h When he was actually dead, and laid in a graue, he rose againe. These & other like circumstances verifie Page 48 that which Christ said of himselfe, iNo man taketh my life from me, but I lay it downe of my selfe. It was therefore no neces∣sitie that compelled him to die, but his voluntarie obedience.
Christ is kthe Lord, Prince and Author of life, and hath an absolute power as ouer the life of others, so ouer his owne life.
Thus then we see that his sacrifice was a voluntarie and free gift: the cause thereof was his owne will and good pleasure.
Exceedingly doth this commend the loue of Christ: and as∣sureth vs that it is the more acceptable to God, who loueth a cheerefull giuer.*
§. 30. Of the kinde of Christs death, an oblation.
That Christs death was an oblation, and a price of redemp∣tion, is euident by the death of those beasts which were offe∣red vp for a sacrifice, and therein were a type of Christs death. But expresly is this noted by this Apostle, where he saith, lChrist hath giuen himselfe for vs, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling sauour: and againe, mChrist gaue himselfe a ransome. The phrases of nredeeming,opurchaesing,pbuying, with the like, attributed to Christ and his bloud, doe further confirme the same.
Learne hereby to consider Christs death, not as the death of * a priuate man, but of a publike person, of a suertie, of a pledge, that in our roome and stead qwas made sinne, andrwas made a curse to redeeme vs from our sinnes, and from the curse which by sinne was fallen vpon vs. The comfort and benefit of Christs death is lost, if this be not knowne and beleeued. In this consisteth a maine difference betwixt the death of Christ, and all other men, not the most righteous Martyrs excepted. Their death was but a dutie, and debt: no satisfactory ob∣lation, no price, no ransome, as Christs was.
§. 31. Of the infinite valew of the prince of our redemption.
The Obiect, or thing which Christ gaue for a ransome was himselfe, not his body alone, nor his body and soule only, Page 49 but his person consisting of his two natures, humane, and diuine.
Quest. How could his diuine nature be giuen vp? could it * suffer? could it die?
Answ. 1. The Deitie simply considered in and by it selfe, could not die: but that person which was God, both could and did die. For the Sonne of God assuming an humane na∣ture into the vnity of his diuine nature, and vniting them to∣gether *without confusion, alteration, distraction, separation, in one person, that which is done by one nature is done by the person, and in that respect the Scripture oft attributeth it to the other nature: as where it is said, sThey crucified the Lord of glorie: and tGod purchased the Churchwith his owne bloud.
2. Though the diuine nature of Christ suffered not, yet did it support the humane nature, and adde dignity, worth and efficacie to the sufferings of that nature.
3. Christs diuine nature had proper and peculiar workes in the worke of redemption, as to sanctifie his humane na∣ture, to take away our sinnes, to reconcile vs to God, and the like.
Thus then in three respects the whole person of Christ was giuen vnto vs.
1. In regard of the inseparable vnion of both natures.
2. In regard of the assistance of the Deity in those things which the humane nature of Christ did.
3. In regard of some proper actions appertaining to the Deity. *
In that the person of Christ God-Man was giuen vp, I ga∣ther that *
The price of our Redemption is of infinite value. Nor Christ, * nor God himselfe could giue a greater. Heauen and earth and all things in them are not of like worth. Well therefore might Saint Peter call it pretious bloud: and prefer it before siluer, gold, and all other things of price.
1. What place can be left for despaire in those that know and beleeue the worth of this ransome?
2. What can be held too deare for him, that notwithstan∣ding the infinite excellency of his person gaue himselfe for vs? Page 50 can goods, can friends, can children, can liberty, can life, can any thing else?
3. What iust cause haue we to giue vp our selues a liuing sa∣crifice,*holy and acceptable to him that gaue himselfe for vs?
4. How vngratefull, how vnworthy of Christ are they, that for his sake will not forsake their vnstable honours, fading wealth, vaine pleasures, garish attire, and such like trash?
§. 32. Of Christs seeking the good of the Church.
The End why Christ gaue himselfe was, for the Church: so*as Christ in his death aimed at our good.b He was made sinne for vs, that we might be made the righteousnesse of God in him:c he was made a curse for vs, and hath redeemed vs from the curse of the Law:d he gaue himselfe for our sinnes, that he might deliuer vs:e he laid downe his life for the sheepe.
This proues Christs giuing of himselfe to be a fruit of his loue: for fLoue seeketh not her owne.
Learne we hereby to apply all that Christ did to our selues. If for vs he gaue himself, he, and * all appertaining to him is ours.
Learne we also hereby how to manifest loue: namely by see∣king, and procuring the good of others. Let no man seeke his*owne, but euery man anothers wealth. If this were practised, would there be such oppressing, such vndermining, such de∣ceiuing, such wronging of one another as there is? Too truly is the Apostles complaint verified in our daies, All seeke their*owne. But let that minde be in vs which was in Christ Iesus, and thus manifest our loue, as we desire to partake of this fruit of Christs loue.
From hence by iust consequence it followeth that Christ me∣rited*not for himselfe. Was there any need that Christ should come downe from heauen on earth, to purchase any thing for himselfe? When he was going out of the world, thus he prai∣ed, Now, O Father, glorifie thou me with the glorie which I had*with thee before the world was. Did Christ by any thing which he did on earth merit that glorie which he had before the world was? All the exaltation whereunto he was aduanced euen in his human nature, was due to the dignity of his person.
1. Obiect. He endured the crosse, for the ioy which was set*before him.
Page 51Answ. He vsed that ioy which of right was due to him as an helpe to support him in the weaknesse of his humane na∣ture, not as a recompence which he should deserue.
2. Obiect. He became obedient to the death of the Crosse,* WHEREFORE God also hath highly exalted him.
Answ. That particle (wherefore) doth not declare the cause, but the order of his exaltation: nothing a consequence that followed after his death. After he had humbled himselfe so low, he was most highly aduanced.
3. Obiect. Christ being man was bound to the Law: and therefore for himselfe he ought to fulfill it.
Answ. If he had beene meere man, that were true. But he vniting his humane nature vnto his diuine, and making of both one person, which person was God as well as man, he was bound to nothing further then it pleased him voluntarily to subiect himselfe vnto for our sakes.
2. If Christ were bound to the Law, of dutie he must haue fulfilled it: and if of dutie he was to fulfill it, how could he thereby merit so high a degree of honour as he is aduan∣ced vnto?
This conceit of Christs meriting for himselfe, doth much extenuate the glorie of Christs grace and goodnesse in giuing himselfe.
§. 33. Of the particular ends, why Christ gaue himselfe, and of the condition of the Church before Christ tooke her.
EPHES. 5. 26.
THe generall End of Christs giuing himselfe being before intimated in this phrase (for vs) is in this and the next verse particularly exemplified: and that in two branches.
One respecteth the estate of the Church in this world, v. 26.
The other respecteth her estate in the world to come, v. 27.
The latter of these two is the most principall.
Page 52 The former is subordinate to the latter, an end for the ac∣complishing of the other end, for the Church is here made pure, that hereafter it may be made glorious.
In laying downe the former he noteth
- 1. The end whereat Christ aimed.
- 2. The meanes, wherby he effected that which he aimed at.
That end is set forth in these words, that he might sanctifie it,*hauing cleansed it (thus may they word for word be tran∣slated) so as that which for order of words is in the latter place, for order of matter is in the first place.
The word (cleansing) pointeth out our instification.
The word (sanctifying) expresseth our sanctification.
The meanes of effecting these, are two.
- 1. Baptisme comprised vnder this phrase, washing of water.
- 2. The word.
The two branches of the former end, namely Cleansing and Sanctifying doe in generall imply two things.
- 1. The Condition of the Church in it selfe.
- 2. The Alteration thereof by Christ.
The condition is presupposed, which is, that she was im∣pure, polluted, in the common estate of corrupt man. Things in themselues pure, are not cleansed, but things foule and im∣pure: persons of themselues freed, and exempted from a com∣mon misery, need not anothers helpe to free and exempt them. Seeing then that the Church stood in need to be clean∣sed, and sanctified, surely
The Church in herselfe was, as the world, polluted. Very liuely is * this set forth by the Prophet Ezekiel vnder the similitude of a*wretched infant borne of a cursed parentage, whose nauell was not cut, who was not washed, salted, nor swadled, but cast out in the open field, polluted with bloud. Oft doth the Apostle, setting forth * the wretched estate of the world, note of the true members * of the Church, that cwe our selues also were such.*
The Church consisteth of none other then of such as came out of Adams loines. Now as all the brood which commeth from vipers, adders, toads, spiders, and other like venomous dams, are infected with poison, so all the sonnes of Adam are polluted with sinne. That which is borne of the flesh (as is euery Page 53 mothers childe, not the members of the Church excepted: for they haue fathers and mothers of their flesh) is flesh; that is, polluted and corrupt. Therefore when we are taken into the Church, we are borne againe.*
|This our former estate by nature is oft and se∣riously * to be thought of, and that in respect of||Christ.|
1. In regard of Christ, the more to magnifie his loue. Our former estate, before he cast the wings of his mercy vpon vs, sheweth our vnworthinesse, our vilenesse, and wretchednesse, and in that respect it openeth our heart and mouth to thinke and say, eO Lord our Lord, what is man that thou art mindfull of him, and the sonne of man that thou visitest him!fLord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thy selfe vnto vs, and not vnto the world! The right knowledge of our former estate, and a due consideration thereof, maketh vs ascribe all the glory of our present dignity, and happinesse, to Christ that altered our estate, as Saint Paul,hI thanke Christ Iesus our Lord who hath enabled mee, who was before a blasphemer, &c. yea it ma∣keth vs the more to prize and esteeme the present estate, as iDauid.
2. In regard of our selues this is to be thought of, to hum∣ble vs, and to keepe vs from insolent boasting in those priui∣ledges whereof through Christ we are made partakers. To this purpose doth the Apostle thus presse this point, Who ma∣keth*thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou diddest not receiue? Now if thou diddest receiue it, why doest thou glory as if thou hadst not receiued it? When a man is exalted from a meane, to a great place, and thereupon waxeth proud and insolent, we say, he hath forgotten from whence he came. So as remembrance of our former condition is a meanes to pre∣serue humility, and to suppresse insolencie.
3. In regard of others it is to be thought of, to moue vs the more to commiserate their wofull estate, who yet remaine as we once were; to conceiue hope that their estate may be altered as well as ours was; to pray and vse what meanes we can that it may be altered. To prouoke Christians to shew all meekenesse to them which were without, the Apostle Page 54 renders this reason, for we our selues also in times past were foo∣lish,*&c.. read how forcibly this is vrged, Rom. 11. 18, 19, &c.
§. 34. Of Christs preuenting Grace.
In setting downe the alteration of the forenamed conditi∣on note
- 1. The manner of laying it forth.
- 2. The matter or substance thereof.
The manner is implied in this coniunction * THAT (That he might sanctifie it) Christ loued the Church, and gaue him∣selfe for it, not because it was sanctified, but that he might san∣ctifie it: so as
The Grace which Christ sheweth to the Church, is a preuen∣ting*Grace. Sanctification is no cause, but an effect of Christs * loue: and followeth in order after his loue. His loue arose only and wholly from himselfe: in the parties loued, there was nothing but matter of hatred before they were loued. Moses thus saith of the loue of God to Israel, The Lord did not set his loue vpon you because yee were more in number, but be∣cause the Lord loued you. This at first sight may seeme to be (as * we say) *a womans reason, that the Lord should set his loue on them because he loued them, but it being duly obserued, we shall finde excellently set forth the ground of Gods loue to rest altogether in himselfe, and in his owne good pleasure. * Yea this being noted as the end of Christs loue, that he might sanctifie it, it further sheweth that it was not any foresight of holinesse in the Church that moued him to loue it: first he loued it, and then sought how to make it amiable, and worthy to be loued.
Herein differeth Christs loue from the loue of all men to∣wards * their spouses: for they must see something in them, to moue them to loue. When Ahash-verosh was to choose a wife, the maidens out of whom he was to take one, were first purified, and then he tooke her in whom he most delighted: But Christ first loueth his spouse, and then sanctifieth it. Be∣fore he loued it, he saw nothing in it why he should preferre it before the world.
§. 35. Of Christs seeking to make his Church pure.
The Matter or substance of that subordinate end which Christ aimed at in giuing himselfe for the Church, is in these words (that he might sanctifie it hauing cleansed it) which in ge∣nerall shew that
Christ seeketh the purity of his Church. For this end hath he * shed his owne most pure and pretious bloud (forbhis bloud cleanseth vs from all sinne) and conueyed his holy Spirit into his body the Church, which is called the cSpirit of Sanctification, because it reneweth and sanctifieth those in whom it is.
This Christ aimeth at, that he might make his spouse like to * himselfe, pure, as he is pure.
That end which Christ aimed at, we that professe our selues * to be of this Church, must endeuour after: for euery man that hath this hope in him purgeth himselfe as he is pure. Let vs there∣fore vse all good meanes to cleanse our selues from all filthi∣nesse of flesh, and spirit.
This being the end which Christ aimeth at for the good * of his Church to cleanse it, they who finde themselues clean∣sed haue a good euidence that they are of this Church: they who are not cleansed can haue no assurance thereof.
How vnworthy are they of this benefit, that liue as the * world, and like swine vpon euery occasion wallow in the mire, being drawne by euery temptation into sinne? Doe they not, as much as in them lieth, make the death of Christ to be in vaine, and peruert that maine end, which Christ aimed at in giuing himselfe?
But what may be thought of such as Ismael-like mocke and scoffe at those that labour to be cleansed?
§. 36. Of the Churches Iustification.
The two particular parts of the forenamed end, which are Cleansing, and sanctifying, doe more distinctly set forth the puritie of the Church euen in this world. Cleansing hath re∣lation to the bloud of Christ, and so pointeth out our Iusti∣fication.
Page 56Sanctifying hath relation to the Spirit of Christ, which worketh our Sanctification.
From this cleansing of the Church here meant, I gather, that No sinne lieth vpon the Church: for the bloud of Christ pur∣geth*from all sinne. This is to be taken of the guilt of sin, which * by Christs death is cleane taken away: so as that sinne which is in vs, is as not in vs, because it is not imputed vnto vs.
§. 37. Of the Churches Sanctification.
From the sanctifying of the Church here mentioned, I further gather, that
The Church is made holy and righteous: This is here meant of * that inherent righteousnesse which the Spirit of Christ wor∣keth in all the members of his body. In which respect they are called Saints: so as not only the guilt of sinne is taken away, * but also the very body of sinne is so destroied in them, as it can * no more raigne in them, nor they obey it in the lusts thereof: but in stead of the dominion of sinne the spirit of Christ raig∣neth in them, and leadeth them vnto all righteousnesse.
Behold here the free estate of the Church: whereas the * world lieth vnder the slauerie of sinne, and tyrannie of Satan, the Church is made free from sinne, and a seruant of righteousnesse:*dead to sinne, and aliue to God in Iesus Christ.
§. 38. Of the Churches purity before God and Man.
From the Connexion of these two benefits of Christs death, Iustification and Sanctification together, we see that The Church is both spotlesse before God and blamelesse before men. The bloud of Christ so cleanfeth her as in Gods sight she hath no spot of sinne: and the spirit of Christ so sanctifieth her, as her righteousnesse shineth before men: for the Grace of God*teacheth her to denie vngodlinesse, and worldly lusts, and to liue soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. In this re∣spect the Church is said to be all glorious within, and her*clothing also to be of wrought gold. And Zacharias and Eliza∣bet,* members of this Church, are said to be righteous before God, and blamelesse, namely before men. There is no such Page 57 purity in any, as in the Church. For true and perfect beau∣tie * is onely in the body of Christ, which is the Church, whereof it is said, Thou art all faire, and there is no spot in thee, Cant. 4. 7.
1. Quest. Is it possible that neither God nor man should espie any fault in those that are of the true Church, while here they liue in this world?
Answ. Seeing the flesh remaineth in the best while they re∣maine * in the world, it is not possible but that both God and man must needs espie many blemishes in the best. All things are*naked and opened to the eyes of God: if therefore any remnant of sinne be in the Saints (as there are exceeding many in euerie one; so as if we say that we haue no sinne we deceiue our selues,*and the truth is not in vs) it is without question manifest in his sight. Yea such is the imperfection and weaknesse of the best Saints, as the flesh continually lusting in them against the Spi∣rit, oft times preuaileth, and so sheweth it selfe in some euill fruit or other, as the eye of man espieth it: instance the exam∣ples of the best that euer liued in any age.
2. Quest. How then are they spotlesse before God, and * blamelesse before men?
Answ. 1. God so fully dischargeth and acquitteth the Church of all her sinnes, as she is in his account as if she had no specke of sinne at all. Dauid in this respect vseth the meta∣phor of couering sinne, and explaineth his meaning by these two * phrases, forgiuing, not imputing sinne.
2. The course of a mans life, not this or that particular * action, is it which maketh a man blame-worthie, or blamelesse: as the flocke of swallowes, and not one here, or another there, is it which sheweth the Spring. Now because the constant car∣riage of those who are of the Church is before men blamelesse, they may iustly be so accounted, notwithstanding some parti∣cular things blame-worthie doe sometimes passe from them. Behold here how the true Saints may boldly lift vp their faces before God and man. The soundnesse of their faith causeth confidence before God. The testimonie of their conscience causeth courage before men. Let all that desire this boldnesse, ioyne a sound faith and a good conscience together, and Page 58 labour for assurance both of their cleansing by the bloud of Christ, and sanctifying by the Spirit of Christ.
§. 39. Of the order and dependance of iustification and sancti∣fication one vpon another.
The order and manner of knitting these two benefits toge∣ther is worthie to be noted.
The letter setteth sanctification in the first place: but the sense presupposeth iustification: for thus he saith, that he might sanctifie it,*hauing cleansed it. Be∣cause the cleansing here spoken of is an inward inuisible worke, and the euidence thereof is sanctification, which is an outward and sensible worke, therefore this is first expres∣sed, and then that inferred, as a matter necessarily to be presup∣posed.
Hence arise these Doctrines. Our English with this particle (hauing) doth fitly and properly expound the Greeke actiue partici∣ples of the Praeterperfect or finite tenses, which be∣cause the Latines want, they are faine to vse the passiue, or a Periphrasis: as, vt illam sanctificaret mundatam, Erasm. Post∣quam eam purgasset, Beza.
1. Iustification in order goeth be∣fore * sanctification: I say in order, because at that verie moment that Christ by his bloud cleanseth his Church, he beginneth to sanctifie her: but when he beginneth to sanctifie her, he hath cleansed her, she is iustified.
The grace then of iustification is a most free grace: it is not wrought vpon any righteousnesse of ours: for it is before it.
2. Christ sanctifieth those whom he hath cleansed. This the * Apostle copiously proueth in the sixth chapter to the Romans. Let none therefore boast of their cleansing by Christs bloud, till they finde themselues renewed and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ. For note the Apostles description of those who are iustified by Christ, which for more perspicuitie may thus be set downe by question and answer. To whom is there no con∣demnation? * To them that are in Christ Iesus. Who are they? They who walke not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
3. Sanctification presupposeth iustification: they who are san∣ctified * may rest vpon it, that they are cleansed and iustified.
Admirable is the comfort which the Saints in this world * reape hereby. For their sanctification being imperfect, and the flesh abiding in them, and lusting against the Spirit: yea sinne being present with them when they would doe good, they are oft forced to complaine and crie, O wretched m•n that we are:*who shall deliuer vs from this bodie of death! If they had no other ground to fasten the anchor of their hope vpon but their san∣ctification, it could not hold them fast enough against the tempests of Satans temptations. But in that their sanctificati∣on is a fruit and euidence of their iustification, they take heart to themselues, and thanke God that with the minde they them∣selues serue the Law of God, though with the flesh the law of sinne. And thus vpheld and comforted, they continue to striue against sinne, till it be cleane rooted out of them, as well as re∣mitted.
§. 40. Of Sacramentall washing of water.
One of the meanes which Christ vseth for the cleansing and sanctifying of his Church, is expressed vnder this phrase, with the washing of water. Water is the outward element vsed in Bap∣tisme: Washing is the principall Sacramentall rite therein. Wa∣ter setteth forth Christs bloud: Washing noteth out the appli∣cation and efficacie thereof, which is the purging and clean∣sing of our soules. As water without washing maketh nothing cleane: so the bloud of Christ, without a right application thereof, cleanseth no mans soule.
This washing of water here mentioned, being applied to an inward spirituall cleansing, what can it else set forth but the Sacrament of Baptisme, wherein both water and washing is vsed?
There is but little washing vsed in the Sacrament of Baptisme, nothing but sprinkling a little water on the face of the partie that is baptized.
Answ. That sprinkling is sufficient to shew the vse of water. * The partie to be baptized is not brought to the Font to haue Page 60 his face, or any other part of his bodie made cleane, but to haue assurance of the inward cleansing of his soule. Now that our mindes may not too much dote on the outward thing done, but be wholly raised vp to the mysterie, the outward element is no further vsed, then may serue to put vs in minde of the in∣ward thing signified thereby: answerably in the Lords Supper there is not so much bread and wine giuen and receiued, as would satisfie ones appetite, or slake his hunger and quench his thirst, but only a little bit of bread, and taste of wine, to de∣clare the vse of bread and wine, and so to draw the mindes of the Communicants to a consideration of their spirituall nou∣rishment by the bodie and bloud of Iesus Christ.
§. 41. How Baptisme is a meanes of cleansing and sanctifying.
The manner of inferring this Sacramentall washing vpon the sanctifying and cleansing of the Church thus, with the wa∣shing of water, sheweth, that
Baptisme is a meanes of sanctifying and cleansing the Church. All * those places of Scripture that attribute aRegeneration,bIustifi∣cation,cSanctification, or dSaluation thereunto, proue as much. But that the truth thereof may more fully and distinctly be conceiued, I will briefly shew,
- 1. In what respect Baptisme is a meanes of our sanctifying and cleansing.
- 2. What kinde of meanes it is.
- 3. How necessarie it is.
In foure especiall respects it may be said to be a meanes as aforesaid.
1. In that it doth most liuely represent and set forth euen to the outward senses the inward cleansing of our soules by the bloud of Christ, and sanctifying of vs by the Spirit of Christ. Apply the vse of water (by the washing whereof foule things are made verie cleane) to the vertue of Christs bloud and efficacie of his Spirit, and the truth hereof will euidently appeare. For the better helpe in this application, read Rom. 6. 4. &c.
2. In that it doth truly propound and make tender, or offer of the grace of iustification and sanctification to the partie Page 61 baptized. In this respect it is thus described, Baptisme of repen∣tance*for remission of sinnes: and S. Peter to like purpose saith, *Repent, and be baptized euerie one of you for the remission of sins.
3. In that it doth really exhibit and seale vp to the consci∣ence of him that is baptized the forenamed graces, whereby he is assured that he is made partaker thereof. Thus Abraham receiued the signe of circumcision as a seale of the righteousnesse of*faith. Hence is it that the Eunuch and others when they were *baptized, went away reioycing.
4. In that it is a particular and peculiar pledge to the partie baptized, that euen he himselfe is made partaker of the said graces: therefore euerie one in particular is baptized for him∣selfe: yea, though many be at once brought to the Font, yet euerie one by name is baptized. To this purpose faith the Apostle, Whosoeuer are baptized into Christ, haue put on Christ;*whosoeuer, whether Peter, Iohn, Thomas, or any other particu∣lar person. Ananias said to Paul in the singular number, Be*thou baptized, and wash away thy sinnes.
§. 42. Obiections against the efficacie of baptisme answered.
1. Obiect. Many that are baptized receiue no such grace at all, they are neither cleansed nor sanctified.
Answ. They are only outwardly washed with water, they are not baptized with the Holy Ghost. The fault is not in that no grace accompanieth that Sacrament, but in that they re∣ceiue not, but reiect the grace which appertaineth thereto: what if some beleeue not? shall their vnbeleefe make the faith of*God without effect? God forbid.
2. Obiect. Many receiue the forenamed graces before they are baptized, as Abraham before he was circumcized, and such * as were baptized after they beleeued. How then is baptisme a meanes thereof?
Answ. Their spirituall cleansing is more liuely and fully manifested thereby, and they the more assured thereof.
3. Obiect. Many who long after their baptisme, haue liued like swine in sinne, and so haue not beene cleansed or sancti∣fied, yet diuers yeeres after haue beene effectually called: what meanes hath baptisme beene hereof?
Answ. The vse and efficacie of baptisme is not as the act Page 62 thereof, transient, but permanent and perpetuall so long as the partie baptized liueth. Whensoeuer a sinner vnfainedly repenteth, and faithfully laieth hold on the promises of God, baptisme, which is the seale thereof is as powerfull and effe∣ctuall as it could haue beene when it was first administred. For the efficacie of baptisme consisteth in the free offer of grace. So long therefore as God continueth to offer grace, so long may a mans baptisme be effectuall. On this ground we are but once for all baptized: and as the * Prophets put the people in minde of their circumcision, so the Apostles of their baptisme long after it was administred. Yea, they speake of it (though the act were long before past) as if it were in doing, in the time present, Baptisme saueth.*
§. 43. What kinde of meanes of grace Baptisme is.
II. Baptisme is no physicall or naturall meanes of working * grace, as if the grace which is sealed vp thereby were inherent in the water, or in the Ministers act of sprinkling it (as in me∣dicines, salues, hearbs, meats, and the like, there is inherent that vertue which proceedeth from the vse of them: and being applied, they haue their operation, whether a man beleeue it, or no) but it is only a voluntarie instrument which Christ vseth, as it pleaseth him, to worke what grace, or measure of * grace seemeth best to him: so as grace is only assistant to it, not included in it: yet in the right vse thereof, Christ by his Spirit worketh that grace which is receiued by it, in which respect the Minister is said to baptize with water, but Christ with the Holy Ghost and with fire, Matth. 3. 11.
§. 44. Of the necessitie of Baptisme.
III. A meanes of working a thing may be said to be neces∣sarie * two wayes.
1. Absolutely, so as the thing cannot possibly be without it. * Thus are the proper causes of a thing absolutely necessarie, as in this case, Gods couenant, Christs bloud, and the operation of the Spirit, are absolutely necessarie for attaining any grace.
2. By consequence, so as according to that course and order which God hath set downe, things cannot be without them.
Baptisme is not absolutely necessarie as a cause: for then should it be equall to Gods couenant, Christs bloud, and the Page 63 worke of the Spirit. Yea then should all that are baptized without any exception be cleansed.
But it is by consequence necessarie: and that in a double * respect.
- 1. In regard of Gods ordinance.
- 2. In regard of our need thereof.
1. God hauing ordained this a Sacrament to be vsed, it is necessarie it should be vsed, if for no other end, yet for manife∣station of our obedience. He that carelesly neglecteth; or wil∣fully contemneth any Sacrament which God shall enioyne him to vse, his soule shall be cut off.*
2. Great is the need that we haue thereof, in regard of our dulnesse in conceiuing things spirituall, and of our weaknesse in beleeuing things inuisible. We are carnall, and earthly: and by things sensible and earthly, doe the better conceiue things spirituall and heauenly: therefore hath God ordained visible elements to be Sacraments of inuisible graces. Againe we are slow to beleeue such things as are promised in the word, therefore the more to helpe and strengthen our faith, God hath added to his couenant in the word, his seale in and by the Sacrament: that by two immutable things, (Gods coue∣nant and Gods seale) in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might haue strong consolation. Besides, though in generall we doe beleeue the truth of Gods word, yet we are doubtfull to apply it to our selues: wherefore for better applying Gods co∣uenant to our owne soule, God hath added his Sacrament to his word.
§. 45. Of the contrarie extremes of Papists and Anabaptists about the necessitie and efficacie of Baptisme.
There are two extremes contrarie to the forenamed points about baptisme.
One in the excesse, which is of Papists that attribute too much thereunto, and make it a plaine Idoll.
Another in the defect, of Anabaptists and Libertines, which * derogate too much from it, and make it an idle ceremonie.
|In two things doe Papists exceed,||1. In the necessitie||Of Baptisme.|
|2. In the efficacie|
They make it so absolutely necessary, as if any die vnbaptized Page 64 he cannot be saued: which doome they passe against infants, though they be depriued thereof without any fault of their owne, yea or of their parents, being still borne. A mercilesse sen∣tence without any warrant of Gods word: yea against his word & against the order which he hath prescribed. He hath establi∣shed * his couenant, & promised to be the God of the faithfull & of their seed: on which ground S. Peter saith, The promise is vnto*you & vnto your children: & S. Paul saith, your children are holy.* Shall all these priuiledges be made void by an ineuitable want * of baptisme? if so, would God haue enioyned circumcision (which to the Iewes was as baptisme is to Christians) to be put off to the eighth day, before which day many infants died? or would Moses haue suffered it to be forborne all the time that the Israelites were in the wildernesse? If it be said that baptisme is more necessarie then circumcision, I answer, the Scripture layeth no more necessitie vpon it. If it were so necessarie as they make it, then the vertue of Christs death were lesse effectuall since he was actually exhibited then before. For before it was effectuall for infants without a Sacrament, but belike not now. Had the ancient Churches conceiued so of the absolute neces∣sitie of baptisme, they would not haue had set times for the ad∣ministring thereof: nor suffered it to be put off so long as they did. a Some Churches appointed it to be administred only at Easter. b Some at Easter and Whitsuntide. And though many who gaue euidence of their true faith died before they were baptized, yet c they did not thereupon iudge them to be dam∣ned. This practise and iudgement of the ancients hath made d many Papists somewhat to mitigate that absolute necessitie, and to say that, In this case, God which hath not bound his grace, in respect of his owne freedome, to any Sacrament, may and doth ac∣cept them as baptized, which either are martyred before they could be baptized, on else depart this life with vow and desire to haue that Sacrament, but by some remedilesse necessitie could not obtaine it. If remedilesse necessitie can helpe the matter, what necessitie so re∣medilesse, as for a childe to be still borne.
Againe, they adde such efficacie to baptisme, as it giueth grace eof the worke it selfe: wherein they equall it to the verie bloud of Christ; and take away the peculiar worke of the Page 65 Spirit; and the vse of faith, repentance, and such like graces. What can there be more in the water of baptisme, then was in the bloud of such beasts as were offered vp for sacrifices? But it is not possible that the bloud of Buls and Goats should take away sin.* They themselues attribute no such efficacie to the word prea∣ched, and yet they cannot shew where the holy Ghost hath giuen more vertue to baptisme, then to the word. This text ioyneth them both together (that he might cleanse it with*the washing of water through the word) What can be more said of a meanes then that which is said of the word? It plea∣sed God by preaching to saue them that beleeue. The Gospell is the power of God to saluation, &c.
On the other side, Anabaptists, and such like Libertines, too * lightly esteeme this holy and necessary ordinance of God, in that they make it only a badge of our profession, a note of difference betwixt the true and false Church, a signe of mutuall fellowship, a bare signe of spirituall grace, a resemblance of mortification, regeneration, inscition into Christ, with the like, but no more: These indeed are some of the ends and vses of Baptisme: But in that they restraine all the efficacy thereof hereunto, they take away the greatest comfort, and truest be∣nefit which the Church reapeth thereby, as may be gathered out of the points noted * before.
§. 46. Of the inward washing by Baptisme.*
In that with this washing of water, Christ cleanseth his Church, I obserue that
Whosoeuer are fully baptised are cleansed from sinne.
Fully, that is, powerfully and effectually, as well inwardly by the Spirit, as outwardly by the Minister.
Cleansed, both from the guilt of sinne by Christs bloud, and from the power of sinne by the worke of his Spirit.
To this purpose tend the many emphaticall phrases attri∣buted by the Apostles to Baptisme, as that we are baptised into Iesus Christ, baptised into his death, buried with him by baptisme; that Baptisme doth saue vs; that Baptisme is the washing of re∣generation,* with the like.
Vaine is the reioycing of many, who boast of their baptisme, * and thinke themselues by vertue thereof to be as good Chri∣stians Page 66 as the best, and yet liue and lie in their sinne, being more besmeered and defiled therewith then they were, when they were first borne. Iohn saith, Christ baptiscth with the holy Ghost*and with fire: the Apostle saith, Christ cleanseth with the washing of water. If that fire of the holy Ghost burne not vp the drosse of sinne in thee, and this water wash not away the filth of sinne, thou wert neuer: fully baptised. It may be the hand of some Minister hath sprinkled a little water on thy face, but Christs bloud hath not as yet beene sprinkled on the soule: all the be∣nefit which thou reapest by thy baptisme is, that another day thou shalt dearely answer for the abuse of so honourable an ordinance.
§. 47. Of ioyning the word with Baptisme.
The other meanes of sanctifying and cleansing the Church here expressed, is the word. This being applied vnto Bap∣tisme, and ioyned with it, must needs be meant of the promise of Grace sealed vp in Baptisme, which is Gods promise of iustifying vs freely and sanctifying vs effectually, plainly made knowne and truly beleeued: This meanes being thus added to this Sacrament, we may well inferre that
It is necessary that the word and Baptisme goe together: that * where this Sacrament is administred, the doctrine thereof be truly, plainly, intelligibly taught, so as the nature, efficacy, end, and vse thereof may be made knowne; and the couenant of God sealed vp thereby, beleeued. So saith Christ, aGoe teach all nations baptising them. So did the b Baptist, and the c Apo∣stles, they preached the Gospell to them whom they baptised.
1. A Sacrament without the word is but an idle ceremony: * no more then a seale without a couenant: for it is the word that maketh knowne the couenant of God.
2. It is the word which maketh the greatest difference be∣twixt the sacramentall washing of water, and ordinary com∣mon washing.
3. By the word the ordinary creatures which we vse are sanctified, much more the holy ordinances of God, whereof Baptisme is one of the principall.
Quest. Is it not then lawfull to administer Baptisme with∣out * a Sermon?
Page 67Answ. Though it be a very commendable, and honoura∣ble manner of administring that Sacrament, then to admini∣ster it when the word is preached, yet I thinke not a Sermon at that time to be so necessary, as it should be vnlawfull with∣out one, to administer Baptisme. For the ioyning of the word and Sacrament here spoken of is, that they who are baptised, or who present children to be baptised, and answer for them, or are present at the administring of Baptisme, or liue in the places where it vseth to be administred, should be instructed in the Gospell, and taught the couenant which Baptisme sea∣leth vp. Besides, the liturgie and publike forme prescribed for the administring of Baptisme both in our Church and other reformed Churches, laieth downe the nature, efficacy, end, vse, and other like points appertaining to that Sacrament, & plainly declareth the couenant of God sealed vp thereby: so as in our and other like Churches where such formes are pre∣scribed to be alwaies vsed, the word is neuer separated from Baptisme, though at the administring of Baptisme there be no Sermon.
The Church of Rome doth directly transgresse against the * forenamed rule of ioyning the word and Baptisme together. For though they haue a publike forme prescribed, yet it being in an vnknowne tongue, not vnderstood of the people, nor expounded to them, it is all one as if there were no forme at all, no word at all: for that which is not vnderstood is all one * as if it were not vttered.
Much more hainous is their transgression who liue vnder the Gospell, where it is preached plainly to the vnderstan∣ding and capacity of the meanest, and yet are carelesse in com¦ming to it, or in attending vnto it, and so remaine as ignorant as if they liued in places where the word is not preached at all, or in an vnknowne tongue. Such ignorant persons if they were not baptised are not worthy while they remaine so ig∣norant to be baptised, nor yet to present their children to be baptised, or to be present at the baptisme of others. As Mi∣nisters that baptise ought to preach the word, so ought they who are baptised to be instructed in the word.
§. 48. Of the Inference of Glorification vpon Iustification and Sanctification.
EPHES. 5. 27.
THe most principall end, in regard of the Churches good, which Christ aimed at when he gaue himselfe for her, is her glorious estate in heauen: this is the end of the forena∣med end. For why did Christ giue himselfe for the Church? That he might sanctifie it, hauing cleansed it: why did he cleanse, and sanctifie it? That he might present it to himseife a glorious Church. Hence note these three points.
- 1. Iustification and sanctification must goe before glorification.
- 2. The end why the Saints are cleansed and sanctified in this world, is that they may be presented glorious to Christ in the world to come.
- 3. The only meanes to make vs glorious before Christ our spouse is righteousnesse.
1. All those places of Scripture which set our righteous∣nesse in this world before our glory in the world to come (as * very many places doe) doe proue the first point, that Iustifica∣tion and Sanctification must goe before Glorification. Among * other proofes note especially the order of the seuerall linkes of that golden chaine that reacheth from Gods eternall counsell before the world, vnto our euerlasting glory after this world, Whom he did predestinate them he also called; and whom he called them he also iustified; and whom he iustified them he also glorified.
1. Heauen, the place of our glorification, is an holy Citie,*whereinto no vncleane thing shall enter.
2. In that place the Church is to be maried vnto Christ, and to be euer with him: she must therefore be pure as he is*pure: for he will not endure the society of a foule filthy spouse.
As we desire assurance of our glorification in heauen, so * let vs get, and giue euidence of our iustification and sanctifi∣cation on earth. The euidence of our iustification is a sound and true faith. The euidence of our sanctification is a good and cleare conscience.
Page 69 The forenamed proofes and reasons doe also confirme the * second point, that The end why the Saints are cleansed and sancti∣fied in this world is, that they may be presented glorious to Christ in the world to come.
It is therefore needfull and behouefull, not only in regard of * Christs honour, but also of our owne glory and happinesse, that here while we liue on earth we be sanctified and cleansed. If Christ for our sakes had an eie at our future and euerlasting glory, and for that end prepared meanes to bring vs there∣unto, ought not we ourselues much rather haue an eie there∣at, and both auoid all things which may hinder it, and vse all meanes whereby we may be assured of it? Moses had respect vnto the recompence of the reward. Yea Christ for the ioy which*was set before him endured the crosse, and despised the shame.
3. That Righteousnesse is the only meanes to make vs glorious*before Christ our spouse, is euident by this, that Christ gaue him∣selfe to worke and effect this meanes for this end. Christ him∣selfe by his death, hath consecrated this, and no other meanes. If there be any other meanes then that which Christ by offe∣ring vp himselfe hath procured, what need Christ to haue beene offered vp? To shew that this is the meanes to make the Church glorious before Christ, the holy Ghost resembleth the righteousnesse of the Saints to fine linnen, cleane, and white,* wherewith the wife of the Lambe is made ready against the day of mariage.
Christ himselfe loueth righteousnesse and hateth wickednesse:* they therefore, and none but they that are araied with righte∣ousnesse, are glorious in his eies.
This I haue the rather noted against the conceit of our ad∣uersaries, * who place all the glory of the Church in outward * pompe. Wherefore their Pope whom they make head of the Church, and after a peculiar manner the spouse of Christ, must haue his triple crowne, his scarlet robes, his throne ad∣uanced aboue kings: Men must be his horses to beare him: and Kings and Nobles must be his men to wait on him. Their Priests also must be araied with glorious copes of the best wrought gold. Their temples must be decked with cu∣rious, carued, gilded images. Their hoast caried about in Page 70 manner of a triumph. Their people all besprinkled with wa∣ter. Their superstitious houses must be the fairest buildings in a kingdome, and haue the greatest reuenues of a kingdome belonging to them: with the like. *
Is this glory fit for Christs spouse? belike then Christ hath carnall eies and eares: and is delighted with those things wherewith the world is delighted. The wiser among the heathen did scoffe at such base conceits which their people had of their gods. Shall Christians thinke more basely of Christ, then the heathen of their gods? Too much doe most people doat on outward worldly glory: euen so much as they neg∣lect true righteousnesse.
For our parts as we desire to appeare before Christ so as he * may thinke vs glorious, let vs be araied with righteousnesse & holinesse, without which no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14.
§. 44. Of the fruition of Christs presence in heauen.
EPHES. 5. 27.
HAuing noted the inference of this verse vpon the for∣mer: I will now handle it distinctly by it selfe. In it is contained a description of the glorious estate of the Church in heauen. Of that estate must this description be here meant, * for on earth it is not simply without spot or wrinkle: though it be prepared so to be.
|This estate is||1. Generally propounded.|
|2. Particularly exemplified.|
|In the generall pro∣position is noted,||1. Her condition (she is presented to Christ.)|
|2. Her quality (glorious.)|
The particular exemplification thereof is
|1. Priuatiue, by remouing all deformity: noted in two words,||Spot,|
|2. Positiue, by adorning her with beauty: noted also in two words,||Holy,|
The word (present) is taken from the custome of solemni∣zing *Page 71 a mariage: first the spouse was wooed, and then set be∣fore her husband that he might take her to wife, to be with him. Thus bEue was presented by God to Adam that he might take her for his wife: and cEsther among other virgins was presented to Ahash-verosh. This sheweth that *
The Church in heauen shall enioy the presence of Christ:d Christ himselfe saith expresly to his disciples, I goe to pre∣pare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also. On this ground did the Apostle desire to depart, namely eto be with Christ, and fto be present with the Lord.
In heauen is the mariage betwixt Christ and the Church solemnized, which here on earth hath beene in preparing. God the Father hath giuen his g sonne vnto the Church, and the h Church vnto his sonne: yea i Christ himselfe hath pur∣chased the Church vnto himselfe by his bloud, and k promi∣sed mariage vnto her, and the more to assure the Church of his loue he hath l bestowed many gifts vpon her: he hath further sent * his Ministers in his name to m wooe and n be∣seech the Church to giue her consent, and to o prepare her as a pure virgin for himselfe: Hereupon the Church hath gi∣uen her consent, for p as a spouse she is subiect vnto Christ as vnto an head. These things being so, how can it be thought that Christ will forsake her, and not receiue her to be with him for euer?
Can the thought of death be terrible to such as know and * beleeue the truth hereof? Will not rather the consideration * thereof make them with the Apostle to sigh, and desire to de∣part, that they may be with the Lord? The highest degree of the Churches happinesse consisteth in this fruition of the * presence of her spouse: for so he becommeth all in all vn∣to her: not by meanes, as in this world, but immediatly by himselfe: so as there shall need no Minister, no Sacrament, no ordinance to set forth Christ vnto vs: no Gouernour in fa∣mily, Church, or common-wealth, to represent his person, or to keepe vs in subiection: no light to direct vs, no food to sustaine vs; we shall be so assisted with Christ as we shall need nothing. If those seruants were happy that stood continually before Salomon, what are they that alwaies stand not as seruants *Page 72 but as a wife in his presence that is infinitly greater then Salo∣mon? If it were a great grace & fauour, that Moses saw the back∣parts * of God, what a grace and fauour is it, to behold Christ * face to face? For when he doth appeare, we shall see him as he is.* Though now we be absent from the Lord, yet let vs vphold our selues with the expectation and assurance of this, that we shall be presented before Christ.
§. 50. Of the Glorie of the Church in heauen.
The quality of the Church in heauen is as excellent as may be,* and therefore here said to be glorious: all beautie, all comeli∣nesse, * all grace, whatsoeuer may make the Church amiable, louely, or any way to be desired, or admired, is comprised vn∣der this word glorious. In this respect the Saints are said to shine, and that asbpretious stones, yea as the cfirmament, as the starres, and as the dsunne: and to be elike Christ himselfe: and to fappeare with him in glory.
This glory of the Saints extendeth both to soule and body, and whole person.
In regard of their bodies, they shall be kfashioned like to Christs glorious body: and that in incorruption, immortality, * beauty, brightnesse, grace, fauour, agility, strength, and the like. It is therefore truly said, that the Church in the end of the world expecteth that which is before demonstrated in Christs body.
In regard of their person, as a wife is aduanced to the ho∣nour and dignity of her husband, so shall they to the honour and dignity of Christ, so farre as they are capable of it: for they shall be l next vnto Christ, yea m one with him, and so n aboue the most glorious Angels.
Much more might be spoken of the glory of the Church: but neuer can enough be spoken thereof, no not by the tongue of men or Angels: for oeye hath not seene, nor eare heard, neither haue entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them which loue him. When Paul was rapt vp into the third heauen, and saw but a glimps of this Page 73 glory, p he heard vnspeakable words, which are not possible for man to vtter. Wherefore q when he speaketh of it, he vseth such a transcendent kinde of phrase, as cannot in any tongue be fully expressed: we thus as well as we can by one degree of compa∣rison vpon another translate it, *a farre more exceeding and eternall weight of glorie.
Is not this sufficient to vphold vs against all the reproach and disgrace which the world layeth vpon vs, because we are * of the Church of Christ? The world hath r of old counted her, to whom Christ saith, Hephzibah (that is, my delight in her) and Beulah (that is, maried) forsaken and desolate, yea sas the filth of the world, and the off-scowring of all things. Among Hea∣then, none so vildly esteemed of as Christians; and amongst Papists, none so as Protestants; & amongst carnall Gospellers, none so as they who endeuour t to purifie themselues as Christ is pure, and to auoid the common sins of the world. When for Christs sake we are basely accounted of, let vs thinke of this.
§. 51. Of the Churches freedome from all deformity in heauen. Not hauing spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
The first point noted by the Apostle in his exemplification of the forenamed glorie, is a remouing of all deformitie. The word translated *spot, is taken for a staine on a garment, and a foule specke on a mans face, or other part of the bodie: or a scarre, or other blemish in his flesh by a sore, wound, blow, or the like. The other word (*wrinkl-) is taken for a creast in the face through old age, for it signifieth a gathering together of the skin by old age: by it is meant any manner of breaking (as we speake) by age, sicknesse, trouble, paine, or the like. Be∣cause there may be also deformities other wayes, the Apostle addeth this clause (or any such thing.) These things applied to * the Church, shew that
No manner of deformitie shall cleaue to the Church in heauen.* Thereshall be in her no staine or contagion of sinne receiued from others, no scarre of any euill humour arising from it selfe, no wrinkle, no defect of spirituall moisture, no signe of the old man, nor any thing that may any way make it seeme de∣formed, or vncomely in the sight of Christ. Not only great, Page 74 hainous, capitall sins, (which are as botches and boiles, and as open, wide sores, gashes and wounds) but all spots and specks, all wrinkles and defects, all manner of blemishes whatsoeuer within, or without, shall be cleane taken away. Sinne shall not only be subdued in vs, but vtterly rooted out of vs: no relique, no signe thereof shall be left remaining. In this respect it is said, that God shall wipe away all teares, that is, shall take away all * matter of mourning, sorrow, and griefe. Now there is nothing that ministreth matter of more sorrow to the Saints then sinne. That remnant of sin which was in the Apostle euen after his regeneration, made him thus cry out, O wretched man that I am.*
Though this be but a priuatiue good, yet it addeth much to the heauenly happinesse of the Saints. If it were possible that we should enioy the rest and glorie prepared for the Saints in heauen, and withall there should remaine on vs the spots and wrinkles of sinne, these spots and wrinkles would be as the hand-writing which appeared to Belshazzer in the midst of * his iollitie: they would be as gall mixed with wine: they would turne all our ioy into heauinesse, and take away the sweet rellish of all our happinesse. The consideration there∣fore of this priuatiue benefit cannot but breed in the hearts of all such as are members of this Church a longing desire after this perfect purging of them from all deformitie.
§. 52. Of the perfect puritie of the Church in heauen.
The last branch whereby the celestiall glorie of the Church is set forth, is the perfect puritie thereof: the aduersatiue parti∣cle (BVT) sheweth that the holinesse here spoken of is no im∣perfect * holinesse, such as the sanctification of the Saints is in this world, but an absolute perfect holinesse in all the parts and degrees thereof: such as is without spot or wrinkle: without relique, or signe of sinne: and therefore by way of explanation is added, *without blemish, or blamelesse: such as man, Angell, nor God himselfe can finde fault withall. b This attribute is oft applied to the person and bloud of Iesus Christ, and there∣fore * it must needs set forth perfect puritie. Whence we may obserue that
Page 75The Sanctification of the Saints shall be perfect in heauen. They shall not only be iustified by hauing their sinnes couered to them, nor only haue their sanctification truly begun in them, but also in euerie part, point, and degree thereof absolutely perfected: in which respect they are said to be iust men made*perfect. Adam in his innocencie was not more pure then the Saints shall be in heauen: yea they shall farre surpasse Adam as in the measure, so in the stabilite and perpetuitie thereof.
In our endeuour after holinesse let vs haue an eye to this * perfection: and not faint, if we attaine not to that measure which we desire. Perfection is reserued for the world to come. Yet know we, that the more holy and blamelesse we are, the neerer we come to that heauenly estate: the more spots and blemishes of sinne we haue, the more vnlike we are vnto it, and the lesse hope we haue of enioying that heauenly happinesse.
All the forenamed seuerall points of the glorious estate of * the Church in heauen should rauish our spirits, and euen breake our hearts with an holy admiration of Christs good-nesse, and fill our mouths with praises for the same, and make vs sigh, and long after the same, and with all good conscience and diligence vse all the meanes we can to attaine thereunto: no labour will be lost herein. Surely, this is either not knowne, or not beleeued, or not remembred, or not duly and seriously considered by such as make light account thereof. Let that which hath beene but briefly touched be further meditated vp∣on, and let vs pray that the eyes of our vnderstanding may be en∣lightned,*that we may know what is the riches of the glorious inhe∣ritance of the Saints. Were it not for this hope, the Saints were * of all the most miserable; whereas now they are the most happy.
§. 53. Of the application of the things which Christ hath done for the Church, vnto husbands.
EPHES. 5. 28.
THE first clause of this verse serueth both for an application of the former argument, and also for a transition to an∣other argument.
The particle of relation (So) sheweth that that which hath Page 76 before beene deliuered of Christs loue to his Church, ought to be referred and applied to husbands. For as Christ loued his Church, So ought husbands to loue their wiues.
Quest. Why are these transcendent euidences of Christs surpassing loue to his Church set before husbands? can any such things be expected from husbands to their wiues?
Answ. No, * not for measure, but for likenesse. For in this large declaration of Christs loue, there are two generall points to be noted.
1. That the Church in her selfe was no way worthie of loue.
2. That Christ so carried himselfe towards her that he made her worthie of much loue.
This ought to be the minde of husbands to their wiues.
1. Though they be no way worthie of loue, yet they must loue them.
2. They must endeuour with all the wit and wisdome they haue, to make them worthie of loue. I say endeuour because it is not simply in the husbands power to doe the deed. Yet his faithfull endeuour shall on his part be accepted for the deed.
Of these points I shall hereafter more fully speake.
§. 54. Of the application of the loue which a man beareth to himselfe, vnto an husband.
EPHES. 5. 28.
So ought men to loue their wiues as their owne bodies.
THe forenamed particle (So) hath also relation to another patterne, namely, of a mans selfe to his bodie: and so it is a transition from one argument to another.
There is some more Emphasis here vsed in setting downe an husbands dutie, then was before, vers. 25.
There it was laid downe by way of exhortation, Husbands loue your wiues.
Here it is laid downe with a straiter charge: Husbands ought to loue their wiues. So as this dutie is not a matter arbi∣trarie, left to the husbands will to doe it, or leaue it vndone: Page 77 there is a necessitie laid vpon him: he must loue his wife. Woe therefore vnto him if he doe it not.
In setting downe this argument taken from a mans selfe, the Apostle resembleth a mans wife vnto his bodie: wherein he hath relation to vers. 23. where he said, the husband is the head of the wife. Whereby he sheweth, that as an husbands place is a motiue to his wife, for her to performe her dutie: so to him∣selfe, * for him to performe his dutie.
He is her head, therefore she must be subiect to him.
She is his bodie, therefore he must loue her.
This example of a mans selfe is both a reason, the more to moue husbands to loue their wiues, and also a rule to teach them how to loue them.
The reason is implied vnder that neere vnion that is betwixt * a man and his wife: she is as neere to him as his owne bodie: therefore she ought to be as deere to him. The bodie neuer dissenteth from it selfe, nor the soule against it selfe. So nei∣ther should man and wife.
The rule is noted vnder the manner of a mans louing his owne bodie: as intirely as he loueth his bodie, so intirely he ought to loue his wife.
Of the manner of a mans louing himselfe, see Treat. 4. §. 74. 76.
The more to enforce this comparison, the Apostle addeth, He that loueth his wife, loueth himselfe.*
By this clause two things are implied.
1. That a wife is not only as a mans bodie, namely, his outward flesh, but as his person, his bodie and soule. She is as his bodie, because she was taken out of his bodie: and be∣cause * she is set vnder him, as his bodie vnder his head. She is as himselfe, by reason of the bond of mariage, which maketh one of two. In which respect a wife is commonly called a mans *second selfe.
2. That an husband in louing his wife loueth himselfe: so as the benefit of louing his wife will redound to himselfe, as well as to his wife.
§. 55. Of the amplification of a mans loue of himselfe.
EPHES. 5. 29.
THe former patterne of a mans selfe is here further ampli∣fied. For first the Apostle proueth, that a man loueth him∣selfe: and then he sheweth how he loueth himselfe.
Two arguments are vsed to proue the point.
One is taken from the contrarie: No man euer yet hated his owne flesh. Therefore he loueth it.
The other is taken from the effects of loue: To nourish and cherish ones flesh is a fruit of loue: But euerie man nourisheth and cherisheth his flesh. Therefore he loueth it.
This latter argument sheweth the manner of a mans louing himselfe: and therein a mans loue of himselfe is a rule to teach him how to loue his wife.
This indefinite particle (no man) is to be restrained to such as haue the vnderstanding and affection of a man in them: as if he had said, no man in his right wits: for furious, franticke, mad, desperate persons will cut their armes, legs, and other parts, mangle their flesh, hang, drowne, smother, choake, and stab themselues. Euen so they are as men out of their wits, who * hate, or any way hurt their wiues: yea, it is the part of a mad man to doubt of louing, and doing good to himselfe.
These two words (to nourish and cherish) comprize vnder them a carefull prouiding of all things needfull for a mans bodie.
To nourish, is properly to feed. *
To cherish, is to keepe warme. *
The former is done by food: the latter by apparell. Vnder * food, and apparell the Apostle comprizeth all things needfull for this life, where he saith, Hauing food andraiment, let vs therewith be content.*
This applied to an husband, sheweth that he ought to haue a prouident care for the good of his wife in all things needfull for her.
Page 79 That he may yet further presse this point, he returneth againe to the example of Christ (euen as the Lord the Church) The Apostle thought that this naile of loue had need be fast beaten into the heads and hearts of husbands, and therefore addeth blow to blow to knocke it vp deepe, euen to the head: before he confirmed Christs example with the example of our selues: here he confirmeth the example of our selues with the example of Christ againe. This he doth for two especiall reasons.
1. The more forcibly to vrge the point: for two exam∣ples adde weight one to another: especially this latter which is so farre more excellent as we heard out of vers. 25, 26, 27.
2. To giue husbands a better direction for their prouidence towards their wiues, whom they must nourish and cherish, not only as their bodies, but as Christ nourisheth and cherish∣eth his Church, not only with things temporall, but also with things spirituall and eternall.
§. 56. Of mans naturall affection to himselfe.
EPHES. 5. 28, 29.
HAuing briefly shewed the generall scope of the 28 and 29 verses, I will proceed to a more distinct handling of them.
They setforth The naturall affection of a man to himselfe.*
Two points are here to be noted.
1. The generall proposition, that a man is well affected to himselfe.
2. The particular amplification, and manifestation of that affection.
This is manifested two waies.
|1. Negatiuely, No man hateth his owne flesh.|
|2. Affirmatiuely, and that in two branches||1. Nourisheth||it.|
Page 80 Both these are iustified by the like affection of Christ to the Church which is his body (Euen as the Lord the Church) In that the Apostle propoundeth the naturall affection of a mans selfe to his body as a motiue and patterne to Christians, to loue their wiues, and also iustifieth the same by a like affe∣ction of Christ to his Church, I obserue that
Naturall affection is a thing lawfull and commendable: it is * an affection which may stand with a good conscience: which Gods word is so farre from taking away, as it doth establish it. For such as are *without naturall affection are directly con∣demned: and we are b commanded to be so kindly affectio∣ned * one to another as * we are to our selues. Yea the law in * the strict rigour thereof laieth downe that naturall affection which is in a man to himselfe as a rule for the loue of his neighbour (cthou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe.) Hence is it that the d Prophets, e Apostles, and Christ himselfe doe oft call vpon vs to haue an eie to that affection which we beare to our selues. Of this patterne Christ saith, fThis is the Law, and the Prophets, this is the briefe summe of them, this is it which they doe much vrge and presse.
1. Naturall affection was at first created of God, by him * planted in man, so that as soule, body, the powers, and parts of them, are in their substance good things, this affection also in it selfe is good.
2. There are the same reasons to loue our selues, as our brethren. For we our selues are made after Gods image, re∣deemed by Christs bloud, members of the same mysticall bodie, keepers of our selues, to giue an account of the good or hurt we doe to our selues, with the like. In the Law, vnder this word neighbour, our selues are comprised: and euery commandement of the second table is to be applied to our selues.
§. 57. Of naturall selfe-loue.
Obiect. Louers of themselues are condemned in Gods word, as 2 Tim. 3. 2. Phil. 2. 21. 1 Cor. 10. 24. Rom. 15. 1.
Answ. There is a double louing of a mans selfe. *
One good and commendable:
Page 81 The other euill, and damnable.
|Good and commenda∣ble louing of a mans selfe is||1. Naturall.|
That which is naturall is in all by the very instinct of nature: and it was at first created, and still is by Gods prouidence pre∣serued in our nature, and that for the preseruation of nature. Were there not such a naturall loue of himselfe in euery one, man would be as carelesse of himselfe, as of others, and as loth to take paines for himselfe, as for others. Wherefore that euery one might haue care at least of one, euen of himselfe, and so the world be better preserued, God hath reserued in man this naturall affection, notwithstanding his corruption by sin. Yea further because euery one is not able to looke to him∣selfe, at least when he is young, sicke, old, or any other way im∣potent, God by his wise prouidence hath extended this natu∣rall affection towards otheralso as they are neerely linked vn∣to vs by the bonds of nature. The next to a mans selfe are (by bloud and bond of nature) children. Admirably much is that which parents doe for their children, which they would neuer doe, if there were not a naturall affection in them to their children. From children againe this affection ariseth towards their parents, that when parents grow old, impo∣tent, or any way vnable to helpe themselues, they might haue succour from their children. And because parents and chil∣dren are not alwaies together, or not able to helpe one ano∣ther, or vnnaturall, God hath yet further extended this natu∣rall affection to brethren, cousins, and other kindred. And for a further extent thereof hath instituted mariage betwixt such as are not of the same bloud, and by vertue of that bond raised a naturall affection not only in husband and wife one to another, but also in all the alliance that is made therby. More∣ouer this affection is wrought in neighbours, friends, fellowes, and other by like bonds knit together, that the bow of Gods prouidence might haue many strings, and if one breake, ano∣ther might hold. In all these kinds, the neerer a man com∣meth to himselfe, the more doth this affection shew it selfe, ac∣cording to the prouerbe, Neare is my coat, but nearer is my skin. God hauing wrought this naturall affection in the seuerall Page 82 kindes thereof, and there being good ends and vses thereof, it is not to be condemned.
§. 58. Of spirituall selfe-loue.
Spirituall selfe-loue is that which is supernaturally wrought in man by Gods Spirit: whereby he is both inlightned to discerne what is most excellent, and best for him, and also mo∣ued to choose the same: so as this serueth to rectifie the for∣mer. Hence it commeth to passe that their chiefest care is for their soules, and for the eternall saluation thereof: for the furthering whereof they can be content as need requireth, to f beat downe their body, to g denie them sometimes their or∣dinary refreshing by food, rest, and other like meanes, yea and to h suffer them to be imprisoned, racked, and otherwaies tor∣tured, and life it selfe to be taken from them. This men doe, * and suffer, not for want of naturall affection, but by reason of spirituall affection which perswades them that it is good for them it should be so, A man is not therefore to be said not to loue the health and safety of his body because he loueth some∣thing more. For a couetous man though he loue his money, yet he can be content to part with it for bread to nourish his body: so a spirituall man though he loue his life, yet he can be content to lose it for his soules saluation. For he loueth himselfe sufficiently, who doth his best to enioy the chiefest and truest good. This spirituall affection extendeth it selfe as * farre as, naturall affection, namely to wiues, husbands, chil∣dren, parents, brethren, cosins, friends, &c. Much is this vrged and pressed in the Scriptures, as Isa. 55. 1, 2, 3. Mat. 6. 19, 20, 33. Ioh. 6. 27. 1 Tim. 6. 11, 19.
§. 59. Of euill selfe-loue.
|The selfe-loue which is euill swerueth in the||Obiect.|
1. In the Obiect, when it is cast vpon our corruptions, our lusts, our euill humors: when we affect and loue them, and for them pursue whatsoeuer may satisfie them: as the ambiti∣ous, lustfull, riotous, gluttonous, and other like persons. This is expresly forbidden, Make not prouision for the flesh to fulfill*the lusts thereof.
2. In the Measure, when our loue is wholly and only cast Page 83 vpon our selues, so seeking our owne good, as we regard no mans good but our owne: nor care what dammage another receiueth, so we may get aduantage thereby. This is also for∣bidden: * for it is contrary to the property of true loue, which seeketh not her owne, namely to the preiudice of another. This hath the title of *Selfe-loue appropriated to it. It sprang from the corruption of nature, and is daily increased by the insti∣gation of Satan for the destruction of mankinde. It mani∣festeth it selfe by the many tricks of deceit which most men vse in their dealings with others: by making aduantage of others necessities as in the case of vsurie, of raising corne, and other commodities in time of scarcity, with the like: by mens backwardnesse to helpe such as stand in need of their succour: by want of compassion in other mens miseries: and by many other like vnkindnesses: all which verifie the prouerbe, Euery man for himselfe.
But by distinguishing the forenamed points we may see that notwithstanding euill self-loue be a most detestable vice, yet it is both lawfull and commendable to loue ones selfe aright.
§. 60. Of the error of Stoicks in condemning all passion.
The doatage of Stoicks who would haue all naturall af∣fection * rooted out of man, is contrary to this patterne, and vn∣worthy to finde any entertainment among Christians: for what doe they aime at, but to root that out of man, which God hath planted in him, and to take away the meanes which God hath vsed for the better preseruation of man? That wise man whom they frame to themselues is worse then a brute beast: he is a very stocke and blocke. Not only the best and wisestmen that euer were in the world, but also Christ him∣selfe had those passions and affections in him, which they ac∣count vnbeseeming a wise man. Their doatage hath long since beene hissed out of the schooles of Philosophers, should it then finde place in Christs Church?
§. 61. Of well vsing naturall affection.
Let vs labour to cherish this naturall affection in vs, and to * turne it to the best things, euen to such as are not only appa∣rently, but indeed good: and among good things to such as are most excellent, and the most necessary: such as concerne Page 84 our soules, and eternall life. For this end we must pray to haue our vnderstandings inlightned (that we may discerne*things that differ, and approue that which is excellent) and to haue our wills and affections sanctified, that we embrace, pursue, and delight in that which we know to be the best. Thus shall our naturall affection be turned into a spirituall af∣fection.
Here we see how we may make nature a schoolemaster vnto vs: for as Christ sendeth vs to the fowles of the aire, and lillies * of the field to learne of them, so the Apostle here sendeth vs to our owne naturall instinct. We cannot complaine that we haue no schoolemaster neere vs (as many in the country whose children for want of one are rudely brought vp) our selues are schoolemasters to our selues. Wherfore as the Apo∣stle hereby teacheth husbands to loue their wiues, so let vs all more generally learne to loue one another: for m we are all mutuall members of one and the same body: and our brother or neighbour is nOur flesh.
§. 62. Of Mans forbearing to wrong himselfe.
EPHES. 5. 29.
THe first particle (for) sheweth that in this verse an euidence and manifestation of a mans loue of himselfe is giuen. The first part thereof, which is set downe negatiuely, shew∣eth that
It is against the common instinct of nature for a man to hate*himselfe. It is noted as an euidence that deuils were in the Gadarene, in that he cut himselfe with stones: had not the de∣uils * forced him, he would neuer haue done it.
Hatred is contrary to loue: it being therefore before pro∣ued * that euery man by nature loueth himselfe, by necessary consequence it followeth, that no man hateth his flesh: for two contrary effects proceed not from the same cause: no foun∣taine can yeeld both salt water and fresh.*
Obiect. Many doe macerate their bodies with fastings, watchings, labours, trauels, and the like: others teare and gash Page 85 their flesh with whips, kniues, swords, yea and with their teeth also: others lay such violent hands vpon themselues, as they take away their owne liues.
Answ. 1. None of these things are done by the instinct of nature which God hath set in man, but through the corruption of nature which the deuill hath caused. Now nature and cor∣ruption of nature are two contrarie causes: no maruell then that contrarie effects come from them.
2. They thinke they doe these things in loue to themselues; as superstitious persons to merit saluation, by macerating their bodie: others to free themselues from ignominie, penurie, slauerie, torment, or such like euils: so as there is an apparent good that maketh them so to doe, and not simply hatred of themselues. They that so doe, are either possessed with a De∣uill, or blinded in their minde, or bereaued of their wits, or ouerwhelmed with some passion, so as they know not what they doe: they doe it not therefore in hatred.
§. 63. Of vnnaturall practises against ones selfe.
The forenamed doctrine discouereth many practises vsed * by sundry men to be against nature, and in that respect most horrible and detestable.
1. The practise of the idolatrous Baalites, who to moue their I doll to heare them, cut themselues with kniues and lancers, till*the bloud gushed out vpon them. Not much vnlike to whom are Popish Eremites, Anchorites, Monks flagellants, Grandimon∣tenses, sundrie sorts of Franciscans, and other Friers, whereof * some weare shirts of haire-cloth, some shirts of maile next their bodie, some goe bare-foot, some daily whip themselues till bloud follow, and some waste their bodies with lying hard, watching, fasting, going on pilgrimage, &c.
2. The practise of Gluttons, Drunkards, vnchaste and volup∣tuous persons, who to satisfie their corrupt humours, impaire their health, pull diseases vpon them, and shorten their dayes.
Page 86 3. The practise of Swaggerers, who by quarrels cause their flesh to be wounded, and their liues taken away. Among these may be reckoned such as bring themselues to great straits, di∣stresses, and dangers for lucre sake: and they who by felonie, treason, and the like euill deeds, cast themselues vpon the sword of the Magistrate.
4. The practise of them that giue the reines to griefe, feare, wrath, and other like violent passions, so as thereby they wea∣ken their bodies, and shorten their dayes.
5. The practise of selfe-murtherers: who herein breake the rule of loue (as thy selfe) and end their dayes in a most horrible * sinne, depriuing themselues of the time, place, and meanes of repentance: so as, whatsoeuer fond pretence they make for their sinne, little better can be thought of them, then that they thrust their soules headlong into hell, vnlesse the Lord betwixt the act done, and the expiration of their breath, extraordina∣rily touch their hearts. Religion, nature, sense, and all abhorre this fearefull fact: so as not only those who haue beene enlight∣ned * by Gods word, but also the Heathen, who had no other then the light of nature, haue adiudged it to be a most despe∣rate sinne.
§. 64. Of haters of others.
2. By that affection which nature moueth men to beare to their flesh, we may see how nature more preuailes with men, then conscience and obedience to Gods word, yea then the * Spirit: for where nature keepeth all men from hating their owne flesh, nothing can keepe many husbands from hating their wiues, and wiues their husbands; nor brothers, cosens, & neighbours (yet these are our owne flesh) no nor many of those * who professe themselues to be of the mysticall bodie of Christ, from hating one another. What shall we say of these? Is na∣ture of greater power, and more mightie in operation then the Spirit? Surely, such either deceiue themselues and others, in pretending to be members of the bodie of Christ: or else the Spirit is verie weake in them, and the flesh beareth a great sway. Let haters of their brethren thinke of this and bee ashamed.
§. 65. Of mans care in prouiding and vsing things needfull for his bodie.
The second euidence of that loue which a man beareth to himselfe, is noted in two such branches (nourisheth and cheri∣sheth) as comprize * all needfull things vnder them, so as the Apostle implieth thereby, that
Nature teacheth all men to prouide such things as are needfull for*them: needfull for life, as food: and needfull for health, as appa∣rell. Nature is here propounded as a Schoolemaster to Chri∣stians: this therefore which nature teacheth is a bounden dutie. It is much insisted vpon by Salomon, who in this respect * saith, It is good and comely for one to eat and drinke, and enioy the good of all his labour.
If he be worse then an Infidell that prouideth not for his * owne, what is he that prouideth not for himselfe? euen worse then a beast: for nature hath taught the bruit beasts to nourish and cherish themselues. If any thinke that it more befitteth beasts, or naturall men then Saints, let them tell me which of the Saints at any time guided by Gods Spirit, hath wholly neglected himselfe. To omit all others, it is expresly noted of Christ, that as there was occasion, he p slept, he q eat, he r re∣sted, and otherwise refreshed himselfe.
Obiect. Though he were s hungry, and meat prepared for him, yet he refused to eat.
Answ. 1. Forbearing one meale, is no great hinderance of * cherishing the body.
2. Extraordinarie and weightie occasions may lawfully make a man a little neglect himselfe: that so he may shew he preferreth Gods glorie, and his brothers saluation, before the outward nourishing of his body: to which purpose Christ saith, My meat is to doe the will of him that sent me: that is, I * preferre it before my meat. And Saint Paul saith, I will very*gladly be spent for your soules. We must here therefore take heed of the extremes on both hands.
1. Of vndue, and ouermuch neglecting our bodies, so as the strength of them be wasted, and the health impaired.
2. Of too much caring for it, so as vpon no occasion we will Page 88 lose a meales meat, or a nights rest. Fasting and watching as occasion requireth, are bounden duties.
But to returne to the point of nourishing and cherishing our flesh.
1. For this end hath God prouided food, apparell, and all * things needfull for our weake bodies, that they should be nou∣rished and cherished thereby: not to vse them therefore, is to refuse Gods prouidence.
2. By well nourishing and cherishing our bodies, they are the better enabled to doe that worke and seruice which God appointeth to be done: but by neglecting them, they are dis∣abled thereto. As this is a motiue, so ought it to be an end whereat we aime in nourishing and cherishing our bodies.
§. 66. Of them that neglect to cherish their bodies.
Against this good instinct of nature doe many offend. *
1. Couetous misers, who so doat vpon their wealth, and so * delight in abundance of goods treasured vp, as they afford not themselues things needfull to nourish and cherish their bodies. Salomon doth much taxe such: of them he saith, that riches are*kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. Daily experience giueth euidence to the truth thereof: for, beside that such men make their riches t to be snares, and u hinderances, to keepe them from eternall life; they make this present life to be very irk∣some, x filling their heads full of much carking care, and kee∣ping them from quiet rest. Many in this case are so besotted, * as, though they haue abundance, yet they will not in health af∣ford themselues a good meales meat, nor seemly apparell: nor in sicknesse, needfull physicke, no nor fire, and such like com∣mon things. Their case is worse then theirs who want: for others will pitie and succour such as want, but who will pitie and succour such?
2. Such as are too intentiue vpon their businesses, euen the af∣faires * of their lawfull callings (for in good things there may be excesse) herein many Students, Preachers, Lawyers, Trades∣men, Farmers, Labourers, and others offend, when they afford not seasonable times of refreshing and resting to their bodies, but fast, watch, and toile too much in their calling. They who by such meanes disable themselues, doe make themselues Page 89 guiltie of the neglect of so much good as they might haue done, if they had nourished and cherished their bodies. Some are so eager on their businesse, that they thinke all the time mis∣pent, which is spent in nourishing and cherishing their bo∣dies; and thereupon wish, that their bodies needed no food, sleepe, or other like meanes of refreshing. These thoughts and * desires are foolish and sinfull in many respects, as
1. In manifesting a secret discontent and grudging against Gods prouidence, who hath thus disposed our estate for the clearer manifestation of mans weaknes, & Gods care ouer him.
2. In taking away occasions of calling vpon God, and gi∣uing praise vnto him. For if we stood not in such need of Gods prouidence, should we so oft pray vnto him for his bles∣sing: if by the good meanes which he affordeth vnto vs we felt not the sweetnesse and comfort of his prouidence, should we be so thankfull to him?
3. In taking away the meanes of mutuall loue: for if by rea∣son of our weaknesse we stood not in need of succour and help one from another, what triall would there be of our loue?
3. Such as sever these two duties of nature (nourishing and *cherishing) and make them an hinderance one to another: some so nourish their bodies, as they cannot cherish them; that is, they spend so much in eating and drinking, as they haue no∣thing to cloath themselues withall. Others so cherish them, as they cannot nourish them; that is, they so prancke vp them∣selues with braue apparell aboue their abilitie, as they haue not competent food for themselues. These fall into two contrarie extremes: into the excesse in one thing: and into the defect in another.
§. 67. Of contentment in that which is sufficient.
As the Apostle by naming these two (nourish, cherish) shew∣eth that both of them are needfull, so by naming them only, and no more but them, he sheweth that they two are sufficient: whence we learne, that
Hauing food and raiment, we must be therewith content.*
Page 90Quest. Is a man then strictly bound to care for no more then food to nourish, and apparell to cherish him?
Answ. So this nourishing and cherishing be extended to that estate wherein God hath set vs, to the charge which God hath giuen vs, and to the calling which he hath appointed un∣to vs, we ought to care for no more.
Let vs therefore take heed of that excesse which ariseth from the corruption of nature, and content our selues with that com∣petency which nature requireth.
§. 68. Of Christs forbearing to hate the Church.
EPHES. 6. 29.
THis confirmation of the patterne of a mans selfe by a like patterne of the Lord, hath relation to both the parts of the manifestation of a mans loue to himselfe: both to the ne∣gatiue, and so it sheweth, that
And to the affirmatiue, and so it sheweth, that
That difference which is made betwixt Esau a type of the world (Esau haue I hated) and Iaakob a type of the Church *(Iaakob haue I loued) sheweth that the Lord is farre from ha∣ting his Church. The world, not the Church, is the obiect of Gods hatred.
Answ. It is the flesh abiding in them that are of the Church which maketh them so to conceiue, not the spirit: and in the enemies of the Church the flesh altogether reigneth. But the things of God, and his minde and affection, nor can, nor may be iudged by carnall eies, eies of flesh. The d Spirit of God ac∣counteth such things euidences of Gods Ioue, which flesh iudgeth to be tokens of hatred; namely, corrections.
It is not, because there is no matter of hatred in the Church, * that Christ hateth it not: for by nature all are of one and the same cursed stocke, echildren of wrath: and after our sanctifi∣cation is begun, the flesh abiding in vs, we daily giue much Page 91 occasion of hatred if Christ should take that aduantage against vs which he might: but it is that neere vnion which Christ hath made betwixt himselfe and the Church that keepeth him from hating her: he hath made her his Spouse, and he will not hate his Spouse: all the occasion of hatred that she giueth, he will either wipe away or couer.
Admirable is the comfort which euery true member of the * Catholike Church may reape from hence: for so long as the wrath and hatred of the Lord is turned from vs, nothing can make vs miserable: we may in this respect reioyce not only in prosperitie, but also in all manner of affliction. No calamitie can moue Christ to hate his Church, but rather the more to pittie it, as we doe our bodies. Nay, though by sinne he be prouoked, and see it needfull to correct his Church, yet in loue, not in hatred, in mercy, not in wrath will he correct it.
What now if all the world have vs? Seeing Christ hateth * vs not, we need not feare nor care. The subiect which is sure of his Kings fauour, little regardeth the hatred of others. This therefore is to be thought of, both to comfort vs vnder the crosse, and to encourage vs against the hatred of the world. That none may peruert this comfortable doctrine, let me adde two caueats.
1. That men deceiue not themselues with a naked name, thinking themselues to be of the Church, when they are only in it, f such may Christ hate.
2. That being of the Church they waxe not insolent, and too much prouoke Christ to anger: for though he hate not such, yet in wisdome he may so seuerely correct them as if he hated them: and make them repent their folly and insolencie againe and againe.
§. 69. Of Christs nourishing and cherishing his Church.
2. That The Lord nourisheth and cherisheth his Church, is euident by his continuall prouidence ouer her in all ages. When first he created man, he g prouided before hand all things needfull to nourish and cherish him. When he was mo∣ued to destroy the earth and all liuing things thereon, he had care of his Church, and prouided an Arke to keepe her out of * the waters, and stored vp in the Arke all things needfull for Page 92 her. When he purposed to bring a famine on the world, he sent a man before hand to lay vp prouision for his Church. When * his Church was in a barren and drie wildernesse, he gaue them bread from heauen, water out of the rocke, and kept their rai∣ment from waxing old, and their feet from swelling. After this * he brought his Church into a land flowing with milke and honie: and so long as it remained faithfull he preserued it in that pleasant and plentifull land. Thus he dealt with the Church in her non-age: and thus also hath he dealt with her in her riper age vnder the Gospell, as experience of all ages may witnesse. Neither hath he only nourished and cherished her with temporall blessings, but also with all needfull spiri∣tuall blessings: his word and Sacraments, his Spirit and the graces thereof hath he in all ages giuen her for that purpose: yea with his owne flesh and bloud hath he fed her, and with * his owne righteousnesse hath he clothed her. *
Learne we of whom we receiue all needfull things, both * spirituall and temporall, for soule and bodie, that accordingly * we may giue him the praise of all. And let vs not be like the vngratefull Israelites who m regarded not the meanes of spi∣rituall * nourishment, and n ascribed the meanes of their tempo∣rall nourishing and cherishing to their Idols. In this respect the Prophet maketh them o worse then the oxe, and the asse, two of the most bruitish beasts that be. Oh take we heed that the like be not vpbraided to vs. The Lord hath not sparing∣ly, but most liberally and bountifully nourished and cherished vs in this land, and that both with temporall and spirituall blessings, so as he may iustly say, what could haue beene done*more in my vineyard, that I haue not done in it?
Learne we also to depend on Christ for all things that we * want: we need not feare penurie: though we haue not that * plentie which we could wish, yet we shall haue sufficiencie. Christ will not suffer his Church to famish for want of food, nor starue for want of cloathing, whether temporall for body, or spirituall for soule. He that can and will performe it hath said, I will neuer leaue thee nor forsake thee. Lazarus was not * forsaken; witnesse the Angels that caried his soule into Abra∣hams* bosome. If any of Christs Church doe perish for want Page 93 of outward meanes, it is because Christ by that meanes will aduance them to that place where they shall stand in need of nothing: so as he doth not forsake them.
§. 70. Of the vnion betwixt Christ and the Saints.
EPHES. 5. 30.
THe reason of the forenamed loue of Christ, and fruits * thereof to his Church, is here laid downe, as both the causall particle (FOR) and the inference of this verse vpon the former doe shew. This reason is that neere vnion which is betwixt Christ and his Church, set forth by a metaphor of the members of our bodie. Whereby he implieth, that though there were no other reason to moue an husband to loue his wife then the neere vnion which is betwixt them (they being a one bodie, b one flesh, c one selfe) that were enough, for thereby only is Christ moued to loue his Church.
The mysterie of our spirituall vnion with Christ is here laid downe, and that as fully, and distinctly (though very suc∣cinctly) * as in any place of Scripture. I will endeuour to open it as plainly as I can.
We are] The Apostle here changeth both person and num∣ber: * for before he spake of the Church as of another in the third person, and of one in the singular number: but here he speaketh of the same in the first person including himselfe, and in the plurall number, including all others like himselfe (elect of God, and Saints by calling) whereby he giueth vs to vnderstand what he meaneth by the Church, namely the companie of Saints, to which, though he were a Preacher of the Gospell, an extra∣ordinarie Preacher, an Apostle, he associateth and ioyneth himselfe: noting thereby that he was made partaker of the same grace, and saued by the same meanes that others were. Well might he in this priuiledge not thinke much to ranke himselfe, because it is the highest degree of honour that can be*to be a member of the bodie of Christ: much more then to be a Preacher, a Prophet, an Apostle, or of any other eminent calling.
Page 94 The metaphor here vsed (members of his body) setteth * forth the neere vnion which is betwixt Christ and the Saints. Many other metaphors are vsed in Scripture for the same pur∣pose, as afoundation and edifice,bvine and branches,chusband and wife, with the like, which are all of them very fit, but none more proper and pertinent to the point then this of a body, the Head and members thereof. What neerer vnion can there be then betwixt the head and members of the same body?
If the Apostle had here staid, we might haue thought that he had here meant no other thing then he meant d before, where he stiled Christ an head, and the Church a body: but in that he addeth (Of his flesh and of his bones) he declareth yet a further mysterie.
In the generall there is a difference betwixt this phrase (e OF his body) and these (OF fhis flesh; and OF his bones) the former is a note of the g genetiue case, the two latter are a h praeposition: for distinction sake the two latter might haue beene translated, out of his flesh, out of his bones, or from his flesh, from his bones (for so a like phrase is trans∣lated i before, From whom) but seeing these particles out of, or from are ambiguous, the former translation may stand as the best, so as a difference be made in the sense though there be none in the words.
The former (members of his body) declareth the vnion it selfe.
The latter (of his flesh and of his bones) declareth the meanes* of making that vnion. This latter hath relation to that which Adam said of Eue, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, (Gen. 2. 23.) which is manifest by the next verse which the Apostle taketh out of the same place. It implieth then, that as Eue was made a woman out of Adams flesh and bones, so the Church is made a Church out of Christs flesh and bones.
1. Quest. Was the very substance of the Saints, their flesh and bones taken out of Christ, as the substance of Eue was ta∣ken out of Adam?
Answ. Not so, if the words be literally taken. For so may Christ rather be said to be of our flesh, and of our bones, because he tooke our nature, and that from a daughter of Adam: in Page 95 which respect he is said to be fof the seed of Dauid, and gof the Iewes, as concerning the flesh. Besides, the Apostle expresly saith (vers. 32.) that This is a great mysterie. The mysterie therefore must be searched out. For this end Christ must be considered as another Adam (and so the holy Ghost stileth him hThe last Adam, The second man) that is, a stocke, a root that giueth a being to branches sprouting out of him.
2. Quest. What being is that which we receiue from Christ? *
Answ. Not our naturall being (that we haue of the parents of our flesh) but a supernaturall, and spirituall being, which the Scripture termeth ia new birth,ka new man,la new creature. This spirituall being is not in regard of the substance of our soule, or bodie, or of any of the powers or parts, faculties or members of them (for all these we haue by lineall descent from Adam, and all these haue all sorts of men, as well they who are not of the Church, as they who are of it) but in regard of the integritie, goodnesse, and diuine qualities which are in them * euen that holinesse and righteousnesse wherewith the Church is endued and adorned. As we are naturall men we are of Adam, as we are spirituall men we are of Christ.
3. Quest. Why is mention made of flesh and bones in this * spirituall being?
Answ. 1. In allusion to the creation of Eue, that by com∣paring this with that, this might be the better conceiued.
2. In regard of the Lords Supper, where the flesh of Christ is mystically set before vs to be spirituall food vnto vs. That as before (vers. 26.) he shewed the mysterie of one Sacrament, Baptisme; here he might shew the mysterie of the other Sacra∣ment, The Lords Supper.
3. In relation to Christs humane nature, by vertue whereof we come to be vnited vnto Christ. For the diuine nature of Christ is infinite, incomprehensible, incommunicable, and * there is no manner of proportion betwixt it and vs, so as we could not be vnited to it immediately. But Christ by taking his humane nature into the vnitie of his diuine nature, made himselfe one with vs, and vs one with him: so as by his par∣taking of our mortalitie, we are made partakers of his im∣mortalitie.
4. Quest. Are we then vnited only to his humane nature?
Answ. No: we are vnited to his person, God-Man. For as * the diuine nature, in and by it selfe, is incommunicable; so the humane nature singly considered, in and by it selfe, is vn∣profitable. The Deitie is the fountaine of all life and grace: the flesh quickneth not: but that spirituall life which origi∣nally and primarily floweth from the Deitie, as from a foun∣taine, is by the humanitie of Christ, as by a conduit-pipe, con∣ueyed into vs.
5. Quest. How can we who are on earth, be vnited to his * humane nature, which is contained in the highest heauen?
Answ. This vnion being supernaturall and spirituall, there needeth no locall presence for the making of it. That eternall Spirit which is in Christ is conueyed into euerie of the Saints (as the soule of a man is into euerie member and part of his bo∣die) by vertue whereof they are all made one with Christ, and with one another: by one Spirit we are all baptized into one bodie,* which bodie is Christ.
This is to be noted against these two errours. The first is * this, We are vnited first to the diuine nature of Christ which is euerie where, and by vertue thereof to his humane nature.
Answ. 1. The Deitie (as we shewed) is immediately in∣communicable: so as this cannot be.
2. Our vnion with Christ is spirituall, not physicall or na∣turall, so as this locall presence needeth not.
The second errour is this,
The humane nature of Christ hath all the diuine properties in it,* so as it is euerie where present, and by reason thereof we are vnited vnto Christ.
Answ. This also is impossible and needlesse. The proper∣ties of a true bodie cannot possibly admit the incommunica∣ble properties of the Deitie: that implieth direct contradicti∣on, which is, that finite should be infinite. Needlesse also this is, because the vnion we speake of, is (as we said) spirituall.
6. Quest. What kinde of vnion is this spirituall vnion? *
Answ. A true, reall vnion of our persons (bodies and soules) with the person of Christ (God and man.) For as the holy Ghost did vnite in the virgins wombe the diuine and humane Page 97 natures of Christ, and made them one person, by reason wher∣of Christ is of our flesh & of our bones: so the spirit vniteth that person of Christ with our persons, by reason whereof we are of his flesh, and of his bones. A great difference there is betwixt the kindes of these vnions: for the vnion of Christs two na∣tures is hypostaticall and essentiall, they make one person: but the vnion of Christs person, and ours, is spirituall and mysticall: they make one mysticall body: yet is there no dif∣ference in the reality and truth of these vnions: our vnion with Christ is neuer a whit the lesse reall and true because it is mysticall and spirituall: they who haue the same spirit ar• as truly one, as those parts which haue the same soule. The effects which proceed from this vnion doe shew the truth thereof: for that spirit which sanctified Christ in his mothers wombe sanctifieth vs also, that which quickned him quick∣neth * vs, that which raised him from death, raiseth vs, that which exalted him exalteth vs. The many resemblances which the Scripture vseth to set forth this vnion, doe shew the truth thereof: but most liuely is it set forth by that resem∣blance which Christ maketh betwixt it and his vnion with his Father. I pray (saith he of all his Saints) That they may all*be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in vs: that they may be one, as we are one. This note of com∣parison (as) is not to be taken of the kinde, but of the truth of these vnions, our vnion with Christ is as true as Christs vnion with his Father.
So true is this vnion, as not only Iesus himselfe, but all the * Saints which are members of this body together with Iesus the head thereof are called CHRIST, 1 Cor. 12. 12. Gal. 3. 16.
This is to be noted against their conceit, who imagine this vnion to be only in imagination and conceit: or else only in consent of spirit, heart, and will: or at the most, in participati∣on of spirituall graces.
7. Quest. What is the bond whereby this vnion is made: * namely whereby Christ and the Saints are made one?
Answ. There is a double bond, one on Christs part, euen the spirit of Christ (for hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in vs, because he hath giuen vs of his spirit) another on the Page 98 Saints part, euen faith (for Christ dwelleth in our hearts by faith)* The spirit is conueyed into vs when we are dead in sinnes, wholly flesh, but being in vs, it breedeth this blessed instru∣ment of faith whereby we lay hold on Christ, and grow into him as the science into the stocke. Thus Christ laying hold on vs by his spirit, and we on him by faith, we come to be in∣corporated into him, and made one body, as the science and stocke one tree.
8. Quest. To what end hath Christ thus truly and neerely * vnited vs vnto himselfe?
Answ. Not for any benefit vnto himselfe: but meerely for the honour and good of the Church. By this vnion the ho∣nour of Christ is communicated to the Church, as the ho∣nour of an husband to his wife, and of an head to the body. Great also is the benefit which the Church reapeth thereby: for by this meanes is Christ made more fit to doe good to the Church, as an head to the body, and the Church is made more capable of receiuing good from Christ, as a body from the head, being knit to it by the soule, and by veines, sinewes, nerues, arteries, and other like ligaments.
Thus hauing as plainly as I can by questions and answers laid open this great mysterie, I will further note out some of those excellent priuiledges which by vertue thereof apper∣taine to the Saints, and also some of the principall duties which in regard thereof the Saints are bound vnto.
§. 71. Of the priuiledges appertaining to the Saints euen in this life by reason of their vnion with Christ.
The priuiledges of the Saints which arise from their vnion with Christ respect this life, the time of death, and the life to come.
In this life these,
1. A most glorious condition, which is to be a part of Christ, a * member of his body. All the glory of Adam in Paradise, or of the Angels in heauen is not comparable to this. In this re∣spect the Saints are said to be crowned with glory and honour, and to haue all things put vnder their feet. Compare Psal. 8. 4, 5. &c. with Heb. 2. 6, 7. &c. and ye shall finde the Apostle apply that to Christ, which the Prophet spake indefinitly of man. Page 99 Now those two places cannot be better reconciled, then by * this vnion of Christ and Saints: for seeing both make one body, which is Christ, that which is spoken of the body may be applied to the head, and that which is spoken of the head may be applied to the body: for the same honour appertai∣neth to both. In which respect the Church is more honou∣rable then Heauen, Angels, and euery other creature.
2. The attendance of good Angels, who are sent forth to mi∣nister*for them who shall be heires of saluation, because those heires are of the body of Christ, who is their Lord. These are those horses, and charets of fire which were round about Elisha:* which are also round about euery of Gods Saints in all their distresses, though we see them no more then the seruant of the man of God saw them, till the Lord opened his eies. That charge which is giuen to the Angels ouer the Sonne of God to keepe him in all his waies, and to beare him in their hands lest*he dash his foot against a stone, hath relation to this body which is Christ.
3. An honour to make Christ himselfe perfect: for as the seue∣rall * members make a naturall body perfect, so the seuerall Saints, this bodie which is Christ. In this respect the Church is said to be the fulnesse of him that filleth all in all.* Christ filleth all things, and yet the Church maketh him full: which is to be vnderstood of that voluntary condition where∣unto Christ subiected himselfe, to be the head of a body: so as without the parts of the body he is imperfect, as a naturall body is maimed and imperfect if it want but the least member thereof. How can we now thinke but that he will preserue and keepe safe all his Saints? Will he restore to vs all the parts of our naturall body at the generall resurrection, and will he lose any of the parts of his owne mysticall bodie?
4. A kinde of possession of heauen while we are on earth: for * that which the head hath a possession of, the body and seue∣rall members haue also a possession of. In this respect it is said, he hath raised vs vp together, and made vs sit together in*heauenly places. And, he that beleeueth on him hath euerlasting*life: is passed from death vnto life. And, he that hath the Sonne,*hath life. This is somewhat more then hope: and serueth ex∣ceedingly Page 100 to strengthen our hope, and giue vs assurance of that heauenly inheritance.
They know not the power of God, nor the vertue of this vni∣on, who denie that the Saints haue assurance of saluation. For (to follow this metaphor a little) suppose a man were cast into a riuer, and his head able to lift and keepe it selfe aboue water, would we not say, that man is safe enough, he is aboue water. This is the case of this mysticall body: it being cast into the sea of this world, Christ the head thereof hath lift, and keepes himselfe aloft euen in heauen. Is there now any feare, any possibility of the drowning of this body, or of any member thereof? If any should be drowned, then either Christ must be drowned, or else that member pulled from Christ; both which are impossible. Thus then by vertue of this vnion we see how on Christs safety, ours dependeth: if he be safe, so are we: if we perish, so must he.
In this respect yee may be secure O flesh and bloud: yee haue*got heauen in Christ: they who denie heauen to you, may also denie Christ to be in heauen.
Learne here how to conceiue of the resurrection, ascension and safety of Christ, euen as of the resurrection, ascension and safety of an head, in and with whom his body and all his mem∣bers are raised, exalted, and preserued.
5. A most happy kinde of regiment vnder which the Saints are: euen such an one as the members of an head are vnder. An head ruleth the body not as a cruell lord and tyrant, rigo∣rously, * in humanely, basely, and slauishly, but meekely, gently, * with great compassion, and fellow-feeling. Euen so doth Christ, his Church, binding vp that which is broken, hea∣ling that which is maimed, directing that which wandreth, and quickning that which is dull; which priuiledge is so much the greater because it is proper to the Church. Though he haue a golden scepter of grace and fauour to hold out to his Church (as Ahash-verosh held out his to Esther) yet he hath also * a rod of iron to breake the men of this world, and to dash them*in peeces like a potters vessell. Though he be gone to prepare a place for his Saints, that where he is they may be also, yet will*he make his enemies his footstoole.*
Page 101 6. An assurance of sufficient supply of all needfull things which * the Saints want, and of safe protection from all things hurtfull. For by reason of this vnion, Christ our head hath a sense of our want and of our smart. On this ground he said to them which fed and visited his members, Ye fed me, ye visited me: and againe, * to Saul that persecuted his members, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Obiect. How is it then, that the Saints want many things, * and oft suffer much smart, and hurt?
Answ. Christ in his wisdome seeth it behouefull that they should want, and feele smart (and that we are to be perswaded of) or else he would not suffer them to want or feele that which they doe. Wherefore in all need, in euery distresse and danger, let vs lift vp our head to this our head.
7. A right to all that Adam lost. For Christ is the heire of all, (the*earth is the Lords, and the fulnesse thereof) yea as mediator and head of the Church is he heire of all: his body therfore hath a right to all. On this ground the Apostle saith, All things are*yours. So as the Saints & only the Saints can with good consci∣ence * vse the things of this world. They who are not of this * bodie (what right and title soeuer they haue before men) are but vsurpers of the things they enioy and vse. They are like to bankrupts, who being not worth one peny, deceitfully bor∣row of others, and therewith keepe a great table, decke and furnish their houses very sumptuously, put themselues, wiues and children, into braue apparell, are frolicke and riotous: what is like to be the end of such?
8. A right to more then Adam euer had: namely, to Christ * himselfe, and to all that appertaineth vnto him: as to the pu∣ritie of his nature, to the perfection of his obedience, the me∣rit of his bloud, the power of his death, the vertue of his re∣surrection, the efficacie of his ascension, all is ours: euen as the vnderstanding, wit, iudgement, sight, hearing, and all that is in the head, is the bodies: if the Church it selfe were of it selfe as pure in nature, as perfect in righteousnesse, as powerfull ouer death, and deuill, and graue, and hell, as able to rise from death, and to ascend into heauen, as Christ, it could receiue no greater benefit thereby, then it doth by them in the person of Page 102 Christ: so truly and properly is Christ himselfe, and all things appertaining to him, the Churches. What can more be said? what can more be desired? O blessed vnion! blessed are they that haue a part therein!
Quest. How is it then that the Church is so basely and mi∣serably * respected in the world?
Answ. The world knoweth vs not, because it knoweth not Christ. It knoweth not Christ the head of this body: it knoweth not the body which is Christ. Let not vs who know both head and body, the neere vnion which is betwixt them, and the priui∣ledges which follow thereupon, be danted, neither with the scoffes or scornes of the world, nor with our owne outward weaknesses, wants, and calamities. What would he that hath Christ, haue more?
§. 72. Of the priuiledge of our vnion with Christ in the time of death.
The priuiledge which the Saints receiue by their vnion with Christ in the time of death (euen all that time that pas∣seth from the departure of the Saints out of this world vnto the generall Resurrection) is admirable: for when body and soule are seuered one from another, neither soule nor body are separated from Christ, but both remaine vnited to him: euen as, when Christs body and soule were by death se∣uered one from another, neither his soule, nor his body were separated from the Deitie, but both remained vnited thereun∣to. This inuiolable bond that holdeth the Saints, (yea, euen their very bodies as well as their soules) vnited to Christ in death, is the benefit of a spirituall vnion. If our vnion with Christ were corporeall, it could not be so.
Ob. Is it possible that the body which is dead should remaine * vnited to Christ, when as it receiueth no vertue from him?
Answ. 1. If a member of a naturall body may doe so, why not a member of the mysticall bodie? That a member of a na∣turall body may doe so, is euident by those who haue an hand, arme, foot, leg, or any other member taken, with a dead palsie: they are sometimes so taken, as those parts receiue no manner of sense, or any vigor, or life from head or heart at all: and yet remaine true members of that body.
Page 103 2. The very dead bodies consumed with wormes or other∣wise, doe receiue a great present benefit from their vnion with Christ: for by vertue thereof there is a substance preserued, and they are kept from destruction: there is nothing destroied in the Saints by death, but that which if it were not destroied, would make them most miserable, namely sinne: that is vt∣terly, totally, finally destroied in them, and all the concomi∣tances thereof, which are all manner of infirmities: but the rotting of the body, is but as the rotting of corne in the earth, * that it may arise a more glorious bodie. The metaphor of sleepe,* attributed to the Saints when they die, sheweth that their bo∣dies are not vtterly destroied.
Obiect. The bodies of all men, euen of those that are not * of this vnion, are preserued from vtter destruction. This there∣fore is no benefit of our vnion with Christ.
Answ. Though in the generall thing it selfe, which is a pre∣seruation of the substance of the body, the same thing befal∣leth the Saints and the wicked: yet the meanes whereby both are preserued, and the end why they are preserued is farre dif∣ferent.
1. The Saints are preserued by a secret influence procee∣ding * from Christ, as an head: in which respect they are said to sleepe in Iesus, and to be dead in Christ. But the wicked are re∣serued by an Almightie power of Christ, as a terrible Lord and seuere Iudge.
2. The bodies of the Saints are preserued to enioy eternall glory together with their soules: but the bodies of the wicked are reserued to be tormented in hell.
In regard of these differēces, the graue is as a bed to the Saints, * for them quietly to sleepe therein free from all disturbance till the day of resurrection: but it is a prison to the wicked to hold them fast against the great Day of Assise, that at Doomes day they may be brought to appeare at the barre of Gods iudge∣ment seat, and there receiue the sentence of condemnation.
§. 73. Of the priuiledge of our vnion with Christ after death.
The priuiledge which the Saints by vertue of their vnion with Christ receiue after death, farre surpasseth all before. It may be drawne to two heads.
- Page 104 1. Their Resurrection.
- 2. Their glory in heauen.
That which was before said of the difference betwixt the preseruation of the bodies of the Saints and wicked in death, may be applied to the difference of their Resurrection.
Resurrection simply in it selfe is not the priuiledge of the Saints, but Resurrection of life: to the wicked appertaineth the *Resurrection of condemnation. The benefit of Resurrection ari∣seth from the glory which followeth therupon in heauen. That glory hath the Apostle excellently set forth * before vers. 27.
§. 74. Of the duties which are required of the Saints by ver∣tue of their union with Christ.
The mysterie of our vnion with Christ, as it is a matter of great comfort, and incouragement (which ariseth from the forenamed priuiledges) so also is it a matter of direction and instigation vnto vs for the performing of sundry duties, where∣of they who desire assurance of the forenamed priuiledges, and comfort by them, must be carefull and conscionable. Some of the most principall of those duties are these.
1. Confidence in Christ. Christ being our head, so mighty, * so wise, so tender, euery way so sufficient an head as he is, we should highly dishonour him, if we should not wholly and only repose our selues vpon him for euery good thing, and against euery euill.
2. Subiection answerable to his manner of gouerning vs. * The world is subiect to Christ perforce, as he is an absolute and Almighty Lord: but he gouerning vs as an head, we must be subiect vnto him as members, willingly, and readily. What member will rise vp, and rebell against the head? yea, what member is not as ready to obey, as the head to command? *
3. A cleansing of our selues from all filthinesse of flesh and * spirit. Shall we defile the members of Christ? The sinnes of the * Saints are in this respect the more hainous because that body, euen Christ, whereof they are members, is defiled thereby. Wherefore in regard of Christ the head, of other Saints their fellow members, and of themselues, must all that professe themselues to be of this bodie be watchfull ouer them∣selues, and cleanse themselues from all filthinesse. Other∣wise Page 105 they giue iust occasion to thinke that they are no mem∣bers of this bodie. If a Lions foot, or Beares paw were held out, and said to be the member of a man, would any beleeue it? Can we then thinke that worldlings, drunkards, profane, rio∣tous, vncleane persons, and such like limbs of the Deuill, are members of Christ?
4. A conformitie vnto the image of Christ in true holinesse * and righteousnesse. It is not therefore sufficient for the mem∣bers of Christ to abstaine from polluting themselues, for they are created in Christ Iesus vnto good works. He that abideth in*me (saith Christ) and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.*
5. Heauenly affections. If ye be risen with Christ, seeke those things which are aboue, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of*God. Set your affections on things aboue, and not on things on the earth. Where our head is, there also ought our heart to be. Earthly affections come not from that head which is in hea∣uen: nor from that Spirit which proceedeth from him. They*who are after the spirit minde the things of the spirit.
6. Courage against death: seeing that in death we are Christs, what cause haue we to feare death? Be not afraid of*them that kill the body, and after that, haue no more that they can doe. The ancient worthies would not accept deliuerance, that*they might obtaine a better resurrection.
Hitherto of the vnion it selfe. The meanes of effecting it, remaine to be handled.
§ 75. Of their regeneration who are members of Christ.
EPHES. 5. 30.
This clause declareth the meanes whereby we come to be members of Christ, namely by receiuing a new being from Christ, which is to be, not of the flesh, and of the bones of Adam, but of the flesh and of the bones of Christ, which be∣ing spiritually taken, as hath beene expounded * before, shew∣eth that
They who are true members of Christ body, are truly regene∣rate.*If any be in Christ he is a new creature: these words are so * laid downe by the Apostle, as they serue both for a demon∣stration, and an exhortation (he is, or let him be a new creature)Page 106 neither is expressed, but either, or both may be vnderstood. As many of you as have been baptized into Christ (that is, made * members of this body) haue put on Christ, (that is, haue beene borne againe) the first branch noteth out our incorporation into Christ, the latter our regeneration.
This second man, and last Adam Christ Iesus is a quickning*spirit: he diffuseth life and grace into all his members: if his * spirit be in vs, it will quicken our mortall bodies. If the head of our naturall bodies conueigh sense into all our members: if the root of a tree diffuse sap into all the branches: shall not Christ much more giue life to all his members?
This then is a matter of triall, whereby we may proue whe∣ther * indeed we are of this body or no, and so haue a true right * to the forenamed priuiledges. Many boast of this honour that they are members of Christs body, and yet are not of his flesh and of his bones: they haue no other being, then what they receiued from their parents. These vaine professors are like woodden legs, or armes on a man, which may be couered ouer with hose and sleeues for a time, but shall not be raised at the resurrection with the other parts of the mans body: so nei∣ther shall those professors be raised to glory with Christ, though they may be couered ouer with the hose and sleeues of profession, and thereby seeme to be members.
§. 76. Of the author of our regeneration Christ.
This relatiue particle (HIS) twice repeated (of HIS flesh,*and of HIS bones) sheweth that
Answ. Christ may very well stand with all these. The three persons in Trinitie are all one: One in nature and essence: * One in will and consent: One in vertue and power: what the one doth the other doth also. Yet because there is a difference in their manner of working, this worke (as other workes) is distinctly attributed to each of them.
The Father is (as I may so speake) the beginner of this Page 107 worke. His will it was that his Sonne should be the head of a bodie, and that there should members be made fit for that head, and haue a new being (of his owne will begat he vs) for * this end he sent his Sonne into the world to be made flesh. The Sonne put in execution the will of his Father: he tooke flesh vpon him, that we might be of his flesh. Thus saith Christ of himselfe, I came downe from heauen to doe the will of him that*sent me; And this is the Fathers will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath giuen me I should lose nothing, but should raise it vp againe at the last day. The Spirit applieth vnto vs the vertue and efficacie of the flesh of Christ, and so finisherh this blessed worke. It is the Spirit that quickneth: the flesh profiteth nothing,* namely, of it selfe without the Spirit.
Thus we see that the applying of this worke of regenerati∣on vnto Christ, excludeth not the worke of the Father, or of the Holy Ghost therein, but excludeth the worke of man: so as it is not of our selues, nor of our parents, nor of any other man: for we are borne not of bloud, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: in which respect our new birth * is said to be *from aboue.
Answ. As vnto instruments which the Lord is pleased to vse: Of the word it is said, God hath begotten vs with the word: of himselfe a Minister thus saith the Apostle, In Christ Iesus I haue begotten you: so as God and Christ are ioyned * with these instruments, or else they are no whit powerfull and * effectuall for so great a worke: for neither is he that planteth any*thing, nor he that watreth: but God that giueth the increase.
The worke of regeneration is a new creation, a diuine * worke, aboue humane straine. It must therefore be wrought by the Lord, or it cannot be wrought at all.
This is to be noted both of those that haue not yet assurance * of this blessed worke wrought in them: and also of those who haue assurance thereof.
The former may here learne whither to haue recourse for it: namely, to him who came downe from heauen for that pur∣pose, and who saith, Him that commeth vnto me I will in no wise*Page 108cast out. In all the meanes that we vse, let vs looke vp vnto him, and seeke a blessing of him.
The latter must with the tenth leper returne backe vnto * Christ, and glorifie God. Whatsoeuer the meanes were, or whosoeuer the Minister was, the praise and glorie of all must be giuen to him.
§. 77. Of the matter of our regeneration, Christ.
The preposition (OF) twice set downe (OF his flesh, and* OF his bones) being a proper note of the materiall cause, shew∣eth that
Christ is not only the author, but the matter also of our new birth. The new spirituall being which the Saints haue, com∣meth out of him. aFrom him all the bodie hauing nourish∣ment increaseth with the increase of God. In this respect we are said to be b blessed with all spirituall blessings in Christ. The metaphor of a cvine, which Christ taketh vnto himselfe, pro∣ueth also as much: so doe these phrases, dMy flesh is meat indeed, my bloud is drinke indeed.
This Christ commeth to be by his incarnation. God in himselfe is as a bottomlesse and a closed fountaine: from him * immediately we can receiue nothing. But Christ made flesh is ea fountaine opened:fIn him all fulnesse dwelleth.gAnd of him haue all we receiued, euen grace for grace.
Behold here the benefit of Christs incarnation: by his ta∣king * part of our mortall flesh, are we made partakers of his spirituall flesh, namely, of that spirituall life and grace which commeth from him, who was made flesh, to conuey the same into vs. To strengthen our faith the more firmly herein, the Lord hath instituted the holy Communion of his bodie and bloud. With what conscience, reuerence, and confidence, ought this blessed Sacrament to be celebrated?
By this Doctrine we may further learne how to seeke euery * thing at Gods hands which we desire to obtaine, and how to offer that sacrifice of praise vnto God, which wee would haue * to be accepted; namely in and through Iesus Christ, by whom * only we haue all that communion which we haue with God. * Well therefore doth the Church conclude all her formes of Page 109 Prayers and Praises with this, or such a like clause, through Ie∣sus Christ our Lord.
§. 78. Of the excellency of Regeneration.
The particular matter of our regeneration (the flesh and bones of Christ) here expressed, sheweth that
Regeneration is a most excellent worke. The excellencie hereof * will the better appeare, if we compare it with the great and glorious worke of our creation, and shew how farre it surpas∣seth it: wherein I will hold close to this metaphor, and touch * no other differences then it doth point out vnto vs.
1. In our creation Christ was only a worker: but he is the verie matter of our Regeneration, we are of his flesh.
2. The relation that then was betwixt Christ and man,
|was||Creator,||but here||Head,||We are members of his bodie.|
The bond is now much neerer.
3. The being which then we had, was from Adam: But the being which now we haue is from Christ, of HIS flesh.
4. That being was but naturall. This is spirituall: for that*which is borne of the Spirit, is Spirit.
5. Then our being was different from Christs: but now it is the verie same with Christs, Of his flesh.
6. Then might man cleane fall from that estate wherein he was created (as he did) and yet Christ remaine as he was. Now it cannot be so. For if any of the Saints now fall away, either Christ must fall with them, or they must be pulled from Christ, and so Christ remaine a maimed bodie.
Behold the riches of Gods mercie. One might thinke it * sufficient, and more then man could euer haue beene thankfull enough for, that God at first created man after his owne image in a most happie estate. From which when we wittingly and wilfully fell, God might iustly haue left vs, as he did the euill Angels. But he hath not only restored vs againe to that for∣mer estate, but aduanced vs to a farre more excellent and glo∣rious estate: wherein his goodnesse appeareth to be as his greatnesse, infinite, incomprehensible. Who can sufficiently set it forth? For as the heauen is high aboue the earth, so great*is his mercie toward them that feare him.
§. 79. Of the ancient Law of mariage.
EPHES. 5. 31.
THe same points which were before laid downe, concerning the neere vnion of man and wife, and of Christ and the Church, are here further confirmed by the ancient law of ma∣riage: which the Apostle doth the rather mention, because it followeth vpon that text, whereunto he alluded in the former verse. For when Moses had alledged these words of Adam concerning Eue, This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, he * addeth this law, Therefore shall a man leaue his father, &c. In this place these words haue both a literall and a mysticall sense. A literall of man and wife. A mysticall of Christ and the Church. The maine thing which the Apostle aimeth at, is to * shew how neerely man and wife are linked together: that thereby they may the rathet be moued to performe those mu∣tuall and seuerall duties which they owe each to other. But because he propounded to husbands and wiues the examples of Christ and the Church, as patternes and motiues to them, to doe their dutie, he applieth that which was first spoken of man and wife, vnto Christ and his Church, to shew that there being so fit a resemblance betwixt these two couples, the pat∣terne propounded is the more pertinent to the purpose, and the reason enforced from thence the more forcible.
Because the opening of the literall sense will giue great light to the mysterie, I will first handle this text according to the meaning of the letter.
The first clause (for this cause) implieth a necessarie con∣nexion * with that which went before. The neere vnion of man and wife, as well as of Christ and his Church, was before no∣ted. A wife was said to be as the bbodie of a man, yea as bhim∣selfe. Adam called her his flesh and bones. Hereupon both Mo∣ses and Paul inferre, Therefore, or, For this cause shall a man leaue father. Because man and wife are so neere by Gods Page 111 institution, they must also be most deare each to other in their mutuall affection.
The Man (meaning an husband) is here in particular men∣tioned, * because at the first making of this Law the woman was brought to him to see how he would like her: and hauing cast his affection on her, he was to be bound hereby to continue that good liking towards her: as also because of the prehemi∣nencie which man hath aboue his wife. Yet is not the man only tied hereby, but the wife also: the nature and rule of re∣lation requireth as much: if a man must inseparably cleaue to his wife, the wife must answerably cleaue to her husband.
These words (shall leaue father and mother) are neither ge∣nerally to be taken of all duties, as if no dutie were to be per∣formed to parents by children after they are maried: nor sim∣ply, as if indeed parents were vtterly to be forsaken: but they are meant,
1. Of that daily seruice which children vnder their parents gouernment performe vnto them, seeking to please them in all things. When children are maried, then their daily atten∣dance must be vpon their wiues, or husbands, taking care how * to please them.
2. Of erecting a new family: for which end their parents house must be left, and the husband and wife must dwell each with other.
3. Of the difference to be put betwixt parents, and wife or hus∣band. So as if by any ineuitable occasion it should so fall out, that a man must leaue his parent, or his wife (as in case parent and wife were both giuing vp the Ghost, and in places so farre remote, as the husband could not possibly be with both, yet both instantly desired his companie) by this Law he must leaue his parent, and cleaue to his wife.
Hereby then the bond of mariage is declared to be the most inuiolable bond that can be. For all men know, that the bond betwixt parent and childe is a firme and inuiolable bond: but the bond betwixt husband and wife is more firme and in∣uiolable.
To set forth the firmnesse of the mariage bond he addeth this Emphacicall phrase, shall be ioyned, (or as the word properly, Page 112 cording to the naturall notation thereof signifieth, shall be glu∣ed)* to his wife. Things well glued together are as fast, firme, and close as if they were one intire peece. Yea we obserue by experience that a table will oft times cleaue in the whole wood, before it will part asunder where it is glued: so as an husband ought to be as firme to his wife as to himselfe: and she to him.
Fitly doth this agree with that which followeth (they two shall be one flesh) Our English cannot well expresse the Greeke * in good sense word for word (which is thus, they two shall be∣into, or in one flesh) the meaning is, They which were two be∣fore mariage, by the bond of mariage are brought into one flesh, to be euen as one flesh: as neerely vnited, as the parts of the same body, and the same flesh. This vnitie is not in regard of carnall copulation (for if they be maried they are one flesh,* though they neuer know one another) nor in regard of pro∣creation, because one childe commeth from them both (for though they neuer haue childe, yet are they one flesh) but in regard of Gods institution, who hath set it downe for a law, and as another nature, that man and wife should be so neere one to another. Their consent in mariage (by vertue of Gods institution) maketh them to be one flesh.
Well doth our English note the emphasis of the originall in this particle THEY (they two) which sheweth that the bond * of mariage knitteth only two together: one man, and one wo∣man, and no more.
This Law setteth forth the Vnion betwixt man and wife.*
Therein three things are noted concerning the state of mariage.
1. The praeeminencie of it (a man shall leaue father and mother.)
2. The firmnesse of it (and be ioyned to his wife.)
3. The neerenesse of it (they two shall be one flesh.)
§. 80. Of preferring husband or wife before parents.
The first point sheweth, that
Page 113 1. The bond of mariage is more ancient, more firme, more * neere. There was husband and wife before there was parent and child: and there is a time when parents & children may de∣part one from another, and that while both liue: but no time, wherein man and wife may part asunder till death part them. And children though they come from the flesh of their pa∣rents, yet are made two (so as of one are two) but husbands and wiues though they were two before, yet are made one (so as of two is one.)
What wrong then doe such parents vnto their children, as * keepe them, euen after they are maried, so strait vnder sub∣iection, * as they cannot freely performe such duty as they ought to their husband, or their wife? This is more then a parents authority reacheth vnto. Yet many thinke that their children owe as much seruice to them after they are maried as before: which is directly against this law.
Greater is the wrong, and more sinfull is the practise of * such as keepe their children from their husbands, or from their wiues. The match (say they) falleth out much worse then we looked for. But this should haue beene looked to more carefully before hand. After mariage it is too late to seeke such a redresse.
On the other side, there be many children who so respect * their parents, as they neglect their husband or their wife. Some husbands will bestow what they can on their parents, and keepe their wiues very bare, suffering them to want necessa∣ries; not caring how they vex and grieue them so they please their parents. Some wiues also will priuily purloine from their husbands to bestow on their parents.
Others can neuer tarrie out of their parents houses, but as oft as they can, goe thither. The ancient Romans, to shew how vnmeet this was, had a custome to couer the brides face with a yellow veile, and so soone as she was out of her fathers house to turne her about and about, and so to carrie her to the house of her husband, that she might not know the way to her fathers house againe. All those pretenses of loue to parents are more preposterous then pious: and naturall affection beareth more sway in such, then true religion. Their pretence Page 114 of piety to parents is no rust excuse for that iniury they doe to husband and wife.
§. 81. Of the firmnesse of the matrimoniall bond.
The second point concerning the firmnesse of the mariage knot in these words (shall be ioyned to his wife) affor deth two doctrines.
1. Man and wife must associate themselues together by con∣tinuall*cohabitation: for this end they leaue their parents fa∣mily, and erect a new family.
2. Man and wife are ioyned together by an inuiolable bond. It * must neuer be cut asunder till death cut it. Body and soule must be seuered one from another before husband and wife.
Be carefull therefore to preserue this indissoluble knot: and so liue together, as with comfort you may liue together, be∣cause you may not part.
§. 82. Of two only to be ioyned together in mariage.
The third point concerning the neerenesse of man and wife, in these words (they two shall be one flesh) affordeth two other doctrines.
1. Mariage can be but betwixt two, one man, and one wo∣man: for it is impossible that more then two should so neerely, and firmely be ioyned together, as man and wife are. Euery word almost in this law proueth this doctrine. For it saith a man, not men: to a wife, not to wiues: to his wife, not to anothers wife: two, not more then two: they two, not any two: one flesh, not many fleshes.
Obiect. This particle (two) is not in the law as Moses re∣cordeth * it.
Answ. It is there necessarily implied, for at that time there were but two in the world: God then speaking of them, mea∣neth but two. The same spirit that guided Moses, guided also the b Euangelists, and the c Apostles: so as by their inserting of this particle (two) it is certaine that it was intended by Moses: as the particle (only) which Christ putteth into this text, dhim only shalt thou serue.
§. 83. Of Polygamy and Bigamy.
Can Polygamy (the hauing of many wiues) or Bigamy (the hauing of two wiues at once) haue any good warrant against such an expresse law? Are not both of them against the first institution of mariage, so as we may say, gfrom the beginning it was not so? Yea also and against h other particular lawes? iLamech one of Cains cursed stocke was the first that we read of to haue presumed against that ancient law.
Obiect. Afterwards many Patriarkes, and other Saints tooke that liberty vnto themselues.
Answ. It was their sinne, and a great blemish in them. The common error of the time, & their vnsatiable desire of in∣crease made them fall into it. Many inconueniences followed thereupon: neither can it be thought but that much mischiefe must needes follow vpon hauing more wiues then one: for whereas God at first made a wife to be as an helpe vnto man, two, or more wiues cannot but be a great griefe and vexation vnto him by reason of that emulation that is betwixt them. Through Hagars meanes was Sarah stirred against Abraham, and Abraham grieued at Sarahs words. Though Leah and Ra∣chel were sisters, yet great were their emulations: the like whereof is noted of Peninnah and many others.
Considering the hainousnesse of this sinne, our lawes * haue iustly made it felony for a man to haue more wiues then one, or a woman more husbands.
§. 84. Of the neere coniunction of man and wife together.
2. The neerest of all other are husband and wife one to another.* Euery clause in the forenamed law proueth as much.
1. Parents must be left for wife: who neerer then parent and childe? if man and wife be neerer then the neerest, then they are the neerest of all.
2. A man is glued to his wife. This metaphor setteth forth the neernesse of a thing as well as the firmnesse of it: for things glued together are as one intire thing.
Page 116 3. Man and wife are one flesh: many of one are made two, but no two so neerely and truly made one as man and wife.
As God hath limited a propinquity, and vnity of things, so * are they to be accounted: but God hath thus neerely knit man and wife together, and made them one flesh. Those whom* GOD hath ioyned together, saith Christ of man and wife: in which respect matrimoniall coniunction is called the coue∣nant*of God: so as this couenant cannot be released by any, no not by the mutuall consent of man and wife (Those whom GOD hath ioyned together, let no man put asunder) yet may many other couenants made betwixt partie and partie, be re∣leased and disanulled by mutuall consent of both parties.
1. This sheweth that the transgressions of man and wife * one against another are of all the most hainous, more then of * friend, fellow, brother, childe, parent or any other. Who would not cry fie vpon that child that hates his parent, or fie vpon that parent that hates his childe? The heathen & sauages would not thinke them worthy of humane society. What then may be thought of the man that hateth his wife, or the wife that hateth her husband? Apply this to all other transgressions: and well note how the Lord is a witnesse thereof. *
2. This also sheweth how monstrous a thing it is to sow * any seeds of discord, and stirre debate betwixt man and wife. The deuils instruments they are therein, and a diabolicall spi∣rit is in them. For Satan most laboureth to vnloose those knots which the Lord knitteth most firmly. Children of se∣uerall venters, and seuerall friends of each partie, are much faultie herein. Cursed be they all before the Lord.
3. * This neere coniunction betwixt man and wife is a great * motiue to stirre them both vp, cheerefully to performe all the duties which God requireth of either of them. For thereby they doe dutie, and shew kindnesse to their owne flesh. No man may hide himselfe from his owne flesh at large: that is, no man may neglect any dutie of mercie, or iustice to his neigh∣bour who is of the same stocke that he is: shall then an husband or wife hide themselues from one another who in the neerest respect that possibly can be are one flesh? not because they come from one flesh, but because they come *into one flesh.
Page 117 Hitherto of the literall sense of this verse.
The mysticall followeth.
§. 85. Of the matrimoniall coniunction of Christ and the Church.
The forenamed ancient mariage law is here applied my∣stically * to Christ and the Church, as is euident by the next verse, where the Apostle hauing reference to this verse saith, This is a great mysterie. There is then a mysterie contained in it. But of what, or of whom is that mysterie? The Apostle him∣selfe maketh answer, in these words: I speake concerning Christ and the Church.
The mysterie in generall is this,
Christ and the Church are to one another as husband and wife.
The particulars of this mysterie are these.
|The matrimoniall coniunction be∣twixt Christ & the Church is a most||Preheminent||coniun∣ction.|
First of the generall.
The many espousall, and matrimoniall titles, which in Scripture are giuen to Christ and the Church in mutuall rela∣tion of one to another, euidently shew that they are ioyned together by the honourable, inseparable and inuiolable bond of mariage: He is stiled a aBridegroome, she a Bride: he cWel∣beloued, she Loue: he an dHusband, she a Wife: he an eHead, she the Body: both fone flesh.
2. All things requisite to ioyne man and wife together, doe fitly concurre betwixt Christ and the Church.
3. They haue giuen their l mutuall consent each to other.
4. He m beareth an husband like affection to her, and she is willing to yeeld a wife-like subiection to him.
Page 118 5. He hath n giuen her many fauours and gifts as pledges of his loue: and she in testimony of her faithfulnesse was vnder the Law circumcised, and is vnder the Gospell baptized: and doth binde her selfe with all the sacred bonds and couenants which God to that purpose hath sanctified.
Behold another euidence of Christs admirable loue to the * Church, and of the neere vnion betwixt Christ and her. The * former was that she was his body. This, that she is his wife: well might the Church say as Abigaile did, Behold, let thine handmaid be a seruant to wash the feet of the seruants of my*Lord: and as the prodigall child, Make me as one of thine hired*seruants: or as the Baptist, I am not worthy to stoope downe to*vnloose thy shoe-latchets. What a fauour then is it to be made his spouse, his wife, his Queene. Great was the fauour which Ahash-verosh shewed to Esther, when he made her his wife: he was a great Monarch, reigning from India to Ethiopia ouer 127 prouinces: but Esther was a poore orphane and captiue: yet was not this fauour comparable to Christs: for there was no such disparity and inequality betwixt Ahash-verosh and Esther, as betwixt Christ and the Church: neither is Esthers aduancement to be compared with the Churches: and yet there was some cause in Esther to moue Ahash-verosh to doe what he did, for she was very beautifull, and louely, and wor∣thy to be loued: but * in the Church when Christ first cast his loue on her, there was no such thing. No patterne of loue can be giuen any way comparable to this.
Let the Church therefore, and all that professe themselues * to be of the Church, take such notice hereof, as they may en∣deuour * to carry themselues worthy of this honour and ad∣uancement: not to wax proud and insolent thereupon, but to despise all vaine and worldly toies: to answer loue with loue, as the Church is set forth in Salomons song; to be subiect to her husband, to reuerence and obey him, and to performe all duties appertaining to such a wife: seeking by all good meanes to maintaine the honour of her place. The Church is made a patterne of dutie to all wiues: if she should faile, grea∣ter Page 119 inconuenience would follow from thence, then from Vash∣ties* disobedience.
This is the rather to be regarded because it is not only a * matter of instruction but of triall also, shewing both what they * which are of the Church ought to doe, and also * what indeed they will doe. Wherefore no prophane person that lightly esteemeth the Lord Iesus, no Idolater that casteth his loue on other husbands, no swearer or blasphemer that dishonoreth the great Name of Iesus, none that any way are rebellious against him, none that hate, scorne, scoffe, or hurt any of his members, can haue any comfort in this aduancement of the Church, because they haue no part therein, nor right thereunto.
1. Christ is made a yoakefellow with his Church, and her companion. Vnder all the burdens which are laid vpon her, he putteth his shoulder to make it the more easie: yea, the great burdens of Gods wrath, the curse of the law, and sinne the cause thereof, hath he so taken on him, as he hath cleane freed his Church from them, because they would else haue crushed her downe to hell.
2. Christ is as her champion to answer all challenges sent vn∣to her, as her aduocate to plead and answer all the complaints that shall be made against her, as her suretie to discharge all her debts: the Church being couert-baron vnder Christ, he is as her selfe, all in all for her, and to her.
3. All his honours, goods, priuiledges are hers: she hath * a right to them, and her part in them, she is a coheire with him (Rom. 8. 17.) a Queene because he a King (Psal. 45. 9.) and all glorious, as was noted, vers. 27.
4. He will assuredly performe all the offices of an husband, as to loue her, beare with her, prouide for her, with the like. Able he is to doe all, for he is omnipotent: willing also he must needs be, because willingly he hath taken vpon him this place: he hath made himselfe a patterne to other hus∣bands: will he not then doe that himselfe which herequireth of others?
Page 120 If euer any wife might receiue comfort in a match, the Church may receiue comfort in this match.
The benefit of this match will yet more liuely appeare by a particular consideration of the three forenamed properties of this matrimoniall bond, the preheminencie, firmnesse, and neere∣nesse thereof.
§. 86. Of Christs leauing his Father and mother for his spouse.
I. The preheminencie of the matrimoniall bond betwixt Christ and the Church herein appeareth, that
Christ left his Father and his mother for his spouse the Church. As Christ is God, God is his Father; as man, the Virgin Marie was his mother. Now the leauing of his Father must be taken only by way of resemblance, in that he came from the place of his Fathers habitation, to the place where his Spouse was. The Scripture saith, that he was in the bosome of his Father:*by him, as one brought vp with him, his daily delight, reioycing al∣way*before him: yet descended he into the lowest parts of the earth*where his spouse was. He came out from the Father, and came into*the world.
But truly and properly did he preferre his Spouse before his mother. For when he was instructing his Spouse, and his mo∣ther came to interrupt him, he said to his mother, who is my*mother? and to his Spouse, behold my mother.
Of the * same minde must the Church, and all that are of the Church be vnto Christ: she must forget her owne people, and fa∣thers*house. Seeing Christ hath gone before vs, and giuen vs so good an example, what an high point of ingratitude would it be for vs, to preferre father, mother, or any other before Christ our husband? Note what he saith in this case, He that loueth*father or mother more then me, is not worthie of me. And againe, If any come vnto me, and hate not his father and mother, he cannot*be mine. To hate here, is to be so farre from preferring father & mother before Christ, as rather then not to loue Christ, to hate father and mother. Or, so intirely to loue Christ aboue all, as our loue of parents in comparison thereof to be an hatted. Thus Leui said vnto his father and mother, I haue not seene him:*for they obserued the word, and kept the couenant of Christ.
Page 121 This then is our dutie, that we suffer not any naturall affe∣ction and dotage on our parents to swallow vp that loue we owe to Christ, as Pharaohs ill-fauourèd and leane-fleshed kine eat*vp the seuen well-fauoured and fat kine. How much lesse should any loue of this world, of the profits, promotions, or pleasures of this world, draw away our hearts from Christ; should we not rather say and doe as the Apostles did, Behold, we haue for saken*all and followed Christ?
§. 87. Of the indissoluble vnion betwixt Christ and the Church.
II. The firmnesse of that bond whereby Christ and the Church are said to be glued together, is greater and more in∣uiolable then that whereby man and wife are ioyned together: Death parteth man and wife: but death cannot make a diremp∣tion betwixt Christ and the Church: so as we may well from this metaphor inferre, that Christ and the Church are inseparably*knit together. I will betroth thee vnto me for euer, saith Christ vnto the Church. The couenant which Christ maketh with his Church, is an euerlasting couenant. The mountaines shall de∣part,*and the hils be remoued, before his kindnesse shall depart from the Church.
The stedfastnesse and vnchangeablenesse of his will, is the * only cause thereof. Whom he loueth, he loueth vnto the end.*His gifts and calling are without repentance. He is not like the * hard hearted Iewes, who vpon euerie sleight occasion would put away their wiues. The Lord hateth putting away. Though * therefore the Church, through her weaknesse, doe depart from him, and play the harlot, yet returne againe to me, saith the * Lord.
Three vertues there are which are of speciall vse to this pur∣pose, Faith, Hope, Loue.
Faith is the hand whereby we lay fast hold on Christ, and as it were knit him to our selues, as he by his Spirit knitteth vs to himselfe. This maketh vs rest and repose our selues on him for all needfull things: and not to leaue him for any thing.
Page 122Hope is the anchor, which holdeth vs fast against all the stormes of Satan, so as they can neuer driue vs out of our har∣bour, which is the Lord Iesus Christ.
Loue is the glue and soader which maketh vs one with Christ: for it is the propertie of loue to vnite those that loue one another in one. Ionathans soule was knit with the soule of*Dauid. For why? Ionathan loued him as his owne soule. He that loueth is well pleased with him whom he loueth, and see∣keth also to please him, that they may mutually delight one in another. Were these three vertues well rooted in vs, we would say, who shall separate vs from the loue of Christ? shall tribulation,*or distresse, &c.
§. 88. Of the equall priuiledge of all the Saints.
III. Concerning the phrase, whereby the neerenesse of * man and wife is set forth (they two shall be one flesh) it may be demanded how this can be applied to Christ and the Saints, who are more then two?
Answ. Christ by one Spirit knitteth vs all into one bodie, * and so maketh all ioyntly considered together one Spouse. The multitude of Saints doth no more imply many wiues, then the multitude of members which the naturall bodie of a wife hath. This point then teacheth vs, that
In the mysticall mariage betwixt Christ and the Church, all and euerie of the Saints haue an equall priuiledge. Some are not * Concubines, some wiues, nor some more loued, or preferred to another, but all one wife. All are one in Christ Iesus.*
Neither the Father that gaue them all, nor the Sonne who * tooke them all, saw any thing in one more then in another; their meere grace moued them to doe what they did. Well may euerie one apply all the forenamed priuiledges vnto them∣selues: and not one emulate another.
This affordeth instruction to the more eminent in the * Church, that like proud dames they insult not ouer others, as if they were their hand-maids: and consolation to the meaner sort, that they may vphold themselues, and possesse their soules with patience, and not enuie, or grieue at the outward prospe∣ritie and priuiledges of others. In the greatest priuiledge they are equall to the greatest.
Page 123 This of the parties coupled to Christ. For these words (they two) shew that all the Saints are but one: Christ is the other of the two. The next words (are one flesh) shew how neere those Saints are to Christ.
§. 89. Of the neere vnion betwixt Christ and the Church.
The maine point here to be noted is, that
Christ and the Church are most neerely linked together. What * can be neerer, then that two should come into one flesh?
This is somewhat more then to be of Christs flesh. That shewes we are as it were cut out of Christ: this shewes that we are againe knit to him. That was a preparation vnto this: this is as the consummation and perfection of all. * Many meta∣phors are vsed to set forth the neere vnion betwixt Christ and his Church, but this surpasseth them all. As here we and Christ are said to be one flesh, so in another place, one spirit. Well therefore might the name and title Christ be giuen to this Spouse of Christ.
* It was noted on a like ground to this, that of all other per∣sons * the transgression of a wife against an husband is most hainous. What then are the transgressions of the Church a∣gainst Christ? As we are much more bound vnto Christ for the priuiledges we receiue from him as an Head and Husband, and so our Sauiour hauing made with vs an euerlasting coue∣nant of mariage, then for those we receiued from him as our Creator, Lord and Master: so are the rebellions now com∣mitted against him more monstrous. To Adam that broke the first couenant whereby like a rebellious childe and seruant he sinned against his Father and Master, mercy and pardon was giuen: but to such as now breake the bond of this euerlasting couenant, and make a totall and finall desertion, vtterly re∣nouncing this Husband, or by their adulterie cause him to giue them a bill of diuorce, there remaineth no more sacrifice*for sinnes; but a certaine fearfull looking for of iudgement, and fierie indignation which shall deuoure the aduersaries. This is to be noted, to make vs the more circumspect ouer our waies, re∣sisting sinne in the beginning, and looking diligently lest any*man fall from the grace of God; and giuing no place at all vnto*the Deuill. Satan will most endeuour to dissolue the neerest Page 124 bonds that God maketh. This then being the neerest of all, we ought to be the most carefull in preseruing it.
§. 90. Of the mysterie of the vnion of Christ and the Church.
EPHES. 5. 32.
THis verse is a conclusion of that excellent digression which the Apostle hath made concerning the neere vni∣on of Christ and the Church.
In it two points are to be noted.
1. A patheticall exclamation (This is a great mysterie.)
2. A particular application of the forenamed law (but I speake concerning Christ and the Church.
Here first note that
The vnion betwixt Christ and the Church is a great mysterie.
The Apostle could not haue said more of it then to call it a mysterie, a great mysterie.
A mysterie is a diuine secret. *
A Secret it is in two respects.
1. Because it is not knowne.
2. Because it is vnsearchable: the depth of it cannot be fathomed.
It is a Diuine secret, for two other respects.
1. Because it could not haue beene opened but by diuine reuelation.
2. Because when it is opened it cannot be conceiued but by the illumination of the Spirit. That Spirit which openeth and reuealeth the mysterie, must also open the eies of our vn∣derstanding to discerne aright of it.
It is further said to be a great mysterie.
1. Simply in it selfe, because the matter thereof is deepe, * difficult, waightie, and of great moment.
2. Comparatiuely in relation to other mysteries: no mysterie reuealed in Gods word comparable to it.
Let vs not presume to measure it with the line of our owne reason. It being a great mysterie, it is aboue our capacitie: yet because it is reuealed we must beleeue it, as we doe the Page 125 mysteries of the Trinitie, of Christs eternall generation, of the personall vnion of his two natures, of the proceeding of the holy Ghost, with the like; because the word hath reuealed them, though we cannot fully see the reason of them. Herein lieth a maine difference betwixt our estate in this world and in the world to come: here we must beleeue what we know but in part: there we shall perfectly know whatsoeuer is to be beleeued. Preachers can but in part make knowne this myste∣rie, and hearers can but in part conceiue it, let vs therefore wait for perfect vnderstanding of it, till all things be perfected in Christ: but in the meane time beleeue without doubting or wauering, that which is reuealed of it.
In our meditation of this mysterie, let vs conceiue no carnall, * no earthly thing of it, because it is a mysterie: it is altogether spirituall and heauenly. From the naturall vnion of our head and bodie, and from the matrimoniall vnion of man and wife, we may and ought to take occasion by way of resemblance, to helpe our vnderstanding in the vnion of Christ and his Church: for this end are these resemblances vsed, and by this meanes may our vnderstanding be much helped, as by the out∣ward elements and rites which are vsed in the Sacraments: but if because of these comparisons we draw this which is only and wholly spirituall, to any carnall matter, we shall make that to be a thicke mist, and darke cloud, which is giuen for a light.
The dotage of our aduersaries is here plainly discouered. They make our vnion with Christ meerely carnall. For they conceit it to consist in a corporeall commixtion of Christs flesh with ours, by our eating his flesh with the teeth of our bodies, and drinking his bloud downe our throats, and digesting both * in our stomacks as our bodily food, that so it may turne into our substance. Thus they shew themselues like the dull-headed Capernaitans, and like ignorant Nicodemus. There is a great deale of grosse absurditie, but no great mysterie in that conceit.
§. 91. Of the Popes vsurping to be Spouse of the Church.
The Apostles application of this mysterie to Christ and the Church, discouereth two grosse errours of the Papists.
One, that they make the Pope a Spouse of the Church. With what face can any apply that to the Pope and the Church, Page 126 which the Apostle so expresly saith is meant of Christ and the * Church? yea, what arrogant presumption is it, to attribute that to mortall sinfull man, which is proper to the eternall and holy Sonne of God? Is not this to conferre Christs prero∣gatiues vpon himselfe, and so make himselfe plaine Antichrist? Who gaue the Church to the Pope, or the Pope to the Church? When did she giue her consent? (I speake of the true Catho∣like Church of Christ.) What hath he done for her? or rather what hath he not done against her? The * distinction of Impe∣riall and Ministeriall Spouse, cannot here serue the turne. As the metaphor of an head, so much lesse the metaphor of a Spouse will admit a ministeriall Spouse. As he is an adulterer that taketh vpon him to be a ministeriall husband, so is she an adulteresse that yeeldeth her selfe to such an one. The Apostle saith, I haue espoused you to ONE husband.*
§. 92. Of the false Sacrament of Mariage.
The other error is, that Mariage is a Sacrament: the maine ground whereof they haue taken from this text, which ground by the Apostles application of this mysterie to Christ and the Church, is as plainly remoued, as if the Apostle had purposely ordered his stile, to preuent this erroneous collection: as if he had said, That none may mistake this mysterie, and apply it to a matrimoniall coniunction of man and woman together, know that I meane no such thing: the mysterie which I speake of, is concerning Christ and the Church. I maruell how they dare misapply that which is so plainly expressed. Though the Apostle had not so clearely shewed his minde and meaning, yet the verie thing it selfe would lead vs so to iudge of it. For, that which in Christ*and the Church is a great mysterie, in man and wife is but a small matter. The vulgar Latine translation first led them into this error, for it translateth the word mysterie, a Sacrament. But a translation is no sufficient ground to proue a doctrine. Besides the word Sacrament vsed by that Translator, hath as large an extent as a mysterie: if they should make euerie thing which he translateth Sacrament, a proper Sacrament of the Church, there would be many more Sacraments then the Papists them∣selues doe make.
1. As for this supposed Sacrament, no Papist could euer Page 127 shew when or where God ordained it to be a Sacrament. Nay, they agree not among themselues about the time, how long it hath beene a Sacrament. * Some of them hold, that euer since the first institution of mariage in Paradise, it hath beene a Sa∣crament. But the greater number of Papists hold it to be a Sa∣crament * of the new Testament vnder the Gospell, because their Tridentine Councell hath so decreed it. Where we may note how the greater number of them, when two absurdities are questioned, are readie to fall into the worst. Vnder the Law the nonage of the Church needed, and had more Sacraments then vnder the Gospell: yet that which was in vse as much vnder the Law as vnder the Gospell, and had then as much to make it a Sacrament as now, was then none, yet now is one.
2. As they cannot shew where it was ordained for a Sacra∣ment, so neither can they shew what is the Sacramentall signe thereof. Some make carnall copulation to be it. But there may be a true mariage, though the parties maried neuer know each other.
Others make the Parents giuing to be the signe. But they hold that that is a true mariage, which is done without parents consent.
Others the Priests blessing. Yet they hold the mariage of Infidels and Heretiques who haue no Priests, to be a true mariage.
Others, the consent of the parties themselues. Thus shall a par∣tie administer a Sacrament to himselfe.
Others, other things. Thus they wanting the light of Gods word, one strayeth in one by-path, another in another, and none of them hit vpon the right.
3. A like difference there is about the forme of this Sacra∣ment.
4. If other positions deliuered by them concerning matri∣monie be noted, a man would thinke that they should be farre from making it a Sacrament. They preferre virginitie before it. Yea, they account it a kinde of pollution. They hold it vnlawfull for Priests, Monks, Nuns, and such like holy orders (as they esteeme them) to marie: so as there is a Sacrament, whereof their holy ones may not partake. The order of Page 128 Priesthood is a Sacrament (in their account) yet that order keepeth from mariage, so as one Sacrament fighteth against an∣other. Yea, Infidels may be partakers of a Sacrament, and so their holy and precious things shall be denied to their holy ones, and cast vnto swine. Thus we see a rotten building ere∣cted vpon a sandie foundation: a false Sacrament established vpon a false application of this text. Can it then stand?
§. 93. Of the Summe of husbands and wiues duties.
EPHES. 5. 33.
THe Apostle hauing made a large digression about the mu∣tuall relation betwixt Christ and the Church, whom he propounded as patternes to husbands and wiues, he now re∣turneth to the maine point intended, namely to the duties of husbands and wiues: and so much doth the first particle imply (Neuerthelesse) as if he had thus said, Though I haue a little di∣gressed*into the mysterie of the vnion of Christ and the Church, yet neuerthelesse doe ye, ô husbands and wiues, call to minde that which I principally aimed at, euen your duties.
This verse then containeth a conclusion of the Apostles dis∣course, concerning the duties of husbands and wiues.
Two points are especially noted therein.
- 1. A declaration of their seuerall and distinct duties.
- 2. A direction to apply their owne proper duties each of them to themselues.
|Their distinct duties are noted in two words,||Loue.|
These two, as they are distinct duties in themselues, so are they also common conditions which must be annexed to all other duties. Loue as sugar to sweeten the duties of authoritie, which appertaine to an husband. Feare as salt to season all the duties of subiection which appertaine to a wife. The Apo∣stle therefore hath set them downe as two marks for husbands and wiues to aime at in euerie thing wherein they haue to deale one with the other.
Page 129 Of these I will more distinctly speake in the treatises of the particular duties of husbands and wiues.
§. 94. Of applying the word to our selues.
The direction for a particular application of their owne proper duties to either of them is here especially to be noted. In this direction two things are to be obserued.
1. That euery particular person apply to himselfe that which by a Minister is indefinitly deliuered to all. Euery one*of you in particular, saith the Apostle: which is as much as if he had thus more largely expressed his minde, I haue laid downe such generall duties as all husbands and wiues without exception of any of what ranke or degree soeuer they be are bound vnto; which though by name I haue not seuerally deliuered to euerie one, one by one, but generally to you all, yet doe euerie one of you apply those things to your selues in particular.
2. That euery one apply his owne peculiar dutie vnto himselfe. Loue being peculiar to an husband, to him he saith, Let him loue his wife: and reuerence being peculiar to a wife, to her he saith, let the wife see that she reuerence her hus∣band.
The direction in euery of those seuerall Epistles which were sent to the seuen Churches of Asia, (in these words, He that*hath an eare, let him heare what the Spirit saith to the Churches) doth teach euerie member in any of those Churches to apply to himselfe that which was deliuered to the whole Church: so doth a like x exhortation which Christ with an exclama∣tion made to the people whom he taught in parables: and this declaration of the extent of Christs counsell, what I say to*you, I say to all. To this purpose many precepts giuen to whole Churches, and to all sorts of people are set downe in the singular number as giuen to one, as, Awake THOV that*sleepest. THOV standest by faith: be not thou high minded &c.*
The life and power of Gods word consisteth in this parti∣cular * application thereof vnto our selues. This is to mixe faith with hearing: faith, I say, whereby we doe not only be∣leeue the truth of Gods word in generall, but also beleeue it to be a truth concerning our selues in particular: and thus will euery precept thereof be a good instruction and di∣rection Page 130 on to vs to guide vs in the way of righteousnesse: euery pro∣mise therein will be a great incouragement, and consolation to vs to vphold vs, and to make vs hold on: and euery iudge∣ment threatned therein will be a curbe, and bridle to hold vs in, and to keepe vs from those sinnes against which the iudge∣ments are threatned. But otherwise, if we bring not the word home to our own soules, it will be as a word spoken into the aire,* vanishing away without any profit to vs. Nothing maketh the word lesse profitable, then the putting of it off from our selues to others, thinking that it concernes others more then our selues.
That we may make the better vse of this doctrine, let vs obserue both what are generall duties belonging to all Chri∣stians, and apply them as particular to our selues: and also what duties appertaine to such persons as are of our place, cal∣ling, and condition, and more especially apply them to our selues: let all manner of husbands, and all manner of wiues of what ranke or degree soeuer they be that shall read the du∣ties hereafter following, know that they are spoken to them in particular. Let Kings and Queenes, Lords and Ladies, Mi∣nisters and their wiues, Rich men and their wiues, Poore men and their wiues, Old men and their wiues, Young men and their wiues, all of all sorts take them as spoken to them in par∣ticular. It is not honour, wealth, learning, or any other excel∣lency, nor meanes of place, pouerty, want of learning, or any other like thing that can exempt an husband from louing his wife, or a wife from reuerencing her husband. He that saith euery one, excepteth not any one. Therefore euery one in par∣ticular doe yee so. The like application may be made to all Parents and children, Masters and seruants, concerning their duties.
§. 95. Of euery ones looking to his owne dutie especially.
In the forenamed application an eye must be had rather to the dutie which we owe, and ought to be performed by vs to others, then to that which is due to vs, and others ought to performe to vs: for the Apostle saith not to the husband, see that thy wife reuerence thee, but see that thou loue her: so to the wife.
Page 131 For this purpose the holy Ghost presseth particular duties vpon those particular persons who ought to performe them: as Subiection on wiues: loue on husbands: and so in others. This therefore is especially to be considered of thee, how thou * maist shew thy selfe blamelesse. I denie not but that one ought to prouoke another, and one to helpe another in what they can to performe their dutie, especially superiours who haue charge ouer others, but the most principall care of euery one ought to be for himselfe, and greatest conscience to be made of performing his owne duty.
1. It is more acceptable before God, and more commenda∣ble * before men to doe duty, then to exact duty. As in matters of free charity, so also of bounden duty, It is more blessed to*giue, then to receiue. In particular it is better for an husband to be a good husband, then to haue a good wife: so for a wife. To haue others faile in duty to vs may be an heauy crosse, for vs to faile in our dutie to others is a fearefull curse.
2. Euery one is to giue an account of his owne particular * duty. That which the Prophet speaketh of father and sonne, may be applied to husband and wife, and to all other sorts of people, If a father doe that which is lawfull and right, he is iust, he*shall surely liue: if he beget a sonne that doth not so, he shall surely die, his bloud shall be vpon him. Againe, if a father doe that which is not good, he shall die in his iniquity: but if his sonne doe that which is lawfull and right he shall surely liue. The righteousnesse of the righteous shall be vpon himselfe: and the wickednesse of the wicked shall be vpon himselfe. That this shall be so betwixt hus∣band and wife, may be gathered out of these words, Two shall*be in one bed, the one shall be taken, the other left.
Let this be noted against the common vaine apologies which are made for neglect of duty, which is this, Dutie is not performed to me, why shall I doe dutie? when my husband doth his dutie, I will doe mine, saith the wife. And I mine, saith the husband, when my wife doth hers. What if he neuer doe his dutie, and so be damned, wilt thou neuer doe thine? This looking for of dutie at others hands, makes vs the more care∣lesse of our owne.
Doe you therefore O husbands looke especially to your *Page 132 owne duties, doe you loue your wiues: and you ô wiues looke * you to yours especially, doe you reuerence your husbands. For this end, let husbands read those duties most diligently which concerne husbands, and wiues those, which concerne wiues. Let not the husband say of the wiues duties, there are goodlessons for my wife, and neglect his owne: nor the wife say the like of husbands duties, and not regard her owne. This is it that maketh the subiection of many wiues very harsh and irkesome to them, because their husbands that vrge and presse them thereto shew little, or no loue to them at all: and this is it that maketh many husbands very backwards in shewing loue, because their wiues which expect much loue, shew little or no reuerence to their husbands. Wherefore Let euery one of you in particular so loue his wife, euen as himselfe: and the wife see that she reuerence her husband.
§. 96. Of the meaning of the first verse of the sixt Chapter.
FRom those particular duties which concerne husbands and wiues the Apostle proceedeth to lay down such as concerne children and parents. As before he laid downe wiues duties before husbands, so here he beginneth with childrens (who are inferiour to their parents) and that for the same reasons which were rendred * before.
Besides children are the fruits of matrimoniall coniuncti∣on, therefore fitly placed next vnto Man and Wife.
That which concerneth children is laid downe in the sixt Chapter of Eph. vers. 1, 2, 3. The meaning whereof we will distinctly open.
EPHES. 6. 1. Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
The first word (children) is in the originall as proper a word * at could be vsed, for according to the notation of it, it signifi∣eth such as are begotten and borne. Answerable is the other word (parents) which signifieth such as beget and bring forth * children. Yet are they not so strictly to be taken as if none but such as begat and brought forth, or such as are begotten and brought forth of them were meant: for vnder the title parents,Page 133 he includeth all such as are in the place of naturall parents, as Grandfathers and Grandmothers, Fathers in law, and Mothers in law, Foster-fathers and Foster-mothers, Guardians, Tutors, and such like gouernors: and vnder the title children he compri∣seth Grand-children, Sonnes and daughters in law, Wards, Pupils, and such like. For there is an honour and a subiection due by all who are in place of children, to all such as are in place of parents, though in a different kinde, as we shall * after shew. This word children which in the originall is of the neuter gen∣der, doth further include both sexes, males and females, sonnes and daughters: so as either of them are as carefully to apply the duties here set forth to themselues as if in particular both kindes had beene expressed.
He expresseth parents in the plurall number, to shew that he * meaneth here also both sexes father and mother, as the law ex∣presseth both: and addeth this relatiue particle your, as by way * of restraint, to shew that euery child is not bound to euery pa∣rent, so by way of extent to shew that whatsoeuer the estate of parents be honourable or meane, rich or poore, learned or vn∣learned, &c. their owne children must not be ashamed of them, but yeeld all bounden dutie to them: if they be parents to children, they must be honoured by children.
The word (Obey) vnder which all duties of children are * comprised, according to the Greeke notation, signifieth with an humble submission to hearken, that is, to attend and giue heed to the commandements, reproofes, directions, and exhorta∣tions which are giuen to them, and that with such a reue∣rend respect of the parties who deliuer them, as they make themselues conformable thereto.
Vnder this word (Obey) the Apostle comprehendeth all * those duties which thorowout the Scripture are required of children: as is manifest by his owne exemplification thereof in the second verse by the word honour which the law vseth: so as this word (obey) is to be taken in as large an extent as that word (honour.)
Quest. Why is obedience put for all the rest?
Answ. 1. Because it is the hardest of all the rest, and that which children are loathest to performe they who willingly yeeld to this, will sticke at no duty.
2. Because it is the surest euidence of that honour which a childe oweth to his parent: and so of performing the fift commandement.
3. Because children are bound to their parents: the du∣ties which they performe are not of curtesie, but necessity. Their parents haue power to command, and exact them.
The clause added (in the Lord) is in effect the same which * was vsed * before (as vnto the Lord) and it noteth forth a li∣mitation, direction, and instigation: a limitation shewing that childrens obedience to their parents is to be restrained to the obedience which they owe to Christ, and may not goe be∣yond the limits thereof: a direction shewing that in obeying their parents, they must haue an eye to Christ, and so obey them as Christ may approue thereof: an instigation shewing that parents beare the image of Christ, and in that respect children must the rather obey their parents.
The last clause of this verse (for this is right) is an expresse * reason to inforce the forenamed point of obedience: and it is drawne from equity: and sheweth that it is a point agreeable to all law: yea that in way of recompence it is due: and if chil∣dren be not obedient to parents they doe that which is most vniust, they defraud their parents of their right.
The former phrase (in the Lord) implying one reason, this plainly noteth out another, as the first particle (for) de∣clareth.
§. 97. Of the meaning of the second verse.
EPHES. 6. 2.
THe very words of the fift commandement are here alleaged * by the Apostle as a confirmation of the forenamed reason, that, it is iust and right to obey parents, because God in the mo∣rall law enioyneth as much. The law is more generall then Page 135 the Apostles precept: for the law compriseth vnder it all those duties which all kinde of inferiours owe to their supe∣riours, whether they be in family, church, or common wealth: but the Apostles precept is giuen only to one kinde of infe∣riours in the family: yet the argument is very sound and good from a generall to a particular, thus, All inferiours must*honour their superiours, therefore children their parents.
By adding the expresse words of the law the Apostle sheweth that the subiection which he required of children is no yoke which he of his owne head put on their neckes: but that which the morall law hath put on them: so as this may be noted as a third reason, namely Gods expresse charge in his morall law.
If I should handle this law according to the full extent thereof, I should wander too farre from the Apostles scope. I will therefore open it no further then it may concerne the point in hand, viz. the duty of children.
Honour compriseth here all those duties which children in * any respect owe to their parents. It implieth both an inward reuerend estimation, and also an outward dutifull submission. Yea it implieth also recompence, and maintenance.
Honour in relation to parents, is vsed for two reasons especially.
1. To shew that parents beare Gods image: for honour is properly due to God alone: to the creature it is due, only as it standeth in Gods roome, and carieth his image.
2. To shew, that it is an honour to parents to haue dutifull children: euen as it is a dishonour to them to haue disobe∣dient children.
Both father and mother are expresly mentioned, to take away * all pretence from children of neglecting either of them: for through the corruption of nature we are prone to seeke after many shifts to exempt vs from our bounden dutie; and if not in whole, yet in as great a part as we can. Some might thinke if they honour their father, who is their mothers head, they haue done what the law requireth: others may thinke they haue done as much, if they honour their mother who is the weaker vessell: but the law expressing father and mother,Page 136 condemneth him that neglecteth either of them. Yet to shew that if opposition should arise betwixt them, and by reason thereof both could not be obeyed together, the father com∣manding what the mother forbiddeth, the father is to be pre∣ferred, (especially if it be not against the Lord) the father is set in the first place.
These words following (which is the first commandement*with promise) are fitly included in a parenthesis, because they are not the words of the law, but inserted by the Apostle as a reason to inforce the law, and so make a fourth reason.
Quest. In what respect is this commandement called the first with promise?
Answ. 1. The * word here vsed by the Apostle properly * signifieth an affirmatiue precept, as our English word (comman∣dement) doth. Now then of the affirmatiue precepts it is the first with promise.
2. The Scripture oft appropriateth the law to the second table, as where he saith he that loueth another hath fulfilled the*law, and so in other places.
Now this is the first commandement of the second table.
3. It is generally true of all the commandements: for among the ten it is the first with promise.
Obiect. The second commandement hath a promise an∣nexed * to it.
Answ. 1. That which is annexed to the second Comman∣dement, is not expresly a promise, but rather a declaration of Gods Iustice, in taking vengeance of transgressors, and of his mercie in rewarding obseruers of the Law: yet I denie not but that a promise by consequence is implied: but here it is ex∣pressed.
2. The promise there implied is only a generall promise made to obseruers of the whole Law, and therefore he vseth the plurall number, Commandements: but here is a particular promise made to them that keepe this Commandement in particular.
2. Quest. Why is it then said the first, when no other Com∣mandements with promise follow? *
Answ. This particle (first) hath not alwayes reference to Page 137 some other following, but is oft simply taken, to shew that none was before it: so is the word first-borne vsed in the Law: * and so Christ is called the first-borne Sonne of Marie.
The word promise sheweth, that this fourth reason inclu∣deth some benefit redounding to those children themselues that honour their parents: the benefit is expresly mentioned in the next verse, which we will afterwards distinctly consider.
§. 98. Of aiming at our owne, in seeking the good of others.
Here in generall we may note, that
It is not vnlawfull to aime at our owne good and benefit in doing the duties which God requireth at our hands to others: for that which God himselfe propoundeth and setteth before vs, we may seeke and aime at. Many like promises there be in Scrip∣ture, and many approued prayers grounded on those promises whereby the truth of the doctrine is confirmed vnto vs. He∣zekiah* maketh the good seruice he had done to God and his Church, a ground to obtaine longer life: so others.
For God layeth no dutie on any man, but therein he aimeth at the good of him who performeth the dutie as well as of him to whom the dutie is performed. Whereby he would shew that his Commandements are no strait yokes and heauie bur∣thens, but meanes of procuring their good who fulfill them.
How highly doth this commend the good respect that * God beareth to all the sonnes of men: seeking their good in euerie place wherein he setteth them, either of authoritie, or subiection?
How ought this to stirre vs vp willingly and cheerefully to * obserue the Lawes which God commandeth vs, and per∣forme the seruices he requireth of vs, seeing thereby we pro∣cure our owne good?
How fully may this satisfie, and euen stop the mouthes of * all such as are discontent with their places, and mutter against that subiection which God enioyneth to them?
What a good direction and resolution may this be to many, * who being moued in conscience to seeke the good of others, doubt whether therein they may aime at their owne good or no? To make this case cleare by an instance, which may serue in stead of many. A Minister faithfull in his place, and verie Page 138 painfull, and in that respect of a good conscience, but withall of a tender and weake conscience, doubteth whether thereby he may seeke maintenance to himselfe, fearing that so he see∣keth himselfe, and not simply the edification of Gods Church. But by the forenamed doctrine we see that both may be aimed at: for God commandeth the one, and promiseth the other. As we haue one eye on Gods Commandement for direction, so we may haue another on his promise for incouragement.
Yet because through the corruption of our nature, we are too * prone to seeke our selues, some cautions are in this point care∣fully to be obserued.
1. That we seeke not our owne good by any transgression, for it is promised vnto obedience.
2. That we doe not so wholly seeke our selues and our owne good, as we neglect others: for God hauing ioyned both to∣gether, no man may put them asunder.
3. That we aime at our owne good, as a reward following vpon the dutie which God commandeth, and so be as willing to doe the dutie, as desirous of the reward.
4. That our owne benefit be not the only, no nor the chiefest thing we aime at in doing our dutie, but rather come as a mo∣tiue to adde an edge, and to sharpen other motiues of greater moment. And thus much the order which the Apostle obser∣ueth in setting downe his reasons, noteth vnto vs: for the three former haue respect to God, and to that good conscience which children ought to carrie towards him: the first pointeth at Gods image which parents carie (in the Lord:) the second set∣teth forth that right which God hath prescribed to children: the third declareth Gods charge: this fourth only, which is the last, hath respect to the profit and benefit of children them∣selues.
§. 99. Of preferring honestie before commoditie.
From the forenamed order we may further gather, that Equitie and good conscience ought more to moue vs to doe our dutie then our owne profit, and the benefit that thereby redoundeth to vs. If there should come such an opposition betwixt these that they could not both stand togethet, but that for doing that which is right, and which God hath commanded, our Page 139 prosperitie must be hindred and life shortned, we should so stand to that which is right and commanded of God, as pro∣speritie, life and all be let goe. To this purpose tend all the exhortations in Scripture, to forsake goods, lands, life, and euerie thing else for righteousnesse sake. So cleare is this point, * that the Heathen discerned it by the glimpse of that light of nature which they had: for they could say, that that which is honest and right, is to be preferred before that which is com∣modious and profitable.
There is no comparison betwixt honestie and commoditie, right and profit. The one is absolutely necessarie for attai∣ning to eternall saluation, the other giueth but a little quiet and contentment in this world: nay, if profit be without right, it can giue no true contentment or quiet at all.
Vnworthie therefore they are of the name of Christians, who * so wholly and only aime at their outward profit and prosperi∣tie, as they regard not what is right, and what God hath com∣manded. If by obeying God, and doing that which is right they may reape some benefit to themselues they can be con∣tent * to yeeld thereunto: but if not, farewell all right, farewell all Gods commandements. Though they thinke euery thing that is profitable, be it right or wrong, to be good, yet Gods word accounteth nothing good but that which is honest: such therefore can looke for no blessing from the Lord.
§. 100. Of the meaning of the third verse.
EPHES. 6. 3.
That it may be well with thee, and thou maist liue long on the earth.
THe promise mentioned before in generall, is here particu∣larly set downe. The first words (that it may be well with thee) are not in the Hebrew text b there where the Law is first recorded, and thereupon not set in that vsuall forme of the ten Commandements, which is in vse among vs: but yet in c ano∣ther place where the Law is repeated, they are set downe: and the Greeke translation, commonly called the Septuagint (which (as is probable) the Church in the Apostles time vsed) hath expresly noted it in both places. Now this part of the promise Page 140(that it may be well with thee) is prefixed as an amplification of the other part concerning long life, which is the most princi∣pall thing intended, as appeareth in that it only is mentioned where the Law is first recorded. It sheweth that the long life* which God promiseth, shall not be a life of woe and miserie, (for then were it no blessing, but the longer life lasted, the worse it would be) but a life full of comfort and happinesse: therefore Moses fetteth this former clause in the latter place af∣ter long life thus (that thy dayes may be prolonged, and that it*may goe well with thee) to shew that the well being here spoken of, is an amplification of the benefit of long life.
Whereas the Apostle setteth downe the place where the be∣nefit of this promise is to be enioyed in a most large phrase, thus (on earth) the Law bringeth it to a more narrow compasse thus (in the land which the Lord thy God giueth thee) meaning the land of Canaan which was giuen of God as a peculiar in∣heritance to the Iewes: so that the promise (as the Law setteth it downe in peculiar to the Iewes) implieth long life, and pro∣speritie in their owne inheritance: for long life to the Iewes was counted no life out of their owne Countrey. But the Apostle writing to all nations, leaueth out that description of Canaan, and retaineth only the generall substance in this word (on earth) which he setteth downe to shew that euen outward prosperitie, and a long life in this world is here promised.
§. 101. Of prosperitie: how farre forth it may be a blessing.
For further clearing of this text, and for better application thereof, I will resolue sundrie questions arising out of it, and gather such profitable instructions as it affordeth.
The promise consisteth of two branches.
The first branch (that it may be well with thee) is very ample * and large: all good things, all manner of blessings whatsoeuer, spirituall and temporall, belonging to soule and body, con∣cerning this life, and the life to come, make to a mans well∣being. Whence may first be demanded;
1. Qust. What may be the extent of this phrase in this place? *
Answ. It may generally be extended to all manner of good things. For Godlinesse hath promise of the life that now is and ofPage 141that that is to come. But (as I take it) temporall prosperitie is here principally intended: and that for these reasons.
1. It is ioyned with long life, which is a temporall blessing.
2. The last word (on earth) may be referred to this branch of well-being, as well as to the other of long life.
3. In the Law (from whence this clause is taken) it is ex∣presly set downe, thus, that it may goe well with thee in the*land, &c.
2. Quest. Is then outward temporall prosperitie (as ho∣nour, * health, peace, libertie, goods, &c.) a token of Gods loue and fauour?
Answ. Yea: in it selfe it is a blessing, and fruit of Gods loue: as appeareth by these reasons.
1. As at first it was made and ordained of God, it is a good thing.
2. It tendeth to mans good, if it be rightly vsed.
3. It was bestowed on man before he had offended.
4. It is promised of God as a reward to them that feare him * and keepe his Commandements.
5. The Saints haue prayed for it, and haue beene thankfull * for it.
§. 102. Of prosperitie bestowed on the wicked, how it proues a curse.
3. Quest. Why then is it bestowed vpon the wicked, euen such as are * haters of God, and are hated of him? And why are Gods friends, such as are * loued of him, and loue him againe, depriued thereof? This sore scruple made Dauid stum∣ble, * and moued other Prophets to complaine. But the answer is readie.
Answ. Outward prosperitie is of that nature, as it may turne to the good or hurt of him that enioyeth it. And herein is Gods admirable and vnsearchable wisdome seene, in that he is able to turne blessings into curses, and curses into blessings. * He can worke by contraries.
4. Quest. How is prosperitie a curse to the wicked?
Page 142Answ. By meere consequence, through their abuse of it. God giues it to them to shew the riches of his mercie: and that all may taste thereof, he doth good to the euill and the good. Be∣sides, * he thus trieth if by any meanes they may be brought to repentance: which gift because they haue not, their prosperitie proueth to be a meanes to make them the more inexcusable, and the more to increase their iust condemnation. For the more Gods blessings abound towards them, the more they abuse them, adding to all their other sinnes, that most odious sinne of ingratitude, which maketh vp the heape of all. And in these respects I may say of the prosperitie of the wicked, as the Pro∣phet of their King, God giues it in his anger, and takes it away in*his wrath. For by their abuse thereof, it proueth Satans bait to allure them, his snare to catch them, and his hooke to drowne * them in perdition and destruction. In a word therefore, the wicked are fed in a faire pasture like oxen appointed to the slaughter: they are exalted on high, as on a ladder or scaffold, like theeues and traytors, to be brought downe with shame and destruction, as Pharaohs Baker was lift vp. *
§. 103. How both hauing, and wanting prosperitie is a blessing to the Saints.
5. Quest. How is the inioying, or wanting of prosperitie a blessing to the righteous?
Answ. God in wisdome knowing what is best for them ac∣cordingly deales with them, he bestoweth prosperitie on them so farre as he seeth it will turne vnto their good: and de∣nieth it to them so farre as he seeth it will turne to their hurt. Whensoeuer therefore God bestoweth any temporall blessing on his Saints, it is a token of his favour: and whensoeuer he denieth any, the very deniall is also a fruit of his fauour. Here∣in is it verified that All things worke together for good to them*that loue God, so as, if they abound, it shall goe well with them: if they want, it shall goe well with them: if they be in high place, it shall goe well with them: if in meane place, it shall got well with them: if they be at libertie, if in prison: if they be in health, if sicke: in what estate soeuer, it shall goe well with them.
Answ. There is flesh and bloud in them, by reason of the weaknesse whereof they are forced to complaine: but the pre∣sent apprehension of weake flesh, is not sufficient to impeach the truth of Gods promise: they consider not in their present extremitie what is Gods minde, what his manner of dealing with them, how needfull it is that so they should be dealt withall, what end and issue the Lord will giue: in truth it is better with them then they wot of. Some weightie reasons there be which moue God to bring them to that extremitie wherein they are, and those respecting his bowne glorie, or the cedification of others, or their owne good, as d curing some dangerous disease, e manifesting the grace of God be∣stowed vpon them, f drawing them neerer to God, g making them long the more for heauen, with the like.
§. 104. Of long-life: how farre forth it is a blessing.
Concerning the second branch of Gods promise (long-life) other questions are to be resolued.
1. Quest. Is long-life a blessing? *
Answ. Yea, else would not God here and in other places haue promised it as a reward, nor haue bestowed it on his Saints.
The reasons to proue it to be a blessing may be drawne to three heads. 1. Gods glorie. 2. the good of the Church where they liue. 3. their owne good.
1. Gods glorie is much aduanced by the long life of the Saints: for the longer they liue the more they doe themselues obserue Gods wonderfull workes, and the more they doe make them knowne and declare them to others. But in the graue all * is forgotten.
2. Gods Church is greatly edified thereby: in which re∣spect the Apostle saith, to abide in the flesh is more needfull for*you: In the Saints that is true which Elihu saith should be, namely that daies speake, and multitude of yeeres teach wisdome.* The longer the Saints liue, the more good they doe: but after death they doe none: when the night commeth no man can worke:*Page 144* vpon which ground the Apostle exhorteth to doe good while we haue time.
3. The Saints by long liuing purchase to themselues great honour, and dignitie among Gods people, and a strong sted∣fast confidence in God. Men regard a good old seruant: much more will God. Two strong props haue old Saints to establish them, and make them bold: one is a remembrance of Gods former fauours, whereby their hope of eternall life is made more sure vnto them: another is a kinde of present ex∣pectation of the accomplishment of Gods promises which they haue long waited for.
By this it appeares that this particular promise is no light matter, of small moment: but a strong motiue to stirre vp children to obedience.
§. 105. Of long life prouing a curse to the wicked.
Why then is long life giuen to many wicked ones? and why are many Saints cut off?
Answ. Long life is of the same kinde that prosperitie is: it may be turned to a curse, as well as proue a blessing.
The wicked by liuing long on earth make their sins grow to the full (as is implied of the Amorite) they make their * name to stinke the more on earth, as a carion the longer it re∣maineth aboue ground the more it stinketh: and they cause the greater torment in hell to be inflicted vpon them: for as * sinne is increased, so shall that torment be increased.
The righteous haue their daies shortned for their good, when they are shortned, and that in these, and such like respects
§. 106. Of limiting the promises of temporall blessings.
Thus we see there may be iust cause to alter, as the former branch of this promise, prosperitie, so the latter branch of it, long-life, and yet no wrong thereby redound to the righteous, nor benefit to the wicked.
Is not the truth of the promise impeached thereby?
Answ. No whit at all. For first all promises of temporall blessings are limited with such a condition as this, if the per∣formance of it may stand with Gods honour, and the good of the partie to whom it is made. 2. God doth neuer simply depriue his Saints of that which is promised, but only in stead of it giueth a better: as in taking away wealth, he giueth the more store of grace: in restraining liberty of body, he giueth freedome of conscience: with affliction he giueth patience: by taking away this temporall life, he giueth eternall life. God herein dealeth, as if one who hauing promised so much iron, should in stead thereof giue as much siluer: or for siluer giue gold: and so for one pound giue the worth of hundreds or thou∣sands.
§. 107. Of appropriating prosperity and long-life to the obedi∣ence which children yeeld to their parents.
4. Quest. Why is long-life and prosperity appropriated to this kinde of righteousnesse?
Answ. It is not so appropriated to this, as if it appertained to no other: for it is elsewhere in generall promised to the * obseruers of the whole law, and to other particular branches thereof beside this: yet in these and such like particular re∣spects * is it applied to the obedience of children.
1. Because obedience to parents is one of the surest eui∣dences of our conformity to the whole law: in that thereby we shew our respect of Gods image, and lay a good foundation for the performing of all dutie to man.
2. Because a childes performing of his dutie to his parents is vnder God an especiall meanes that they doe well, and liue long (for as rebellious children make their parents with griefe to come the sooner to their graues, so dutifull children make them to continue the longer in prosperity) the Lord in recompence promiseth to such a childe prosperity and long life.
3. Because parents are an especiall meanes to procure the welfare and long life of their children, partly by their proui∣dentPage 146care, as Noami said to Ruth, shall I not seeke rest for thee,*that it may be well with thee? and partly by their instant praier: for the faithfull praier of parents is of great force with God for dutifull children: whence hath risen the custome of chil∣drens asking their parents blessing, and of parents blessing their children. In this respect the law thus setteth forth the blessing of the fift commandement, they shall prolong thy daies.*
4. Because disobedience to parents bringeth much mis∣chiefe on childrens heads, and oft shorteneth their daies, and that many waies.
1. In that parents are oft prouoked by their childrens dis∣obedience * to disinherit them, at least to allow them the lesse portion, so as hereby it goeth not so well with them: yea some are prouoked to bring their rebellious children to the Magistrate, who by Gods law was to cut them off, so as * thereby their life is shortened.
2. In that parents are prouoked to complaine vnto God of their childrens disobedience, and God thereby moued both to lay heauie iudgements vpon such children in their life time, and also to shorten their daies: for parents complaint doth make a loud crie in Gods eares. It is said that God by cutting off Abimelech with an vntimely death rendred the*wickednesse which he did to his father.
3. In that, when parents are too indulgent ouer their chil∣dren, God doth punish the sinne both of parent and childe, by shortning the childes daies. Instance the examples of aHoph∣ni and Phinehas,bAbsolom, and cAdonijah.
4. In that disobedience to parents, is a sinne that seldome goeth alone: for an vndutifull childe is commonly a verie lewd person many other waies. Considering the prouenesse of our nature to all sinne, it cannot be auoided but that they who in the beginning shake off the yoake of gouernment, should run headlong into all riot, loosenesse, and licentious∣nesse: thus then sinne being added vnto sinne, it must needs bring mischiefe vpon mischiefe, till at length life be cut off.
Wherefore in that these mischiefes are auoided by perfor∣ming due obedience to parents, it may well be said that it shall be well with obedient children, and they shall liue long.
§. 108. Of Gods ordering his fauours so as they may appeare to be true blessings.
The particular branches of Gods promise hauing beene * distinctly opened, we will consider them ioyntly together, for they doe exceedingly amplifie one another: prosperity swee∣tens long life and makes it acceptable: otherwise to liue long, namely in misery and wretchednesse, is very irksome and grie∣uous. Againe, long life added to prosperity maketh it so much the greater blessing. For a good thing the longer it continueth the better it is. If prosperity were but as a flower, soone gone, the very thought of the vanity thereof would much diminish the ioy and comfort of it. But both of them ioyned together, doe shew that this is no small blessing which is promised.
From the connexion of them both together, I obserue that
God so ordereth his fauours as they appeare to be true blessings,* tending indeed to the good of those vpon whom he bestow∣eth them. Thus when God gaue Abraham a sonne, he esta∣blished his couenant with him, that this gift might be a true blessing.
The like I might instance in all the children of promise, as Sampson, Salomon, Iohn Baptist, &c. So in other fauours. When God added fifteene yeares to Hezekiahs life, he also promised * him deliuerance from his enemies, and peace, and truth all his daies: And when God gaue Dauid a kingdome, he gaue him * great victories and long life, and established his kingdome to his posterity: so also dealt he with Salomon. But not to insist on any more particulars, excellently is this doctrine con∣firmed in the 28 Psalme.
Thus God will shew that in loue he bestoweth euen the temporall blessings which he giueth to his Saints, that accor∣dingly they may esteeme them, and that their hearts may be the more inlarged both to admire his goodnesse, and to be thankfull for the same.
This vse we must make of those things which the Lord is * pleased to bestow vpon vs, as of long life, good health, ho∣nour, peace, plenty, liberty, and all prosperity: we must re∣ceiue and vse them as God bestoweth them, namely as tokens Page 148 of his fauour: and thereby be the more stirred vp to performe the duties he requireth of vs, and not abuse them to his disho∣nour and our owne hurt: but rather so as he may haue ho∣nour, and we profit thereby.
§. 109. Of Gods high account of dutifull children.
More particularly by this promise we may learne what high * esteeme, and great account God maketh of dutifull children, and of that obedience which they performe to their parents: which ought so much the more to prouoke children to all obedience, if at least they haue any care of Gods fauour, and of the tokens of his loue. Oh consider this all yee that haue parents to honour: consider how carefull, how earnest God is euery way by all meanes to draw you to obedience: he contents not himselfe to vrge the equity of the point, the place of your parent, the charge that himselfe hath giuen, but most presseth your owne profit: and that not only in hope for the time to come, but euen in present fruition for this life: and that because we through our childishnesse are most af∣fected with things sensible and present: dealing with vs as a tender father who prouideth not only a good calling, and a faire in heritance for his childe, but giueth him also plums, peares, and such things as for the present he is delighted with∣all, the more to allure him.
§. 110. Of childrens doing good to themselues by honouring their parents.
Children may further learne out of this promise, that in * performing their dutie they doe good not only to their pa∣rents, but also to themselues: they procure their owne wel∣fare and long-life. What egregious fooles then are disobedi∣ent children: they regard neither God, their parents, nor themselues, but depriue themselues of their eternall happi∣nesse, hinder their welfare, and shorten their daies. Fitly here∣upon I may applie to vndutifull children these words of the Psalmist, Marke the obedient childe, for the end of him is peace:*but the rebellious shall be destroyed: he shall be cut off: and these of the wise-man, I know that it shall be well with the dutifull*childe, but it shall not be well with the disobedient, he shall not pro∣long his daies: and these of the Prophet, Say ye to the obedientPage 149childe, it shall be well with him, he shall eat the fruit of his doings,*but woe to the transgressor, it shall be ill with him.
§. 111. Of parents doing good to their children by keeping them vnder obedience.
Out of this promise parents may learne how to doe good * for their children, how to prouide for their welfare, and long to preserue their life on earth (a thing whereunto most parents are naturally giuen, and whereof they are much desirous) namely by teaching children their dutie, by keeping them vn∣der obedience: thus haue they Gods promise to assure them, that it shall goe well with their children, and that they shall liue long. When parents are vpon their death-beds they may rest more securely vpon this promise then vpon great store of treasure laid vp for them, and great reuenues reserued for them. Many parents neglect themselues: they moile and toile, they carke and care, they pinch and spare, to leaue their chil∣dren store of wealth, thinking thereby to doe good to their children, when as withall they too much cocker their children, giue the reines vnto them, and care not how little dutie they performe. Gods curse will lie vpon all the store that is laid vp for such children, as a fire to consume it all. Doth not daily experience verifie the truth hereof? The iudgements which are laid on some such children, doe euidently manifest Gods iust indignation against all. Let not rich men therefore thinke they haue left their children well enough if they leaue them a large portion, but rather if they haue obserued them to be obe∣dient children: and if poore mens children be such, let them not feare but that it shall goe well with them.
It is said, that a good trade is better then house and land, but by vertue of this promise we may say that obedience in a childe is better then trade and all: this is the trade of a childes*way which parents should teach children. Wherefore as pa∣rents are desirous of their childrens good, so they ought to be wise in procuring it, which is by teaching them this trade of obedience: and so they shall bring much comfort to themselues while they liue, and good to their children after them.
§. 112. Of the perpetuitie of the substance of such things as in their circumstances respecting the Iewes are vanished.
In laying downe this particular promise, the Apostle in stead of the limitation thereof vnto the Iewes in these words (in the land which the Lord thy God shall giue thee) putteth a ge∣nerall word, which extendeth it to all nations, namely this (in the earth) whence I gather that
The substance of these things which in some circumstances were*after a peculiar manner restrained to the Iewes, remaineth in force to all Christians. The substance of this promise was, that it should goe well with obedient children, while here on earth they liued, and in this welfare they should long liue. The cir∣cumstance was, that in Canaan they should inioy that blessing. Though Christians liue not in Canaan, which is the circum∣stance, yet well it shall goe with them, and long they shall liue, which is the substance. Thus though the circumstance of Gods couenant with Abraham (which was circumcision) be a∣bolished, yet the substance (which is, to be our God, and the God of our seed) remaineth. This might further be exemplified in many hundred instances: for the substance of all the Iewish sacrifices, and Sacraments, both ordinarie, and extraordinarie, of their Sabbaths, of their fasts, of their feasts, and the like, re∣maine, though the circumstances, as shadowes, be vanished a∣way. Hence is it, that many promises made to them, are ap∣plied by the Apostles to Christians, as this, I will not faile thee,*nor forsake thee: and in generall it is said, The promise to you and to your children, and to all that are afarra off.
Hereby we may learne what vse to make of the old Testa∣ment, * euen of those promises and priuiledges which in some particular respects were appropriated to the Iewes: namely, by obseruing the substance, and distinguishing it from the cir∣cumstance; thus shall we finde that to be true which the Apo∣stle speaketh of all the things which were written afore time, namely, that they were written for our learning. In this respect * the same Apostle saith of the things recorded of Abraham, they were not written for his sake alone: and againe of the * things recorded of the Israelites, they are written for our admo∣nition.* By this we may learne how to applie the preface to the Page 151 ten Commandements, which mentioneth the deliuerance of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt.
Pray therefore for the spirit of illumination to discerne be∣twixt substance and circumstance, in reading the old Testament especially.
§. 113. Of the determined period of mans life.
Hauing declared such orthodoxall points as this text af∣fordeth, I will further note out two hereticall positions, which our aduersaries thence raise. One is of those, that to the dishonour of him whom God raised vp to be a worthy instru∣ment in dispelling the mist of Poperie, which had much dark∣ned the light of the Gospell, call themselues Lutherans: the other of Papists.
The former is this, God hath not determined the set period of*mans daies, but it is in mans power to lengthen or shorten them: for if it were otherwise, say they, this and such like promises of long life were to no purpose, nor yet the contrary threatnings of shortning mans daies.
For full answer hereunto, I will first shew, that the position it selfe is directly contrarie to the current of Scripture, and then discouer the vnsoundnesse of their consequence.
Touching the determined period of mans daies, thus speaketh the Scripture: Is there not an appointed time to man on*earth? are not his daies also as the daies of an hireling? Note with what emphasis the point is set forth; euen so, as if it were a point so cleare, as none could doubt of it. Note also two metaphors here vsed, which doe much cleare the point: one taken from souldiers, the other from hired seruants. That of souldiers is implied in the meaning of the originall word translated appointed time, but properly signifieth him that hath * his time appointed for warfare, or the time it selfe so appoin∣ted: the other expressed. Now we know that these times are appointed to an houre: so is the time of mans life. In this re∣spect Iob saith againe, all the daies of my appointed time will I*wait, &c. where he vseth the same word that before in the same sense. To this purpose are these, and such like phrases frequently vsed in Scripture, determined daies, number of daies,*houre, &c. Did not the Prophet expresly declare to HezekiahPage 152 that he should liue iust 15 yeeres after his sicknesse? He could * not haue told it, if the Lord had not before set that period. Christ saith, our haires are numbred, are not much more our * daies? Againe he saith, who can adde one cubit to his stature?* Can then any adde to his daies? So euident is this point, that the heathen noted it.
Touching their consequence (if a mans time be determined all the promises of long life are to no purpose) I answer, that God who hath set downe the iust time and period of mans life, hath also set downe the meanes of attaining to that period. Now the time he hath kept secret to himselfe, the meanes he hath reuealed to vs. In regard of vs therefore who know not the time appointed of the Lord, it may be said that by vsing such and such meanes we prolong our daies, or by doing such and such things we shorten them. Now because these meanes only shew them to be long, or short, Gods decree remaineth firme and stable, and is not altred thereby: yet this worke of leng∣thening or shortning is attributed to vs, because we doe what lieth in vs thereto, and that freely without any compulsion. For Gods decree though it cause a necessitie in the euent, yet it imposeth no constraint on the will of man, but leaueth it as free (in regard of the manner of working) as if there were no decree at all. And herein Gods admirable wisdome is ma∣nifested, that notwithstanding his determined purpose of mat∣ters, man hath no ground of excuse to say he was forced to this or that.
The knowledge of this determined period of mans life is of great vse: for it teacheth vs,
1. Wholly to submit our selues to God: and to be prepa∣red * either soone to depart out of this world, or long to liue in it, as God shall dispose of our time: nor desiring longer to liue then God hath appointed: nor grieuing to liue so long as he hath appointed.
2. Not to feare the threats of any man, thereby to be drawne * from God.
3. To doe Gods worke while we haue time, &c. *
§. 114. Of reward promised to obedience, that it implieth no merit.
The other heresie which Papists gather from this text, is * this, Mans obedience is meritorious.
Answ. The reward here promised is no matter of wages and due desert, but of meere grace and fauour.
Of this error I haue * elsewhere more largely spoken.
§. 115. Of the connexion of Parents dutie with Childrens.
EPHES. 6. 4.
THe Apostle hauing vrged children to performe their du∣ties to their parents, he turneth his speech to parents, say∣ing, AND ye fathers, &c. That copulatiue particle AND, ioy∣ning an exhortation to parents, for performing their duties to the forenamed exhortation made to children, giueth vs to vn∣derstand, that
Parents are as well bound to dutie as children. Their duties * indeed be different, yet (notwithstanding their superioritie and authoritie ouer their children) they are bound to dutie. All the directions and exhortations throughout the Scripture gi∣uen vnto parents, concerning their dutie, and all the threat∣nings denounced, and iudgements executed on parents for neglect of their dutie, are pregnant proofes of this point.
Though parents be ouer their children, and by them can∣not be commanded, yet they are vnder God: and he it is who hath enioyned them their dutie: so as they are bound there∣unto, as they will answer it to their Father in heauen.
The authoritie which parents haue, is not so much for their owne aduancement, as for the better gouerning of their chil∣dren, which being so, their verie gouernment is a dutie.
Object. In the morall Law the dutie of children only is ex∣pressed. *
Answ. Parents dutie (as many others duties) is by iust and necessarie consequence implied, which is equiualent, and as Page 154 much bindeth, as if it were expressed. It is thus implied. They who haue honour, must carrie themselues worthie of honour. Now the way to carrie themselues worthie of honour, is to be carefull in doing dutie to them that honour them. This is so equall, as it needed not to be exprest.
Wherefore let Ministers follow this patterne of the Apostle, * and carrie an euen hand towards all of all sorts: let them not be partiall in laying all the burden of dutie on childrens necks, and none on parents: holding in children verie straitly, but leauing parents to their owne will. Parents are flesh and bloud as well as children, and as prone to transgresse in their place, as children in theirs. Yea, Ministers ought of the two to be more earnest in vrging parents to performe their dutie, because they are vnder no such power and authoritie as children are. Feare of parents authoritie keepeth children much in awe. There is no such thing to keepe parents in awe. They will be more readie therefore to take the greater libertie, if by feare of God, and by a good conscience, they be not kept in compasse.
Now ye (ô parents) as you looke for honour, carrie your¦selues * worthie of honour: as ye looke for dutie from your chil∣dren, performe dutie to them. Know that another day, euen you shall be called to an account before the highest Iudge: your authoritie will then be no pretence to excuse, but an eui∣dence to aggrauate your fault. For you being elder in yeeres, and more eminent in place, of more experience, and hauing a charge ouer your children, ought to be a light to shew them the way, an example to allure them, that they seeing you care∣full and conscionable in performing your dutie, may be the more prouoked to performe theirs, or at least made ashamed of their neglect of dutie. But if you be carelesse of your dutie, how can ye expect dutie at their hands? nay if by your ill ex∣ample they haue beene made negligent, their bloud shall be re∣quired at your hands.
§. 116. Of the extent of these words, Fathers, Children.
Though the word (Fathers) be here vsed, which properly * setteth forth naturall parents, and of naturall parents the male kinde, yet (as in many other places) it is to be taken in a lar∣ger extent: euen in as large as this word (children) was before, Page 155 that so there may be a iust and equall relation betwixt children * and parents: wherefore both sexes of naturall parents are comprised vnder it, euen mother as well as father, and they also who are in place of parents, whether by mariage as all sorts of fathers and mothers in Law, or by appointment, as all they who of right haue the custodie and charge of children, as Guardians, Tutors, and other like Gouernours: and so it is euerie way answerable to the word (parents) vsed in the first verse: and the word (children) is also here to be taken in the same extent, as it was there.
§. 117. Of parents prouoking children.
The next phrase (prouoke to wrath) is the exposition of one * Greeke word, which being a compound word, cannot by one English word be fully expressed: the best and neerest that I can thinke of is (exasperate.) The word signifieth an extremitie in the vse of authoritie: euen too much austeritie and seueritie, whereby children are prouoked to wrath: which because it is a fault, it is here expresly forbidden (prouoke not, &c.) In this word there is a trope: the effect is put for the cause: The Apo∣stles meaning is, that parents should take such heed of their cariage toward their children, as they giue them no occasion to be stirred vp to wrath. Vnder this word then are forbidden * all such things, as may kindle wrath in children, as too much austeritie in cariage, sowrenesse in countenance, threatning and reuiling in words, too hard handling, too seuere correction, too much restraint of libertie, too small allowance of things needfull, with the like. Parents being flesh and bloud are sub∣iect in this kinde to abuse their authoritie: yea, euen they who fall into the other extreme of too much indulgencie and cocke∣ring of their children, are verie prone to fall also into this ex∣treme: as many who for the most part too much suffer their chil∣dren without due restraint and correction to runne into all riot, will sometimes on a sudden, like Lions, flie vpon them, and after their owne pleasure correct them, and so exceedingly pro∣uoke * their children. Such as are most cockering, are most prone to prouoke to wrath: for, 1. Such least know how to keepe a meane: one will sooner leape out of one extreme into ano∣ther, Page 156 then goe from an extreme to the meane. 2. The children of such are soonest prouoked.
Quest. Is it a thing lawfull and iustifiable in children to be prouoked to wrath by their parents?
Answ.* No. This prohibition intendeth no such thing: the Apostle hath here to doe with parents: and instructeth them how to preuent such mischiefes as their children through their weaknesse may fall into. So as here only he sheweth what is vnlawfull for parents, not what is lawfull for children. Hence then by the way I obserue that
Parents must be so watchfull ouer their cariage, as thereby they*make not their children to sinne.
If they doe, they make their owne sinne the more hainous, and also they pull downe vpon their owne pates a farre more heauie vengeance, euen the vengeance of their owne sinne, and the vengeance of their childes sinne. For euery parent is made a watchman ouer his childe. If a watchman doe not * what he can to hinder the sinne of such as are vnder his charge, he pulls their bloud on his owne necke. What doe they then that being watchmen, minister occasion of sinne to them that are vnder their charge?
§. 118. Of parents seeking the good of their children.
That parents by auoiding the rocke of prouoking, fall not into the gulfe of cockering, the Apostle addeth a BVT, which is * as a stop vnto them, and teacheth them that
It is not sufficient for parents to preuent such mischiefes a•*children may fall into, but they must also seeke their good. All the precepts in Scripture charging parents to seeke their childrens good, proue the point. Herein lieth a maine difference be∣twixt the affection which parents and strangers ought to beare toward children, and the dutie which one and the other owe to them. Meere strangers ought not to prouoke them: but parents ought moreouer euery way to seeke their good.
The maine good which parents ought especially to seeke after in the behalfe of their children, is noted out in these words: Bring them vp in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
The word translated (bring vp) properly signifieth to feed *Page 157 or nourish with all needfull things; it is the same that is vsed before in the 5. chapter and 29. verse, and there translated nourisheth. Not vnfitly might the proper signification of the * word be here kept, as the best Latine translations, the French, and others haue kept.
This word ioyned with the others that follow, may seeme * at first sight to be here placed only to make vp the sense, as if he had thus said, nurture your childe in the wayes of God. But if the scope of the Apostle, and signification of the word be well weighed, we shall finde that it further implieth a generall du∣tie, which nature it selfe teacheth parents, euen this, that
Parents ought to prouide all needfull things for their children:* euen such things as tend to the nourishing of their bodies, and preseruing of their health and life: for this phrase (to translate it word for word) nourish them in discipline, or in instruction, is a concise speech, implying as much as if he had said, nourish and nurture them, or feed and instruct them. But the Apostle hath thus neerely and concisely ioyned them together, to shew that Nurture and instruction is as needfull and profitable, as food and apparell.
§. 119. Of parents nurturing their children.*
The word translated nurture, signifieth as well correction as instruction: as Heb. 12. 7. If ye endure chastening: and 2 Tim. 3. 16. The Scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousnesse. Both senses will here stand, and our English word (as well as the Greeke) will beare both: for to nurture children, is as well to correct them, as to instruct them. Verie fitly is this aduice in this large acceptation inferred vpon the former prohibi∣tion: for lest parents should thereupon take occasion to lay the reines vpon their childrens necks, and let them run whi∣ther they list, the Apostle hereby teacheth, that
Parents, as they may not be too austere, so neither too remisse.* They must not prouoke their children to wrath, yet they must keepe them vnder discipline. The word translated nurture, ac∣cording to the * Greeke notation thereof doth further set forth the meane betwixt the two forenamed extremes: for it noteth out such a discipline as befitteth a lad, or a young childe: so as the thing it selfe, discipline, by instruction and correction keepeth Page 158 from one extreme of remisnesse: the kinde or manner of disci∣pline being such as befitteth a childe, keepeth from the other extreme of rigour and crueltie. Extremes on either side are dangerous and pernicious, and that to parent and childe. For remisnesse will make children carelesse of all dutie to God and parent: rigour will make them desperate. But vertue and safe∣tie consisteth in the meane betwixt both.
§. 120. Of parents fixing precepts in their childrens mindes.
This word (admonition) according to the * notation thereof, hath a particular relation to the minde, and pointeth out an in∣forming and instructing of it. It is taken either for the action of admonishing, (as Tit. 3. 10. reiect an heretickeaafter the first and second admonition) or for the b thing admonished, in which latter sense most doe here take it: yet would I not haue the for∣mer cleane excluded, for according to the full meaning of the word, I take thus much to be intended.
As parents deliuer good precepts and principles to their children,*so they must be carefull, by forcible and frequent admonitions, to fix and settle them in the minde of their children.c The Law expres∣seth as much by another metaphor which it vseth, in a directi∣on which it giueth to parents, saying, thou shalt whet or sharpen Gods Lawes vpon thy children, that is, d thou shalt teach them diligently vnto them.
The more paines is taken in this kinde, the lesse labour will be lost. That which at first is little heeded, by much vrging and pressing will for euer be held, as a naile that at one blow scarse entreth, with many blowes is knockt vp to the head.
§ 121. Of adding information to discipline.
The addition of this word admonition vnto nurture, is not (as some take it) a meere explication of the same point, but al∣so a declaration of a further dutie, which is this:
As parents by discipline keepe their children vnder, so by infor∣mation*they must direct them in the right way. Salomon doth both deliuer the point, and also adde a good reason to inforce it: for saith he, Traine vp a childe in the way that he should goe; there is the dutie: and when he is old, he will not depart from it; there * is the reason. Keeping a childe vnder by good discipline, may make him dutifull while the father is ouer him: but well in∣forming Page 159 his vnderstanding and iudgement, is a meanes to vp∣hold him in the right way so long as he liueth.
§. 122. Of parents teaching their children the feare of God.
The last word (of the Lord) intimateth the best dutie that * a parent can doe for his childe. Admonition of the Lord, decla∣reth such principles as a parent hath receiued from the Lord, and learned out of Gods word: such as may teach a childe to feare the Lord, such as tend to true pietie and religion: whence further I obserue, that
Parents must especially teach their children their dutie to*God. Come children (saith the Psalmist) hearken vnto me, I will teach you the feare of the Lord. Of this particular more largely * hereafter.
§. 123. Of the subiection which beleeuing seruants owe.
Because there is yet another order in the family besides those which haue been noted before, namely the order of Masters & seruants, the Apostle prescribeth also vnto them their dutie.
As he began with wiues and children, in the two former orders, so here he beginneth with seruants who are the infe∣riours, for the same reasons * before rendred.
The Apostle is somewhat copious in laying forth the duties of seruants, and in vrging them to performe their dutie; and that for two especiall reasons: One in respect of those, whose masters were infidels: another in respect of those, whose ma∣sters were Saints.
1. Many seruants there were in those daies wherein the * Gospell was first preached to the Gentiles, that by the prea∣ching thereof were conuerted, whose masters embraced not the Gospell: whereupon those seruants began to conceit that they being Christians, ought not to be subiect to their ma∣sters that were infidels.
2. Other seruants there were whose Masters beleeued the Gospell as well as they: now because the Gospell taught, that there is neither bond nor free, but all are one in Christ Iesus: they thought that they ought not to be subiect to their master who was their brother in Christ.
These two preposterous and presumptuous conceits doth the Apostle intimate, and expresly meet with in b another Page 160 place. And because they had taken too deepe rooting in the mindes of many seruants, the Apostle here in this place la∣boureth the more earnestly to root them out, and that by a thorow pressing vpon their conscience that subiection where∣in they are bound to their masters, as masters, whatsoeuer their disposition were. Hereof more * afterwards.
Here by the way, note three points.
§. 124. Of the meaning of the fift verse.
EPHES. 6. 5.
THis title (Seruants) is a generall title, which may be ap∣plied * to all such as by any outward ciuill bond, or right, * owe their seruice to another: of what sex soeuer the persons themselues be: or of what kinde soeuer their seruitude is: whether more seruile or liberall.
Seruile, as being borne seruants, or sold for seruants, or ta∣ken in warre, or ransomed; For of old they were called ser∣uants, who being taken in warre, were saued from death.
Liberall, as being by voluntary contract made seruants, whe∣ther at will, as some seruing-men, iournie men, and labourers; or for a certaine terme of yeeres, as prentises, clearkes, and such like. Wherefore whatsoeuer the birth, parentage, estate, or former condition of any haue beene; being
Seruants they must be subiect, and doe the dutie of seruants: the * Apostles indefinite title (seruants) admitteth no excepti∣on of any.
The other title (Masters) hath as large an extent compri∣sing * vnder it both sexes, Masters and Mistresses: and of these all sorts, great and meane, rich and poore, strong and weake, Page 161 faithfull and infidels, true professors and profane; superstiti∣ous, idolatrous, hereticall persons, or the like: so as
No condition or disposition of the master exempteth a seruant*from performing dutie to him.
Among other degrees and differences, most especially let it be noted that both sexes, mistresses as well as masters, are here meant, that so the duties which are enioyned to be per∣formed to masters may answerably be performed to mistresses (so farre as they are common to both) and that both by maid∣seruants, and also by men-seruants that are vnder mistresses. In families mistresses are as ordinary as masters, and therefore I thought good to giue an especiall item of this.
Vnder this word (obey) are comprised all those duties which * seruants owe to their masters: it is the same word that was be∣fore vsed in the first verse: and it hath as large an extent here being applied to seruants, as it had there being applied to children: It sheweth that
The rule of seruants (as seruants) is the will of their Master.*
This clause (according to the flesh) is by some referred to the action of obedience, as if it were added by the Apostle to shew what kinde of obedience seruants owe to their masters, namely a ciuill, corporall obedience in temporall things, opposed to that spirituall obedience which is due to God alone.
Ans. Though distinction may be made betwixt that seruice which is due to God, and that which is due to man, yet this ap∣plication of this phrase in this place may giue occasion to ser∣uants to thinke that if they performe outward seruice to their masters all is well, they owe no inward feare, or honour, which is an error that the Apostle doth here mainly oppose against.
But because this clause (according to the flesh) is immediatly * ioyned to Masters, I referre it to the persons to whom obe∣dience is to be giuen, and so take it as a description of them, as if he had said, to fleshly or bodily Masters.
The Apostle thus describeth masters for these reasons.
1. For distinction: to shew he meanes such masters as are of the same mould that seruants are: so distinguishing them from God who is a spirit: thus doth the Apostle distinguish betwixt fathers of our flesh, and father of spirits.*
Page 162 2. For preuention: left seruants might say, our masters are flesh and bloud as we are, why then should we be subiect to them? To meet with that conceit, the Apostle expresly saith that obedience is due to masters after the flesh.
3. For mitigation of their seruitude: for their masters be∣ing flesh, they haue no power but ouer the bodies of their ser∣uants: their spirits are free from them: in which respect the Apostle calleth Christian seruants the Lords freemen.*
4. For consolation against their present condition, which is but for a time, because their masters are flesh: whatsoeuer is according to the flesh is of no long continuance, but hath his date.
5. For direction: to shew in what things especially that obedience which properly belongeth to a master consisteth: namely in ciuill, outward things: for euery one must be ser∣ued according to his nature. As God being spirit, must in spirit be serued: so man being flesh must in flesh be serued. Now this seruice in the flesh is not opposed to sincere and vp∣right seruice, but to spirituall. Thus by consequence that may be intended, which some would haue principally to be meant.
Obiect. Masters may command spirituall things, namely to worship God, and after such and such a manner.
Answ. Of his owne head he cannot command such things: there must be an higher warrant for the doing of them then the commandement of a man.
A maine point here intended is this, that
Masters are not to be lightly respected because they be after the*flesh: that is, weake, fraile, of short continuance, of the same na∣ture that seruants are.
Lest vpon the forenamed description of masters, seruants * should take to themselues too much heart, the Apostle annex∣eth this clause (with feare and trembling, &c.) which hath rela∣tion to the manner of their obedience. No slauish feare is here meant, as if seruants should liue in continuall dread, or trem∣ble at the sight of their masters: a seruant by the tyrannie of some master may be brought so to doe: but to doe so is no Christian dutie: that which the Apostle here requireth is a Page 163 dutie belonging to all Christian seruants towards all sorts of masters, euen the mildest that be. It is therefore an awfull respect of the authority of a master, and a dutifull reuerence to his person which is here required: and it is opposed to saw∣cinesse, malepartnesse, boldnesse, stoutnesse, answering againe, murmuring and muttering against their masters, and other like vices. To shew how foule those faults be, and what great respect seruants ought to beare to their masters, these two words (feare, and trembling) are ioyned together: which in * effect declare one and the same thing: but yet for explication sake they may be distinguished. For *Feare signifieth a re∣uerend respect of one: it is that which in the former Chap∣ter was required of wiues: though the thing in generall which is required of wiues and seruants is the same, yet the particular manner and measure of a seruants feare is farre different.
*Trembling is more proper to seruants: it is a dread of pu∣nishment: and it is required of seruants, not as if they should doe all things simply for feare of punishment, but because God hath put a staffe into a masters hands, seruants must trem∣ble at that power their masters haue, and feare to prouoke them to strike. To this purpose saith the Apostle to subiects in regard of the power which a Magistrate hath, be afraid, for*he beareth not the sword in vaine.
Hence learne that
The authority of a Master ought to strike a seruants heart with*dread.
The dread which seruants ought to haue of their masters power and authority maketh many to care for no more then to auoid their masters displeasure: wherefore the Apostle addeth a further degree of a seruants subiection, namely that * it be in singlenesse of heart, that is, honest, intire, vpright: for this is opposed to hypocrisie, dissimulation, and fraud: yea of YOVR heart, not anothers: another in the simplicity of his heart may thinke you doe a thing better then you doe, by a charitable construction of euerie thing, but if in singlenesse of your owne heart you doe it, it will in truth be as it appeareth to be. So as
The Apostle giues this direction to Christians who haue to doe not only with masters according to the flesh (who only see the outward appearance) but also with the master of spirits * who looketh on the heart: and therefore also he added this clause, as vnto Christ: teaching seruants thereby that
Seruants in their obedience to their masters, must approue*themselues to Iesus Christ as well as to their masters after the flesh.
This phrase (as vnto Christ) implieth as much as that (in the Lord) whereof we spake * before.
§. 125. Of the meaning of the sixt verse.
EPHES. 6. 6.
THis and the verse following are added as a further expli∣cation of the last clause of the former verse. It should seeme that seruants, howsoeuer they might in some measure performe the maine dutie of obedience, yet failed exceedingly in the manner of performing it. Because masters were but men, masters according to the flesh, who neither had power ouer the heart, nor could discerne the disposition thereof, seruants thought they had well done their dutie, if they had outwardly performed what their master required: now to root out this bitter weed, and to reforme this corrupt conceit, the Apostle is more large in cleering the point of sincere and vpright ser∣uice: therefore, the more fully to expresse his minde and mea∣ning, first he layeth downe the vice contrarie to the foresaid sincerity (for contraries laid together doe much set forth one * another) and then returneth more distinctly to declare the vertue. Whence note
Those points are most to be vrged vpon people, wherein they*most faile.
The vice here noted to be contrarie to sincere seruice is ter∣med *eie-seruice. Our English word doth properly and fitly an∣swer Page 165 the originall, both in the notation, and in the true sense and meaning of it. It implieth a meere outward seruice only * to satisfie the eie of man:
|And that is twofold,||Hypocriticall,|
Hypocriticall seruice is that which is meerely in shew: when that is pretended to be done which indeed is not done; as if a seruant should come from his masters worke all in a sweat, as if he had taken extraordinary paines therein, whereas he hath done nothing at all, but otherwise made himselfe to sweat, or only made a shew of sweat.
Parasiticall seruice is that which is indeed done, but in pre∣sence of the master: such seruants are they who will be very diligent and faithfull in doing such things as their masters see, or shall come to their notice: but otherwise behinde their masters backe, and in things which they hope shall neuer come to his knowledge, they will be as negligent, and vn∣faithfull as if they were no seruants. Yet to satisfie their ma∣sters, and to sooth them, they will doe any thing though neuer so vnlawfull.
From this vice thus discouered note, that
God requireth more then that which may satisfie mans eie.* Gods eie is a piercing eie, and can see much foulnesse, where to mans eie all things seeme very faire: so as they much deceiue themselues who thinke all is well because no man can say to them, blacke is thine eie.
Those that content themselues with doing eie-seruice the * Apostle here termeth men-pleasers: which title he giueth vn∣to them for two especiall reasons.
1. To shew the ground of eie-seruice: which is because all their care is to please their master, who is a man: for well they know that man can see but the outward shew, or that which is done before his face.
2. To shew the hainousnesse of that sinne: for it is tainted with Atheisme, in that the man guilty thereof hath no respect to God: but preferreth his master before God: he careth not to please God so he please his master: for this is the emphasis of that word (men-pleasers) It is spoken in opposition to God, Page 166 as the Apostle implieth in another place, saying, If I yet pleased*men, I should not be the seruant of Christ.
Obiect. How can it be so hainous a sinne to be men-pleasers,* when the Apostle aduiseth seruants to please their masters in all things?
1. Answ. The aduice there giuen is not simply to please, but to *please well, as the originall word properly signifieth, and the Kings translators haue fitly turned it.
2. Answ. That generall particle (all things) must be re∣strained * to the duties of a seruant, and to all the parts of obe∣dience, which he there mentioneth in the words immediatly going before. Seruants therefore must please their masters in all things that their masters haue power to require at their hands, and they are bound to doe. Men-pleasing, here spo∣ken of, is opposed to pleasing of God. Pleasing of men there mentioned is subordinate to our pleasing of God: here to please men is to sooth them vp in euerie thing good or euill: there to please them is conscionably to obey them in euerie lawfull thing. Here is condemned a seeking to please men in the first place, and that only, and wholly in euery thing, where∣as we ought first to seeke Gods approbation, then the testi∣mony of a good conscience, and after these a pleasing of men, but in, for, and vnder God. Hence then obserue that
A seruant must not wholly giue himselfe to sooth and please*his master: for so may he in many things highly displease Al∣mighty God.
To auoid the two forenamed sinnes, eie-seruice, and men-pleasing, the Apostle giueth an excellent direction in these words, as the seruants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart, where we may obserue Seruants of Christ to be opposed to men-pleasers, and doing Gods will from the heart to eie-seruice.
Seruants of Christ, are they who know that their masters are in * Christs place, beare his image, haue their authority from him, and are vnder him: so as in seruing their masters they serue * Christ: and so farre as they may serue both together, they will: but if they proue contrarie masters, and thereupon one of necessity must be left, then they will cleaue vnto the highest master, which is Christ: and in this respect they are called thePage 167Lords freemen, 1. Cor. 7. 22. Thus we see how a seruant may * be no seruant, if he doe all things for the Lord.
From this opposition betwixt men-pleasers and seruants of Christ, note that
They who in all things giue themselues to please men are no ser∣uants of Christ.
That we may the better know who are seruants of Christ, * the Apostle addeth a description of them in these words (do∣ing the will of God from the heart.) Christs will is Gods will: for as Christ is God, the fathers will and his is all one: as he is man he wholly ordereth his will by his fathers, he seeketh not*his owne will, but the will of the father that sent him.
This description of a seruant of Christ the Apostle addeth partly as a direction to seruants to teach them how in seruing their masters, they may be seruants of Christ, (namely, in ha∣uing an eie to Gods word, whereby his will is reuealed both for the matter and manner of all things which they doe) and partly as a motiue to perswade them to be content with their place, and cheerefully to doe their dutie, because so is the will of God.
Gods will is that which must direct and settle euery one in the*things which they doe: for Gods will is the rule of that which is right. Euery thing is very right which he willeth: and no∣thing is right that swerueth from his will.
To put a difference betwixt Christ and other masters, and to shew that he looketh not (as man doth) vpon the out∣ward appearance, but beholdeth the heart, the Apostle an∣nexeth this clause (from the heart.) And it declareth that
A good thing must be well done. To doe that which is Gods * will, commended by his word, is for substance a good thing: to doe it from the heart, is the right manner of doing it: That which being good is done after a right manner, is well done.
§. 126. Of the meaning of the seuenth verse.
EPHES. 6. 7. With good will doing service as to the Lord and not to men.
IN this verse the Apostle doth yet againe inculcate the fore∣named point concerning seruants manner of obeying their masters, and their care therein to approue themselues to their highest master: whence obserue that
Matters needfull and weightie are againe and againe to be pres∣sed.* This is a needfull point, because seruants exceedingly faile therein: and a weightie point it is, because all the com∣fort and benefit of seruice consisteth in Gods approbation. But the former point is not here meerely and barely repeated, but so set downe as other good directions are afforded to ser∣uants * for their manner of obedience.
1. To serue with good will, is somewhat more then with sin∣glenesse of heart. For it further implieth
1. A readinesse and cheerefulnesse in doing a thing; a doing it with a good minde, as the notation of the Greeke word * sheweth.
2. A desire and endeuour that their masters may reape pro∣fit and benefit by their seruice: whereby they shew that they beare a good will, and good minde to their masters.
In setting downe seruants duties, the Apostle vseth another word then before in the fift verse, namely this (doing seruice)* wherby he sheweth that a seruants place and dutie is of a more abiect and inferiour kinde then the place and dutie of a childe or a wife: the former word (aobey) was common to all: this word (bdoing seruice) is proper to seruants: and the very title of a cseruant, is deriued from thence. Hence note that
Though wiues and children be inferiours as well as seruants, yet*may not seruants looke for such priuiledges as they haue. Another manner of subiection must be performed by seruants.
The clause annexed (as to the Lord) is in effect the same * with that in the 5. verse (as to Christ) for by the Lord he here meaneth The Lord Christ. But it is added to meet with a secret Obiection. For if seruants should say, You require us to serue*Page 169our masters with good will, but what if they be hard-hearted and regard not our good will, but peruert our good minde? The Apo∣stle * giueth them this answer, Looke not so much to men and their reward, as to God and his reward: serue men in and for the Lord, euen as if you serued God: so shall not your seruice be in vaine. The inference of the eighth verse vpon this, sheweth that this is it which the Apostle here intendeth. Learne therefore that
An eie is to be cast vpon God euen in those duties which we per∣forme*to men: and that both for approbation and reward from God.
The negatiue clause which followeth in these words (and not to men) is not simplie to be taken (for then would it thwart the maine scope of the Apostle in this place) but compara∣tiuely in relation to God, and that in two respects.
1. That seruice be not done only to men.
2. That seruice be not done to men in and for themselues. Seruice must be done to God as well as men: yea In that ser∣uice*which we doe to men, we must serue God. Men must be ser∣ued for the Lords sake, because the Lord hath commanded it, because they beare the Lords image, and stand in his stead: in the Lord, and vnder the Lord.
From this large declaration of the manner of doing seruice * to masters note the difference betwixt such seruants as are ser∣uants of men, and such as are seruants of Christ.
- 1. They doe all to the eie. These all from the heart.
- 2. They seeke to please men. These doe the will of God.
- 3. They doe their seruice discontentedly. These cheerefully.
- 4. They doe all vpon selfe-loue. These with good will.
§. 127. Of the meaning of the eight verse.
EPHES. 6. 8.
GReat is the ingratitude of many masters: they will exact * all the seruice that a poore seruant possibly can doe, but slenderly recompence his paines: yea, it may be, very euilly re∣ward Page 170 the same, not affording competent food, clothing, lodging, but frownes, checkes, and blowes. Now to vphold seruants in such straits, and to incourage them to doe their du∣tie whether their masters regard it or no, the Apostle in this verse laboureth to raise vp their mindes to God: and to shew vnto them that he regardeth them, and will sufficiently reward them, so as
Seruants labour shall not be in vaine in the Lord. To presse * this incouragement the more vpon them, he setteth it downe as a thing granted by all, so cleere as none of them can be ig∣norant thereof (Knowing) as if he had said, ye all well enough * know that what I now say is most true: hence note that
Gods respect of faithfull seruants is so well knowne, as none that*haue any vnderstanding can be ignorant thereof.
The Apostles argument is drawne from the generall to a par∣ticular,* and the generality is noted in the thing done (whatso∣euer) and in the person that doth it (any man.) But because the generalitie of the thing might be too farre stretched, he addeth this limitation (good) and because the generalitie of the person might be too much restrained, he addeth this ex∣plication (whether bond or free.) This distinction is vsed be∣cause in those daies many seruants were bond-men and bond∣women. Now the Apostles argument may thus be framed: Euery one of what estate and degree soeuer he be, shall be rewarded of God for euery good thing he doth, be it great or small. There∣fore euery seruant shall be rewarded of God for euery good seruice.
The recompence promised is set forth vnder a concise speech (the same shall he receiue) meaning that he shall receiue * a reward for the same: that phrase hath relation to the crop which an husbandman receiueth of the corne he sowed, which is of the same kinde he sowed: m the seed being wheat, the crop is of wheat: the n seed being plentifully sowed, the crop will be plentifull: to the same purpose saith this Apostle in another place, whatsoeuer a man sowethothat shall he also*reape. Now to applie this, seruants that by their faithfull ser∣uice bring honour and glory to God, shall againe receiue ho∣nour and glorie. If they aske of whom they shall receiue it, the Page 171 Apostle expresly answereth, Of the Lord: for it is the Lord that * said, pThem that honour me will I honour. God will not forget them, though their masters may.
From this verse thus opened, I gather these particular obser∣uations, concerning seruants.
1. Seruants may and ought to applie vnto themselues generall*promises made to Christians. Otherwise this generall argument of the Apostle is to little purpose in this place.
2. A Christian may be a bond-slaue: for the Apostle directeth this incouragement to Christians, among whom he presuppo∣seth * some to be slaues, opposing them to free-men, who also were seruants.
3. Faithfull seruice performed to men is a good thing: for the * good things which seruants especially doe is in their seruice.
4. As God accepteth not men because they are free, so neither*reiecteth he them because they are bond. It is not the person, but the worke that he regardeth.
5. The faithfull seruice of seruants is as good seed sowen: it * will bring forth a good crop. The metaphor here intimated implieth as much.
6. God is honoured by the faithfull seruice of seruants: this is * intimated by the application of Gods reward to them, for God honoureth none but them which honour him.
§. 128. Of the connexion of masters duties with seruants.
EPHES. 6. 9.
TO the duties of seruants the Apostle adioyneth the duties of masters, saying, AND ye ma∣sters: whence learne that
Masters are as well bound to du∣tie as seruants. A like doctrine was no∣ted from the connexion of parents duties with chil∣drens: there you may see this generall further ampli∣fied,* §. 115.
1. Gods law requireth as much: for it expresly inioyneth Page 172 many duties to masters (as in the eighth treatise following we shall see.)
2. So doth also the law of nature which hath tied master and seruant together by a mutuall and reciprocall bond, of do∣ing good, as well as of receiuing good.
3. The law of nations requireth also as much: For in all nations where euer there was any good gouernment, and where wise, and good lawes were made, particular lawes of the duties of masters haue beene made.
4. The law of equitie doth so also. One good deserueth another good: therefore the Apostle saith to masters, giue vn∣to your seruants that which is iust and equall.*
Now let masters take notice hereof: and know that God the great Lord of all hath made this relation betwixt master and seruant, and hath set each of them in their seuerall and distinct places for the mutuall good of one another, so as seruants are no more for the good of masters, then masters are for the good of seruants. Wherefore, as they looke for dutie, let them per∣forme dutie: if seruants faile in their dutie, let masters see if they themselues be not the cause thereof, by failing in theirs. Their authoritie will be no excuse before Christ, but a meanes to aggrauate their fault, and increase their condemnation: for the greater the talent is, the more diligence is expected, and the straiter account shall be exacted.
§. 129. Of the meaning of this phrase, Doe the same things.
These two titles (Masters, Seruants) are so taken here as they were * before in the fift verse.
All the duties of masters are comprised vnder this phrase, doe the same things: which at first sight may seeme to be some∣what * strange: for may some say, The things which seruants must doe are these, to feare, to obey, to doe seruice, with the like, and are masters to doe the same things?
Answ. 1. These words are not to be referred to those par∣ticular duties which are proper to seruants, but to those gene∣rall rules of equitie which are common to masters as well as seruants; namely, that in their seuerall places, with singlenesse of heart, as vnto Christ, not with eie seruice as men pleasers, but as the seruants of Christ they doe the will of God from the heart.
Page 173 2. Those words may be referred to the eight verse, the verse going immediatly before, which laieth downe a gene∣rall rule for all men in their seuerall places to doe the good things of their places. Now then as seruants must haue an eie to their places to doe the good things thereof, so masters must doe the same things: that is, they must haue an eie to their pla∣ces, to doe the good things thereof.
3. Those words may be taken without reference to any for∣mer words, and expounded of a mutuall, reciprocall, and proportionable dutie that ought to passe betwixt master and seruant: not in the particulars, as if the same duties were to be performed by each of them, for that were to ouerthrow the order and degrees which God hath set betwixt master and seruant, to crosse Gods ordinance, and inferre contradiction: but in generall, that duties are to be performed of each to other: in which respect the Apostle said * before of all sorts, superi∣ours, and inferiours, Submit your selues one to another. And thus by this phrase the doctrine before mentioned is confir∣med, that Masters are as well bound to dutie as seruants.
None of these answers thwart another, but all of them may well be admitted, and all of them well stand together. They all imply a common equitie betwixt masters and seruants, but no equalitie: mutuall duties, but diuers and distinct duties, appertaining to their seuerall places. Compare with this text, that which the Apostle himselfe hath more plainly and fully noted (Col. 4. 1.) and we shall obserue him to expound his own meaning, for that which here he implieth vnder this phrase (the same things) that he expresseth there vnder these two words, iust, equall: whereof we shall * hereafter more distinctly speake.
Purposely doth the Apostle infold masters duties vnder this generall phrase (the same things) to preuent a secret obiection raised from the eminency and superioritie of masters aboue seruants, which maketh them thinke, that seruants are only for the vse of masters, and that masters are no way tied to their seruants. But if in the generall masters must doe the same things, then they are for their seruants good, as well as seruants for theirs.
§. 130. Of masters forbearing threatning.
The Apostle in these words (forbearing threatning) doth * not simply forbid all manner of threatning, but only prescribe a moderation thereof: and * so much haue the Kings transla∣tors well expressed in the margin against this Text. Threat∣ning is a dutie which, as occasion serueth, masters ought to vse, and that to preuent blowes. But men in authoritie are na∣turally prone to insult ouer their inferiours, and to thinke that they cannot shew their authoritie but by austerit ie: for which reason the Apostle dehorteth husbands from abitternesse, and parents from bprouoking their children to wrath. Besides, the * Gentiles and Heathen thought that they had an absolute power ouer seruants, and that of life and death: whereupon the Roman Emperors made lawes to restraine that rigour: for they would vse their seruants like beasts. Now that Christian masters should not be of the same minde, the Apostle exhor∣teth them to forbeare threatning. Hence note that
Authoritie must be moderated and kept in compasse: else will * it be like a swelling riuer without bankes and wals.
Threatning is here put for all manner of rigor, whether in heart, looke, words, or actions: for it is vsuall in Scripture to put one instance for all of the same kinde.
Forbearing, implieth a restraint of all manner of excesse, as
1. In time and continuance: when there is nothing but continuall threatning vpon euery small and light occasion.
2. In measure; when threatning is too fierce, and violent, so as it maketh the heart to swell againe, and as it were fire to come out of the eies, and thunder out of the mouth, and the body to shake in euery part thereof.
3. In execution; when euery vengeance once threatned shall surely be put in execution, though the partie that caused the threatning be neuer so sorie for his fault, and humble him∣selfe, and promise amendment, and giue good hope thereof. Woe were it with vs the seruants of the high God, if he should so deale with vs.
Here note that men may exceed in doing a bounden dutie: and * so turne a needfull vertue into an hurtfull vice: great respect Page 175 therefore must be had to the manner of doing good and lawfull things.
Yet further for the extent of this prohibition, we are to know that vnder the vice forbidden the contrarie vertues are commanded, as mildnesse, gentlenesse, patience, long suffe∣ring, with the like.
§. 131. Of masters subiection to a greater master.
The latter part of this verse containeth a reason to enforce the directions in the former part. The reason in summe layeth downe that subiection wherein masters are vnder God. A point whereof none of them could be ignorant, and therefore he thus setteth it downe, knowing: for, *
All men know that there is an higher then the highest on earth.* The light of nature reuealeth as much, no Pagan, much lesse Christian, can be ignorant thereof. In that speaking to ma∣sters he telleth them that they haue a master, thereby he giueth them to vnderstand, that
They which are in authoritie, are also vnder authoritie: masters * haue a master. For God is Lord of Lords, Master of masters. In this respect saith Ioseph a great Gouernour, am not I vnder God?
These two little particles (euen your, or your also) adde some * emphasis: hauing reference to seruants, as if he had said, as well your master, as your seruants master. Some Greeke co∣pies, for more perspicuitie, thus read it (both your and their ma∣ster)* the sense is all one which way soeuer we read it: It shew∣eth that in relation to God,
Masters and seruants are in the same subiection, and vnder a * like command. There is one master, euen Christ: and all men whosoeuer are brethren, fellow-seruants.
§. 132. Of Gods being in heauen.
That great Master, vnder whom all masters on earth are, is here said to be in heauen, the more to commend and set forth his dignitie and authoritie: and to make masters to stand in the more awe of him: To like purpose Dauid hauing set forth God * sitting in the heauens, inferreth this exhortation vnto the great Commanders on earth, Be wise now therefore, ôye Kings, be in∣structed, ye Iudges of the earth: Serue the Lord with feare, and reioyce with trembling.
Page 176Object. This placing of God in heauen, maketh such as feare not God the more insolent and secure: for they will be readie to thinke and say, How doth God know? can he iudge thorow the*darke cloud? Thicke clouds are a couering to him that he seeth not, and he walketh in the circuit of he auen?
Answ. 1. The Apostle wrote to Christian masters, who thought better of God then such Atheists did.
2. The placing of God in heauen doth not bound him with∣in the compasse thereof: for cthe heauen, and the heauen of hea∣uens cannot containe him.dHe filleth heauen and earth.eThough heauen be his throne, yet the earth also is his footstoole. But be∣cause the Lord doth most manifest his glorie in heauen, and from heauen, therefore *by an excellencie is he said to be in hea∣uen: and that in three especiall respects.
1. To shew that there is no proportion betwixt him and earthly masters, be they neuer so great. For as the heauen is higher then the earth, so is God more excellent, yea infinitely more excellent then any man. Who is like vnto the Lord our God*who dwelleth on high? There is no such difference betwixt ma∣sters and seruants on earth.
2. To shew that he hath his eyes continually on all his ser∣uants: he seeth euerie thing that they doe, as one placed aboue others seeth all that are vnder him. gFrom heauen doth the Lord behold the earth.hThe Lord looketh from heauen, he beholdeth all the sonnes of men.iThe eyes of the Lord are in euerie place, beholding the euill and the good. So as this phrase noteth the cleane contrarie to that which was before obiected by wicked Atheists.
3. To shew that he is Almightie: able both to recompence his faithfull seruants (whereupon Dauid saith, Unto thee lift I*vp mine eyes, ô thou that dwellest in the heauens) and also to exe∣cute vengeance on those that are vnfaithfull to God, and cruell to their seruants (whereupon saith Salomon, if thou seest oppression*&c. maruell not: for he that is higher then the highest regardeth.)
From this place of God (in heauen) we learne these lessons.
1. The eie of faith is needfull to behold God withall, for hea∣uen * is too high for any bodily eie to pierce into. But by Faith did Moses see him who is inuisible.
3. They who cannot be heard on earth, haue yet one to appeale*vnto. There is a master in heauen.
4. The command vnder which earthly masters are, is farre*greater then that which they haue: for their commander is in heauen.
§. 133. Of Gods hauing no respect of persons.
The Apostle further addeth of God the great master of all, that with him there is no respect of persons. The Hebrew word vsed to set forth this point signifieth aa face: so doth also the Greeke word here translated *person: it signifieth both face and person. Now we know that the face of a man is outward, and that which of all other parts maketh him most amiable in anothers eie. It is opposed to that which is inward, euen the heart: in which respect it is said that the Lord seeth not as*man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Here by a Synecdoche, face or person is put for euery outward quality, state, or condition which maketh one to be preferred before another in mans appro∣bation, as beautie, comelinesse, stature, wealth, honour, autho∣ritie, and the like. Now in that God receineth not, or respecteth not persons, it sheweth that God preferreth not any one before another for any the forenamed outward respects, or any other like to them. Elihu plainly expoundeth this phrase in these words, he accepteth not the person of princes, nor regardeth the*rich more then the poore. The phrase is taken from them that sit in thrones of iudgement, where their eies should be blinded, that they may not see the face or person of those that are brought before them: but only heare the cause.
This properly is here noted of God, to meet with a vaine conceit of many masters, who though they know that God is their master as well as their seruants master, yet thinke that God will not call them so straitly to account, but wil suffer and tolerate them, because they are of a higher ranke, and in a bet∣ter condition then seruants: But by this phrase the Apostle sheweth that
Many good lessons may be learned from hence: as among other, these,
1. The poorest and meanest that be may haue as free accesse to God as the wealthiest and greatest: and their sure shall be as soone receiued.
2. The great ones on earth, haue as great cause to feare the reuenging hand of God for any sinne, as meane ones.
3. It becommeth magistrates and all in authority to carrie themselues impartially towards all that are vnder them: for they are in Gods roome. Respect of persons is the cause of all that iniustice and wrong which magistrates doe.
4. It becommeth ministers to be faithfull in all Gods house, and with an euen hand to sow the seed of Gods word, and to keepe themselues pure from the bloud of all men: for they are Gods stewards and ambassadors; and therefore they must haue no re∣spect of persons.