Clavis mystica a key opening divers difficult and mysterious texts of Holy Scripture; handled in seventy sermons, preached at solemn and most celebrious assemblies, upon speciall occasions, in England and France. By Daniel Featley, D.D.
Featley, Daniel, 1582-1645.
Page  122

THE APOSTOLICK BISHOP. A Sermon preached at the Consecration of the L. B. of Bristow, before his Grace, and the Lord Keeper of the Great Seale, and divers other Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and other persons of eminent quality, in Lambeth Chappell. A.D. 1622. March 23. THE TENTH SERMON.


JOHN 20.22.

And when hee had said this, hee breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive yee the holy Ghost.

Most Reverend, Right Honourable, Right Reverend, Right Worshipfull, &c.

A Diamond is not cut but by the point of a Diamond, nor the sunne-beame discerned but by the light of the beame, nor the understanding faculty of the soule apprehended but by the faculty of understanding, nor can the receiving of the holy Ghost bee conceived or delivered, without receiving in somea degree that ho∣liest Spirit.b Hee that will blazon the armes of the Queen of affections, Eloquence, must borrow her own pencill and colours: nor may any undertake to expound this text, and declare the power of this gift here mentioned, but by the gift of this power. Wherefore as in the interpretation of other inspired Scriptures, wee are humbly to intreat the assistance of the Inspirer, so more especially in the explication and ap∣plication of this, which is not onely effectivè à spiritu, but also objectivè de spiritu, not onely indited and penned (as all other) by the spirit, but also of the spirit. This of all other is a most mysterious text, which being rightly understood, and pressed home, will not only remove the weaker fence be∣tweene us and the Greeke Church, touching the procession of the Holy Page  123 Ghost from the Sonne; but also beat downe and demolish the strong and high partition wall betweene the reformed and the Romane Church, built upon S. Peters supremacy. For if Christ therefore used the Ceremony of breathing upon his Apostles, with this forme of words, Receive yee the Holy Ghost, as it were of set purpose, visibly to represent the proceeding of the holy Spirit from himselfe, why should not the Greeke Church ac∣knowledge with us, the eternall emanation of the holy Ghost from the Sonne as well as the Father? and acknowledging it, joyne with us in the fellowship of the same spirit? Our difference and contestation with the Church of Rome in point of S. Peters primacy, is far greater I confesse. For the head of all controversies between us and them, is the controversie con∣cerning the head of the Church. Yet even this, how involved soever they make it, may be resolved by this text alone. For if Christ sent all his Apo∣stles, as his Father sent him, if he breathed indifferently upon all, if he gave his spirit, and with it full power of remittting and retaining sinnes to them all, then is there no ground here for S. Peters jurisdiction over the rest, much lesse the Popes: and if none here, none elsewhere, as the sequell will shew. For howsoever Cajetan and Hart, and some few Papists, by jingling Saint PeterscKeyes, and distinguishing of a key,

  • 1 Of knowledge,
  • 2 Of power: and this,
    • 1 Of order,
    • 2 Of jurisdiction: and that,
      • 1 In foro exteriori, the outward court,
      • 2 Foro interiori, the inward court of conscience;
goe about to confound the harmony of the Evangelists, who set all the same tune, but to a different key: yet this is confessed on all sides by the Fathers, Hilary, Jerome, Austine, Anselme; and by the Schoole-men, Lum∣bard, Aquinas, Allensis, and Scotus, alledged by CardinalldBellarmine, that what Christ promised to Peter,e he performed and made good to him here; but here the wholefbunch of keyes is offered to all the Apostles, and all of them receive them, all are joyned with S. Peter as well in the mission (as my Father sent mee, so I send you) as in the Commission.

Lastly, as this text containes a soveraigne Antidote against the infection of later heresies, so also against the poyson of the more ancient and farther spread impieties of Arrius and Macedonius, whereof the one denyed the di∣vinity and eternity of the Sonne, the other of the holy Ghost, both whose damnable assertions are confuted by consequence from this text. For if Christ by breathing giveth the holy Ghost, and by giving the holy Ghost power of remitting sinne, then must Christ needs bee God; for who but God can give or send a divine person? The holy Ghost also from hence is proved to be God, for who cang forgive sinnes but God alone?

So much is our faith indebted to this Scripture; yet our calling is much more: for what can bee spoken more honourably of the sacred function of Bishops and Priests, than that the investiture and admittance into it, is the receiving of the holy Ghost?* The first action in every kind of this nature, is a president to all the rest, as all the furniture of the Ceremoniall law was Page  124 made according to the first patterne in the Mount, such is this consecration in my text, the originall and patterne of all other, wherein these particulars invite your religious attention:

  • 1 The person consecrating, Christ the chiefe Bishop of our soules.
  • 2 The persons consecrated, The Apostles the prime Pastours of the Church.
  • 3 The holy action it selfe, set forth
    • 1 With a mysterious rite, he breathed on them:
    • 2 A sanctified forme of words, receive ye the holy Ghost.

1 First, for the person consecrating. All Bishops are consecrated by him originally, to whom they are consecrated: all Priests are ordained by him to whom they are ordained Priests; the power which they are to employ for him, they receive from him, to whomhall power is given both in heaven and in earth. By vertue of which deed of gift, he makethi choice of his mi∣nisters, and hee sendeth them with authority,kas my Father sent me, so I send you: And hee furnisheth them with gifts, saying, receive yee the holy Ghost; and enableth them with a double power; of order, tol preach and administer both the sacraments; and of jurisdiction also (Matth. 18.18.) Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall bee bound in hea∣ven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shallbe loosed in heaven. And that this sacred order is to continue in the Church, and this spirituall power in this order, even till Christ resigneth up his keyes and kingdome to God his Father, S. Paul assureth us (Eph. 4.10.11.12.) Hee that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, and he gave some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastours and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the worke of the Ministe∣ry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Ver. 12. Till wee all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Sonne of God, unto a perfect man, un∣to the measure of the age of the fulnesse of Christ. Till all the Elect be come God ceaseth not to call by the ministery of the word, and none may call without a calling to call. Needs must there be therefore a settled order in the Church, for the calling of those to the ministery of the word & sacra∣ments, who are to call others by their ministery. This constant ordination of a succession in the Church, some make a royalty of Christ, or an appen∣dant to his princely function; for it is for Kings to set men in authority un∣der them in the affaires of the Kingdome. Others annexe it to his priest∣hood, because the high Priest was to consecrate inferiour Priests. A third sort will have it a branch of his propheticall office, because Prophets were to anoint Prophets. All these reasons are concludent, but none of them ex∣cludent. For the entire truth, in which these three opinions have an equall share is, that the establishing the ministery of the Gospell, and furnishing the Church with able Pastours, hath a dependance on all three offices:

  • 1 On the Kingly, in respect of heavenly power.
  • 2 On the Priestly, in respect of sacred order.
  • 3 On the Propheticall, in respect of ministeriall gifts.
Page  121 Each of Christs offices deliver into our hands as it were a key:
  • 1. Clavem Coeli.
  • 2. Clavem Sanctuarii, or Templi.
  • 3. Clavem sacrae Scripturae.
  • 1. His Kingly office conferreth on us the key of heaven, to open and shut it.
  • 2. His Priestly, the key of the Temple, to enter into it and ad∣minister holy things.
  • 3. His Propheticall, the key of holy Scripture, to open the meaning thereof.

Thus you see ordinem ordinis, an order for holy orders; you heare who is the founder of our religious order, and whose keyes we keepe. Which consideration, as it much improveth the dignity of our calling, so it repro∣veth their indignity who walke not agreeable thereunto. A scar in the face is a greater deformity than a wound or sore in any other part of the body: such is the eminency of our calling, beloved brethren, that our spots can no more be hid than the spots in the Moone: nay, that it maketh every spot in us a staine, every blemish a scar, every pricke a wound, every drop of Inke a blot, every trip a fall, every fault a crime. If we defile Christs priesthood with an impure life, we do worse than those his professed ene∣mies who spit on his face. If we foule and black with giving and receiving the wages of unrighteousnes those hands wherwith we deliver the price of mans redemption in the blessed Sacraments, we more wrong our Saviour than those who pierced his sacred hands with nailes. If we in these holy Mounts of God, wherein we should presse the purest liquor out of the grapes of the Vines of Engaddi, vent our owne spleene and malice; what doe we else than offer to Christ againe vinegar and gall? If we Christs meniall and do∣mesticall servants turnem〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 into 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as some copies mis-read, and serve the time instead of serving the Lord. If we preach our selves, and not Christ crucified; if we beare the world in hand to wooe for our master, but indeed speake for our selves; if we use the staires of the Pulpit as steps only to our preferment; if we heare our Lord and Master highly dishonoured, and dis∣semble it; if we see the Sea of Rome continually to eat into the bankes of our Church, and never goe about to make up the breaches; if that should e∣ver fall out which a sweet sounding Cymball sometimes tinckled into the eares of the Pope, thatnthe greatest enemies of Christ should be those of his owne house; if Pastours turne Impostours, if Doctours Seductours, if Prelates Pilates, if Ministers of Christ servants of Antichrist, either by silence to give way, or by smoothing Romish tenets to make way for Popery; no marvaile then if judgement begin at the house of God, as it did in the siege at Jerusalem with the slaughter of Ananus the high Priest: no marvaile if God suffer sacriledge to rob the Church of her maintenance almost in all places, when the Church her selfe is guilty of worse sacriledge, by robbing God of his worship and service. But on the contrarie, if as Ambassadours for Christ, we deliver our message faithfully and roundly; if we seeke not our owne, but the things that are Jesus Christs; if we esteeme not our pre∣ferments, Page  122 no nor our lives deere unto us in comparison of our Masters ho∣nour; if we preach Christ crucified in our lives, as well as in our sermons; if in our good name we are the sweet smelling favour of God, as well as in our doctrine, we may then, Christi nomine, in Christs stead challenge audience, yea, and reverence too from the greatest powers upon earth, (whatsoever State-flies buzze to the contrary.) For as he thatodespiseth Christs mini∣sters despiseth him, so he thatpreceiveth him receiveth them also. No man who honoureth the Prince can dis-esteeme his Ambassadours. If Scribes and Pharisees must be heard because they teach in Moses chaire, how much more, Saith St. Chrysostome, may they command our attention who sit in Christs chaire? The same Apostle who chargeth every soule to beqsubject to the higher powers, who beare not the sword in vaine, as strictly requireth the faithfull torobey them that have the rule over them in the Lord, and submit unto them: for they watch, saith he, for your soules, as they that must give ac∣count, that they may doe it with joy, and not with griefe; for that is unprofita∣ble for you. ThereforesSymmachus kept within compasse, when he thus spake to Anastasius the Emperour; Acknowledge God in us, and we will ac∣knowledge him in thee. Deus est in utroque parente, we hold from Christ as you from God, as we submit ourselves to Gods sword in your hands, so you ought to obey Christs word in our mouthes. And so I passe from the person con∣secrating to the persons consecrated.

He breathed on them, and said, receive ye the holy Ghost.

The holy Martyr St.tCyprian makes an inference from these words, for which the Popes have looked awry upon him ever since. The inference is this; Christ after his resurrection gave all his Apostles equall power, saying, as my father sent me, so I send you, receive ye the holy Ghost: whose sinnes yee remit, they are remitted. Here lest any addicted to the Papacy might thrust upon the Martyrs words this meaning, that Christ gave all the Apostles equall authority among themselves, but not equall to Peter their head, he addeth, the rest of the Apostles were the same that Peter was, admitted into an equall fellowship both of honour and power. Marke I beseech you, the Martyr speakes here not of a priviledge or singularitie, but a society, (consortio;) not a superiority, but a parity, (pari;) and this parity both in honour, (ho∣noris;) and of power also, (potestatis:) where there is a parity in honour there can be no preheminencie; where there is a parity in power there can be no supremacy. Where then will our Adversaries fasten? Upon those words of Christ,uThou art Peter, and upon this rocke will I build my Church? St. Austin beats them off this hold, expounding the rocke of Christ, not of Peter, thus, Upon me Ixwill build thee, not me upon thee. Yet if we should leave it them, the building upon Peter, or laying him in the foundation of the Church, will no more make him the supreme head of the Church than the rest of the Apostles; for we read ofytwelve foundations up∣on which the heavenly Jerusalem is built, on which the names of the twelve Apostles were engraven, and of more also: now therefore, saith he, ye are no more strangers and forreiners, but fellow Citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God; and are built upon the foundation of the Apostles andzProphets. From whence SaintaJerome inferreth, that the strength of the Church is solidly founded, and equally built upon all the Apostles.

Page  123

Will they fasten upon the promise made to Peter, (Mat. 16.19.) what∣soever thou shalt binde on earth shall be bound in heaven: these words might carry some shew of a priviledge granted to S. Peter, if S. Matthew, and the other Apostles were not joyned in Patent with him;zwhatsoever yee shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and*whose soever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them. The last refuge to which our adversaries flye, is that text,aFeede my lambs, feede my sheep. Which charge of our Saviours makes nothing for Peters supremacy, Peter himselfe being Interpreter; for what Christ gives him he gives all Elders in charge,bFeed the flocke of God which is among you. If feede my sheepe make Peter an oecumenicall Pastor, then feede the flocke of Christ, spoken in like manner to all Elders makes them oecumenicall Pastors. If the word (pasce) when it is spoken to Peter signi∣fies rule as a Monarch, then (pascite) feede yee, spoken by S. Peter to El∣ders must likewise bee interpreted, rule yee over the Flocke of God, and Church of Christ as Monarchs. For ascTully spake to Ebutius, so may I say to Bellarmine, you shall never perswade any man of understanding that words must signifie what you will have them, and conclude nothing but what you will inferre from them; that the word pasce or feede, when it serveth your purpose must be taken for to beare rule over the whole Church; and when it serveth not, then it must signifie nothing but teach, as every Pastor doth. Had the Apostles so understood the words of our Saviour to Saint Pe∣ter, Upon this rocke will I build my house, and, To thee I will give the keyes of the Kingdome of heaven, as the Church of Rome at this day doth, (viz.) I will appoint thee Head of all the Apostles, and visible Monarch of the Church, and infallible Judge of all controversies; they would never have contended, as they did afterwards,dwhich of them should bee counted greatest; they would never have taken upon them to send hime with John. It is not the manner of Subjects to send their Soveraignes in Embassages or messages, much lesse joyne any other of their Subjects in equall commissi∣on with them, as the Apostles doe John with Peter. Had the Church in the Apostles time understood that our Saviour by that charge, Pasce oves meas, Feed my sheep, made Peter universall Pastor of the whole world; and by his prayer for him, that his Faith might not faile priviledged him from all possibility of errour; they would have rested upon his resolution in the firstf Synode. Saint James would never have presumed to speake after him in the great point which was then in controversie; nor have added a distinct Head or Canon of his owne, That the Gentiles should abstaine from polluti∣on of Idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from bloud. The Apostolicall letter should have beene indorsed, not as it was, The A∣postles, and Elders, and Brethren, but, Peter, Christs Vicar, and Monarch of the Church, and the Apostles his Counsellours; or after the like manner. Had Saint Paul beleeved Saint Peter to be Head of the Church, he would never haveg withstood him to the face, as hee did at Antioch, much lesse have stood upon even tearmes with him as he doth, saying,hIn nothing am I behinde the very chiefest Apostles: and,ithey who seemed to be pillars added nothing to mee: and ver. 7. the Gospell of the uncircumcision was committed to mee, as the Gospell of the circumcision was to Peter. If any mans eyes are so dazeled with the lustre of the Popes triple Crowne, that hee cannot see Page  124Pauls equality to Peter in the letter of the text; yet hee cannot but see it in the Fathers Commentaries.kThe Apostle speaketh on this wise, saith Saint Ambrose, that or because, he is not inferiour to the chiefe Apostles, neither in preaching, nor in working miracles, nor in dignity, but in time. Saint Chry∣sostome acutely observeth, that the Apostle redoubleth his forces, and not content with that hee had said before in 2 Cor. 11.5. I suppose I was not a whit behinde the very chiefest Apostles; he addeth in the Chapter following with more confidence and authority, In nothing am I behinde the very chiefest Apostles, though I be nothing. What? not inferiour to Saint Pe∣ter? no not Saint Peter (for so it followeth in Saint Chrysostome) he sheweth himselfe to be equall in dignity to the rest; and hemcompareth himselfe not to other of the Apostles but to the chiefe, shewing that he was of equall ranke with him. See, saithn Oecumenius, how he equalizeth himselfe to Peter, or sets himselfe upon even ground with him. These were Fathers of the Greeke Church: what will our adversaries say ifoLeo Bishop of Rome, who ex∣tolled Peter above the skies, and admitteth him after a sort into the fellow∣ship of the individuall Trinity, yet maketh Saint Paul his match, saying, Let no man cast a golden apple of contention betweene these glorious instru∣ments of Christs Gospell Peter and Paul, of whose merits and vertues, which exceed all faculties of speech, or can never bee sufficiently commended, wee ought to thinke nothing divers, or put no difference at all in any respect be∣tweene them; whose calling to the Apostleship made them equall, and their travell in their office like, and their martyrdome parallel? Saint Paul then in Leo his judgement may goe everywhere hand in hand with Peter; and in very deed hee hath the hand of him in the Popes seale, which putteth Bellarmine to much trouble, and great feare, lest Saint Paul should bee ta∣ken to bee the better man of the two, because in the Popes seale, which confirmeth all his Buls, and unerring Decrees ex cathedra, Saint Paul hath the right hand, and Saint Peter the left. But hee may set his heart at rest, for no Protestant goeth about to set Saint Peter below Saint Paul, or any other Apostle: all that wee contend for among the Apostles is but for a parity: a parity there may bee in the Apostolicall power and function, and yet Peter have some preheminency in respect of his yeeres or gifts; such a primacy may be granted him without any power or jurisdiction over the rest: some power hee might have over the rest, and bee a kinde of Presi∣dent in the Apostles Colledge, yet not Christs Vicar generall, or Head of the whole Church: Head hee might bee of the Church in some sense, yet his Headship, as his Apostleship, dye with him, and not descend upon his successors: descend it might upon his successors, to wit, upon his undoub∣ted successors in Antiochia, & not be appropriated to his questionable suc∣cessors at Rome: lastly, it might be after a sort entayled to his successors at Rome, yet with a qualification, to all his lawfull successors, not to usurpers: to men, as Linus; not to women, as Pope Joane; to Catholickes, as Saint Gregory and Damasus, and all the Popes for 300. yeeres; not Heretickes, as Liberius and Honorius, and many of the latter: to such as entred canoni∣cally, as Cornelius and Stephanus, and the ancient Popes generally; not such as thrust themselves into that See, and purchased the Papacy either by art Magicke, as Sylvester the second; or by an imposture as Hildebrand; or si∣mony Page  125 and faction, as almost all since. Lastly, upon Apostolicall men in life and doctrine, not apostaticall or apotacticall, as those fifty Popes rec∣koned by Genebrard (his Holinesses Chronicler) one after another. By all which particulars seriously considered, Urban his supremacy derived from Saint Peter, appeareth to be a rope of sand, or a castle of Table-men piled one upon another without any thing to hold them together, which fall allasunder with a fillep; or an old ruinous paire of staires, the ground∣cell or foot whereof, viz. Peters superiority to the rest of the Apostles, is not sure, and all the consequences deduced from thence, like staires built upon it, are all rotten: and therefore I will stand no longer upon them, but leape into my third and last part, The manner of the Apostles consecrati∣on: and first of the mysterious rite,

Hee breathed. The truth and substance Christ himselfe, who put an end to all legall shadowes, commanding all to worship God in Spirit and truth, ordained notwithstanding mysterious rites in the Sacraments of the new Testament, and used visible and significant gestures in his miraculous cures: he gave sight to the blinde, not without touching the eye; and hearing to the deafe, not without thrusting his finger into the eare; and speech to the dumb, not without wetting the tongue: he fetched not Lazarus breath back againe, without fetching a deepe sigh; nor inspired his Disciples with the holy Ghost, without breathing upon them. Gesturesp in religious actions are as significant, and more moving than words. Decent Ceremonies in the substantiall worship of God are like shadowing in a picture, which if it bee too much (as we see in the Church of Rome) it darkeneth the picture, and obscureth the face of devotion; but if convenient, and in fit places, it giveth grace and beauty to it. Superstition may be, and is as properly in such, who put Religion in not using, as in those who put Religion in using things in their owne nature meerely indifferent. Christian liberty is in∣differently abridged by both these errours about things indifferent. And as a man may be proud even of the hatred of pride, and contempt of great∣nesse; so he may be superstitious in a causlesse feare, and heady declining of that which seemes, but is not superstitious. Which is the case of some refined Reformers (as they would bee thought) who according to their name of Precisians, ungues ad vivum resecant, pare the nailes of pretended Romish rites in our Church so neere, that they make her fingers bleede. For feare of monuments of Idolatry, all ornaments of the Church (if they might have their will) should be taken away: for feare of praying for the dead, they will not allow any prayer to be said for the living at the buriall of the dead: for feare of bread-worship, they will not kneele at the Com∣munion: for feare of invocating the Saints deceased, they will not brooke any speech of the deceased in a funerall Sermon: for feare of making matri∣mony a Sacrament, they will have it no sacred rite, but a meere civill joy∣ning the parties contracted in the congregation, not by the hand of the Mi∣nisters of God, but by the hand of their laye Elders or Borgomasters: for feare of overlaying the Queenes vesture with rich laces of ceremonies, they rip them off all, cut off the fringe, and pare off the nappe also. But because the Spouse of Christ (as things now stand) is more afraid of losing her coat than of her lace or fringe, I leave these men, as unworthy upon whom Page  126 more breath should be spent; and come to the particular rite or ceremony of breathing used by our Saviour.

Hee breathed on them. Here every Interpreter aboundeth in his owne sense:qBarradius his sense is, that this breathing shadowed forth the ghost∣ly power of remitting of sinnes, which Christ gave to his Apostles. For as by a blast of wind clouds are driven out of the aire; so by the blast of God, that is the holy Spirit, the clouds of our sinnes are dispersed; according to the words of the Prophet Esay, cap. 44.22. I have blotted out as a thicke cloud thy transgressions.rMaldonate his sense is, that Christ by this visible ceremony of breathing declared the nature of the holy Ghost, who is the breath of the Father and the Sunne.sMusculus his sense is, that Christ fitly used the ceremony of breathing, when he invested the Apostles into their function, because it hath a dependance upon the words of his mouth; be∣cause it is a power of the word, it was therefore given by breathing on them.tCalvin his sense is, that Christ added this ceremony of outward breathing upon them, to confirme their faith in the inward inspiration: the symbole or signe hee tooke from the common custome of the Scripture, which compareth the spirit to winde.uAthanasius his sense is, that as God in the creation of man breathed into him his soule, which is the be∣ginning or principle of the naturall life; so Christ here breathed into the Disciples his spirit, which is the beginning or principle of the spirituall life; that wee might know that the same God who is the author of the na∣turall life, is also the author of the life of grace; and that hee who first cre∣ated the spirit of man, reneweth all the faithfull in the spirit of their mindes. But the most naturall, genuine, and generally approved reason and inter∣pretation of this rite and ceremony is that which is given by Saint Au∣stine and Saint Cyrill (viz.) that Christ by breathing on his Apostles, when he gave them the holy Ghost, signified that the person of the holy Ghost proceeded from him, as that breath came out of his mouth. For although Theophylact infected with the present errour of the Greek Church, jeareth at this interpretation, yet neither doth hee, nor can hee give so apt and fit a one: and in this regard Cardinall Bellarmine justly taketh him up for sleighting the judgement of two of the greatest pillars of the Church. Ve∣rely, saith he, Theophylact is to be jeared at by all of the Latine Church, if hee flout at Saint Austine: and of the Greeke Church also if hee flout at Saint Cyril: for what interpretation so naturall, what reason so proper can be given of coupling this ceremony with the words, Receive yee the Holy Ghost? that is giving the holy Ghost by breathing, as this, that the holy Spirit proceedeth from his person. And so I passe from the mysterious rite of breathing, to the sanctified forme of words.

Receive yee the holy Ghost. Not the person nor the substance of the holy Ghost; for that errour the Master of the sentences was long agoe whipt by his schollars. Sanctified the Apostles were by receiving the Spirit, but not deified. What then received they at this time? some gift of the holy Ghost? that takes not away the doubt but makes it; untieth not the knot but fasteneth it rather. For as Pythagoras, when the question of marriage was put to him in his flourishing age, answered, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not yet; when in his decaying and withering age, hee replyed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not now: so if the question Page  127 be of the ordinary gifts of the holy Ghost, it may be said, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Apo∣stles were not now to receive them, because at their first calling they were seasoned with that heavenly liquor. But if the question be of the extraor∣dinary gifts of the holy Ghost, or a fuller measure of the ordinary, it may be replied, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, they were not as yet to receive them. For Christ*must first ascend before he send the holy Ghost. To take this pearle out of the eye of my text, many medicines have beene applyed. Theodoret thus offereth to remove it, Our Saviour (Joh. 16.7.) said not that hee would not give the holy Ghost before his ascension, but that he would not send him before; at this time (saith that Father) Christ gave the holy Ghost secretly, with grace; but then he sent him in a visible shape with power.xCalvin helpeth it with a di∣stinction of the receiving the holy Ghost in different degrees; now the Spi∣rit was but sprinkled, as it were, upon them; but in the day of Pentecost it was powred out on them: now they were gently breathed on, and refreshed as it were with a small gale; then they were all blowne upon, as it were with a mighty winde.y Saint Chrysostome thus expedites the difficulty; some say that Christ gave not the holy Ghost at this time, but that by his breathing on his Apostles, he made them capable, or fit to receive him; but wee may safely goe farther, and say, that the Apostles at this time received some spirituall grace or power, not of working wonders, but of remitting sinne. If you fur∣ther aske, why the power of forgiving sinnes; or, which comes all to one, why remission of sinnes is peculiarly attributed to the Spirit, and by a me∣tonymie termed the Holy Ghost: Barradius bringeth us an answer out of the schooles, thatzremission of sinnes is a worke of Gods goodnesse and mercy; now workes of goodnesse are peculiarly attributed to the holy Spirit, who pro∣ceedeth (as they determine) from the will of the Father and the Sonne, whose object is goodnesse; as workes of wisedome are attributed to the Sonne, be∣cause hee is the word, proceeding by way of generation from the understan∣ding of his Father. This reason may goe for currant in their way; neither have I any purpose at this time to crosse it, but to haste to the period of this discourse: in which that I may better discover the path of truth, in stead of many little lights which others have brought, I will set up one great taper made of the sweetest of their waxe.

The Holy Ghost is sometimes taken for the person of the Comforter, which sealeth Gods chosen to salvation: sometimes for the gifts, effects, or operations of the Holy Ghost, as it were, the prints of his scale left in the soule: these are principally three;

  • 1 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Grace.
  • 2 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, spirituall power or authority.
  • 3 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Vertue, or ghostly ability to worke wonders, and speake with divers languages.
  • 1 Is common to all them that are sanctified.
  • 2 Is peculiar to Christs Ministers.
  • 3 Restrayned to the Apostles themselves, and some few others of their immediate successors.
    Page  128
  • z1 Regenerating grace is termed the holyGhost.
  • 2 Spirituall order, or ministeriall power is called the Spirit or holy Ghost in this place, and Luk. 4.18. & Esay 61.1. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the Gospell, &c.
  • 3 Miraculous vertue is called the holy Ghost, Act. 2.4. And they were filled with the holy Ghost, and spake with divers tongues.
  • 1 The Spirit of grace and regeneration the Apostles received at their first calling.
  • 2 The Spirit of ecclesiasticall government they received at this time, &c.
  • 3 The Spirit of powerfull and extraordinary operation they re∣ceived in the day of Pentecost.
  • 1 In their mindes by infallible inspiration.
  • 2 In their tongues by multiplicity of languages.
  • 3 In their hands by miraculous cures.

Receive then the Holy Ghost, is

  • 1 A ghostly function to ordaine Pastors, and sanctifie congrega∣tions to God.
  • 2 Spirituall gifts to execute and discharge that function.
  • 3 Spirituall power or jurisdiction to countenance and support both your function and gifts.

Thus have I opened the treasury of this Scripture, out of which I now offer to your religious thoughts and affections these ensuing observations. And first in generall I commend to the fervour of your zeale and devotion, the excessive heat of Christs love, which absumed and spent him all for us, flesh and spirit. His flesh he offereth us in the Sacrament of his Supper: his spirit hee conferreth in the sacred rite of consecration. His body hee gave by those words, Take, eate, this is my body: his spirit hee gave by these, Receive ye the holy Ghost; a gift unestimable, a treasure unvaluable: for it was this spirit which quickned us when wee were dead in trespasses and sinnes, it is this spirit which fetcheth us againe when wee swoune in de∣spaire, it is this spirit that refresheth and cooleth us in the extreme heat of all persecutions, afflictions, sorrowes, and diseases; to it we owe,

  • 1 Light in our mindes.
  • 2 Warmth in our desires.
  • 3 Temper in our affections.
  • 4 Grace in our wils.
  • 5 Peace in our consciences.
  • 6 Joy in our hearts, and unspeakeable comfort in life and death.

This is the winde which blowethaupon the Spouse her garden, that the spices thereof might flow out. This is the breath which formeth the words in the cloven tongues: this is the breath which bloweth and openeth all the Page  129flowers of Paradise. This is the blast which diffuseth the savour of life through the whole Church. This is the gale which carryeth us through all the troublesome waves of this world, and bringeth us safe to the haven where we would be.

And as the Spouse of Christ, which is his mysticall body, is infinitely indebted to her head for this gift of the spirit, whereby holy congregati∣ons are furnished with Pastors, and they with gifts, and the ministery of the Gospell continually propagated; so wee above all nations in the world at this day are most bound to extoll and magnifie his goodnesse towards us herein: among whom in a manner alone, this holy seed of the Church remaineth unmixed and uncorrupt; not onely as propagated but propaga∣ting also, not children onely but Fathers. Apostolicall doctrine other re∣formed Churches maintaine; but doe they retaine also Apostolicall disci∣pline? laying of hands they have on Ministers and Pastors, but consecration of Archbishops and Bishops they have not. And because they want con∣secrated Bishops to ordaine Pastors, their very ordination is not according to ancient order. Because they want spirituall Fathers in Christ to beget children in their ministery, their Ministers by the adversary are accounted no better than filii populi; whereas will they nill they, even in regard of our Hierarchy, the most frontlesse Papists must confesse the children be∣got by our reverend Fathers in the ministery of the Gospell, to be as legi∣timate as their owne. For albeit they put the hereticke upon us, as the Arrians did upon the Catholike Fathers, calling them Athanasians, &c. yet this no way disableth either the consecration of our Bishops, nor the ordination of our Priests; not onely because we have proved the dogge ly∣eth at their doores, and that they are a kinde of mungrils of divers sorts of heretickes: but because it is the doctrine of their Church,b that the cha∣racter of order is indeleble; and therefore Archbishop Cranmer, and o∣ther of our Bishops ordained by them, if they had afterwards (as Papists most falsly suppose) fallen into heresie, could not lose their faculty of consecration and ordination. The consecration of Catholicke Bishops by Arrians, and baptisme of faithfull Christians children by Donatists, though heretickes, is made good, as well by the decrees of ancient as later Councels, determining that Sacraments administred even by heretickes, (so they observe the rite, and forme of words prescribed in holy scrip∣ture) bee of force and validity. Praysed therefore for ever bee the good will of him that dwelt in the bush, that the Rod of Aaron still flourisheth a∣mong us, and planteth and propagateth it selfe, like that Indian fig-tree so much admired by all Travellers, from the utmost branch whereof issueth a gummy juyce, which hangeth downe like a cord or finew, and within a few months reacheth the ground, which it no sooner toucheth than it ta∣keth root and maketh it selfe a tree, and that likewise another, and that like∣wise a third, and so forward till they over-runne the whole grove.

To draw nearer to you my Lord to bee consecrated, and so to an end. This scripture is part of the Gospell appointed for the Sunday after Easter, knowne to the Latine Church by the name of Dominica in albis. Which Lords day, though in the slower motion of time in our Calendar, is not yet come; yet according to exact computation, this Sunday is Dominica in al∣bis;Page  130 and if you either respect the reverend presence Candidantium, or Can∣didandi, or the sacred order of Investiture now to be performed, let your eyes be judges whether it may not truely be termed Dominica in albis, a Sunday in whites. The text it selfe, as before in the retexture thereof I shewed, is the prototypon or original of all consecrations, properly so called. For howsoever these words may bee used, and are also in the ordination of Priests, because they also receive the holy Ghost, that is, spirituall power and authority; yet they receive it not so amply and fully, nor without some li∣mitation, sith ordination and excommunication have bin ever appropriated and reserved to Bishops. And it is to be noted, that the Apostles long before this were sent by Christ to preach and baptize; and therefore they were not now ordained Priests, but consecrated Bishops, as SaintcGregory saith expressely in his illustration of these words, Receive the holy Ghost: whose sinnes yee remit, &c. Now Bishops who fit at the sterne of the Church, hold the place of those to whom Christ gave here the ghostly power of forgiving sinnes: a great honour indeed, but a great charge with∣all, and a heavie burden; so ponderous in Saint Barnards judgement, that it needs the shoulders of an Angell to beare it. The Apostles had made good proofe of their faithfulnesse in the ministry of the Word and Sacra∣ments, before Christ lifted them up to this higher staire; as likewise the venerable Personage now to bee taken up into that ranke hath done. For more than thirty yeeres hee hath shined as a starre in the firmament of our Church, and now by the primus motor in our heaven, is designed to bee an Angell (or to speake in the phrase of the Peripatetickes) an Intelligence to guide the motion of one of our Spheres. Which though it be one of the least, his Episcopall dignity is no whit diminished thereby. In SaintdHieromes account every Bishop, be his Diocesse great or small, is equally a Bishop; Episcopatus non suscipit magis & minus, one Bishop may be richer than a∣nother, or learneder, but hee cannot bee more a Bishop. Therefore how∣soevereNazianzen tooke it unkindly at Saint Basils hands, after hee was advanced to the Metropolitical See of Cappadocia, and had many good Bi∣shopricks in his gift, that he put him upon one of the meanest, being ill si∣tuated, and of small revenue; telling him flatly, that he gained nothing by his friendship but this lesson, not to trust a friend: yet it never troubled great Austine that obscure Aurelius worked himselfe into the great and famous Archbishopricke of Carthage, whilest this eminent light of the Church stucke all his life at poore Hippo: for hee well remembred the words of our Lord and Master,fBe thou faithfull in a little, and I will set thee over much.

Suffer I beseech you a word of exhortation, and but a word. Be faith∣full to your Master, seeke not your owne but the things that are Jesus Christs. It is not sufficient in Nazianzens judgement for a Bishop, not to be soyled with the dust of covetousnesse, or any other vice;g he must shine in vertue, and if hee bee not much better than other men,h hee is no good Bishop. Wherefore as it was said at the creation of the Romane Consul, praesta nomen tuum, thou art made Consul, make good thy name, consule reipublicae: So give mee leave in this day of your consecration to use a like forme of words, to you my Lord Elect; Episcopus es, praesta nomen Page  131 tuum, you are now to be made a Bishop, an Overseer of the Lords flocke, make good your name, looke over your whole Diocesse, observe not onely the sheepe but the Pastors, not only those that are lyable to your authority & jurisdiction, but those also who execute it under you. Have an eye to your eyes, and hold a strict hand over your hands, I meane your officials, colle∣ctors, and receivers; and if your eye cause you to offend, plucke it out, and if your hand, cut it off. Let it never bee said by any of your Diocesse, that they are the better in health for your not visiting them; as theiLacedemonian Pausanias answered an unskilfull Physician that asked him how hee did, the better (quoth he) because I take none of your Physick. Imprint these words alwayes in your heart, which give you your indeleble character: consi∣der whose spirit you receive by imposition of hands, and the Lord give you right understanding in all things: it is the spirit of Jesus Christ, he breathed, and said, receive the holy Spirit. This spirit of Jesus Christ is,

1 The spirit of zeale. Joh. 2.17. Bee you not cold in Gods cause, whip out buyers and sellers out of the Church.

2 The spirit of discretion. Joh. 10.14. I am the good shepheard, and know my sheepe, and am knowne of them. Know them well whom you trust with the mysteries of salvation, to whom you commit those soules which God hath purchased with his owne blood; lay not hands rashly upon any, for if theklight be darkenesse how great will the darkenesse be? If in giving holy orders, and imposition of hands there be a confusion (hand over head) how great will the confusion be in the Church?

3 The spirit of meeknesse. Matth. 11.29. Learne of me that I am meek, breake not a bruised reede, nor quench the smoaking flaxe; sis bonus O foe∣lixque tuis, be good especially to those of your own calling. Take notlAu∣relian for your patterne, whose souldiers more feared him than the enemy: but rathermTitus Vespasian, who suffered no man by his good will to goe sad from him, and in this regard was stiled, Amor & delicrae humani gene∣ris, the love and darling of mankinde. The laity shew in their name what they are durum genus; and how ill they stand affected to us,* and hardly en∣treat our tribe, all have experience who have or ever had pastorall char∣ges. Wee cannot pray them so fast into heaven, as they will sweare us out of our maintenance on earth. And what reliefe wee have at secular tribu∣nals the world seeth; and if wee must yet expect harder measure from your officers and servants, I know not to what more fitly to compare the infe∣riour of our Clergy, who spend themselves upon their parochiall cures, and are flieced by them whom they feed, and by whom they should bee fedde, through vexatious suits in law, than to the poore hare in the Epi∣gram, which to save her selfe from the hounds, leaped into the sea, and was devoured by a sea-dogge:

nIn me omnis terrae pelagi{que} ruina est.

4 The spirit of humility. Matth. 20.28. The Sonne of man came not to bee ministred unto but to minister. The head of the Church vouchsafethoto wash his disciples feet, professing therein (ver. 15.) that hee gave them an example, that they should doe as hee had done to them. Winde blowne Page  132 into a bladder filleth it, and into flesh, maketh it swell; but the breath of God inspired into the soule produceth the contrary effect: it abateth and taketh downe all swelling of pride. Take not Austine the Monke for your patterne, from whose proud behaviour towards them, the Brittish Monkes truely concluded, that hee was not sent unto them from Christ; but Saint Austine the Father, whose modest speech in a contention betweene him and Jerome, gained him more respect from all men, than ever the Bishops of Rome got by their swelling buls, and direfull fulminations. According to the present custome of the Church (saith he) the title of apBishop is above that of a Priest, yet Priest Jerome is a better man than Bishop Austine. As theqAthenians wisely answered Pompey, requiring from them divine honour; We will so farre account thee a God, as thou acknowledgest thy selfe a man (for humility of minde in eminency of fortune is a divine perfe∣ction): so the lesse you account your selfe a Prelate, the more all men will preferre and most highly honour you. When Christ consecrated his Apo∣stles Bishops, he breathed on them, to represent after a sort visibly by an outward symbole, the eternall and invisible procession of the holy Ghost from his person. In regard of which divine signification of that his insuffla∣tion, no man may presume to imitate that rite, though they may, and do use the words, Receive the holy Ghost. All that may bee done to supply the defect of that ceremony is in stead of breathing upon you, to breath out prayers to almighty God for you, that you right reverend Fathers may give; and for you my Lord Elect, that you may receive the holy Ghost; for us that wee may worthily administer; and for you that you may worthily participate the blessed body and blood of our Saviour; and for us all, that wee may bee nourished by his flesh, and quickened by his spirit, and live in him, and hee in us; and dwell in him, and he in us: So be it, &c.