BEING A SERMON pronounced at the second Sessi­on of the PARLIAMENT.

By CHRISTOPHER LO: Archbishop of ARMAGH, and Primate of all IRELAND.

[...]N. 21.10.

Cast out this bond-woman and her sonne: for the sonne of the bond-woman shall not be heyre with my sonne Isaac.

DVBLIN, Printed by the Societie of Stationers.

Anno M.D.C.XXII.


I Have dedicated this Sermon to your Lordship, who heard it pronounced in our late Parliament here; when you represented the State and Person of a great King. It was then expedient (as I thought) for the duety of my place, and instruction of the hearers in that Honourable presence, out of holy Scriptures, and wri­tings of ancient Fathers, to expresse such markes or demon­strations, as might distinguish and make the Spouse of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, to be knowne from a step-dame. The true mother nourisheth her children healthfully with bread of life, and sincere milke of the Word: the other setteth before them quelques choses of humane inventi­ons, and unsavory plants vvhich our heavenly Father never planted. My endevours therein, aymed at no other end, but to leave Noahs fatherly blessing behinde me: that is often in my mouth, and never from my heart; God perswade Ia­phet to dwell in the Tents of Sem: that living together [Page] like friends and countrey-men, vvee might in some measure have our militant Church on earth, resemble the trium­phant congregation or citie of Angels and Saints in heaven. Amongst whom, nothing is more peculiar and proper then [...], that happy agreement and consent vvhich admitteth no strife, no difference: Such holy concord vvould grow here with us (for all aspire to be joyned to that blessed Society) if we were reduced into one Fold. It may be that some small debates come from our own brethren & com­burgesses; moving unnecessary and unprofitable questions in Ceremonies, things indifferent, and Christian liberty: and therin I think we may say with Debora; The divisions of Reuben are great thoughts of heart. Those will undoubted-cease (as they abate daily) vvhen vve conteyne our selves under the rod and staffe of our shepheard Iesus Christ. Let him possesse us wholly, and ceremonies can give no impediment, as they be used in this Church. Wee put no merit, no matter of salvation, no worship of God in them: but use them to nou­rish peace, and charitie, to keepe order and decencie in the Church; not for exercises of pietie: And most of them were used in the Church long before Poperie did beare sway. The abuses mixed vvith them by the Romanists, vvee affect not, vve defend not, vve allow not: they have no portion, no right, no memoriall in Ierusalem. Things that have beene abused, neede not to bee cleane abolished: vvere that proposition made generall, it overthroweth Churches, and many things else, as vvell as the Rites and Ceremonies of our Liturgy. Our vvorthy ancestors (saith Saint Au­gustine) tooke the Temples dedicated to Idolls, and conver­ted them to holy Oratories or houses of prayer, vvhere CRIST IESVS is vvorshipped sincerely, and his Go­spel is purely taught. They tooke the revenues vvhich were devoted to the gods of the Gentiles, to Theaters, to Ve­stals, [Page] and turned them to the entertaynement of Ministers, though they served not Antichrist before, but Belzebub the chiefe of the Divels. And Saint Augustine findeth no solecisme or incongruitie in it. Hoc de illis fit quod de ipsis hominibus, cum ex sacrilegis & impijs in veram religionem immutantur. The grave and learned Father avoweth, that there is not any other thing done in matters of this kind, but that vvhich happeneth unto men them­selves, vvhen they are turned from sacrilege and impietie, unto Christian Religion. The sacred Vessells of the Tem­ple had beene fouly abused in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and Balthasser, yet vvhen Cyrus had given commande­ment for the restoring of them againe, Zorobabel made no scruple to imploy them in their former holy uses. It vvas Saint Augustine his practise, and is vvorthy to bee observed: Wee correct those things vvhich Schismatiques or Heretiques have corrupted, vvhen they come unto us from them: but doe acknowledge and allow that vvhich they held, as they received it; lest, suffering our selves to be carried away in offence vvith mens faults beyond the rules of Iustice, vve should doe some vvrong to the things them­selves. For vvee see the Apostle Saint Paul even in an Altar of the Gentiles vvhere Idols vvere vvorshipped, to confirme the name of GOD, rather then to disavow it. I vvill adde no more to the conclusion of this point, but the lesson vvhich Saint Ambrose gave unto Saint Augustine, and vvas by him ever after esteemed as an Oracle: There cannot be a better discipline, nor more beseeming a grave and discreet Christian, then to doe that vvhich hee seeth observed in the Church vvheresoever hee commeth. For that is ever to be held indifferent and to be performed for their sakes amongst vvhom vvee live, vvhich is neyther a­gainst faith nor good manners.

[Page]The nature and use of these indifferent things is fully described by Saint Bernard: Epist. 7. Certaine things are simply good in themselves; and men can challenge no obedience that vvay: for they must be done, because they are injoyned by GOD. Other things are altogether evill, and follow the same rule. Betweene these things that be good or evill in themselves, there bee other vvhich bee indifferent, and may bee good or evill as they bee used. In this last sort, the Christian Magistrate doth exercise his power (or else hee hath no power left him) and vvhen hee hath interposed his authoritie, then doe they in a manner change their nature, concerning the use of them: for they are not then left free to bee omitted, but are necessary to bee observed. In his fas non est nostrum sensum sententiae praescribere magi­strorum. In his omnino praelatorum nec jussio nec pro­hibitio contemnenda. In these indifferent things everie one may not follow his particular fantasie (that vvould bring in confusion, anarchy, and infinite tyranny) but all must comply vvith the Magistrate, vvith the Church, with the governors of it;1. Cor. 14. The spirits of the Prophets are sub­ject to the Prophets.

This limitation in the use of things indifferent, brings no diminution to the freedome and libertie of a Christian: that hath place or seate in the mind,De votis Monastic. and as Luther teacheth gravely, it resteth in the points that are betweene God and mee; for example, If I beleeve and am perswaded in minde and conscience, that the Crosse in Baptisme, the Ring in ma­trimonie, Kneeling at the Lords Supper, &c. worke nothing with God, and are not used in the Church to any such pur­pose; I enjoy the full benefite of my Christian libertie, in the very use of these and the like Ceremonies: But if I goe about to draw my libertie into a freedome of actions too, and to the things vvhich are betweene my brother and mee, thinking [Page] to doe vvhat I list in them (because they are indifferent of themselves, or in their owne nature) vvithout reverence to the Magistrates orders, and respect of the Churches decrees; I doe certainely bring my libertie out of her true bounds, and turne it to a licentious disturbance of the Church, the Ma­gistrate, and every Christian brother vvhich is vvise unto sobrietie.

Diligent care is to be taken, that wee give not offence to our weake brethren in the use of these indifferent things. And that will be discharged two wayes: first, if we consider who they be that pretend offence in this kinde, Sure they are not weake ones (who are onely to be respected) but such as esteeme themselves stronger in faith then the residue. To these no just offence is given, but they take offence unjustly; not of weakenesse, but of curiositie, and overprizing their owne inventions.

Another, and the second meanes to acquite and cleare the Church from these offences, consisteth in the faithfull labor of the Pastors. Let them bee vigilant to teach their people the nature and true use of ceremonies, and things in­different, assoone as any scandall ariseth, (for so they should doe) and the offence will wither in the bud, before it grow to strength or maturitie to disquiet the Church. But when they which should extinguish offences, bestow their thoughts and indevors to nourish them; impressions of doubts or scruples will be wrought in soft or tender minds easily: and it is not possible to remove them againe, without much dif­ficultie and trouble. That can never bee welcome to the Church, neither is now seasonable or suting with my yeares and infirmities: howbeit prepared I am, with the rest of my brethren, to endure and devoure all paines or travayle that may breed peace, concord, and unanimitie amongst us. And I have the greater hope to prevayle, eyther by perswasive [Page] reasons (which please me best) or by discipline (if the other be refused) for the noble assistance that your Lordsh. doth give me alwayes in the affayres of the Church. Continue those honourable respects; for they will make your memory sweet and gratefull to posteritie, as they have obliged the Clergie now present to acknowledge your goodnesse, and my selfe most of all to remaine,

Your Lordsh. humble and affectionate servant, ARMAGH.

AN INQVISITION OF THE TRVE Church, and those that re­volt from it.

1. Iohn 2.19.

They went out from us, but they were not of us: For if they had beene of us, they would have con­tinued with us. But this commeth to passe, that it might appeare that they be not all of us.

IN the former Verse the Apo­stle maketh mention both of one, and manie Antichrists. For (as Hilary writeth) everie one is Antichrist, that doth not acknowledge Christ in the same manner that the Apostles preached him. So it commeth to passe that there be ma­nie Antichrists; according to Christ his predi­ction, [Page 2] There shall arise false Christs, and false Pro­phets, to deceive (if it were possible) the verie Elect. Old father Simeons prophesie, when hee tooke our blessed Saviour into his armes, sorted to the same conclusion. Immediatly before the good man did sing his Swan-like song of Nunc di­mittis, he pronounced freely, that which succee­ding times have verified, That the childe Iesus should bee set as a signe to bee spoken against, not by one, but by many; Hee was in the world, and the world knew him not. he came unto his owne, and his owne received him not. But amongst those manie contraries that Christ should have, the holy Ghost in the Scripture pointeth at one ca­pital Antichrist, who would exceed all the rest. All are dangerous adversaries, carefully to be a­voided: to that end wee are admonished of them. And indeed, who are more to be avoi­ded of Christians, then they who oppose thē ­selves against Christ our Lord? Yet none of them are to be eschued with so much care or diligence, as those which cover their oppositi­ons against Christ with titles of pietie, of holi­nesse, under the name and pretence of Christ; as if they were his Vicars, or Vicegerents, & did all for him. Professed hostilitie and open con­tradiction [Page 3] could never have advanced the king­dome of Antichrist: for who are so wretched, or Giant-like desperate, to enterprise war with God? The divell himselfe, being the Prince of darkenesse, when he would draw most awry, and seduce, is transformed into an Angell of light: even so doth Antichrist, pretending the name of Christ, the keyes of Peter, his seate, his succession, & the alluring name of the Church, seduce great troupes of unheedefull soules, that he could never gaine with open profession of impietie. Such is the efficacie of his deceive­ablenesse, such is the mysterie of his iniquitie: under these habits or sheepes clothing, hee dis­guiseth his Wolvish ravin. Let us not then be miscarried with outward shewes or titles, but examine and weigh everie thing by the bal­lances of the Sanctuarie.

For our better information in this caveat, the Apostle, by the passage of my Text, doth brand this Antichristian troupe with a legible marke, whereby you may surely know them. They went out from us, they revolt, they fall away, they forsake and slide away from the Church, and the doctrine thereof: they depart from the fel­lowship and communion of Saints. Behold a [Page 4] visible marke, a true cognizance to discerne the Antichristian sort. And needfull it is that wee should have such prints or characters to disco­ver them, in regard of the great perrill & dan­ger which they bring to themselves and others that are swayed by them. Quisquis ab Ecclesia segregatus jungitur adulterae, à promissis Ecclesiae separatur: nec pertinet ad Christi praemia, qui reli­querit Ecclesiam Christi. Alienus est, prophanus est, hostis est; habere jam non potest Deum patrem, qui Ecclesiam non habet matrem. It is the sentence of S. Cyprian, De simplic. praelator. and verie orthodoxe: Each one that is severed from the true Church, & joined to the false, as to an adulteresse, is certainely cut off from the promises made to the Church: neither can hee be interessed in Christ his pro­mises, which forsaketh Christ his Church. Hee is a stranger, hee is prophane, hee is an enemie, he cannot now have God to his father, which will not reverence and obey the Church as his mother.

The use of this doctrine is, to admonish us to gather our selves into the societie & fellow­ship of the Church.Psal. 84. How amiable are thy Taber­nacles, O Lord of Hosts? What happinesse is it to be joyned in companie and consort with the [Page 5] Patriarches Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob? with the Prophets, with the Apostles, with the Martyrs, with the holy Angels of God, and with Christ himselfe? Take heed therefore, beloved bre­thren, and beware that you bereave not your selves of the comforts dispensed unto you out of the Church: beware that you cut not your selves off from this heavenly communion or companie, through singularitie or headinesse of courage. Plucke not up the Tares in prejudice or detriment to the Wheate; but suffer both to grow together untill the Harvest, and let him separate which hath the Fanne in his hand to purge the floore.

I know it will here be objected, that the An­tichristian sort may be well discovered by their apostasie and relinquishing the Church, when the Church it selfe is not controverted: but where the Church is ambiguous, that men make question where the true Church is whe­ther it be with those that professe the Gospell of Iesus Christ sincerely, or amongst such as have addicted themselves to the Bishop of Rome▪ there the notice of apostasie is not per­spicuous, it is not easily to bee taken: For as Waspes make themselves combes like to Bees; [Page 6] so hereticks have their Conventicles, their Sy­nagogues, which they adorne with the stile & title of Churches. And this painting hath ever made a debate: Inter nos & Donatistas quaestio est ubi sit Ecclesia; Quid ergo facturi sumus? In ver­bis nostris eam quaesituri an in verbis capitis sui Do­mini nostri Iesu Christi? puto quòd in illius verbis potius eam quaerere debemus qui veritas est, & op­timè novit corpus suum: novit enim Dominus qui sunt sui. When doubts are moved where the Church should be, there are but two manner of enquests or trials to finde it: either by the markes which we have devised our selves; or by evidences which Christ Iesus, the lively head of the Church hath prescribed for the manife­station of it. And this latter inquisition (by the judgement of Saint Augustine) is the su­rer and fairer proofe: for CHRIST is truth, and knoweth his owne bodie best. Doeth not the Lord knowe who bee his? Yes cer­tainely, Hee calleth his owne sheepe by name, Ioh. 10.

On the other side, sadde experience teach­eth us that live in this age, how miserably they are mistaken, that goe about to point out the Church, not by anie certaine demon­strations [Page 7] out of the holy Scripture, but by de­ceiveable fantasies of men. Wherein they com­mend Antiquitie first, for a speciall marke of the Church: and consider not that it may bee counterfeited or pretended without anie truth of right and just antiquitie. Did not the Gi­beonites pleade it in that manner for their ragges, their over-worne shooes, and moul­ded bread: So they did, if they circumvented a wise and vigilant Governour, with such co­lourable pleas: how much easier is it to be­guile ignorant and simple people, or to put them into errour by maskes and pretences of feined antiquitie? And though wee have not anie cause to avoide or shunne the triall of true antiquitie, which commeth from the Ancient of dayes, nor our adversaries to pre­sume of it: the unpartiall and due considera­tion of the thing it selfe, will certainely e­vict, that Antiquitie cannot bee anie firme or individuall companion of the Church, and so no good marke. For then, the Church must have beene ancient in the verie infan­cie or beginning thereof; which is a thing impossible. Antiquitie is commendable: not in it selfe, or when it is alone, but as it is [Page 8] joyned with veritie. Therefore I conclude this article with the same exhortation that the Pro­phet Ieremy used to the men of his time: Stand upon the wayes and consider which is the olde way, and the good way, and walke in it, that you may finde rest to your soules.

Let us passe on further, to the consideration of other markes, and you shall see, it cannot stand good to make the Church alwaies visible or conspicuous. That would take away an ar­ticle of our Faith and Creed. VVhen wee be­leeve there is a Church, we doe affirme plaine­ly that it is not visible, or ocularly to be discer­ned:Heb. 11. for Faith is an apprehension of things that cannot be seene. So beleeving there is a Church, (as is by all professed) we acknowledge there­in that the same is not visible. Why should a­nie speake of multitudes to be a marke of the Church,Luc. 19. seeing Christ himselfe calleth it a little flocke? Quid gaudendum ad multitudines? This marke of multitudes had beene a weake and impertinēt allegation, when all the world was drowned, but eight persons saved in the Arke; and that was then the whole number of the Church. Or when the five cities were destroy­ed with fire, and Lot onely escaped with his [Page 9] two daughters: or in Elias time, when hee cō ­plained he was left alone.

The Church is not ever in one state, but like the Moone, sometimes encreasing, sometimes diminishing; sometimes at the full, sometimes in the waine: and therefore the multitude, or paucity of people in the Church being but ac­cidents, and not essentially inherent in the Church: are made markes of the Church un­properly.

Thus they are deceived, and deceive others, that seeke and set forth a Church in their owne words. Nolo humanis documentis, sed divinis ora­culis sanctam Ecclesiam demonstrari. I will not have any demonstration of the Church made unto me, saith S. Augustine) out of mens instru­ctions, but from the oracles of God. Seeke then for the Church in the words of Christ, and the demonstration thereof will be infallible. Our blessed Saviour sendeth his Disciples into all the world (that is the extent of the Church) he chargeth them to preach the Gospell unto eve­ry creature, to baptize them in the name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost, and to teach them to observe all that he hath com­manded. These be the things which the Sonne [Page 10] of God would have practised in his house, and by them you may easily finde out the Church of God. The sincere doctrine of the Gospell, the true and right administration of the Sacra­ments, and that forme of discipline which may bring obedience to his commandements: who can make that a Church where these things be wanting? who can deny it to bee a Church, where they be exercised? My sheepe (saith our Saviour) heare my voyce. Therefore the Word of God must be read, it must be preached, it must sound amongst them; else how is it possible that they should heare it? Ecce Scripturae com­munes: Aug. Epist. 166. ecce ubi novimus Christum; ecce ubi novi­mus Ecclesiam. The Scriptures which are pro­pounded to all men, saith S. Augustine, are the u­suall markes to know Christ and his Church by. So Christ saith himselfe, If yee abide in mee, and my words abide in you, yee are verily my Disci­ples. But alas how can his wordes abide in those which heare not of them, that are forbid­den to heare or know them? Non est pax sed bellum, Cypr. de laps. Ser. 5. nec Ecclesiae jungitur qui ab evangelio sepa­ratur. There can be no peace but warre with such people; neyther can they be joyned to the Church, that sever themselves [...]om the Gospel. [Page 11] Or put case they have the Gospell, yet if it bee not expounded truely unto them, if it bee not taught purely and sincerely, what advantageth it them? As all gold was not holy, but that on­ly which belonged to the Sanctuary; so every sense that is without the compasse of Holy Writ, glistering without never so much other­wise, yet can it not be holy unlesse it be confor­med to the word of God.Hierony. in cap 5 ad Galatas. Quicun (que) Scripturam aliter intelligit quàm sensus spiritus sancti flagitat, licet de Ecclesia non recesserit, tamen haereticus ap­pellari potest. Whosoever interpreteth the Scrip­tures otherwise then the holy Ghost meaneth, by which it is written, may well bee called an hereticke, although hee be not departed from the Church. Are not the interpretations from God? Ioseph teacheth us they are from God, in expounding Pharaohs dreame: then much more are the interpretations of holy Scripture from God. By the same Spirit the Scriptures were written, by the same they must be interpreted and understood:2. Cor. 2. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man that is within him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God, and those that are taught of God. Scripture is not of [Page 12] private interpretation, but must be interpreted by Scripture; the darker places, by those which be more plaine & easie: and, as Tertullian wri­teth, oportet secundum plura intelligi pauciora: & ne unus sermo multa alta subvertat, secundū omnia, potius quam adversus omnia intelligendus erit; The interpretations of the Scripture must be made according to the meaning of the more places: and lest that one Text should warre against many others, that is to be expounded in a cor­respondency to all the rest, rather then in a re­pugnancy unto them. And if you will try the Spirits whether they bee of God, or no (as S. Iohn adviseth us) or examine every interpreta­tion; we have two rules to measure them by: The first examination is, whether their inter­pretations and expositions bee referred to the glory of God or no? If they tend to the glory of God, our Saviour Christ giveth them a war­rant of truth: Qui quaerit gloriam meam verax est; He that in his expositions seeketh my glo­ry, is a true interpreter. Let us now in the name of God, come to the tryall of particulars by this rule. Is it possible for them to seeke the glory of God in the question of Iustification, which refuse the justification by Iesus Christ, and attri­bute [Page 13] salvation to their owne merites? who magnifie the abilities of humane nature, and extenuate the unsearchable riches of Gods grace? I conceive no possibility or apparance of it. Quid illis miserius quorum saluti salus ipsa nō sufficit? Alas, how miserable are they, which will not have salvation it selfe sufficient to save them? Beloved, let us not abrogate the grace of God: for S. Augustine writeth truly, Tutiores vivimus, si totum Deo damus; Wee live in more safety when wee ascribe the whole worke of our justification to God.

The second tryall of interpretations, is, whe­ther they be agreeable with the proportion of faith? For he that prophesieth, must doe it accor­cording to the proportion of faith. Measure the do­ctrine of Romish Catholiques by this rule, and I thinke it will not prove Catholique. Can the invocation of Saints stand with the proportion of faith? will they beleeve in Saints? & how can they call on them, in whom they have not beleeved? I cannot stand upon many such par­ticulars, which you all doe see might be alled­ged: but am forced through straitnesse of time to conclude them in this generall.Hierony. in cap. 1. ad Galatas. De Evange­lio Christi, hominis, faciunt Evangelium, aut quod [Page 14] pejus est diaboli: These interpretations of Scrip­ture, which doe not agree with the proporti­on of faith, make of Christ, a mans Gospell, or a divels, and that is worse. The Arke of God and Dagon cannot stand together: there is no agreement betweene light and darkenesse: the purity of the Gospel will never admit sophisti­catiōs of humane devises; howsoever the Coun­cell of Trent would have both to be received alike,Sess 4. namely, the bookes of both Testaments, and the unwritten Traditions, with equall pie­ty and affection of reverence. It is true that the Apostles delivered many things ore tenꝰ, which Apostolike men received and delivered againe faithfully to their disciples: but let that be wel remembred withall, which Ireneus writeth, that all these things were [...], they were all agreeable to the Scriptures, and their writings. Is it probable, or shall we be­leeve, that the Apostles writing, wee should take heed and beware of Images, did leave any traditi­on, that times would come, wherein the use of pictures and images would be requisite or fit­ting in the Church? Is it credible, that the I­dols of Iupiter, Mars, Mercury, &c. should be cast out of all Temples by the Apostles doctrine; [Page 15] and a tradition from the Apostles, to set up the portraitures of Christ, of the blessed Virgin Mary, or their owne pictures in place of the o­ther? Is it possible, that they which taught us to worship and call upon one God alone, did ever give any tradition for themselves also to be worshipped and called upon, when they were departed this life? That they which writ, VVe have an Advocate with the Father, Iesus Christ the righteous, did ever order that themselves al­so would be our advocates? No, no. It was im­possible, it is incredible; it cannot be conceived without disparagement to the Apostles, that men of their ranke and integrity, inspired and governed by the holy Ghost, should deliver or utter any thing by word of mouth, varying or dissenting from the attestations they left in writing. The pure word of God, without ad­dition or diminution, is the true marke of the Church; and so the Hucksters that chop and change it, to serve their owne inventions or turnes, carry not the right cognizance of Chri­stians.

Touching Sacraments, and the due admi­nistration thereof, which is another marke of a true Church: they that are most confident, [Page 16] and make greatest vaunts of the Church, do no wayes administer them rightly; save that by God his providence the essential forme of Bap­tisme is reteyned amongst them: otherwise they prophane it not a little, when they apply it to senslesse things, as to Bells; when they add Salt, Oyle, and Spittle. Is not the element of Water sufficient, which Christ instituted to re­present his precious bloud, to wash away our sinnes, without those mixtures?

The other Sacrament of the Lords Supper, they have not defiled, as they have done Bap­tisme: but they have quite altered and changed it into a cursed and abhominable Idoll of their Masse. And so have prevented and annihilated Christ his holy institution: For first, whereas two things bee necessary in Sacraments; the signe, and the thing signified: they take away the Signes, for establishing of their Transub­stantiation. Secondly, they should distribute it unto others, and they keepe it onely to them­selves, & so make it private; whereas it should be a publike banquet. Thirdly, they keepe the Cup from the people, which our Saviour com­manded should be given to all. Fourthly, in the Supper Christ offereth himselfe to us, and [Page 17] their Priests offer him unto God; who indeed cannot be offered but by his eternall Spirit; nor without his death, whereas hee died but once for ever. And where these things be done, the essentiall parts of the Sacrament are not kept; therefore no Supper, no Sacrament, but an hor­rible prophanation, and plaine sacriledge. A­dulterum est, impium est, Cypr de laps. sacrilegum est quodcunque humano furore instituitur, ut dispositio divina vio­letur. Whatsoever is instituted by humane te­meritie, to violate God his ordinance, is adulte­rous, it is impious, it is sacrilegious.

As for those mens discipline, whereby peo­ple should bee brought to the obedience of Christ his commandements: the world seeth their wilfull negligence. In which case, I must needs approve of that which S. Chrysostome wri­teth to the people of Antioch:Hom. 17. Mihi Civitas non habens bonos cives omni villa vilior est; The Ci­tie that is not inhabited with good men, is more unpleasing to mee then the basest village.

Seeing therefore the Church of Rome retey­neth not the sincere puritie of the word: see­ing it hath abolished one of the Sacraments, & corrupted the other prophanely: seeing it hath little or no care at all of godly discipline; men [Page 18] may peradventure make doubt or question, whether it be the Church of God, or no? I dare not wholly take away the name of a Church from it. I know that Antichrist shall sit in the Temple of God: that Baptisme can­not bee administred out of the Church: And when the intire forme of Baptisme is obser­ved, S. Augustine is resolved, Non haereticus, sed haeretici manu Christus baptisat; There it is not the hereticke that baptiseth, but Christ doth it by the hand of an hereticke. Therefore the Councel of Nice determined very gravely, that there should bee no rebaptization, of such as were baptized by heretickes. Yet I doe not al­low the Romish Synagogue to bee a Church simply, but by equivocation and [...]. as the woman carrieth the name of your wife, which you did once marry, and afterward found her defiled with adultery; yet because she keepeth the marriage Ring, and some other pledges of her former wedlock, she still beareth the name of your wife. So it is with the Church of Rome; albeit for her adulteries she hath deser­ved a divorce justly: yet because the Bride­groome hath not given her his bill of divorce, but suffered her hitherto to hold Baptisme, as it [Page 19] were the marriage Ring; I account it a Church, but miserably deformed, and infected with in­finite errors. I cannot reckon it lesse then a part of discourtesie, & of more advantage then Gods truth needeth so to contend with the adversaries thereof, as not to admit of those graces amongst them, which God is pleased to vouchsafe unto them. Let us give every one his right: let our adversaries in the name of God hold their due: let us willingly yeelde them all that doth appertaine unto them; and let us taxe their corruptions neverthelesse with all freedome. This is heroicall, this is Prophe­ticall, this is Apostolicall, and much more then they will yeeld unto us. For without hearing of us, or our cause, they which are parties a­gainst us, take upon them to be our judges too, and to condemne us for heretickes, for schisma­tickes, and to have no Church at all. Like to A­thalia, that seeing the right heyre Ioas crowned King of Iudah, cryed, Treason, treason, when shee was greatest traytor her selfe. Indeed if wee unchurch Congregations for schisme, or for simple heresie, there will be no good warrant, unlesse the heresie impugne one of the three persons of the holy Trinitie directly; then the [Page 20] heresie is not single, but ariseth to infidelitie, which is the bane & cut-throat of all Churches.

But our adversaries doe charge us also with Apostasie; and that is a marke of Antichrist mentioned in our Text: They went out from us, but they were not of us. Hereupon our Rhemish Seminaries note, that Luther and Calvin went out of their Church, that is, of Papists became Protestants; but they came not out of ours: & that is the Catholique Church which is forsa­ken. To admit that which will not easily bee proved, that England first received the Christi­an faith from Rome, both in the time of Eleu­therius their Bishop, and also in the time of Au­gustine their Monke; yet wil it not thereon fol­low, that we must still fetch our Religion from Rome, as from the chiefe fountaine and well-spring of all godlinesse. For if any man fall a­way from that Church which is not Christ his spouse, hee cannot be charged justly with Apo­stasie: Nullus pudor est ad meliora transire; It is no shame to change for the better. Or if a man doe leave and depart from a particular Church in bodie, and yet forsake not the communion and fellowship of the Apostles doctrine, nor the Sacramēts rightly administred, but holdeth [Page 21] them with all other sincere Churches: that man is no Apostata.Chrysost. in Mat. hom. 46. Non ille de Ecclesia exire videtur qui corporaliter exit, sed qui spiritualiter veritatis Ecclesiasticae fundamenta reliquit; Hee goeth not out of the Church that departeth corporally, but hee that spiritually hath forsa­ken the foundations of Ecclesiastical truth. The right apostasie is a falling away from the true Catholique & Apostolique Church of Christ, and therefore from Christ; and that by revolt­ing from the Apostles doctrine, & the commu­nion of the Catholique faith. They went out from us. If Luther, Calvin, and our selves went out of the Church of Rome, wee incurre no crime of apostasie therein: because we left that Church which was neither Catholique, nor Aposto­lique. We left not Bethel, that is, the house of God, untill it became Bethaven, that is, the house of ini­quitie.

An Apostolique Church it is not, because it resteth not upon the doctrine of the Apostles, but is fallen from it, as wee have formerly she­wed. In which case,De unitat. eccles. we have S. Augustines grave advise; Ne Catholicis quidem Episcopis consenti­endum est, sicubi sorte fallantur, & contra canonicas Scripturas aliqui sentiant. No consent is to bee [Page 22] given to those Bishops which are Catholique, when they are deceived, or hold any thing con­trary to the canonicall Scriptures. Wee then in going out of that Church where the word of God is not purely taught, & the Sacraments are not administred duely, according to our Savi­our Christ his holy institution, and God is not worshipped after the Apostles doctrine; make no default or departure from the Church, but as Moses went out of Egypt, Lot out of Sodom, Elias from Baals Priests: and that is no aposta­sie, but a renunciation of their apostasie, that wee might marshall our selves under the Stan­dard of our head and Captaine Christ Iesus, and so enter into true Hierusalem, which is mother of us all. If the Church of Rome give impedi­ment to us in this passage, it is a step-dame, no true mother, no Apostolike Church. Neyther is it the Catholike, but a particular Church, as the Churches were of Alexandria, Milan, E­phesus, &c. The Church is called Catholike, first, in respect of place, when it is not appro­priated or fixed to any certaine place (as the Iewes did dreame of Ierusalem long agoe, and the Papists doe now dote of Rome) but rea­cheth unto all parts and places of the world: [Page 23] secondly, it is called Catholike in respect of per­sons comprehended in it, because no sort of people are excluded or refused. For now the wall of partition is pulled downe, and wee are all one in Christ Iesus: thirdly, it is called Ca­tholike in respect of time, that whensoever it had beginning, yet it continueth for ever, eyther militant here upon earth, or triumphant in heaven. So the whole family or house of God is divided. Fourthly and lastly, the Church is called Catholike, in respect of doctrine therein professed: for it imbraceth & maintayneth, not parts or portions, but the whole body of Pro­phetical and Apostolical doctrine. The Church of Rome is not Catholique in any of these respects; and therefore we pleade, Not guilty of apostasie in leaving it. Let our adversaries meditate rather how to cleere the Church of Rome of apostasie: for it is fallen away from them of whom it received the Gospell, Faith, Religion, and the name of a Church. Let them refuse their Synagogues, forsake their broken cisternes that will hold no water, returne to that true & ancient faith, for which they were once renowned through the world; and wee shall runne together againe in an holy union [Page 24] with them. If they will not, I call heaven and earth to record against them this day, that they themselves are fallen from the Gospell, from truth, from word, from Sacraments, from Re­ligiō, from Christ, from the Apostles & church of Christ: all which wee uphold with great endevour. For they have broken the bands, wherwith they were coupled to the Apostles: they have relinquished that cōmunion, which formerly they held with the Church.

These bands be of two sorts, outward and inward. The outward bands may bee cut in sunder: as the profession of true doctrine, and the right administration of the Sacraments. Both which bands are broken by our adversa­ries; as wee have shewed some proofe of be­fore: And they shall never be able to throw a­ny just aspersion upon us in that kind; the Lord of heaven and earth be praised for it. Amongst the inward couplings, Election is first: for all that belong truely to the Church, are bound to­gether in heaven in the bundle of life with their God. The other is the band of Christ his holy Spirit; which worketh the same faith and love in the members, that is in Christ our head. These inward bands cannot be dissolved, or [Page 25] cut in sunder: for neyther can God his eternall election be avoyded; neyther can the faith of those that are elected, faile totally or finally. The visible Church hath in it selfe, two diffe­rent sorts of people: the one make an outward bare profession onely; the other by inward e­lection, are firmely joyned unto Christ. The first are in the visible Church alone, but not of the Church invisible: They participate in the outward Sacraments of Christ, but not with the inward blessings of Christ; and so they may fall away: they may be in the Church, but not of the Church. They which are inwardly coupled to Christ by his election, and holy Spi­rit, cannot fall away from Christ & his church. So our Text teacheth us their constancie and perseverance; If they had beene of us, they would have continued with us. The outward joynts and participation may be dissolved: for all they are not the Israel of God, which are of Israel. No; many of thē are Israelites: they were amongst the multitude that was called, they were not of the small number that was elected. Mali in A­rea nobiscum esse possunt, in horreo non possunt: Hy­pocrites and false Gospellers may bee in the Church with us; they cannot be of the church: [Page 26] they are like Summer fruit, they hold not out, they continue not.

On the other side, they that bee of us, they continue with us. After they be matriculated, & have their names registred in the holy Rolls of the Church, they doe not revolt, but are esta­blished. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to mee; and him that commeth unto mee, I cast not away. The counsell of the Lord endureth for ever. Ʋnde (saith Saint Augustine) nisi de nobis quos antea praescivit & praedestinavit? Quis tollit praede­stinationem Dei? ante mundi constitutionem vidit nos, fecit nos, emendavit nos, misit ad nos, red [...]mit nos: hoc ejus consilium manet in aeternum, haec ejus cogitatio manet in secula seculorum. How doth the Lords counsel endure for ever, but in us whom he hath seene and predestinated? Who can take away God his predestination? before the foun­dation of the world he did foresee us, he made us, he reformed us, he sent unto us, he redeemed us: this counsell of the Lord abideth for ever, this thought of the Almightie remayneth tho­roughout all ages. Behold the ground and cer­tainty of their faith; marke how they which are inwardly coupled to Christ & his Church, cannot fall away from the one or the other: [Page 27] for Christ sayes, None can take them out of his hands. Another reason is expressed in the same place: My Father which gave them to mee, is grea­ter then all; and none is able to take them out of my Fathers hands. These reasons were not good, if they might fall away from Christ which are inwardly coupled to him: for then Christ and his Father must bee weaker then hee that did take them out of their hands; and that is a blas­phemie worthy to be detested.

If faith could fayle, the elect might perish: for without faith it is impossible to please God. But our Saviour Christ doth testifie, that it is not possible that the elect should perish: & there­fore their faith cannot fayle. If their faith could fayle, the elect should be regenerate often: but the elect are borne of incorruptible seed; and as the seed is, so must the generation also be incor­ruptible. To that purpose S. Iohn writeth, Hee that is borne of God sinneth not, neither can hee, be­cause the seed of God abideth in him. How should faith be variable, that hath God his promise? I will put my feare in their hearts, that they shall not goe from me. If God will not have his to fall a­way, how should they fayle? If he will put his feare into their hearts, that they should not [Page 28] fayle, how can they lose that feare? No, no. Be­sides that, they have a further preservative, namely, the efficacie of Christ his prayers, Keepe them in thy truth, Ioh. 17: Againe, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith doe not faile, Luc. 22.

The mountaines shall remove, and the hills shall fall downe; but my mercy shall not depart from thee neither shall the covenant of my peace fall away, saith the Lord, Esay 54.

Ioh. 15. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordeyned you that you goe and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit remaine. If Christ hath ordey­ned that their fruit shall remaine, who dare say that it shall not remaine?Rom. 11. The gifts and graces of God are without repentance. Of Davids faith, of Peters, and others that fell into enormious sins; I say with Tertullian, Caepit arescere, sed non exa­ruit: mota fuit, sed non amota: concussa, sed non ex­cussa, nut extincta. Their faith began to wither, but it withered not: it was moved, but not re­moved: it was shaken, but not extinguished. The grace of faith, and the holy Ghost, may be, and are often lost even of them that are regene­rate in part, concerning some certain gifts more or lesse; but cannot be lost wholly, because the Lord reserveth a seede in them. For example, [Page 29] David lost the rightnesse of heart, and integrity of spirit, when he fell into his foule sinnes of a­dultery and murther: yet was he not bereaved of these wholly; for then hee could not have prayed for restitution unto them. How shall they call upon him, in whom they have not beleeved? Marke then in David that seed which S. Iohn saith is left. Oh the unsearchable riches of our God his goodnesse and mercie, that reserveth a seed of regeneration in our most heavie & sad downefalls! For except the Lord of Hosts had left this seed, we should all have beene as Sodome, and as Gomorra.

Theophilact writeth to the like purpose, of Peter, upon Luc. 22. Although Peter thou shalt find a concussion for a while, yet hast thou the seeds of faith left within thee: although the breath of the Tempter shake downe some leaves of thy faith, yet the root holdeth life, and thy faith shall not fayle. Will you see a lively representation or spectacle hereof? Looke up­on the same man, the same Peter, Mat. 14. when he was walking unto Christ upon the Sea, and trampling downe the proud waves thereof with his feet: he began to be drowned in that haughtie enterprise; but Christ, reaching out a [Page 30] hand unto him, held him up. Blessed bee that sweete, that comfortable, that helpfull, and healthfull hand of Iesus Christ, which is reach­ed out to us all in our severall necessities. And so, to conclude this point with sensible divini­tie, which most of us, that observe it, hath ex­perience of; though our faith be often shaken (as Peters was) with our owne infirmities, yet it standeth fast by the mercies of God in Christ. Hee seeth no iniquitie in Iacob, nor transgression in Israel: or if he looke upon it, hee beholdeth all the Items & Obligations thereof cancelled, and fastened to the Crosse of his Sonne. So as in­deed there is no condemnation left to them that are in Iesus Christ. 2. Cor. 4.8. VVe are afflicted on every side, yet are we not in distresse: wee are in doubt, but wee de­spaire not: we are persecuted, but not forsaken: cast downe, but we perish not.

Hieronym. epist. ad Rusticum Nihil Christiano foelicius eui promittitur regnum coelorum: nihil laboriosius qui quotidiè de vita peri­clitatur: nihil fortius, qui vincit diabolum: nihil imbecillius qui à carne superatur. Nothing more happie then a Christian, because hee hath pro­mise of the kingdom of heaven: nothing more painfull, because hee runneth in hazard of his life every day; nothing more valiant, because [Page 31] he overcometh the divell: nothing more fee­ble, because he is vanquished by his own flesh. This summe is, that wee have a great treasure given unto us of God in faith and beleeving his promises: but we carry this treasure in earthen vessels, subject to many knocks. Let us therefore worke out our salvation with feare and trembling: first, by distrusting our owne abilities, and attri­buting all to God through Iesus Christ: Se­condly, in beleeving his promises therein. So wee shall bee humble in our selves, with feare and trembling; yet confident in God, which worketh all in us, both to will & to performe. When we are weake, he is strong; and out of our weakenesse bringeth forth his owne po­wer. He predestinateth us to be of his family by his eternall counsell, inrolleth us by our Bap­tisme, calleth us by his holy word, nourisheth us with the body and bloud of his Sonne Iesus Christ, sealeth and confirmeth us to constancie by the effectuall operation of his blessed Spirit. And so those which revolt from us in these bands, what outward shew soever they make of Catholiques, yet are they not of the true Church: but so persisting, they have no porti­on; no right, no memoriall in Ierusalem. How­beit [Page 32] let us pray the Father [...] Lord Iesus Christ, to take away the va [...] [...]s laid [...] their hearts, to the intent [...] red together into one fold, to [...] [...]hip, to [...] fesse, to call upon Father, Sonne, & holy Ghost, three persons and one God, praysed and magnified in the Church through­out all generations. AMEN.


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