A Warning-Piece FOR THE UNRULY; IN TWO SERMONS AT THE METROPOLITICAL VISITATION OF THE Most Reverend Father in God, Richard Lord Archbishop of YORK, held at Preston in Amondernes in Lancashire, and there PREACHED, The former on that day, the latter the day following.

By Seth Bushell D. D.

[...]. Chrys. in Ep. ad Eph. Edit. Savil. p. 823.

LONDON, Printed for Will. Cademan, at the Popes head in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange in the Strand: and Tho. Passinger, at the three Bibles on London-bridge, 1673.

TO THE Most Reverend Father in God, RICHARD LORD ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.

My LORD,

I Have made humbly bold to fix your Name before these Sermons, not to en­title your Grace to any the weakness that may have escaped therein (in some kind the inseparable attendant of humane frailty:) but to testifie the respect and duty under which I stand obliged, which is de­servedly yours. Besides, the tender of them may seem, in point of right, firstly to belong un­to your Grace, being Preached (and by ap­pointment) at your Metropolitical Visitation.

The favourable acceptance of them from the Pulpit, giving hope of no less candid enter­tainment from the Press, is one main motive to [Page] make them publick. Perhaps there may be that in them, which may conduce not onely to the advantage of the Churches Sons in their Establishments; but to the conviction of o­thers, who through weakness, or perversness may be gone astray, and have left the fold; and so become instrumental for their orderly re­duction. Ʋpon these accounts I was not un­willing to cast them upon the waters. Such as they are, I here humbly present them to your Grace, as a real testimony, that I am

My LORD,
Your Graces most faithful servant, SETH BUSHEL.

A Warning-Piece FOR THE UNRULY.

1 Thess. 5.14.

Warn them that are unruly.

THe Doctrine of the Church hath in no age been so pure and plain, but there have arisen Heresies: nor the pale of Discipline so compact and good, but there have been some Schisms. The purity of its Doctrine has not secured malignant spirits from being tainted with soul-de­stroying errors: neither has the excellency of its Discipline preserved tumorous members from going beyond the due bounds of the body.1 Cor. 11.19. As there must be heresies; Jud. 19. so there will be such who separate them­selves, sensual, having not the spirit.

Now as Heresie is a renting from the Head; so is Schism a dividing from the Body. Heresie does not hold the Head; and Schism will not keep to the Body. There may be Schism without Heresie; but never Heresie without a Schism. Now both these, as they are evil in their nature, so they are pernici­ous to the Church in their issue. For in that body, whose strength and beauty does consist in the unity and order of it, by the unhappy means of these two fatal sisters, the unity is dissolved, and the order confused; and so its beauty's blemished, and strength impaired.

The orderly peace of the Church is to he prayed for, Psal. 122.6. and 137.6. and prefer'd before all outward mercies. Now the stress thereof seems to rest upon the two Pillars of unity and verity: which Heresie and Schism not only undermine, but openly endeavour the subver­sion of. Heresie strikes at verity; and Schism would dissolve its unity; that so the Church's peace might be broken, and confusion and every evil work might follow.

It should be the design therefore as well, as 'tis the duty of every true Son, to endeavour the preser­vation of their Mother. 'Tis no less their interest, than their honour, to watch on her behalf, and to seek her safety, and securement, not only against the onsets of the professed enemy; but the corrosions of those vipers, that would gnaw in pieces her in­testines: that the bowels of their Mother may not be fretted by the worms of faction, nor her members distorted by the rack of Schism. And as the true Sons of Sion bear upon their hearts this filial respect and duty to her, that bare them; so this care is not only commended to, but commanded them by the [Page 3] Apostle in the words of the Text. [...]. Warn them that are unruly.

I shall trouble you no further with the coherence of the words, than to tell you, that they are ranked amongst, and summ'd up with divers Apostolical precepts given by the Holy Ghost, to be referr'd to Christian Practice.

The words express a duty, wherein there is

  • 1. An Act enjoyned. Warn.
  • 2. The subject, or persons about which this Act is to be conversant, viz. the unruly.

Warn them, that are unruly.

The word [...] rendred here unruly, as used in Scripture, is express'd often by disorderly. So 2 Thess. 3.6. Now we command you, brethren, that ye with­draw your selves from every brother ( [...]) that walketh disorderly. So Vers. 7. [...]. We behaved not our selves disorderly among you. So Vers. 11. We hear that there are some ( [...]) which walk among you dis­orderly.

[...]. Qui faciunt praeter ordinem à Deo constitutum: So the Schol. has it. Those are unruly which go aside, or beyond that order, that God hath li­mited, and appointed for them.

For the word [...], 'tis emphatical, and im­ports not barely a giving warning; but so to warn, as to press it home, and to put it into the mind. The word used by the Apostle which is rendred admoni­tion, Eph. 6.4. is the same with this, and (as Hemin­gius upon that place explains it) talem in genere ad­monitionem notat, qua alicui veluti in animam ponas [Page 4] ac ingeras quid factu opus est. So the Apostle press'd upon the Ephesians, and brought (as much as in him lay) his warning home. Act. 20.31. I ceased not (saith he) [...], to warn every one night and day with tears. So that

Observ. The disordered and unruly are to be warned. Warning is so to be given them, as to put it in­to their minds.

Herein 1. Of the Subject, or Persons. 2. Of the Act, or Duty.

1. We are to enquire about the Subject or Per­sons, who these unruly are. Is not every way of man right in his own eyes? Prov. 21.2. Who follows not a rule? The most enormous indeed that are, gather some salvo to their thoughts, lest their hearts should con­demn them; thinking either that they are regular; or not so chargeable with irregularity, as some would seem to make them: for that they imagine the rule to have such a latitude, as may admit of their trans­gressions upon some indifferent compensation. Now to detect the nature of unruliness, and to shew you who they are, that justly fall under this charge; we shall reduce them to these following parti­culars.

1 First, such are unruly, who obey not the Gospel of our Lord Christ, nor receive the wholesome truths thereof. This Doctrine firstly laid down in Scri­pture is capitulated in the Articles of Religion, and distinctly reduced to Heads into the Doctrine of the Church. Now what Article of Religion is there, but it has been impinged by some or other in the bo­som of the Church? There's no Doctrine so certain­ly [Page 5] and surely laid down in Holy Scripture, which hath not been impugned by men of corrupt minds, and reprobate concerning the faith. It might be shewed by an enumeration of particulars, that all the doctrinal Articles of Religion have been struck at by some or other. Some disputing one Article, others contradicting a second, some denying a third. So that from the Alpha of mans Creation to the Omega of the eternal judgement; with all the intervening passages of mans Fall, Redemption, and Resurrection, there's no Doctrine (though other­wise never so plain and evident) but has met with opposition. Surely those must needs be unruly, whom the Doctrine of our Saviour cannot rule. How can they be acquitted from the just charge of rebellion, who refuse to be governed by Christ's Scepter? or from the guilt of disorder, who will not be ordered by his Law? The Apostle hints some such to step into the place of Teachers, 1 Tim. 6.3. who consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is accord­ing to Godliness; but teach otherwise. And some such he hints to be hearers too, The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, 2 Tim. 4.3. but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

2 Secondly, those fall under this charge, who will not submit themselves to the Godly Discipline of the Church. The Church is compared in Scripture to a city compact together; to an army with banners; Psal. 122.3. Cant. 6.4. and 4.12, 13. Isa. 5.2. to a garden enclosed; a spring shut up; a fountain sealed; to an orchard planted; a vineyard fenced; [Page 6] sheep folded, Joh. 10.16. and the like. Now look what Go­vernment is to a City, Discipline to an Army, a Closure to a Garden, a Door to a Spring, a Seal to a Fountain, a Wall to an Orchard, a Fence to a Vineyard, a Fold to the Flock, such is Discipline to the Church of God. It is a preservative against ruine and rapine; and keeps the humble members thereof within their due bounds in safety. When the hedge of Discipline is broken down, then all that go by the way do pluck her; Psal. 80.12. and there's occasion given for her luxuriant members to stray abroad. But when the Fence of Discipline is well made up, and yet persons will not be kept within the Churches pale, what other account can be given of them, than as unruly? When they turn aside from the foot­steps of the flock, and will not feed their kids besides the shepherds tents, Cant. 1.7, 8. but violently break the Fold, or wantonly leap over the Wall, and pick out a Pasture of their own choice, as they expose them­selves to the greatest danger, so they are the oc­casion of no small disorder.Dum conventi­cula sibi diver­sa constituunt, veritatis caput at (que) originem reliquerunt. Cypr. de Ʋnit. Eccles. We have too many such ('tis to be feared) in these our days, who are led more by a selfish humour, than a ruling judge­ment; by a floating fancie, than solid reason: who rather chuse to indulge a factious and self-e­spoused interest, than to give up themselves to the sober conduct of humble Christian Principles. And these would submit to no rule,Extra. Eccle­siam consistens, & contra pa­cem & dilectio­men Christi fa­ciens, inter ad­versarios com­putetur. Cypr. Ep. 6. but their own; would own no Discipline but of their own framing: And they cannot well tell what that is, or would be neither; but probably as multifarious in its shape, as there are persons or interests to promote it. We may look upon most of these out-strays, [Page 7] as led more by the spirit of contradiction, temper­ed with the two ingredients of pride, and self-conceit, than by any other principle: and we shall hope that a little time (through Gods mercy) will produce more wisdom in them,Nulla ab eis tanta potest fi­eri correptio, quanta est schismatis per­nicies. Irenae­us, lib. 4. c. 62. and that they will account, as well the Churches Discipline, the means of their safety, as her Doctrine, of their Salva­tion.

3 Thirdly, those justly fall under this charge, who obey not the good and wholesome Laws of Magi­strates. Magistracie is Gods Ordinance, to which we are enjoyned subjection not only for wrath, Rom. 13.5. but for conscience sake. And the good and wholesome Laws, they make, are to be obey'd: therein we yield obedience to God himself, whose Vice-ge­rents they are upon the earth. Now to resist these, is to resist the Ordinance of God: and to deny obedience to their wholesome Laws, as it arrives at an high pitch of unruliness, so of danger too; for the Apostle tells us,Rom. 13.2. that they that resist shall re­ceive to themselves damnation.

When the Magistrate by his known and good Laws does command this to be done, and forbids the other, and your course is cross to his com­mands, how can you acquit your selves from the guilt of unruliness, and of the sin of impinging a­gainst Gods Ordinance in the fifth Command­ment? Do you not in effect say, (for mens actions are the surest expressions of their minds) whatever your pretexts may be,Luk. 19.14. that you will not have this man to rule over you? The Apostolical command is to submit our selves to every ordinance of man for the 1 Pet. 2.13. [Page 8] Lords sake. Tit. 3.1. And to be subject to principalities, and powers, to obey Magistrates, to be ready to every good work: as if obedience to Magistrates were the first of, and a preparatory to all good works. Fear, as God's due,1 Pet 2.17. and honour, as the Kings, are, by the Apostle, joyned together. How fondly conceited may those then be deem'd to be, who pretend to Gods fear with the Kings dishonour, I mean disobe­dience to his known and wholesome Laws? For as there is no surer demonstration of a reverential re­spect to the Authority over us, than by a humble subjection to their good Laws: so there is no greater Argument of a dishonourable esteem towards our Superiours, than by a capricious contradicting their constitutions.

Oh then, as you tender the glory of God, the quiet of your own estates, the welfare of your souls, the honour of the Christian Profession, and the excellencie of its order, take heed you be not presumptuous, or self-willed, to despise government, or speak evil of dignities, 2 Pet. 2.10, 12. lest you utterly perish in your own corruption.

4 Fourthly, those are unruly, whose conversations are not ordered according to the rule of the new man. Gal. 6.16. Irregularity in the Converse justly chargeth the Converser with unruliness. He whose life is dissolute and inordinate cannot be said to live by rule, to wit, that rule, the careless neglect and breach whereof, in the Apostle's sence, denomi­nates a man unruly. The Precepts of the Lord Christ do set before us a rule of Holiness, so does his practice too, in whom we have a most perfect pat­tern, [Page 9] and exemplar of all righteousness. He told St. John Baptist, that it became him to fulfil [ [...]] all righteousness: whatever had a shew, or appearance of goodness; So Grotius, vox haec [...] latissimè sumitur, ita ut significet non modò [...], sed & quicquid ullam aequi atque boni habet rationem. In him we may learn our duty towards God, our way with men, and our demeanour in reference to our selves. His Precepts are full, and so is his Pattern too: for as Blosius well hath it,Lud. Blos. Speculum spi­rituale, cap. 10. Etiamsi codices omnes, qui toto orbe habentur, interci­dissent: vita & passio Christi abundè Christianis omni­bus sufficeret, ad virtutem omnem, & veritatem perdi­scendam. Now they who will not attend to the voice of Christ, by his Precepts teaching Holiness; nor to the way of Christ, by his Pattern leading to it; what else can be said of them, than that they are unruly? Of these ('tis to be feared) there are too many, and this charge does justly reach some, both Priest and People.

1 And herein first, the charge is against those, who pretend to the Priesthood, and are not duely called. These are intruders into that Sacred Of­fice: and invade those bounds, which they ought not to come within.Psal. 50.16. What have such to do to de­clare Gods statutes, or Ministerially to take his Cove­nant in their mouths? 2 Cor. 5.19. seeing the word of reconci­liation was never committed to them. Such climb up over the wall into the sheepfold, Joh. 10.1. & enter not by the door. That order and polity which God hath set in his Church, these (what in them lies) are the subverters of. How presumptuously self-confident [Page 10] are these men, who dare to adventure upon those things with such unadvised rashness, for which the blessed Apostle apprehended in Mortals such an insufficiency, and upon a sober and mature consi­deration crys out,2 Cor. 2.16. Who is sufficient for these things? 'Tis not gifts will authorize a person to step up in­to Moses chair: neither because he's excellently qualified with tongues and knowledge, is he there­fore a Minister of Christ. These may perhaps puff up, and make a man swell, so as to appear some­thing in his own eyes, yea, and in the eyes of o­thers too; but he travails with froth and wind, and brings forth vanity, who upon this ground dares to approach Gods Altar. Methinks, this piece of unruliness and enormity in the Church of God might be repressed and regulated by the countermands of sobriety, modesty, humility, and self-denyal, and other the like Christian graces, were such gifted men but subjects of them: but if these be not (as 'tis to be feared such spirits are too empty of soul seasoning graces) yet surely the sad instances upon record of persons usurping the Priestly Office, and the fatal issues thereupon, should not only awaken, but so terrifie, as to re­duce all such pretenders, and affright them from the like usurpations for the future; when 'tis conside­red how God dealt with Korah and his complices, for rising up against Moses, and against Aaron, but chiefly their design was to invade the Priesthood: for this they did not die the common death of all men: Numb. 16.10, 30, 31. but the Lord made a new thing, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, (a sign of sore and sad displeasure.) So we read the men of [Page 11] Bethshemesh were smitten with a great slaughter, 1 Sam. 6.19. be­cause they had looked into the Ark, which was not for them, but only for the Priests and Levites to have intermedled about. The case of Ʋzzah may not be forgotten, who was smitten to death by Gods immediate hand, because he put forth his hand to hold the ark, when the oxen shook it: 2 Sam. 6.6, 7. Doubt­less his intent was good, to secure the Ark from harm, and to that purpose put forth a helping hand: but a good intention will not acquit from the guilt of error; when the act is cross to Gods command, or the Agent not warranted by a due call unto it. And who dares draw nigh to the of­fice of Priesthood without a Call, if the matter of Ʋzziah be considered? 'Tis said when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: 2 Chron. 26.17, 18, 19. Ambition transported him to invade the Priest­hood, for which fact the signal mark of Gods high displeasure was notorious in his forehead, and he became a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, and was separated from the so­ciety and communion of Gods people: and this in Scripture phrase was accounted as destruction, for so Menochius glosseth, Lepra instar mortis erat, quia ab hominum consuetudine, tanquam mortuum, sepa­rat. Now all this, as it evidenceth Gods special care of the Priestly Function, not suffering it to be polluted by common hands; so it shews his mindfulness of what he spake to Aaron, and to his sons, Behold I have given your priests office unto you, as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numb. 18.7.

Those must needs be accounted irregular in their [Page 12] courses, who walk cross to Apostolical rules and practice. Were not the Ministers of Christ in the Primitive times separated unto the Gospel of God? Act. 13.2. Did not St. Paul put his hands upon Timothy? Rom. 1.1. and did not he enjoyn Timothy carefulness in the laying on of his hands, and in the commitment of a Go­spel trust to faithful men, 2 Tim. 1.6. who should be able to teach others also; 1 Tim. 5.22. that so there might be a good succes­sion?Mar. 3.14. None were then to preach, but those that were ordained and sent. No man took this honour unto himself, Rom. 10.15. but he that was called of God, as Aaron was.Heb. 5.4. God gave some Apostles: and some Prophets: and some Evangelists: Eph. 4.11. and some Pastors; not all. And therefore to check (as't were) this spirit of giddiness,1 Cor. 12.29. and unruly humour, the question was fitly put by the Apostle, viz. are all Apostles? are all Prophets? are all Teachers? Now from the first times to our days there has been a succession down­wards, and the work of the Ministery has been committed to distinct persons, and they are and have been distinctly and severally enjoyned to wait upon their office. Therefore as to Ecclesiastick Or­der, and the outward Polity of the Church, we may conclude that confusion in Religion will as certainly follow every mans turning Priest or Preacher: as it will in that State, where every one affects to rule as King.

2 Secondly, Those also fall under this charge, who, though duely called into the Ministerial Office, yet,Psal. 50.23. do not order their conversation aright. Their owning the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church, and acknowledging obedience to their Superiours [Page 13] will not acquit them from this charge, if there be enormity in their lives. The messengers of Christ are to be exemplary unto others in word, in con­versation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity: 1 Tim. 4.12. and their light should in an especial manner so shine before men, that they may see their good works. Mat. 5.16. The examples of some are greatly influential, and their influence if bad of a most prejudicial na­ture. Persons eminent in Church or State, if of scandalous and evil lives, do not only prejudice themselves by irregular courses; but are occasions of harm to others by their evil conduct: which as it renders their sin more hainous, so doubtless their punishment will be proportionate, when it falls; as having a just God to deal withal, before whom as they must give up their account, so from him they must receive their pay.

How does it therefore concern leaders to look about them, and to set a watch upon their ways? with what diligence should they mark their steps, lest they should lay a stumbling block before o­thers? Now the Ministers of Christ above all o­thers do lye under special obligations, to take heed to their ways.Numb. 16.10. The Lord hath brought them near unto himself; Joh. 15.16. and ordained them that they should bring forth fruit. They are the salt of the earth; Mat. 5.13, 14. the light of the world; a city set on a hill: Ezek. 33.7. They are called God's watchmen; Christ's shepherds; 1 Pet. 5.2. Act. 20.28. the holy Ghost's overseers, and the like. Now these ti­tles as they point at their honour and office, so they express their personal and relative duties. If holiness becometh Gods house, Psal. 93.5. then surely it becomes those, who are taken near unto him in his house. [Page 14] Their lives as well as doctrine are to be fruit-bear­ing. They are to season by their gracious lives, as well as lighten others by their radiant doctrines. To watch, feed, and oversee the flock of God are works of such a nature, as to the execution of them, there's necessarily required temperance, judgement, and sobriety. Thus to shine in the mids of a crooked and perverse nation, Phil. 2.15. holding forth the word of life, is the undoubted duty of every Minister of the Gospel. But now when he that teacheth another, Rom. 2.21. teacheth not himself, but sets a bad example before the flock, is he not irregular? The salt that hath lost his savour (our Saviour tells us) is good for nothing, 1 Pet. 5.3. Mat. 5.13. but to be troden under foot of men. And no way so direct to the losing of all savour, both of the truth in a mans own heart, and of esteem and relish with good men; as is loosness and scandal in the conversation. I know the livid Viper envy is still alive, and none can so converse as utterly to exempt himself from all the darts of calumny cast by the tongues, and pens of perverse and ungodly men: but (my brethren) let's give no occasion for these to stick, but let our inno­cence blunt the edge of malice, so as the blast of our reproachers may be but as a storm against the wall. Isa. 25.4. But sad it is that the Ministers of Christ should lay themselves naked by their loosness to the just retorsions of the wicked: that what they reprove in others, as matter of blame, should be re­charged upon themselves. Turpe est doctori cùm culpa redarguit.

'Tis for a lamentation to see gravity in the Pul­pit countercheck'd by wantonness in the Market-place: [Page 15] and the weightiness of Sermons fly away in the lightness of behaviour: and the lustre of sound Doctrine blemished with the spots of a sul­lied life! The affectionate expressions of the A­postle, with tears in his eyes, to the Philippians, concerning unruly walkers, should by such be again, and again remembred,Phil. 3.18, 19. They are (saith he) enemies to the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame. And that sharp correption of the holy Ghost, gi­ven to such (which sometimes happened to be O­rigen's fit text, then with great trouble upon his mind) should not be forgotten, viz. What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee, Psal. 50.15, 17.

Therefore, a word to you, my brethren; set a watch over your feet, as well as over your lips. Study to shew the power of godliness in your lives, as well as the flower of eloquence in your lines. You are not without your observers: And as there are some, who do pray for you, and would willing­ly, and are ready to draw a charitable veil over your infirmities; so there are many squint eyes upon you, that watch for your halting: Jer. 20.20. magnifying eyes that turn motes into beams: cursed eyes of Cham's kind, which glory in the shame of others, and are pleased most with your nakedness, as a delightful object. Therefore do you endea­vour to cut off occasion from them, 2 Cor. 11.12. which de­sire occasion: that when you rebuke the un­ruliness and disorder that is in others, you [Page 16] your selves may not be judged as transgres­sors.

3 Thirdly, This charge doth justly reach most of people. Who sees not how irregular the lives of men now are? Most are not only strangers to Holiness, and the Paths of Piety: but have given them­selves over to work all uncleanness with greediness. The sins that now abound are of a crimson colour, and scarlet hue.Eph. 4.19. They over-pass the deeds of the wicked. It may be said of our times,Jer. 5.28. as it was of Judah in the days of Jeremiah, chap. 17.1. The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond, it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of their altars: or as of those in Ezekiel's days, chap. 9.9. The iniquity of the house of Israel and Juda is exceeding great, the land is full of blood, and the city full of perversness: for they say the Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. Do not men live now, as if there were no law to re­gulate, no God to judge, no heaven to reward, nor hell to punish? as if sin were a privilege, and wick­edness their proper work? As if our natural pra­vity were not enough to render us miserable, but we must make our selves ten times more the chil­dren of wrath, by the witting and willing choice of many great and abominable sins, and the actual commitment of them. The enormities that now abound, notwithstanding the good Laws of God and man, bespeak an unruly age. What age so o­verflowing as this of ours, with the sins of drunken­ness, swearing, uncleanness, revelling, and all man­ner of debaucheries; with pride, malice, oppres­sion, [Page 17] covetousness; with envy, blasphemy, sab­bath-breaking, and all sort of profanations, and contempt of God's Ordinances? And whereas formerly sin hath sought a covering, and the works of the wicked have been in the dark: Isa. 29.15. they that were drunken, were drunken in the night. 1 Thes. 5.7. Now these hellish acts are naked, and destruction hath no covering. We may justly fear a scourge to come for these crying crimes.Jer. 5.29. Shall not I visit for these things, saith the Lord? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? What wonderful and horrible thing was committed in the land of Israel, which is not to be found amongst us; and ours at­tended with such aggravations, as the sins of Israel were not capable of? What, are they punished, and shall we think to escape? Did the rod and ven­geance meet with Israel, Numb. 32.23. and will not our sin find us out? The things which happened unto them (saith the Apostle) were for ensamples, and they are writ­ten for our admonition, 1 Cor. 10.11. upon whom the ends of the world are come. I shall not take up time further to evince how ruleless, lawless, and controlless the lives of men now are: 'Tis so obvious, that there's no place for a plea, no room for excuse. 'Tis a­gainst all light, all rule both of Nature and Grace, of Law and Gospel.Mat. 13.25. Sad it is that these tares should be the fruits of that Gospel-seed, which so long hath been sowen amongst us;Deut. 32.5. that we should thus requite the Lord, for the ample expence of Grace and Love which he hath been at about us. Well may the Lord take up a grievous com­plaint against us: Hósne mihi fructus? Now oh that such, whose lives are thus repugnant [Page 18] to all good rule and order, would but seriously consider their deformity, with the impendent dan­ger; the shame to which they expose themselves, and the dishonour they cast upon the name of God: and duely compare their fluid sensual lusts, with the future abiding wages of sin; Rom. 6 23. and so see how transient and frothy the one is, but how reme­dilesly lasting the other will be: for then as they could not but be convinced of their folly, so sure­ly they would not but turn their course; and with Ephraim, being thus turned, repent; and being thus warned, smite upon the thigh: and be ashamed, yea, Jer. 31.19. even confounded to bear the reproach of sin upon them.

Thus I have done with the former part, viz. the Subject proposed, and therein the detection of the unruly: the discovery of whose sin does im­plicitly couch a warning in it; in as much as where sin is opened, and particularly applyed, there also the persons, whose sin it is, are put in mind of their evil, that being warned, they may flee from it. And to that end is this discovery thus far made.

I should now go on with the latter part, viz. the act or duty enjoyned: But the other bu­siness of this day will not seasonably allow us any more time at present to lengthen our di­scourse in. Rather therefore than too far to entrench upon your patience, and therein to retard the procedure of your further work, I shall here chuse to put a period to this task, leaving the remainder to a following oppor­tunity. [Page 19] Now to the eternal and glorious Trinity, Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost, be continually ascribed glory, praise, power, dominion and thanksgiving, henceforth, and for evermore. Amen.

Here ends the first Sermon.

A Warning-Piece FOR THE UNRULY; The Second SERMON, PREACHED The day following, viz. May 9th.

A Warning-Piece FOR THE UNRULY.

1 Thess. 5.14.

Warn them that are unruly.

THe last day (you know) we made an entrance into, and some pro­gress in these words, wherein there is

1. An Act enjoyned. Warn.

2. The subject, or persons about which this Act is to be conversant, viz. the unruly.

And hence was observed

That the unruly are to be warned.

We then treated about the subject or persons, [Page 24] who these unruly are, or who they are, that are to be accounted so. I need not now take up time to remind you of the particulars, and pro­cedure of the yesterdays discourse in that respect. And therefore having done with the inquiry into the subject or persons, viz. Who these unruly are? We come now to the act or duty enjoyned, viz. they are to be warned.

To give warning of sin or danger, 'tis a charita­ble work and duty. God himself does not pour out his wrath upon the wicked, but he first warns the wicked of his way. Noah was a preacher of righteousness to the old world;2 Pet. 2.5. and his blows in the building of the Ark, were as so many warning-pieces discharged to the ungodly: God had given him warning, and he as Gods messenger gave warning to the old World.Heb. 11.7. So did Lot to Sodom, whose righteous soul in seeing and hearing was vex­ed from day to day with their unlawful deeds. 2 Pet. 2.8. How many warnings did God by Moses give to Pharaoh, before the floodgates of the mighty waters were o­pened on him? And how did the Prophets warn Israel before their captivity came? Did not the Lord send unto them all his servants the Prophets, daily rising up early, Jer. 7.25. and sending them? Though they ill requited his love and kindness, For they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his Prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, 2 Chron. 36.16. till there was no remedy. And how affectionately was Jerusalem warned by our Saviour Christ before its final overthrow? He beheld the city, Luk. 19.41, 42. and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the [Page 25] things which belong unto thy peace. How often would he have gathered her children together, Luk. 13.34. as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings; before their house was left unto them desolate? The Lord gives it in special charge to the watchman of the house of Israel, to hear the word at his mouth, Ezek. 33.8, 9. and warn them from him: further telling him, that no less than his soul, and the guilt of the sinners blood upon it lyes at stake, if this duty be neglected. If he do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall dye in his iniquity, but his blood shall be required at the watchmans hand. Ne­vertheless if he warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, yet the Watchman hath delivered his own soul.

Thus we see to give warning to the unru­ly hath been Gods usual way; and here it is our commanded duty. Warn them that are un­ruly.

Now we are to enquire, how the unruly are to be warned? And here we are to consider, that warn­ing is to be given not only generally in the publick Ministery of the Word; where sin and sinners are to be reproved; and particular sins, and sinners al­so are to be spoken to: though nominally we are not to single out the persons. But more particu­larly where the irregularities of individuals (known to us) do appear, there a more special, express, and personal warning is re­quired.

1 And first, such are particularly, and in a friend­ly manner to be admonished. Now this is to be [Page 26] done, privately, seasonably, thoroughly, affectionately, in meekness, and without partiality.

First, privately, a word whispered in the ear may so affect the heart, as graciously to lead it captive: whereas a more open warning, which may expose to publick shame, by rendring notorious, what be­fore was hidden, or conceived to be so, does sometimes harden the heart, and cause the sinner stubbornly to start aside. Therefore 'tis wisdom that our first addresses in warning the unruly of his way be, in a friendly manner, private. This is the counsel of our Lord Christ, and the rule which he hath left in such cases unto his Church: If thy bro­ther (saith he) shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. Matth. 18.15. Do it privately, make not others privy to, and part­ners with thy discourse in this respect▪ Though the sin be notorious, and known abroad, yet the transgressor may not know of its notoriety, and suspects nothing less than that it is made publick. He may think that it's hidden from the eye of the World, as't was from the light of the day in the commission of it: or as it veiled at least from his own apprehension (for so does the deceitfulness of sin blindfold the sinner.) Now if the first ad­dress for warning have attendant witnesses, the transgressor (being thus accosted) will look upon it as a sudden onset; and will be so far from giving en­tertainment to you as his friends, that he will su­spect you as secret enemies combin'd to pick ad­vantage; or at least as publishers of his shame; and so (turning away from you) become more [Page 27] hardened in his sin. Therefore, saith our Lord Christ, tell him his fault between thee and him a­lone. Do this office of love to thy brother, when thou and he shall be alone. Such Private moni­tions may sink deep into the heart, and become matter of serious meditation: which if he shall so hear thee, will be the gaining of thy brother.

Secondly, Seasonably; opportunity is the wing of action. That work which goes slowly forward at other times, in an opportune season goes freely on: and those Essays which prove abortive, being unseasonably begun, will issue to a good effect upon a fit occasion. We are to wait the opportu­nity, and to take it by the forelock too, if we de­sign the good success of our endeavours. In ob­serving the opportunity, there will be a serving the Lord. [...] will be [...]. Rom. 12.11.Prov. 25.11. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver, saith the wise man: Now the fitness of speaking does not only lye (as Cartwright well observes) in the truth and goodness of the matter, or in the adequate adap­tion of the expression to the conception; but in the choice of a proper season too, to utter our conceptions in: which is prudently to be ga­thered from circumstantial considerations of time and place, together with a due poise of the matter that is before us, and the persons with whom we have to do, their present state and temper. Senten­tia tum in se vera, concinna, & bona; Cartwright in loc. tum observa­tis locorum, temporum, & personarum circumstantiis [Page 28] prolata. Now when there is an opportune occur­rence of these things then to speak 'tis a fit time and season.Verbum di­ctum super ro­tis suis. Pisca­tor. Ar. Mont. Mercer. A word so spoken is upon its wheels, and succeed freely, and without obstruction to­wards the accomplishment of that, for which it is intended: for so by some that place of the wise man hath been rendred. Thus to time a word is to put it upon its wheels. Sermoni e­leganter tri­buuntur rotae super quas cir­cumvolvitur: quando scilicet diligenter quis moderatur ser­monem aurigae more, & tem­perat observa­tis debitis cir­cumstantiis. Though all truths still carry their glory with them, and we are to be instant about them in season, and out of season: yet there is a double glory upon truths, when they are seasonably delivered. And so to warn the sinner from the error of his way; though it is at all times good: yet in a fit season 'tis most effectual. Now a wise mans heart discerneth both time and judge­ment, Eccles. 8.5.

Thirdly, Thoroughly, the word [...] notes such a manner of monition, as whereby the duty enjoyned, or thing spoken about is press'd home, and put (as't were) into the mind. A formal per­functory admonition, as for the most part 'tis vain and fruitless, so it falls short of the duty, that is here enjoyn'd. Old Eli warned his sons of their miscar­riages, and told them, that he heard of their evil dealing by all the people, 1 Sam. 2.23, 24. and that they made the Lords people to transgress: and that their sins being more immediately against the Lord, there was none to entreat for them. Thus far 'twas well in Eli; and what he said was right: but the warn­ing was not thorough and home, and improved to the uttermost. There was too much of a cockering [Page 29] indulgence in it, evidenced in those soft words, Nay, my sons: which argue either fatherly affecti­on to a sinful excess: or else are the note of a sla­vish fear: for his children were sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord, and therefore probably had no honourable respect for their Father, more than for any other man, if they were provoked. How­ever this soft superficial warning is charged upon Eli as a grievous sin, and therein, as he is said, to ho­nour his sons above God; 1 Sam. 3.13, 14. so for this his house is threatned to be judged for ever; and that the ini­quity thereof shall not be purged away (a sad warning for all Parents, that love their children more than they hate their sin.) Warning that it may be effe­ctual, it must be thoroughly given and pressed home. You may remember how Nathan came to David: the parable seem'd to be at a great di­stance, (a proper way of address to a personage of that grandeur) and David stood and heard it, as an unconcern'd man all the while, any further than only to pass a righteous judgement: yet when the speech was opened, how closely comes it home, it reacheth the very heart of David. 2 Sam. 12.7. That close Application, thou art the man, leaves no way to escape, but so blocks up all subterfuges, that it draws out, from David, an ingenuous confession and acknowledgement of his sin. And david said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. How thoroughly home was the return of Elijah unto A­habs rash and injurious charge? telling him,1 King. 18.18. I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy Fathers house. So closely in like manner did the man of the sons [Page 30] of the Prophets come up to him, (though under a disguise) and charged his fault upon him in let­ting Benhadad escape:1 King. 20.40. So as he passed judgement upon himself, in his decision of the parable. And the like did Elijah, 1 King. 21.27. pressing his guilt and judgement so far home, as forc'd him into a course of humili­ation: he rent his cloathes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. Slight superficial warnings are but of small avail with an unruly temper; they return without effect. And therefore in giving warning do it thoroughly, so as it may take impression upon the heart, and draw out the consideration to it. The Preacher tells us, that the words of the wise are as goads, and nails fastned by the masters of assemblies, Eccles. 12.11.

Fourthly, Affectionately; The unruly are affectio­nately to be warned. As love will hide a multi­tude of sins, 1 Pet. 4.8. under the candidness of its nature, in passing by what's done amiss, and clothing a­ctions with the best construction; so it will hide a multitude of sins by the energie of its working, in turning sinners from the errour of their ways: In both regards [...].Jam. 5.20. When reproofs are imbittered with self and passion (though for the matter they be true, and 'twere wisdom to accept them, yet) we frequently see such reproofs prove ineffectual, and are with re­gret retorted upon the giver. Nay, sometimes those that are given in love find but slender enter­tainment;Exod. 2.13. as in Moses his warning the Hebrew, [Page 31] who wrong'd his fellow: much less shall such be kindly accepted, wherein the pride, passion, or en­vy of the giver shall appear. Therefore it should be our care, if we intend our giving warning to be effectual, therein to shew the reality of our af­fection, and to evidence the truth, and simplici­ty of our love. Let it appear that what you say is out of love to the transgressors soul, to reco­ver him out of Sathan's snare: that 'tis because you desire his present and eternal good that you so entreat him: that your own concern is not so much therein, but 'tis his own interest (the pro­motion whereof you desire, as your own) that is imbarqued. Endeavour to make it evident, that you pray for, desire, and seek his good. The A­postle charged the Thessalonians, 1 Thess. 2.8, 11, as a father doth his children: and was affectionately desirous of them. He travel'd in birth again for the Galatians until Christ was formed in them. Gal. 4.19. Do you shew the like tenderness of affection in your addresses for the re­covery of transgressors. This is the most proba­ble way to win them. St. Paul reminds the El­ders of the Church of Ephesus of his former course with them, while he was amongst them; that by the space of three years, Act. 20.31. he ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. His warnings were affectionate, and therefore in all probability the more effectual. He warn'd those that stood, to take heed of staggering; those that staggered, to beware of falling; the fallen he warn'd against disobedience; and the disobedient of their dan­ger: and all this from deep affection: that he [Page 32] might confirm those that stood, strengthen those that staggered, recover the fallen, and reclaim the disobedient. And the like Precept, according to his own pattern, he gives us, in reference to the management of our admonitions towards the un­ruly; not to deal with him as an enemy, from whom our affections may be twin'd: but to ad­monish him as a brother, towards whom our affe­ction is intended.2 Thess. 3.15. [...], where we have not only, the self-same word used with this in the Text; but the modus utendi also given us, viz. as a brother: Arguing an endearedness of affection to be expressed in such admoni­tions.

Fifthly, It is to be done in meekness. Reproofs given in a spirit of meekness will encline the ear, and be as an excellent oyl, Psal. 141.5. which shall not break the head. These will sink down into the heart, and lodge there: when warnings given in wrath, or heat of passion will recoil, finding no room of acceptance. The wise man tells us, that a soft tongue breaketh the bone. Prov. 25.15. Oratio mollis, &c. as Mercer. Placidum re­sponsum, ubi omnis abest a­speritas, convi­ctum, cavil­lum, &c. Ge­ [...]rus. A quiet and meek speech will pierce a stony heart. The flint is easily broken on a soft pillow, and the parts kept together: which will not abide a blow, when lying on a harder sub­stance, but flies away, and the parts are scattered. A bony hardness will yield to a soft tongue, when as grievous words do but stir up anger. Prov. 15.1. St. James tells us, that it is a great part of spiritual wisdom, even that which is from above, to shew out of a good [Page 33] conversation our works with meekness: Jam. 3.13, 14, 15. joyning peaceableness with purity; and a gentle frame with a pious disposition: and that not only in accepting the word of exhortation, as being easie to be en­treated; but in the giving of it too, as being void of bitter envying, and strife in our hearts. If a man be overtaken in a fault, he is to be restor'd in the spirit of meekness: Gal. 6.1. Your addresses for his re­covery are not to be rough and tart, for this in­stead of joynting may break the bone; but they are to be sweet and gentle, and thus you may put him in joynt again. So the Apostle St. Paul hints it in that expression [...], Gal. 6.1. And shewing the qualifi­cations, and duty of teachers in reference to the unruly, and those that oppose themselves; his di­rection is express, that in meekness they are to in­struct those that oppose themselves; 2 Tim. 2.24. as if meekness fitted instruction for its end: and that the servant of the Lord must be gentle unto all men, apt to teach; as if the main part of an aptitude to teach did lye in a gentle frame of spirit, and this is to be shewn to all men, whether friends or others; re­lations, or those at a further distance; all are gen­tly to be treated. Such is the excellency of a meek and quiet spirit, 1 Pet. 3.4. that it is not only an ornament to those that have it, and in the sight of God of great price: but beneficial to opposers who are treated with it, as a means by which God gives them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, 2. Tim. 2.24, 25.

Sixthly, Without partiality. Warning is inpar­tially to be given, none are to be spared. It was Levi's signal commendation in the blessing where­with Moses blessed him before his death, Deut. 33.9. that his zeal was such, and so sincere for God, that in the cause of God, he made no difference between strangers, and the nearest of his relations. Who said unto his father, and to his mother, I have not seen him, Deut. 33.9. neither did he acknowledge his brethren, Referunt hoc ad factum illud Levitarum, Exod. 32. Ibi dixit Moses, [occidite quis (que) fratrem suum] Et Levitae reos quos (que) citra per­sonarum del [...] ­ctum, interfe­cerunt. Me­noch. Olea­ster in loc. nor knew his own children. Herein pro­bably alluding to that zeal, which Levi shewed, in that holy and impartial revenge, they took for God, upon the guilty: Exod. 32.27. For so di­verse gloss upon it. Now that which is the chief part of Levi's praise is his impartiality. And as this is excellent in the execution of justice (which if 'twere otherwise, 'twould be unjust:) so in our giving warning of those evils, against which vin­dictive justice has threatned to go out, to be impar­tial, hath both its proper praise and benefit. We are not to rebuke for some sins only, and let others go scot-free; to meet with greater, and give a pardon of course for less: as if all sin were not a­gainst a great and infinite God, and the breach of a most just and holy Law. 'Tis true, gross enor­mities, being of greater scandal, are more preju­dicial to Church and State: and 'tis as true that lesser evils are running down the channel towards that black Ocean, and therefore are to be stopp'd in the beginning; for otherwise, if indulged, they will prove of as bad a consequence in the [Page 35] issue: in as much as all sin, yea the least, aims at the highest in its kind.

And for persons in our giving warning none are to be spared. In this respect we are to know no man after the flesh. 2 Cor. 5.16. The wisdom that's from a­bove, the Apostle tells us, is without partiality. Jam. 3.17. To warn the poor and spare the rich: speak home to our enemy, and connive at our friend: to look narrowly upon strangers, and pass by relations: as it would bespeak us (unlike God) respecters of persons; Act. 10.34. 1 Pet. 1. so it would make us become sharers in their sin. The grandeur of the person is so far from lessening his offence, that it is a grand aggra­vation of it, and makes his sin the more sinful, be­cause a spreading evil, and therefore he is to be warned. The great man upon whom our present dependance is, and 'tmay be, some future hopes too, he is not to be indulged in his evil way; but the nearer we are to him, the more home we are to treat him; and 'tis our Christian prudence, as well as duty, to improve the ad­vantage of our intimacy with him, to estrange him from his sin: otherwise the present depen­dance holds but by a band of wickedness, and the future hopes will fail. Thus neither fear nor fa­vour; friendship nor alliance; present advantage nor future hopes should be any block i'th' way to hinder the impartial discharge of this duty, here given in charge, viz. the warning the unruly. And this is the first part of the duty, as more particu­larly enjoyn'd.

2 But secondly, If this particular friendly way of ad­monition be rejected, and persons persist in their un­ruliness, what then is to be done? Answ. Then they are sharply to be rebuked;Judicabit spiritualis & eos qui Schisma operantur, qui propter mo­dicas & quaslibet causas, magnum & gloriosum corpus Christi conscindunt, & dividunt, vere liquantes culicem, & camelum diglutientes. Irenaeus, lib. 4. c. 62. and more openly to be dealt withal. If thy bro­ther trespass against thee (saith our Saviour) first go, and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, Mat. 18.16. thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then nextly take with thee one or two more, and go unto him. And here thou mayst deal more sharply with him; and thy rebukes are to be enforced with greater weight, as witnessed and established. Here he is to be told that he adds sin to sin, Job 34.37. even rebellion unto his sin: and that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft; and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. 1 Sam. 15.23. Tell him that he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mis­chief: Prov. 28.14. and 29.1. and who so stiffneth his neck against re­proof, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. If soft words will not break the bone, let the terrour of the Lord affright him: and as knowing the terrour of the Lord do you perswade men. 2 Cor. 5.11. Such are to be dealt with in all speed and earnestness, as being upon the brink of deadly ruine, and upon whom the flames of the ever­lasting burnings seem ready to take hold: and therefore they are to be saved with fear, pulling them out of the fire. Here the danger and dread­ful effects of sin are to be discoursed,Jude 23. and applyed [Page 37] home to them. And 'tis to be press'd upon their thoughts, how sin through its deceitfulness will harden the heart; and sear the conscience; Heb. 3.13. and de­liver over unto a reprobate mind. 1 Tim. 4.2. And they are to be told,Rom. 1.28. that they are even upon the borders of such a wretched condition,2 Tim. 2.26. and ready to fall into the devils snare, to be led captive by him at his will. Tit. 1.13. Thus according to the rule St. Paul gives to Titus, they are sharply to be rebuked. [...], was the rule for such to Titus. Our reproofs in this case they are to be (as Beza hints it) cutting, so as to divide between their hearts and lusts, and to cure their souls by cutting off their sin. The Authoriy and Majesty of the Word of Christ as Divine is here to be shewed, and therefore they are to be rebuked [...], as St. Paul directs.Tit. 2.16. And because this se­cond address is more sharpe, and to be more so­lemn than the first, and in that it will issue to the discovery of a more broken, or otherwise refra­ctary frame of spirit; therefore the rule of our Saviour is, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established, Mat. 18.16.

3 But thirdly, what if this second sharp and se­rious warning be withstood, and the offenders brow be brazed against it, what then is to be done? Answ. Our Saviour gives the rule [...], tell it to the Church, Mat. 18.17. Let the Church be acquainted that there is an unruly member that will take no warning, neither be re­claimed [Page 38] from his unruliness: that private monitions have been given, and means used, with the con­current witness and attestation of friends and brethren for the orderly reduction of such a per­son, but all has proved ineffectual, and to no purpose: and therefore the way now is to try what the solemn admonition of the Church in this respect can do. He that will sleep out the friendly advice of one single brother, or more coming to him, will perhaps awake and rouse up himself under the Churches admonition. The Authority of the Church and power by Christ committed to it, will spirit with energy the ad­monition, and strike an awe into the offenders heart. Surely, if there be left in him any sparks of reverence towards God, regard of man, or re­spect to his own soul, when the Churches warning is given, his ear will open, his heart will break, and godly sorrow, 2 Cor. 7.10. which worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, will ensue and follow.

4 Fourthly, But what if the Churches warn­ing prove ineffectual,Isa. 48.4. and the neck of the unruly through obstinacy become an iron sinew, what's then to be done to such contumaci­ous persons?Aversandus est talis at (que) fugi­endus quisquis fuerit ab Eccle­siâ separatus. Cypr. de Ʋnit. Eccles. Answ. Such, as putrid gangren'd members, are to be cut off. We say

—immedicabile vulnus
Ense recidendum est.

[Page 39] They are to be separated from the Communion of Gods people, and from the enjoyment of his Ordinances. And as not fit to be reckoned with­in, they are to be cast out of the Church of God; accounted unworthy the society of the Faithful. This is the Rule given by our Saviour in such a case, Tell it (saith he) to the Church: Mat 18.17. but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be un­to thee as a heathen man, and a Publican. Hence the rule left by the Apostle St. Paul is, to reject an heretick after the first and second admonition; Tit. 3 10. and to withdraw from him that walketh disorderly: 2 Thess. 3.6. and to note that man that obeys not the word of Christ, and to have no company with him. Now all this is but to warn such unruly ones, and thereby to pre­vent their eternal ruin. They are cast out of the Church, to shame them out of themselves; and cut off from the Communion of the Faithful, to break their fellowship with their sin:2 Thess. 3.14. note that man (saith the Apostle) and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. So that the highest of Church censures is but a warning-sentence, the great design whereof is to do the person good, by taking away his evil: and so to save the soul, by killing of its sin. The Apostle gives it fully in a few words, saying, that such a one is deliver'd to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spi­rit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 5.5.

Now all these are but as so many several ways of warning in order to the performance of that [Page 40] duty which is incumbent on us in reference to the unruly. And thus I have done with the latter part, viz. the duty enjoyned, and the manner of the performance of it.

Now for a close, in a word; My Bre­thren, hence we see what our duty is as touching the warning of the unruly: in the faithful discharge whereof we ei­ther save a soul from death, or leave the blood of the wicked upon his own head: 2 Ezek. 33.4, 8, 9. however we deliver our own souls. But if there be a remissness or neglect on our parts in the due performance of what's here enjoyned, the wicked man may dye in his iniquity, but his blood will be required at our hand. The sacrifice that the Priest was to offer under the Law was (you know) greater than that of the Kings, yea, as great as that of the whole con­gregation, for all their sins: to shew not only the horrible aggravation of their sins as Ministers: but the great charge that was rolled upon them in reference to the defaults of others, which by several ways might become their own. And this was [Page 41] it made Chrysostom on Heb. 13.17. wonder how any in that office could be saved: but that which seems impossible with man, is possible with God.

Now if there be any persons here of what Calling or Rank soever, upon whom the former charge of unruliness does in any wise take hold, and whose consciences bring home the guilt thereof upon them­selves: Let my exhortation (I pray) be accepted with them. That they would but consider the excellency of the Churches peace and order, with the in­terest and welfare of the Nation; and how much a lawless, ruleless, disorderly, selfish frame, and course is adverse to both: That what Christ has established and ordered in his Church (viz. peace and unity) they by such irregular practices are endeavouring to subvert and overthrow. Let such now say,Job 34.32. If I have done iniqui­ty, I will do no more. Let them shew themselves men, by subjecting all selfish humours to the dictates of that more high and noble principle of an en­lightened [Page 42] judgement; and no longer hold the truth in unrighteousness. Rom. 1.18. Oh that Zions interest were engraven upon their hearts, and the means for the right pur­suance of that interest were understood, and in their eyes. Let all such now come out of the confused night-walks of their own fancies, into the clear light and li­berty of the day: and no longer put darkness for light, Isa. 5.20. and light for darkness: and let this be freely done from a Princi­ple of Christian ingenuity too. Hear the counsel of the Psalmist, Be ye not as the horse, Psal. 32.9. or as the mule, which have no un­derstanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle. Let the fredom of an ingenuous spirit from humble Chri­stian Principles so actuate your souls, as preventingly to suspend the execution of all coercive power. Remember this and shew your selves men: bring it again to mind, Isa. 46.8. O ye transgressors. And besides the evil consequences of a ruleless tem­per as issuing to your selves; let the con­sideration of the great prejudices done [Page 43] thereby to the Church, and the advan­tage thence given to the common adver­sary, either to turn Atheist, or to persist in his false opinion, be as so many spurs to quicken your thoughts to a due debate a­bout your way. The Churches unity should be no less dear unto us than its peace and order; now unruliness strikes at both: and if these be disturb'd or bro­ken, though its verity will still remain (for the Church of the living God is the pillar and ground of truth) yet the lustre there­of of will be exceedingly sullied and de­faced:1 Tim. 3.15. and so truth comes to be a sufferer through your breach of order. Oh, that those who are unwilling to come as yet within the Churches rule, would but throughly consider of these things. We ought to endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace: Ephes. 4.3. but while one is of Paul, another of Apollo, 1 Cor. 1.12. and 2.4. another of Cephas, what peace or order can there be expected? And if peace be once sha­ken, unity will not be lasting. St. Au­stin has long since express'd his thoughts [Page 44] concerning those, who prize not the Churches unity; Non habent Dei cha­ritatem (saith he) qui Ecclesiae non dili­gunt unitatem. Aug. de Bapt. lib. 3. cap. 16. Therefore in a word, as you tender the Churches peace and uni­ty, which is exceedingly influential to your own, and the happiness of a Nati­on, let me prevail with you to accept the word of exhortation given: and submit your selves to the good Rule, wholesome Laws, and decent order of the Church established. For certainly next to truth of Doctrine, purity of worship, and holiness of life, there's no­thing more necessary for the promotion of Gods honour, and mens salvation, for preventing all Atheistical prejudices a­gainst Religion, and departures to a common Adversary, for strengthning the interests of all both governours and go­verned in the Church, than the unity and order thereof is. Which that all good Christians may have it upon their hearts to pursue, should and ought to be the prayer of us all. Now unto him that is [Page 45] able to establish us in the faith, and to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy: to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and Majesty, dominion and power now and ever. Amen.

FINIS.

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  • [Page]Flora's Vagaries.
  • Marcellia.
  • Dumb Lady.
  • Rehearsal.
  • Imperial.
  • Citizen turn'd Gentleman.
  • Catalins Conspiracy.
  • Fatal Jealousie.
  • Morning Ramble, &c.
FINIS.

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