Imprimatur, Z. Isham, R.P.P. Henrico, Episc. Lond. à sacris. Apr. 4. 1689.

A SERMON PREACHED AT FULHAM, IN THE Chappel of the Palace, Upon Easter-day, MDCLXXXIX. AT THE CONSECRATION OF THE Right Reverend Father in God, GILBERT, Lord Bishop of SARVM.


LONDON: Printed for Ric. Chiswell, at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard. MDCLXXXIX.

To the Right Reverend Father in God, GILBERT, Lord Bishop of SARVM.

My Lord,

AFter your Lordship had desired me to Print this Sermon, I met with a Discourse upon the very same Subject, and upon an occasion of the same nature, by an abler Hand,Mr. Y. in the year 1685. which made me look upon the printing of mine as need­less, and had almost prevailed with me to lay aside all thoughts of Publishing what I deliver'd in your Lordship's presence; but considering, that Obedience would be bet­ter resented than Excuses, and a man had better see himself out-shined by persons of greater parts and abilities, which is a com­fort to an humble mind, than be guilty of disrespect to those whom we look upon both as our Friends and Superiors (Not to men­tion [Page] that our matter and method are diffe­rent) I was resolved to venture; And tho these courser Meditations may not give that satisfaction that more elaborate Orations do, yet since there must be Vnder-workmen, as well as Master-builders, and both may be useful in their several stations, I was willing to appear before your Lordship with this Present, in which I must beseech you to re­gard the heart with which it is offer'd, more than the gift it self; which if you do, you will not only let the World see, how great your Charity is in over-looking De­fects and Blemishes, but increase the Ob­ligations you have already laid on,

My Lord,
Your Lordships most affectionate and most humble Servant, A. HORNECK.
2 TIM. i.6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, That thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands.’

THEY that think, that every Christi­an may be a Preacher; and that the Ministry, considered as a distinct Cal­ling or Employ, is nothing but usur­pation, and some ambitious mens affecting a Su­periority over their Brethren, like the Cynick of old, trampling upon Plato's Cloak, make them­selves guilty of greater Pride than that which they pretend to condemn. They not only contradict the universal Sense of Mankind, which from im­memorial times have had their distinct Officers of Religion, but set up their Conceits against the Wisdom of God himself, who did no sooner plant a Church in the World, but took care the Priest­hood should be in a certain Order of Men; and as before the Law, the First-born was to have that Priviledge, as all the ancient Jewish Records do wit­ness, so under the Law, the Family of Aaron was p [...]ched upon to attend the Altar. And tho the [Page 2] whole Jewish Nation was a Royal Priesthood, or a Kingdom of Priests, Exod. 20.6. in a metaphorical sense; yet properly speaking, none could officiate in publick, either in the Tabernacle or Temple, but the Levites, and the Sons of Aaron. And under the New Te­stament, tho the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh, yet even then men were separated, and set a­part for preaching the Word, administring the Ho­ly Sacraments, and exercising Church-Censures: and to invade the Office, was counted Presumption and Sacriledge, and no less than resisting the Ho­ly Ghost. The Church is called a Building, and we know, that every Flint or Pebble is not fit to be a Foundation, or Corner-stone; much less to be set into the Ephod, and there to shine in Oracles and Responses. It's call'd a Body too, and this hath va­rious Members, and these, various Offices, which cannot be all Eyes, and Overseers; if they were, where would be the hearing? It was therefore that the Apostles, in the places where they preach'd the Gospel, before they left them, or took their final leave of the People, ordain'd them Bishops and Elders, to succeed them in the Ministerial Functi­on; such a Bishop was Timothy, the [...], the Pre­sident, and Overseer of the Church of Ephesus; and not only of the Church in the City, but [...] of the Diocess; of Ephesus, saith Eusebius:L. 3. c. 4. [Page 3] and if we may believe St. Chrysostom, of all Asia, Hom. 15. in 1. Tim▪ whose Office was, besides his other Ministerial La­bours, to inspect the Clergy under his charge, and other Officers belonging to the House of God, whereof the Fifth Chapter of the First E­pistle to Timothy, seems to me a very clear Evi­dence; for it speaks of an Ecclesiastical Jurisdi­ction lodged in Timothy, an Overseer constituted and appointed by St. Paul, even by the laying on of his hands, whereof he puts him in mind in the Text, and of the Gift, that was bestow'd upon him by that imposition of hands, and of his duty to exercise it. Wherefore I put thee in re­membrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the laying on of my hands.

And here, before I enter upon the Apostle's Exhortation, or the Duty contain'd in it, I can­not but take notice of the softness and gentleness of his Address, I put thee in remembrance.

Practical Discourses, and salutary Admoniti­ons, to men of Learning and good Education, are a refreshing of their Memories, rather than teaching or illuminating their Understandings: Timothy could not be ignorant of the Duty re­commended to him here by his spiritual Father; for from a child he had known the holy Scriptures, which made him wise unto salvation, through faith, [Page 4] which is in Christ Jesus, perfect, and throughly fur­nish'd unto all good works: yet the Apostle prea­ches to him a very familiar Duty; and this preaching he calls putting him in remembrance.

The same may be said almost of all Sermons deliver'd in mixt Auditories, where judicious and intelligent persons are mingled with vulgar capa­cities. The Morals, and common Principles explain'd and taught, and inculcated there, may be as useful to those of a higher, as well as to those of a lower Form; for tho they came not attended with new Notions to instruct them, yet they may serve to put them in mind of the solid Truths they know, and give them opportunity to enlarge and ruminate upon them, to their spiritual profit and edification. The things which tend to make us eternally happy, are the plainest, the most known, and the most famili­ar Doctrines improv'd into practice of godliness; and he that makes the Articles of the Catholick Faith, Motives and Engagements to Self-denial, and strictness of life, is more likely to arrive in the Harbour of a blessed Immortality, than the greatest Literati, who think it below them to employ their Parts and Understandings about things which every Ploughman knows as well as they:3. v. It was the custom of a very learned Pre­late [Page 5] of our Church, when he had talk'd with his friends of some nicer Points of Divinity, or Hi­story, or Chronology, to close his Discourse with this friendly Exhortation, Come, let us now talk a little of Jesus Christ, being sensible, that, however Learning may enlighten, or refine the Understanding, the Doctrine of the Cross, and Christ crucified, and such plain Notions of Christianity, are the things, which being affectio­nately ponder'd, will conduct the Soul to eternal Life and Glory

And therefore, how impertinent soever it may be, to make an Oration of War before Hanni­bal, it cannot be improper to discourse of [...], the Common things which accompany Salvation, before the learnedest of you all; not to make you more knowing and intelligent, that were to hold a Taper to the Sun, but to give you opportunities to be better. Discourses of this nature may put you in remembrance of a Duty, which multiplicity of business would not suffer you to think of, or contemplations of other mat­ters tempted you to overlook. The learneder you are, the fitter you are to improve the mean­er performances of the Orator; and while you apply your larger Understandings to the Com­mon Truths deliver'd by the inconsiderab [...] [Page 6] Speaker, and make Comments upon them in your minds, by richer Meditations, your Edi­fication is signal, being hereby put in a capacity of saving both your selves and others.

And having premised this Observation, I may now with greater chearfulness and courage, ex­hort you who are here present, not only those of the Third, and Second Degree, or Order of Priest­hood, as Optatus Milevitanus, calls Deacons and Priests, but even you the very Apices, the Prin­cipes, the Chiefs and Heads of the Church of God, to stir up the Gift of God, which is in you, by the imposition of hands: for this is no more than putting you in remembrance of the things you have learn'd and known, and are eminently vers'd in; And that I may proceed orderly, I shall en­quire,

  • I. What the Gift is which was in Timothy, and may still be suppos'd to be in all those whom God calls to the same Office.
  • II. How that Gift was anciently, and is still bestow'd and convey'd, or communicated.
  • III. How this Gift is to be stirr'd up, and what are the most proper means and ways to do it.

I. What the Gift is which was in Timothy, and may still be suppos'd to be in all those whom God calls to the same Office.

[Page 7]This Gift is the Holy Ghost, a Gift known al­ready before, and under the Law; but which, by the Confession of the Jews themselves, cea­sed in the Synagogue, after the Death of Haggai, Zachary, and Malachy, as well as the fire from Heaven, the Ark of God, the Urim and Thum­mim, and the Shekinah, or Divine Presence; a Gift which revived, and rose again, and with greater lustre and splendor too, when Christ Jesus came into the World, himself being the Anointed of the Lord, to whom God gave the Spirit without measure, that of his fulness we should all receive grace for grace: a Gift poured out in those glorious days, according to Joel's Pro­phecy, upon all flesh; i. e. on all sorts of men, even some times by drops at least, upon Christ's Enemies; for it was by this Spirit,Joh. xi 49. that Caia­phas prophesied, that Christ should die for the People: a Gift most visibly and most eminent­ly conferr'd on the Apostles, Christ's Friends, and Domesticks, and who were to preach the Gospel to every Creature under Heaven, and therefore consecrated by Miracles, and such a descent of the Holy Ghost upon them, as put not only the Spectators, but the Apostles them­selves, that felt the Inspiration, into Extasie: a Gift which in the Primitive Times, wonderful­ly [Page 8] illuminated those who were baptiz'd, some­times before their baptism, as in the Case of Cornelius, that famous [...], or Proselyte of the gate; a Gift bestow'd more particularly on persons who were chosen out of the People to exercise the Ministerial Function, whether as A­postles or Bishops, who succeeded those Stewards of the House of God, or as Priests, or as Deacons: In a word, men separated to holy Offices; and this is the Gift to which the Text hath rela­tion.

When Christ ordained his Apostles, or ra­ther confirmed their former Ordination, John xx.22. he ordained them with this Motto, Re­ceive ye the Holy Ghost; with an intent, no doubt, that after his Decease, and before their leaving the World, they should ordain Elders in every City, whether Bishops, or inferior Mi­nisters of the Word, and entitle them to the same Gift, so far, at least, as it was conducive to the effectual exercise of their Ministry; for it was not necessary that this Gift, as it brake out in Miracles and Prophecies, and speaking in un­known Tongues, raising the dead, and open­ing the eyes of the blind, and healing the sick, &c. should be propagated or continued in those who were to succeed the Apostles in their Mini­stry, [Page 9] that demonstration of the Spirit by Signs and Wonders, being proper only for those days, when the new Law was to be established, and Jews were to be called away from Moses to Jesus, from an External to a Spiritual Service, and the Heathens from their Gods and Idolatries. It was enough that the substantial part of the Gift was to be continued in the Church, and in its Offi­cers, to bring People in the Unity of the Faith, unto a perfect man in Christ Jesus; and this Gift is said here to be in Timothy.

This Phrase, the Holy Ghost, being of a large Extent, standing sometime for the Person, some­time for the miraculous Gifts, sometime for the saving Graces of the Holy Ghost; and even these Gifts and Graces are different; for there are di­versities of Gifts, but the same Spirit, saith St. Paul, 1 Cor. xii.4. I shall therefore particularize the Gift communicated to Timothy; and if we take St. Paul for our Guide, we shall find this Gift was a Divine Power vouchsafed to this man of God, which enabled and disposed him to teach, and live, and act, and do, answerably to the Du­ties incumbent upon him, as a Governour of the House of God. The Apostle in the following Verse, calls it, [...], the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound [Page 10] Mind; the Spirit of Christian Fortitude, of Cha­rity, and of Sedateness and Tranquillity of Temper.

1. The Spirit of Fortitude, which consists in being undaunted at danger, fearless of the Frowns of men, while we do no more than our Duty, and a steddy Freedom to vindicate the Truth of the Gospel, and the Honour of Christ Jesus, whatever may be the Effect or Conse­quence of it: In a word, an humble boldness, such as Hosius, St. Ambrose, St. Athanasius, St. Hi­lary, St. Chrysostome, St. Basil, and others, were famous for, who talk'd to Kings and Emperors, when God's Cause was concern'd, like Persons who feared nothing but the Anger of the King of Heaven; and tho Pride and Passion do some­times shelter themselves under the Name of Christian Fortitude, yet the counterfeit Ware may soon be distinguish'd from the true and ge­nuine, by examining the Cause and Principle, from which the boldness rises; which if it be Contempt of the World, and a pure Sense of God's Glory, it sanctifies the Temper, and speaks it to be derived from the Holy Ghost.

[Page 11]2. The Spirit of Love. It was not without very great Reason, that our Saviour ask'd St. Pe­ter thrice, Lovest thou me? and, Lovest thou me more than these? We may very rationally infer, that in saying so, he shew'd what manner of Spirit those should be of who were to be Pastors, and Teachers, and Overseers in the House of God. Nothing renders them more amiable to God and Man, than this Spirit of Love, Love to the Lord Jesus, Love to God's Glory, Love to the Souls of Men, Love which makes them willing to spend, and to be spent, even to die for the Name of the Lord Jesus. It is the mark of Christ's Disciples in general, and therefore must be so more eminently of those who are to go before the Sheep and lead them to green Pastures. From this Love have proceeded the almost in­credible Pains that holy Men of God have taken for the Conversion of Souls, whereof Ecclesi­astical History gives us very considerable In­stances.

3. The Spirit of a sound Mind. This seems to be a Temper able to curb the Passions, Inordi­nate Lusts, Desires and Perturbations of the Mind, an admirable Spirit! To know when to be an­gry, and when to be calm; when to be severe, and when to be moderate and gentle; when to [Page 12] use the Rod, and when to use the Staff; to have the Brutish Part in subjection to the Rational, the Body to the Soul, the Flesh to Spirit; this is Wisdom beyond all Worldly Policy whatso­ever. Plato makes this [...], or soundness of Mind, the opposite of Madness. Indeed in­dulging our Passions, and letting loose the Reins of our carnal and sensual Affections, is no better; for it's an Argument that Reason is dethroned, and the ruling part of the Soul is become sub­ject to the ignobler Principality; and surely this is Madness. The Mind is then sound, when it keeps the lower Faculties in good order, and it is an Argument of Wisdom to judg of things without Heats, or Prejudice, or prospect of self-Interest, and to keep the wild Desires of corrup­ted Nature in awe, and to do things with Pru­dence and Moderation.

This is the Gift here aim'd at, a Gift very ne­cessary for the discharge of so great, so weighty an Employ as is intimated in the Text; a Gift which not only Timothy was partaker of, but which as I said may justly be supposed to be in all, and to be given in some degree or other to those whom God calls to the same Office. For, if this Spirit was bestow'd on Timothy upon the account of his Office, and God intends that [Page 13] Office should continue to the World's end, we may justly conclude, that he will not deny the same Gift now to those whom he calls to the same Office. He that conferr'd another Heart and another Spirit upon Saul when he call'd him to be King over his People Israel; can we think he'll deny so useful, so necessary a Gift, to the Rulers of his Church, who have his Call, his Summons, his Vocation? I say, his Call, for no Man takes that Honour unto himself but he that is called, as also was Aaron.

Those who call themselves, whom either Am­bition or Interest, or a worldly, sensual Mind, or fondness of being great, and to be called of Men Rabbi, puts upon thrusting themselves into this sacred Office, are call'd indeed, but it is by that Spirit whose Name is Legion, not by him who gave some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evan­gelists, and some Pastors, and Teachers, for the per­fecting of the Saints, for the Work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ; Ephes. iv.11.

This Call of God which our Church accounts requisite and necessary upon such occasions, is no [...] Bath Kol, no Daughter of the Voice, no audible Sound or Language dropp'd from Heaven, as it was Act. xiii.2. Separate me Paul and Barnabas; no sudden Passion, or warm Fancy, [Page 14] no violent Impulse, which Melancholy causes, or a turbulent Temper doth infuse, but it ap­pears by proper Parts and Abilities, by Learning suitable to the Office, by being skilful in the Word of Truth, by a secret sense of the weight and importance of the Calling, by Christian Wisdom and Prudence, by a vehement desire to do good, to win Souls, to gain Proselytes to Righteousness, and to advance the Glory of Christ's Kingdom, by unfeigned love to good Men, and being enamour'd with those Christian Vertues and Perfections, without which that Name is only assumed and usurp'd, and a Man is dead while he lives.

Those who are thus qualified, have not only one, but all, or most of these Characters, and car­ry this whole Constellation in the Heaven of their Souls, are, and may truly be said to be called to this Office by him, who tells the number of the Stars; for these are such, even Stars in Christ's Right­hand, and calls them all by their Names. And on such Men we may expect the Spirit, and the Gift of the Text will descend when an external Call in­vites them to put their Shoulders under the Bur­then: and as the Spirit came on Elisha [...] when the Minstrel plaid; so such Men, having this Harmo­ny in their Souls, may look for the illapse of this [Page 15] Spirit, especially when seconded with the exter­nal Musick of Veni Creator Spiritus.

When St. Paul 1 Tim. iii.1. speaks of a Person who desires the Office of a Bishop, and then sub­joyns the Accomplishments of the Man who de­sires it, he doth in effect require this internal Call, and setting down the particular marks of it, the design without all peradventure is, to shew that he who thinks to enter into that Station, must enquire of himself, whether those Ingredients are found in him; He [...]hat finds them not, and yet boasts of a Divine Vocation, may indeed deceive and blind the Eyes of Men who can see no farther than the outside of the Cup and Platter, but surely cannot impose upon a [...] an all-seeing Eye, which doth not only see the Unsoundness of the Heart, and want of the Wedding Garment, but will revenge it too in that day, when he shall judg the Secrets of Mens Hearts by his Gospel.

The Holy Gho [...] loves a cleanly Habitation, the Terms and Epithethes by which that Gift is some­times expressed in Scripture, Fire, and Water, im­port so much. It is another Spirit that enters into the Swine. The Holy Spirit of Discipline, as it is said Wisd. i.5. will flee deceit, and remove from Thoughts, that are without Understanding, and will not abide when Unrighteousness comes in.

[Page 16]But though a Person thus qualified for Timo­thy's Office, and the sacred Function, may be there­by disposed for the receiving of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Power, of Love and of a sound Mind, or a greater portion of it, if he had some­thing of it before, yet it seems this Gift is not actually bestowed, except Persons of the same Office and Station, Men that have been thus initiated themselves, lay their Hands on him, which calls me to Examination of the second Query.

II. How this Gift was anciently, and is still be­stowed and communicated: By the putting on of my Hands, saith St. Paul; and 1 Tim. iv.14. he adds, by the laying on of the Hands of the Presbytery, i. e. of the whole Apostolical Colledge, or the greater part of the Apostles, who it's like were present upon the place: for the Apostles are called Presbyters sometimes, 'nay Deacons too, Names in those days not of Office, at least not constantly, but of Age, and Honour, and Service.

This Rite or Ceremony of Imposition of Hands on a Person designed for Church-Offices, and the Service of the Tabernacle, Isidore and others derive from Isaac's blessing his Son Jacob, which they suppose was one by the Patriarch's [Page 17] laying his Hands upon Jacob's Head, from Ja­cob's laying his Hands on his Grand-Children, and blessing them; from Moses's laying his Hand on Joshua, and communicating part of his Spirit to him. And indeed there are very few but will grant that it came from the Jews, who at the preferring or promoting a Person to the degree of Rabbi, or Doctor of their Law, laid their Hands upon him, a Ceremony per­formed by three, and call'd [...] Semicah, and this was a Symbol that the Holy Ghost rested upon the Person thus ordained.

The Ancient Romans used to lay their Hands upon their Slaves when they made them free; and Numa Pompilius had Hands laid on him, when he was made High Pontiff; but it's pro­bable that even these fetcht it from the Jews.

The Christian Churches, who retain'd what was good and praise worthy among the Jews, seeing nothing in this Rite but what was grave, and decent, and solemn, and serious, adopted it into their Service. The three Orders, Bishops, Priests and Deacons were in imitation of the Sy­nagogue, which had her High-Priests, her Priests, and her Levites, and so was this Imposition of Hands. In sacrificing Beasts to the Honour of God, the Priest laid his Hands on the Victims [Page 18] Head, to shew he dedicated it to God, and from common, separated it to a holy use, and dis­miss'd it from the Service of Men into that of the most High God; all which Significations did wonderfully well agree with the end of the Ministerial Function under the Gospel, and there­fore the Christians had no reason to reject this useful and decent Custom.

Our Blessed Saviour first practised this Cere­mony upon the Children that were brought to him for his Blessing; and it's not unlikly he laid his Hands on the Apostles before he left the World; for we read, that a little before his Departure, he lifted up his Hands and blessed them; Luke xxiv.50. After our Saviour's As­cension into Heaven, the Apostles constantly used it after Baptism in Confirmation, as an ex­ternal Mark, to signify the Descent of the Spi­rit upon the Persons wash'd with Water. But more especially, when they separated any Per­sons to holy Offices, and they laid their Hands on such, as a sign or pledg that the Holy Ghost, or a Spirit, and Temper suitable to their Cal­ling, and Employment, and Profession, was and would be conferr'd upon them, to guide, and assist, and direct them.

[Page 19]This Imposition of Hands was no Physical Cause of conveying the Holy Ghost, but an External Assurance, That as surely as the Hands were laid on the Head of the Person ordain'd, so surely would the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound Mind, light upon his Soul, if he did not obstruct it by wilful departing from the Living God. And yet all this doth not make Order a Sacrament; for tho we grant here is a Sign, and something Spiritual and Unseen, Re­presented by that Sign, yet there is something more required to the making of a Sacrament, and those must necessarily think so, who believe that the Apostles could institute no Sacraments, by their Authority.

That this Rite hath lasted in the Church from the Apostles Times unto this day, is what the concurrent Testimonies of all Ages, witness. Those that would confine it to the Apostles Times, are injurious to the Church of Christ, which would be in an uncomfortable condition, if her Guides and Pastors came not in the same way, their Predecessors did; and why should we think the Lord's Hand shortned, or believe he will not let his Spirit accompany the Pious Ceremony, when his Church now hath as much need of it, as heretofore? and it's hard God [Page 20] should vouchsafe his Spirit to Persons on whom Holy Hands were laid in the Jewish, and re­fuse that Favour to the Guides and Pastors of the Christian Church, those especially, who keep themselves unspotted from the World.

The Maronites in their Office of Ordination,Morin in Or­din. Maron. make out the Original and Succession of this Rite, thus: The Most High God, (say they) came down on Mount Sinai, and laid his Hands upon Moses, Moses laid his upon Aaron, Aaron upon his Sons, his Sons successively on those that follow'd them, until John the Baptist; John the Baptist laid his Hand upon our Saviour, our Savi­our upon his Apostles, his Apostles on the Bi­shops that succeeded them, and they ever since on those who are admitted into Holy Orders. How true, or how just this Calculation is, I shall not now enquire: But that which I hinted be­fore, I must touch here again, viz. That this Ceremony, as it relates to Orders, and particu­larly to Timothy's Office, must be performed by those, upon whom Holy Hands were laid be­fore, in order to their Lawful Ministring before the Lord. The Secular Magistrate, and Laity, may name and propose Candidates, but cannot by their Imposition of Hands, ordain Bishops and Elders, for no such Power was ever given them. [Page 21] In the purest, and best, none would, nay in the most corrupt Ages, none durst presume to do it; The Power Ecclesiastical as it was distinct from the Secular, before the Empire was Christian, so they have continued distinct, since Crowns have stoopt to the Cross; and though they live lovingly together, and are helpful one to another, yet the one ought not to interfere with the other's essential rights, and Constitutions.

The Apostle emphatically says, by the put­ting on of my hands; Himself had been separated to the Office of Teacher and Apostle, by Impositi­on of Hands; and what was conferr'd on him, he confers on Timothy the same way; And yet, though he had assistants in the Ordination of his Beloved Son, and though others laid their Hands on him, as well as St. Paul, that's no Argument, that therefore one without the help of more, cannot convey the Power and Autho­rity of Timothy's Office to others. I know, the Church requires three at least to lay their hands on the Man of God, who is to be consecrated to the Churches service; and most of the Anci­ent Canons press it, nay some Churches have been so stiff in this point, that they have pro­nounc'd that Ordination of a Bishop unlawful, [Page 22] which hath been perform'd by one only; and se­veral Ancient Decrees and Constitutions there are that require Ordination of a Bishop by all the Bishops of the Province; yet all this can have relation only to the ordinary course of things, and where such plenty may easily be had. Ca­ses of necessity are not excluded here; nor is that Ordination invalid, where there is but one to bless the Party, who is admitted to the Office, in the Name of the Lord.

Nor need we wonder, that by the imposi­tion of Hands, the Holy Ghost, even the Spi­rit of Power, of Love, and of a sound Mind should be conferr'd; for as this Imposition of Hands is always seconded by Prayer, which makes St. Austin look upon Imposition of Hands and Prayer to be one and the same thing;Lib. 2. contr. Donatist. c.16. So we know what Promises are made to fervent and importunate Prayer. Luke. XI.13. If ye being evil, can give good gifts unto your Children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him? But,

It's time I should in the last place shew,

III. How this gift is to be stirr'd up, and what is the best and most proper way to do it.

[Page 23]In the original it is [...] which is as much as stirring up the fire, or blowing the coals, and making the fire burn that lies mingled with the ashes, a word much used by Plato, which hath made some fancy, that the Apostle was well vers'd in Plato's Writings; but there is no necessity for that Conjecture, for the LXX. make use of the expression, and with their Translati­on, it's likely, the Apostle was better acquain­ted than the Ideas of that Philosopher. So that the Spirit of God conferr'd upon Sacred Per­sons by the Imposition of Hands, is lod­ged in the Soul, as the Treasure in the Gospel was hid in the Field, which required digging and searching to make it useful. It's like Gold in the Oar, which requires Melting, and Cleansing, and Purifying; like a stock of money which requires Improvement by Trading; like seed Sown in the Ground, which requires Watering and other Labour and Industry to make it come forth, and Grow, and Spread, and yield Fruit, and strengthen man's heart.

This stirring up the Gift of God, respects either the Means that are to be used, or the Duty it self. The Means hinted in this and the preceding Epistle, are chiefly three, Prayer, Reading, Meditating.

[Page 24]1. Prayer. Who can live without it? Who can act or do any thing of Moment without the as­sistance of this Spiritual Engine? Nature tea­ches Mankind to begin their Works of Con­cernment with God; Grace therefore must be supposed to press this Duty infinitely more, on you particularly, the Heirs of Timothy's Office, in order to this stirring up the Gift of God that is in you, by the Imposition of Hands. God that gives you Talents, intends not that you should bury them in the Earth, or lay them up in a Napkin, but Occupy, and Traffick with them, and be gainers by them; and to do this, his help is necessary, who gives strength to the Weak, and Power to the Feeble; and this help is not to be had without Importunate Cryes and Sollicitations. These Prayers must have Fire; it's their fervour, that unlocks the Secret Cabinet of the Almighty, as Jamblicus Phrases it; They must be in the Nature of Gorgonia's Devotions, must even Storm, and Threaten Heaven, as it were; so that God can­not withstand their Force and Power; and such were the Prayers of Moses, and Aaron, and Samuel among his Priests, that called upon his Name, they call'd upon the Lord, and he answer'd them, Psal. XCIX.6.

[Page 25]2. Reading. This the Apostle expresly re­commends to Timothy, 1 Tim. IV.13. in order to his stirring up the Gift of God. Reading What? No doubt, the Holy Scripture, and therefore our Church prescribes, delivering a Bible into the Hands of the Person, upon whom Episcopal Hands are laid; and the Maronites lay the Book of the Gospel upon such a Person's Breast as the Nestorians in Syria do upon his back or shoulders; not but that other Books are useful in their Times and Seasons; but St. Paul knew what profit was to be got by Reading this Li­brary of the Holy Ghost, these Pandects of Christianity, and being greedy after this Food of the Soul. The great examples you meet with here, the Industry of Moses, the Zeal of Elijah, the Fervour of St. Paul, the Vigour of St. Stephen, the Courage of St. Peter, the Assi­duity of Apollo, the Sincerity of Barnabas, what are these, but so many motives to stir up the Gift of God that is in you. Add to all this the Glorious, the Precious, the Large, the Sweet, the Wonderful Promises, Promises of Christ's Assistance, Promises of Comfort, of Support, of Eternal Life and Glory, which will animate, [Page 26] and enliven, and prompt you to blow up the fire of the Sanctuary, and the Coal of the Altar, that it may consume the Dross, and Tin, not only that which cleaves to your own Souls, but that also, which sticks to others, that see and hear you, and converse with you.

3. Meditating. This is also urged among the Means, not to neglect the Gift of God, 1 Tim. IV.15. Meditate upon these things, give thy self wholly to them; The bare Reading will make no great impression; Mediation digests, and Rouzes the Soul from her Slumber. This quickens the faculties, sets all the wheels a going, incites to Labour, Prompts to Industry, and moves and e­ven compels us to imitate the great examples set down in the Word of God, and to follow their Faith, and Wisdom, and Hope, and Love, and Charity. Meditation is spiritual Seeing. Seeing the Fight, made Homer's Hero join in Battel. Meditation surveys the Combats of the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, and Christ himself, and from hence arise Incentives and Encouragements to stir up the Gift of God that is in you, by the Imposition of Hands.

[Page 29]But in what doth the stirring up of the gift of God consist? Chiefly in these Three particulars.

1. Feeding the Flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by con­straint, but willingly, not for filthy Lucre, but of a ready mind, neither as being Lords over Gods heritage, but being ensamples to the Flock; This is St. Peters charge, and we cannot well conceive, how this Spirit, or gift can be stir­red up more profitably, than this way; for this end the Holy Spirit is bestow'd upon you, that you should feed the Flock com­mitted to your charge, and cause it to be fed by persons not only Learned but Pious, and Devout, and such as have a great sense of God, and of the worth of Mens Souls; for this cause the Holy Ghost moves upon your inward Man, that you should feed the Sheep by preaching the Word, by your sweet and gentle Government, and by your exemplary lives. These will be Evidences, and Arguments, and Demonstrations, that the Spirit of Glory, and of God rests upon you, that you walk after the Spirit, and are filled with it, and that the weapons of your warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, migh­ty through God to the pulling down of the [Page 30] strong holds of iniquity. Feeding implyes giving Food convenient to your Masters Fa­mily, Ruling the House of God according to the dictates of Reason, the Word of God, and the best examples, and making your selves paterns of Meekness, Humility, Cha­rity, Self-denial, and of all good Works. The external Honours, Providence bestows upon you, and the respect Men pay you, are to encourage you to a chearful perfor­mance of your Work, and intended not to swell you, not to puff you up, not to tempt you to please and tickle your selves with your Grandeur, but to infuse greater alacrity into you to Fight the good Fight, and to shed Blessed Influences on all, that are round about you.

Ye are the Captains, the Generals in Christ's Army, while you bear the Heat and Burthen of the day, detrect no Labour, spare no pains, live like Faithful Stewards of the Mystery of God, Vindicate your Ma­sters Honour, act like persons, who have renounc'd the hidden things of dishonesty, and by manifestation of the Truth, commend your selves to every mans Conscience in the sight of God; you make good the glorious [Page 31] Titles, and the lofty Names, which are given you, such as Angels, and Stars, and Lights of the World, and the Salt of the Earth, and a Ci­ty set on a Hill, &c. Titles of a proud sound, but which are intended to make you Humble, and to tell you▪ you are only ex­alted, that you may with greater facility, take your people by the hand, and lift them up to Heaven: This is the way to do good, and to make Religion glorious, and well spoken of. This will even convince Infi­dels, that Religion is something more than a Name, something more than Policy, and interest, that it is able to transform Tem­pers, to change hearts, and to make Men act contrary to their natural inclination, and that instead of debasing humane Nature, it exalts and polishes, and refines it, and leads it to solid Bliss and Happiness; and this as well as your Learning will make you, as it was once said of the English Clergy, stupor Mun­di, the Wonder of the World.

2. Labouring and making it your business to reform abuses. Thus did the Primitive Pre­lates, the Men, whose Names we rise up to, and whose Memories we admire, and in whom the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound mind did shine: Indeed we have [Page 32] some later Examples of magnanimous per­sons, within the Kingdoms, to which we belong, who finding the Field, over which they were set, over run with Bryars, and Thorns, with abuses, which peace and plen­ty, and connivance, and love to an easie quiet life, and the corruption of the Age, and the covetousness, and partiality of worldly Men, and a slavish fear of Superi­ours had brought in, have resolutely set themselves to weed the deformed, and dis­mal Field, and to pull out the Tares, that incommoded, and annoy'd the Wheat. This is a Work, which requires more than ordinary Courage, and therefore fit for you, whom Providence places at the Stern, and constitutes chief Watchmen over the House of Israel, and who are in credit with God, and with your Prince. Your Commission like Jeremy's reaches to destroying, and pul­ling up, as well as to planting, and build­ing, not such a destroying, as he, who pre­tends to be the Vicar of Christ, hath made in Kingdoms and Nations, but tearing up those obstructions and impediments, which put a stop to the chearful progress of Re­ligion amongst us: Here the Zeal of Phi­n [...]es will be necessary, especially, when the [Page 33] Evil is grown so dangerous, that its come to an Ense rescindendum. Fear of displeasing Men, or of being ill spoken of, or of being contradicted by Equals, or Superiors must here be banish'd, as a thing that renders you unfit for the Kingdom of God, and great Enterprises. Had Christ and his Apostles insisted upon such excuses, Judaism had tri­umph'd to this day, and Idolatry maintain'd its post and station; I need not name here the particular abuses, which require your Cognisance and Censures, they are too ob­vious, and a holy mind, that judges by the Word of God, and the Rules of Primitive Discipline will soon perceive, where the Sword of the Spirit, even this Reformation is to be made use of. I know its easier to spy faults than to mend them, and what seems intollerable to one man, appears harmless in anothers eye, but such evasions will not do with a Person, whose Soul is touch'd with a sense of God's Glory, whose delight is to do good, who examines impartially what is re­quired of him in the Station he is in, whom the love of God constrains to do great things, for the honour of the Gospel, and I may add, who knows the terrours of the Lord, and be­lieves the threatning of Christ pronounced [Page 34] against the unfaithful Steward. Matth. XXIV.50 The Lord of that Servant shall come in a day, when he looks not for him, and in an hour, that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asun­der, and appoint him his portion with the Hy­pocrites there shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth.

3. Enduring hardness as good Souldiers of Jesus Christ, a duty very warmly recommen­ded to our Bishop, 2 Tim. II.3. In discharg­ing your duty faithfully, you must expect obloquy, and slanders, and reproaches, and other inconveniences, troubles and adversi­ties; but to bear them patiently, to maintain your integrity in the midst of all such Storms, your sweetness in the midst of all the salt wa­ters, not to flinch from your good Profes­sion, not to sink under your Burthen, to hold out to the End, to continue with Christ in his Temptations, and to be faithful unto death upon a prospect of the Crown of Righteous­ness, this is Masculine and Heroick, and a certain Argument, that the Spirit of God is sent into your hearts, which is the earnest of your future inheritance.

Thus the Apostles baffled the Temptati­ons of the World, and vanquished the Stra­tagems of Hell and Devils, and thus the [Page 35] World must be taught, that neither Death nor Life, neither Superiorities nor Powers, neither Things present nor Things to come can separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Christ Jesus our Lord.

Were the future Glory (saith One) believ'd as firmly as the things which are seen, it would be a kind of Martyrdom to live here. To be sure the more lively our Faith and our Apprehensions are of that future Bliss▪ the more cheerfully we shall stir up the Gift of God, that is in us, to our great Redeemers Glory, and the more patiently we shall bear the crosses that befal us in our good and great attempts, Crosses, which must turn into Crowns at last, Crowns, that wither not, that tarnish not, Crowns, which time doth not change, and Ages do not al­ter, for so we read, 1 Pet. V.4. When the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a Crown of Glory, which fades not away.

And now, O Timothy, whom God hath called, and the King hath called, and the Church doth call; God by extraordinary parts and abilities, the King, who understands the merit of those, who are near, and dear to him, the Church which considers, who are like to be most useful to the edifying [Page 36] of the body of Christ; O Timothy, I say, up­on whom the sacred unction is to be pour­ed forth, and the hands of blessing to be laid; Remember, that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead ac­cording to the Gospel; an argument, I make use of not only because of its relation to the day, but because St. Paul makes it an incentive to a Bishops duty, 2. Tim. II.8. Re­member therefore, how our Great Master la­boured for the good of Mankind, for the salva­tion of Souls, how he suffered, and how he di­ed, and then rose to an immortal glorious life, the emblem of thy Office and reward; for when thou shalt have gone about doing good, and healing those, that are possess'd of sin, and of the Devil, and hast born, and hast had patience, thy mortal part, which hath been tired, and worn out with labour, must fall indeed, but then after the example of Christ's body, a Creature must rise at last glorious, and Angelical, and triumphing o­ver hell, and Devils, seeing, We all look for a Saviour, who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, accord­ing to the mighty Working, whereby he is a­ble to subdue all things to himself.


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