THis Court doth desire Mr. Hancocke to print his Sermon, Preached at the Guildhall-Chappel on Sunday last before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen.


A SERMON Preached before the RIGHT HONOURABLE THE Lord Mayor, AND THE COURT of ALDERMEN, AT Guildhall-Chappel, Septemb. 19. 1680.

By ROBERT HANCOCKE, Fellow of Clare-hall in Cambridge, and Rector of Northill in Bedfordshire.

LONDON, Printed by S. Roycroft for Tho. Flesher at the Angel and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, and W.Leech at the Crown in Cornhill. 1680.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE Sir Robert Clayton Kr. Lord Mayor of the City of London, And to the Court of Aldermen.

Right Honourable,

THE present Juncture of our Affairs is such, that nothing but the most active Zeal for our Re­ligion, the most constant Loyalty to the King, and the firmest Ʋnion among our selves, can (without a Miracle) secure this Church and King­dom. [Page]The design of the following Dis­course is to recommend these great indi­spensable Duties, and to root out all those Lusts and Passions, which are destru­ctive of true Religion or Human Socie­ty, and apt to foment Intestine Divisions or Forreign Ʋsurpations: God grant that in this our Day, we may yet know the things that belong to our Peace, the preservation of his Majesties Person and Government, and the conti­nuance of the true Reformed Religion among us.

I am Right Honourable,
Your most humble and most obedient Servant, Robert Hancocke.
St. Luke XIX. 42.

If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which be­long to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thine eyes.

IN these Words we have a great Instance, both of the stupidity and incorrigible­ness of the Jews, and of our Saviour's love and tender­ness towards his implacable Enemies. For he was no sooner come within view of Jerusalem, but he laments those Desolations, which (by the just Judg­ment of God) were breaking in upon them: When he was come near, he beheld the City, and wept over it Verse 41. And as he could not be­hold their destruction without tears, so nei­ther would he express his apprehensions of it, without some kind of abruptness.

Whether there was an irreversible Decree already past in Heaven against the Jewish [Page 2]Nation, as it cannot be determined from this Text, so it is besides my present purpose to enquire: But it is more certain, that a flaming Sword was now hanging over their heads; there were too many Symptoms of their approaching ruin; and our Saviour in the next Verse tells them plainly, That the Romans should be the Executioners of the Divine Vengeance upon them. Yet some of the Jews were secure and inapprehensive of the common Danger; and the rest did neither resolve the Judgments of God into their proper Principles, nor comply with the end and design of them, by considering the time of their Visitation Verse 44. These profound Politicians invented a new State-engine (the putting Christ to death) to secure themselves not only from the Romans, but from their own Sins too. They frustrated all the de­signs of God's Mercies and Judgments; they filled up the measure of their Fathers; and at last they forced the Almighty to find out unheard of methods of punishment, as might be shewed from the fatal circumstances of that dreadful Story.

I know, we have not yet had as loud A­larms from Heaven as they, but yet we have [Page 3]just reason to believe, that God in the way of his Providence, speaks to us in the lan­guage of the Text, If you had known, &c. Or, Oh that ye would yet know and lay to heart the things that belong to your peace, &c. For are not our Divisions and Animosities as high? Are not our sins aggravated with as signal mercies and deliverances, as theirs? We are crumbled into as many Sects and Parties as they, and most of them are so much more intent upon their private Inter­ests, then upon the common Interest of Protestants, that it seems no very hard mat­ter for the Modern Romans to enter in at those Breaches, which are made amongst us.

There were two things, which were both the Causes and Symptoms of the Jewish Ca­lamities.

1. Ageneral corruption and licentious­ness in the lives of men.

2. Those unnatural dissentions and feuds among themselves.

If ever our Adversaries of Rome prevail a­gainst us, they must make use of these two mighty Advantages, which we have put into their hands; and so long as our Sins and our Divisions are battering our Walls, and peck­ing [Page 4]at our Foundations, I know nothing but a Miracle of Mercy, that can preserve our Religion and Government. These were the Causes of our former Sufferings, as they are of our present fears, and the doing what in us lies (in our respective Capacities) to­wards the removal of them, is the only ef­fectual way of minding the things which be­long to the peace of our Church and King­dom. I crave leave therefore to represent and enforce this seasonable Duty, with re­spect to the present juncture of Affairs, so far as the peculiar care of some, and the pray­ers and endeavours of all of you are con­cerned in it.

1. We must begin with a sincere Refor­mation, and cleansing our selves from all manner of Debauchery and Prophaneness. The Wisdom which is from above, is first pure, then peaceable St. James 3.17.; and till the Lusts that war in our Members be subdued, 'tis in vain to look for a lasting Settlement, for there is no peace to the wicked Isai. 57.21.. If ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your King Sam. 12.25..

But (to descend to particulars) our conti­nuance in Licentiousness and Irreligion, is the way to subvert the Civil Peace, to let in [Page 5]Popery, or else a meer empty Formal Reli­gion among us.

1. It is the way to subvert the Civil Peace.

If the sinful Lusts and Passions of men do naturally tend to the dissolution of a Go­vernment; if the Divine Protection be that wherein the Safety of a Kingdom doth con­sist; if the practice of Christian Righteous­ness be that alone which can entitle us to the favour of God; If downright Atheism, or the contempt of all revealed Religion; if the most monstruous Ingratitude, or the most obstinate Incorrigibleness; if the mocking of God by Hypocritical Wickedness; or the proclaiming War against him by notorious Prophaneness, can provoke him to Wrath and Vengeance; then I am sure that nothing but a timely Reformation can provide for the Peace and Settlement of this Kingdom.

2. This is the way to let in Popery among us.

For that's a Religion (such a one as it is) that all loose and licentious People are al­ready prepared for; 'tis the most pleasant and easie, the most gay and pompous Reli­gion in the World; 'tis such a one as they [Page 6]would devise, were they to make a Religion for themselves. For the truth of this Charge I appeal to any man, that understands the virtue of their Indulgencies and Masses, Re­liques and Pennances; the omnipotent pow­er of Absolutions, and other ways of recon­ciling a sinner to God in the Roman Church. Are not some of those practices, which make up a great part of their Religion, but the Mint, Anise, and Cummin of Christianity? Are not divers others of them inconsistent with the life and power of Godliness? I mean their Crossings and Unctions, their voluntary Whippings and Severities, their superficial Confessions and Abstinencies, their mumbling over their Prayers without devotion or attention. Were not those dark and superstitious Ages, wherein Pope­ry first stole into the World, times of the greatest Licentiousness and Irreligion? I confess the Monasteries were Seminaries of Vertue and Piety for some Ages; but as the Monks encreased in Wealth and Reve­nues, so they degenerated into Idleness and Luxury. This is so plain a Truth, that e­ven some of their own Authors, that are most devoted to the Papal See, cannot deny or conceal it.

I know 'tis usually imputed to the Jesuits, that they allow men to lye and forswear themselves; to swallow a thousand: Venial Sins without danger of Damnation, and to repent of as many Mortal Sins without for­saking them. It is commonly said, Than they undertake to pardon or dispense with some of the most monstrous Crimes; and that some of the blackest ones are with them lawful or meritorious; and these are the Guides of Souls in the Church of Rome. But I will be so just to that Order, as to ac­knowledge, they not only affirm, but prove it too, that this is the Practical Divinity of the Church it self. Is not the very Canon Law stuff't with Forgeries and Wickedness? Are not such extravagant Maxims to be found in the Divines and Casuists of other Orders, as the more sober Heathens abhor­red? Are not the Books publisht with the Authority and Approbation of the Church? Are not the Authors of them entrusted by her with the Consciences of men? Why don't they acquaint the World what expur­gatory Index hath condemned the Writings of the three Cardinal Jesuits, what Anathe­ma's their Church hath bestowed upon themBellarmine, Baronius, and Tolet..

Were not their Persons had in admirati­on; and are not their Writings applauded by the teaching governing part of the Church?

The truth is, the Interest and Grandeur of Rome are supported by them, and they must be maintain'd, whatever becomes of the Souls and Consciences of Men.

I do not think that Popery is able to root out all good Nature; and if any of that Communion be so eminent for Vertue and Charity, as I hope they be, we must not thank the Doctrines of their Church, or the Integrity of the ruling party for it; but ei­ther their natural Dispositions, or the over­ruling Grace of God, which have preserved them from the Contagion of their Religi­on.

3. This is the way to propagate a meer empty formal Religion amongst us; A Re­ligion that teaches men to build their hopes of Salvation upon such Conditions, as may be observed without offering Violence to their sensual Lusts and dearest Interests. And so long as they desire to go to Heaven with as little trouble as they can, I do not won­der that they will not endure sound Do­ctrine, [Page 9] but after their own lusts heap to them­selves Teachers, having itching ears 2 Tim. 4.3..

They will be content to offer God the Calves of their lips, rather then to give him their hearts; to censure or commend many Sermons, rather then to put one in practice; to put on a sowre or demure countenance, rather then a broken and contrite heart; to present God Almighty with variety of Phrases, or the most pathetical Expressions, rather then to pray with Faith and Devoti­on, Humility and Heavenly-mindedness, in which the Spirit of Prayer consists. For such things as these serve for ostentation and vain-glory, they are very obvious and sen­sible, they are no great Enemies to the Pas­sions and Interests of men: Whereas Purity and Devotion, Self-denial and Meekness, O­bedience and Charity, Mortification of the Will and Affections, have less of the Pomp and Form, though infinitely more of the Life and Power of Godliness in them.

Thus I have given you a short Account of the most natural and pernicious effects of Vice and Wickedness upon a Church and Kingdom.

And, since these things are so, I would [Page 10]make an humble Address to all in Authority, That, as you value the Honour and Securi­ty of our most holy Religion, or the Peace and Happiness of your King and Country, you would endeavour to suppress the growth of Vice and Immorality.

For what Peace, so long as there is so much Riot and Luxury, Leudness and Debauche­ry, Injustice and Oppression, customary Swearing, prophane Drollery, and contempt of Religion among us? What Peace, so long as such a Deluge of Sin and Wickedness o­verflows the Nation? For these the Lord hath a Controversie with the Inhabitants of the Land; therefore shall the Land mourn Hosea 4.1, 3..

These are the Nurseries of Plots and Trea­sons, of Schism and Sedition. But if you cannot compel men to be truly Pious and Holy, you may at least force them to sin with more modesty and civility; If you cannot quite banish Sin out of the Nation, yet 'tis in your power to stigmatize it with disgrace, and make it sneak into Corners; you may restrain it from being bare-faced and impu­dent, from infecting the Land and involving us in the guilt of it. If you cannot root out all secret Wickedness, you may stop the growth [Page 11]of horrid Impieties, of publick and crying Sins. If wicked men will have the exercise of their Irreligion in private, yet, I beseech you, let them not sin in the face of the Sun, and openly make Proselytes in defiance of the Laws of God and Man. And would you have men make conscience of all their Oaths, Contracts, and Promises? Would you have them be Loyal to the King, Obedient to Ma­gistrates, and Serviceable to one another? Do what you can (in your several Spheres) to encourage and promote the practice of so­lid and substantial Religion.

But, if we desire the suppressing of Athe­ism and Immorality, we must take heed of those licentious Doctrines and Principles, which are most apt to lead us into such pra­ctices: For what wonder is it to see men act in conformity to their Principles? What rea­son is there to hope, that the generality of the World will be better, then the Doctrines of their Religion incline them to be? I will mention the principal of them, and leave you to judge, whether the natural result of them be not the banishing true Religion and Ho­liness out of the Nation.

1. I begin with the Principles of the Le­viathan. [Page 12]That there is nothing but Body in the World, and that the very notion of an Incorporeal Being implies a Contradiction Leviathan. c. 4. c. 5. c. 12. c. 34.. That men are good or evil fatally and unavoidably: And that God may be the Author of Sin Lev. c.21. Lib. and Nec. in divers places.. That the Law of the Civil Magistrate is the only obli­ging Rule of Just and Ʋnjust; and that the New Testament is not a Law of any place, where the Commonwealth hath not made it so Lev. c.42.. That the Obligation of Subjects to their Sovereign last­eth no longer, then the power lasteth, by which he is able to protect them Lev. c.21..

2. What is the consequence of the Pra­ctical Divinity of the Romish Divines and Casuists, about Repentance, Purgatory, and the efficacy of the Sacraments in conferring Grace, but the subverting the necessity of an Holy Life?

3. There are some malignant Doctrines, that have a more immediate influence on Kingdoms and Governments; and they are such as these. That Dominion is founded in Grace. That the Obligation of Oaths and Pro­mises may be taken away by some Authority on Earth. That it is lawful to make use of Equi­vocations and mental Reservations. That Church-men are exempted from the Jurisdiction of the [Page 13]Civil Power. That a Sovereign Prince is either the Pope's Subject, or the Peoples Trustee. That he is accountable for Heresie or evil Government to his Holiness at Rome, or to some Assembly of Church-men or Inferiour Magistrates within his own Dominions.

4. I wish, the Libertines, Antinomians, and other Carnal Gospellers of this Age, had not furnisht us with another Catalogue of Li­centious Doctrines. The chief of them are these that follow: That the Moral Law is ab­rogated by Jesus Christ. That the Covenant of Grace is absolute and unconditional; and that no man ought to work for Salvation, much less for the fear of Hell. That the Torments of Hell are not properly Eternal. That a good Moral Man is further from the Kingdom of God then a loose Liver. That justifying Faith consisteth in believing that a man is perdestinated to Eternal Life. That Sins are pardoned before they are committed; and that God sees no Sin in his Peo­ple.

To this Head I might reduce all such No­tions of Christian Liberty, as destroy the ne­cessity of Obedience in all lawful things. All such Notions of God and his Decrees, as make him the Author of our Sin or Misery, [Page 14]or set up the Decrees of God in opposition to his Laws, or one of his Attributes in op­position to another. All such Notions of Jesus Christ, as set up his Person in oppositi­on to his Gospel; or make us righteous with Christ's Righteousness, whilst we continue in any Course of Sin.

But thus much may suffice to have spo­ken of the first thing.

2. We have reason to be apprehensive of the effects of our unnatural Contentions and Animosities, as well as of our open and noto­rious Vices. Certainly never any People en­joyed more excellent means of Peace and U­nity; never any People laboured more un­der the Calamities of Rebellions and Facti­ons; never was any People assaulted with more bloody & implacable, more subtle and industrious Enemies, then we are. It is there­fore the Duty and Interest of all Loyal Sub­jects and good Christians, to endeavour to correct that Spirit of Sedition and Division that is working among us, and to promote the Security and Establishment both of our Government and Religion.

1. I begin with the Civil Government.

You have (blessed be God) the Scriptures [Page 15]in your own Language, and if you read them without partiality and prejudice, you will soon learn those indispensable Duties of Peace, Humility, and Obedience. They will teach you to pray for the King, and all in Au­thority under him 1 Tim. 2.1.. To be subject, not only for Wrath, but for Conscience sake Rom. 13.5.. They will plant in you all those dispositions, which are essential to the support of Government and Society; they will subdue all those Passions, and mortifie all those Lusts, which are the Parents of Strifes and Quarrels, of Confusi­ons and Treasons; besides, you are Members of a Church; whose just glory it is, to assert the Rights of Princes with so much plainness and sincerity, that no man can be true to the Church of England, whilst he is false to his Sovereign. This holy and peaceable Reli­gion, will teach you to beware of, and sup­press all others (of what Communion soe­ver) that vent any seditious Doctrines, or al­low of such practices as are consonant to them.

I know, the most horrid things have been taught and acted among us, under the dis­guise of Religion; but of all men living, the Romanists have the least reason to charge any [Page 16]of our Sects with Treason and Sedition: For the most barbarous Villanies that were com­mitted in these Kingdoms, may be justified by the principles of that Faction; and the most Antimonarchical Doctrines, that ever came from the Pulpit or the Press, either were or might be derived from the Canon Law, the Popes and Councils, the most approved Casuists and Guides of Souls. Let Pope Six­tus the Fifth have the honour, of being ei­ther the first inventer or polisher of the Fa­natick Art of Canting and perverting the Scriptures, admiring the providence of God in the murder of a lawful King, and the truth is, the first Thanksgiving Sermon that I find on such an Occasion, was preacht by his Ho­liness in the Roman Consistory See his Pa­negyrick Ora­tion on the murder of H. 3 of. France; It was printed at Paris, An. 1589 with the ap­probation of three Doctors.. Nor do I envy the Roman Church, the glory of san­ctifying Rebellions and Murders, Perfidi­ousness and Cruelty by the Authority of some of her General Councils. 'Tis no won­der, if the same power, which transforms bread and wine into the substance of Christs natural body and blood, do also transform Christians into Wolves and Tygers. Did some of our Sectaries abuse Curse ye Meroz, and o­ther parts of Scripture to the carrying on the [Page 17]blackest Designs? So did Alexander the third,Ep. Alex. 3. Conc. Bin. tom. 7 par. 2. pag. 656. so did Pius the fifth thoseBullar. Che­rub. tom. 2. pag. 305. printed at Rome 1617. words of God, I have set thee over Nations and Kingdoms &c. Did not Innocent the Fourth prove his power of deposing Princes from that Text, Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth, &c. See Pope Innocent the Fourth's Sen­tence of De­privation a­gainst the Em­perour Ferdi­nando in the Council of Vienna.. Have you never heard of the incomparable Inter­pretations of Rise Peter, kill and eat? Feed my Sheep? Ʋpon this Rock will I build my Church? It were no hard matter to give you a Speci­men of the Divinity of Popes and Cardinals, men of greater Learning and Authority, but of as little Conscience and Loyalty as the Authors of our most pestilent Sermons and Pamphlets. Are any of these under unlaw­ful Oaths and Engagements? So are all the Bishops, Jesuits, Monks, and Friars of that Church under Oaths of absolute Allegiance to the Pope, or of blind Obedience to their Superiors, that are his Creatures and Vas­salsSee Pontif. Rom. p. 59. where you have the Oath it self which is taken by eve­ry Bishop at his Consecrati­on; and it is the strictest Oath of Alle­gience that e­ver was in­vented. See the Bulls of Paul 3. 1549. Bullar. tom. 1. p. 687. of Julius 3. 1650. of Pins 4. 1564.. Was there an infamous High Court of Justice set up in England? There have been many such erected at Rome, (and as well de­serving that name) wherein Sovereign Prin­ces have been condemned, for not submit­ting to the Jurisdiction of the Court.

From whom did the Rigicides learn, That [Page 18]the Original of all Civil Power is from the Peo­ple? That it is deriv'd to the Sovereign by way of mutual Contract? That he is no more but an Officer in Trust? That the Duty of Subjects is only Conditional? That the Commonwealth hath Authority to curb or restrain him, to bring him to trial for Male-administration or Tyranny Reynolds (under the counterfeit Name of Ros­saeus) hath written De ju­st a Christianae Reipublicae in Feges Impios & Haeresicos Authoritare. His Book was written at the request of the Leaguers in France, and ap­proved by the Papal See. See Mariana. L. 1. c. 8. Parsons (under the name of Doleman) and Bellarmine in many places. Sober Reckoning pag. 424. Em. Sa. Aph. V. princeps; with the whole Herd of the Jesuits.? Didsome wild Sectaries attempt to dethrone the Lord's Anointed, for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom? These have done as much for his Vicar, as they did for the Ma­ster. Who was it that taught them, That Religion is to be propagated with the Sword This is the express Doctrine of the third and fourth Council of Lateran.? That Princes may be put to death for Tyranny or Heresie, and in what method they are to be brought to the Block? Fr. Verone wrote an Apology for a Traytor, one of the most desperate Villains in the World. That infamous Book of Boucher (a French Jesuit) De justa Hen. 3. abdications is well known. Bellarmine was a principal Actor in the French League. Pope Sixtus the Fifth applauded the murder of Hen. 3. The General Council of Constance supposes it to be lawful in some cases to put a Prince to death. See more of this Subject in Verone, Ros­saeus, Mariana, &c.

Let any man produce greater Enemies to the Rights of Princes, then the Lawful Re­presentatives of the Roman Church in their [Page 19]Holy Synods. Let any man shew me a mo [...]e pernicious Account of the rise of Civil Go­vernment, then is to be found in the Epistles of Pope Gregory the Seventh.

Indeed I can hardly meet with any Trea­sonable Positions, any Texts of Scripture, or Arguments to maintain them (in the Pam­phlets of this last Age) which are not ex­presly contain'd in the Writings of Popes and Jesuits, or at least to be parallel'd in the most approved Authors of the Roman Church.

Who taught the English Rebels the di­stinction between the Authority and the Person of a King? Who taught them to fight for the King, whilst they shot against his Per­son? and to kill the Tyrant without killing the KingThis di­stinction was invented by the Jesuits; and 'tis their common Do­ctrine, that af­ter a King is deposed, de­clared a pub­lick Enemy by the Pope, or the States of the Kingdom, he ceases to be a King.? Were some of them Sainted by their own party? and were not some of the Gunpowder Traytors preferr'd at Rome? Is not Becket (that lived and died a Traytor to his King) honoured as a Saint and Mar­tyr in the publick Offices of that ChurchBreviar. Rom. Hic est verè Martyr, qui pro Christi nomine, &c.?

I know there are some, that profess them­selves to be Catholicks of the Church, but not of the Court of Rome; and I do verily be­lieve, that some of that Communion do (as [Page 20]they pretend) abominate the Usurpations of the Roman Court. Interest in some, and good nature in others, have made them bet­ter Subjects, then the principles of their Re­ligion, allow them to be. Some of them have too much honesty; others have too little zeal for the Catholick Cause, to be entrusted with such a Mystery of Iniquity, and many do not understand how much Pride and Covetousness lies at the bottom of the Church, as well as of the Court of Rome. But yet all the loyalty or peaceableness of these men depends either on their natural Dispo­sitions, or their private interests, or their lukewarmness in Religion; or their igno­rance of the Doctrine of their own Church.

As to the Distinction it self; that dare not shew its face at Rome; though it be more talked of, then understood in England, I have two things to say.

1. That such Doctrines, as strike at the very root of our Religion and Government, have been determined by the Roman Church, in some of her General Councils; I mean the Doctrines of Deposing Princes, and absolving Subjects from their Allegiance to them Besides the third & fourth General Coun­cils of Lat. see the Gene­ral Council of Lyons in the Decree for the recovery of the Holy Land. That the Sen­tence of Depo­sition against Frederick the Emperour, was the act of the Council as well as of the Pope, is proved by the Author of the Supplement to Parson's Dis­cussion, &c. See also M. Pa­ris, p 666, 667, 668. The Council of Trent (though it was then no time to speak plain) passed such a Decree (Sess. 25.) as was sufficient to keep up the claim to this power.; of breaking Faith with Hereticks Conc. Const. Sess. 19.; of [Page 21]rooting them out with Fire and Sword Conc. Lat. 3. c. 27. Conc. Lat. 4. c. de Haereti­cis. And this Doctrine was put in practice by the Gene­ral Council of Constance.; and of the exemption of the Clergy from the Juris­diction of Secular Princes Conc. Lat. 3. c. 14. Conc. Lat. 4. c. 43. And the Council of Trent confirm­ed the same Doctrine; of which see more in the excel­lent History of that Council.. These are the Orthodox Doctrines of the most Loyal and Charitable Church of Rome.

2. Though there might be some plausible pretence for this distinction, before the Re­formation, yet the Council of Trent (the great Oracle of the present Roman Church) hath utterly destroyed it, as to those purposes, for which it is produced. For the Reformers having asserted the Rights of the Church, against the Usurpations of the Papal See, and appealed to a lawful General Council, the Fa­thers at Trent gave up the Cause, espoused the Interest of the Court of Rome, and made its Judgment absolute and unappealable.

But I will conclude this Part of my Dis­course with two Inferences.

1. It may serve for an Antidote against some late Books and Pamphlets of the Ro­mish Emissaries.

They complain of the uncharitableness of Protestants, they inveigh against us meerly for believing our own Senses; I mean, That the Catholick Religion (the Roman Catholick they should say) allows of Trayterous Princi­ples, [Page 22]destructive to Peace and Government; That Catholicks hold it an Article of Faith, (I speak their own words) that the Pope can depose Kings, and absolve Subjects from their Allegiance.

I stand amazed at the ignorance or dis­honesty of some of them, that profess to the World, they never found any such Principles as­serted in any of their General Councils. As if we had out-done them in their old trade of For­gery! As if the General Councils of Lyons and Trent, the third and fourth Councils of Lateran were meer fictions of the Protestants! I am sure, either these are the Doctrines of the Church of Rome, or Transubstantiation itself is none of them; either these are her Doctrines, or she hath none at all.

2. I might from hence take occasion, to vindicate the peaceableness and loyalty of the Reformed Religion; that excellent Reli­gion, which is the best Friend in the World to Kings and Princes. And yet it suffers in the esteem of some men, for the Crimes of those, that with as much reason arrogate the Name of Protestants, as the Papists do that of Catholicks to their own party. I know no Protestant Church in the World, that hath by any publick act maintained any treason­able [Page 23]Principles. 'Tis certain we have been e­ducated in a Faith of Loyalty and Obedi­ence, and I hope we shall never be tempted by any (though never so specious) pretences to desert it.

Whether there be amongst us a sort of men, that under the disguise of zeal against Popery, labour to undermine the Govern­ment, I know not; but if there be, they are either Papists in Masquerade, or at least such as serve the interest of Rome (though against their wills,) as truly as the Pope's own Crea­tures: I am sure, neither the Church of Eng­land, nor the best Reformed Churches in Christendom will own them. God deliver us from the sad effects of a fiery seditious Religion, whether of an Enthusiastick, or Ro­man Catholick Spirit.

2. I should now come to shew, what we are to contribute towards the peace of the Church, the composing or suppressing our religious quarrels, which have almost eaten out the life and soul of Christianity among us. But having already spent most of the time allotted for this Exercise, I shall only re­commend to you these two things, wherein every one that hears me, is concerned.

[Page 24] 1. I doubt not, but a right understanding of the nature of Christianity, would go a great way towards the abating our conten­tions about it. It must needs put an end to some of our controversies, and secure us from the sad consequences of the rest of them, if we had a true notion of the diffe­rence between such things, as are essential to Religion, and such as are at a great distance from it.

Now true Religion consists in the imitati­on of the Divine perfections; Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is per­fect St. Matth. 5.48.. As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of Conversation 1. Pet. 1.15.: that is, so far as we are capable of being like to the most excellent Being, in this faln and im­perfect State. And this consists in the mor­tifying of our Lusts and Passions, in living a Life of Spiritual Purity and Devotion, Self-denial and Meekness, Justice and Charity, Pa­tience & Peaceableness, Sobriety & Chastity; and because in many things we offend all St. James 3.2., through ignorance, or inadvertency, or weakness, when we have done our best, we are to trust in the Merits of Christ, for the pardon of our sins, and the acceptance of our imperfect Righteousness.

These are the substantials of our Religi­on, about which all wise and good men are agreed, however we differ about other mat­ters. Did we make conscience of these as we ought to do, we should soon find by happy experience, that they are infinitely more for the honour of God, the peace of the Church, and the good of one another, then an hot and fiery contention about speculative, in­determinable and unprofitable Questions. Could men be perswaded to a greater care and study of this Catholick Christianity, the minding of it would take up so much of our time and pains, that we should hardly be at leisure to raise or foment differences. Yet if any Disputes should arise about lesser mat­ters, yet we should all agree in obeying our Superiours, where we are not sure of the un­lawfulness of their commands, & in loving, praying for, doing good to one another.

Now since these things are so, let us bring our Opinions and Practices to this tri­al.

1. As to matters of Doctrine or Opini­on; it is too evident, that the Articles of Faith are monstruously swelled of late in the Ro­man Church; I mean by the addition of 12 new Articles of Pius the fourth, not one of [Page 26]which is to be found in the Scriptures, or the Creeds of the Primitive Church. I cannot mention, without horror, the dreadful Ana­thema's they denounce against all that pre­sume to deny any of them; but (to the ho­nour of the Church of England let it be said) whatsoever is imposed on us, as necessary to the Salvation of all men, is contained in the Apostles Creed. This is the Faith of the first and best times of Christianity; the Faith in­to which we are baptized; and the belief of this Creed hath a direct influence on our Christian practice, which is the great busi­ness of Religion. Let us therefore contend earnestly for this Faith, which was once deliver­ed to the Saints Jude v. 3.; Let us not entertain any other Opinions, which invalidate the neces­sity of an holy life; let us not propagate our private conceptions with the breach of the publick peace & order; & then we shall have no reason to quarrel with one another for simple invincible Errors.

2. Let us judge of matters of practice by the same rule; and then we shall lay the great­est stress upon such things, as bring us to the nearest conformity to God; we shall not build our hopes of Salvation on any outward observances or abstinences about the mode [Page 27]of our Worship, but on the great indispensa­ble Duties of Christianity: We shall comply with the Injunctions of Authority in all things, about which Christ hath not left us any standing Law. For since many things done by Christ and his Apostles were occa­sional and temporary, fitted to the circum­stances of those times, but not of ours; since they were not founded on any moral reason, nor have we any command for the continu­ance of them; since there is no Law in Scrip­ture about these things, there can be no transgression in the practice or disuse of them, otherwise then as they tend to the di­viding the Church, the contempt of Autho­rity, or the scandalizing our Brethren. But this brings me to the second thing.

2. Let us remember that we are under Christian Laws and Government; and from hence we shall learn these three things.

1. That we ought not to provide for our own safety, or the security of our Religion by Tumults, Insurrections, or any other un­lawful means: For 'tis impossible that true Religion should be promoted by sin & wick­edness, by such ways as are contrary to the nature and ends of Religion. The Christian Religion neither commands nor allows us to [Page 28]fight for the Lord of Hosts, by breaking his Laws; and it was establisht by doing good, by patient and constant suffering for it. Let it therefore be the peculiar glory of Turks & Papists, to propagate their Religion with sword and bloodshed; but let us regulate our zeal with prudence, obedience, and charity, which make up the truly Christian temper of English Protestants; and let no private passion or interest transport us beyond the bounds of our Duty to God and our Allegiance to the King: For if they do, we shall convince all impartial men, that we have as little sense of true Religion, as our Adversaries.

2. We are also to obey the commands of our Superiors, as far as we can without sin. For either all the Gospel Precepts of obedi­ence signifie nothing at all, or they signifie thus much, that we ought to come up to Authority, as far as we can without disobeying the Law of God. Let us therefore lay aside all prejudice and groundless disaffection; let us come with modest and humble dispositions, ready to obey in all law­ful things, and resolved to make the breach no wi­der, then we are bound in conscience to do. Could men be perswaded thus far, (and there is no reason why they should not) we might yet hope to see, though not a perfect union, yet a [Page 29]lasting peace in our days: For men would proportion their zeal to the nature of things, they would seek out for information; they would not take up objections upon trust, nor revile the legal Constitutions; the number of Dissenters would be much lessened, and they would joyn with us in a joynt opposition of the common Enemy: They would bear with such inconveniences as are not sinful, for what Church under Heaven is perfect in all matters of worship and discipline? they would yield to a restraint of their liberty (in the ex­ercise of it) for the peace of the Church; For must not every Member of any Society part with something that he desires, (might he choose for himself) in order to the publick Good?

3. Where any thing is of a doubtful signifi­cation, we must put the most favourable con­struction of it, that it is fairly capable of. Were this (favour shall I say, or) common e­quity allowed to the Constitutions of our Church, which is to all other things of Hu­man composure, we should hear no more of those vehement charges of Antichristianism and Popery, that are drawn up against them.

I am sure 'tis neither conscience nor pru­dence to expose the Church of England to the [Page 30]hatred of forreign Protestants; and who can believe, that they way to keep out Popery, and strengthen the interest of the Reformation, is by inflaming the popular fury against that Church, which is the strongest Bulwark in Christendom against the Papal Usurpations?

And now I shall draw to a conclusion; Oh that we would know in this our day, &c.

If the Judgments of God, which we have already groaned under, cannot, sure the dan­gers that threaten us & our Religion, might help to abate our heats, and suppress our dif­ferences. We know, the wonderful zeal of the Jews for the interest of every private par­ty, and their inapprehensiveness of the com­mon danger, made them become a prey to the Romans. Did not Christianity decay in the Church of Corinth, as their Schisms & Facti­ons encreased? Did not the divisions in the Eastern Churches end either in a total subversi­on, or a dismal corruption of Christianity a­mong them? How were the glorious begin­ings of the Reformation obstructed by the differences of some of the chief Reformers? And if our Adversaries of Rome have of late made many Proselytes in these Kingdoms, their success is not owing to the goodness of their cause, but to the force of those Argu­ments, [Page 31]which we have put into their hands. Were not the former conquests of these Na­tions the effects of our own divisions? God grant that saying may never be applied to us which was used of our Forefathers; that whilst they severally quarrelled among themselves, they were all overcome by the common Enemy. We are told by one of their own Authors, That the most effectual way to destroy the Protestants, is by dividing them from and against one another Windeck de Haeres. extirp. p. 415.. The advice of Campanella Cap. 25. p. 207. hath been pur­sued by the Romish Emissaries, that have been industrious in heightning our Animosities, and blowing up every spark into a flame; in working on the passions of discontented men, ma­king harangues against the Church and Govern­ment; in subdividing us into lesser parties, and promoting a general Toleration. They know well enough, that the reformed Religion in Eng­land must needs fall with our Church; they have seen how hard it is to set up a better (or any, esta­blisht) Church in the room of it; they are con­vinced, that a number of petty Sects, and divided Interests, cannot long maintain their ground a­gainst the Roman Forces.

If then we be concerned in good earnest (as I hope we are) to preserve the Reformed Religion, let us all endeavour to keep the uni­ty [Page 32]of the Spirit in the bond of peace Ephes. 4.3.. And that you may understand what kind of Religion they are labouring to introduce, I will con­clude with a short account of Popery.

'Tis a Religion that teaches you to put off hu­manity, that you may be Catholicks, and to deny your senses in a plain sensible matter; to know the will of God without a Bible, to pray to him by a Proxy, and to worship him just as the old Heathens did; to believe twice as much as Christ and his A­postles require, and to leave out one Command­ment which God himself enjoyned; to promote Chri­stian Charity by killing one another; and convert men with fire and faggot; to deny a known truth without telling a lye, and to swear to a known fal­sity without perjury; to obtain pardon of your sins without repentance, and to go to Heaven without holiness; to worship a Deity of your Priests ma­king, and then to sacrifice him to God.

And now let all wise and good men offer up their prayers to God, that he would make up those brea­ches, which our sins, and the subtilty of our enemies have made in the Church; that he, who is the Prince of Pesace, would inspire us with that wisdom that is pure and peaceable, and all our Governours with wisdom and courage, to suppress the growth of Atheism and Prophaneness, of Superstition and Idolatry, of Schism and Sedition.


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