A SERMON Preached before the KING At White-hall November 23. 1684.

BY GILBERT IRONSIDE, D. D. VVarden of Wadham Coll. in Oxon, and Chaplain in Ordinary to His MAJESTY.

PUBLISHED By His Majesties special Command.

OXFORD, Printed by Leonard Lichfield Printer to the University, for James Good Bookseller near the Theatre.


A SERMON Preached before the KING The 23 of November. 1684.

1 Peter cap. 4. ver. 15.

Let none of you suffer as a Murderer, or as a Thief, or as an Evil-doer, or as a Busie-body in other mens matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian let him not be ashamed.

FROM which words we may ob­serve Two things.

1. A Prohibition of suffering in a bad cause: Let no man suffer as a Mur­derer. &c.

And tis a divine Prohibition for the discharge of our consciences upon the pain of sin. 'Tis the divine favour the Apostle aims at, not time serving; He gives this injunction as an Apostle, not as a States-man, as an Apostle that had the care over all the Christian [Page 2]Churches: And if there be any thing extraordinary in that, 'tis the very Apostle, that had a special charge Three times to feed the Sheep and Lambs of Christ. —Let no man says St. Peter suffer, &c.

2. The Support and Comfort, and Honour that at­tends the Cross of Christ. But if any man suffer as a Christian let him not be ashamed. Of this last I shall not speak; I hope in this distracted, disputing, luke-warm Age, if yet Christianity it self shall come to be the Con­troversy, (which God of Heaven forbid) there be not many among us that profess the name of Christ, will want Blood, nor their Blood Spirit enough to dye for him, who dy'd for them, when he was the Son of God.

The business here is to consider well, what 'tis to suffer as a Christian, not to be too hasty and positive in pronouncing this or that Rule or Doctrine to be Christi­anity. If any man suffer as a Christian, (i.e.) according to Christ's Institution, not the foolish, no, nor the wise Fancies of men, Single or in Assemblies, a Divine, and Apostolieal Christian. We need not, nay we must not look for the Image of him any where but as we find it in Christ's and his Apostles drawing.

Even the Church it self, when it represents Religi­on a right, falls infinitely short of what is in the Bible, as to the Lording it over our Faith, and is not so [Page 3]hardy as to equal Her Institutions with Divine Pre­cepts. And we can never be sufficiently thankful to God for the Wisdom with which he inspir'd the Church of England in this Respect, the modest, and humble Wis­dom of the Church of England (indeed all true Wisdom is such.) a Wisdom from above, First Pure, and then Peaceable.

I wish the Church of Rome had continued so too: But how many Articles of Faith, and how many Pre­cepts of Life, have they added to Religion, and re­quired the belief and practice of them as necessary to Salvation, the only cause of difference betwixt us?

We are content with the account of a Christian as we find it in Scripture, and in that we read, they were called Christians first at Antioch, not at Rome; however if any man say, Loe here is Christ, or there is Christ, this is a good Christian, that a good Catholick, either in Greek, or Latine Church, believe them not, unless you find them such, and only, and meerly such, as he was, when St. Peter said, if any man suffer as a Christian, such an one even in his greatest Sufferings ought not to be ashamed: 'Tis but a thin Expression according to the sound; but the Figure speaks great things, Let him look upon it as his Honour, and Glory, 1. Pet. 1.4. The spirit of Glory resteth upon you. Let him esteem it as an Excellency, a Preferment, and the special gift of God, To you tis [Page 4]given to suffer for the name of Christ Philip. 1.29.

But of this comfortable encouragement I shall not speak. My time shall be spent upon the first, The Pro­hibition of suffering in a bad cause, Let no man suffer as a Murderer, or as a Thief; those are words easy to be un­derstood, and so is the next, an Evil-doer.

The Apostle having mentioned Thieves and Murde­rers to avoid a further enumeration of the other great Immoralities, concludes them all in one word of Evil­doers, and then further adds to secure the State, as a Busy-body in other mens matters.

Beza tells us that the Syriack Version does not read those words, as a Busy-body, and he undertakes to give a reason for it, because says he, the humor of medling with other mens matters, does not seem to be of the num­ber of those faults that are usually punished, or are punishable, unless, quòd soepe in rixas incidunt, qui curiosè satagunt aliena, unde postea majora mala oriantur. Busy­bodies naturally fall into controversies, whence greater Evils may arise: and surely that alone, if there were no other reason, is a sufficient one for the Prohibition in the Text, in an Apostle that writ for the peace of Christendome even in private concerns, much more in publick, and State Affairs.

In the Prohibition it self there are two things to be observed. The one supposed. The other infer'd.

1. Tis supposed there is a Power for the suppressing of Vice and Immorality: and not only so, but also in limiting the several Ranks and Orders and Imploy­ments of men, and coercing of them, if as Busy-bodies they transgress: and the Apostle reckons even such Constitutions lawful, wholesome and necessary.

2. This being the Magistrates power, tis manifestly the Christian Subjects duty to avoid all the things here mentioned, the last as well as the first, and that not only in prudence as to worldly affairs, but upon pain of sin, and the displeasure of the King of Kings. Let no man suffer not only as a Murderer, and a Thief, and an Evil­doer, but as a Busy-body in other mens matters, i. e. 'twould be monstrously shameful for Christians to be guilty of either of these things, not only of gross, heathen Im­moralities, but of the later sort also: And there is an Emphasis in the words Let none of you Christians: The Apostle here supposes that all these are to suffer, and and the Magistrate would otherwise bear the Sword in vain. I do not love to prove suppositions, yet when Principles themselves are disputed, or misunderstood, or neglected, or the Light, and Evidence of them fought against, and in a great measure quencht, they may well be opened, and the strength of them lay'd before the understandings of weak and prest upon the Consciences [Page 6]of corrupt men: And of all principles, Obedience to Magistrates (the great Eye-sore) and the Execution of Justice, the support of the world will be alwayes necessa­ry to be taught, and prest upon the conscience; I shall therefore consider from the words.

1. The Power for the suppressing of Vice, and Immo­rality: Indeed a Toleration of Vice was never pleaded for upon Earth: God be thanked, all Immorality stands condemned by a Law, what ever the practice of men be, or whatever the Cowardice or Corruption of Judges may be in executing the Laws, or whatever the ne­cessity of Magistrates sometimes may be to suspend the Execution of them in Church or State.

I know no iniquity established by a Law, unless it be some sort of Theft, and that the very worst, I mean Sacriledge, and I am very far from being sure of that, God be thanked for our Laws: The Gospel hath not all ways, nay seldome since the Pure and primitive times of it proved sufficient to overcome the baseness of human nature, And no man ever disputed the Magistrates power in making such Laws against Immorality.

There is a great Necessity of making of them for two reasons:

The first is the Exigence of Mankind, the second is up­on the account of the Glory of God; neither of which, [Page 7]without the making of these Laws, can be provided for.

As for the first, we need not apply our selves to fetch Arguments from Divinity, to prove what has been the constant voice and experience of the whole world.

And truly the Glory of God can as little subsist with­out making these Laws, I mean the Glory of God in this world; for as for his Eternal and Internal, as I may so say, Glory and Perfection, as likewise that which is manifested amongst the Blessed Spirits, all our deeds of darkness can never cast any shadow upon it, though in this world God's honour is much disgrac'd by our transgressions.

And one reason why it must be so, is, God hath made the Laws of Nature to be his own in a particular man­ner: Indeed they were his own at first, by writing them upon our nature, and in our hearts, but he made them his own by a particular Sanction. He did so to the Jewish nation, when the Government was purely Theo­tracy, and God was pleas'd to come down upon the Mount to manage all things himself, and to speak the ten Commandments to the people. And the Author of our Institution was so far from taking that Law away, that he tells us in his first Sermon from his mouth, that he came to fulfill it, i. e. to fill it up.

Now if God, as if he was Pater patrioe as well as Pater coeli, Father of Nations as well as father of Heaven, re­quires [Page 8]obedience to those Laws which were given us for the security and peace of the world: tis a small return to his Honour to see these Laws, His and ours, His as well as ours, His by way of Sanction, because ours by way of benefit, put in execution.

Nay further, the sad and sinful condition of mankind, and the obligation of Evangelical duties, that lie upon us in dealing with men guilty of trespasses, makes it ne­cessary.

God cannot be honoured without the execution of wrath upon the violation of the Laws of Nature, upon this account God will be honoured in this world, or he will confound it: I say, he cannot be honour'd in this world, without this Execution of Wrath. Why so? 'Tis plain from the Evil constitution of Affairs on the one hand, and the nature of Christianity on the other: The Law of Nature enjoyns us Rules of Justice; the Laws of Christ enjoyn us, in case of wrong, Patience, Meekness, and Forgiveness, as our particular Province.

We are forbidden doing any Injury, and we are for­bidden all kind of Revenge, when others injure us in our Names, Goods, or Persons. This was the Do­ctrine of our Saviour, and this was the Practice of our Saviour: When he suffer'd, says St. Peter, he committed his cause to him that judgeth righteously; and St. Paul gives a reason for it in the behalf of God, —Vengeance is mine, [Page 9]Rom. 12.19. Were it not for this Reservation, Aristo­tle and Tully had been both in the right, who make it an act of Justice to revenge an Injury: an act of Justice tis, but such an one as God hath reserv'd to himself, Venge­ance is mine, and it were insufferable in us to wrest his sword out of his hand.

When Joseph's Brethren were afraid, their Father being dead, he would be avenged on them for Injuries they had done him, Fear not (says he) for am I in the place of God? Gen. 50. q. d. Vengeance belongeth unto Him.

Now the Question therefore is, How doth God a­venge our Injuries, of which the world is, and will be full?

Injuries are forbid by the Law of nature, and Injuries will be committed by the corruption of nature, and In­juries must be suffer'd, and forgiven too by the Consti­tution of the Gospel, and Injuries must be revenged too by the Justice and Government of the world, but must be revenged only by God, —Vengeance is mine. But how does God revenge and repay our Injuries? I answer, two manner of ways.

First, immediately, by himself, and that sometimes in this world, always in the next.

Secondly, mediately, by the power deputed unto men, and the Magistrates are called Gods in that re­spect.

First, by Himself, immediately. So David comfort­ed himself against Saul, 1 Sam. 26. David said to Abi­shai, Destroy him not, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's Anointed, and be innocent? David said further, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him, or he shall come to dye, or he shall descend into battel and perish: and then again adds, The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord's Anointed.

Of this extraordinary vengeance of God the Heathens themselves had very strong apprehensions, and com­forted themselves with expectation of it. So the Hea­then Mariners in Jonah, when the lot fell upon him, and discover'd him. The same judgment we find the Barba­rians pass upon St: Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles; when they saw a Viper fasten upon his hands, they conclud­ed, No doubt this man was a murderer, whom though he escap'd the Sea, yet vengeance suffers him not to live. So A­chilles in Homer, when he confess'd he ought not to a­venge himself of his Superior, comforts himself with this Apprehension, That the Providence of God some­time or other would do him right. — [...].

These are the apprehensions the Jews and Heathens had of the Justice of God, and his divine and immediate vengeance: what we are to have we may learn from our Saviour, speaking of the unrighteous Judge, that for importunities sake did the widdow right, concludes [Page 11]of God the righteous Judge, Shall not he avenge his own Elect, that cry unto him day and night? I tell you, (says he) he will avenge them speedily, tho he bear long with them.

This is God's first way of avenging, but this is in extraordinary and rare cases, and often, and for the most part put off till the great day of Doom, the terri­ble day of the Lord. And therefore,

Secondly, there is a more ordinary and daily way of avenging Injuries, and that is by the hand of the Ma­gistrate. So we read Rom. 13. He is the Minister of God, a Revenger to execute wrath upon them that do evil.

But what, the vengeance we are forbid to do our selves, is it lawful to demand at the hands of the Ma­gistrate? Yes, we may, if it be done for one of these three ends; Either to correct and amend Offendors, or to terrifie and keep others from offending, or to secure Innocent persons. These ends we find to be Reasons given in Scripture of punishments both in Civil and Ec­clesiastical Courts.

The first end is to correct and amend Delinquents. So when Hymenoeus and Alexander were delivered to Satan, it was, that they might learn not to blaspheme. 1 Tim. 1.

A second Reason of demanding Justice, is to terrifie the Insolent and Proud persons. So Deut. 17. When the Refractory person was adjudg'd to be slain, 'twas, [Page 12]that all the people might hear and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

The third end of calling in this vengeance from the Magistrate, is the security of the Innocent. So St. Paul delivers himself, Gal. 5. I wish they were cut off that trou­ble you. These are lawful and necessary Reasons, and may and ought to sway with all good men and true.

But otherwise, for the satisfaction of a revengeful humor, as tis uncharitable in us to demand the execu­tion of Justice, so in the Judge or Magistrate tis not ho­nourable to give it. Nemo sapiens punit, quia pecca­tur, sed nè peccetur: ‘A wise man never inflicts punish­ments, because offences have been committed, but to prevent them for the future that they may not be.’

However for the other Reasons mention'd, the Ma­gistrate is God's Minister, to execute wrath upon them that do evil: And the Apostle tells us, he does not bear the sword in vain, i. e. 'twas not given him in vain, and he ought not to bear it in vain.

So far I suppose we are all willing to go, if not too willing to revenge all Immoralities against our selves in goods, names, or persons; and you will say, neither the world, nor God's glory can subsist without this venge­ance: but we are also to consider, there are also Immo­ralities against the first Table. And truly, all men have had some sense of many of them, and condemn them; [Page 13]and yet generally we use our Maker worse than we use our selves; we are apt to be moe careless of preserv­ing God's honour, nay the honour of his Being, than of securing our own conveniences, or, it may be, hu­mours.

The necessity of preserving Peace and Life make provision against all Immoralities amongst men in their Persons, Goods, and Names; and a man shall be hang'd for stealing what is of little value. As for Spiritual objects, they lie out of sight, they are seen only by Faith, and therefore do not so much, so powerfully, and so constantly affect us, God help us in it. But I say some sense of Religion all men have, and always had.

The Heathen took care to preserve the honour of Religion in general, and would by no means endure any that did not own a Deity, or blasphem'd it, or robb'd it, &c. so far were they from that, that sometimes they put men to death, though in a mistake only, as in the cafe of the great and divine Socrates; and so severe were they in this point, that it became capital in Athens to accuse a man of Atheism, and not be able to prove it.

But now 'tis a frightful consideration, to take a view of the whole world from the beginning in the Tolera­tion of all foolish, foul, sensless Sects of Religion.

When the Devil could not perswade men to take [Page 14]away all Religion (humane Reason was too strong for that) and the knowledge of the Creation of the world by Tradition was too fresh upon the minds of men, (and we hear nothing of Atheism before the flood) he perswaded their easy and corrupt understandings to bear with different Religions: So the Children of God and the Daughters of men had a Mungrel Religion before the flood. After the flood the Assyrians had many Religi­ons in their Empire; the Persians more; the Groecians more then they; the Romans exceeded all; Aug. de Civitat. Dei li. 18. cap. 51. When Rome had obtain'd Sovereignty over all Nations, She enthrall'd her self to all their Errors of Religion, Et magnam sibi vide­batur assumpssisse Religionem, quia nullam respuebat falsita­tem; Leo Mag. Sermone de Petro & Paulo, entertaining all, She thought She could not miss of the right: Indeed the Romans sometimes were careful to have no new Re­ligion brought in, and did not like the Setters forth of new Gods, but it was for fear of some great Alteration to grow thereby amongst the people, otherwise they cared not what Religion men were of, so they disturb'd not the publick peace.

As for the grounds and reasons of this Toleration, it is wonderful to behold the Vanity of them: some were so wickedly fancyful, as to think God was pleas'd with this Variety; So Themistius the Philosopher per­swaded [Page 15] Valens the Emperour, Socrates li. 4. c. 32. That the true God was delighted with the several, tho false opinions men had of him, thinking, they must rever­ence him the more, being so hard to be understood.

Upon what grounds the Samaritans went, is not mention'd; But we have the Story in the 2. of Kings c. 17. And their Tolleration of Idolatrous Religion seems to be only from a sottish Compliance.

When God sent Lyons among them, says the Text, which slew them, and a Priest of God taught them v. 27. how they should serve the Lord. In 33. v. the issue was, They feared the Lord, and served their own Gods too, after the manner of the Nations; & v. 41. 'tis re­peated, So these Nations feared the Lord, and served their Graven Images, both their Children and their Childrens Chil­dren; And so it lasted till our Saviours days, who there­fore told the woman of Samaria, They Worshipped they knew not what.

Herod seems to go beyond these, tho perhaps out of the same Principle, with a great deal of base flattery added to it; For Josephus l. 14. Antiq. c. 13.14. reports He built a Temple to Caesar whilst he repair'd the Temple of God.

Nay St. Austine tells us,Rhetoria [...] that he heard of a sort of Hereticks, Qui mirabili vanitate omnes Hoereticos lauda­bant, & benè sentire &, vera dicere asserebant (and well he might add, quòd ita est absurdum, ut mihi incredibile vi­deatur.) [Page 16]Out of Frensy, or perhaps Atheism they prais'd all sorts of Hereticks,Aug. Ad Quodvult-Deum, Hoe­resis 72. and justified what they said to be true, tho never so contrary one to the other.

Appelles the Heretick in Eusebius had somewhat like this Fancy,Libro 5to cap. 13. {fo.} No man was to be questioned for his Faith, but that it was sufficient at any rate to believe in him that was Crucified, excluding only downright Infidels.

But above all, Julian the Apostate fathom'd the depth of this Wile of Satan, for, ideò permisit libertatem Re­ligionis, quia sic sperabat posse interire Christianos. Out of perfect spight he gave way to a general Toleration, thinking thereby to destroy Christianity it self, Aug. Epist. 156.

This is a true account of the world of old, Heathen, Jewish, and Christian, and 'tis a sad one: As for latter Ages, there have been many pretences to Toleration, of which I need not speak: Only one thing is observ­able of all Ages, namely, That it has been the Custome of all false Teachers to plead for a Toleration them­selves, but never to afford it to the Orthodox Pro­fessors, witness the Jews, the Roman Tyrants, the Arrians, the Donatists, (not to speak of the present Age) how unmercyful were they?

Pass we therefore from the History, to our Duty, as [Page 17]we shall be able to gather it out of Scripture, and the Opinion of the Ancient Church, truly Orthodox, and Catholick, abstracting from the particular Controver­sies now on foot in any part of the Christian world: And I humbly conceive we may certainly conclude a­gainst a Toleration in general of any Religion, that is false in the substance of it: For as for Ceremonies and Circumstances who will insist upon them, so as to make a Schism, but use them as he finds them, as St. Austin practis'd and advis'd? But if Religion in the substance of it be false, 'tis an undeniable Maxim, that what we must not do our selves, we are forbidden to suffer in others; we may not allow in others a sin, which we are forbidden to commit our selves; Non est innocens nisi qui cum scit prohibere, non potest. He is not to be esteemed innocent, who knows a thing to be a sin, unless he cannot help it from being committed: And the Canon Law gives a Reason,Decret. parte 13. distinct. 55. Non caretscrupulo occultoe Societatis, qui manifesto crimini desinit obviare. A man is to be suspected to have some secret Society, and combination with that fault he does not hinder.

Besides, there cannot but be a great Deformity, and the Beauty of Holiness is quite lost by such a Toleration: There is but one God, and Christ, and Truth, and Faith, and Church, and tis great confusion to associate things not sociable, Light and Darkness, [Page 18]if it be in our power to hinder it, and there be any li­berty of Prudence to hinder it; for there is an absolute and blind Power, whereby indeed we may do such or such a thing, without any good Reason, all circumstances consider'd, and without any good effect: And there is a Power of Discretion, with which all good and Re­ligious things should be accompanied; otherwise you may cast Pearls before Swine, and they may turn and tear you in pieces; And you may pluck up the Wheat with the Tares, i.e. You may be the occasion of doing so: For if the Hereticks, which our Saviour means by Tares, prevail in the Confusion, and get the upper hand, the Church may be destroyed. However the Conclusion still stands, We are not to tolerate diver­sities of Religions, if we can with any Discretion, and safety prevent it. Otherwise a Toleration is not only lawful, but necessary: So in the case of Ambassadors, who have been allways suffer'd in the Private use of their Religion: One King cannot prescribe to an o­ther. Par in parem &c: So also in Reasons of State, as when Kingdomes be Elective, and obleige themselves, and cannot without great Confusion help it, and both Parties are intrusted in the Government.

So in case of Matches; when Kings out of Reasons of State take Wives out of Kingly Families of a con­trary Religion, the absolute Lawfulness of which I [Page 19]think can never be questioned, but is rather manifest from many Instances of Scripture, such as Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, before the giving of the Law; not to speak of David with Maacha the Daugh­ter of the King of Jeshuron, and Solomon with Pharaoh's Daughter, after the giving of the Law, which for fear of the sad effects of Idolatry did forbid such mixtures. I am sure after the coming of the Gospel St. Paul re­quires the Believing Party to continue even with the Infidel, who is said, 1 Ep. Cor. 7. c. 9. v. to be bound by the Law so to do, i. e. by the Law of Marriage,Vide Be­zam in lo­cum. and the Apostle is content for the making of a Marriage Lawful only with one Condition, namely,Arabs In­terpres ni­miū angus­tè restrin­git ad acci­piendū ma­ritum ex fi­delium nu­mero. that it be in the Lord, i. e. in the fear of the Lord.

But these Exceptions, and the like being provided for, 'tis certainly our Duty to God to suppress all er­roneous Religions, if it be in our Discreet Power so to do, still observing the Apostles Rules, which be these.

First, What have we to do to judge those that be without, or those that be not subject to the State in which we live? They flatter the Pope, that give him Jurisdiction over all the world.

As for those that be without, no Christian may draw his Sword against Infidels, only for the sake of Religion, [Page 20]unless there be a special Warrant from God, as the Children of Israel had for the Canaanites, and Saul for the Amalekites: But if the Unbeliever be a Member of the State in which he lives, he is not to be suffer'd in the outward exercise of his Religion.

So Constantine the first Christian Emperour shut up the Temples of Idolaters, and there is the same Reason against the Synagogues of the Jews, and the Mosques of the Mahometans.

Secondly, As for those that be within the Church by Baptism, and Profession, if they fall into Heresy, or Schism, they must be corrected and reform'd, but still according to the respective offices, Lines, and Powers of men, which are various. The Minister must do his part; and his office is to stand Sentinel, and to dis­cover the first Approaches, He must try them, which say, they are Apostles, and are not. Rev. 2. He must blow the Trumpet, and bid the People beware of false Pro­phets. Math. 7. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Math. 16. Beware of Dogs, Beware of Evil-workers, Be­ware of the Concision. Philip. 3. He must instruct in Meek­ness. 2 Tim. 2. He must convince the Leaders and re­prove them sharply: If this prevail not, He must use the Power of the Keys.

The Epistles of Christ to the 7 Churches of Asia are altogether to this purpose, and that upon condition of [Page 21]removing the Candlestick out of its place: in the 2d. of the Rev. 14. I have a few things against thee, (to the Church of Pergamus,) because Thou hast them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Baalak to cast a stumbling-block be­fore the children of Israel, and to commit for nication, and that held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate, said the Spirit to the Churches. So likewise to the Church of Thyatira, v. 20. I have a few things against Thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel to teach and seduce my people.

However, no Spanish Inquisition practis'd, or en­joyn'd by Christ, or his Apostles, or the Fathers of the Primitive Church. The Arrians indeed went that way.

Thirdly, the people likewise must do their duty in taking the Alarum from the Minister, to try the Spirits, upon tryal to have no communication with them in sacred things, which imports an Approbation of their errors, and an Abrenunciation of the Truth; nor in civil things, if the Church so order it.

Howbeit the people must keep within their bounds; The Keys abolish not civil Rights, or the Law of Property, much less do they dissolve Allegiance: Suffer they must for Truth, not defend or propagate it by vio­lence. And in this agree the harmony of Confessions in all Reformed Churches, whatsoever some turbulent spirits of Scotland have written to the contrary, and may [Page 22]well be used by Popish writers to cover their own shame in this kind.

But lastly, the chiefest Power is in the hands of the Magistrate, even that of coercion; and, debet terrenum Regnum coelesti famulari.

Against This, even the whole of it, the Papists constant­ly declaim, saying, That Princes indeed are the chiefest rank of men in Civil Societies, but not in the Church; they must have nothing to do here of themselves; it were Sacriledge in them, the Pope must do all. We say, that Kings and Princes are custodes utrius (que) Tabuloe, Guardians of both Tables, Defenders of the Faith, not by way of compliment and Title only; and that from their own high Dignity and Calling, not the Pope's Donation; Defen­ders of the Faith, as well as of Civil Rights, Episcopi ad extra, to see God be religiously worshipp'd; Nursing Fathers, &c. Neither does it follow, that the Magi­strate may act ad libitum, or that the people may with a safe conscience acquiesce in any Religion he shall be pleas'd to determine, (as Mr. Hobbs,) but tis suppos'd he shall proceed juxta verbum, and therefore to study the Law of our common Master, and to advise with Those whose Profession it is.

To this end the Emperors called Synods, and set the Bible in the middle. And this practice of old, and a­bove all things was the commendation of the good King Josiah.

In the 2d. of Chron. 34. when the Book of the Law was found, he commanded it to be read before him. And it came to pass, when the King heard the words of the Law, that he rent his cloaths. v. 19. Because our Fathers have not kept the word of the Lord to do after all that is written in this Book, i.e. in suppressing false and idola­trous Religions. ‘And when the King went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all the people great and small, (as tis express'd v. 30.) and read in their ears all the words of the Book, he not only made a cove­nant for himself, but caus'd all that were present in Je­rusalem to stand to it, v. 32. and took away all the abo­minations of other Religions out of all the countreys that pertain'd to the children of Israel. v. 30.’

And this, I say, and such like good examples of Kings amongst the Jews, we find Christian Emperors to fol­low in Ecclesiastical story: They shut up Heretick Churches, caus'd their books to be burnt, disabled them to bear Office, to inherit Lands, make Wills, banish'd them, and sometimes put them to death. And this measure of Power the Church of England requires for her Kings, Article 37. the same Authority and Power which was in use and practice a mongst the Kings of Judah.

But for any particular uniform course to be taken, the Prince being left to Religious discretion, no man [Page 24]can be so vain to expect it. All is well, if the cor­rection be but proportionable to the corruption, great­er or less, as is sufficient to preserve the sound, and reclaim the straying Party.

St. Austin, and other Fathers, were at first much a­gainst Coertion, and would have only Perswasion us'd; but Experience made them retract, and to justifie the lawfulness and usefulness and necessity of Coertion out of Scripture,Si enim terre­rentur, & non doce­rentur, impro­ba quasi domi­natio excide­retur. so it follow Instruction, not go before it, So expresly, plentifully, and at large, Epist. 48. Mea primitus sententia erat neminem ad unitatem Christi esse co­gendum, verbo esse agendum, disputatione pugnandum, ratio­ne vincendum, ne fictos Catholicos haberemus, quos apertos Hoereticos noveramus. Sed haec opino mea non contradicen­tium verbis, sed demonstrantium superabatur exem­plis.

In another place he tells us, Nullis bonis in Catholica hoc placet, si usque ad mortem in quenquam licèt hoereticum soeviatur, Lib. 3. con­tra Crescon. and desires Donatus the Proconful of Africa, Ep. 127. that he would forget he had potestatem occiden­di; and in his 3d. Book 50. chap. to the aforesaid Cresco­nius, he gives another reason why he would not have the blood of Hereticks to be shed, because all hope is cut off, and it takes away Temporal life, when they are in danger of losing Eternal: yet in some cases he thinks it fit that Hereticks should dye, as when blasphemous, [Page 25]as the Manichees, and abusing the Sacrament in the Sup­per; when such beasts as the Priscillianists, when tu­multuous as the Circumcellians. Eodem loco coatra Cres­conium. Contra lite­ras Betiliani. l. 2. And Laws were made specially after the death of St. Austin to that purpose, which the Church of Rome has brought to the hight of extremity. Bellarm. de laicis, cap. 21, 22. But in these, and such like cases as have been mentioned, the Magi­strate, in the opinion of the whole Catholick Church, may, and is to interpose. And though Anabaptists,In hoc enim Reges, sicut iis divinitus prae­cipitur, Deo serviunt in quantùm reges sunt, si in suo reguo bona ju­beant, mala prohibeant, non solum quae pertinent ad humanam so­cietatem, ve­rùm etiam quae ad divi­nam religio­nem. Ep. con­tra Cresco [...] ­um and other Phanaticks, say, No Good comes by compulsion, (which is not always true, as St. Austin reasons at large,) yet the practice of Religion contrary to the true is not to be suffer'd, but means must be us'd, not only to secure the Church and the Faith of it, but to reform also, if it be possible, the Hereticks and Schisma­ticks themselves, and to compel them even by mulcts to frequent the Church, intending their Salvation, not Punishment: Imò serviunt Reges terrae Christo, etiam leges ferendo pro Christo: Ep. 48. Non odio nocendi, sed dilectione sanandi. Indeed the Understanding can be wrought upon by nothing but Perswasion, and men can never be sincere Converts, unless the Understanding be made to yeild: but alas, in encountring with the greatest part of Secteries, we do not deal much with the understanding; many of them are such meerly from an indulg'd custome (when Discipline lay asleep) of grati­fying [Page 26]a sensual humour, which lies in itching ears, gad­ding up and down, and always prating, and not knowing what they affirm;Si doceren­tur, & nonter­rerentur, ve­tustate consu­etudinis obdu­rati ad capes­sendam viam salutis pigriùs moverentur. August. Epist. priùs citatâ. so that a little Reason, with a steady hand in restraining, may quickly be effectual with many that are let loose only out of this wanton humour, and with­out this Restraint Reason would signifie but little: As for those that be truly obstinate, though an Angel from Heaven should speak, 'twould be to no purpose. But then, though the tongue of an Angel cannot per­swade this Beast, yet a Sword may stop him, and crush the foot of the Prophet that rides him; and though no good may be done to him, yet we are bound to hinder him from seducing or cursing others.

The Magistrates are called Gods, as having God's Power to preserve his Honour and Image, (that indeed is the only reason of giving them this Power,) and they that deny them the use and application of it, instead of Gods render them Idols, that have feet and walk not, hands and cannot strike. Let no man suffer as a Thief, or a Murderer, or Evil-doer in any kind against man or God; those that be evil doers in any kind may suffer.

There is one Person more in the Text that is to be corrected, and that is a Busy-body in other mens matters. And I hope I am not come into the number by my for­mer Discourse. A Busy-body, who is that? There is [Page 27]no such man in the world, and perhaps now, 'tis some­what an hard matter to give an account of this sin, and to describe the person guilty of it: I am sure, if it be a hard matter to discover it, 'tis much a harder matter to destroy it. 'Tis a hard matter indeed, to turn out any one Vice, and 'twill never be done perfectly till the coming of the Son of man; but 'tis impossible to rid the world of this sin, so incident to the Activity of mens minds, and so pretending to, and sometimes resembling the great and eminent Graces of Christiani­ty, Knowledge, and Charity, and Zeal the Offspring of it: But in truth, so suitable to the Pride of nature and life, which not only is in, but domineers in the hearts of most men.

There be somethings which at first sight or hearing seem to be the plainest things in the world, and in them­selves really are so, yet by the Corruption of men through weakness of mind, strength of Passion, In­terest, Personal Animosities, Partiallity, &c. are so perplext, as to become the hardest to be understood; 'Tis so in this of being a Busy-body; We can hardly make men confess in private concerns, more hardly in publick Affairs. And yet I do not question, if men would but impartially attend and account themselves with humble nay honest minds, they would quickly find themselves when guilty; Nay at first generally speak­ing [Page 28]men out of an innate modesty are not easily brought to be guilty of this sin, and 'tis a kind of a Rape upon them, they are rather by natural Instinct kept from it, and in our common conversation no Creature is generally so oftensive in ordinary concerns as the Prag­matical one. However, as much as we have defaced this natural modesty and bashfulness the great Grace, and Beauty, and Ornament of the mind, there be Rules which will be confess'd by all when we speak in general of this sin to discover it by, and they are these

  • 1. Inferiors have no right to meddle with Superiors at all, unless it be to defend, and obey: nothing else, not so much as to councel unless call'd to it: much less to reprove saucily, or contumeliously to expose. Nor
  • 2. Authority over their Equalls. Nor any men
  • 3. Any thing to do out of their calling.

All this is plain by Reason, more manifest by Scrip­ture, and enforc'd upon us; By what Authority dost thou these thing? said the Jews to Christ, who own'd the reasonableness of the Question; and at an other time, when one came to him to engage him about the dividing of an Inheritance, our Saviour turn'd him away with a short and sharp Answer. Man who made me a Judge over you? Neither would he enter upon his own office till [Page 29]the time appointed of his Father. My hour is not yet come: And at an other time, he checks the forwardness and curiosity of St. Peter for only enquiring after the Fate of St. John. If I will that he tarry till I come, what's that to thee? follow thou me, prepare for thy own business: And St. Paul: What have I to do to Judge those that be without? And as for those that be within, in 2 Cor. 10. Though, saies he, I should boast of my Authority, which as an Apostle was universal over all the world, I should not be ashamed, yet how often does he there speak of lines and measures distributed to others, and agreed upon, and keeping himself from theirs, and within his own line?

Nay further, (to obviate the ranting objection which the rage of Enthusiasm has prompted some to make, and the Conclusions and Blasphemies, of which we have seen and felt) when Moses slew the Egyptian, St. Austine thinks it was a zeal, not according to knowledge; Those that are not of his mind (as I think most are not) say 'twas by a special Commission from God,Vid. Acts. 7. v. 25. and was the First Instance of his being appointed Leader of his People: And indeed, after Moses his time, we have the like instances in rare and extraordinary cases: So we read the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, Maimon. Mo­re Nevochim p. 316. 1 Judg. 6.34. i.e. according to the general Interpretation of the He­brews, By a Prophetical rapture he was inspir'd, and in­abled [Page 30]to do those Heroick Acts that are recorded of him in he 7th chap. without the help of meanes. And so it was indeed with all the Judges of Israel, as is expresly said chap. 18. v. 3. When the Lord rais'd them up Judges, i. e. in their Confusions appointed them extraordina­rily, 'tis said the Lord was with the Judge, extraordina­rily still, to deliver them out of the hand of their ene­mies. So in the 11 chap. 29. ver. 'tis said the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jeptha, and v. 33. we have his great ex­ploits: and in the 14, and 19. verses we have the same words of Sampson. The spirit of the Lord came upon Samp­son. The like of David in encountring the Lyon and the Bear, and Goliah with a Sling. But what is this to the madness of our people? If our Zealots pretend to the same extraordinary calling, and the same Spirit, let them shew their Faith by their Works, let them do as Moses did with Pharaob, and at the Red Sea; nay, let them do as Gideon, and Jeptha, and Sampson, and David, i. e. let them work miracles, bring to pass Heroick Acts without proper and competent means.

The Sum is, and it ought to be the governing Rule in our whole lives, We are to do our Duties when called to it, not else, no not in the Acts of our general calling as we are Christians. Let not this seem strange to any. The great Duty of Christianity, is to believe with our hearts, and confess with our mouths, that Jesus is the [Page 31]Christ: neither is it sufficient to keep Faith only in our hearts, as some Hereticks in the Primitive times blas­phemed, though it be to save our lives, but then 'tis when we are requir'd to make Confession with our mouths; and the Ancient Church, to check the Forwardness and blind zeal of some hasty Christians, refus'd those that offer'd themselves to the rage of Persecution, forbid'em I say to be taken into the Catalogue of Martyrs.

So likewise for our Duties to men, we are in 6. Gal. requir'd to do good to all men, but tis, as is there ex­press'd, as we have opportunity.

And as for particular Callings, we have the same A­postles Rules in two Epistles: In the 12. Rom. 4. All members (says the Apostle) have not the same office, and therefore v. 16. let every one attend on the office wherein he is plac'd, whether it be Ministry. Teaching, or Ruling. v. 7, 8. The same counsel we have 1 Ep. Cor. 7.20. Let every man abide in the same Calling wherein he was called; Art thou call'd being a Servant, care not for it: v. 21. though if thou mayst be made free, use it rather. And v. 24. he re­peats it again, and to enforce it upon them, uses the great engaging term of Christianity, Brethren, let every man in the Calling wherein he is called abide with God; o­therwise you sin against the common notion of Brethren, you walk not as Christians, and therefore 2ly. you for­feit the great blessing that attends our living suitably [Page 32]to that Relation, neither do you abide with God, and how then can you expect God's favour when you go away from him? God's Protection to his Church is promis'd upon this condition. In the 90 Psalm it is written, He shall give his Angels charge over thee to keep thee, and if they have charge over us, we need not doubt the services of other creatures, but then, tis in all thy ways, not else, and That clause, the Lyer and the Mur­derer from the beginning left out in his Temptation to our Lord.

Tis very observable, how particular the Apostles are in laying out the respective Duties of Inferiours, (Obedi­ence in this world is the great thing,) the sins of Supe­riors are remitted to the other world, and then Great men shall be greatly tormented. But the Apostles are in no­thing more exact in their commands upon Christendom, than in laying out the Duties of Servants to Masters, (not so much as answering again.) Children to Parents, Wives to Husbands, all Inferiors to their Betters, valu­ing of men by the discharge of these offices. And twas good advice therefore of a Cardinal,Jackson Tone 1. p. 232. (much commended by a great Divine of our Church,) in reading of St. Paul's Epistles, to begin with the end of them, which contain the plain Duties of a Christian life, private and publick, for being once well acquainted with them, we shall more easily attain to the true sense of the former part, which [Page 33]being usually Doctrinal are the more difficult.

And as the Apostles were thus careful in enjoyning the Duties of these particular Callings, so the Christians were as careful in performing them, though mean and base ones.

When the Publicans and Souldiers chang'd their Re­ligions, they kept their Callings still, would fight for their Emperor, and dye for Christ at the same time; not but that Callings may and must be sometimes changed too, as if one be subordinate to the other, or in case of disability of Body, Mind, Estate, or Private ne­cessity, as when Paul made Tents, and we have power over our selves, and be at our own disposal; —If thou mayst be made free, use it rather, never out of Pride, Lightness, Ambition, Covetousness, Idleness, Pragma­ticalness, and as Busy bodies, and without Authority. For what I pray makes a Calling, either to a Profession or single Action, but (first) Fitness of Abilities, second­ly, Authority? both of them necessary always, but the latter absolutely, and in the highest degree. And there­fore when men loath the Stations in which God hath set them, and either utterly abandon them, or reach at those Imployments which in the ordinary course of Provi­dence are deny'd them, when he shall teach that ought to learn, and he command that ought to obey, such Inversions and transposing of things are no more [Page 34]hurtful to men, then hateful to God.

So much for Professions and Callings without Au­thority. The like must be said concerning single Acti­ons, upon any emergent occasion. When Demetrius the Silver-Smith, in the 19. Acts, being afraid, upon the account of St. Paul's preaching, of losing his Trade in making Shrines for the Goddess Diana, of his own head had called the Craftsmen together, though he spake no­tably in the behalf of the great Goddess Diana, whom all Asia and the world worshipp'd, and had fill'd his hearers with wrath against St. Paul, and the whole City with confusion, crying out for the space of two hours, Great is Diana of the Ephesians, and yet the biggest part knew not for what they came together, the Town-clerk, to still the people, very wisely and very loyally told them, ‘If Demetrius and his Crafts-men have a matter against any man, the Law is open, and there are Deputies, or, (as tis in the Margent of our Bible) the Court-days are kept, let them plead one another, and it shall be de­termin'd in a lawful Assembly, and ye ought to be qui­et, and do nothing rashly, for we are in danger of be­ing accus'd for this days riot, for as much as there can be no cause given for this concourse of people.’

As for the Church, examine the whole Bible, Old and New Testament, you will find Priests, and Pro­phets, and Apostles, and all the People of God, and [Page 35]the Son of God himself submitting and ruling their outward behaviour by humane Constitutions and Pow­ers, as carefully as this Town-clerck. The Acts of the Apostles, and the life and death of Christ are perfect sub­mission to the Emperial Laws. The Apostles refer themselves to them, First, for Obedience, and then for Protection. We have them both notably at once in St. Paul. I appeal to Caesar. and I am a Roman; and when wrongfully imprison'd in the 16 of the Acts, and the Inferiour Magistrates fear'd, when they heard they were Romans, and sent to set them at Liberty privily, no, says St. Paul, They have beaten us openly uncondem'd, being Romans, and have cast us into Prison, and now would they thrust us out privily? Nay verily, let them come them­selves and fetch us out. v. 37. But their Obedience to the Laws they allways perform'd sincerely and cheer­fully; and upon much better Principles then any peo­ple under Heaven among whom they liv'd; other men did it for fear of wrath, Christians for Conscience sake. You must needs be subject for Conscinenc sake, Rom. 13.5. We are in danger of being call'd on question for this days Riot, said the Town-clerck of Ephesus, we sin against God would the Christians have said.

Indeed if things were pursu'd home to their Prin­ciples, and thence to their dismal Consequences, men [Page 36]may learn their Obligations to humane Laws, as well as to the Laws of nature, even by the light of nature: The Thief, the Murderer, and the Evil-doer are con­demn'd by the Laws of nature, the Busy-body by the Laws of the State, which hath power by the Law of nature to make Laws sufficient to preserve it self; and is the first Dictate of the Law of Nature concerning men combin'd in Societies; and tho in themselves some sins against the other immediate Laws of Nature, and these against the State are not comparable, yet as to the Peace, Tranquility, and Comfort of the world, the sins which arise from this Pragmatical Principle, are much the worse, and generally the causes of the others also. And who doubts but the Debauchery of the last Age was the effect of the War, and that War caus'd by this very Principle? 'Tis therefore a true and a wise saying, Sedition is worse then Murder, and 'tis pity the saying is found so often in the Alcoran, and so seldome to be met with in the Practice of Christians, I say, If things were rightly pursu'd to their Origine and Consequences, this Sin is manifestly discover'd by the Light of Nature, but no Condemnation of it comparable to what we find in the Christian Religion; That's a Religion, which in its very Constitution aimes at the peace and tranquilli­ty of mankind, a Religion which is exercis'd in Hu­mility, and Self-denyal, in Thanks-giving for other [Page 37]mens Parts, Gifts, Powers, Preferments, and Authori­ties, and above all in a perfect Submission to the holy will of God in his wise governing of the world.

The Conclusion therefore must be that of Eccl. 11.10. My Son meddle not with many matters, and the Councel is there back'd with Three notable Reasons, For if thou meddle, thou shalt not be innocent, (there is sin the case) and if thou follow after, thou shalt not obtain, (Disappoint­is threatned) neither shalt thou escape by flying.

There be Three things in the New Testament which are threatned with signal judgments in this life:

The First is doing evil that good may come of it, Vide Grotium in locum. whose damnation says the Apostle, is just. Rom. 3.8.

The Second is Profaning the Sacrament of the Lords Supper. They that eat unworthily eat damnation to them­selves. 1 Cor. 11.

The Third is Profaning of the supreme Powers. They that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. i. e. These Three sins make men liable not only to the divine wrath hereafter, (for so all sins without Repentance expose to Damnation) but usually they are also attended with signal judgments in this life. They that resist shall receive to themselves damnation, and they that meddle [Page 38]with many matters shall not escape, no not by flying, a Curse shall follow and overtake thee; And so let it upon all the Troublers of the Earth, that our Kings may be at Rest, and we may lead a quiet life in all Godliness and Honesty.

‘QƲicunque vos ex occasione legis imperialis, non dilections sed inimicandi odio persequitur, displicet nobis; & quam­vis res vestras falso appellatis, quas nec justi possidetis, & secun­dum leges Regum terrenorum amittere jussiestis, quisquis tamen ex occasione hujus legis quam Regesterrae Christo Servientes ad emendandam vestram impietatem promulgaverunt, res proprias vestr as cupidè appetit, displicet nobis. Aug. Ep. 48.

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