Apostolical Communion IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.

Asserted and Applied. For the Cure of Divisions:

In a SERMON Preached in the Cathedral-Church of St. Peter, Exon: And since Enlarged.

By Tho. Long, B. D. and one of the Prebendaries.

[...]. Ignatius ad Magnes.
Hinc moneamur, cum specie studii perfectionis, imperfecti­onem nullam tolerare possumus, aut in corpore, aut in mem­bris Ecclesia; tunc diabolum nos tumefacere superbia, & hy­pocrisi seducere ad deserendum Christ! gregem nos instiget; certo sciens se victoriam obtinere, cum nos inde abduxit. Cum enim nusquam alibi sit, aut remissio peccatorum, aut salus, tametsi vitse plusquam Angelicae speciem prae nobis feramus, tamen si tali audacia nos separemus a Christiano coetu, simus diaboli. Calv. adv. Anab.

LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1673.

To the Right Worship­ful Henry Gandy Esq Mayor of the City of Exeter; and the Al­dermen of the same.

THE Society whereof you are Members, (if it be fit to compare lesser things with greater), may acquaint you with the necessity of Government, Laws, and Order in the Church of God: First, You hold your Authority from the King, and his Laws; So doth the Church from Christ and his Gospel: You have Superior and Inferior Offi­cers; So hath the Church: You have power to Enact certain Municipal Laws as occasion shall require, for the peace [Page] and welfare of the City; So hath the Church, by virtue of the general Pre­cepts of Christ and his Apostles: You have certain Forms and Rites in the A [...]ministration of Justice▪ to make it more solemn▪ So hath the Church, to procure the greater Reverence in the Administration of Publick Worship: [...]u have many lesser Societies of Ar­tificers, who have their dependance on you; So hath the Church, many Parochial Congregations depending on the Bishop of the Diocess. Now, if dis­contented and pragmatical persons should arise among your selves, and make it their business, to defame your Government, as if it were tyrannical and arbitrary burthensom and oppres­sing, because of a f [...] [...]r [...]nt Forms and Customs; if they should quarrel [...]t some antiqu [...]ted w [...]s in your Legal proceeding▪ and take offence at the [...] and [...] Ma [...]e [...] as [...] Ceremonies, (and you know [...] the same [...] Magistrates, a [...] other [...] Minister). If these [...] p [...]nt and plead [...] Reformation of all your [Page] Laws, and Government; if they should forge and pretend new Charters, and Commissions for the subversion of the old; and erect mock-Courts of Justice, censuring, hating, and (as much as in them lyeth) condemning all that will not be of their Rabble: If they should advance a Dozen of Burgo-Masters into the Office of the Mayor, and make every man one of the Coun­cil; if they should abolish all the an­cient Laws and Customs; lay aside all Rites and Formalities; and bring in new Ordinances, such as were never known in yours, or in the Government of any other Corporation? Were such practices tolerable? Or if not speedily re­medied, would they not bring the whole City to Confusion? And is it not the duty of every good Magistrate, to pre­vent such tumults? Now such is the present condition of our Church; Schism and Separation in the Church, being of the same nature with Sedition and Tumult in the State▪ And God forbid it should always be said of Zion, as Jer. 3 [...].17. This is Zion whom no man seeketh after. Tum tua res, agitur, is one Argument to ingage you all (as [Page] you are Magistrates) in the defence of the Church; for seldom doth Facti­on prevail in the Church, but it pro­ceeds also to the alteration of the State. But you are engaged on more noble Prin­ciples, as Members of that Church which I plead for; and your Examples (as things now stand) may be more instru­mental for the peace of the Church, than your power; and when you meet with rational Dissenters, your Arguments may not be altogether ineffectual. I have presumed, to put a few such Arguments into your hands, which I doubt not, may be instrumental to the confirming them that are yet in the Communion of the Church of England, though perhaps not effectual to recall those that are departed; and yet I doubt not, but here is enough to convince them; their Conversion is the work of God.

It will be needless to give an account of my publishing this Sermon, or the pre­senting it to you. I should be wanting to my duty as a Minister of the Church, if I should omit to serve her Interest, as far as I am able. And the desires of divers of this City, which was the place of my Nativity, and in whose welfare, [Page] that of my self and a numerous family are wrapt up, did easily prevail with me, to give this testimony of my real affection, as well to your persons, as to your Government. I shall only trouble you with an account of my Subject, which is a perswasion to unity in the publick Worship of God, as it is professed in the Church of England. If any ask, What that Church is? I answer, it is, The whole Nation, professing the Gospel of Christ, visibly uniting themselves by joint-consent, of King, Pastors, and people, and agreeing in certain Laws and Rules conformable to the Aposto­lical and Primitive Precepts and Pat­terns, for the Preaching of the Word, and the Administration of the Sacra­ments with decency and order, in the publick Worship of God. If this description agree in every particular to our National Church, then the raising of Divisions in it, and making Separa­tion from it, is the sin of Schism, and that sin extreamly dangerous; and therefore it is every mans duty, that lives within the pale of the Church, to keep himself in the Commu­nion [Page] of the same: which is the endea­vour and constant prayer of,

Your devoted Servant in all Good Offices, THO: LONG.
1 Joh. 1.3.

That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellow­ship with us; And truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

THere are (saith Solomon) threescore Queens, and fourscore Concubins, but the [...]. Epiph. Haer. 35. undefiled is but one. There are many Factions besides that at Rome, Cant. 6.8. that pretend to be the Spouse of Christ; but his beloved is but one, and that one is only beloved. Thus the Nicene Creed teacheth us, There is one Catholick and Apostolick Church, in which is the Com­munion of Saints, and Remission of Sins. It concerns us therefore, to be well assured, as well in respect of our present comfort, as of our future happiness, of the truth and purity of that part of the Church of Christ to which we join our selves in Communion; that our hope of Salvation, may be laid on the foun­dation of the Apostles and Prophets,Eph. 2.10 Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner-stone. And if we are ambitious of any honor, let it be of this, not to be the Head or Prop of any petty Faction, but to be a Member of Christ, which the good Emperor Theodosius pre­ferred [Page 2] above his being Head of the Em­pire.

For if there be a Heaven upon Earth, it must needs consist, as our eternal happiness hereafter, in a Communion with God and his Son Jesus Christ; and to this the Text guides even to Mount Sion,Heb: 12.22. and to the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of Angels, to the General Assembly and Church of the First-born, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judg of all, and to the Spirits of Just Men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. To confirm you in this Society, is the end of all our preaching, and your hearing; for when our Saviour ascended up on high, he gave some Apostles,Eph. 4.11. & 14. some Prophets, some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, (that we should be no more Children tos­sed to and fro with every wind of Doctrine, but) for the perfecting of the Saints for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: This our Apostle in­timates to be the end of all the Scriptures, but more especially of the Text: That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us, &c.

Church-Communion is my present Sub­ject, concerning which I observe these three parts in the Text.

[Page 3]I. The ground and foundation of Apo­stolical Communion: That which we have seen and heard.

II. Wherein this Communion consists; from the divers notions of the word [...], in the Scripture: That ye may have fel­lowship with us, (i.e.), the Apostles.

III. The excellency of this Communion: And truly our fellowship is with the Father, &c.

That I may the better fix your meditati­ons on my discourse, and that upon the Text, I shall give you the Substance of both, in this short Argument.

That Church, which holds Communion with Christ and his Apostles, in Doctrine,Omnis Do­ctrina quae cum Eccle­siis Apo­stolicis Matricibus & Origi­nalibus fi­dei conspi­rat verita­ti deputan­da. Tertul. de prae­script. Government, and Worship, is a true Mem­ber of Christs Church, in which Salvation may be had: But the Church of England holds Communion with Christ and his A­postles, in Doctrine, Government, and Wor­ship: Therefore the Church of England is is a true Member of Christs Church, in which salvation may be had.

My first Proposition, I shall prove from Act. 2.42. where it is recorded of the Pri­mitive Christians, That they continued sted­fastly in the Apostles Doctrine and fellow­ship, and in breaking of Bread, and in Pray­ers: and it follows, v. 47. The Lord added [Page 4] daily to the Church such as should be saved: whence I observe,

1. That by reason of this Communion, they are expresly denominated the Church, Plebs sacerdoti adunata, as Saint Cyprian.

2. And, that to this Church Salvation is appropriated: God daily added to the Church such as should be saved.

The Proposition being sufficiently pro­ved, I shall, for the greater perspicuity, prove the Assumption gradually, according to the parts into which I divided the Text, And shew,

1. That the Church of England holds Communion with Christ and his Apostles in Doctrine.

Anno 1660.Those dissenting Ministers, that present­ed to the Parliament their Reasons for Re­formation of the publick Doctrine, &c. did assure us in the first words, that it was far from their thoughts, to oppose or disparage, orthodox Doctrine; a well com­posed Liturgy; Rites for decency and or­der; Ordination of Ministers; Apostolical Episcopacy; and due Rules of Discipline. I wish, that as we have heard the voice of Jacob, so we had not felt the hands of Esau; for, though the truth of all that they desired, hath been proved by many Wor­thies in our Israel; yet as St. Chrysostome says, though we bring the Sun-beams in our hands, men will not be perswaded; [Page 5] there doth not want light to convince, but they resist the Spirit of Truth that should convert them. Pray we therefore, That he who promised the holy Spirit to them that ask it,Luk. 11.13. would pour down such plentiful measures and operations of it, in­to the hearts of this people, that as we all profess his holy Name, so we may agree together, in the truth of his holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.

And so I begin with the first part of the Text, viz. The ground and foundation of Apostolical Communion, (which is), the Doctrine delivered in the Scriptures of the New Testament, wherein the Church of England doth hold Communion with Christ and his Apostles.

The things of which the Apostles were eye and ear-witnesses from the beginning of the Gospel, that word of life,1 Joh. 1.1. that was spoken by the wisdom of God, attested by a voice from Heaven, accompanied by the power of God in such variety of Miracles, is the only infallible foundation of our Faith and Communion; beside which, we in vain expect any other either guide or ground,Luk. 16.31. Non opus est revela­tione, post Evangeli­um. Tort. of equal certainty; for as our Saviour de­termined concerning Moses and the Pro­phets, the same may be said of Christ and his Apostles, If we believe not them, neither will we be perswaded, thought one should come from the dead.

Yet is it no disparagement to our preach­ing, [Page 6] or your hearing, that we cannot pre­face our Sermons, as the Apostles did, That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you: seeing our Saviour hath pronoun­ced them blessed,Joh. 20.29. (with an Emphasis), that have not seen, and yet have believed. The spirit of perversness did not dye with Pha­raoh, and the Jews of old: There have been little less than Miracles wrought in our ge­neration, but if, as our Saviour intimates there should be Miracles indeed, done in the midst of us, there are a sort of Pha­risaical persons, that would oppose still.

I shall therefore take it as granted, that we do believe those things which Christ and his Apostles have declared unto us in the books of the New Testament,In iis quae apertè in SS. posita sunt inve­niuntur omnia quae continent fidem mo­resque vi­vendi S. August. de Doct. Christ. 2.9. 2 Pet. 3.16. [...]. St. Chrys. in 2 Thes. Hom. 3. and that in them we have the will of God declared unto us, con­cerning all such things as are necessary to our Salvation; that they are a most certain and safe rule of Faith, able to make the man of God perfect, throughly furnished to every good work, 2 Tim. 2.13. And whereas it may be objected from St. Peter, that in them are some things hard to be understood; I an­swer, that the things that are necessary to be known, are but few, and those are ob­vious to ordinary capacities; and such as are obscure and difficult, are not necessa­ry; or if there be some difficulties that may be thought necessary to be explained, then as Diamonds are best formed by Diamonds, so the Scriptures is best expounded by Scrip­ture. [Page 7] 'Tis St. Pauls rule,Ro. 12.6. [...]. Let him that pro­phesieth (i.e. interpreteth) the Scripture, prophesie according to the proportion of Faith. Now the Analogy of Faith is observed, when those truths, which are evident and undoubted, like the first Principles in other Sciences, be made the rule for resolving of what is less evident,Instituti­on of a Christian man. Bishop Jewels Apology. and the Scripture is what is less evident, and the Scripture is [...]st seen, as the Sun, by its own light.

Yet because there is no truth so clear, but some unhappy men may perplex, and controvert it, in case the wisdom of God in the Scripture be not thought sufficient, to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men▪ the Church of England declared at the be­ginning of the Reformation, her readiness to submit to the decrees of the four firstCouncil of Nice consisting of 318 Bishops. Of Con­stinople 150. Of Ephesus 200. Of Calcedon 630. The uni­versal practise of the primitive Church is the most authentic interpre­ter of Scri­pture. K.C. his Papers to Hender. General Councels, and the judgment of the Fathers of the four first Centuries. And doubtless, they who were neerest to the lights of the world, could best discern their Doctrines; many of whom, could say of the Apostle, as they of Christ, That which we have seen and heard, (from their own mouths and writings), declare we unto you. Nevertheless, we give not the Councils a power to make new Articles of Faith, but only to explain and inforce the Doctrine of the Holy Scriptures; which is all that those primitive Councels did pretend to; which power is indeed very requisite for the unity of the Church; because there never was Heretick, or Schismatick, but [Page 8] did alledg the Scriptures in defence of his opinions.

Artic. 6.O [...] Church therefore declares: First, Con­cerning the holy Scriptures, viz. All the Books of the Old and New Testament, which are now commonly received by us, that they contain all things necessary to Salvation; so that, whatsoever is not read in them, nor can be proved out of them, is not required of any one to be believed, as an Article of Faith, or to be thought necessary to Salvation.

Artic. 20 Secondly, Concerning the Authority of the Church, That it may not institute any thing that is contrary to the written Word of God, nor may so expound one place of Scripture, that it be made to contra­dict another; and that it obtrude nothing else to be believed as necessary to Salva­tion.

Artic. 21 Thirdly, As to the Authority of Coun­cils, it declares, That whatever they decree as necessary to Salvation, hath neither strength nor authority, unless it may be shewn, that it is taken out of the Word of God. Thus far, I make no doubt, but we are agreed.

There is yet another Summary of Chri­stian Faith, wherein we hold Communion with the Apostles, viz. The Apostles Creed, of the Original whereof, I think fit to give you this brief account.

Our Saviour injoined his Apostles to go and disciple all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son,Mat. 28.19, 20. and of the Holy Ghost; and to teach them to observe all things that he should com­mand them. Now the Apostles baptizing for the most part, such as were of years of discretion, did teach them also, i.e. did ca­techize and instruct them, in the mysteries of that Faith into which they were bapti­zed; Thus we find them teaching, that Je­sus was the Christ, that he was God mani­fested in the flesh,1 Tim. 3.16. that he died for our Sins, and rose again for our Justification, that he ascended to Heaven, and that he shall come again to judg both the quick and dead;2 Tim. 4.1. 1 Joh. 5.7. so likewise the Trinity of Per­sons in the unity of the Godhead. Of this Faith it was required, that they which were of discretion, should make profession, before their admission to Baptism.

This was that good Profession which Timothy made before many witnesses; yea,1 Tim. 6.12. and Titus, whom St. Paul calls his own Son, according to the common Faith, is supposed by Bishop Davenant to have made the like Profession.See Bi­shop Dave­nant's O­pinion. p. 16. And Calvin on Heb. 6.2. asks the question, what is Baptismal Doctrine, but that of Faith in God, of Repentance, and of Judgment?

So that the Apostles, having planted ma­ny Churches before the Scriptures were written, and being (shortly after the day [Page 10] of Pentecost) according to their commission, to depart into several Countries, they did then,Tradun [...] major [...] nostri, &c. Ruffirius in Sy [...]bol. as the Ancients affirm, sum up the Articles of Christian Faith, and left them as a depositum in all the Churches which they had planted, to be the standard of incorrupt Doctrine, by which young and old should be instructed. Of this we have memorials in most of their Epistles, which (all know) were not written till after the plantation of those Churches to whom they were writ­ten. Thus St. Paul mentioneth,Rom. 6.17. [...]. 1 Cor. 3.10, 11. the Form of Doctrine delivered to the Church at Rome. The Foundation laid by him in the Church of Corinth. The [...] the measure of the Rule, which he used in preaching of the Gospel, which by an Em­phasis he calls,Gal. 6.16. Eph. 2.20 1 Tim. 6.20. 2 Tim. 1.13. Tit. 1.4. 2 Pet. 2.21. Jude v. 3. the Canon, commended to the Galatians. And to the Ephesians, the Foundation. And to the Philippians, the same Rule, i.e, the one immutable Rule, as Tertullian calls the Creed; the Depositum or Form of sound words; the common Faith; which places, with others like them, many ancient and modern Divines, do under­stand of the Apostles Creed. And 'tis ob­served, that the most primitive Fathers, mentioning the Rule of Faith, do mean ge­nerally, the Apostles Creed; for if they had a Rule of Faith before the Canon of the Scriptures was sealed, (which was not till St. Johns death), what can we suppose to have been that Rule, beside the Apostles [Page 11] Creed. St. Ignatius gives us the Substance of it, in three of his Epistles, commending the constancy of those Churches in the un­alterable Faith. Irenaeus says,Ad Smyrn. Philip. Thrall. The Church that is planted throughout the whole World, did receive from the Apostles and their Dis­ciples, that Faith which is in One God the Father Almighty. Tertullian tells us,De velan­dis Virg. & contra Prax. of [...]tres tractatores, that had commented on it before himself. The very use of Catechising, which is from the Apostles days, doth e­vince, that there were grounds of Christian Religion, by which they were to be instruct­ed. And in one word, whereas the Niceue and Athanasian Creeds, are but expositions of the Apostles, in those Articles that were opposed in their days, we may conclude, that it was more ancient than they.

I have enlarged my discourse in this par­ticular, because the use of it is generally o­mitted by divers Persons, in their gathered Congregations, to whom I commend the o­pinion of Calvin, Inst. l. 2. c. 16. § 18. viz. that by great con­sent of the Fathers, it was attributed to the Apostles, and made the pulick confession of the Churches from the Apostles age. And so Beza, On Rom. 12.6. That from the first preaching of the Gospel, it was received as an Epitome thereof. I conclude this, with the resolu­tion of our late martyr'd Soveraign,In his Pa­pers to Henders. I shall believe, that the Apostles Creed was made by them, (such reverence do I bear to the traditions of the Church), until more cer­tain [Page 12] Authors can be found. Now that the Church of England hath Communion with the Apostles in this part of their Doctrine, appears first, In requiring the profession thereof, at Baptism▪ viva voce, from them that are of competent age; and from the Sureties of Infants, in their behalf, who are charged to teach it them as soon as they are able to learn; and it is plainly expounded in the Church-Catechism, and to be said both by Minister and People in the daily service of God; and that this Creed, together with that of the Councel of Nice, and that of Athanasius, Artic. 8. are to be received and believed, for they may be proved from most certain testimonies of Scripture.

You see now, how the Church of Eng­land doth hold Communion with the Apo­stles in Doctrine, viz. in all, and nothing else, (not in Fathers, Councils, or Creeds, but what is included in, or by good conse­quence is concluded from the Scriptures, a­greeable to the Analogy of Faith,Jewels Apol. Proemi­um. Dr. Ham­mond con­tra Blond. and Judg­ment of the primitive Fathers and Councils▪ to whose Institutions our Church directed as nigh as possibly she could, not only he [...] Doctrine, but publick Prayers, and admini­stration of Sacraments.

We do not reject the Scriptures, as the Enthusiasts do; nor confront their Autho­rity by Traditions, as the Papists; nor by Private Reason, as the Socinians; nor by pretended Revelations, as the Anabaptists [Page 13] we do not keep those Treasures from the people, under the Lock of a strange Lan­guage, as if the Key of Knowledg were given us, rather to shut them up from the people than open them unto them; or as if we were of the opinion of Cardinal * Ho­ [...]us▪ that it would be better with the Church,Tilenus contra Bell. De Verbo Dei, l. 2. c. 14. Laicis suf­ficit pictu­ra pro Do­ctrinâ. Gratian Decret. if the Scriptures had never been extant; nor are we of Bellarmine's judgment, That if the Pope should command Vice and for­bid Virtue, we ought to obey; contrary to what the Apostle says, If I or an Angel from heaven preach any other doctrine, &c. [...]or doth our Church take authority, to [...]mpose new Articles of Faith, as the Coun­cil of Trent did, a whole dozen at once, teaching for Doctrines the commandments of men, such as the Supremacy and Infalli­bility of the Pope, of worshipping Angels and Images, Prayers for the dead, Invoca­tion of Saints and Angels; the Doctrines of Merits; Purgatory and Pardons;Col. 2.19 these [...]old not the Head, as the Apostle says. And we equally abhor the Doctrine of the Soci­nians, against the Godhead of our Saviour, and of the Holy Ghost. The Doctrine of the Anabaptists, against Magistrates and Mi­nisters, such as the Doctrine of Resistance, which John Goodwin said was reserved to be made known in this last generation;Sic ample­cti oportet, ut nobis in sacris lite­ris genera­liter propo­sitae sunt. All these, and whatever else are contrary to the Analogy of Faith, the Wisdom, Justice, Goodness, and Holiness of God, his Pre­cepts [Page 14] or Promises, such as represent him less Merciful or Holy than he hath reveal­ed of himself;Artic. 8. all these we reject, because the Apostles heard them not from Christ, nor any Primitive persons from the Apostles. we declare them not unto you.

And after all this, to object the Senti­ments of private Doctors, contrary to the publick Edicts of the Church, is but a vex­atious and impertinent quarrel, of such as have nothing else to object, as indeed they have not: for it is generally acknowledged, That the Articles of our Church as to mat­ters of Faith, are agreeable to the Scriptures; instead therefore of heaping up concessions, I shall make this one observation, that after our late Reformers had covenanted to re­form our Church in Doctrine, the House of Lords, who had then the power of admit­ting all Incumbents to their Benefices, permit­ted none to be legally invested, who had not first read and subscribed the Book of Articles, which the Church doth declare, were set forth for avoiding of diversity of Opinions, and establishing of Consent, touching true Religi­on; they were never intended to contain all Points of Doctrine; as neither doth the Confession of any other Church; and yet this is made the only objection against them; for, as to that pretence, of the doubt­fulness of them, because some words may have divers significations, it may as well be objected against the Scriptures, in which [Page 15] are some things hard to be understood. 2 Pet. 3.16.

And here it is very seasonable to mind the people also, to continue their commu­nion with the Church in her Apostolical Doctrine, in that sense which some learned Expositors give of it, on Act. 4.42. viz. in the exercise of that Doctrine,Sanctius in locum. or in hear­ing the Apostles preach; for, if it be the Churches Precept, and the Preachers Pra­ctise, not to teach any thing,Dr. Ham­mond. but what is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old and New Testament, and what the ancient Fa­thers and Bishops have gathered from that Catholick Doctrine; and if the Ministers of our Church do frequently, plainly, and solidly dispense that food of our Souls; and I may confidently say, it is not done better in any part of the Catholick Church,Artic. Rel. Anno. 1571. Clerus An­glicanus stupor mundi. Joh. 6.68 I may well demand, as St. Peter did, Master, whither shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. Did we not prefer the advan­tages of this life, beyond the means of a better; and make religious duties, an en­gine to promote temporal designs, having mens petsons in admiration [...],Jude 16. for lucres sake; could we be content with Manna; and not long for the rank Onions and Flesh-Pots of Aegypt; and with the Pro­digal, leave our Fathers house, where is Bread enough, to feed with Swine, in ex­otick and strange Modes of Worship; we need not move out of our Tents to have all our necessities supplied to our comfort [Page 16] and salvation;2 Cor. 2.17. [...]. for as the Apostles says, we are not as many that corrupt the word of God, mixing the waters of Siloam that run soft­ly, with the waters of Marah, strife and bit­terness; nor as those Sophisters in 2 Cor. 4.2. [...], that walk in craf­tiness, and can make (quidlibet ex quolibet) our inventions a rack whereon to wrest and torture the Scripture, until it speak our own sense; but as of sincerity, as of God, as in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.

It is nothing but a soul stomach, and a vitiated palate, that makes some men to disrelish wholesome food; could we lay a­side all filthiness, and superfluity of naugh­tiness, all wrath and bitterness, [...]am. 1.21. all hypocri­sie and prejudice, all pride and vain-glory, and receive with meekness the sincere Milk of the Word, we might have it from the Breasts of our Mother, that hath born and nourished us hitherto, more plentifully than from all those pretenders, who, like the Harlot in the history of Solomon, seek to divide and Murther the Children that are not their own. [...] King. 3.25.

What can the Leaders of a people, that cause them to err, and separate from a true Church, where all things necessary to Sal­vation may be had, plead in their excuse? If they say,Animus Schismati­cus in Ec­clesiâ Ca­tholicâ. they preach the same Doctrine as we; St. Cprian answers, that men may be guilty of Schism and Division that re­main in the same Faith.

Nobiscum estis in Baptismo in Symbolo, in Spiritu autem unitatis, in vinculo pacis, in ipsa Ecclesia Catholica, non estis: The mark of Schism, is not set on them that oppose the Doctrine of the Church, but that make divisions in, and cause separation from the Church.Rom. 16.17. 1 Cor. 3.4, 5. How severely doth St. Paul chide the Corinthians, not for following false Tea­chers, but for making factions for true ones, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Christ. Christ himself must not be pleaded in oppo­sition to the Ordinances and Unity of the Church;Phil. 1.16 this were to preach Christ out of envy. When men begin to blow the Trum­pet to Division, and cry, Every to his Tents, they do, ipso facto, proclaim, We have no Portion or Communion with the Church.Dum con­venticula sibi con­stituunt, teritatis caput atque originem reliquerunt. S. Cyprian.

Which is the second particular wherein the Communion of our Church with Christ and his Apostles is maintained, i.e. in Go­vernment, for so [...] signifies, a Socie­ty, or Assembly, (Civil or Ecclesiastical) [...] Body corporate, in which is superiority and subordination, and which is governed by certain Laws and Customs, Penalties and Priviledges, proper to it self; and when this order is observed in all Societies, it is strange, if that which makes up the Body of Christ should be a Monster; the Apo­stle [Page 18] assures us to the contrary, God is not the Author of Confusion,1 Cor. 14.33. but of Peace; as in all the Churches of the Saints, which the A­postle alledgeth especially to prove, that there is superiority and subordination, e­ven among the Prophets, i.e. the Ministers of the New Testament,v. 33. The spirit of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets; when therefore we read of fellowship with the Apostles, we may not understand it of a confused parity, either between the Mini­sters of Christ and his people, as the Soci­nians and Anabaptists; or of the Ministers of Christ among themselves, as the Presby­terians imagine, for we may both see and hear that the contrary hath been from the beginning. Our Saviour appointed other seventy,Luk. 20.1. Eph. 4.10. which were not of the same rank with the Apostles. And, when he ascended, he gave divers offices to continue in his Church; and therefore Christ did not only commission his Disciples, To feed and go­vern his Church in their own persons,Joh. 20.21. but by their Successors. As the Father sent me, so send I you, that you may send o­thers. And l [...], I am with you to the end of the world, Mat. 28.28. not in their persons, but in their successors. And it will be a very difficult work, for some Pastors to prove such a suc­cession. But not to digress: We read, that while the Church of Christ was yet a lit­tle Flock▪ Act. 15.6. 1 Tim. 3.10. there were Apostles, Elders, and Deacons; when that Flock increased, and [Page 19] the planting and confirming of Churches abroad, called them from their immediate superintendency, they found out fit persons to whom they derived their own ordinary authority,viz. For Ordinati­on and Jurisdi­ction. for the government of such Chur­ches as they had planted; St. James had his successors at Jerusalem, St. Mark at A­lexandria; St. Peter and St. Paul, the one being the Apostle of the Jews that belie­ved, the other of the Gentiles, Eusebius l. 3. c. 23. had their successors at Rome; St. Paul being to go into Macedonia, left Timothy at Ephesus, and Titus at Crete, to succeed him in the Go­vernment of those Churches. The Apostle had laboured about the space of three years to settle the Church of Ephesus, Act. 20.17.28. for he had planted Elders there, he visited them, and gave them a charge, to take heed to them­selves, and to their flocks, over which the Holy Ghost had made them Overseers;Episcopi gregis. these were thought sufficient, as long as the A­postle could be near them; but when the Flock multiplied, and the Apostle knew he should see these Elders no more,Episcopus Presbyte­rorum & gregis. he de­volved his charge to Timothy. Surely he did not make two supream officers in that Church; nor if the government of the El­ders had been according to his mind, would he have given Timothy so large a Commis­sion, Charge some, 1 Tim. 1.2. that they preach no other Doctrine. 1. Here is an inspection into the Doctrine of the Elders,Par in pa­rem non habet im­perium. who were their present Teachers; and what were his charge [Page 20] worth, if he had not a Jurisdiction over them.

2. Timothy was to direct and order the publick Prayers of the Church, ch. 2. 1. for in v. 18. of ch. 1. This charge I commit unto thee: What is that charge? [...], first of all, That Prayers be made; How made? By the ex-tempore con­ceptions of every private Presbyter? That is no making of Prayers in the Apostles sense; for then Timothy could have no hand in the making of them; whereas he was to provide, that the Prayers that were u­sed in the Church, might be such, as might stand with the publick necessities of all men, with the welfare of their Governours, and their own reputation and peace, when none of their adversaries should find any just cause to accuse their solemn Devoti­ons.

Again, 3. Timothy is directed, how to receive accusations against an Elder;1 Tim. 5.19 and the power of receiving accusations, implies a power to judg and determine of them. Herein, saith Epiphanius, the Apostles shews, Quis sit Presbyter, Haer. 75. quis Episcopus, cum di­cit Timotheo, Presbyterum ne objurges.

And, 4. v. 20. He hath the power of Ordination committed to him.

Tit. 1.5. Titus had the same power in Crete; To set in order the things that were wanting, and to ordain Elders in every City; for many Cities were under his inspection, and [Page 21] many Teachers in those Cities, but none of them had such a power as is commit­ted to Titus.

These things are so evident, that the Power of Bishops is not denyed them; on­ly it is said, They were extraordinary per­sons, and it did belong to them, as Evan­gelists.

But first, It cannot be proved, that Ti­tus was such a one; and 'tis a very weak proof, to say, that Timothy was such, be­cause he is bid to do the work of an E­vangelist: But it is acknowledged, that the power and authority which Timothy had, he was to commit to others,2 Tim. 2.2. Jus Divi­num. p. 160. that there might be a perpetual succession of govern­ment; and the London Divines do there add, That Apostolical Examples for the good of the Church, and which have a perpetual reason and equity in them, have the force of a Rule; and by force of this Rule, we infer, that as St. Paul saw it necessary, to derive a power from himself to Timothy over the Presbyters at Ephesus; Timothy might and did propagate it to others suc­cessively, for the well-governing the Church of God.

The truth of all this is acknowledged, That there was a chief Governour appoint­ed by the Apostles, (we will not contend for the name, whether Evangelist, or Prime Presbyter, or Superintendent, but Bishop is the name which the Church hath always [Page 22] used), to have authority over the Presby­ters, and that this authority was to be con­tinued in the Church by succession: So Cal­vin, Ʋnus aliquis authoritate & consilio prae­fuit, On Tit. 1.5. and he doubts not to call such an one a Bishop.Instit. l. 4. c. 3. Jus Divinum. Oct. 3. p. 11. Archippus says, he was Bishop of the Colossians. Then our Assembly grants, that the Primus Presbyter had authority during his life. And Videlius assures us, of the name as well as the power, for (saith he) in the days of Clemens Roma­nus, the distinction of Bishop and Presby­ter was in use. The Presbyterians in their Papers to the King in the Isle of Wight, grant, that not long after the Apostles times, Bishops in superiority to Presbyters, are reported to be in the Church of God, by Writers of those times; and the Writers of those times knew what others had said before them. None of the Ancients ever mentioning any other Government, nor complaining of alteration of that which was established by the Apostles; which had it been any other but that of Episc [...] ­pacy, those Martyrs that laid down their lives for the truth, would not so tamely have parted with the Government of the Church, as not to open their mouths in behalf of that, which was the chief Instru­ment of its peace. Can any man conceive, That the world was fra­med by the casual Concourse of Atoms is as pro­bable. That all the Governours of the Church, should conspire to alter that Form which they received immediately from the Apo­stles, [Page 23] and that presently after their decease? Vincentius Lyrinensis tells us, this was the practise of those primitive times, that by how much any one was reputed more re­ligious than another, by so much the more readily he did oppose all Innovations. To conclude, we may suppose the dignity and power of the Bishop was not determined by the Apostles in every particular, yet the Apostles determining that Government in general, as most conducing to the unity and peace of the Church; other particular circumstances, which the exigence of after­times should require, were under the pow­er of the Church to appoint them; for the unity of the Church being the end for which government was appointed; the means that are conducing thereunto, being agreed on by the rulers of the Church, are as necessary in their kinds, as the Laws appointed by Magistrates for the good of the Commonwealth. And on this ground it was, that Schismaticks have been so se­verely punished in all ages, and their sin compared to the most abominable vices, e­ven to Idolatry, Sacriledg, Parricide;Dr. Ham­mond of Schism. for indeed it produceth all these. Avoid di­visions, saith Ignatius, as the beginning of all evils. All this is Calvin's own sense. Whereas it pleased not God, to prescribe particularly what we ought to follow as to his outward Worship and Ceremonies, by reason, that he foresaw, such things [Page 24] would depend on the condition of the times and that the same Form would not agree with all ages; therefore we ought to con­sult the general rules which he gave us, for the settling of such things as belong to decency and order, as the exigency of the Church shall require; and in such cases, he pronounceth them Schismaticks, which raise factions and tumults to the dividing of the Church, which (saith he) cannot subsist, but by the rules of its Governours.

These concessions are good arguments (ad homines): But the universal practise of the Church, by all its members, in e­very age, and in all the parts of the world, is an argument beyond all contradiction. All the doubt is, what was practised by the Church immediately after the Apostles age, for of after-times there is no doubt; and as little of the first age after the Apostles; if we will be convinced by as clear evi­dences as can be produced for the proof of any History,Quod ubi­que quod semper, quod ab omni­bus id ve­r [...] Catholi­cum. or matter of fact. Igna­tius was contemporary with St. John, con­versant with some of the Apostles, one that saw Christ after his Resurrection: he wrote seven Epistles, which are mentioned by Polycarpe his contemporary, by Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius, and others; and he crown­ed all his works with Martyrdom for Christ: The Copies of his Epistles, which were set forth by Vossius, from the Library of Laurentius Medices, are by Biondel congra­tulated [Page 25] as a great treasury to the Church: Now nothing is more clear throughout his Writings, than the Superiority of Bi­shops to Presbyters; this made the Pres­byterians so industrious to prove, that they were spurious Epistles, knowing that their cause would stand or fall with them, (and is nothing yet, how sacred soever, could stand in their way), they deal as barba­rously with his works, as the Romans did wi [...]h his person, accuse him for a deceiver, and then condemn him to the beasts. But God, who in all ages of the Church hath taken advantage by the venting of errors to vindicate the truth more clearly, hath by the labours of the learned Vossius, and Dr. Hammond, and Dr. Pearson, Epist. ad Magn. Epist. ad Trall. put a gag into the mouths of all gainsayers; he says, Nothing ought to be done in the Church without the Bishop, And they are men of an ill Conscience that assemble without him.

Clemens Romanus is another Apostolical person, he was St. Pauls fellow-labourer;Phil. 4.3. his Epistle to the Corinthians was read in divers Churches, in Eusebius's time; he was Bishop of Rome, and died a Martyr for Christ; this man tells us,Epist. ad Cor. p. 57. That the Apostles foreseeing that divisions would arise, as Christ had foretold, did in their life time establish Bishops;Can. Apo. 32. And if any Presbyter shall make Conventions without his Bishop, let him be deposed.

The third witness, is Polycarp, a Scholar of St. Johns, made Bishop of Smyrna by the Apostles, that Angel of the Church to whom the Epistle is directed, Rev. 2.8, 9. where he is commended for his patience, piety, and constancy; he was well known to the Heathen, as the Father of the Christians, and dyed a Martyr under M. Aurelius and Lucius Verus. He begins his Epistle with this very distinction, Polycarpe, and the El­ders that are with him.Ad Philip. It is not needful after such evidence, to tell you, that the Bishops in the Councel of Galcedon pro­nounced it,Act. 5. & 29. a degree of Sacriledg to reduce the Bishops to the degree of Presbyters; that Aerius was proclaimed an Heretick, for denying the distinction; for, if such a threefold Cord be broken, whatever can be alledged after them will be accounted but as a Rope of Sand. And a man may with as much modesty deny, that ever there was an Emperor at Rome, sixteen hundred years since, against all the Historians, and publick Records of that Empire, as deny, that there were Bishops shortly after that time in the Christian Church, and all the Christian Doctrine, which in some ages hath not been so generally acknowledged as its government, may be exploded on the same terms. But, as in finding the Head of a River, we cannot be more infal­libly guided, than by the streams which flow from it; so the constant succession of [Page 27] this order of Governours in the Church, will infallibly lead us to the Apostles, as the rise of them; for we cannot find in any age since the Apostles, that they were instituted by any Council or Authority, Civil or Ecclesiastick, nor opposed by any party until this later age; and therefore we may presume them to be of Aposto­lical Institution.

And if this be true, We ought to yeild them that reverence and obedience which is due to the Ambassadours of Christ, our spiritual Guides and Fathers, as the word of God requires. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your selves, Heb 13.17. for they watch for your souls. St. Ignatius is great­ly suspected, because he exacts such strict obedience to the Bishops: he answers for himself, with great satisfaction to all sober men:Epist. ad Philadelp. p. 101. Though some men have suspected me to have spoken these things, as fore-knowing the divisions of, divers persons; yet He is my witness for whom I am a prisoner, that I have not been taught them by man, but the Spirit preached it, saying these things; Do nothing without the Bishop, keep your flesh as the Temple of God, love unity, fly di­visions; would you know where the Spi­rit preacheth this? you may read it from the mouth of our Saviour,Luk. 10.16. He that hear­eth you, heareth me; he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, de­spiseth him that sent me. More than this [Page 28] Ignatius could not say.De verbis Domini. Serm. 24. St. Augustines note on these words is very observable, If Christ did say it to the Apostles only, (he that despiseth you, despiseth me), then, despise us as you please; but if that word of Christ doth respect us, if he have called us, and caused us to succeed in their office, then take heed how you do despise us.

I am not about to plead for the supre­macy of Bishops over Princes, and Magi­strates; nor for their infallibility, to capa­citate them for coining a new Creed; but only, for that meek and peaceable submis­sion, which all Christians, in all the ages of the world until our unhappy generati­on, have yeilded unto them, as necessary for preservation both of Faith and Love. It was ordained under the Law, That the man that would do presumptuously,Deut. 17.12. and would not hearken to the Priest that standeth to minister before the Lord, should be cut off. Did God take care for the Priests of the Law only? No doubtless, our Saviour hath said as much for the Ministers of his Gospel, in his Dic Ecclesiae; Mat. 18.17. If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a Heathen, or a Pub­lican; and what is the condition of such? they are without God and Christ, delivered over to Satan. A sad condition this, if it be true, and most true it is, Verily, I say unto you, (saith Truth it self) whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in hea­ven. And this is no Brutum fulmen; such [Page 29] a binding as this may be a prologue to the casting into utter darkness. These then we must hear, not with the hearing of the ear only, but of the heart, yeilding obe­dience to all their good Institutions. He that knoweth God (saith our Apostle) i.e. the will and command of God, heareth us. Christs sheep will not run after a stranger,Mal. 2.7. Quia An­gelus Do­mini Ex­ercituum. from those Pastors that are set over them by the great Shepherd and Bishop of their Souls. It was Gods promise of old, That the Priests lips should preserve knowledg, and the people should seek it at their mouths. Where he hath placed his Or­dinance, there he hath fixed his Blessing.

The miseries that our Nation have en­dured, in respect both of our temporal and spiritual welfare, may convince us of our guilt and madness, in kicking against this divine Ordinance. An Ordinance esta­blished by God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;1 Cor. 12.28. Eph. 4.21 Act. 20.28. to which the divine as­sistance and blessing is promised; and which by a miracle of mercy hath been restored to us, after our long and great confusions. Whatever may be in the persons of some Bishops, (as there will be passions and fail­ings in the best) certainly there is nothing grievous in the Government, And yet I may say, we owe our best possession to them and their predecessors: may they not argue with us,1 Cor. 9 6 as St. Paul with his Corin­thians, Though I be not an Apostle to others, [Page 30] yet doubtless I am to you, for the Seal of my Apostleship are ye in the Lord? By whose Ministry were we delivered from the dark­ness and bondage of our spiritual Aegypt? Who sealed the reformed Doctrine and Worship with their blood? Who have been the Bulwarks against the impetuous attempts of Popery? We owe the planting, and wa­tering, and fencing of Gods Vineyard a­mong us, to the Labours and Learning of our Bishops; who like so many Guardian-Angels take care, not only of the Churches peace in general, but of the safety of eve­ry individual person, from his Cradle to his Grave. At his birth, they receive him into Christs Church by Baptism, and solemnly engage him to renounce the De­vil, &c. to believe in Christ and serve him. As soon as he comes to discretion, he is cate­chised, and instructed in the grounds of Reli­gion, and thereupon confirmed in the Faith which he was baptized into, by the prayers and imposition of the hands of the Bishop, according to the Apostolical practise;Heb. 6.1.2 then is care taken, that he frequent the publick Service of God, and sanctifie the Lords day, and other festivals, in places consecrate for that end, that he behave himself with due reverence in those Assemblies (which are the most venerable in the whole world there is Gods word distinctly read, deli­berately expounded, and he is guided in his devotions, by such prayers as the Church [Page 31] of God in all ages, as to the matter, have h [...]ld Communion in. If any doubt trou­ble his mind, he is intreated to repair to his own, or some other able Minister, for resolution. He is instructed, how to be a fit partaker of the Communion of Christs body and blood, and with great earnestness invited to come frequently; if he live in any scandalous sin, he is admonished, sha­med, or censured, as the offence requires, to reform him, and forewarn others; if he be sick, 'tis the Ministers office to visit him, to examine, instruct, confess, com­fort, and pronounce his absolution, and to strengthen him against the fear of Death, by the administration of the Lords Sup­per; to commend his departing Soul to God in the publick prayers of the Church; and after death, to see that his body be decently buried; and that his last Will and Testament be duly performed: This is the Bishops work: And whatever it be to him, it cannot be a grievous burthen to any, but impious and ungovernable per­sons, who neither love themselves, nor their Neighbours, nor the Worship of God: Which is

The third particular wherein we hold Communion with the Apostles, viz. in Wor­ship. Now our publick Worship consists, [...]. in the Administration of the Sacraments, and Prayer: As for the reading and ex­pounding of the holy Scriptures, which [Page 32] makes up the greatest part of our Litur­gy, we have spoken already.

First therefore, Of Baptism; which is undoubtedly Christs own Institution, and was by the Apostles administred to whole Families.1 Cor. 1.16. But whether it belong to Infants, as our Church doth hold; and whether it be effectual for the salvation of all such In­fants as being baptized die before they come to the use of Reason, be according to the Doctrine and Practice of the Apostles; must be considered.

To both which, first, we apply the words of our Saviour,Mar. 10.13 concerning Infants brought to him for his blessing, which he freely gave them; Of these, saith he (not only of such as these are) is the Kingdom of Heaven; and that he meant it of their persons,Doctrina quae In­fautes à Sacramen­to re [...]ene rationis prohibet veritati omnium Ecclesia­rum Apo­stolicarum adversa­tur Cas­sander p. 700. Irenaus l. 3. c. 30. is demonstrated by his blessing of them; and if they have right to the bles­sing of Christ, (which is the thing signifi­ed), who can forbid them the Baptism of Water, which is the outward sign. And being baptized, who can deny, that the grace of God through the blood of Christ, applied unto them in that Sacrament, should be as effectual for their regeneration and salvation, as the transgression of Adam, for their pollution and condemnation. This opinion of our Church is consonant to the Apostles Doctrine, Rom. 5.15, 16, &c. the sense whereof Irenaeus gives, That which we lost in Adam, we have received in Christ. [Page 33] This was the sense of the Fathers in the Nicene Council, I believe one Baptism, for the remission of sins; and of the Council of Milevis, Infants are therefore baptized for the remission of sins, that what they contracted by generation, may be cleansed by regeneration. Sound Faith and Do­ctrine (saith St. Augustine) will never judg any, that come to Christ by Baptism, to to be excepted from the grace of remissi­on of sins: Fulgentius says the same:De fide ad Petrum. Opusc. Quast. & Respons. and Beza as expresly as our Rubrick doth, That Baptism doth seal to them their interest in the Covenant, and in the remission of that sinning-Sin, (as he calls Original sin), dying before they have actual Faith. This hath been the judgment of our Church e­ver since the Reformation. In a Book cal­led, The Institution of a Christian man, in the Chapter of Confirmation. In the Ho­mily of the Salvation of Mankind,Anno 1537. 1547. 1552. Vindiciae Gratiae Sa­cramenta­lis, on Mat. 19. in the Common Prayer book, the 5th of Edward the 6th, and so to our own days. The great ob­jection, of falling from Grace, is clearly an­swered by Bishop Davenant, in his Epistle to Mr. Bedfords Book. I conclude this with that of Bucer, No age affords more Subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven, than that of Infants doth.

2. That Baptism belongs to Infants, the practice of the universal Church shews, what was Apostolical practice.Epist. ad Fidentium l. 3. ep. 8. Unto In­fants, Christ became an Infant, saith Irenaeus, [Page 34] that he might sanctifie Infants. The Church saith Origen, received this tradition from the Apostles, to administer Baptism even to Infants, l. 5. St. Ambrose gives this rea­son of it. Because every age is obnoxious to sin, every age is capable of the Sacra­ment.

See Ru­brick of private Baptism, and Ca­non 30. An. 1604 De obliga­tione Cru­cis, &c. non ect magnopere laborandum. Beza. Ep. 12▪ ad Angl. Fratres.As for the Ceremony of the Cross, see­ing our Church declares, that the Children baptized without it, are lawfully and suf­ficiently baptized, if any man be conten­tious about that, I only say as St. Paul. We have no such cu [...]tom, neither the Chur­ches of God.

And so we come to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; another part of our [...] with the Apostles; who required, that we should frequently assemble, (that did daily, to commemorate the death and sufferings of our Saviour, to eat and drink his body and blood in a real and spiritual manner, to strengthen our Faith in Christ, and our Love and Charity to one another. A duty, of so much sweetness and spiritual delight, of such advantage to our spiritual comfort and eternal salvation, such a [...] of the joys of Heaven, that our Saviour expresseth it,Luk. 14.15. by eating bread in the King­dom of God. A duty, so sensibly cond [...] ­cing [Page 35] to the peace of the Church,1 Cor. 10, 17. uniting all Christians into one body, by eating that Bread; that it is infinitely unaccountable, how any man should be so great an ene­my to himself, as to forsake such mercies and blessings, and make that an occasion of Division, which Christ hath appointed as a means of reconciliation and brotherly af­fection; being hereby made one with Christ our Head by Faith, and with our Brethren, as members of the same body, by love. For, from this frequent Communicating it was, that the primitive Christians thought all their sufferings too little for Christ, who was almost daily in this Sacrament hold forth crucified before their eyes for them. From this it was,St. Cypri­an. Nescio an magis laudem eorum sta­bilem fidem individu­am Chari­tatem. Ecce quam parati sunt pro se in­vicem mo­ri. Tert. Apol. that they loved one ano­ther to the amazement of the Gentiles; be­ing as ready to lay down their lives for the Brethren, as we are to adventure our lives against them.Sermon before K. James. Bishop Ʋsher calls this Sacrament. Ignem Probationis, because it con­gregates what is of a like, and separates what is of a different nature; the effects of it make good the comparison. The Papists and Separatists would both come to our Pray­ers and Sermons, but keep at a distance from our Communion in this Sacraments they went out from us, because they were not of us, and (to follow the Meaphor) they are gone in such heat, that, like the Priests of Mars, In Qu. Elizabeths days. whose work it was to scatter fire in his Temple, their bitter zeal hath blown [Page 36] up the coals of contention to so great a flame, as hath seized on all the Houses of God in the Land, and it is still driven up and down by divers boutefeu's, (as by so many contrary winds [...], which meet in nothing, but as Sampsons Foxes in the fire­brandss at their tails, as that they threaten nothing less than the desolation of Sion. But what fuel hath this blessed Sacrament given to this wild-fire. We maintain, neither con­nor-transubstantiation; we make it not a half-Communion, by with-holding the Cup of Blessing; we are secured from any pre­tence of Idolatrous worshipping the Hoste, for it is declared, That no adoration is in­tended,Rubrick at the end of the Com­munion. either to the Sacramental Bread and Wine, or to any corporal presence of Christs natural flesh and blood; only, we are re­paired, to receive it kneeling, as an ex­pression of our humble and grateful acknow­ledgment of the benefits of Christs death, thereby given to all worthy receivers, and for avoiding such profanation and disor­der, as might otherwise ensue. Besides, it is that posture which Christ himself taught [...]s to use in prayer;Luk. 22.41. and when the Mini­ster prays, that the Body and Blood of Christ, may preserve our Bodies and Souls to eternal life; let us not separate what Christ hath joined; but what the Majesty of Heaven offers so bountifully to such un­worthy guests, let us receive, as the Church requires, meerly, kneeling upon our knees.

As for the scruple of Communicating with wicked men, I know not to what Con­gregation we may go, to remove that; and I suppose, there are few of the Communi­on of our Church, scandalously wicked, unless (as formerly) their loyalty to the King, and conformity to the Church, make them so; as in the most select Congregati­ons. If any among us be more prophane than others, they turn Separatists too, by a voluntary neglect of this Sacrament; they dare not approach it, being fore-warned of the danger, and fearing the shame of be­ing rejected by the Minister,Rubick for the Commu­nion. De occul­tis non judicat Ecclesia. and having his crime signified to the Bishop. But if their offences be not discovered; as no Law can take hold of them, so no Christian ought to censure or avoid them. Every man that diligently examines his own heart and life, may find himself guilty of more evil than he knows by most of his despised Brethren; but if they appear worse than our selves, our humility and serious preparation will be an amulet against infection; sure I am, Another mans immorality, will be no ex­cuse for my irreligion. Charity is that wed­ding Garment, without which we cannot communicate with God, in this, or in any other Ordinance, in any Congregation what­soever; and one part of Charity is, Not to think evil of our Brethren. [...]. Luk. 18.11. Instead therefore, of separating from our Brethren, and praying apart as the Pharisee, think­ing [Page 38] too well of himself; it will better be­come us, to smite on our Breasts, and say, God be merciful to me a sinner, and as S. Paul, Of all sinners the chief. 1 Tim. 1.15. Epist. ad Eph.

Make haste, said holy Ignatius, to meet more frequently at the Eucharist of God, for when ye often come together for this end, the powers of Satan are made fru­strate.

Sure I am Satan hath gotten great pow­er over us, by our neglect and contempt of it, and the house that is so divided can­not stand long: We should learn of our enemies,Davenan­tii Sen­tentia. saith Bishop Davenant, though we differ in some Controversies, to live in the same Communion, the Thomists and Scotists, the Dominicans and Jesuits differ in far greater points of Doctrine than we do, yet keep the Communion of the same Church. It is a sad consideration, that not only the Children of this World are wiser in their Generation than the Children of Light,The things wherein we agree being many and weighty, should be of greater force to unite us, than the trifles whe [...]ein we differ, to divide us; it is not as bad with ours, a [...] it was with the Church of Corinth, there were many carnal Christians, many grosly ignorant, 1 Cor. 33.11.29. Some that denied the Resurrection, some that for love of their Bellies frequented Idolatrous Feasts. Drunkenness was visible at the Lords Table, Fornication common, and we read of an incestuous person too, yet he calls them, The Church of God at Corinth sanctified in Christ, called to be Saints; he doth not unchurch them, and perswade separation, but to reform abuses, to cast out the unclean person, and purifie themselves that God might dwell among them, and accept their prayers, which is the last part. but Satans Kingdom is less divided than that which we all call the Kingdom of Christ.

God and our Saviour, as well in the New, as in the Old Testament, have taught us, that Prayer is a special part of his Worship, when he calleth his Temple and our Oratories,Isa. 56.7. Mat. 21.13. Ecclesia preces splendidis eulogiis Deus or­navit ubi Templum vocavit domum Oraticuis. Calv. Inst. l. 3. c. 20. S. 29. The house of Prayer. And indeed the Glory of God cannot be more highly exalted, nor our necessities more certainly relieved by any means, than by humble and devout Prayers.

It concerns us therefore, when we ap­proach the Throne of Grace, to consider, how in this duty we may serve God ac­ceptably, with reverence and godly fear; which we may do, if we hold Communion with Christ and his Apostles in this part of the Divine Worship.

And what their practice was, will ap­pear, first from Christs own institution, who prescribed a form of Prayer to be used by his Disciples, and accordingly they did use it, if we believe the Ancients [...] on all solemn occasions. The Sacrament of the Lords-Supper being constantly celebrated with it. Mr. Thorndike tells us that when St. Paul asketh,1 Cor. 14.16. How shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, [...], [Page 40] (at the Ministers consecrating the Eucharist) at thy giving of thanks, say, Amen; this Amen is to be understood of the Conclusion of our Lords-Prayer, then used at this Sa­crament; to the truth of this notion, many of the Ancients bare witness,So among the La­tins, Gra­tiarum actio sig­nificat, [...]; saith Rhenanus on Tertullian de Corona Militis. shewing that the word [...] is generally taken in this sense, and that our Lords-Prayer was con­stantly used at the Celebration of it.

Apol. 2.This is the sense of Justine Martyr, [...]. The food which was Eucharistically consecrated by the Prayer of that word which came from him which our Lord ap­pointed the Eucharist to be consecrated with.De Orati­one Domi­nica. St. Cyprian more plainly. So Christ taught his Apostles, that they should dai­ly in the Sacrifice of his body dare to say, Our Father. See Cas­sander p. 39. So St. Hierome. Which Prayer Christ taught his Apostles, that they should daily use it in the Sacrifice of his Body. It was the custom of the Apostles, says St. Gregory, to consecrate the Sacrament with the use of the Lords-Prayer only; he means as I suppose (what Honorius doth express) Super vinum & panem, In Gem. Animae. l. 1, c. 86. &c. They saved over the Bread and Wine, the words which our Lord sayed, and the Lords-Prayer: Certain it is, that we have Re­cords of many ancient Liturgi [...]s used in [Page 41] several Churches, in all of which this Pray­er is inserted in this very Office; which may argue it was so from the Apostles practice, how else could it prevail in the universal Church. It is also highly probable, that our Saviour in Mat. 18. did enjoyn his Apostles the use of publick Liturgies,Mat. 18.19. Again, I say unto you, &c. the Dico is more than a bare affirmation, it hath the force of an Instituti­on,See Came­ron in loc. (as when it is spoken of Governours, Dixi, dii estis) This is said to the Gover­nours of the Church, as in the former verse viz. to the Apostles then, and to their Successors for the future. What is it that [...]r Saviour decrees concerning them? That where two of them, any small com­pany, (according to the Proverbial speech among the Jews), where two or three did meet to confer about the Law, there the [...]ecinah, that is,Numerus certus pro incerto. the Divine Presence was [...] the midst of them), where these chief Rulers of the Church do agree, [...], shall consent with heart and voice upon ma­ [...]re deliberation (for so that word [...] is [...]vice translated by the Septuagint, Gen. 14.3 Hos. 6.9. and both signifie an Assembly met about publick [...]fairs) concerning any thing that they shall [...]k in their united Prayers, it shall be done [...]nto them; on which place Calvin observes, [...] when the faithful do meet, they are [...]ght to joyn in Devotion, and pray in [...]mmon, not only for the testifying the [...]nity of their faith, (for our publick Li­turgy [Page 42] is part of our faith, and their faith is very uncertain that have no Liturgy, but that God may hear what is asked by the con­sent of all; and saith Calvin, Christ doth here honour publick Prayers, with a special promise, that he may incite us to the exer­cise of them; and because it is an inestima­ble blessing to have Christ President to bless our Counsels, and the events of them, this promise should be a great encouragement, to assemble in a holy and godly manners for whoever either neglecteth the holy Assemblies, or separateth himself from his Brethren, and behaveth himself remissly, in preserving unity, doth hereby shew that he hath no esteem of Christs Presence. This speaks fair for a set order of publick Pray­er in Calvin's opinion. In this sense it is evident St. Chrys [...]tom understood this place to which he hath reference in that short Prayer of his, constantly used in our Liter­gy, Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time, So Ignati­us, If the prayer of one or two pre­vail for Christs Presence, how much more the prayer of the Bishop and the whole Church. Epist. ad Ephes. with [...]ne accord, to make our common Prayers and Supplications unto thee, and ha [...] promised, that where two or three are gather­ed together in thy name, thou wilt grant their requests, &c.

St. Paul exhorts Timothy that [...], he make it his chief care (as Bishop that Church of Ephesus) to provide that the [Page 43] publick Prayers be rightly ordered, that they be such as may answer the necessities of all mankind, that they may be acceptable to our Rulers, that some of them be, for the ob­taining of good things,The Prayer for the Emperor in Tertull. Vitam pro­lixam impe­rium secu­rum exer­citus fortes senatum fidelem, were grounded on this. others for aversion of evil, that we extend our petitions, for the benefit of others; and that we have also forms of Thanksgiving to God, for his mercies received: And every ordinary Mi­nister is not sufficient to guide the people in such a solemn Office, nor though they were of great abilities, would it consist with that harmony of desires, and affections, wherein all Christian Congregations ought to joyn. And in this sense the Primitive Christians [...]id understand the Apostles Injunction. Ignatius enjoyns the same thing, Meet ye all together in the same place, Ad Mag­ness. p. 58. let there be one common Prayer, and one mind among you all. And Scaliger tells us, he had feen an an­cient Liturgy of this pious Martyr.De Emen­datione Temporum l. 7. Apol. 2. Justine Martyr tells us the practice of the Christi­ans in the second Century, [...], We all stand up and pray together.

St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine do both ter [...]ifie that the prayer for all estates of men used in the most Primitive times, especially at the Sacrament of the Lords-Supper had its rise from this injunctioh of St. Paul to Tim [...]thy.

Besides, the Hymn which our Saviour [...] Mat. 26.30. was a known Hymn, in [Page 44] which the Apostles did bear a part. The Prayer which he used on the Cross, was a prayer of David, Psal. 22. to shew that he did ap­prove of such prayers wherein we may all joyn. The Milevitan Council, did therefore ordain that no other prayers should be used in the Church but such as had been peru­sed by the most prudent of the Church, lest any thing should be composed, either through ignorance, or want of heed, contrary to the faith; in this part of Gods Worship espe­cially, they thought it fit,1 Cor. 14.32. Valdè pro­bo. Epist. 87. that the spirit of the Prophets should be subject to the Pro­phets. Calvin doth greatly approve of a Li­turgy for the same Reasons.

The Magdeburgenses say, that (in the third Century,See Gen­nadius de Dogm. Ecclesia. c. 30. Formulas quadam precationum, &c.) without doubt the Christians had certain forms of Prayers. It is evident therefore, that we are conformable to the Apostles in the use of solemn forms of Prayers; but whether the matter of our Prayers be agree­able to theirs, is another Inquiry. Doubt­less whatever their Prayers were, they were consonant to their Doctrine; and in that our Liturgy is conformable: there is nothing in them contrary to our Doctrine; and no­thing in our Doctrine contrary to that of the Apostles, as hath been proved; and it were an easie matter to fill the Margent of our Liturgy with such Q [...]otations of Scri­pture, as do in express words contain, or by clear consequence confirm, all the Pray­ers, [Page 45] Hymns, and Thanksgivings in that Book. The Apostles did publickly use our Lords-Prayer, the Creed, the Psalms of Da­vid, the words enjoyned by our Saviour at the Administration of both Sacraments, and so do we: they read the Scriptures, and ex­pounded them; they Catechised the youn­ger sort in the Principles of Religion; so [...] we. They had Prayers, Supplications, In­tercessions and giving of thanks for Kings, and their subordinate Officers, and for all [...]rts and degrees of Men; so have we: they sung Hymns and Praises to God in their Congregations, and so do we. They had Comminations and threatnings, Censures and Excommunication of impenitent and con­t [...]macious offenders; so have we. In a word, [...] we should collect all the ancient Litur­ [...]ies in the Greek, Latin, Armenian, and Aethiopick Churches, and extract the most [...]lid, pious parts of Devotion out of them [...] it would appear, that as we have omitted in [...]rs all that was vain and superstitious; so we want nothing that is pious, or profitable; [...]any of the reformed Churches do come [...]ar ours, but none are yet equal.

We do not m [...]tter out our Prayers in an unknown Tongue, or perswade our people, That ignorance is the mother of Devotion; [...] which is as unprofitable, tumble out a [...]ltitude of words which have none, or no [...]od signification; as if we were fallen to [...]at age which Hippolytus an ancient Bishop [Page 46] and Martyr spake of, viz. the days of Anti­christ, wherein Liturgy should be extinct, we do not sill our Prayer-book with Ave-Maries, A Ladies Psalter, Dirges, and Pray­ers for the Dead. Invocations of Angels and Saints, that never had a being; we r [...]d not Legends and ridiculous stories▪ such as may rather excite laughter or disdain, than Devotion. In a word we have not their forms for exorcising of Divels, Baptising of Bells and Garments, their Crucifixes, Beads▪ and Agnus Dei's. Ours is a reasonable and Apostolical Service, wherein the most learned of the Protestant Churches abroad,Rivet, Grotius, and Bo­chartus, Cranmer, Arch B. Goodrick, Bishop of Ely. Skip of Here­ford Thirl. by of West Day of Chechester. Holbick of Lincoln. [...]idley of Rochester. Dr. Cox, Almoner. Tarler, Dean of Lincoln. Haynes of Exeter. Redman of Westmin [...]ter Robinson, Arch De [...]con of Leicester. have ma­nifested their readiness to hold Comm [...]nion with us. Some respect we should s [...]w in for the sake of its first Authors, those Bi­shops and Confessors that were the Compi­lers of it; some of which died in defence of it, as others since in opposition to it. The world may judg which deserved b [...] of the Protestant Religion. A work, which in that age, most men called a work of G [...], as Mr. F [...]x reports. When it was com [...]i­led, the Arch-Bishop turns it into I [...] and sends it to Martin Bu [...]er, who [...] this approbation of it, that it was general­ly contained in the word of God, [...] repugnant to it, if rightly under [...]: Af­ter [Page 47] this, it was amended;Bishop Ridley. P. Martir. Bucer. So did the Universi­ty of Ox­ford since. so as Arch-Bi­shop Cranmer undertook, by the leave of Q [...]n Mary, that he and some others would defend it against all the Papists in England. Th [...] Protestants, that fled to Geneva and Franckfort in those days, kept their own Liturgy, rather then Calvins, until Knox began to oppose it; of which when Mr. C [...]dal told Bishop Ridley, the day before his martyrdom, I wonder, saith the Bishop, Mr. K [...]x should at this time, set himself against the poor Protestants of England, and [...]nd fault with their Service Book, wherein though his wit may find some­thing to cavil at, he shall never be able to and matter of just exception; as if any thing were therein contained, contrary to the word of God. But Mr. Calvin, who had commended the use of a Form to the Lord Protector, when he saw this, though he had offered to assist,Tolerabi­les inep­tias. yet not being one of the Composers, conf [...]res it, to contain some trifles which yet were tolerable; and in truth, there [...] the [...] such things in it, as Prayers for [...] Extream Uncti­ [...]n, [...] In [...] this Raign, it is [...] again [...] inquiry to the objections, the [...] so differ,The Par­liament suppres­sed the Admoni­ons, and imprison­ed the Authors. some [...] against, and [...] former allow­ed, [...] of alter­ing [...] to be not for the [...] the [Page 48] Liturgy. But this which was have often at­tempted was effected at last, it was pluckt up root and branch, not so much as our Lords Prayer spared. And this is no new thing, there ever have been, and will be, unquiet spirits, to disturb the servants of God, in nothing more than their publick devotions. St. Augustine complained of this in the Milevitane Council, where were two hundred Bishops,Can. 12. Tom. 8. p. 32. Ep. 93, 94. De bono Persev. how, That not only the Prayers of the Church, but the Lords Prayer was despised by the Donatists▪ of whom he says, (Tunc desinent dici fra­fres nostri, cum desierint dicere Pater noster), he would no longer own them for his Brethren, that would not join with him, to say, Our Father, &c. Upon which, that Council decrees, that no Prayers should be publickly used, but such as were appro­ved by the Synod. But St. Augustine meek­ly intreats them, not only to hear the Ser­mons, but to consider and ponder the pub­lick Prayers, which says he, the Church had, and will always have, to the end of the world.

Bonasus Vapulans.We may the less wonder therefore, that the Prayers of our Church are despised, when the same persons cannot be reconci­ciled to the Lords Prayer; we might have hoped, that after so many severe correcti­ons, men would have grown sober, and re­pented of their former hard and ungodly speeches: But we see a late Apologist for [Page 49] the Non-conformists, in a Book written against Mr. Durel steps forth, like another Goliah, to defye, not only the host, but in a manner the God of Israel; what else mean these horrid expressions against the Lords Prayer; I would not have them censured (says this tender-hearted man) that cannot get leave of themselves, to use it as a Prayer, especially when they have prayed largely before, for themselves and others.

Do ye not perceive, That it is the long Prayers of these Pharisees, that like Pha­raohs lean Kine, devour all the fat Sacrifices of the Church? Did not these men suppose their own prayers, as much better as they are longer than that of our Saviour, they could not have the impudence to lay it aside as impertinent and useless, in com­parison of their own.

The primitive Church had frequent pray­ers five times in a day,S. Cyprian Kul [...] tole­rantiam insolenti­us negant veritati, quam qui erroribus suis saepe pestilentis. simis po­stularunt obnixissi­mi. Capel. Th [...]s. 41. cont. Belg. yet the Lords Pray­er was always added. Tertulian calls it, legitimam Orationem, as if all other prayers without it were not duly performed. But these men must by no means be censured, much less restrained; they may by their importunity, as the Sons of Zerviah, be too strong for David, and get a toleration for such practices, as themselves have formerly condemned for intolerable; yet will not they grant a toleration to our Lords Prayer, al­though Christs command, and the practise [Page 50] of the Apostles, and Apostolical men, and the joint-agreement of the universal Church do urge it, these good men cannot get leave of themselves, i. e. of the spirit of pride and opposition which possesseth them; methinks, they should not deal more barbarously with it than the Turks, who afford it a respect­ful remembrance in their Alcaron. But I am injoined, not to censure them. Let them be still reputed, Champions of the Good Old Cause, Sworn Enemies to Episcopacy and Liturgy; but for humble and sound Christians. I shall not esteem them, until they can get leave of themselves, To use the Lords Prayer as a Prayer. He adds another affront —Most plain it is, that our Saviour made this Prayer for his Disciples, while they were Mem­bers of the Jewish Church, and before he had sent the Spirit of Truth to lead them into all truth; let it therefore be considered, whether we be not ordinarily to express our selves, in a dialect more suitable to the New Testament dispensation, than is used in the Lords-Prayer. To what desperate opinions and practices doth the spirit of pride and faction hurry those that are once possessed with it!Nescio quomodo nil tam absurde dici potest quod non dicatur ab aliquo. P. Cic. de Divinat. l. 2. We have heard of one, that would correct the Magnificat; and Ir [...]naeus tells of some, that called themselves, Emendatures Apostolarum, but this man atttempts more than ever Al­phonsus imagined; to amend the Lords Pray­er. He must certainly be a man of extraor­dinary gifts, that can pray ordinarily, in a [Page 51] more Evangelical dialect, than our Saviour could. How went the Spirit of our Lord from him, when he dictated this Form, that it should so visibly differ from the rest of the New Testament; and what cloven tongues, and fiery inspiration have they, that can so far exceed this despicable pray­er: St. Cyprian says, Quae potest esse magis spiritualis Oratio, quem quae verè a Christo da­ta, a quo etiam Spiritus Sanctus misus; and I am of his mind, that there can be no pray­er more spiritual than that which was made by him from whom the Holy Spirit is sent. And the learned Grotius tells us, Ad hunc Spiritum impetrandum, praecipue directa est ista precandi formula, it is that Dove, in whose Form the Holy Spirit doth frequently des­cend. But as Dr. Hammond observed,Paranesis p. 15. All the Topicks of Hell have been raked, to find Arguments against it, but there can be found none, to warrant the disuse of this prayer, besides the indisposition of such men as these to use it, their want of humility and chari­ty, would turn it into an imprecation against themselves, and therefore it is too big for their mouths. But I wonder, by what Spirit of Divination it was revealed, that this prayer was made for the Disciples, whilst Members of the Jewish Church; of St. John it is said, that he was fibula utriusque Legis, a middle person between both Churches, yet were his Disciples distinguished from the Jewish, and when Christs Disciples askt this prayer of [Page 52] their Master, it was to distinguish them from the Disciples of John. And if the time be observed in Saint Luke, (for it was twice prescribed), you shall find the use of it, peremptorily in [...]oined by our Sa­viour, a good while after that he had taken upon him the publick Ministry of the Gos­pel; and 'tis unlikely, that he would now build up the Jewish Synagogue,Luk. 4.18. which he came to destroy. It is true indeed, that our Saviour, being the chief Corner-stone, that should join Jews and Gentiles in one Church, did make use of such expression in his Doctrine, and some such Rites in his Institutions, as were at that time fami­liarly known and practised among the Jews. And so Grotius observes, that in this pray­er is collected whatever was commendable in the prayers of the Jews. In Mat. 6. As also in our Sa­viours admonitions, he makes use of Pro­verbial sentences then in use: So far was the Lord of the Christian Church, from af­fecting any unnecessary novelty. However, if we consider the sense of it there is no peti­tion,A most compre­hensive Form of Prayer, so the Dire­ctory. And Calvin, l. 3. c. 20. § 34. Quicquid expetere licet, quicquid in rem n [...]stram conducit, quicquid postulare necesse est. and [...]. that any Christian needs to make, but it is included in one of those heads, as the Analysis and Comments of learned men upon it do abundantly evince.

To conclude this part: You see the an­cient Disciples were so humble, as to desire their Lord to teach them to pray: Our new Apostles can teach their Lord to pray; not only in a dialect more suitable to the Gospel, but in the matter less Legal and Jewish. No wonder if they scorn our Communion; they are fit for the Communion of Hacket, and him that gave God thanks, that he had forgotten the Lords Prayer: As for me, I will yet pray against such impieties, as old Jacob did for Simeon and Levi, O my soul, Gen. 49.6. come not thou into their secret, unto their As­sembly mine Honour, be not thou united, for in their anger, they not only slaughter men, but even crucifie afresh the Lord of Life, and put him to open shame; and in their self-will, they do not dig down walls, and super-stru­ctures, but dig up the very foundations of the Church of God.

And now it is high time, to betake our selves to a better Communion, which rea­dily offers it self, in the last part of the Text.

3. The excellency of this fellowship: And truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

But having met with so much boldness lately, it cannot be impertinent, to cauti­on you here, that when you hear of fellow­ship, you do not presently think, of an ir­reverent familiarity with your heavenly Fa­ther. [Page 54] For if I am a Father, saith he, where is mine honour? Mal. 1.6. That is, express and mani­fest it in your humble behaviour. Gods gracious condescention to us, will not ex­cuse our unmannerly contempt of him. He takes away the greatest ornament from Re­ligious Worship that takes away reverence from it.Maximum ex amici­tia tollit ornamen tum qui tollit vere­cundiam. Cicero. Earthly parents expect to have their blessing asked by their Children on their knees, and Christ did so address him­self to his Father. That Commandment that forbids us to bow down and worship false Gods, enjoyns us to bow down in the Worship of the true God. David requires it more expressly,Ps 59.6. O come let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker. As it is our priviledg to walk with God, so 'tis our duty to walk humbly with him.

And being thus prepared we may have fellowship with the Father, &c. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity, Isa. 57.15. whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a humble and contrite spirit. This God promised, when he first gave the Law by Moses, and was served at an earthen Altar. In all places, where I shall record my name, Ex. 20.24 I will come unto thee, 2 Chron. 7.15. and I will bless thee. And when S [...]lo­mon had with great magnificence built a House for God, and dedicated it to his Wor­ship; Now saith God) mine eyes shall be open, and my heart attend unto the prayer that is [Page 55] made in this place; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually. Said God these things for the sake of the Altar of earth, or of Solomons Temple? No, but God had recorded his Name there, and there he was publickly invocated, by the united Prayers of his People. And therefore Christ re­neweth the same promise▪ Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, Mat. 18 20. there am I. And there he hath promised his perpetual Presence, Lo, I am with you al­ways to the end of the world. Mat. 28. And is not the world well altered with sinful men, since the time of Gods appearing upon Sinai, Where was blackness and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, which words they that heard, intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more; A sight so terrible, that it made Moses exceedingly fear and quake. But we are come to Mount Sion, &c. and to Jesus the Mediator of the new Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel. It is said of Israel, What Nation is so great, who hath God so nigh! Deut. 4.7. (this makes a Nation truly great to have God nigh them) as the Lord our God is near unto us, in all that we call upon him for. A great priviledg this is; yet not so great as that which we have by Christ, in whom as the Apostle says, [...],Ephes. 1.6 God hath made us his chief favourites, and encou­rageth us by the mediation of our great [Page 56] high Priest, to come boldly unto the Throne of Grace; Heb. 4.14 and hath promised that we shall obtain mercy, and find grace to help at a time of need. And what surer pledg can we have, of Gods constant favour, than that which the Apostle mentioneth. He that spared not his own Son, Rom. 8.32. but delivered him up for us all, how should he not with him, freely give us all things. We may say therefore with a filial confidence,Isa. 63.16 Doubtless thou art our Father, a Father that knows all our wants and weaknesses, and spareth us as a Father spareth the Son that serveth him. Nemo tam Pater, Inter De­um & bo­nos homi­nes aunci­tia quae­dam est Amicitiam dico? imo recessitu­do. Sen. Luk. 11.13. tam pius nemo. Our Savi­our would have us guess at Gods com­passions towards us, by ours to our own Children: If ye that are evil, know how to give good things to your Children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him? What nearer Communion can there be? He hath already given us his Son; he is daily pouring down his spirit, and only reserves himself for our everlasting reward.

2. And of this we may be the better assured by the communion that we have with his Son Jesus Christ. With whom our [...] is a [...],2 Cor. 6.14. a mutual communicati­on and participation. He assumed our nature, and infirmities, and so knows our weak­nesses and imperfections, and will not suf­fer us to be tempted above what we are able. Yea, he hath taken on him all our [Page 57] sins, and made full satisfaction for them: He is of God, made unto us wisdom, righteousness, 1 Cor. 1.30. sanctification, and redemption; not by way of imputation only, as a Cloak to cover our iniquities, but of real efficacy, purging our Consciences from dead works, delivering us from the power of Satan, renewing his own Image upon us, that we may be par­takers of the Divine Nature, and out of his fulness receive Grace for Grace. And thus will Christ be the Saviour of his body, san­ctifying and conforming it to himself,Eph. 5.23 pro­tecting it by his special providence, guiding and comforting it by his Spirit, and at last glorifying it with himself eternally.

To apply this:

1. May we have Communion with the Father, and with his Son: Let us not then be solicitous, for the mediation of Saints and Angels. and bestow more devotion and honor on them, than on the immediate ser­vice of God and our Saviour. Those ho­ly Spirits will be all of our Communion; they join with us in praising God, and will in their capacities, be ministring Spi­rits to our necessities: For worshipping them we have no Apostolical Precept or Exam­ple; but many to the contrary, and there­fore, See thou do it not, Rev. 19.10. I am thy fellow-ser­vant—worship thou God.

[Page 58]2. Let us walk worthy of so holy Com­munion; if we say, we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. Our not doing accord­ing to the truth we profess, is a giving the lie to it, a disgracing of our Religion, as if it did allow us in wickedness. Wash you, Isa. 2. make you clean, &c. Come now, and let us reason together: A holy man may talk with God, as a man talketh with his friend. But, What Communion hath light with dark­ness? 2 Cor. 6.14, 15. what concord hath Christ with Belial? None but Virtuoso's can be of this Royal Society; wherefore, Let every one that na­meth the Name of Christ depart from ini­quity. In this only, separation is to be ju­stified, in having no fellowship with the un­fruitful works of darkness: Our Commu­nion with their persons will not defile us, if we avoid their sins. The Disciples were not polluted, by having a Judas among them.

Nor was Judas his sin less, because he lived in the Communion of Christ and his Apostles, it will be an aggravation of our disobedience, that we who pretend to be his most familiar Friends, and are admitted to feed at Christs Table, should lift up the heel against him. Our care, not to offend him, should bear proportion with the mea­sure of his friendship to us, and that abun­dant Charity, which we have received from [Page 59] Christ our head, should be mutually con­veyed to his members, and not like those who write themselves, e Societate Jesu, but are enemies to all but their own Fraterni­ty:Joh 13.35. & 15.14. Then will our Saviour own us for his Disciples, when we love one another; and for his Friends, when we do whatsoever he commands us.

3. Let us bless God, that hath called us to Himself, his Son, and his Apostles; here let us fix as the primitive Christians did, who though they saw the cloud of per­secution ready to pour down Cataracts of blood upon them, yet [...], they were resolved to weather it out.Act. 2.42. Our Saviour foretold his Apostles, and they have informed us, that we must resist even to blood, that we may not startle at any op­position, as at a strange thing. And when we see, how active and patient too, every Sectary is for the promoting of any facti­on; they that are members of the Catho­lick Body, should shew, that they have still the blood and spirits of the primitive Chri­stians, animating them with courage and resolution answerable to their high Calling. Consider therefore, him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself:Heb. 12. he suffered both from Herod, and from Pontius Pilate, and so did the Apostles, from false Brethren, as well as from open enemies. If we suffer by the Papists, as Sectaries; [Page 60] and by the Sectaries as Papists; even in this also we are made conformable to the Son of God, and may say—Truly our fel­lowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: It is begun in the Church Militant, and shall be perfected in the Church Triumphant: And the light afflictions we endure here, shall add weight to the Crown of Glory hereafter.

If then our Church Communion be as Jacobs Ladder, which had God at the Top of it,Gen. 28.12, 13. though the Foot be on the Earth. (for it was God sent his Son, and the Son of God sent his Apostles, and the Apostles took care for a succession in the Church of God till Christs second Coming), they are great despisers of the Ordinance of God, and the blessings annexed to them, that turn their backs on them, and wilfully forsake their own mercies; for when our Saviour promised a succession of Pastors to his Church, he appropriated his blessing to them, Lo, I am with you; with them in a special manner, more than with others, else the promise would signifie nothing.

If therefore we run after them, that run before they are sent, as they go not on Gods message,Heb. 5.4. so they cannot effect Gods end upon us. No man taketh this Honour to himself but he dishonours God, as if God [Page 61] could not provide for his Church; or as if humane inventions were more effectual instruments of Piety than Gods Ordinances. It was said by some that God in those times had raised up extraordinary Mini­sters. Many indeed have pretended to be such; and Christ foretold of their coming. There shall arise false Christs, and false Pro­ [...]eets, men of no ordinary dignity;Mat. 24.24, 26. and [...]y shall shew great signs and wonders; draw great multitudes, and not of the ordinary [...]rt; they shall (if it were possible) deceive the very elect, they shall captivate the Con­sciences of men, and cause great alterations [...] Church and State; (But behold, saith our Saviour I have told you before; there­fore if they shall say, Behold he is in the de­ [...]ert, go not forth, Behold he is in the secret Chambers, believe it not. He is neither in the Cells of Hermits, nor in the Chambers of Sectaries; his presence and blessing is with his Church, which he redeemeth with his Blood, to which he promised his Spirit; and in which he hath from the beginning preserved a succession of Pastors, and will [...] it to the end, against all the powers of Hell. God loveth the Gates of Sion (saith David) more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Here will I dwell, saith God,Ps. 87.2. Ps. 132.13 133.3. for I have a delight in it, from Sion he will command [...] blessings.

They that will enjoy the priviledges of a Society, must live under the Government, and be obedient to the Laws of it; and if we expect to partake of the blessings pro­mised to the Church of Christ, we must live in its Communion: As for intruders and hirelings,Quisquis ab Ecclesiâ separatus, adulterae jungitur, à promissis Ecclesiae separatur. S. Cypr. Jer. 23.32 My Sheep will not hear their voice, nor follow them, saith Christ; or if they should, they will be led through briars and thorns. I sent them not, nor commanded them. (saith God of such Prophets); therefore they shall not profit this people at all. Not profit them you will say? there are none like them, for knowledg and discourse of hea­venly things; none make longer prayers, or manifest greater zeal; this may be, and yet they are not profited.

1 Cor. 13.1. Let St. Paul demonstrate how this may be; He supposeth they be men of ex­cellent gifts, and have the tongues of Men and Angels, as eloquent as Apollo's; but wanting Charity, they are as sounding-brass, make a great noise, but profit no­thing.

2. They are men of great knowledg [...] can expound the most mysterious parts of the Revelation; and they have such a ple­rophory of Faith as carrieth them on against [...] opposition; they can remove mountains, [Page 63] yet wanting Charity, they profit no­thing.

3. Yea, but they have Charity also: they bestow all their goods on the poor, and give their bodies to be burnt, yet they may want true Charity; that Charity that is long-suffering, and kind, that doth not envy, nor vaunt it self, is not puffed up, or behaveth it self unseemly; that doth not seek her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, &c. If they do not practise these things themselves, and preach them to their Disciples they cannot profit them,Rev. 16.18. they may please them by their [...] and [...], complementing them as the Saints and Elect of God, they may be a means of profiting them too, in respect of Tempo­ral advantages; but though they lead them to a warmer Sun, they carry them farther from Gods blessing. If they sow the seeds of division, and improve them to separation, to unchristian censuring,Jam. 3.15. Hortari ad Ecclesiae reformati­onem & subtrahere unitatem Hereticae institutio­nis est. Cypr. Jer. 7.9. irre­concilable malice, and invincible prejudices against their Fathers and Brethren; they do edificare in Gehennam. This wisdom is not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish: How should they build the Church that use nothing but Axes and Hammers, to destroy the unity and beauty of it? they that renounce that Society, to which they had solemnly sworn fidelity, and afterward [Page 63] conspire against it, and raise Altar against Altar; and as the Samaritans set up Mount Gerizim against Mount Sion, and affront the Catholick Church, with Chimney-Con­venticles; let them proclaim themselves for The Temple of the Lord, (as the Jews did) with never so much clamor and confidence, if they are guilty of stealing, murthering, committing adultery and swearing falsly, and turn the House of God into a den of Thieves; they trust in lying words that will not profit them. And who but a person that God hath given up to a spirit of De­lusion, would believe a few revolted and disagreeing Ministers in this later age of the Church, against the constant and una­nimous testimonies of Martyrs and Confes­sors, the Bishops and Pillars of the universal Church. Therefore, say ye not a confederacy to them, to whom this people shall say a con­federacy, neither fear ye their fear, Isa. 8.22. 1 Pet. 3.14. [...], worship not their worship▪) nor be afraid, but sanctifie the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and your dread, and be shall be for a Sanctuary to you; but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, to the enemies of his Worship. Remember to what destruction Corah Dathan and Abiram, brought themselves and the Congregations that followed them.Numb 16 31. Brethren be not [...]ei­ved, (saith Ignatius) if any one follow him that maketh a Schism,Ad [...]hilad. he shall not inherit [Page 65] the Kingdom of God:Gal. 5.20. The Apostle says the same, when he reckoneth, Hatred, va­riance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, and heresies, among the works of the flesh; which whosoever doth, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. And this is indeed the judgment of every Schismatick; who are as the Apostle notes, self-condemned. Tit. 3.11. For while every petty faction doth not only rival, but re­probate every other that dissenteth from it, as if that Congregation alone, were the [...], the beloved Spouse; they ex­clude all others; and so subscribe to that common Maxim, That out of the Church, there is no Salvation.

We may only then be well assured, that God is our Father, when we own the true Church of God for our Mother. We are bid by Solomon, Prov. 1.8. not only to hear the Instructions of our Father, but also, not to forsake the Law of our Mother. And Solomon Jarchi tells us, God is our Fa­ther, and the Congregation of Israel is our Mother. And a greater than both these Solomons hath said, He that will not hear the Church, Mat. 18.17. let him be to thee as a Heathen and a Publican.

Our Saviour will doubtless maintain the honor, and continue the benediction, which from the beginning he endowed [Page 66] his Church and Ordinances with. He never did nor will own, or prosper, those that pretend to an extraordinary Mini­stry, or greater purity of Ordinances than those which he hath instituted, when they may h [...] Communion with them. Though he called St. Paul to the Apo­stleship by a Miracle, yet is he mindful of his [...] Institution, and sends him to A [...]ias for Bapti [...]m,Act. 9 18. Act. 1 [...].1. 1 Tim. 4.14. and to the Church of A [...] [...] Ordination. The office to which Timothy was consecrated, was gi­ve [...] him by Prophesie, i. e. saith Theodoret, by Di [...] Revelation: The Holy Ghost command [...] it, saith Theophyl [...], and so whatever it was, it was Jure Divino [...], yet was it not thought sufficient without the Hands of the Presbytery. And St. Paul tells us as much, [...]. pro officis. Rom. 10.15 Bonum non [...] ex caus [...] integri [...]. and plainly, as is need­ful in this Argument: That where there is not a Minister rightly commissioned for his [...] to the Institution of [...] his Apostles, and to that suc­cession, which is alway to continue in the [...] at l [...]ast, where such Ordination may be had, but is despised, there are nei­ther Prayers, nor Preach­ing, nor Faith, nor Sacra­ments neither, [...]. though the people may be perswaded, that they have all these in their greatest purity. Was he a Christian [Page 67] who fancied,St. Cypri­an of No­vation, Qui con­tempta Ecclesiae traditione s [...]ipsum ordinavit. that God had no Church in the World for a long time, and therefore baptized himself, as the Founder of a new Church? They are not altogether unlike him, who disliking all the ancient Forms of Government and Worship, continued in the Church from the Apostles days, do invent Modes of their own, and worship their own Delusions; which either were never heard of in the Church, or as soon condemned and confuted, as they were pub­lished.

It may be, unwary men may be so mis­guided, as to think,Joh. 16.2. they do God good service in all their prophanations: but so did they who did kill the Disciples of Christ, whose good intentions could not justifie their ungodly actions.

And what if these seduced people, should by degrees, be perswaded to act over a­gain all those sad Scenes of Rapine, and Murther, and Confusion, which by per­sons of like Principles, have been execu­ted on the best of Kings, and his incom­parable Nobility, and Gentry, as well as on a most pious and prudent Cler­gy?

May they not think, still they are do­ing God service, when their Leaders are [Page 68] so far from calling them to repentance for what is past, as that they rather set them in a way that tends directly to the same Confusions again.

Mat. 23.29.In vain did the Jews build the Tombs of the ancient Prophets, and honoured the Memories of the Righteous that were of old; when they actually persecuted those Prophets and wise Men that Christ had sent to them. What respect have they for those Martyrs and Confessors in the Marian days, that separate from, and ex­pose to contempt and ruin, those that are their undoubted Successors, in the same, if not a more reformed Doctrine and Worship. It is dreadful to think what the effects of this Separation may be to others;Aut in Vi­te, aut in Igne. Qui extra Ecclesiam Catholicam vitam finiunt in ignem eternum ituri. St. August. de fide ad P. D. it cannot be otherwise than de­structive to its Authors and Abettors.

I end with that most serious Exhorta­tion of the Apostle, Heb. 10.24. Let us consider one another, (not rashly to censure and condemn our Brethren, but), to pro­voke one another to good works, not forsaking the ass [...]mbling of our selves together, as the manner of some is.—For if we sin wilfully (by our Apostacy from the true Church) [Page 69] after we have received the knowledg of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, But a certain fearful looking for of ven­geance, and fiery indignation, which shall de­vour the Adversaries. From which Si [...] and Judgment, Good Lord deliver us.

All men will walk, every one in the name of his God: And we will walk in the Name of the Lord our God, for ever and ever, Mic. 4.5.

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