A SERMON Preached before HIS MAJESTY at Whitehall, March 12. 1664/5.

By the Right Reverend Father in God, B. Lord Bishop of Lincoln.

Published by His Majesties special Command.

London, Printed for Timothy Garthwait, 1665.

1 THESS. 4.11.

And that ye study to be quiet.

AND] is a word that takes hold of something that went be­fore, without which the sense of that which follows is not full. That which went next before is, We beseech you to in­crease more and more. We beseech you, is that we are to take into the Text, and then it runs thus, We beseech you to study to be quiet.

But all the use I shall make of it, now we have it here, is but to give you a taste before­hand of the nature and quality of this duty, That it is no trivial thing little to be regard­ed, but that which obliged S. Paul, Sylvanus, and Timotheus, for they all joyn'd in it, to be so earnest, as to beseech them to study to be quiet. 2. And that which commends this du­ty the more is, (as we use to say, Men are best known by the company they keep) And] brings in this Duty in the company of the best of Vertues, Charity, for that place S. Paul [Page 2]gives it above all;Col. 3.14. Above all things put on Charity, which is the bond of perfection. To study to be quiet, and to increase in brotherly love and charity, for that led the way before, are two duties bound together in the same Exhortation. 3. Quiet is not onely a fit companion for Charity, but an Allie to it, and grows out of it, as the branch out of the stock; for where brotherly love is, there will be alwayes quiet too. 4. To make all suit the better with Charity, the Exhortation is advanced by a Dialect of Love, We bèseech you. Paul, Sylva­nus, and Timotheus, were all Apostolical men, and might command, as S. Paul of himself in another case to Philemon, Though I might be bold to enjoyn thee, yet for loves sake I rather beseech you. And lastly, that which might very well set this edge upon their affections, was, that which happened to the Thessalonians at their first conversion; for this Epistle was written im­mediately after. The story we have in the 17 chap. of the Acts: When S. Paul had preach'd the Gospel to them, and with good success; for v. 4. Some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But v. 5. The Jews who believed not, moved with envy, [Page 3]took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the City in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people; mad enough of themselves; but the more to ferment and enrage them, they charge the Apostles with the fault that they themselves were acting; These are they that turn the world upside-down. S. Paul having escaped this fury by going to A­thens, and there considering in what a case he left his new Converts, both them and their Doctrine; them in a furious tumult, and their Doctrine under the reproach of trou­bling the world; out of a zeal, no doubt, and desire to remove that scandal from the Faith, of all things begs and beseecheth them to study to be quiet.

But how will this concern us? I wish we never had, and had not still the same occasi­on. It is not so long since, that we should for­get how our late troubles first brake in upon our quiet: VVe had unbelieving Jews then a­mongst us too, and some, as was thought, in the literal sence; who moved with envy of the times, took unto them likewise a com­pany of lewd fellows of the baser sort, set the City in an uproar; and we may remem­ber [Page 4]whose houses they beset (as the Jews did Jasons) none of the meanest, and cried out for that justice which themselves deserved. And there were Religions in the world then too many, to the scandal of the true, who led on, and blew up those tumults: And even now, though (God be thanked) they dare not be so bold to assault us in the streets, and beset our houses as they did then; yet still keep their quarters and leaguers within doors, with more secresie, but no less danger.

It will not therefore be unseasonable for us now, who have the same cause the Thessaloni­ans had, with the same affection the Apostle did, to beseech you to study to be quiet. VVe have all need of quiet, and quiet it seems hath need of study, and study hath need of Gods blessing, and therefore before we pro­ceed further, Let us pray, &c.

THe parts of the Text are two; VVhat we are to study, And that we are to study. First, VVhat? That ye study to be quiet. Quiet is here commended under the notion and quality of an Art or Science; for we are injoyned to study it. And in them we are to look, first, to the object, the nature and qua­lity [Page 5]of it; and then to the Principles and Theorems whereon the Art is grounded.

1. For the nature and kind of this Quiet first: For there be many things lay claim to this word, which are either unfit for our stu­dy, or improper to this place. As first, there is a quiet from all motion or action that is good or useful; to do nothing but eat and drink and sleep, or worse: Away with that quiet; it neither deserves our study, nor needs it. This is Negotiosa quies; we are command­ed in the words following to be busie as well as quiet; we are both to study to be quiet, and to do our own business.

2. There is a Quiet, not simply from all, but publick business; when men retire them­selves for private study or devotion. This may be allowed, and commended too, when the ne­cessities of their Countreys requires them not. But because publick imployments are seldome forced upon any, nor need to be; for no mans parts or abilities are so great, which may not truly, and certainly will be thought such as can very well be spared: They therefore who affect that privacy, may be secure from that necessity; they who have a will to be quiet for devotion or study, need not study to be [Page 6]quiet, the access to that is easie enough.

3. There is another Quiet, more com­mendable in its self, and needs our study too; To compose our unruly and disordered passi­ons and affections, which raise tumults and commotions within us, that will not suffer us to be at rest or quiet day or night. In the midst therefore of all the temptations of good, or storms of ill fortune to rest securely and con­tentedly, whatsoever happens to our private, is certainly an admirable temper, and well worthy our best care and study; and was that which S. Paul himself it seems studied, for he said he learned it; I have learned in what estate soever I am, Phil. 4.11. therewith to be content.

But the quiet we are here to study is not properly within us, but without us; it is not simply a quiet from motion, but commotion, a troubling of others.

4. And that I may contract my argument and bring it into as narrow a compass as may be, I shall not take in every of the disturb­ances of the quiet of others: No not that which is the greatest of all, and most con­trary to peace and quiet, Civil Wars and broils. The mischiefs of that we have learn­ed so lately to our cost, and so perfectly, [Page 7]that I hope we need not be set to study that now: when every good man was put to his study how to live, and when vile and con­temptible wretches ranted in plenty and power.

The horrid fruits and consequences of that great disturber of quiet, War, have induc'd some learned men, as well as others, to think all wars unlawful; I should have been much inclined to that opinion upon the strictest rules of Christianity, if War were not some­times necessary to Peace. A forraign War for that reason may be lawful, but a civil and domestick never. And the reason of this difference is, because for the composing of all quarrels that may arise between subjects, God hath by his Ordinance provided a reme­dy in Princes and Magistrates, from whom alone we are to seek for revenge or defence. But for such differences as arise between free Princes and States, because there is no Judg on earth, to whom they may have recourse for their relief, being destitute of the com­mon remedy, they may, without question, make use of that sword which God hath put into their hands to defend their subjects from the injuries as well of strangers as their own. [Page 8]Nor are they in this Judges in their own cause, which hath some appearance of injustice; for a forraign War, for defect of a competent Judg on Earth, is but an appeal to the su­preme Judg of Heaven and Earth. And when they go into the Field, it is but to plead their cause before God, with whom are the issues of VVar. Onely they had need be careful, that the cause they bring before him be good; For shall not the Judg of all the world do right? But the must leave this to Princes and their Ministers, who are the onely pro­per students of that quiet, which is disturbed by VVar, and come to that which may and must be the study of us all: That is, a quiet from troubles that arise from different judgments and perswasions in matters of Religion, which cause sects and divisions in it, though they break not out into an open VVar. Not that VVar be quite left out of the sectaries recko­ning. For though Civil VVars and rebelli­ons have their beginning for the most part from the ambition or discontent of a few, yet because the people, who are the necessary in­struments of that mischief, be not apt to serve the ambition of others, if it comes bare­faced to them, the mask of Religion is always [Page 9]put on, wherein all people are concerned, which makes it a common and popular in­terest. And therefore you shall scarce hear of a Rebellion of late times, in which Reli­gion did not carry the Colours at least, if not command in chief.

But I shall nevertheless at this time for­bear to make that any part of the Schisma­ticks charge, but treat them upon their own terms, that they are as great enemies to War as any that object it to them: Yet I must charge them all to be guilty of the breach of peace and quiet in the Church, and that not accidentally, which may sometimes bear ex­cuse, but necessarily; it is connatural and in­cident to the very nature of schism, which is a rent or division, so the word signifies. It is the worst disturbance that can be to any body, to be torn in pieces. It dissolves the bonds by which the parts are joyned toge­ther, especially that which unites them to the Head; for schisme in the Churches no­tion is properly a separation from the Head and authority, and is the same in the Church that Rebellion or Treason is in the State. Now as every disobedience to the King and the Laws is not Treason, though against the [Page 10]King, but the disclaiming the right and pow­er the King hath to govern, and the practice of such things, by which his Regalia and rights are usurpt by others, as to make War, to make Laws, to thrust Officers upon him, to order the Coin, these and of the like kind are one­ly Treason. So every error or disobedience in Religion makes not a schisme, but the dis­claiming the right and power the Church hath to govern them, and a usurpation of a right to themselves, to order and frame points of Belief, and Forms how to serve and wor­ship God, apart from the Church, for so went the style of the ancient Church for Schisme, altare contra altare, which in our modern dialect is a Conventicle against the Church. For though Schism be formally a separation from the Head, yet consequently it works upon the members; for that which was at first but difference of opinion, soon begets a disaffection, and from that grows to hatred and contempt, and so falls into the practice of such things as destroy the very being and power of Religion, which consists in the mutual offices of Charity; and though this mischief breaks not out into an actual War, yet is always accompanied with most [Page 11]unnatural and unchristian practises, as S. James long since observed, Jam. 3.16. Where envy and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work. Now to avoid all this, it will highly concern us to study to be quiet.

Having cleared the first Point, the Object of our study, Quiet, and wherein the sormalis ratio of it consists, and how it comes to be disturbed by Schism: The next Point is, to enquire into the Principles whereon we are to ground our study; for if there should be an errour or mistake in them, all our labour and study is lost, or worse; for an inveterate, grounded, studied errour is so much the hard­er to be reclaimed. It was no unreasonable demand therefore of the Philosopher, who asked a double reward for those Scholars that had been already entred into the study of Phi­losophy, because his pains would be double with them, to undoe first, and cast out those false prejudices which they had already lear­ned.

Now if it should happen, that they which are otherwise studious and desirous of peace, should not do the things that make for peace, as the Apostle requires,Rom. 14.10. our study will grow upon us, first to unlearn those false deceitfull [Page 12]principles of peace, before we enquire into the true: Of some of the chief of these there­fore I shall give you an account in the first place. It will conduce much to the peace of the Church, they say, First,

  • 1. If Religion were free, and all compulsory means forborne,
  • 2. If meer Errours in Judgment howsoever were not punished as crimes, which is not in the power of any to help.
  • 3. Or if that, yet (Thirdly) That omission of Forms and Ceremonies were not more severely and frequently punished, then notoriouus and scandalous crimes.
  • 4. If fewer Articles and Points of Religion were defined, it would make more room in the Church for those that dissent.
  • 5. Another is, If men of moderate Opinions were onely imployed in the Church.
  • 6. The last, and most importunate pre­tender to peace, is, Liberty of Conscience.

But that none of all these are things that make for peace, I shall shew with as much brevity as the matter is capable of; as first,

1. Not the forbearance of all compulsory means by punishments, which, they say, is repugnant to that freeness with which Religi­on [Page 13]should be entertained, and onely for­ces men to an hypocritical obedience to that which in their judgements they de­test.

Religion, I grant, should be free; it is no Religion which is not so: But it is as true, that every other act of vertue, and obedience to the Laws should be free likewise; but therefore not to punish them that transgress, were to proclaim a perpetual Jubile, and set open all prison doors: God would never have enjoyned the Magistrate to punish tempo­rally, nor himself threatned to punish eter­nally, if the fear of that did corrupt our obe­dience: For our Saviour in the Parable, when the guests came not to the banquet at his invitation,Luk. 14.23. commanded his servants to compel them to come in. And where they say, the fruit of that is but hypocrisie; Hypo­crites they are like enough to be, but from a worse cause, not from the punishment, but their own frailties, because they prefer their temporal safety before the eternal blessing which Christ hath promised to all that suffer for his sake and the truth. Secondly, It is true, that punishments reach not directly the inward man, nor do they teach or inform the [Page 14]Judgment, that is, they do not perfect the work; but are nevertheless a good beginning to it: For, Fear is the beginning of Wisdom, which Love must perfect. Though the Needle stayes not in the Garment, yet it must lead the Thred that makes it up. The Rod indeed doth not teach the child, yet scares him to his book where he may learn: So though punishments do not perfect and accomplish our duty, yet they set us to our studies, to consider that we do not rashly cast our selves upon danger, which otherwise possibly we would never think off, but run on whither our wild vain fancies and groundless perswa­sions led us: For Spes impunitatis est illecebra pec­candi. Punishments therefore are both justi­fied for the good they do, and are absolved from the evil they are pretended to do; and therefore wholly to forbear them in matters of Religion is no good principle whereon to ground the Churches peace

II The next is, That howsoever it be in other mat­ters of Religion, it would make much for the quiet of the Church, if Errours in Judgment were not punish­ed as crimes, because no man can be abler and wiser then God hath made him.

It is true, that an Errour, so long as it stays [Page 15]in the Understanding, and goes no further, is not properly a sin; for the Understanding is not agens liberum, but passive. In that the eye of the mind is as the eye of the body; if that be naturally short-sighted, it is no fault that it sees not so far as another: But if the weakness of the Understanding participate with the Will, which is agens liberum, and so the Errour comes within our power, then it may be properly a sin. This is the case of all that dissent in Sects; for though in specula­tion the Understanding is distinct from the Will, yet in practise they are seldome severed. For it is morally impossible, that after a man hath conceived an opinion, he should not be well pleased with it, and have a will as occasion is to defend and propagate it too. And when it is Voluntarium, no doubt but it is Peccatum, and when error grows to be a sin, I know no reason why it may not be pu­nished; for interest reipublicae peccata puniri. But for all that it is, they say, a great disturbance of quiet to be tied to assent to that we cannot know nor comprehend. That's a great mi­stake. I know there is much exception taken to the too punctual definitions of some mysteries of the faith, and particularly in the Creed [Page 16]commonly called by Athanasius, where there are many particulars which they cannot know nor comprehend. Whereas in truth it is not required of them, they are not bound to know them, but to believe them; for it is the mercy of God, that the defect of our knowledg may be supplyed by the knowledg of others; for to believe is to see with other mens eyes, as knowledg is with our own.

But may we safely trust others in that which so neerly concerns as a Creed? Yes sure, and it is as well the mercy, as the com­mand of God, that we should trust those that watch over our souls; yet still that must be to supply the defect of our knowledg, not o­therwise; for the Church is not Lord of our Faith, but helper of our Ignorance. It sup­plies the defect of our sight, it doth not put it out: for if a man knows the contrary, he is not bound to believe others; for if he can see with his own eyes, why shall he be tied to see with other mens?

But then we must distinguish betwixt not knowing the negative, and a positive know­ing the contrary: for if we refuse to believe meerly because we do not know or under­stand, we leave no place for Faith at all, which [Page 17]is the benefit to see by others. And for that positive knowledg which discharges us of be­lieving others, that we be not mistaken, it is not every conjectural or probable perswasion will do it, but certain knowledg: and when that is, we may safely learn from the Schools; Ubi non est formido contrarii, after diligent search and enquiry, when there remains no scruple, doubt, or fear of the contrary, when the un­derstanding is fixed, we are said to be cer­tain.

If this knowledge will serve to discharge us of believing others, every one that dissents will say he knows the contrary, yea, and if need be will swear to it too; for that's an expedient lately found out to obtain that liberty, That they may be admitted to swear they know the contrary to that which is commanded. Tru­ly, if they will say it, and think so too, whe­ther they swear it or no, I think we may safely absolve them from the guilt of dis­obdience: but that must be in foro Consci­entiae onely, and let them make the best use they can of that; yet in foro externo we can not; for there the Judge must give sentence according to his knowledge, and not accord­ing to the knowledg of the party, if he will do [Page 18]justice. And that course can be no good friend to Peace, which is an enemy to Justice.

III Though Errours may be punished, yet it troubles the quiet of many, that the omission of Forms and Ceremonies is more severely punished then some foul and scandalous crimes.

To this I answer, First, That they who object this, are not to be trusted with the bal­lance of sins, for we know how the Market went for them when they held the Scale: O­bedience to the King and the Laws, and ser­ving God according to them, were the great scandalous crimes.

2. Allowing it to be true as they say, That omission of Forms and Ceremonies is by the Church more frequently and severely punish­ed then greater faults. But how greater? It may be in their proper and natural guilt and obliquity, according to which sentence shall be given at the day of Judgment, and to death eternal. But our earthly Tribunals are not erected to anticipate the day of Judgment, to bring all sinners to trial for whatsoever they have committed in the flesh; and according to the proper measure of their guilt; but for a particular end and use; that people, while they live here in the world, and in society, [Page 19]may be kept in good order and quiet, from doing or receiving injuries. And to this end is the degree of their punishments commen­surate: Treason and Rebellion are more se­verely punished in the State then many other hainous crimes, because they destroy the very foundation of government and Society. And for the same reason, a schismatical disobedi­ence, though but in matters of Form and Ceremony, is pursued with more care and strictness, because it destroys the very end for which the power is given the Church to pu­nish, which is, the preservation of peace and unity.

For though the Pastors of the Church may and must by way of Instruction, the better to prepare us for our account at the great and ge­neral Judgment, give every sin the proper weight and measure of guilt, that is by way of Instruction: But by way of Correction the Church is bound up to certain causes, and if they keep not their bounds, they shall be sure to hear of a prohibition; and those Causes are especially such, for which the power is onely given, That the peaceable orderly Wor­ship and service of God be not disturbed.

For though they are ever telling us, it is [Page 20]for trifles, ceremonies, or indifferent things, it is but the same quarrel the Atheists have against God himself, for being so much of­fended for an Apple, a trifle which scarce any man that hath an Orchard would have been troubled with; and one Answer will serve both in effect. In that forbidden fruit, Gods authority in commanding, and Adams duty in obeying, were symbolically engaged for him and his, and there was venome enough in that to infect both. The Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, in like manner, though not in like degree, though in their opinion as incon­siderable as the paring of Adams apple, yet when discord and disobedience is found with them, there is poyson enough in that for the strongest antidote the Church doth at any time make use of. Let not that therefore mis-lead or disturb our Student of Quiet.

IV Nor that which, in the Fourth place, they look at as another Expedient for Peace, If fewer Points and Articles of Religion were defined, that so the Church-door may be wider open to let in those whose dissent now troubles the peace of the Church.

It is fit, I grant, the Church-door should stand always open, but for such as shall be fit [Page 21]to enter; for it would be a dangerous thing to set any door so wide open to let in an enemy upon us. But to what purpose would we have the Church-door so wide, when the Gate of Heaven is strait? why should they be taken in here, if they shall be turned back there? The Church is a City, as Jerusalem, a City that is at unity in it self; so it is a City too that hath gates and walls to shut our others.

He that came to a little City, where there was a great Gate, merrily warned the Citizens to take heed lest their City went not out at the Gate, may soberly be said to those that would have the Church door so wide to let in all Sects, to take heed lest the Church gets not out at the door: For where so many Religions are, it may be feared, that soon there will be none at all. If we be not, as the Apostle commands, built up in the same Faith, it will avail us little to be found within the same walls.

It is therefore a perverse remedy for peace, to abate or diminish the Articles and definitions of the Church, which were made of purpose to take away controversies; it would be a strange course to end controversies, to take away the definitions. Our Student must read his Books back ward, if he seek for peace from hence. We [Page 22]might as well say, all the world would be qui­et, if there were no Judges nor Laws to deter­mine differences.

V There is another Expedient for Peace, which I hear much spoken of, and highly set by as a great point of prudence, If men of moderate opini­ons were onely taken into imployment in the Church.

Moderation, I confess, is an excellent ver­tue, and much to be desired; Let your modera­tion be known unto all men, Phil. 4 5. But then it must be in a subject capable of it, wherein there are extremes and excesses to be moderated, as there is certainly in our passions, there it is proper. S. Paul gives it for a Les­son to all Students in Religion, Ephes. 4.3 [...]. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all ma­lice; and be ye kind one to another, and tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you. This no doubt is a very fit temper for quiet, and none more unfit, then angry, waspish, and domineering spirits.

Onely this caution is to be observed in leni­ty, That it be such as may win men into the Church, not such as may secure and encourage them to stay without. Yet lenity and gentleness is so good a Vertue, that I am loth to dast water upon it, or seem to temper it.

But for men of moderate opinions, I am at a loss to know what they should be; for moderation there cannot be, but between ex­treams: Now what extreams are there of o­pinions in a setled Church, unless the Church be one extream, and the Schismatick another? and then the man of moderate opinions is he that is part Church-man, and part Schisma­tick. I hope none are so unkind to their Mother the Church, to charge extremities upon her Doctrine or Laws. If there be any such, they are but Hybrides in Religion, and make a new sect in the Church, as pernici­ous to the peace of it as any of the rest. The truth is▪ moderate opinions are a Chimaeta, a phansie; either nothing, or somewhat worse then nothing: for possibly they may bestow that good word (Moderation) upon such as care little either to observe the Law them­selves, or to require it of others. If these be the men of moderate opinions, I wonder how they will be able to give account of their justice and fidelity to the trust com­mitted to them. Yes, they say, very well; It is rather prudence then injustice, to mitigate and sweeten the sharpness and rigour of the Law. But if the Law it self be too rigorous, [Page 24]in God's name let it be amended, and not left to the arbitrary power of others to do it, for that's known to be a remedy ten times worse then the disease. It is said in Physick, I know not how truly, that an error in the first concoction, is not mended in the se­cond: It is certainly true here, an error or excess in the Law, which is the first conco­ction of justice, will be ill cured afterward by an arbitrary partiality in the execution. I hope therefore no wise Student of quiet, will take such Moderators for the best Ministers of peace. But I leave them, and come to the most popular, and therefore most dangerous principle in the study of quiet; that is, Liberty of Conscience.

VI I have spoken to this point heretofore in this place; yet because of late our new Philo­sophical Divines, as well as others, press hard for it, knowing without a free Market, they cannot vend their new bold speculations; I shall resume the point again a little more largely, yet within the compass of these two particulars.

First, That there is a great deal of reason to restrain the Conscience, and Secondly, That there is no reason to give it liberty.

1. There is reason enough to restrain the Conscience, for the mischief it doth to Quiet when it is at liberty; for all the discord and divisions of the Church grow from hence, and that is a mischief we have reason to avoid.Rom. 16.17. Mark them (saith S. Paul) which cause divisions among you, and avoid them. There is reason then to mark that which causeth them to make di­visions, and that's the Conscience. It is no qui­etter in the Common-wealth, where it destroys the very Foundation of Government, and fru­strates the Ordinance of God for it in Princes and Magistrates; for what is left for them to do, if every one must follow the dictate of his own Conscience, that is, in plain terms, be bound onely to obey himself.

This is no slander to the pretenders of con­science; they will say as much themselves, if ye ask them. Ask the Schismatick why he joyns not with the congregation of Gods peo­ple? and he will tell you, His conscience will not suffer him. Ask the Rebel in the State, why he takes up Arms to the ruine of his King and Countrey? and his Conscience will an­swer for him, That it is Gods cause, and it is to do him service. Ask him again, why he doth not repent of the mischief done by it? [Page 26](for that they seldom do) and the Conscience will serve that turn too, It is Gods cause, and the conscience will not suffer them to repent of that. Thus we see, the Conscience, as it is used, doth not onely open a door to sin, but shuts the very door to mercy, that is Repentance.

If S. John said true, as no doubt he did, That there were many Antichrists, then possibly the Conscience thus improved may be one of them For, it sets it self in the Church above all that is called God, yea, and God himself too, in a sence; for his Laws are not to be obey­ed, unless the Conscience first allows them to be his: and thus all is resolved into the Conscience, as the dernier resort and last appeal.

While the King and the Pope are contending for Supremacy, the Conscience without scru­ple puts in for it against both, and takes it for her right to be supreme in all causes as well Ecclesiastical as Civil. There is great com­plaint in the world of domineering over the Conscience; but have we not rather cause to complain of the domineering of the Consci­ence? And if any list to see the Conscience acting all this, we need go no further then our late times, when the Conscience was loose for a while; one would think Hell had broke [Page 27]loose, so fill'd was on a sudden the Church with sects, and the Common-wealth with confusion. There is reason enough therefore to restrain the Conscience that acts all this, if we knew how.

The next thing I undertook to shew, is, That there is no reason why it should have liberty; and particularly, not that which gives the fair­est colour to it: Neither the duty we owe to Truth, which seems to have some right to liber­ty; nor that we owe to the Will of God, that nothing be done against the Conscience. For the first.

Truth is that (I confess) which no consider­ation of peace may warrant us to desert; for I could never be of that opinion, That Truth in smaller matters may for Peace sake be either denied or prejudiced. Magna est veritas etiam in minimis; in Gods name let it prevail over all. But then it must be Veritas in rebus, not Veritas in intellectu. For though Truth be defined to be a conformity of the understanding to the thing as it is indeed, yet takes the name from both; from the thing where Truth is originally, and from the understanding where it is onely represented. Truth in that first reference to the thing, admits no qualification; things [Page 28]must be taken as they are, be they never so small: but as the things come to be repre­sented to, and entertained by the Understand­ing, by reason of the mistakes and errours that may happen in that, though Truth it self, or Truth in the thing cannot, yet my apprehension of it may both yield to better, and may sometimes be waved for peace sake. To argue from Truth in the thing, to Truth in the appehension onely, is a fallacy against the Rules of Reasoning, we call it Petitio prin­cipii, or a begging of the question. If a Secta­ry should beg an alms, I wish he may have it; but he shall beg long ere it be granted him, that he hath the truth. How then can he pre­sume upon that truth, to which he hath no other title but his own perswasion, which can be no better then any mans else, who is as strongly perswaded to the contrary? And this is all the service that Truth can do the Consci­ence for liberty.

2. The second thing whereupon the Con­science especially bears it self so high, is the Will of God that nothing be done against the Conscience. That no doubt is a great offence, and made so by the greatest Authority: Yet the same God that requires our obedience to [Page 29]the Conscience, commands us likewise to o­bey our Parents, our Princes and Governours, and all these stand upon as good authority as the Conscience. If we cannot reconcile our obedience to that with our obedience to these, we may sin against God, when we do not sin against the Conscience. For though God hath erected a Tribunal in every mans breast, and there set the Conscience to be a Judge of all our actions, there be other Tribunals of Ju­stice besides, of Gods erection too, and to which he hath subjected the very Conscience. Ye must needs be subject (Rom. 13.) not onely for wrath, but also for conscience. And after both these, there is another Tribunal in Heaven, to which all Judges, Conscience and all must give an account one day. For the Conscience is no Court of Record; the Decrees and Acts passed there, will be no good evidence at that Bar; there all must be re-examined, and tried over again. Though I know nothing by my self, (saith S. Paul) yet am I not thereby justified. Though he could not charge his Conscience with any offence, he knew a further trial must pass upon him before he could be ab­solved. My Conscience indeed may be pleaded there in evidence against me as a Wit­ness [Page 30]to condemn me, but not as a Judge to absolve me. It is a great mistake in the power and operation of the Conscience: That it will condemn us, if we do any thing against it, the Text is clear for that; but that it will ab­solve us for that we do according to it, there is no Text, I am sure, for that We must then be tried by the Law, and not by the Conscience: For how the proceedings will be at that Bar, we have a record, Matth. 25.31. When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him; Then shall be sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be ga­thered all nations. When the Court was set, the Charge was given to those on the left hand; I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was athirst, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye cloathed me not; sick and in prison, and ye visited me not.

To this Charge the Conscience (no doubt confidently enough) pleaded Not guilty; Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Their Conscience could accuse them of none of these things; for all that, the Sentence went against them upon a point of Law and Equity; In that ye did it not [Page 31]to these (saith the Judge) ye did it not to me. And for this they were condemned to eternal punishment.

If they that stand so much upon their con­sciences did seriously consider this, they would find as little cause to desire that liberty, as there is to grant it, seeing it stands them in so little stead when they have most need of it; for when they think their conscience shall answer for them, they must then answer for their conscience, and upon trial, the con­science may prove the great offender. Thus have I hitherto given you an account of some of the vulgar mistaken principles of Quiet, which our Student is first to unlearn; which are all but the patching up of a false deceitful peace, condemned in the Politicks under the name of a Syncretismus, when all the Factions in Crete joyn'd together in a common danger, which lasted no longer then the cause of it: like the bonds of a hard. Frost, that binds Earth and Water, Sticks and Stones all to­gether, till the Sun comes to shine upon them, and then they all presently return to their proper place and nature again.

But I fear I have run out all my time almost in these mistaken ways of peace: I presume [Page 32]it will be a greater offence to leave you here now, then to beg a little more time to set you in the right way, though I shall not go beyond the office of a Mercury, to point the hand where it lies.

There is the Kings high-way to peace, and the Students private way, and both good in their kind. With the Kings way I shall not meddle, as being fitter matter for our thank­fulness then instruction, who hath already paved the way for us by wholsom Laws for that purpose. But because oft times Vitia sunt remediis fortiora, the compulsory way by Law, though always necessary, is not always ef­fectual; to the Kings way we must add the Students also: That every one in his parti­cular makes it his care and business to contri­bute to it, that it be an artificial studied peace, to which not Fear onely, but Conscience of Duty and Religion obligeth us.

Now every good Student of any Science searches into the true and proper cause of things; for, Scire est per causas cognoscere. If the cause of all division in the Church, be differing in judgment, nothing can cure that but a consent. S. Paul therefore prescribes that for the remedy, 1 Cor. 5.10. That there [Page 33]be no divisions among you; how may that be helped? it follows, But that ye be perfectly joyn­ed together in the same mind, and in the same judg­ment. This is the true Apostolical Principle, whereon we are to ground our Study of Qui­et: For all the fine things and sentences that are spoken for peace and quiet, will little move those that are, and may very well be confident, they ought not howsoever have peace with Sin, or Error. Unless therefore we can be first perswaded that we ought not to charge the Church with either, we do no­thing for Peace. This I confess is the great difficulty, yet if this be not done, there can be no hope of Peace.

And to do this, I shall not send our Stu­dent to the Polemick School, to convince him out of speculative Principles of Reason and Divinity; for to that study, some have not capacity, others not leisure: I shall one­ly commend to him some practical Princi­ples of Religion, obvious to all, and denied by none, that out of them he may learn not to dissent from, or condemn the Church of Errour.

To prevent the passing that sentence, let the Student

  • 1. Study himself, his own con­dition.
  • [Page 34]2. Let him study the Church against which he passeth sentence.
  • 3. Let him study the nature and quality of the things where­upon judgement is given.
  • 4. Let him con­sider well the manner of proceeding in judgement.

In all which we shall find some known Principle of Religion to di­rect us.

1. First, In the study of our selves, and our own condition: Religion teacheth us to have an humble, lowly, mean opinion of our selves; and not without cause, whether we respect our Understandings, or our Af­fections: Our Understandings are naturally weak, imperfect, short-sighted, we know but in part, the best of us; and our Affections too are disloyal to our Understandings, The heart of man, saith the Prophet, is deceitfull a­bove all things. We have little reason then to trust our selves much in either. He that is truly conscious of his own weakness or lame­ness, will be content to be supported by others. If we study this point well, our own infirmi­ties, we should learn more willingly to assent to, and take support from the Church.

Especially, if in the second place, we study that too whose Governors Religion likewise [Page 35]teaches us to obey, For they watch over our souls, Heb. 13.17. If it be a good point of Religi­on, in lowliness of mind to esteem others better then our selves, Phil. 2.3. it is Religion and Rea­son both, to think our Governors wiser too; for there is a presumption always in favour of them. S. Paul gives it for a rule to Timothy, Not to receive an accusation against an Elder, 1 Tim. 5.19. but before two or three witnesses, because it is to be presum'd on the part of Age and Authority, to know more, and offend less. But when it comes to be the whole Eldership, all our Governors joyntly, the presumption is so much the stronger. If we add this study to the former, how little reason we have to trust our selves, and how much we have to trust our Governors, we will not rashly pass sen­tence against them, if we have either Reason or Religion in us.

3. And yet we have more work for our Student; Let him, in the third place, consi­der the nature and quality of the things where­upon judgement is given, how apt they are to deceive us. Truth is many times so like an Errour, and Errour comes so near to Truth, that he had need be carefull and circumspect that shall distinguish them in some cases. And [Page 36]in others again, Truth lies hid under many folds, especially ambiguity of words, the com­mon cheat of all Students, who are more of­ten deceiv'd into opinions then convinc'd. It is not strange to see so many go astray from the Church, to whom the things of it are re­presented under the covert of false names, when they hear the Government of it called Tyran­ny; obedience, slavery; contempt, courage; licence, liberty; frenzy, zeal; order, superstition. How easily thus may simple people mistake their way, and fall into the pit that's cover'd over with shadows and false names of things? When he hath studied this point well,

4. Let him, in the fourth place, be well advised in what manner he proceeds in judg­ment, and upon what evidence: For, allow­ing the Conscience to be a Judge, it must not trespass upon the Rules of good Judicature, as, both sides must be heard impartially, which is seldom done; the Conscience must not be mis-led no more then other Judges, by pre­judice, passion, or favour; for what can that judgment be worth which is perverted by any of these. Now if we examine how most men come to pass sentence against the Church, we shall finde it to be upon very slight evi­dence: [Page 37]It may be their Education, they have been always brought up that way; for Sects commonly run in a blood, in a family: Or they have been so taught, they say, by good men; that indeed is the sum and upshot of the Faith of most that dissent, the credit given to some weak, private, ignorant Instructer, whose person they have in admitation, with­out any great cause, God knows; whereas their private judgments, because they are par­ties, ought always to be supected, if we be wise; and because against their Governours, to be contemn'd, if we be obedient.

All these well studied, may make for peace, when possibly Arguments, and Disputes, and Punishments too will not do it. And yet if still none of these will make our Student quiet,

Let him, in the last place, make trial of a common remedy that prevails in all cases of difficulty: Let him but study his own secu­rity, the safest course, and he shall finde that better provided for in the Churches judgment, then in his own; for, if he should erre in following the Church, or his Governors, for that is possible, the greatest part of that guilt, some say all, I say onely the greatest part, [Page 38]must lie at their door that command that which is unlawfull: But if they should erre in following their own judgment, or a Judge of their own choosing, for that makes it their own too, and that is more then possible, all the blame and guilt then must of necessity and inexcusably fall upon themselves. Up­on these principles, setting aside all those that may convince our judgments in particulars, from these alone, I say, we see how safe, how prudent, how religious a thing it is to sub­mit our private judgments to the publick, for the peace of the Church.

It remains onely now, that we imploy our best endeavour and study for it, which is the second part of the Text, and the last thing to be considered,

That ye study.

STudy is an earnest intention of the mind, by diligent search and enquiry. Wishing well to Quiet, or speaking well of it, will not serve; the greatest disturbers of Peace will do that many times, give it a good word, when they will not part with a phansie for it. And yet Quiet is a thing that requires care and pains somewhat more then ordina­ry: For when S. Peter likewise speaks of [Page 39]peace, it is in words of the same import, Seek peace, and ensue it. If it be hidden,1 Pet. 3.11 seek it out; if it flies from you, pursue after it. It is a busie thing to be quiet. The word here translated, Study, is in the Original [...] Be ambitious of it; that is, pursue and study it as you would do Honour and Prefer­ment: And that, I think, is as much as can be desired; and yet no more then Quiet both deserves and needs.

First, It deserves it. For though quiet be rather Status vitae, then Virtus; it is no Ver­tue it self, yet the best soil to plant Vertue in The fruits of righteousness are sown in peace, Jam. 3.18. So are all the fruits of Industry; Learn­ing, Arts, Sciences, Traffick, Commerce, flourish most in the calm temperate clime; but in troubles and dissentions every good thing goes backward, onely mischief thrives It fares with troubled times, as in troubled waters; all the filth, dirt and mire in the bottom gets then up to the top. We saw as much when our waters were lately troubled; what a deal of filth, dirt and mire, what sor­did stuff was then got up to the top and high­est place of rule and command? So much are we the more oblig'd to study that peace [Page 40]and quiet, which hath sunk them to their proper place again, the bottom: And there let them lie, if you would be quiet.

2. As it deserves therefore our study, so it needs it too; for it is a difficult thing to be quiet, the way to it lies through so many parts and duties of Religion, and not the ea­siest of them neither: To deny our selves, [...] humility and lowliness of mind to ac­knowledge our own weakness and frailty, to submit our judgments to others, as better and wiser then our selves; to subdue our pas­sions and lusts, from whence the Apostle ob­serves Wars and Contentions to come, from our Lusts; and to all these the Flesh hath natu­rally a reluctance. Our Student therefore hath need to contend with himself to be at peace with others.

S. Paul was at Athens when he wrote this Epistle, a famous University for the study of all liberal Arts and Sciences. I cannot say he had these in his thought, when he com­mended this study to the Thessalonians, as an Art of more use then any he found at Athens: Yet when I see him so passionately earnest for it, to beseech them to study, we have reason to value it as an Art well worthy of [Page 41]Schools, and Professors, and Students. And they would make a Royal Society, whereof the King himself is Master, who is our Peace-maker by office, and by a care equal to that, hath by Law provided,1 Tim. 2.2. that under Him we may live a peaceable and quiet life in all godliness and honesty. He hath little sense of Honour, that will not enter himself a Student under that conduct. The very word for Study, [...], carries Honour in it.

And yet I can tell them of a higher School for it then this, and wherein Kings them­selves are content to be Students. Our Lord Christ, the great Mediator of our eternal peace with Heaven, would not be brought into the world without a Song of Peace on Earth, by Angels: And when he left the World, bequeathed it as a Legacy after him, My peace I leave with you. S. Joh. 14.27. And when he comes again to judge the world, we have reason to look that he will call us to a reckoning how we use his Legacy. And so he will too; for he is that Lord, Matth. 24. that when he came and found some smiting their fellow-servants, commanded them to be cut asun­der, and have their portion with hypocrites: A punishment well fitted to the offence; [Page 42]there was a schisme in the fault, and there shall be another schisme in the punishment; they who sundred and divided from their Brethren, should themselves be cut asunder, and have their portion with hypocrites. But for the Peace-makers, when he comes, he will provide better company, for they shall be called the Children of God. Matth. 5.9. Blessed are they then whom the Lord when he comes shall finde at their studies of that Quiet which gives them so fair a Title to Eternal Rest and Peace in Heaven with Christ, and all the Children of God.


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