Three Choice and Pro …

Three Choice and Profitable SERMONS Upon Severall TEXTS of SCRIPTURE; VIZ. JER. 30.17. JOHN 14.3. HEB. 8.5.

By that Reverend Servant of Christ, MR. JOHN NORTON Late Teacher of the Church of Christ at Boston in N.E.

  • The First of them being the LAST SERMON which he Preached at the Court of Election at Boston.
  • The Second was the LAST which he Preached on the Lords-Day.
  • The Third was the LAST which he Preached on his Weekly-Lecture-Day.

WHEREIN (Beside many other excellent and seasonable Truths) is shewed, the Lords Soveraignty over, and Care for his Church and People, in order to both their Militant and Triumphant condition; and their Fidelity and good affection towards himself.

2 Sam. 23.1.

Now these be the LAST words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the Anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet Psalmist of Israel.

Deut. 31.29.

For I know, that after my death ye will utterly corrupt your selves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you: and evil will befall you in the latter days, &c.

Ezra 3 3.

And they set the Altar upon his Bases; for fear was upon them, because of the people of those Countries.

Zech. 1.5, 6.

Your fathers, where are they? and the Prophets, do they live for ever? but my words and my statutes which I commanded my servants the Prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of Hosts thought to do unto us, according to our wayes, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

CAMBRIDGE: Printed by S.G. and M.I. for Hezekiah Ʋsher of Boston. 1664.

JOHANNES NORTONUS. ANAGR. NONNE IS HONORATƲS?

NOnne is Honoratus? Deus ipse coronat honore
Servum, (cum periit) non pereunte, suum.
Abstulit Enôchum translatio mira, sed ejus
In Coelis decorat pulchra Corona Caput.
Qui nobis, (subito raptus) miser esse videtur
(Forsitan, Ignaris) vivit at us (que) Deo.
Vivit, & in Coelis cumulatus honoribus amplis
Regnat in aeternum (sic ait ipse Deus.)
Mors inopina potest Jobi cito perdere Natos,
Sors quibus in superis inviolata datur.
Multa priùs passi Moses Aaron (que) fuere,
Tempus & ante suum jussus uter (que) mori.
Quid si non licuit Canaanem visere? Tanto
Celsior in Coelis cessit utri (que) locus.
Curribus ignitis Elias raptus; at illis
Ad summi vehitur culmina summa poli.
Esto. Sit in Bello Josias victus, & ictus,
Mortuus in pace est non pereunte tamen.
Funera non unquam Mage lamentanda Sioni,
Josiae nunquàm Gloria major erat.
Quem deflent homines, Deus optimus auget honore
His dolor, ast illi Gloria summa fuit.
Si Caput amisit (gladio resecante) Iohannes,
Ejus honor, (Christo judice) quantus erat!
Sit Stephanus lapidum (licet) obrutus ictibus, Illum
Christus in amplexut traxerat inde suos.
[Page] Christus & ipse fuit quàm dirâ morte peremptus
At sequitur tantam Gloria quanta Crucem!
Sic Deus ut Christum, sic Christus honore Coronat
Eximio, quibus est Gloria chara Dei.
Qualis erat noster (syncero corde) Iohannes
Cui, nisi quae Christi, chara fuere nihil.
Hoc (scio) nemo negat, nisi veri Testis & aequi
Non velit esse (Bonos Consule, sive malos.)
Pro Samuele olim contestabantur & omneis
(Hunc qui pro meritis vix coluere suis)
Vel siquis forsan magis invidet Ejus honori,
Hinc cumulus crescet major honoris ei.
Anagr. 2.
JESƲ! ANNON THRONOS?
JOHANNES NORTONIUS.
Anagr. 3.
ANNON JESƲ HONOR SIT?
ANnon dandus honor sit ab omnibus omnis Jesu?
Est quibus in Jesu sanguine parta salus?
ENGLISH.
OH Iesu! hast not thou prepared Thrones
For us thy poor and ill deserving ones?
How should we then to Thee all Honour give,
And to thy Name, who in the Heav'ns dost live,
And there preparest Mansions for thine,
Where they may all in endless Glory shine?

To the same purpose.
JOHN NORTON. Anagr. INTO HONNOR.

FRom Honour into Honour go (the Lord thus calling thee)
To higher Honour, then there could on Earth obtained bee.
Heav'n is the Seat of Honour for those whom he Crowns with Grace;
For the most honourable Crowns, Heav'n is the onely place.
By men that are most ignorant of Gods revealed Will,
Thou may'st be miserable thought; for so they construe still
(Like bruitish ones) the minde of God if Saints die in a swoon,
As if their Sun, all bright before, Were now gone down at Noon.
As if their case were now by farre the more to be deplor'd,
As that which doth but little hope (or none) of Bliss afford.
Yea, holy Job his Friends to this did too-too much incline,
[That sudden Changes, such us his, do argue Wrath divine.]
But when the Saints do perish thus (as foolish men conceive)
That is the time, and means whereby more Honour they receive,
As being Crown'd with Royal Crowns which are at Gods right hand.
Like Joseph from his Dungeon rais'd by the Kings Command.
'Twas a translation marvellous which did Enoch remove
From out this sinful world, to be crown'd in the Heav'ns above,
Where now he lives, & reigns, with heaps of highest honour fill'd,
All his Predictions to be from time to time fulfill'd.
An unegnected death did saize on Jobs posteritie,
But in the Heiv'ns a glorious Lot for them prepar'd did lie.
Moses and Aaron when as they had suffer'd much, were bid
As 't were, before their time to die (as in their Mounts they did)
What if the Land of Canaan they might not visit? yet
A place more glorious in the Heav'ns they, both of them, did get.
In flaming-fiery-Charet wrapt from earth Elijah was,
And by the same convey'd he was unto his bliss-ful place.
Be it that good Josiah were cut off with suddain stroke,
He dy'd in peace, and unto rest eternal was he toke.
No funeral to Sion was as his so lamentable,
Yet was his death as well as life to him most honourable.
Theirs was the griefe, the joy was his., God highly honourd him,
Although his death to carnal eyes might miserable seem.
The cursed executioner cut off John Baptist's head,
But how did Jesus honour him both when alive, and dead.
The Crowned Martyr holy Stephen in cruel wise was ston'd,
But by his blessed Saviour's most sweet imbraces own'd.
Yea, Christ himself, Gods own dear Son, whose death more woeful was
Yet from his cross how soon advanc'd to that most glorious place!
So God his Christ, with honour crown'd; So Christ doth honour his,
To whom Gods Honour, and his Christ's, most dear and precious is.
And such an one our Norton was whose death we so lament,
Whose whole desire was upon Christ and on his glory bent
None can deny it good nor bad, like as to Samuel
They all were forced to confess he had done all things well.
If any one should have an heart. with envy fill'd so much
As unto him his honour due, malignantly to grutch
[Page] Yet this will adde unto the weight of his most glorious Crown,
And both in sight of God and men increase his high renown.
Tis true: he was a man, and none himself abhorred more;
But none did more the Lords free grace in Jesus Christ adore.
Nothing but this, to know, or preach, or share in did he wish.
This was on Earth, as 'tis in Heav'n his blessed Paradice.
To Honour Christ, he was content as well by Sea, as Land,
His Life to venture, yea his. ALL, was All at Christ's Command.
The care of all His Churches-dear lay heavy on his heart,
As he did ever, but at last, most fully it impart.
His life was nothing but of death a daily meditation,
And to his happy end, at last, a solemn preparation.
He was a man (if any were) that loved truth, and peace,
Which to promote, in every kinde he ne're at all did cease.
An Orthodox Divine he was (his writings all do show,)
Both Englands, Holland, all the World, or do or may it know.
His Books do Antichrist confute with all his viperous brood,
Especially where they eclipse the merits of Christs blood.
Church-holy-order he maintain'd against Morellianisme,
Decrying every sect, but most abhorring Quakerisme.
His last both words, and works (like Davids) were the best
And as his death more neer approach'd more lively then the rest.
Nothing, but things at Gods right hand, and heavenly Mansions
Was in his thoughts, at home, abroad, breath'd in's expressions.
Ipswich was happy, Boston more, (if it we had but known)
Whom two such Johns successively God gave to be their own.
But John and Paul, so much admir'd (and most deservedly)
Must be content to be abas'd by some, before they dy:
And being dead, it will appeare such Prophets once we had,
When God hath once abased us with changes very sad.
The Lord, if his good pleasure be, our miseries prevent,
And of our great unthankfulness, grant that we may repent.
Then will the Lord this Widow-Church, that widows house relieve,
And make us all rejoyce again, whom now he makes to grieve.
We griev'd him first, and just it was that he should grieve our hearts,
Though when at low'st we are, tis far beneath our just deserts.
I speak of all New-England, but chiefly of Boston Church,
Oh! let us all impartially our wayes and spirits search;
And say as the Disciples did, Lord, is it I? is't I?
And thou, my soule, beyond the rest It to thy self applie.
Tis thou hast sinned: were there none, but thy unworthiness
Well might the Lord both thee, and all, because of thee, distress.
When such green trees, as were those Johns Gods hand thus spareth not,
Of such a dry and withered one Lord what will be the lot?
However we must bless thy name (what ere of us become)
That thou takes up such fruitful ones to thine eternal home.
Oh! that their rare Examples wee to follow had the grace!
That thou may'st count us worthy once of that most glorious place.
As for his Mary, let her say, [Rabboni] unto him,
Who calls her [Mary] by her Name, and did her Soul redeem.
Iohn Wilson Sen.

SION the Out-cast healed of her Wounds.
BEING THE FIRST SERMON: AND Preached at the COURT of ELECTION, MAY XXII. 1661.

Jerem. 30.17.

For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Out-cast, saying, This is Sion, whom no man seeketh after.

THis Text may be called A Divine Plaister for a Sin­sick Out-cast: in other words it is Gods Cure of Sion, when incurably Wounded. You have here the Patient described from divers Adjuncts: some Inherent, a­biding in the Patient; some Extrinsecal, relating to the Patient. That which is Abiding, is that she is an Out-cast, Wounded, and Sick: That which is Extrinsecal, relateth either to the Specta­tors, or to the Physician. To the Beholders: and there you have their disaffection, viz. They called thee an Out-cast, saying, &c. To the Physician: and there you have his affection, viz. I will restore health to thee, and will heal thee of thy wounds: which Af­fection is amplified, 1. From the Cause, Because they called thee an Out-cast, therefore will I heal thee. 2. From the Infallibility of it, upon the testimony of this Physician; Thus saith the Lord. They say, Thou art an Out-cast: the Lord saith, He will restore her.

[Page 2] To open the words briefly. The Patient, Here you finde, 1. An [Out-cast]. It doth immediately look to the good Figs that were in Babylon, and they were in a manner voluntary Exiles, they yielded themselves to go: and such an Out-cast is here meant, as is not onely cast out of the Country, but out of the hearts and affections of others. Several Comparisons there are, that set forth this Out-cast; as, that of a menstruous woman, Lam. 1.17. of the person cast out of the Synagogue, Ezra 10 8. Ioh. 9 22. and that of the Leper, 2 Chron. 26.21. he dwells in an house apart; and as Iephthah, thrust and expelled out of his Fathers house; cast out of doors, and out of hearts and esteem. 2. But not onely is Sion an Out-cast, but an Out-cast [Wounded] and it is Laesio ad mortem, a deadly wound; and an incurable wound, Ier. 30.12. i. e. according to man: And not a green Wound, but an Ulcer, a festered Wound and Sore; and no wonder then she is also sick. And if we look to the Extrinsecal Adjunct, which accom­pany this Patient, there is that which relates unto

  • 1. The Beholders: They say [This is Sion, whom no man seek­eth after.] They did reproach her, and there was no denial of it; Is not this Sion! 'tis spoken in way of derision: the sarcasm of an Enemy. Sion was a word of honour, but they here relate to the Notation of the Hebrew word, from [...] Siccitas, as being a day, withered, sapless thing; a barren, and forsaken, and undesirable place and society. And further [Whom no man seek­eth after] Neither this sort of men, nor that sort of men; none hath any care of her welfare.
  • 2. A second kinde of Extrinsecal Adjuncts relate unto the Physician; [Therefore I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee] Now God will apply a sanative Cataplasm, an healing Pla ster: This is Repentance, and Restitution, Ier. 31.9. Re­pentance, and their Return, make up the sanative Plaister. In respect of her self, there was need of Repentance; in respect of the adversary, there was need of Reduction. And the Cause of it, viz. [Because they called thee an Out-cast] as who should say, I am sensible of all thy case, and the opprobrie thou hast suffered, therefore will I restore thee. But shall not this fail? [Page 3]No, Jehovah's word is engaged for it, Thus saith the Lord.

Doct. When Sion for its sin is become an Out-cast (a subject of contempt) God takes occasion from her Calamity to give her Repentance, that so he may bring upon her the Blessing of his own People.

I will not more then intimate to you the Paradoxes that the Text doth abound with. Sion, and acknowledged, and yet no man careth for her. A People, none neglected like them; a People, none beloved like them: Neglected, if you look at men; beloved, if you look at God. A People, whose very adversaries are instrumental to their prosperity. These are such Riddles, as we may truely say Gods grace onely makes. A strange occasion may that seem to be, which God takes for the healing of his People in Isa. 57.17, 18. I have seen his wayes (i. e. his froward­ness and covetousness) and will heal him. Ezek. 11.15, 16, 17. Thy brethren, even thy brethren, &c. they say, Get ye farre from the Lord, unto us is the land given in possession: Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord, although I have cast them farre off, &c. though I have scattered them, &c. yet will I be a little Sanctuary unto them— I will gather you, &c. Zech. 3.2. The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem: Is not this a brand pluckt out of the fire? They had been in the Furnace long enough. As the Lord dealeth thus with his people, so Davia maketh use of the like in his personal case, 2 Sam. 16.12. It may be the Lord will look upon mine affliction, and requite me good, &c. bless me, because of his cursing.

The Reasons of the point, are:

Reas. 1. From the Sympathy that there is between the Head and the Members. Christ is sensible of the sufferings of his Out­cast. It is true, that the Out-cast doth suffer; it is a greater truth, that the God of the Out-cast suffereth. Isa. 63.9. In all their affliction, he was afflicted: it relateth to Israel in Egypt. Zech. 2.8. He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his Eye: it relateth to the good Figs in exile. It is no little ease that our sorrows [Page 4]touch Christ, according to Heb. 4.15. We have not an high Priest that cannot be touched, &c. What though the Out-cast suffereth for sin, yet he hath a sufferer with him: and in this respect what Paul said to his Corinthians, 2 Cor. 2.2. that doth Christ say to his Out-cast, If I make you sorry, who is he that maketh me glad, but the same that are made sorry by me?

Reas. 2. Because that Gods Name suffereth, while his Out­casts do thus suffer. Exod. 32.12. if God should destroy Israel, the Egyptians will say, For mischief hath he brought them, &c. Deut. 32.27. Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this. You remember the argu­ment which Ioshua useth, Chap. 7, 8, 9. When Israel falleth before the enemy, what wilt thou do to thy great Name? The destruction of Israel would raise a scandal to Religion, and the God of Israel.

Reas. 3. To capacitate the Out-cast to receive the benediction of a Father, the actual blessing of his People. To be Gods peo­ple, is one thing; but to be made meet to receive the blessing of his people, is another thing. Zech. 3.2. The Lord, even the Lord that hath chosen Ierusalem, &c. God in election hath made them his people, and determined to bless them: 'tis this that doth pluck the brand out of the fire. Ier. 24.5, 6, 7. I will set mine eyes upon them for good, I will bring them again, I will build them, I will give them an heart to know me, &c. Ier. 30.22. & 31.33. I will be their God, and they shall be my people: and vers. 9. Ye shall come with weep­ing and supplications, &c. [Ye shall come] there is their Return; [with weeping and supplications] there is their Repentance: and the Lord hath undertaken for it; I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim (as bad as he is) is my first-born. The cause of their being his people, a penitent people, a blessed people, is his fatherly relation to them, Ier. 32.38, 39. Ier. 30.7. Alas, it is the time of Iacobs trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Ʋse 1. Instruction 1. Hence learn, that Sion is subject to sad Apostacy, or defections. Ier. 2.5, 13, 21. I planted thee a noble vine. We must acknowledge, God planted us, I may say, a Scrip­ture vine, and, if so, a noble vine: but you see a generous vine [Page 5]subject to be a degenerate vine. Exod. 32.7, 8. They turned aside quickly. But as the Oratour solemnizing a sad funeral, desired to have learned Mortality from another Instance, rather then that of Scaliger; so I would God would learn us this truth from some other instances, rather then from these Churches. I may men­tion notwithstanding, the Polititians observation concerning the stage of action usually changed in thirty years; because the persons that make the major vote, are usually changed, and gone by that time. Something about that time, hath our time been in this land, now perhaps the major vote is changed; you may say in such and such a case many a time, and had such been alive, these actions, and those, in Church or Court, would not have been so carried on. But I will not dwell here. I wish we might learn such in­stances from some other example, and not from our selves.

Instr. 2. Sions Apostacy brings upon Sion sad Calamity. 'Tis a truth, that Israel embraceth not God, til God first embrace Israel: 'tis also a truth, that God forsaketh not Israel, till Israel first for­sake him. Ier. 5.25. If good things be withheld from us, Iniquity is the cause. Lam. 3.39. if evil things be brought upon us, the cause is sin. There was a time when Solomon was at rest, 1 Kings 5.4. There was no adversary, nor evil occurrent; there was a time (again) when Solomon had many adversaries, 1 King. 11.14, 23, 26. Solomon hath rest, while he is in his integrity; Solomon hath ad­versaries, that was the time of his Apostacy. Is there no dispensa­tion but Iudah must serve Shishak? 2 Chron. 12.8. what is the reason thereof? it is because they would not subject themselves to the yoke of God: not the power of the Egyptians, but their non-subjection to God, made them subjects to Shishak. Ier. 14.11. & 7.16. Ieremiah, pray not for them, I will not hear, saith the Lord: there is no dispensation, Ier. 27.12. non-subjection to the yoke of Christ, subjected Iudah to the yoke of Babylon. Abuse of Liberty, is that which forfeiteth the use of liberty.

Instr. 3. Sions Maladie is not cureable with Calamity, Isai. 4.8.10. would not one think a furnace should cure the outcast? they are so good, that they are called the good figs, and yet so bad, as that seventy years captivity would not make them good enough [Page 6]for the end. Those that were seventy years in the furnace do cry out, Lord, why hast thou hardned our hearts from thy fear? Isai, 63.17. you that think you have a new man, do not forget that you have within you also an old man, and calamity will not re­move it. The hard-heartedness of good people is very strange. Heb. 3.8. Harden not your hearts: Oh! provoke him not as at Meribah! what doth Paul cry out against, and so David, and Moses? Meribah, Meribah! this, this lyeth at the hearts of such, the inseparable, the insuperable, invincible non-subjection of Israel to the wayes of God, this is not cureable with calamity.

Instr. 4. Though Sions malady be such, as that, lookt at in it self, it cannot be cured, yet lookt at in Gods promise, and it cannot want a cure. Look upon it in it self, and it seems incurable, look't at in the Physician, and it cannot but be cured. Ieremiah looking at his sufferings, he will speak no more; but looking at Gods promise, and it is as fire in his bones, he cannot but speak. 2 King. 8.10. there is a quaerie put to the Prophet, whether Benhadad shall live; the prophet answers, He may certainly recover, howbeit, the Lord hath shewed me, he shall surely dye; i. e. the disease was not such but he might have recovered: so may I by allusion invert and say, Sions disease is incurable, but yet she shall certainly recover. Look at Sion in the glass of Providence, and she is as a woman forsaken, and grieved in spirit, Isai. 54.5, 6. & 66.4. hus­bandless, as to reproach; and yet at the same time thy Maker is thy husband: if we look at Sion in the glass of the Promise, this Out­cast is both Marah, and Hephzibah, both a Widow, and Beulah. Look at the Out-casts tears, as an effect of mans not caring for her, but as an occasion, and demonstration of Gods care for her, Psal. 126.5, 6. that Sion sheddeth tears, denominateth her Marah; that Sions tears are seed, denominateth her Hephzibah. Psal. 56 8. that tears fall from Davids cheeks, this is matter of sorrow; that Davids tears fall into Gods bottle, is matter of joy.

Instr. 5. Gods touching an impenitent Out-cast with repen­tance, is a signal of Gods having mercy thereon. Sions recovery by repentance from her backsliding, is an effect of grace, and a fore-runner of the set time of Stons mercy, Sions impenitency, is [Page 7]the life and strength of Sions (of the Out-casts) calamity. Re­pentance doth break the yoke of Babylon; Impenitency doth lay on the yoke of Babylon. You may truly say, the date of the Out­casts captivity, and the date of their impenitency, is the same. The enemy is never harder-hearted to Sion, then when Sion is hard­hearted to her God. Their affliction was not the bardness of the Babylonians hearts, but, Lord, why hast thou hardned our hearts? Isai 63.17. when the Out-casts return to Ston, they shall goe weep­ing with their faces thitherward, Ier. 50.4, 5.

Ʋse 2. Exhortation. The text openeth my mouth to call upon Gods Outcasts to accept of Gods plaister. God proposeth to us Remedy, or Calamity: we have our option, whether that of the plaister, or of the sore; make we our choice. If we accept the plaister, the time of mercy, even the set time is come; if you do not accept it, you may look at it as the beginning of sorrow. That we are Out-casts, this doth speak us sick; but our not accept­ing the remedy, speaks our sickness incurable. To be Out-casts, this argues that we are cast off by men; but our not accepting the remedy, speaketh us cast off by God: the condition of an Out­cast supposeth us sinners; but the rejection of the remedy doth say that we are castawayes: for an Out-cast to need a medicine, is common to good and bad; to accept it, is proper to the good.

Let us then accept the Lords Plaister. As an Ingredient there­to, I shall propose this Direction; viz.

1. Learn we to judge aright of Liberty; Scripture-liberty. Gal. 5.1. Paul biddeth us stand fast in our liberty: and those ac­cursed ones he looks unto, Chap. 1. who also pleaded for liberty, and whom the Assertors of true Liberty should accordingly pro­nounce accursed. Blessed men plead for liberty, and cursed men plead for liberty. The Gnostick in 2 Pet. 2.19. doth plead for liberty: Good men plead for liberty, and bad men plead for li­berty: the best men plead for liberty, and the worst men plead for liberty. If you ask what Liberty is? you may look at it as a Power, as to any external restraint, or obstruction-on mans part, to walk in the Faith, Worship; Doctrine and Discipline of the Gospel, according to the Order of the Gospel. When you hear [Page 8]men plead for Liberty, see that it be not Liberty falsly so called.

2. Acknowledge Order Divine, and in particular in that great Point of a Ministerial Judge. There are that make little of Or­der, and yet we may think, not any made so little, as Paul made much of it: Let All things be done in Order, 1 Cor. 14.40. it seemeth an Apostolical spirit doth conclude, that sometimes better such a thing not done, then not orderly done. There is a judge­ment Discretive, which belongeth to every Believer; there is a judgement Authoritative, that belongs unto the Church, and is set therein by God; and also there is a judgement Decisive, which belongs unto the Council: Onely remember, that the Supreme Judge is either 1. Authentick, i. e. Jesus Christ: or 2. Regu­lative, i. e. the Scripture: or 3. Ministerial, i. e. the Council. This Question concerning a Ministerial Judge in matters of Reli­gion, is that which hath greatly exercised the Christian world; insomuch that both Protestants and Papists agree, That the Reso­lution of this Controversie is of so great moment, as that here­upon depends the Resolution of all Controversies. When a Con­troversie ariseth in a Church (differences must not alwayes con­tinue) what shall resolve the same, if a Ministerial Judge be not ad­mitted? Take away this Order, and how shall Peace, or the So­ciety continue? This truth of a Ministerial Judge, is reckoned a­mong the Fundamentals — Secundarily, because it doth tend to the [...] finde preservation of all that else is of the Foundation. You shall finde this Truth impleaded throughout all generations, since the Primi­tive times, and pleaded for by all the Orthodox in all the Centu­ries. Deut. 17.12. Standum sententiae summi judicis: Israel must stand to this; if it be in matters of Religion, there is the Priest; if in matters Civil, there is the Magistrate, and he that stands not, or submits not to the Sentence of these, let him be cut off from Israel: so requisite a thing is Order. Acts 15. there is no rest in such a case; what now do they, but refer it to a Council, and that doth determine it. 1 Cor. 14.32. The Spirit of the Prophets is subject to the Prophets. I will not acknowledge him a Prophet, that is not subject to the Prophets. Let not any one therefore under pretence [Page 9]of a Prophet, or whatever Inspiration or Perswasion soever, ex­empt themselves from subjection to Order.

Obj. The major part may erre, and is not alwayes the melior part: Councils and Churches may erre, and have erred.

Answ. 1. But is it not true, that the Objector may erre? The major part may erre; so saith the Delinquent standing before the Church, and must that evacuate all Church-power? 2. 'Tis more likely that truth should be with many Orthodox, Pious, Orderly, &c. In the multitude of Counsellors (was anciently said, Prov. 11.14.) there is safety. The Objector is one to many, and he is in his own case a Judge, but a Council in other mens. But if that be not a truth, that [We must subject to Order] because the major part may erre, then put an end to Church-administrations, there will be no end of Controversies. But distinguish we con­cerning Councils. There is a Council Regular, of Orthodox and meet Members orderly gathered: There is a Council that is Ir­regular, and abusive, as in times of Popery. When the Ark was taken by the Philistims, no marvel it was not Oraculous to Israel; but what Israelite refused to consult the Ark of God after its re­turn from the Philistims, because they had abused it? You tell us, that Popish Councils have erred; and therefore must we forget that the Councils of the Orthodox have maintained the Truth, and have been the support of Religion in former times? Look to the Nicene, and other Councils. Councils have been sometimes among the Philistims, among the Papists, and for so long a time; but shall we esteem the less of Orthodox Councils because of that? 3. Distinguish between the Truth of Order, and Truth Positive. John 8.17. The testimony of two men is true: this is what God hath appointed for the Preservation of Society Humane and Christian. That is a truth in foro, viz. in Church or Court, which may not be the truth positive. The God of Truth hath made it for to keep Societies in peace; and if it were not for this Institution, there could be no sitting in Judgement, or any Polity a­mong men. 4. Remember that the Spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets, 1 Cor. 14.32. the Spirits of the Elders are subject to the Elders, &c. If this be not attended, there can be [Page 10]no Administration, or else there must needs be a meer rixation and chiding-administration. Where there is liberty and the Old man, there must needs be much Controversie; 'twere more sad if there were no Remedy. The non-admission of this help renders the Churches, in case of Non-action, like the field of the sleeping Husbandman, Matth. 13.25. or else like the Meeting of Israel at Meribah; either no Administrations, or manifold Alterations. 'Tis true, a Ship may live longer in a Calm, then in a Storm, but yet your Ship may be so long becalmed, that all the Provision may be spent, and so perish in time; and it may be better perish­ing in a Storm, then in a Calm: a Storm is swifter to perishing, but both destructive. Either this Disease or that is mortal; the difference may be, that the one is. Chronical, the other Acute: both are killing. No (you will say) if such men be there that have a spirit of Meekness and Patience: Yea, but reade Exod. 12.3. and Psal. 106.33. Moses the meekest man then on earth, yet it went ill with Moses ('tis said) for their sakes. How long did Moses live at Meribah? sure I am it killed him in a short time, a man of as good a temper, as could be expected from a meer man: I tell you, it will not onely kill the People, but it will quickly kill Moses. Take heed of Meribah, and accept of the Remedy against your Disease. Obj. May not a good man suffer by this means? Answ. Sometimes we are called to suffer; and subjection to Order may be accompanied with suf­fering for the Truth: and better an innocent and good man suffer, then Order, for that preserves the whole.

3. Sanctifie God in his Providential Testimonies against a­buse of Liberty. Minde Solomons case before-mentioned: Have we not many Adversaries? Are we not Out-casts? Are we as much in the hearts of others, as formerly? Are there not those who labour to bereave us of our Liberties? Let us Sanctifie the Name of God herein.

4. Attend we the Examples of the godly wise, for the con­tinuing of our Liberty, in like cases. You will say, What is that? I answer, An Address to the Supreme Authority, and a just Apologie. If any say, What Example in Scripture have we [Page 11]for an Address? Let such look to 2 Kings 4.13. Wouldst thou be spoken for to the King? This did not unbecome the Prophet to propound to her. Remember Ezra 7.6. & 4.6, 13. Esth. 4.8. Nehem. 2.4. did Nehemiah do the people wrong therein? My God (saith he) remember me for good in this. There was Accu­sations written against them; Rehum and Shimshai write, Tatnai and Shethar-boznai write against them, Sanballat writes: Shall there be those that Petition against, and shall none Petition for Israel? Ezra's and Nehemiah's Petitioning, and promoting their Petitions to the King, were not interpreted as acts of dif­fidence unto God, or of irregular compliance, nor themselves as men less friends to the Church and Civil Liberties, nor looked upon as unworthy to be continued in their Trust and Esteem a­mong the People. Mordecai counsels Esther to go in unto the King, and speak to him, though it was with the peril of her life. To make an Address then is not that which is not according to Scripture. The like I might say relating to an Apologie.

5. Let us walk in the use of our Liberty with innocency, and without offence. To differ from our Orthodox, Pious, and Learned Brethren, is such an affliction to a Christian and inge­nuous Spirit, as nothing but love to the Truth could arm a man of peace against: Our Profession being in a way differing from these and those, it doth the more concern us that our walking be very cautelous, and that it be without giving any just offence. There will offence enough be taken at the Profession of the Truth, though the Professors thereof give none. The Profession of the Truth draweth upon us enmity, but errour in our Profession, and offensive walking, delivereth and betrayeth us into the hand of the enemy. And give me leave to speak freely, Let us see that we walk without offence toward Civil Authority: Suffer not your mindes to be prejudiced against the present, and ancient Govern­ment of our Nation: Isa. 49.23. Kings shall be thy Nursing-fathers, and Queens thy Nursing-mothers: 'tis spoken of Gospel-times. It is not a Gospel-spirit to be against Kings: 'tis neither Gospel nor English Spirit for any of us to be against the Go­vernment by King, Lords and Commons. It was the usual stra­tagem [Page 12]anciently of the Adversary, to calumniate the Christians as disaffected to the State, and such as were for Reformation, as Enemies to Caesar. But Juell could testifie in his time, Gratias agimus Deo, &c. (in Apolog. pag. 16.) That there could be no instance given, wherein they in that state of Reformation had offered any vio­lence to Princes, &c. So said that famous Apologist. God make us more wise and religious then so to carry it, that they should no sooner see a Congregational-man, then to have cause to say, They see an Enemy to the Crown. Prov. 24.21. My son, fear thou the Lord, and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change. Eccles. 10.20. Curse not the King, no not in thy thought. Dan. 6.22. Innocency was found in me, (saith Daniel) and also be­fore thee, O King, have I done no hurt. Is this thy voice, my son David? 1 Sam. 26.17. really so, not hypocritically? We have severe Observers; Tongues are not untaught to inform against us. It is but wisdome to give no cause, especially such as our own Consciences cannot testifie for, and such as all Orthodox Churches in the Protestant world will testifie against. In matters of the State-Civil, and of the Church, let it be shewn that we are his Disciples, who (Matth. 22.21.) said, Give unto Cesar the things that are Cesars, and unto God the things that are Gods: and in mat­ters of Religion, let it be known that we are for Reformation, and not for Separation.

6. Lastly, Take care thar the Order of the Gospel may have a free passage in the Churches; I mean, that our Practice may effectually answer our Doctrine, in that Book entituled [The Platform of Church-Discipline] 'Tis that for which we are Out­casts at this day; that (for the substance of it) is it that sheweth what New-England is. I would I might say that there are none among our selves that are against it. There was a time when the General Court did approve of it, and when the Members of that Synod pleaded for it. Our reality herein will be, in no small de­gree, critical of our Integrity in this Undertaking; and our Actions must be the demonstrations of our Sincerity: This is a principal Ingredient of this healing Plaister, and for the defect-hereof are such frequent and scandalous Breaches in our Churches; [Page 13]so many Administrations in vain, and such sad Non-administration, and Remora's, occasioning that sad Quaerie of Spectators, Whe­ther the Congregational-way be practicable, yea or not? I beseech you consider whom it is that it doth concern to answer this Ob­jection; you that are conscientious do not forget it, at whom the stick lyes in one order or another. If we cannot build without the noise of Hammers, yield that we are not Temple-workmen: yield we must, either that the Congregational-way is not the way of God, or that We are unfit for the behaviour of the House of God. As concerning the Church-government according to the Platform of Discipline, the practice of which doctrine who careth for? is not this that truth which the Synod, Churches, the General Court sometime made a good Confession of, and that now no man comparatively careth for? Ezra 4.8. Rehum cares not for it: ver. 23. Artaxerxes careth not for it: Nehem. 4. Sanballat, and Tobiah care not for it: the Episcopal man, the Presbyterian care not for it, the Morellian careth not for it: the Merchant, the Souldier, the Husbandman, the Labourer careth not for it. Haggai 1. The people of Jerusalem, the Church-members care not for it. I am apt sometimes to think that Aaron may be under a temptation of irregular complyance; but minde, Ier. 15.19. Let them return unto thee, but return not thou unto them: I may say thus much (and pardon my speech) A more yeilding Ministry unto the People, I believe is not in the World. I beseech you let not Cesar be killed in the Senate, after he hath fought it out, and conquered in the Field: let us acknowledge the Order of the Eldership in our Churches in their way, and the Order of Coun­cils in their way, duely back'd and encouraged; without which, Experience will witness that these Churches cannot long consist.

God hath opened the mouth of the Speaker to you this day, it being a day wherein after so many attempts and feares, you are betrusted with your Liberties for another year. You have this years oportunity, and at such a time, and blessed be the Lord God of our Fathers, who hath put such a thing in the Kings heart, so farre to accept your Application to his Majesty, as not onely to [Page 14]give you the oportunity of the year present, but also encourage­ment for many years to come. Let all of us be stirred up by the Lord, and at such a time, to strengthen the hand of Zerubbabel, and Jehoshua, by your professed subjection to the Gospel of Christ. Do not betray liberty, under the pretence of liberty. You that are in the honoured Magistracy, remember Davids troubles, Psal. 132.1, 5. he could not rest till the Ark had rest. And those that are in the Ministry, remember Paul's troubles, and what his cares were, 1 Cor. 11.28. Let us all minde what were the troubles and thoughts of heart that were in them that lived in the dayes of Malachi, Chap 3.16. But are there not many that minde onely their cieled houses, &c? and how much doth the work of the Out-cast lye unattempted, witness the sick estate of the Churches: and how can it be remedied, if we will not acknowledge Order? and shall I say that we are real therein? You have brought upon your selves real troubles, and likewise upon your Relations and Friends in England, and those here that suffer with you in this Exile: See then that you be not hypocritical, but real to the Truth which you have professed. I could tell you, and you must not forget it, That there have been Men of Renown, as they are called Numb. 16.2. Famous in the Congregation of Israel, that did go out of Egypt, but yet could not endure the Order of God in the Wilderness. Let us shew it, that we mistook not our selves, pretending to come into this Wilderness to live under the Order of the Gospel. We are Out-casts indeed, and reproached; but let us be such Out-casts as are caring for the Truth, and therefore not to neglect an Apologie: it doth become, and greatly concern Gods Out-casts to minde it. You know there are those who represent you as disaffected to Government, and as Sectaries, and Schisma­ticks, and as Fanaticks: you see cause to Apologize therein. And for that term of [Fanatick] you must remember it is not of yesterday, however it be now used or abused. You may learn the original use of it from that distribution of Professors, in relation to Church government, in former times, into four sorts, viz. Orthodoxt, Pontificii, Rationales, and Fanatici. But I trust that God doth, and Angels and Men shall know that we are Orthodox. [Page 15]Gods Out-casts are not Fanaticks. The Woman in the wilder­ness may have the vomit of the Dragon cast in her face, if you let it lye on, you will suffer; wash it off therefore by an Apo­logie. Thus did Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Iuel, and others in their time. Give not the advantage of interpreting Silence as Consent, nor think it labour lost if an Apologie will wash your face. And though we may be cast out by men, yet may we hope that God will look after his Out-casts, and care for us, being Out-casts for the Truth. Let it appear that we are such Out-casts, to whom the calamity and temptations of Out-casts are sanctified; Out-casts healed: Out-casts that care for the truth, and then Out-casts on which God will bring the blessing of his own people. If this plaister findeth acceptance with you, you shall finde esteem, and acceptance, and favour from God and man. Let us all labour so to carry it, as that we may have this Rejoycing of a good Cons­cience to sweeten that bottle full of tears shed in your Out-cast condition in this wilderness, viz. That we came into it, not onely with a Spirit testifying, according to the Scriptures, against the Inventions of men, but also that we do come up unto the Institu­tions of Christ; that as we have departed from Inventions Hu­mane, so we may not be found to be, or here continue opposers against Institutions Divine; that we are not negligent of, but faithful to that Order of the Gospel which we are Out-casts for.

[...]
[...]
[...]
[...]

THE BELIEVERS CONSOLATION, In the Remembrance of his Heavenly Mansion prepared for him by CHRIST.
BEING THE SECOND SERMON: AND Preached on the LORDS-DAY, MARCH XXIX. 1663.

John 14.3.

And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to my self, that where I am, there you may be also.

THis Verse, and the former, holds forth a double Con­solation, to support the Disciples against the suffering which they were to conflict with, either In the way of Truth, or For the way of Truth. This Verse holds forth the second Argument of Consolation; the former you have in the second Verse: it is taken from the Place they were to be taken to after Death. And this Argument in this Verse is taken from the Company they shall have in that place; and that is his Personal Presence, his full and clear Presence: Where I am, there you shall be also.

Now this Argument of Consolation is described, 1. From the Scope of Christ in preparing such a place for them; and it was, that he and they might be there together: I go to prepare a [Page 17]place for you, that where I am, there you may be also. 2. It is de­clared from the Time when they must expect their being taken to Christ; and that is, when he comes again: I will come again, and receive you to my self. 3. It is declared from the Efficient of it, the Undertaker of this; and that is Himself: I will come again, and receive you to my self.

To open the words thus resolved.

  • 1. Touching the Presence of Christ and Believers together [That where I am, there you may be also] you must understand this (of his Presence emphatically so called) of his Presence in the place of Blessedness: In thy Presence is fulness of joy, Psal. 16.11. There is a double Presence of Christ, but he means here his Presence in Glory, where we shall see him as he is, 1 Joh. 3.2. I said, this Argument of their Consolation was declared from the Scope of it; I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also: it was one great end of his being a Fore-runner. Secondly, he should fail of his Fidelity and Ability, if there should be a disappointment.
  • 2. From the Time [When I come again] Christs coming is either his last Coming or his coming by Death. Of his last coming you reade 1 Thess. 4.18. Of his coming by Death, you reade Luke 23.43. To day thou shalt be with me in Paradice. Now the Soul goes to Christ, when He comes to us by Death: at his last coming both Soul and Body shall be together with him.
  • 3. This Argument of Consolation is described by the Efficient of it, or Undertaker, [I will receive you to my self] We may doubt how our Souls, when we dye, shall come to Heaven: why, saith Christ, I will come, and receive you to my self. They therefore say properly, when they dye, that say, Into thy hands I commend my Spirit, Psal. 31.5. it is a proper saying so to speaks, Acts 7.59. Lord Jesus receive my Spirit. It is a blessed thing to commit our Souls by Faith to Christ, when they go out of the Body. He comes by the ministry of his Angels, or otherwise as he please: I will come again, and receive you to my self. You may remember the words of Steven, he dying, called upon God, and said, Lord [Page 18]Jesus receive my Spirit: we receive Christ, and we receive the Spi­rit of Christ; Now to as many as received him, to them gave he power, &c. Joh. 1.12. Christ receives our Spirits (then:) If we receive his Spirit now, he will receive our Spirits then; I will receive you to my self.

Doct. That the effectual Remembrance, that at Death Christ will receive our Souls unto Himself, is a Soveraign Preservative to quiet our Souls throughout all the Sufferings we meet with, either In the way of Truth, and For the way of Truth, during this life.

You shall finde in Iob 19.25. saith he, I know that my Re­deemer liveth: He might say, I know my Estate is gone, and I see that my Friends are gone, and my Children be gone, and my Health and Strength is gone, and the Grave is ready for me; but what stayes Iobs heart now? I know that my Redeemer lives. This is a living truth for a dying man; I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth, and I shall see him, &c. This was now In the way of Truth, for you cannot say that Iob was persecuted For the way of Truth. But you shall finde in a way of suffering for the way of Truth, Phil. 1.23. I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ: Having passed through many troubles, I would be out of the body, and freed from the body of death; I desire to depart, and to be with Christ. 2 Cor. 5.8. We are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. You must either be absent from the body, or absent from the Lord; it is an hard thing to be absent from the body, but not comparatively: We desire rather to be ab­sent from the body, and present with the Lord: We shall meet the Lord, and shall ever be with the Lord. What is the use of this, 1 Thess. 4 18. Comfort one another with these words? what are these Comforts? They are nothing but Promises; Promises rightly applied, these are the Comforts of the holy Ghost: they hold forth more good, then the affliction doth evil. If you would comfort one another, bring out the Promise, that is comfortable and seasonable. Comfort [Page 19]one another: with what? with these words; for in them the Com­forter doth come and apply comfort.

Reas. 1. Because hereby we are made fit for this rest, fit to be with Christ; that is, by our trouble, & by this remembrance. Mixing this remembrance with our trouble, doth fit us for this place. 2 Cor. 5.5. He that worketh us to the self-same thing, is God: For what thing? for our heavenly house, our house not made with hands: he that fits us for these things, is God. And thus doth he fit us by trouble, by these matters of groaning that do pass over us from day to day. This should be a great incouragement; There is a place prepared for you, but remember you must be fit for your place: you are not fit for your place, in that you are meerly Regenerate, but you must pass through such a measure of Obedience both active and passive that is appointed for you, that by this means you may be meet for the inheritance of the Saints in light. The place is fit for us already, but we are not fit for it as soon as we are Regenerate: 2 Cor. 5. he doth there instance in the troubles of the body, the grief of the outward man: we are burthened with our body, but all this while a fitting for our place. If you belong to God, he is working you to the self-same thing; be your trouble this or that (the Cholick, Palsie, Stone, or whatever) he is working us for the self-same thing: This is a great matter in our troubles, to consider that God by them is fitting us for our place in Heaven.

Reas. 2. From the Quality of the Undertaker, that hath un­dertaken the reception of our Souls to himself; I will come, and receive you to my self. If it be so, let us that suffer according to the will of God (1 Pet. 4.19.) commit the keeping of our Souls to him: you may boldly do it, he sends a fiery Chariot for Elijah; likely it was an Angel, He makes his Angels spirits, his Ministers a flame of fire, Heb. 1.7. Christ hath his way to carry your Souls to Hea­ven: you do not believe what a condition your Souls will be in, as soon as ever they are out of the body: do but think what a meet­ing here is; but we believe not these things. As Christ, when he sent to his Disciples to comfort them, (Luke 24.11.) they thought they were tale tales: so when we hear of these things; we look at them but as idle tale; but, saith Christ, I will come, and receive you to my self.

[...]
[...]

Reas. 3. Taken from the Person we shall be with, namely, Christ. Phil. 1.23. You shall be with Christ, which is best of all, or which is farre better: There is no better House then this Mansion, there is no better Presence then his Presence; therefore well might he say, It is best of all, or farre better.

Instruction 1. Learn from hence, that the most and the greatest Communion that we have with Christ in this life, still leaves us in a condition of absence from Christ, compared with that Commu­nion we shall have with him after death: So faith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5.8. We are willing to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord; ver. 6. for while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: It is a place of absence from the Lord, that is, compared with what we shall have after death. If you think of Paul, Who did enjoy Christ more then Paul did? Did not Paul enjoy Church-communion? Yes; but notwithstanding this was a place of absence from the Lord, compared with the society that by death he should be in. Was not Paul acquainted with any godly men? you know what he saith of Timothy; but yet (saith he) I am absent from mine own people. The word that is here translated [Absent] signifies Absence from his own people: he loved Timothy well, but he thinks the Spirits of just men made per­fect, exceed the Spirit of Timothy: Here is no Companion that is like the Company there; here is no Communion will satisfie here. Where most of Christ is, it is best, but yet it is absence compara­tively; We are absent from the Lord.

Instr. 2. The New man (the Believer) is never at rest till he is with Christ in his Mansion-house. If you never finde any such thing in you, but that, if you might have your desire, you would be here alwayes, believe it you have not this New man in you: this New man never is at rest, till it comes to Christ. It is true, there is weakness in the best, and unbelief-may prevail too-too much, but I speak of this new Nature that is in these, and reigns in these that are Regenerate. You know how it is with those that love one another: after that Jacob knew what was become of Joseph, there was no staying of Jacob; Let me go and see him before I dye, Gen. 45.28. What was the reason of it? there was [Page 21]an intire love one unto another. You know how it is with those that do indeed love one another, that have been long absent one from another, they cannot rest until they meet: Was there any did ever love another, as the New man loves Christ? The New man loves him with a divine love, the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame, Cant. 8.6. There are some on earth that do long after Christ; there are those on earth that do desire after Heaven: and do any love another, as Jesus Christ loves the New man? There must be a meeting between these two Lovers; I will come, and receive you to my self. Mark how John concludes the Revelations, Chap. 22. ver. 21. Behold I come, saith Christ: He that-testifieth of these things, saith, I come; Amen, even so come Lord Iesus. Here is a longing to be with Christ. In any of your quaeries concerning Christ, you are never at rest rill you come to Heaven: it is the proper Being of the Sun to be in motion; this New man is a divine man, and his motion is still unto, and after Christ.

Instruction 3. The death of the Believer, it is a reception of the Soul by Christ Jesus. Christ receiving of our Soules at Death, is an incouragement to strengthen us against the fear of Death. Are you affraid of going to your Mansion house? are you affraid of going to Christ? Mark what the Apostle saith, Phil. 1.23. I desire to depart, and to be with Christ. The Greek word is a Marriners Phrase, and signifies as much as to set sayle from the shore: I desire my time were come to be loosed; that I might go to my Mansion. There are three Cords or Bonds that do Intangle us, the loosing from which doth sweeten Death to us: 1. The Bond of the Cross; I desire to be dissolved, and loosed from the afflictions and miseries of this present life: This is in it's place a lawful thing to desire in Gods time. 2. There is a Bond of Corruption, the body of Death; this I desire to be loosed from: O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this Death! Rom. 7.24. There are pangs in the Best; But if you have the new man in you, you cannot bear them: There is Vain-glory there, and there is Impatience there, and there is Envy there, and Unspiritualness, which the Believer cannot [Page 22]bear; I desire therefore to be loosed from the Body. It is said of one,Mezentius. that he would bind a dead Corpse to a living man, and so he would torture them. This new man is boudn to a dead Corps: there is no part of the Understanding, Will, or Affections, throughout the whole man, but this dead Corpse is there. 3. There is the Cord of our absence from Christ: that he ex­presseth, as if it did in an especial manner move with him to be with Corist, which is the best of all. Simeon speaking of death, Lord, now lettest thou thy Servant depart in peace, Luk. 2.29. as if he should say, Give me my dismission (as we use to speak, from one Church to another: so here) from a Society Militant, to a Society Triumphant: So you see here he calls it but a dismission; it came to pass when the time was come that he should be received up, Luk. 9.51. relating to his death: if you did but think that this were the great business when you dye, namely, the receiving of your Soules, you would not be troubled: you cannot give up your Soules into better hands. [...] 5.24. you shall there finde it is called a passage from one Room to another, he is passed from death to life: it is like a passing from one room into another. Look at death as in the Curse, and what more terrible? But look at it in the Promise, and it hath another kind of aspect. 1 Cor. 15.43. you see there it is compared to sowing; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. This is now with relation to the body, it is but sowing of it, it shall rise again, and that with ad­vantage: you are not affraid of sowing your seed, that will bring a glad harvest. It is a going from those that are not our own people to those that are our own people, 2 Cor. 5.6, 8. it may be you have a friend here, but it is not an ordinary thing to meet with a Jonathan here. It is but a going from them who are not our people, whom we cannot so fully close with; nay you cannot close with your own souls fully, while here; but you are going from those who are not your people, to those who are your people, where you shall find perfect closing with this new man; you are come to the spirits of just men made perfect. Would you see what Peter saith concern­ing death, 2 Pet. 1.14. I must put off my tabernacle: it is a strange Phrase, he makes no more of it, then for Elijah to put off his [Page 23]mantle. What a thing was it for Elijah to let his mantle fall, he gets him up into his Chariot and lets go his mantle: I speak this, that you may see what expressions the Scripture gives concerning death: O let my last end be like his! I tell you it is a lovely thing, Let me dye the death of the Righteous, let my last end be like his: I tell you there is another good in their last end, that the unbeleiver is not aware of. It is but a going out of one place to another. I have done with this, when I have minded you of that place, 1 Thes. 4.14. They sleep, and they sleep in Jesus: They also that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him: you see two bodies lye by the wall and they look both alike, but (believe it) they are not both alike in the Promise; if one be a Believer, and the other an Unbeliever, one is gone to this Mansion place, the other not.

Instr. 4. The presence of Jesus is the place of blessedness: So saith Christ here, I will take you to my self, and you shall be where I am. We shall see him, we shall be inlightned by him, we shall be satisfied in him, and blessed with him.

  • 1. We shall see him: 1 Ioh. 3.2. We shall see him as he is.
  • 2. We shall see him, so as to be inligtned by him. Psal. 36.9. In thy Light we shall see light: They are marvellous Lights, that are in the place of Blessedness.
  • 3. We shall be satisfied in him. Psal. 17.15. As for me, when I awake I shall be satisfied with thy likeness. A satisfaction there will be at our Dissolution, though more fully at the Resur­rection.
  • 4. We shall be Blessed with him. Blessed are the pure in heart, (Mat. 5.8.) for they shall see God. Then you that hear me, look to your hearts, for it is not whether you are rich or poor; but, Bles­sed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. But what is it to see God? I shall see my Redeemer, saith Iob: and that is true, the eyes of our bodies may see the body of Christ; but you shall see God, you shall see him face to face, you shall see him as he it. I tell you the soul of man is never at rest till it sees God. Some shall never see God & therfore never be at rest; There is no peace, no rest to the wicked, Isa. 57.21. saith my God. But now the soul it rests when it comes to see God: [Page 24]He is such an Object, as nothing without him will satisfie our Souls: may be they may be pleased, as children with a Rattle, for a while here, but not satisfied without him; therefore know it, these Souls of ours are more worth then we are apt to think of, prize them how you will.

Unto the seeing of God (to speak plainly) there are three things that are required:

  • 1. There is required an Object.
  • 2. There is required the Purifying and Perfecting of the Ʋnder­standing.
  • 3. There is required the Light of Glory, which may enable the Soul to see that Object. Now
  • 1. The Object is God, we shall see him: I shall see God, Job 19.26. not onely see his Redeemer, but I shall see God: what­ever might be the meaning of Iob, yet we shall see him as he is, 1 Job. 3.2. We shall see him face to face, 1 Cor. 13.12. It is true, we cannot see infinitely, our capacities cannot be made infinite; yet we may see him that is Infinite, we may see him apprehensive­ly, though not comprehensively; yet we shall see him so as to fill the Soul, though not see him so as to comprehend him, but we shall apprehend so much of him as we are capable.
  • 2. There is the Perfecting and Purifying of the Ʋnderstanding: that must be purified from all Ignorance, Sin, and Darkness, and Mistake.
  • 3. There is the Light which God doth communicate of Glory: As we have here the Light of Grace, so there is the Light of Glory, which enables a Soul to see him according to the Vision of Glory. But what do we see in the seeing of God? We see his Being, or Essence; as the Object is united to the Faculty rela­tively, not formally. We shall see the Attributes of God, they which are in Heaven, you shall see what they are making mention of, Rev. 4. Holiness, Almightiness, Eternity: You know not what Omnipotency is now, but then you shall know it more; you know not Perfect Holiness now, but then you shall know it more: and we shall see the Trinity; He that hath seen me, (Iohn 14.9.) hath seen the Father: And we shall see Christ, that Person that is [Page 25]God and Man. And for the Counsell of God, we shall see it: it shall be an open Book, so far as concerns our happiness. Now when the Soul comes to this, you will have no further need of en­quiry, [What God is?] or [What Christ is?] you will never be satisfied till then, you will never love God perfectly till then, and you will never rest in him here, as you will then: you shall come to understand that then [Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.]

Exhort. 1. It is abundantly to incourage every Christian to constancy in the profession of the truth, notwithstanding all the suffering we may meet with, either in the way of truth, or for the way of truth. This is that which John makes use of, 1 Iohn 3.2. We shall see him as he is; and, He that hath this hope to see God, purifieth himself, even as he is pure, ver. 3. Do you say you have hope to see God? this is a very purifying meditation. Can you endure any impurity, and yet maintain this hope in you to see Christ? Acts 24.15, 16. mark there how it did work with him; And have hope towards God, which themselves also allow: I have hope that I shall see God, and that there is such a truth as the resurrection; here­in do I exercise my self, to have alwayes a Conscience void of offence, both towards God and towards Man: they that are false to his truth, they shall not see him, that dye without Repentance of it: herein do I labour to keep alwayes a Conscience clear both towards God and man, that this may not hinder me from a sight of this Mansion: 2 Cor. 5.8, 9. speaking to the same purpose, We desire to be with the Lord: wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. Thus you see what this meditation doth call for: this makes a man or woman of a labouring spirit, it calls for adherence to the truth: And more particularly, consider then what it is to be a Christian in earnest, to be such a Christian as walks in that way, wherein they walk that have the Promise to go to Christ, when their Soules go out of the body; these are such as the eleven were, not such as Iudas was; he went the other way, he went to his own place. You must be such Christians as the Apostles were, that is, such as do continue with Christ in the profession of his truth, that you, may [Page 26]be Conquerours in holding on in your Profession.

2. Consider what you must expect while you are in your way; you must expect such troubles, as nothing will quiet you, but the exercise of Faith in Chirst Jesus. Your hearts they will be as­saulted, but let not your hearts be troubled: the Truth it will cause trouble to you, though you think of carrying of it never so in­offensively, and amiably among men. Christ, by all his good carriage, could not reconcile those that hated the truth: Hence those that profess the truth, let them not think strange if they meet with trouble. Then (Acts 9.31.) had the Churches rest: Other places have rest very frequently; but for the Churches, those that profess the Truth to have rest, is a special favour of God.

3. Your troubles here, while you carry it with a Christian Spirit, they shall fit you for this blessed estate; as it is said 2 Cor. 5.5. [He that worketh us to the self-same thing.] You may think God means evil to you, when you meet with affliction and trouble; but, provided you are In the way of Truth, or be it For the way of Truth, that which God ayms at, is to fit you for your Mansion-place. Christ would fit us to be in the body, and he would fit us to go out of the body; He works us to the self-same thing. If you have a strong body, he would fit you for that bo­dy to walk with him in that body. Saith Caleb, Josh. 14.11. I have as strong a body, as in the day that Moses sent me. Now as it is a great matter to have such a body, so it is a great matter to walk with God in such a body: if you have an healthful body, he would sit you to walk with him in that body, that you may know how to possess your vessel in sanctification and honour: not that your body should be the slave of filthy lusts. Suppose you have a sickly body, 2 Cor. 4.16. Our outward man decayes, but our inward man is renewed day by day: and he worketh us to the self-same thing, by fitting us to go out of the body; Acts 20.24. that I may finish my course with joy, and the Ministry that I have received.

4. Concurre with God in this scope of his Providence to you; he is fitting of you to walk with God. If he fit you to go [Page] [Page] [Page 27]out of the body, or to be in the body, close with him, as the Patient closeth with the Physician; interpret the Changes that are upon you, of one nature or of another, interpret them as dispensations whereby God works to fit you to be with him in the body, or to go to him when you go out of the body. Let us work together with him; I did it to humble them, Deut. 8.16. then close with him, and say, This is his end; and for that end joyn with him. You shall finde more trouble then rest, while you are In the way, you shall finde more rest then trouble, when you are at the end of your way. You that are lovers of truth, more then of the pleasures of Sin, you shall finde more trouble then rest while you are in the way; but when you are out of the body, you shall have full rest without any trouble: you shall have Truth enough, and Peace enough. That which is hard to gain now, is Union in the Truth; but then you shall have Union enough, and Truth enough: you shall finde Christ making good that truth to you, that He will come, and receive you to himself. When Noah put forth his hand, and received the Dove into the Ark, it was a welcome ease: so will it be to your Souls when they have been wearied with so many troubles, and Christ Jesus shall come, and receive you to himself, when your Souls go out of the body; for otherwise the Devil will be ready to receive them, and to carry them to Hell. Whither went Dives Soul when it went out of his body? you that are now in Pleasures, whither went Dives Soul? it is not said he was an Adulterer, or a Drunkard; but he was a man of Pleasures, [In thy life time thou hadst thy good things, Luke 16.25.] But what became of his Soul when it went out of the body? And being in Hell, he lift up his eyes in torments, &c. ver. 23. Gen. 46. when Joseph received Jacob, and his Brethren, after so long an absence, judge what a contentment there was: Jacob fell upon Josephs neck, and Joseph fell upon Iacobs neck: but their embraces are not to be mentioned with the embraces of Christ and the Soul. Do good, that when you dye, the good you have done may receive you into everlasting habitations. Your works shall follow you. It was the [Page 28]speech of oneAmbrose., I have not so lived, as that I am ashamed to live any longer; nor am I afraid to dye. Labour so to live, as you may be useful in the body, and so as you may not be ashamed to go out of the body, but may say as Iohn did, who was an old man, and a Disciple, I come quickly: Even so, come Lord Iesus, come quickly.

THE EVANGELICAL WORSHIPPER, Subjecting to the Prescription and Soveraignty of Scripture-patern.
BEING THE THIRD SERMON: AND Preached on the LECTURE-DAY, APRIL II. 1663.

Heb. 8.5.

Who serve unto the Example and shadow of Heavenly things; as Moses was admonished of God, when he was about to make the Tabernacle: for see (saith he) that thou make all things ac­cording to the patern shewed to thee in the Mount.

THis Verse illustrates the Argument mentioned in the foregoing words, from an adjunct, or accident ac­companying the Legal Priest-hood: The Argument there used to prove that the Priest-hood of Christ excelled that priest-hood which was after the Order of Aaron, was, because they which were of that Priesthood ministred on Earth, but Christ ministreth in Heaven: He was a Minister of the true Tabernacle while he was on Earth, and he still officiates in his Priestly Office now he is in Heaven; the Tabernacle which they ministred in, was upon the Earth, and was made of earthly things, and it was a figure or shadow of heavenly things: he de­clares that that Tabernacle was a worldly Tabernacle or Sanctuary, [Page 30]1. From the quality of it; it was onely a shadow, or example of heavenly things, and it was a type; but Christ was a Minister of the true Tabernacle. 2. It is declared from the certainty of it, for He saith this: But how doth that appear? It appears from a Divine Testimony; For see (saith he) that thou make all things according to the Patern shewed to thee in the Mount.

For the opening of the words. First, we are to consider what these heavenly things are: They are called in Chap. 9.11. Good things to come. In a word, it means Christ, with all his Be­nefits; these are the Heavenly things, that the other were but Shadows of. Therefore it is truely said, that the Ceremonial Law holds forth Christ, i. e. it makes known the Gospel (being rightly understood) but after a Legal dispensation.

Secondly, it was a shadow of good things, i. e. it was a patern that did shadow out Heavenly things. God shewed Moses a Patern, or Type, in a Vision, according to which the Taber­nacle was to be framed, and Moses acts accordingly. The word translated [Patern] intends as much as a likeness, or example, or a figure. As for the Divine Testimony, you may see it in Exodus 25.9. According to all that I shew thee, after the patern of the Tabernacle, and the patern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. And in Chap. 39. this testimony is often given, that All things were done as the Lord had commanded Mo­ses. But Christ was the Minister of another Tabernacle, i. e. of his Body, the true Tabernacle.

Doct. Great care must be hads in matters of Divine Worship, (or Divine Administrations) that all things proceed accord­ing to the Prescript Word of God. Or, That all things be exactly corresponding to the Prescript of Gods Word, He­brews 7.14.

For it is evident, that our Lord sprang out of Iudah, of which Tribe Moses spake nothing concerning the Priesthood. The Apostle thinks he argueth well, and conclusively, That Christ was not of the Levitical Order, because nothing was spo­ken concerning it of that Tribe. This is a good Argument in [Page 31]Divinity to say, That there is nothing in Gods Word why you should act such or such a thing: it is not enough to say that there is nothing expresly against it; the truth is, there is enough against it, if there be nothing for it. The Tribe of Iudah must not med­dle with the matters of the Priesthood: Why so? because Moses spake nothing of them in that respect: and in Exod. 25.9. Moses himself was to act nothing that he found not in the Patern. Exod. 26.30. And thou shalt rear up the Tabernacle according to the fashion thereof, which was shewed thee in the Mount: He must act nothing that he doth not finde in the Patern. It is true, David (for some just cause) made some alteration in the Worship of God; for the state of Temple-worship, compared with Tabernacle-worship, did call for a change. But how did David proceed in it? 1 Chron. 28.19. All this (saith David) the Lord made me un­censtand in writing, by his hand upon me, even all the works of this patern: He made no alteration in Gods Worship, but it was also by a Patern given to him by God. And for Solomon, you finde that David gave him the Patern, ver. 11. to build the Temple according thereunto. And relating to Gospel-times, the time of the Mes­sias, you have an eminent text in Ezek. 43.10, 11. Thou Son of man, shew the house to the House of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and let them measure the patern; and if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, &c.

Reas. 1. Because it is the acknowledgement of the Prerogative of Jesus Christ; I mean that he alone hath the honour to institute Divine Worship: He in truth was the Author of the Tabernacle, & of the Temple and yet he was the Tabernacle, and the Temple, i. e. the true Tabernacle and Temple. The power of the Keyes, i. e. the instituted Worship under the Gospel, you shall finde Christ is the maker and disposer of those Keyes. Mat. 16.19. It is not for man to make a Key to open Heaven, be will never be able to pick that lock. Ye shall reverence my Sanctuary (saith God, Levit. 26.2.) and why so? I am that Lord: (make a pause here) i. e. it's no less then the Attribute of his Lordship that is demon­strated [Page 32]in the matters of his Worship: as for instance, Korah was very near unto the Priesthood, Numb. 16.1. and yet inferiour to the Priesthood, (and it may be that was some tempta­tion to him to be so near it, and yet inferiour to it) but he must not offer Incense, Numb. 16.40. but the Priests, which are the Sons of Aaron, may: Why may not Korah? the reason is, I am the Lord, I will have this act to be matter of Divine Worship, and not another, and I will have this man to act, and not another; I am the Lord. Might not any man take a little perfume, and sprinkle it on the coals? No, God will institute what acts, and what persons he pleaseth. I have heard (I think) some say, that any man may administer Baptism, or the Lords Supper; and I say it may be a Childe is able to do it: what then? But we must re­member what God saith, I am the Lord; and he will be owned in his Institutions. Ʋzzah was a good man, yet he may not touch the Ark; why not? I am the Lord, 2 Sam. 6. It is one of the holy Institutions of God, Ye shall all reverence my Sanctuary. Hence it is, that to the holy things of God, reverence is a great part of duty: and if this or that be Gods Worship, remember Gods Lordship is in his own Institutions, and he will make a difference as he pleaseth: not that Aaron or Moses are better then others in themselves, they may be worse, but God will have his Lordship appear in these his holy things. Therfore it is that we must be conscientious in our reverence of the holy things of God, even in regard of bodily reverence by comely gestures, for our bodyes are the Lords, 1 Cor. 6. Hence [Sitting] is not a Prayer-gesture; it is true, if there be great weakness or infirmity of body, &c. that may give an ex­cuse for the Lord will have mercy, in case, rather then Sacrifice. And therefore also it is that Christ stood up when he read the word, Luk. 4.16. and in Nch. 8.5. they stood up at the hearing of the Word read. We should shew reverence at the holy things of God, because they are his Institutions, and he is the Lord.

Reas. 2. Because in Divine Worship we acknowledge God to be our Soveraign Lord and that we owe unto him absolute Subje­ction and Obedience, and we acknowledge our selves to be his ab­solute Subjects. The act of Worship is an acknowledgement both [Page 33]of his Soveraignty, and of our meanness: Who am I, that am but dust and ashes, that I should take upon me to speak unto the Lord? Gen. 18. In acts of Worship we must exalt Christ, and depress man. Many in these dayes are against Forms, but in the mean time let us not forget Worship. For Israel to wait upon a Rock, was a despicable thing to the Nations; to see so many thousands come and stand about the Rock was strange, but that Rock was Christ: this is nothing else but the acknowledgement of God, who will be known in his own way. And this let me say, Christ him­self, that was not onely Man but God, attended the Ordinances while he was here on earth, and so did his Apostles: this is to shew the disevangelical spirit of those that do object against ex­ternal Worship.

Reas. 3. Because Divine external Worship is a means of con­ferring heavenly things. The Keyes of the Kingdome of Heaven open or shut Heaven, Mat. 16.19. Naaman must know (if he be cured) whence the Cure comes; be must acknowledge the Waters of Iordan, and he must acknowledge the Prophet: God could have cured him without either, but he was not pleased so to do. You feed your Hens and Chickens, but you throw their meat upon the ground, and make them take it from thence: so God feeds us with heavenly food, but we must receive it in a lowly manner. You can have no Faith to expect Gods blessing in any way but his own; any Institutions, so farre as they are Humane, you cannot have Faith for Gods blessing to go with them.

Instructions. 1. The Ceremonial Law understood, teacheth Christ; the truths of Christ are laid up under the types of the Ce­remonial Law. When you reade the Ceremonial Law, if you un­derstood it, you would see Christ through it; as for instance, Heb. 9. the Tabernacle was a figure of Christs Body, and so was the Vail: Heb. 10.20. when they went into the first Court, they re­membred the Incarnation of the Messias, and so when they looked on the Vail, &c. they who looked on these types, whose eyes were opened, they saw Christ Reade Lev. 16.15. compared with Heb. 9.24 26. As Christ shed his blood, and so entred into Heaven, so the High-priest slew the Sacrifice, and then entred into the holy of [Page 34]holies. And the efficacy of the Merit of Christ, was figured in the incense: this is to let us see, how clearly we are taught the same truths above what they of old were, comparing our times with theirs.

Instr. 2. It is the part of those who are Conscientious, to keep themselves unto Scripture-bounds in holy, or Church-admini­strations. 2 Cor. 10.13. the Apostle would have them walk by a line (it relates to the Graecian exercises, to which the Apostle doth delight to allude:) it comes to one with that which the Apostle doth elsewhere say, (viz. 2 Tim. 2.5.) He that striveth is not Crowned, except he strive lawfully. There is a line of motion to regulate all administrations, especially Church-administrations; there is a line that doth regulate the Eldership, and a line also to regulate the Brotherhood: so that all Church administrations, are to be carried on according to that line. This was Moses his charge; See thou make all things according to the patern; and do you think there is not as much Conscience to be made of it now under the Gospel, to make all things according to the patern, as in the dayes of the Legal dispensation? 1 Cor. 14.40. Let all things be done according to Order: the case may be so, that though a thing be done, that is for the matter of it good, there may yet be more hurt in the disorder of it, then there is good in the doing of it. If we exercise our own Notions and Apprehensions in matters of Worship, this is Will-worship. Mat. 15.9. In vain do they Wor­ship me, teaching for Dectrines the traditions of men. Mark the op­position [Me], and [Men]: can mens traditions be an act of Divine Worship? No, its but Will-worship, Col. 2.23. there may be that which is plausible to man, yet it's but Will-worship; there may be parts, and excellencies, but if they are out of place, it is that which God will not bear with: Exod. 20.25. He that lifts up his tool upon mine Altar hath pollutedit: it is enough to pollute it, because it is a mans tool: we must not turn to the right hand nor to the left, but keep our way right on. The Corinthians turned to the left hand, when they would not Excommunicate the incestuous person; and they turned to the right hand, when they would not receive him in, being a penitent: it was an errour on the right hand, [Page] [Page] [Page 35]in Peter, when he would not have Christ suffer, but a fearful scan­dalous one. You shall not adde thereto, nor take therefrom, saith the Lord, Deut. 4.2. & 12.32. neither Elders nor Brethren must take upon them that which belongs not to them, nor the Council take that which belongeth not to it, nor the Magistrates what belongeth not to them; we must do nothing but according to the Patern.

Instr. 3. A Religious Worshipper, or a man truly religious, doth not rest in this, That externals do answer the Prescript Rule of the Word, without proceeding to internal Worship. You finde that God doth not onely bear testimony against our Worship, but also against hypocritical Worship. First, against our Worship, or our Administrations; that (as you see) is Will-worship, and it is vain Worship, all the Institutions of men are so; they are Will-wor­ship, i. e. there is sin and defilement in them: we must not set our posts by Gods posts. But then suppose we are brought to external worship, doth God rest here? no: do you think that God liveth on goat's bloud? Psal. 50.13. And hence also, Amos 5.25. saith the Lord, you did not offer unto me your sacrifices during the space of fourty years, speaking of the time in the Wilderness: It is like there was a cessation, in respect of the condition that they were in; as who should say, then I can be without Sacrifices. Ier. 7.22, 23. God saith there, He did not command Sacrifices, or exter­nal Worship, i. e. Comparatively, in respect of Obedience he commanded it not, but I Commanded them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: So God will say to us, He did not Command us to come hither, to set up the ex­ternal Worship of the Gospel, i. e. comparatively, in stead of O­bedience, Holiness and Righteousness: this is that which Stephen pleads, Acts 7.42, 43. Oh house of Israel, you have not offered to me slain beasts; but you had the Tabernacle of Moloch, &c. but they could not bear with Stephen when he came to this: So our Saviour Christ tell's them, They have made my House a den of thieves. Those among you that are given to injustice, drunken­ness, or other scandalous wayes, this, or that, I tell you, God re­quires not your Sacrifices, but Obey my voyce, that I may be your God: this is the thing God aime's at. As for our external wor­ship, [Page 36]it ought indeed to be according to the Rule, but this may be, and yet as it is in Isai. 1.13, 14, 15. Your Incense is an abomination, and your solemn meetings iniquity, my soul hates them, saith the Lord, they are a trouble unto me, and when ye make many Prayers I will not hear them, your hands are full of blood, &c. It would be a dreadful thing if God should say to any of us that are full of duties, and concerning our Sabbaths, Lords Supper, our Fasts, our Feasts, I am weary of your Worship, bring no more vain Oblations, &c. God forbid that we should forget the internal part of worship, whilest we are exercised in the external. Amos 5.21. I hate and despise your feasts, I will not smell in your solemn Assemblies. Look not onely to external regularity, but look we unto inward piety, lest God hate and despise our Worship. Joshua (saith God) Why lyest thou upon the ground? Chap. 7.10, 11. Israel hath sinned, and trans­gressed my Covenant, &c. we have been much in fastings, and in external duties many years, but what reformation is there? are we brought sny more unto the Rule in Church and State? I beseech you know, that God aimes at Obedience as the internal substantial part of his Worship.

Instr. 4. That the external Order of the Gospel (Church-or­der) is no other then the external Throne of Christ Jesus. Wor­ship that is mixt, partly Divine, and partly Humane, this is so much defilement in Gods Worship; but when it is according to the Rule, that is Christs Throne. Satan hath his throne, that is where Antichrist reignes; and Christ hath his Throne, that is where his Institutions are in force: there Christ sits as Lord. If the Polity be according to the Gospel, Jesus Christ is there ac­knowledged Lord, and there is never a Member but is a Subject: there must be an Order, and according to that Order there must be subjection: do you think it an easy thing to be subject to Order? Remember it was matter of tryal to those that came out of Egypt, and through the Sea (as we have done) yet there were men of re­nown that could not bear Church-Order. Let me tell you; it is a greater matter to be subject to Order, then to come over the Seas, or to endure the troubles of a Wilderness; many will bear a Prison, before they will endure the Government of Christ, and Gospel-order in his Church.

[Page 37] Ʋse 2. Of Exhortation to us all (in our Churches especially) to sanctifie God according to this truth, viz. That our polity may be a Gospel-polity, and may be compleat according to the Scrip­tures, answering fully the Word of God: this is the work of our generation, and the very work we engaged for into this Wilderness; this is the scope and end of it, that which is written upon the forehead of New-England, viz. The compleat walking in the Faith of the Gospel, according to the Order of the Gospel.

1. And for your direction; first, remember that we have the pa­tern in the mount; I mean, we have the Scripture as a Rule, and you have the Platform of Church-Discipline given to you in way of Council, as the Confession of our Faith to this way of Church-government: you know in what manner it was; that which (for the substance of it) ownes the cause Congregational: if any are departed from it, let them look to it, I know none of the Elders that have receded from it. It was given many years ago as the Confession of our Faith, to this Country, and to the World: it is distinct from the Episcopacy, and from the Presbyterian way, from the Morellian way, from that of Separatism: and it is for the sub­stance of it precisely the way Congregational. And as David said to Solomon, 1 Chron. 28.10, 11. I give unto thee the patern of the House of God, &c. what God will do with us he knows best; David lived not to build the Temple himself, but he left the patern thereof to his Son Solomon: And so we have the patern, only this is complained of, that it is not practised, though we have had it many years ago; now practice is the end of Doctrine.

2. Consider, that we are all concerned in this service, I mean in setting up the Throne of Christ. Moses is concerned, and it is his commendation that he was a man of God, who erected the Tabernacle, and set up the Worship of God according to the Pa­tern in the Mount: and so David and Solomon, &c. Thou Solomon my Son, if thou doest hold here, the Lord will be with thee (and let the Churches look to it, we are all concerned herein, our Fidelity in this cause is our Crown; see that it be not taken from us.

3. It is a matter of very good Policy; times of trouble & danger may approach: and we read in Ezr. 3.3. that they set the Altar upon [Page 38]its Bases, for fear was upon them, because of the people of the land: one means to secure them from fear in time of trouble, was with the first to proceed with the things of Religion, and to be in good earnest to settle them. 1 Chron. 28.20, 21. Do it (saith David unto Solomon) and the Lord God, even my God will be with thee: and not only so, but the priests, & the princes, & the people will be with thee, &c. But when Solomon falls off from God's Worship, then ariseth against him the spirit of Hadad, and the spirit of Rezin, and the spirit of Ieroboam, &c. 1 Kings 11. It is a great point of policy, in troublesome times, viz. the attending to the Cause of Religion, Without Order the Ark could not move in Davids time, but you see what trouble follows upon it; and Churches cannot like­wise move, untill the Order of the Churches be proportionably settled: Haggai 1.5, 6. Now therefore saith the Lord of Hosts, con­sider your wayes; when the Worship of God was neglected, things went ill with them; You have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; and again ver. 7th. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, consider your wayes: and in Chap. second, they do hearken to him, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, and Josuah, and from the time that they set themselves about the work of the Lord, all things went well with them. How farre the drought, and the last years and other troubles are here considerable, refer­ring to our selves, let the Scripture be the interpreter. The mat­ters of outward prosperity have much dependance upon the car­rying on the cause of Religion, and that according to the Order of the Gospel, or by the Scripture-patern; our safety lies in keeping there, not turning to the right hand, nor turning to the left hand. In Exod. 39. you have it mentioned about ten times in that Chapter in way of Commendation, that what was done was so according as the Lord had Commanded Moses. Let this stand with us I beseech you (beloved) that for the motion of Elders, of Brethren, of Councils, of Magistrates, of Churches, settle the same as the Lord hath. Commanded, i. e. according to Scripture-pre­script and patern; we are then a safe People.

FINIS
A COPY OF THE LETTER …

A COPY OF THE LETTER Returned by the MINISTERS of NEW-ENGLAND TO MR. JOHN DURY ABOUT HIS PACIFICATION.

Faithfully Translated out of the Original Manuscript written in Latine, By the Reverend AƲTHOR of the Three former SERMONS.

With some Considerations premised about that Subject, necessary for these Times.

By a Lover of Truth and Peace.

Published in the Year 1664.

[...]
[...]

THE PREFACE TO THE READER.

AS of old it was observed, that Julian who hated the Christians with an implacable hatred, when he could invent no way worse, opened a wide way for Schisms and Divisions: In like manner hath it been the Policy of the Adversary in succeeding times, when there ap­pears no hope of undermining the Walls of Truth by Heresie and false Doctrine, to attempt the scattering and dispersing the Assertors there­of, by raising and fomenting Schisms and Dissensions amongst them. From which Fountain, it may justly be feared, hath sprung a jealousie in the mindes of sundry persons in this Country, That the Determina­tion of the late Synod Anno 1662. if attended unto, would bring into the Churches of New-England a practice, contrary both to the Frame of their Churches, and to the judgement of those famous Worthies that at first their Churches were blest withall; when as it will be found most evident to any that shall impartially survey the Constitution and state of the said Churches, That the principall, if not the sole Reason, why the same things then agreed upon, were not long before set afoot and practised, was not any doubt or scruple about the duty of the things themselves, but the want of Agreement about the Way and Manner, how they might most conveniently and safely put in practice: which being now fully cleared up in the Propositions of the said Synod, the Aspersion cast upon their former Church-administrations, as too much favouring the way of the Separation, is not onely now removed, but an Expedient found out for the holding Communion with other Orthodox Churches, in things lawful and necessary, without any prejudice to the the Purity of their Worship.

The commendable receiving and practising of this Truth by some Churches among them, and necessity of attending thereunto by all, is [Page]most convincingly evident by many writings published abroad in the world by many Eminent persons in the name of others, wherein much paines is taken up in clearing the way of these Churches, from the imputation of Schism and separation from others; but in none more, then in a Letter re­turned with the Subscription of the names almost of all the Elders univer­sally in this Place, unto a Letter of the Reverend and Learned Mr. John Dury, who ever since the year 1635. had been labouring for a Paci­fication between the Reformed Protestant Churches of Europe, and who is famous in the Christian World for that work, and at last had com­municated his design to those of New-England, desiring their Appro­bation and Concurrence in the said design; wherein they expresly de­clare, That they own all those Churches professing the Pro­testant Religion, and retaining the fundamentals of Doctrine, and essentials of Order (if they be otherwise peaceable, and walk orderly) for Brethren; and that they are ready to reach out unto them the right hand of fellowship: From whence it will necessarily follow, that seeing other Churches so qualified, although they should dissent from them in many Points of Religion, are owned as Brethren, and that in way of fellowship, if those, that so profess, shall refuse to conferre the seal of Baptism to the Children of such Parents as belong to any such like Churches, according as is expressed in the aforesaid Propositions of the Synod; They will neither be able to avoyd contradicting their own words and writings, nor yet secure themselves from the guilt of dissimulation. And that it might appear there was no advantage taken by any stragling sentence or expression in the said Letter, cast off from its Dependants, it was thought necessary to Translate and publish the whole to the open view of all: and because also in the draught of the same, are found many undeniable Arguments enforcing this very Conclusion; as when its said, That the diverse opinions of some Churches about Polity and indifferent things, although they are not so small that the lovers of truth should be silent about them, so neither are they so great, that they need be any hindrance to the seekers of Peace and Quietness in such an undertaking. Which is also there further evidenced, by instan­cing the unquestioned Example of our Saviour, who refused not Celebrare Sacra, or joyn in the Worship of God in the Jewish [Page]Church, defaced at that time with more grievous corrup­tions.

And further it is added, That the nature of Political, as well as Christian Society, doth utterly forbid the denial of Fellowship-priviledges to such Members as are found without scandal. Let not the words and practices of them that pretend to the greater Purity of Reformation, be Yea and Nay: which if it should appear, the Scandall would be so much the greater; in that the foresaid Letter, with so many Subscriptions, in all probability is known in the world, being sent into Forreigne parts upon a Pub­lick account.

As for the Translation of the Letter; they who had the chiefest hand therein, have no other design, then by approving themselves as Lovers of Truth and Peace, to undeceive simple-hearied and honest­minded persons, who are ready, with Barnabas, to be carried away with the dissimulation of such, as are through a kinde of preposterous Zeal, unwilling to have any of the common Priviledges of the Church of God bestowed upon any, whose effectuall Sanctification may be questioned; which is the cause, as one observeth, of a Schismaticall inclination of some godly and religious persons. In reference to the Words and Phra­ses, much of the Elegancy of them is taken away in the Translation, by reason of the abstruseness of the Latine; it faring in this kinde with Books, as it doth with Bodies, which are nothing so comely when arrayed with a stranger, as with their own proper clothing and habit: but where­ever appeared a necessity of changing the phrase, the sense is preserved whole and entire.

For a Conclusion: If the Practice of the purest Churches, together with the Authority of the most Pious, Zealous, Learned and judicious Divines, might avail any thing in this consideration, it were easie to present many things to the view of the Reader, from the Writings ofCas. Consc Ep 9. qu. 3. Com. Gal 5.27. Perkins, De Pol lib. 1. cap. 13, 14, 33. Parker, Epist. 149. & 103. Calvinus, Locus 47. thes. 33, 34. Bucanus, with many other of the Learnedst Non-Conformists, who alwayes disclaimed both the Prin­ciples and Practices of the Rigid Separation, and all such as renounced Communion with other Churches, upon the account of some Impurities about Order and Discipline: However it came to be the fate of these Churches in America, to verge too near them in their Primitive Admi­nistrations. [Page]But we shall onely content our selves with the mentioning the Judgement of two, not the least eminent and famous Lights in the Church of God, about this point. No Church can be said to be alienated from God, and from his Covenant, although it may be­come very sick and adulterous, until God shall have taken away from it his Matrimonial Covenant, casting it quite off as defiled with Adultery, according to Isa. 50 1. which will not be, so long as it retaines the Head, and the Head retaines it, by a publick decla­ration of his grace that calleth, Col. 2.19. Jun. Thes. Theolog. Thes 36. pag. 2099. But Ames more fully about the Subject of Baptism: 1. Expositious Infants are to be baptized, whose Parents are unknown, if they be born among Christians: out of charity they are to be looked at as the sons of Christians, if there be not just cause to presume the contrary. 2. They that in some way by their Profeision belong unto the Church, yet notwith­standing do openly violate the Covenant of God, their Infants ought to be baptized, though with some distinction; sc. so that what the Covenant requires, and is wanting in them, be supplied by others. 3. Infants illegittimate ought so to be baptized, that either their Parents profess their Repentance, or that their Educa­tion be undertaken by other godly persons. 4. Children of contumacious Excommunicates are not conveniently baptizable, unless by the interposition of meet Sureties. 5. Infants of Pa­pists, and such like, who are Semi-Christians, may be baptized, if they finde a meet surety, under whose power may be their Edu­cation. Ames. Cas. Consc. Lib. 4. Cap. 27. To which may be added, The Baptism of Infants ought not to be deferred, without a se­rious and weighty reason. Ibid.

TO THE WORTHY AND EMINENT, MR. JOHN DURY, SALƲTATIONS,

THat amongst so many horrid Alarms of War, amongst so many fatal differences of Opinion raised in matters of Religion, and that also after so many, and such un­wearied labours of famous Intercessors, now so often in this cause undertaken in vain; you should O Dury, the most zealous Friend of Peace, not onely be seriously thinking of, but are also unto this day strongly endeavouring the Espousals of Truth and Peace between the Professors of the Gospel; we verily do largely congratulate you in the conceiving so great a design, with our utmost, and daily Prayers, helping forward (by Gods As­sistance) the birth of this Man-Childe. Suffer us to speak the very truth of the matter, nor is there any need to deny the same: even as the Holy-Scripture relates how the Olive Branch, brought much comfort to the Parent of the other World after the Flood, while he was lamenting over the Tremendous Spectacle of the Deluge over flowing all here below; in like manner did your Let­ter, breathing a very spirit of peace, as another Noahs dove, sent down from Heaven, wonderfully refresh the exile Brethren, who were almost astonished to see so many nations, that profess the Gos­pel, making irreconcileable war amongst themselves, together with the many and great dissentions in the business of Religion, and that monstrous flood of Errour breaking forth, not out of the Cataracts of the Clouds, but the very Mouth of the Dragon.

Be it so, that we are in the utmost parts of the Earth; we have [Page 2]onely changed our Climate, not our mindes: we have altered our place, that we might retain the Faith without alteration. There are indeed some, that might have been better imployed, at least meer strangers to our affairs, who do therefore impute unto us the guilt of Schism, because in the first place we have endeavoured after the pure Worship of God. But if any see good to enquire into the Reason, why these Churches in the Wilderness left their Country, this it was, viz. that the Ancient Faith, and pure Wor­ship, might be found inseparable companions in our Practice, and that our posterity might be undefiled in Religion: Nevertheless, we are never unmindefull of the saying of Austin to the Brethren in the Wilderness, as he styles them; There are two things considerable, saith he, Conscience and good Name: Conscience is necessary for thy self, good Name for thy Neighbour: He who trusts to his Con­science, and neglects his good name, is cruel, especially if he be set in that place, of which the Apostle writing to his Disciple, saith, In all things shew thy self an example of good works. It may not be unlawful for us, who are in the Wilderness on the further side of the Seas, as well those, who through grace are called to the Ministry, though in our selves the greatest of sinners, and the least of all the Saints, as any others, to Apologize for our selves in the Words of the Tribes beyond Jordan a little changed, for the vindicating or preserving our good name in a matter of so great moment, both before great ones, Fathers, Brethren, and every gentle Reader, The Lord God of Gods, the Lord God of Gods he known, and Israel shall know, if wittingly and willingly in Rebellion, or treacherous dealing against the Lord, or in Schism it be, that we have departed from our Country, save us not this day.

But yet notwithstanding, we are not unmindful of that so known Oracle, [Love the Truth and Peace:] we neither strive for Truth without making reckoning of Peace, neither do we pursue Peace with the loss of Truth: the former defaceth, this latter teareth the seamless Coat of the Church. It is as necessary to avoid the Rock of Schism on the right hand, as the Quicksands of Confusion on the left. We renounce Samaratanism, that deadly sink of false Doctrine, as much as we fly from Donatism, the sore [Page 3]enemy of Evangelical Temperament, and devourer (if we may speak after Teriullian) of Christian Society; but admire and em­brace the Concord, and Agreemeent of the Gospel. We are no whit pleased with Cassanders shaking hands with Papists at the furthest distance, erring from the Truth; Nor yet with the Romanist renouncing Communion with them that are otherwise minded in lesser differences: but in special manner we ought to labour, that we may walk with an even foot, and not to turn aside an haires breadth from the Truth: in the mean time, it is better to be a Cyprian then a Steven. It is much more grievous to think aright, and be found a Scismatick, then to think amiss in things not fun­damental, and be of a peaceable spirit. The spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is a spirit of Truth, of peace and Communion: so desirous of Peace, that it requireth Communion in a true Church, although not pure; and so desirous of Truth, that it forbids im­purity in any Church whatsoever. That, that is the Mark at which we aim, and which we endeavour and breath after, in him who is the Way, the Truth and Life.

It is confessed, there are some Apices, or lesser points in Divinity, which the Church of God hath now for above an hundred years bewailed, as the obstacles of Peace, concerning which the chief controversies maintained are about Predestination, Ubiquity, and the Eucharist. About these points how many thousand Polemick writings have been extant all abroad, which the Christian World is scarce able to contein? Alas! that ever there should be a warre about the Sacrament! Alas! that ever there should be any con­tentious Treatises about the Eucharist, turning the very Badge of Union, into an Apple of Contention! who can refrain from tears at the uttering of such things? yet these notwithstanding, that there is place for the so much desired Coalition between the Evangelicks and the Reformed, so called may easily be made appear, by run­ning through the chief Heads of things:

As namely, Because in the first Article, they who were the greatest Favourers of that eminent Worthy of the former Age, do yet ascribe the work of Conversion wholly unto God, and do likewise stifly maintain, and accurately defend, Grace to be al­together [Page 4]free; who were also utter enemies to that pestilent Opinion of the Schoolmen [That God is bound to him that doth what he can of himself] And who likewise do deservedly account it meer Pelagianism, to make any kinde of Qualifying Fitness a Moral Motive unto predeterining Grace.

As for the Opinion of the Ubiquity of the Humane Nature, by virtue of the Hypostatical Union; it cannot be denied, but that Papers have come abroad, written by too much gall and sharpness. In the mean while it is agreed upon by all, and taken for granted, That the Humane Nature is Personally Omnipresent, According to this Rule likewise are other Propositions about the Person to be judged of, under this head.

Lastly, As concerning the Lords Supper; the Divines of either part, do reject Transubstantiation, together with worshiping of bread. But about the Real Presence, viz. Sacramental, of the Body and Blood of Christ, it is agreed between both. These so many and great Differences, are to be accounted as so many Heart-griefs, although not to be numbred amongst them which by the Apostle are called Ʋnlearned Questions; yet we judge them not to be of that moment, as to hinder the giving each other the right hand of fellowship, or the pledges of Eclesiastical Brotherhood, building upon that Apostolical Canon of holy Communion, Nevertheless, in that whereunto we have attained, let us walk by the same Rule, let us minde the same thing, Phil. 3.16. Here also we may call to minde that common and received Distinction between Fundamen­tals, and non-fundamentals; and, that Brotherly Fellowship is not to be refused with men peaceable, and otherwise Orthodox, for the sake of Non-fundamentals.

We account it very unequal to fasten upon any one that holds an Opinion; all the Consectaries, which to him that argues ac­cording to the exactest grounds of Reason, seem to follow upon such premises, especially if those Consequences be disowned by him: in which respect there are no small Errours on both sides, while those of our side impeach the other of Eutyches his opinion, though refusing to own it, for the sake of Consubstantiation; [Page 5]And they on the other side go about to make ours guilty of making God the Author of Sin, although we never so much disclaim it, in the Point of Predestination. The Disputes about the Consequences of these, whether rightly inferred or not, from the premises, belong not to this place to be examined, yea the mat­ter it self requires rather that we should forbear.

But this Tragedy is not yet at an end. For, as to Polity, and in­different things, they have taken up divers Opinions; who it were to be wished that they would embsace that Concord one with another, which hath been so often endeavoured after. But the Differences of this nature, as they are not so small, that the Lovers of Truth should be silent about them; so neither are they so great, that they need be any hindrance to the Seekers of Peace and Quietness in the present Undertaking; as may appear by the unquestioned Example of our Saviour, who refused not to Celebrate the Worship of God in the Jewish Church, defaced at that time with more greivous corruptions. They who are united to Christ by heart-converting grace, are Members of his Mystical Body; and whosoever, but in appearance at least, are joyned to the Head, and have added themselves to the Polity of Israel, are to be received Members of the Political Body. Now Communion follows upon Union. Besides the nature of Political, as well as Christian Society, doth utterly forbid to deny the Priviledges of fellowship to such Members as are found with­out Scandal.

Thus much we thought good to speak briefly about this Point, that Honoured Persons, and Respected Brethren, might under­stand what Reasons moved us to entertain the same Opinion with themselves. We have been taught, that the Idea, or Patern of holy Communion, ought to be fetched from Divine Writ, and not to be framed after our own pleasure.

The Rules of Sacred Society are certain; beyond which, or short of which, it is not in our power to extend, or withhold the Right-hand of Brother-hood. Whoever having attained these shall acknowledg them; and having acknowledged them, shall walk according unto them; so holding Communion with sinners, [Page 6]as he doth not in the least communicate with their sins, so as he is wanting neither to the Truth, nor himself, nor his Brethren, him we deservedly esteem both as a Guide and Pillar of the Church: will we, or nill we, we are Brethren; and seeing we are Brethren, let us acknowledge our selves what we are, namely, Brethren in the Lord. A day would scarce suffice, to rehearse how many and how great incitements do call for, and require this. To account the weak in Faith for none, is indeed it self a greater weakness. The name of Brethren is sweet: it is matter of great delight to be such indeed. But it is much to be lamented, that those who are so, should not be acknowledged to be so. So to stand for Truth, that by too tenacious insisting upon Doctrine, we make no reckoning of the Rights of Society, is to be carried with the study of Parties, not of the Truth; and to undertake the Pa­tronage of an Opinion, rather because it is our own, then because it is true.

Sounder Philosophy determines, that the excellency of Union is to be esteemed according to the dignity of the Cause. We here pass over in silence the conspiring together of the waters and dry land to make one Globe; as also that of the frame of the Heavenly and the Earthly Globe, to make one Sphere of the World. There may be found an heap of Miracles in the quiet gathering the living creatures into the Ark, and their abiding in it, where the most savage of them laid aside their savageness; being ready to acknow­ledge Noah for their Lord (not much otherwise then Adam in giving Names unto them) where might be seen the Wolfe standing amongst the Sheep, neither do the Flocks seem affraid of the great Lyons: These are indeed very great things; but yet if they be compared with the Myst cal Union, shining forth in one of the very least of Christs Members, there would want words to express how great the distance is. To proceed therefore, if the Union of a very few Believers be of so great moment, of how great ac­count should be the Uniting of all Protestants in the Faith? But let us here pause a while, and not think much to weigh this matter a little more seriously, and we shall finde (unless we are much de­ceived) this very Union about which we are treating, if it be [Page 7]without hypocrifie and deceit, but as the very off-spring and image of the Hypostatical Union, and onely next unto it on Earth (as to the kinde) and like unto which there will not be found any in Heaven, no not when Angelical Nature remained in its perfection. We do believe indeed, and not out of a vain conceit, That this Agreement is a bright Looking-glass made of the Blood of the Lamb, wherein Jesus himself, the Prince of so great a Peace, clearly shines forth: in passing through which also, he doth ir­radiate the World with its brightness, while it stedfastly beholds this clear Looking-glass, and by irradiating, ingenerates Faith therein. In which respect we need not fear to affirm, That the perpetual conjunction of all Mankinde, established by the Bond of the first Covenant, would be by infinite degrees exceeded by it; That they all may be one, as thou Father in me, and I in thee, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, Joh. 17.21.

If the possibility of such a Peace should appear, we could not do much in the pursuing the necessity thereof. Notwith­standing (if we may have leave) that this Necessity may be fast­ned in our mindes, as they say, with the strongest Nayle, before we leave this Exhortatory part of our Discourse, we think meet, for a Conclusion, to adorn and strengthen it with the Sayings of some Famous men, tending much unto Peace.

At Marpurg, Luther long since professed, That he would not yield this Praise to the Adverse Party, that they should be more stu­dious of Concord and Peace then himself. From whence arose that famous Concord of Marpurg. We finde also Calvin thus ex­pressing himself, that he might compose mindes, and allay so great Commotions, at a time when Contention was grown much too hot; But I desire you to consider, first, How great a man Luther is, and in what great Gifts he doth excell, and with how great Courage and Constancy of Minde, with how great Dexterity, with how great Efficacy of Learning, he hath hitherto endeavoured to put to stight the Kingdome of Antichrist, and propagate the Doctrine of Salvation. I have been often wont to say, That if he should call me Devil a thousand times, that I would yet give him that honour, as to acknow­ledge him the eminent Servant of God. But our Davenant most [Page 8]severest of all; If the Schismes of Churches might be taken a­way, as without doubt they may, I would rather have a Mill­stone hanged about my neck, and be cast into the Sea, then either hinder a Work so acceptable unto God, and so necessary to avoid Scandals, or not promote it with my whole heart, and all my utmost Endeavours.

Epiphanius would not that Christians should have any By­name. Let the Nick-name of Zuinglians and Calvinists then cease, the Marks rather of Faction, then of Brotherly Ʋnion. What should we have to do with Luther? What should we have to do with Calvin? We Profess the Gospel, we Believe the Gospel. Bellarmine some­where hath a Catalogue of a great many Kingdomes that fell off from the Papacy: whose defection from the Mystery of Iniquity, if it hath troubled the Cardinals of Rome, how much more would their Uniting together in the Mystery of Piety, be a terrour to the Roman Party? When the truly holy League shall wholly stand for the Lamb; when Humane Endeavours and Dissensions being laid aside, they shall onely intend that one thing, to afford their mutual help for the promoting of Religion; when they shall unanimously carry on the war of the Lord against the Whore, as if they were indued with the very Spirit of the Revelation; when they shall be called neither English, nor Dutch, nor Swedes, nor Danes, but onely Christians.

If Poets Writings any truth contain,
Ages fierce Wars shall never more maintain.

But it is not in our power, most excellent Dury, to adde our coun­sel, either to the beginning or the preserving this Agreement. You are not ignorant, that we are Exiles, Britains, altogether divided from the rest of Europe; wherefore we are less fit to perform this Task: Neither are we so unsensible of our own weakness, as not readily to confess our inability for so great a Service; nor is there need, seeing we must thankfully acknowledge and own, that this office hath been abundantly performed, both by Strangers, as well as by our own Countrymen.

We may here call to minde, and not without some sacred sym­pathy, [Page 9]those Blessed Soules, Melancthon, and Pareus, now amongst the Blessed; the one no less famous amongst the Reformed, then the other amongst the Evangelicks; The first of whom going towards Haganoa, with sighing uttered these words,

In Synods hitherto we lived have,
And now in them return unto the grave.

The other seriously meditating on the controversie of the Encharist, brake forth into these words; I am weary with disputing. Thus, if these men might be Judges, we ought rather Pray, then Dispute, and study how to Live, then to Contend. And perhaps the Divines of either part, after they have been wearied, and broken in their Spirits with daily and continual Contentions, will more readily ac­cept of the Counsels of Peace, which hitherto have been less ac­ceptable, while the Sense of Anger remained fresh: After by long use they have been taught, they may prefer the waters of the Paci­fick Sea, before those of Meribah. Nor need we say, That those Honoured Persons, and Brethren, will perhaps more kindly enter­tain the Counsels of Peace, seeing there are, we know not how many Sayings, Writings, Deeds of Princes, Churches and Universities, openly testifying, That eminent men of both Orders, and that not of the lowest Rank, have not onely received, but taken Counsel to­gether, and engaged their helping hand, as need shall require: from which beginnings it is but meet to hope the best. God is able to make them workers of Peace, whom he hath given to be Seekers of Peace: If otherwise, such eminent endeavours shall not want their reward in heaven, and their honour in Israel. These are piously He­roick Enterprises, which as they do oblige all good men, so are they to be admired of them. Their Praises, how great, or how little so­ever, as the present age is not altogether silent about them; so will posterity declare the rest, and perhaps the unknown parts of the World.

We give thanks unto the Father of Lights with all our hearts, who hath put this Work into the minde of Dury, savouring of a Spirit more then Humane; and hath added also suitable Cou­rage to the promoting so Pious and Apostolical a matter, which Task, whosoever shall effect, if we may be Judges, will de­serve [Page 10]a more then ordinary Triumphant Statue; and whose Mo­nument will so far excel the Trophees of Achilles, as if they were not worthy to be mentioned in the same day. However the issue of the matter fall, yet it is a great deal, to have attempted in a great Design. Seek the Peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee.

We give thanks unto the God of Peace, who would not suffer the labours of his servant endeavouring after peace, to be under­taken altogether without success. Therefore, most worthy Sir, go on in this your strength, resting on the prophecy for the desired Concord, That it shall be in it's own appointed time. The power which have obeyed the Roman Harlot, shall hate her, make her naked, and burn her with fire; For God hath put it into the hearts of the Kings, that they should fulfil his will. It doth not become those that have a meet understanding of things, to doubt of their Agreement in the Faith, who are to burn to Ashes the Metropolis of the last Head of the Beast, as an enemy to the Faith. The Discord of the Kings detaines the Whore on her throne, and keeps the Woman in the Wilderness, while they are contending amongst themselves.

It makes all Priamus his house rejoyce,
And other Trojans to lift up their voice.

But this their sacred Concord, the renowned Sons of Sion cannot but look upon, as a forerunner of the Destruction of Rome, now at the very doors; and accordingly with their daily and most ardent prayers breathe after, hope, and long for the same.

Lastly, we give thanks to Mr. Dury, into whose heart it came to remember Joseph, separate from his Brethren at so great a distance, both by Sea and Land; and who hath vouchsafed with so com­fortable a message to visit us poor wretches, clothed in Sackcloth for our warfare; yet, as we trust, the Sackcloth of the Gospel: who hath not refused to put New-England, as a part of the skirt of Aaron's garment, upon which hath descended some of the pre­cious Oil, into the Catalogue of the so much famed Agreement: [Page 11]And who hath by his Letter exhorting unto such Agreement, given us an occasion to bring in this Testimony, such as it is, for our bro­therly Communion with the whole company of Protestants pro­fessing the Faith of Christ Jesus. For we must ingenuously confess, that then, when all things were quiet, and no threatning signes of warre appeared, seeing we could not be permitted by the Bishops at that time prevailing, to perform the Office of the Ministry in Publick, nor yet to enjoy the holy Ordinances without Subscri­ption, and Conformity, (as they were wont to speak) nor without the mixture of Humane Inventions with Divine Institutions, we chose rather to depart into the remote, and unknown Coasts of the Earth, for the sake of a purer worship, then to lye down under the Hierarchy in the abundance of all things, but with the prejudice of Conscience. But, that in flying from our Country, we should renounce communion with such Churches as profess the Gospel, is a thing which we confidently and solemnly deny.

Certainly, so far as concerns our selves, in whatever Assemblies amongst us the whole Company of them that profess the Gospel, the Fundamentals of Doctrine, and Essentials of Order are maintained, although in many niceties of controversal Divinity they are at less Agreement with us, we do hereby make it manifest (which yet we would alwayes have understood, so as the least part of Truth, according to the nature of that Reverence which ought exactly to be yielded thereunto, may be preserved) that we do acknowledge them all, and every one for Brethren; and that we shall be ready to give unto them the right hands of fellowship in the Lord, if in other things they be peaceable, and walk or­derly.

We humbly beseech the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose lips is onely power to perswade, that he would en­lighten Princes, Divines, and even all who are rightly called Christians from the name of Christ, with the lively splendour of such an Agreement, and draw them with a Soul-moving Energie to the divine Love of himself. As for that which concerns your self, the sweetest Follower of Peace, We should account it an heinous crime to be wanting unto you in our Prayers to the very [Page 12]God of Peace, That he would so preserve your Life, your Course, and your Work, that you may bring unto a Conclusion your so eminent undertaking, with so many sighs, labours, sweatings, dan­gers, and with so great charges hitherto carried on: if otherwise, and that it seem good to the great Determiner of things, before this come to pass to advance him that hath been a follower of peace on Earth, to the state of a Blessed Saint in Heaven; That then he would raise up other Duryes, who may bring the work so happily begun to its desired end.

Your most observant Brethren in Christ, The Ministers of the Churches, and Preachers of the Word, Militant for the Faith of Jesus in New-England:
  • John Wilson Pastor of Boston.
  • John Norton Teacher of the same.
  • John Mayo Pastor of New-Boston.
  • Richard Mather Teacher of Dorchester.
  • John Allin Pastor of Dedham.
  • John Eliot Teacher of Rexbury.
  • Samuel Danforth Pastor of the same.
  • William Thomson Pastor of Braintry.
  • Henry Flint Teacher of the same.
  • Thomas Thatcher Teacher of Weymouth.
  • Peter Hubbard Pastor of Hingham.
  • John Miller Pastor of Yarmouth.
  • John Wilson junior Pastor of Medfield.
  • Zechariah Symmes Pastor of Charlstown.
  • Thomas Shepard Peacher of the same.
  • Samuel Stone Teacher of Hartford
  • Jonathan Mitchel Pastor of Cambridge.
  • John Sherman Pastor of Watertown.
  • Edmund Brown Pastor of Sudbury.
  • Edward Bulkly Pastor of Concord.
  • Thomas Carter Pastor of Woborne.
  • Samuel Haugh Pastor of Reding.
  • John Fiske Pastor of Chelmsford.
  • John Reyner Teacher of Dover.
  • Ezekiel Regers Pastor of Rowly
  • Samuel Philips Teacher of the same.
  • Samuel Whiting Pastor of Lyn.
  • John Higginson Pastor of Salem.
  • Thomas Cobbet Pastor of Ipswich.
  • William Hubbard Teacher of the same.
  • Francis Dane Teacher of Andover
  • William Worcester Pastor of Salisbury.
  • John Ward Pastor of Haverhil.
  • Timothy Dalton Teacher of Hampton.
  • Seaborn Cotton of the same.
  • Joseph Emerson Pastor of York.
  • Michael Wigglesworth Pastor of Maldon.
  • William Walton Minister of the Word.
  • Ralph Smith Minister of the Word.
  • Charles Chauncy, President of Harvard Colledge.
  • Gershom Bulkly Fellows of the said Colledge.
  • Thomas Graves Fellows of the said Colledge.
  • Zech. Symmes Fellows of the said Colledge.
  • Zech. Brigden Fellows of the said Colledge.
FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.