Imprimatur,

H. Maurice, Rmo in Christo Patri Do. Guilo. Apo. Cant. à Sacris Dom.

A SERMON Preached July, 5th. on the Occasion OF THE Late Rebellion.

By JOHN PETTER, M. A.

LONDON, Printed for Samuel Walsal, at the Heart and Bible, near the Royal Exchange in Cornbil. 1685.

[...]
JOH. XXI. 22.‘—If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow you me.’‘— [...].’

OUR Saviour saith unto St. Peter in the nineteenth verse of this Chapter, Follow you me; (i. e.) to Death: But he being backward and neg­lectful of that which he was call­ed to, and too much pragmatically inquisitive into St. John's business; seeing him, said, Lord, what shall this man do? vers. 20. What shall he do for thy Name? What shall his Fate be? Whe­ther shall he, because he loves thee much, glo­rifie thee likewise by Death, as well as I? Or whether shall he be free from the Punishment of Martyrdom, and I only follow thee? All which was a great Curiosity in St. Peter, how­ever it came to pass; whether out of that great love he bore to St. John his Colleague, or for that he desired a Companion in his Sufferings: [Page 2]Solamen miseris, &c.’

But upon what score soever it was, we have Christ's Reprehension of it subjoyned in the words of my Text, If I will that he tarry till I come, &c. As if he should have said; Be not you so inqui­sitive about him, nor so backward in your self: Take heed, that while you cast your Eye upon him, you neglect not that which is enjoyn'd you, I will that you follow me.

The Words are partly CORRECTIVE, and partly DIRECTIVE.

  • 1. CORRECTIVE of St. Peter's Curiosity with a severe Check; quickly taking up his [...]; What shall this man do? with a [...]; What's that to thee?
  • 2. DIRECTIVE of his own future Course of Life, suddenly putting him upon what was best for him to do, with a [...], Follow you me.

In the former, the Reprehensory Part, we have,

  • 1. Christ's Hypothesis, or Supposition concern­ing John's tarrying; If I will that he tarry till I come.
  • 2. The Reprehension it self; wherein our Sa­viour answers Peter's What with a What's that to thee?

[Page 3](1.) Christ's Hypothesis, or Supposition con­cerning John's tarrying; If I will that he tarry till I come.

It would be needless at present to give you the various Readings of these words; for Christ seems chiefly to check St. Peter's Curiosity; and so all of them may fall into one sence: The Result of the business is then in these two words, Tarrying, and till I come.

Tarrying here by St. Chrysostom is read accord­ing to the word, (i. e.) If I will that he tarry here, and be not sent abroad into the World, as the rest.

Others say, this tarrying is, not dying; but then the difficulty lies in till I come.

Some understand it of the end of the World, but then St. John must be now alive.

Others understand Christ's Metaphorical Com­ing, (viz.) by his Power and Vertue, as he did by Titus and Vespatian to destroy Jerusalem.

But if we will search the Scriptures, they will clear us in this point; for there we shall find a threefold Coming of Christ, ad, in, contra ho­mines; the first is past, the last is yet to come, the second is his coming in the Promulgation of his Gospel; and that St. John lived to see.

In Mat. 16. 28. we have the parallel of this [Page 4] place; Verily there be some standing here, that shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom: Which tastiing of death corresponds with tarrying (in the Text) the Son of Man's Com­ing. Till I come, and the Kingdom of God, what is it, but the full Manifestation of the Gospel, to the Conversion of the World? which how large­ly it was spread abroad, St. John tarryed to see, even in the days of Trajan the Emperour.

From the words of the Hypothesis thus ex­plain'd, I pass to the second part, the Correcti­on, What's that to thee? Ad te, quid ad te? so the Syriack doubles it with an emphatical Check, to denote to us, that this Sin, where-ever it is found, deserves a Check, and a severe one too.

You may therefore learn from hence, that if any Priviledge, Benefit or Honour be granted to another man, which is denyed to you, not to think much, or be continually murmuring at it, and saying, Quid autem hic? For if Christ spared not St. Peter, who had at that time (as many write) undertaken the care of the whole Church; how much more severely shall he reprove you with a What's that to thee? Follow you me, do you your own duty diligently in that Station wherein God hath placed you; [...]

But this is a Vice which may justly be taxed [Page 5] in these our times: And more especially in those who busie themselves in publick matters, above their reach; such Busie-bodies as keep not themselves within the limits of their own callings and Professions; who are never well but when they are taxing or finding fault with something either in Church or State; who can teach their Princes how to Govern, their Ministers how to Preach, what Laws are fit for the Kingdom, what Order for the Church: Ne sutor ultra cre­pidam. Every man must keep within the bounds and limits of his own calling: The Lawyer must not demurr on dubia Evangelica, nor the Artizan and illiterate day Labourer hold himself suffici­ent to be a Master-builder in Christs Church: Men of every Profession must not take upon them, to have skill in expounding Scripture. It's well provided by our Laws; that Divines and Ecclesiastical Persons may not take Farms, fol­low any Mechanick Trades, buy nor sell for re­turn in Markets: And shall Farmers, Mecha­nicks, Men of all Professions, and men of no Professions, turn Divines? No. Every one is to act that part which God hath allotted him: The Taylor must not leap from the Shop-board to the Pulpit, nor the Cobler from the Stall to the Throne. God hath made Kings to Govern, and [Page 6] Subjects to Obey: 'Tis not therefore for Sub­jects to call in Question, or be censuring the Actions of their Prince. Rex sub nullo nisi sub Deo; To be accountable to none but God, is the Royal Prerogative of Princes: For who shall say unto the King, What dost thou? 'Tis not for every Tradesman to be medling with State-affairs: 'Tis not for every Mechanick, every pitiful in­feriour fellow, that is placed at the lower end of the World, and doth not know how the upper Springs of the Government are moved, to be tampering with them, and putting of them out of place.

These things are above their reach, they be­long not unto them. Every man is not cut out for every Employment; and yet 'tis a common Folly, for most men to think themselves fitter for the business of others than their own. Oh what an excellent Preacher could I make, saith the Mechanick! How admirably well could I perform the Office of a Magistrate or Prince, saith the inferiour Tradesman! And how for­ward are too many (whose business 'tis not) to censure State-Councels, and Judiciary pro­ceedings? Every man is an Absalom, to say to every man, Your Cause is good, but the King hath appointed none to hear it; 2 Sam. 15. 3. And say [Page 7] our seditious Absoloms, vers. 4. O that I were made Judge in the Land, that every man might come unto me, and I would do him Justice: But if you who never made it your business, think your selves fit enough to undertake the Employment of others; may not they think themselves as well qualified for, and by the same Right and Ju­stice attempt to discharge your Office, or any other persons which they most fancy.

And how natural 'tis for such pragmatical Examples as these to have so ill Effects upon others, was wittily represented in the sharp Re­proof of an imprudent Action of King Lewis XI. of France, who having appointed a certain Bi­shop to take the general Muster of Souldiers at Paris, and Chabannes one of his Noblemen, taking this thing in ill part, desired of the King to give him the Authority of censuring the said Bi­shops Clergy-men; to which the King replying, That it was not fit to put ones Sickle into ano­ther mans Corn: Yes, saith the other, since the Bishop hath made our Harvest his own, why may not we also as well make his ours? So that nothing will ensue from hence, but great disor­der and lamentable confusion; for whilest all men will be every thing, no man at last will be any thing he should be. But what's the Rea­son [Page 8] that so many of late have thus run out, and forgot themselves? Why, to be reputed a man of Intriegue, a person well vers'd in the Myste­ries of State, to be admired and cry'd up for a politick and shrewd Common-wealths-man, are tickling pieces of Honour, and the Temptati­ons which have of late betrayed so many thus to run out beyond their bounds, to the distur­bance of the publick Peace, and in the end will prove to the utter Ruine and Confusion of them­selves and others; and then Experience will con­vince them of their extream folly, and shew them that these Edge-tools are not to be med­led with by every Stripling and upstart States­man.

If things be ordered thus or thus in Church or State, by the wisdom of your Governours, What's that to you? Follow you Christ, by acquitting your selves conscionably, and like Christians, in the diligent Discharge of those several Duties required of you in your particular Spheres and Stations in which it hath pleased God to place you. ‘Tantúmne abs re tuâ otii sit tibi, aliena ut cures?’ [Page 9]Study to be quiet, medling with your own business,’ Thess. 4. 11.

But whoever they be that thus run out be­yond their own bounds, and exercise themselves in such kind of Practices as these; they them­selves shall find in the end, that they have la­boured without thanks, lived without love, and many of them will dye, as shamefully and un­timely, so without Tears, without Pity; save that some may say, 'twas pity they dy'd no sooner.

Turn therefore this Curiosity the right way; Traduce hanc curiositatem ad curam salutis tuae; Change Peter's What, What shall this man do? in­to Paul's What, Acts 9. 6. Lord, what will you have me to do? And then you shall hear our Saviour answering, and directing you in the last part of my Text, Follow you me.

Which words lay before us, not only Peter's Duty, but every ones; Quod Petro dicitur, omnibus dicitur, Follow you me: Here's a Precept to follow a President; Plus docemur exemplis, quam preceptis; lon­gum per precepta, &c. But where both meet toge­ther to direct us, there we are unadvised not to [Page 10] follow: The Command must be obeyed, it's from Christ himself; the Pattern cannot be de­nyed, it is Christ himself set forth as a Pattern for us to follow.

Great Examples are of vast importance, inviting the Attendance, and awakening natural Consci­ence and Ingenuity to attempt things that may ex­cel. It was not therefore without good reason ad­vised in Seneca, that every man should propound to himself the Example of a wife and vertu­ous Personage, as CATO, SOCRATES or BRUTUS; and by a fiction of Imagination to suppose him present as a Witness, and real­ly to take his Life as a direction of all their Actions. But the best and most excellent of the old Law-givers and Philosophers among the Greeks, had an allay of Viciousness, and could not be exemplary all over; and the best among the Christians, in the greatest flame of their shi­ning Piety, have fal'n short something of the Commandment: We may find among them. Ex­amples, one eminent for this Vertue, another for another, but none for all, excepting the Man Christ Jesus. The Italians got up all the ex­cellent Pictures in the World, that out of them all they might make up one Master-piece, or [Page 11] most excellent Picture. And we read of a Paint­er, that wont to one Virgin for an Eye, to ano­ther for a Lip, to a third for a Forehead, to a fourth for a Chin, to make exquisite the Face of his Goddess. We need not go to one Saint for this Vertue, to another for that, for perfe­ction; take Christ, and take all: He intend­ed himself an Example of Piety, and led so holy a Life in all the Instances of it, with this design, that he might shine to all the Gene­rations and Ages of the world to come, and become an Example and guiding Star to us in our Journey.

And he therefore in all the Actions of his Life (in which he propounds himself imitable) did so converse with men, that men after that Example might for ever converse with him. Christ hath suf­fered for us (saith St. Peter, 1 Ep. c. 2. ver. 21.) leaving an Example to us, that we might follow his steps. And the Author to the Hebrews, chap. 12. v. 2. commands us to look unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our Faith. Look upon him, and so eye him that you may follow him; so fol­low him that you may live like him, that you may say, [Page 12]Sic oculos, sic ille-manus▪ sic ora forebat.’

When your Eyes are haughty with Ambiti­on, did He carry his Eyes so? No: Like as a Lamb before that bloody Wolf Pilate, his Look was meek and lowly, thô lovely. When thou cursest him that angers thee, Did he car­ry his Mouth so? No. Father, forgive them. When thou art provoked with Words, and re­turnest Blows; Did he carry his Hands so? No. Being stricken he struck not again. Summa Religionis est imitari quem colis: Nothing is more Honourable than to be like God. The Hea­then Worshippers of false Deities grew vicious upon this Stock, and acted many things con­trary to their best Reason, only to be like them. Adulterio delectatur Quis? Jovem respicit. But you have here not only the Command but the Example of Christ, to imitate him in a Life of Piety and Obedience, of Justice and Temperance, of Charity and Devotion; such a Life without which Humane Society cannot be preserved. And therefore, Si precipientem sequi non vis, sequere precedentem, saith Lactantius. If you will not follow him in his Word commanding, yet follow him in his work directing.

[Page 13]But some things there be which our Sa­viour did, that you must not attempt to fol­low him in: Your Imitation hath a Limi­tation: For there are special Works which he reserves to himself, and wherein he did never command nor commend Man's fol­lowing him, but rather strikes it down as Presumption.

1. You must not follow him in the Works of his Power: If Nebuchadnezzar aspire to this, he shall be sent to eat grass with the Beasts of the Field.

2. You must not follow him in the Works of his Wisdom: If Adam contend for this, he shall be sent forth of Paradise to till the Earth.

3. You must not follow him in the Works of his Miracles: If Simon Magus will be mount­ed up like God, and flye in the Air, he shall be hurl'd down, and break his Neck.

4. You must not follow him in the Works of his Majesty: If Lucifer will aspire to be [Page 14] like God in this, he shall be thrown out of Heaven, and damned in Hell. And there­fore, whereas our Saviour saith, Learn of me; St. Augustin saith, What to do? not to create the World, not to walk on the Water, not to raise the dead: You must follow him, non in quantum filius Dei, sed in quantum filius hominis. Neither in them must you expect to take such large Steps as our Saviour did, but you must step so far as you can, and walk so fast as you may. Follow you must carefully and chearfully, tho' non passibus aequis: Tho' you cannot reach Christ's mark, yet if there be a willing mind, 'tis accepted according to what a man hath, and not ac­cording to what he hath not.

I shall instance in one path-way or two wherein you must follow him, and so con­clude.

1. You must follow him in the way of Piety and Holiness; of which that he was a most eminent Example, no Christian will deny.

2. You must follow him in the path-way [Page 15] of LOYALTY and Obedience, which is a very necessary one to be insisted on, and more especially at this juncture of time; and without following of him in this, your follow­ing of him in any other will avail you nothing. For our Saviour having shewed himself a most eminent Example of Piety and the Fear of God, is also a most perfect pattern of Loyalty, and Obedience to the King. And as you have his Pattern, so his Precept too; for he commands us to give to Caesar the things that are Caesars: And to shew us, that Religion and Loyalty go hand in hand, in the same Sentence and breath enjoyns us to give to God the things that are God's; which doth declare, that there is such a necessary Connection betwixt the true Fear of God and Honour of the King; that whoever he be that saith he fears God, and at the same time disobeys the King; we may say of him as St. John doth in another case, He is a Lyar, and the truth is not in him, nor the fear of God.

What therefore may we think of that Arch-Rebel who hath put out his Traiterous De­claration, to excite his Majesties Subjects to rise in Rebellion against him; who hath set [Page 16] up his Standard in the West against his law­ful Prince, and hath placed God and Reli­gion in the Front of his Traiterous Designs. Why? He draws God himself to his hor­rid Conspiracies, and makes a mock of him and his Religion too: For RELIGION and REBELLION are as opposite as white and black; and a Disloyal Christian is as great a Contradiction as a just Robber, or innocent Murtherer. But HE, with those that side with him, or any way countenance his rebellious Undertakings, or wish well to his Traiterous Proceedings; nay those that do not act against him as vigorously as they can, but stand neuter, watching which side will prevail, determining to close and com­ply with that, making sure to save one, and sleep in a whole skin; they who under pre­tence of Authority can tune their tongues to any thing, but Authority discountenancing them, can forbear, and times turning head again can do as they did; they who are such Time-servers, that Proteus-like can change themselves into any form or fashion, who are such lukewarm Converts, as for a while (to secure their Interest and the main Stake) put on an outside colour of Loyalty, but [Page 17] upon the least prospect of advantage re­assume their beloved Principles of Sedition and Rebellion; they who are such Pharisai­cal Loyallists, to fear the King (as the Indi­ans Worship the Devil) to prevent his hurt­ing of them, and not out of any right or sincerity of their Duty; they who upon any pretence do take up Arms against their law­ful Prince; nay, they that do not rather fall a Sacrifice to the fury of such a wicked Rebel, than forfeit their Loyalty by com­plying with him in his wicked designs, they are so far from following Christ, they are so far from transcribing that Copy which he hath set them in this particular, that they bring an eternal Scandal and indelible Re­proach on that Religion of which he was the Author, and whose Doctrine countenan­ces nothing that is so manifestly inconsistent with Allegiance to our Prince, the Peace of Societies and Civil Government: Is this the way to take off that Reproach which those Sons of Belial have brought on this our Na­tion, by shedding the Innocent Blood of King Charles the First (who will ever be remem­bred for his eminent Vertues and Sufferings, by all Religious and Loyal People that fear [Page 18] God, and honour the King) by endeavou­ring to embrue their Hands in the Blood of his Son: But how can we expect that he to whom his Father might have said, [...], should give the Brother of that Blessed Prince occasion to say less than Cujus presi­dio tutus etiam adversus hostes esse debueram, illius infidiis circumventus, tutior ab hostibus quam ab illo sum.

But these are not the measures of Alle­giance and Obedience chalk'd out to them in the Example of their blessed Saviour: For he was not one of a Factious spirit, no raiser of Sedition, no Encourager of Tu­mults and Rebellion. He never plotted or designed any thing against the Life or Dig­nity of his lawful Governour. He never entred into any Combination, Association or secret Consult about raising of Men or Money to set on foot or carry on a Re­bellion: He never Libell'd his Prince, nor stirr'd up the People against his Person or Government; but plainly condemns all kind of Resistance of Lawful Authority by force or violence, in reproving St. Peter's draw­ing of the Sword against those who acted [Page 19] by it. He hath secured the Right and In­terest of Princes, the Liberty of Subjects, and Peace of Societies, in not allowing Sub­jects Right or Liberty on any pretence what­ever to take up Arms against the lawfull Powers. And from his words to St. Peter, Put up thy Sword into its sheath, &c. you may sufficiently learn his mind and will con­cerning the Resistance of them. For if ever there was or can be any case where­in Resistance of lawful Authority by force is justifyable, it must had been in this: And yet then our Saviour disallows of drawing the Sword against or without law­full Authority: When the greatest Inno­cence was assaulted, their Lives and Estates in great danger, and the very Foundations of Religion struck at: And thought it more for the safety of every Subject, that the So­vereign Power should be invested with an absolute, unaccountable and irresistible Au­thority, subordinate to none but God him­self.

Thô this Authority should degenerate in­to Tyranny, yet it must by no means be resisted by his followers; which plainly ap­pears [Page 20] by his behaviour towards those Ty­rants that reigned in the World in his time, most infamous for their Cruelty and Op­pression: For thô some might be in danger when it thus happened into ill hands, yet more would be in danger, and in far great­er danger too, when it might be resisted: And therefore our Saviour allows not of a Princes Male-administration of Affairs, fai­lures enough to forfeit his Commission, and supersede his Authority. But by his Precept commands us, and by his Example shews. us that we ought (when the Precepts of the Gospel will not allow us to pay an active Obedience) with all Christian humility, to submit to the severest Penalties, in the Or­dinances of our lawful Sovereign.

The Primitive Christians and Martyrs by a passive Valour and Courage, shewed their Love and Constancy to their Saviour and his Religion, by suffering gladly the spoyl­ing of their Goods, and rejoycing in the midst of scorching Flames: Not by fight­ing for it, or making it a pretence to re­bell, thô they wanted not force sufficient to have opposed the Heathen Emperours; yet [Page 21] they willingly submitted to the unjust Sen­tence of their Governours, following the ex­ample of their Blessed Lord and Saviour: One would therefore think that those many excellent discourses, which have of late been made to press this duty of Loyalty and Obedience, might have been unnecessary, at least sufficient to have attained their design­ed ends: Since 'tis not to an Heathen Empe­ror or Tyrant; but to a Prince well furni­shed with all Wisdom, that is most fit for so great a King, to one who esteems our welfare his happiness; and makes it his dai­ly care and study: Ne bona caduca sint, ne ma­la rediviva: That those good things which we enjoy by him, may never depart from us; that those Evils which we suffer'd before him, may never return unto us: To one who hath most graciously engaged to defend and protect that Religion which the Royal Martyr his Father of ever Blessed memory hath sealed with his Blood.

'Tis our Duty therefore (without any causeless fears or jealousies in our selves, or stirring up any in the People) to rest quiet [Page 22] and peaceable in this assurance, and to do our part, in following Christ in this path­way of Loyalty and Obedience, and there­by make his Reign safe, easie and pro­sperous, and himself a glorious Prince; and we may rest assured, that he will not be wanting in any thing on his part, that may make us lead under him a quiet and peaceable Life, in all Godlinesse and Honesty, and thereby become an Happy People.

In vain are we called Christians, if we follow not the Example of Christ the Fa­ther of the Institution: Dictum Malachiae Ab­bat apud S. Bern.

To conclude therefore: Follow Christ, by despising all those gilded Vanities that he despised, by fearing none of those Sad­nesses and hard Usages which he suffered, by practising all those Doctrines that he taught: So then you shall at last be added to that glorious Company of Apostles and Martyrs which are gone before you, and together with them, follow Him into Eter­nal Glory:

To whom, with the Father and the Blessed Spirit, be ascribed by us and the whole Church, as is most due, the Kingdom, the Power and Glory, for Ever and Ever. AMEN.

FINIS.

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