THE SUBSTANCE OF TWO SERMONS One Touching Composing of Controversies.

Another touching Unity of Judgement and Love amongst Brethren.

Preached in two Honourable Conven­tions of PARLIAMENT.

The former, Jan. 27. 1657.

The other, Feb. 4. 1658.

By Edward Reynolds, D. D.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Ratcliffe for George Thomason at the Sign of the Rose and Crown in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1659.

Honoratissimis, Amplissimis, Consultissimis D. D. Harum nationum Senatoribus IN MAGNO CONCILIO, Ardua Reipub: Negotia Assiduo & indefesso studio Tractantibus BINAS HASCE CONCIONES De controversus inter fratres Componendis Sedandisque unam: De Fraternâ [...] & [...] Alteram In summi honoris Debitique obsequii Testimonium. D. D. C.

E. R.
PHIL. 3. 15, 16.

Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveale even this unto you.

Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, Let us walk by the same rule, let us minde the same thing.

THe Caput & cor­pus unusest Christus, Aug. de Civ. dei l. 17. cap. 18. & 83. quaest. 69. & de unitat. Eccles c. 4. Head and the Members, Christ and his People make up but one Christ, and one Church; and this Church like Jerusalem a Psal: 122. 3. Ephes. 4. 16. 1 Cor. 12. 12. City compa­cted within it self, wanting neither Comlinesse to allure the love of those that behold it, nor Strength to subdue the power of those that resist it.

And in this building by how much the more curious the compacture is, by so much the greater is the deformity and danger of any breach therein, whether by Heresie, which untieth the bond of [Page 2] Faith, or by Schisme which breaketh the bond of love. Christ is Isa. 9. 6. Heb. 7. 2. a Prince of peace, and his Church a Kingdom of peace. When he Luk. 2. 14. came into the world he brought peace with him, and when he departed, he Joh. 14. 27. left it behind him: there is [...]Greg. Niz. orat. 14. no­thing more contrary to the nature of the Church, nothing more advantagious to the enemies of it, nothing doth more tempt Hypocrites to forsake it, or Strangers to despise it, then the distractions and differences which are fomented within it.

What sad breaches are crept into the Church of God in these Nations, no man but he that is a stranger in Israel, that dwelleth at the Antipo­des can be ignorant of. What great reason there is to have sad and mournfull thoughts of heart for the divisions of Reuben, for the differences and distractions which are amongst us, every good man doth easily apprehend; How much it is incum­bent upon those whom the Prophet calleth heal­ers, Isa. 3. 7. to put to their helping hand to pre­vent further ruines, and to close up the breaches of Sion again, It is needless for me to prove. Since therefore so long as we know but in part, and prophesie but in part, it cannot be but that there will be variety of judgements in the Church, I have deemed it not incongruous or unbeseem­ing this present service, to open unto you out of these words of the Apostle, such an heavenly way of calming and pacifying differences, as that no common Adversarie of our Religion or prosperi­tie may make any use of them against us.

[Page 3] The Apostle having ver. 3. warned the Philippi­ans to take heed of Dogs, and evill workers, who endeavoured to corrupt the Doctrine of the Go­spel by mingling Circumcision and other Legall Observances therewith, shewing that though he had as many Legall Priviledges to rejoyce in as any of them, yet he cast them all away, and esteemed them Losse and dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and his interest in him and his righteousness; & the communion he had with him in his death and Resurrection; He then proceed­eth to exhort the Church to imitate his example, to prefer Christ above all, to presse forward un­to more holiness and perfection, and in case of dif­ferences of judgment, to wait in the use of means upon God by his Word and Spirit to reveale his counsel further unto them, and by their holy lives, loving affections, and united ends to prevent the danger, which otherwise their different opini­ons might expose them unto.

[...] As many as be perfect] There is a double perfection, perfectioviae, and perfectio pa­triae, perfection attainable in our way to Heaven, and perfection expected in our heavenly country it self, opposed unto the other as the whole to the part. When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away, 1 Cor. 13. 10. Perfection in the way is two fold, 1. Created perfection, that habit of Originall justice whereby Adam was enabled exactly to perform that obe­dience which in the Law written in his heart God required of him, and thus no man, Christ only [Page 4] excepted, hath since the fall been a perfect man, Eccles. 7. 29. 2. Restored and Evangelicall perfe­ction. [...]. And this again is twofold, perfection of Integrity and sincerity, perfection of parts, as the childe hath all the parts of the Parent, and the be­liever as soon as regenerated hath all the members of the new man, grace for grace wrought in him. And perfection of maturity or proficiency, perfection of degrees, as Beza here rendreth the word by Adulti, men grown up unto a greater measure of spirituall knowledge and grace. As many then as are sincere, upright, and humble hearted, how great a progresse soever they have made in the grace and knowledge of God, must yet all of them be thus minded. It is not a precept belong­ing unto babes onely, but Apostles and Prophets, and the holiest of saints must be thus minded, must renounce all carnall confidence, all self perfor­mances, must suffer the losse of all, and esteeme himself a great gainer by the bargaine, to win Christ, must acknowledge his own imperfection, and be still contending unto more holiness.

[...]] If any of you be so carnall, as through the cunning of false Teachers, and through ignorance and unacquaintance with our selves, or with Christ, are seduced to think otherwise, I doubt not but he who hath already called you, will rescue you out of the hand of so dangerous an Errour, If by Faith and prayer you attend upon the word of truth, and yeild up your selves to be taught thereby.

[...]] Nevertheless, whereunto we [Page 5] have already attained, let us walk, or, we ought to walk, &c. so the words are an Exhortation grounded on the tondition, whereby the former promise is limited. If we be carefull to walk in obedience and love, according to the light which already we have received, the Lord will reveale more of his will unto us, using the light we have, will be a very ready means for the ob­taining of more.

[...]] To walk by the same Rule, Ordines mili­tum in exerci­tu. Homerus passim vocat [...]. there seemeth to be a double Metaphoricall Allu­sion in the Originall words, the one to a Milita­ry march, wherein a Souldier keeps his proper rank and station, and obeying the Order and Rule which his Commander gives. The other to an agonisticall or athleicall Rule, wherein was drawn a white line by which the running of Phil. 2. 2. the horses was to be guided, as the learned Pet. Fa. Agoni­stic. l. 2. cap. 7. Civilian Petrus Faber in the second Book of his A­gonisticon hath observed. This Line or Rule in our Christian race is the word of God, the Rule of Faith, Love, and a Christian life, called walking in the Spirit, Gal. 5. 16. walking ac­cording to Rule, Gal. 6. 16.

[...]] The same with being [...], like minded, of one accord, of one judgement. Let not the perfect despise the weak, Let not the weake judge the perfect, but [...], in these fun­damentall articles wherein we all agree in that common salvation unto which we all contend, let the piety of our lives in walking by the same rule of Faith and love, the unity of our judgment, the con­cord [Page 6] of our affections, the concurrence of our ends, our consent and delight in the same truth (all which are intimated in the words [...]) Let all this declare to the Church of God and to our own Consciences, that in our differences, Christ notwithstanding is not divided, but that amidst the variety of our Opinions, the purity, piety, and peace of the Church is still preserved, and let these things likewife predispose and quali­fie our hearts to admit of the revelation of further truth out of the word, and so make way to the reconciling of those differences which are yet a­mongst us. This I take in brief to be the scope and meaning of the text.

Wherein we have 1. The difference inter Adultos & seductos in the Church between per­fect Christians, and Christians seduced. 2. The variety of judgements and opinions, which by rea­son of that difference may grow. 3. The right way of reconciling those differences. And that is

1. An humble submission of judgement, and willing attendance in the use of means upon di­vine teaching, God shall reveale even this unto you. He wil lead his people into all necessary truth, and give them all things requisite to life and godliness.

2. To have an [...], some main funda­mentall Doctrines wherein the dissenting parties doe all agree, which may be the measure and touch-stone of all other Doctrines, to hold nothing which is either inconsistent with the truth, [Page 7] or unbeseemlng the Majesty of that foundati­on.

3. [...] To walk exactly and in order according to the things wherein we agree, not to break our rank, or desert our station, contra­ry to the Rules which we have received. So that two things are herein implyed. 1. Piety of life, to live answerably to the truths we know. 2. So­briety, moderation and prudence of Spirit, to serve God in the place and condition wherein he hath set us, and according to the measure of the Rule which God hath distributed to us, 2 Cor. 10. 13. That neither by an unsuitable conversation we be­ly the truths we hold, nor under any pretence of service we breake forth to attempt any thing in the Church beyond the place and station where­in God hath set us.

4. To hold the truths wherein we agree in love, unity, and constancy, for why should not the many truths wherein we agree, teach us to joyn in love, which is a Christian duty, rather then the few opinions wherein we disagree, cause breach in affection, which at best is an humane infirmity? The word here used [...] in the use of Scrip­ture usually noteth not a bare rationall and intel­lectuall act of the minde, but judicium practi­cum, such a judgement as hath an order unto practice, which is the same with Sapere, to have a savoury relish of truth, and so to apply the minde unto it, as Matth. 16. 23. [...] Thou savourest not the things that be of God, Rom. 8. 5, 6. [...], &c. They that are after [Page 8] the flesh, doe mind the things of the flesh; and they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; for to be carnally minded is death, but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace, Col. 3. 2. If ye be risen with Christ [...], set your affections, have your mindes upon things above, Phil. 3. 19. [...], who minde earthly things, whose hearts, studies, inclinations, affe­ctions are earthly and brutish. We are not therefore barely to think the same things where­unto we have already attaind, to affirm them: but in the main, to agree with one another in the same Ends and designs, that is, when we hold the same generall truths, in so holding [...], to have the same purposes, to pursue the same inten­tions, to carry on the same designs of glorifying God, edifying the Church, and saving one ano­ther thereby. These are the four excellent ways which the Apostle in this Text prescribeth to re­concile Controversies, to close up Divisions, to reduce calmness and serenity upon the face of a distracted and dilacerated Church.

We have briefly opened and analysed the Words, Let us now take a short review of them again for our further instruction and benefit.

1. We may observe a difference which the A­postle makes amongst the Members of the Church: some strong, some weak, some perfect, some seduced, some listning to Paul, and others to the Concision. As on the same foundation, some parts of the building may be Marble and Cedar, other parts [Page 9] Lath and Tearing, some strong, and others rui­nous. As in the Heavens, so in the House of God, some Stars differ from other Stars in glory, 1 Cor. 15. 41. He who hath the fulness of the Spirit, and a re­sidue to give still unto him that lacketh, doth yet blow by his Spirit where he listeth, Joh. 3. 8. and divideth to every one severally as he will, 1 Cor. 12. 11. yet alwayes [...], a measure only of know­ledge, of faith, of grace, of every needfull gift, Rom. 12. 3. which the Apostle calleth the measure of the gift of Christ, and the measure of every part, Ephes. 4. 7, 16. unto which measure there will ever, while here we are, be something lacking, 1 Thes. 3. 10. they who have most, have not a fulnesse, except comparatively, and respectively to Luk. 1. 15, 41, 67. Act. 2. 4. Acts 6. 37. 55. 11. 24. 13. 9. Tit. 3. 6. some special service, as Zachary, Elizabeth, Stephen, Barnabas and others are said to have been full of Faith and of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise the best must say, as our Apostle here doth, not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect, but I follow after, and reach forth, and presse forward. Some have need of milk, others of strong meat, some babes, others of fuller age, some unskilfull in the Word of Righteousness, others senses exer­cised to discern good and evill, Heb. 5. 12, 13, 14. Some Fitches, some Cmmmin, some Bread-corn, Isa. 28. 27, 28. some have knowledge, and others weak consciences, 1 Cor. 8. 7. some are first born, and they have five talents, a double portion of the Spirit, as Elisha had, 2 Reg. 2. 9. Matth. 25. 15. others are yonger Children and have lower abilities, who therefore have not so large a stock, nor so [Page 10] noble a service. Some Children by reason of their strength do perform work, others by reason of in­fancy and infirmity do only make work, some are for the Schoole, and others for the Cradle, some for the Field, others for the Couch, some for duty, and others for Cure, and yet all Children. With such admirable wisdome hath God tempered the body that there might be a various love amongst the Members, in the strong to the weak a love of care, in the weak to the strong a love of reverence, that the strong may learn to restore the weak, and the weak to imitate the strong, that by those who fall, the strong may learn to fear; and by those that stand, the weak may learn to fight; that the weak by the strong may be provoked to emulation, and the strong by the weak may be provoked to edifi­cation: that they who stand may be for the praise of Christs power and grace, and they who fall for the praise of his patience and mercy, and that in the variety of different supplies unto the Members, the fulness of the head may be admired.

Let not those therefore who have more eminent gifts superciliously overlook & despise their inferi­our brethren, For who hath made thee to differ, or why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? rather thus judge, the more thy gifts are, the greater must be thy service to the Church of Christ here, and the greater thine accompts at his tribunall hereafter.

And again, Let not those who have not so great a measure, envy or maligne the gifts of others, for it is God who hath made them to excell, and why [Page 11] is thine eye evill, when thy Masters is good▪ rather thus consider, the Head cannot say to the foot, I have no need of thee, and the best way to improve, and increase the gifts of God, is with humility and uprightness to imploy them. The Apostle hath spent one whole Chapter upon this argument to perswade Christians from unbrotherly censures of one another upon difference of judgement in smaller things, Rom. 14. pressing this duty by ma­ny reasons. 1. God who is the Judge receiveth men into his favour notwithstanding their diffe­rences, therefore they ought not mutually to cast one another out of their own favour, vers. 3. 2. Our brother is anothers servant, and not ours, therefore we ought not to make our will or judg­ment the rule of his, (servants should have no will of their own, but their Lords) since God can and Velle non vi­dentur qui ob­sequuntur im­perio patris vel Domini Di­gest. de Regal. juris. leg. 4. will keep him in service and from dangerous falls as well as us, vers. 4. 3. He walketh according to the light and perswasion of his heart, so that his failing is erroneous only, but not pertinacious, so long as he doth reverence light, and resolve that his heart shall not reproach him, he is docile and re­ducible by any clear conviction, his heart is God­ward, though he do sometimes miss his way, vers. 5, 6. 4. We must all be accomptable to a Common Lord, and have thereupon work enough of our own to doe, and therefore ought not to make others accomptable unto us, we have none of us dominion over our selves, therefore not over o­thers neither; ver. 7. we have a Lord, who dearly purchased the dominion over us, and before whose [Page 12] tribunal we must all give an account of our selves, vers. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. 5. By judging, despi­sing, and offending one another, we break the rules of Christian charity, grieving and endangering the souls of our brethren, vers. 13. 15. we expose those good things wherein we agree unto reproach, vers. 16. and prejudice the great things of the Kingdom of God, Righteousnesse, Peace, Joy in the Holy Ghost (which are the things which render us acceptable to God, and therefore should make us approved of one another) by our uncharitabe alterca­tions in smaller things, vers. 17, 18. We hinder the peace and edification of one another, vers. 19. We minister occasion of falling, stumbling and of­fence to our weak brother, ver. 20, 21. We abuse our liberty by making it a ball of contention, when we might enjoy it within our selves, without any such danger, ver. 22. We go about to entangle our weak brother by inducing him to act doubting­ly, and without a warrant and perswasion of the lawfulness of what he doth, ver. 22, 23. So then what ever be the differences amongst true believers, who agree in the great things of Gods Kingdom, the strong ought not to despise the weak, nor the weak to judge the strong, neither ought to hurt, grieve, wound, offend the hearts of one another, in as much as we are all fellow servants to one common Lord, who will judge us all, and in as much as we are owned by that Lord, and accepted, the weak as well as the strong, who doth not so much value us by the degrees of our knowledge, as by the since­rity of our love, who doth not reap any benefit by [Page 13] the difference of our services, but is pleased and glorified by the uprightness of our hearts, yea possibly is more pleased with the conscionable ten­dernesse of the weak brother that errs, then with the confident and inexpedient liberty of the strong brother who doth not erre.

II. We may here note wherein the perfection of a Christian standeth, viz. in [...], To think of Christ, and think of himself as the Apostle Paul here did.

1. To shake off all self opinion of our owne righteousness, all morall presumptions and steshly confidence in any performances of our own, in our most zealous and blameless conversation, they are good in genere viae as paths to Heaven, not in genere causae, as proper causes on which we may depend for salvation. He that living in the Country hath a rich Office given him freely in the City, must travell from the Country to the City if he will enjoy it, but he must not ascribe the enjoyment of it to his own journey, but to his Pa­trons bounty. We must be dead in our selves if we will be alive by the life of Christ, we must suffer the losse of all, and esteem it an ex­cellent, bargain for the gaining of him, we must not establish our own righteousness, if we will be found in his, the Sancti viti quo altius apud deunt virtutum digoitate pro­ficiunt, eo sub­tilius indignos se esse de pre­hendunt, quia dum proximi luci fiunt quic­quid eos in se­ipsis latebar, in­veniuat. Greg. Moral. l. 3 [...]. cap. 1. nearer any soul comes unto God, the more it learns to abhor it self, by his light dis­covering its own deformities. The Isa. 6. 2. Angels cover their feet and their faces, Heb. 12. 24. Moses exceedingly fears, 1 Reg. 19. 13. Elias wraps his head in his Mantle, the Isa. 6. 5. Prophet Isaiah cries out I am undone, and holy [Page 14] Job, Mine eyes seeth thee, therefore I abhor my Job 42. 5, 6. self, the greater our approaches and acquaint­ance is with God, the lower our thoughts will be of our selves, the Stars disappear when the Sun riseth. Though Heaven be high, yet the more there is of Heaven in the soul, the more humble and low it is. Mountains must be level'd to make a way for Christ. As the Plin. paneg. Orator said of Trajan Te ad sydera tollit humus, that his walking on the ground raised him in the estimation of his people unto Heaven, we may say of an heavenly soul, Te ad humum Caelum deprimit, the more heavenly, the more in the dust. Qui deo placet sibi de se nil re­linquit, Greg moral. lib. 10. c. 4. the more we study to please God, the more nothing we are in our selves.

2. To rejoyce in the Lord, and in his righteous­ness alone. I will make mention of thy righte­ousness, of thine onely, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 71. 16. All mine own is as a menstruous cloath: so true is that of St. Austin, Aug. de Cv. dei lib. 19. c. 27. Justitia nostra potius in remissi­one peccatorum constat, quam in perfectione virtu­tum.

3. To have communion and conformity to Christ in his death and resurrection by inchoate holinesse, by mortifying our earthly members, & glorifying God in an heavenly conversation. 2 Cor. 5. 14. The love of Christ con­straining us to dye unto sin, because he died for it, to give our selves Rom. 12. 1. Living Sacrifices unto him who was pleased to give himself a dying Sacrifice for us. 1 Cor. 6. 19. Deo dicata membra nulla tibitemeritate usurpes—non enim sine gravi Sacrilegio in usus vanitatis assumuntur. Bern. in. Psal. 90. Serm. 8. For our own we are not, but his that bought us, Digest. de captivis & post­liminio l. 12. Sect. 7. as [Page 15] the Civil Law saies that a redeemed captive is his that bought him, per modum pignoris, though not per modum mancipij, till he can restore the price by which he was redeemed. This we can never be able to doe, therefore we must ever be the ser­vants of him that bought us.

4. To be alwaies so tenderly affected with the Sense of our own manifold imperfections, and com­ing short of the glory of God, that thereby our hearts may be the more inflamed, by an heaven­ly ambition and noble pursuite, to press forward in the use of all holy means, unto more neernesse and intimate communion with the Lord Christ. The Lord is pleased here in the Church militant, in the land of temptation, by such slow and slender progresses to renew his servants, Aug. de Spi­rit. & vit. cap. ult. Ut sit quod petentibus largiter adjiciat, quod confitentibus Clemen­ter ignoscat, as Austin excellently speaks, that there may still be a residue of Spirit and grace wherewith abundantly to answer the things which are desired, and mercifully to pardon the sins that are confessed, that every mouth may be stopped from its own praises, and opened in the praises of God, from whence it cometh to pass that Gods servants, being alwaies Semper tibi displiciat quod es, si vis ad id pervenire quod nondum e [...]—Si dixeris sufficit, peristi Aug. de verb. Apost. Ser. 15. displeased with their present imperfection, do presse forward unto that whereunto they have not yet attained; like the waters of the Sanctuary from the ancles to the loins, the water of life within them never giving over flowing, untill it spring up unto eternal life, Joh. 7. 38. that those sins which in our In r [...]nascenti­bus remittun­tur in profici­entibus minu­untur. Aug. Contr. Julian. pelag. lib. 6. cap. 16. justification are remitted, may be so daily in our Sanctification [Page 16] weakned and diminished, that at last in our sal­vation they may be utterly removed. Aug. Contr. duas Ep. Pelag. l. 3. c. 7. de p [...]cc merit. & Re­miss. lib. 2. c. 7, 8, 13. 15. de perfect. Iustin cap. 5. 8. Hic enim non peccare praeceptum, in Caelo praemium. In this life not to sinne is our duty, in the next it shall be our reward and glory. Thus as Christ never gave over his work on Earth, till he had brought it to a consummation, Joh. 19. 13. nor will give over his work in Heaven till that likewise be pronounced consummate, Rev. 16. 17. 21. 6. For he must reign till he hath put down all authority and power, 1 Cor. 15. 24. that he may save to the uttermost those that come unto God thorow him, Heb. 7. 25. so the ser­vants of Christ rest not in any past performances, are not weary of well doing, but labour to perfect ho­linesse in the fear of God; as by repentance they break off their sinnes and do not finish them, (of which we read, Dan. 4. 24. Jam. 1. 15.) so by a continual progress of Sanctification they labour to increase more and more, 1 Thes. 4. 1. to grow in knowledge and in grace, 2 Pet. 3. 18. till they come to be perfect men, and to that measure of the stature of the fulnesse in Christ which he hath intended for them, that they may be compleat in him, and filled with all the fulnesse of God, Ephes. 4. 13. Col. 2. 10. Ephes. 3. 19. thus as in the body, so in the soul, Hunger is usually a sign of health, and the greater our present perfection is, the greater will be our longings after more perfection. No man in those dayes was nearer God then Moses was, and no man ever made, if I may in a spiritual sense so call it, a more ambitious prayer then Moses did, Exod. 33. 18. I beseech thee shew me thy glo­ry. [Page 17] As Absalom when he was brought from banish­ment, aspired higher to come into his Fathers presence, 2 Sam. 14. 32. so the soule when it is once delivered from the thraldom of sin, is still more & more ambitious of neerer approaches and accesses unto God, Rom. 5. 1, 2. Psal. 42. 2. In these things consisteth the highest perfection at­tainable here, in Remission of sin, in the gift of Righteousness, in conformity to the death and Resur­rection of Christ, in an humble and penitent appre­hension of our own failings, in renouncing all carnall confidences, and in an importunate and indefatigable contention unto more grace and glory.

III. In that the Apostle saith, If in any thing ye be otherwise minded, viz. touching Legall Rites, and Mosaicall Ceremonies, or touching the Do­ctrine of Christian perfection, and the weakness of your present graces and attainments, the Lord will in due time out of his Word, and by his Spi­rit, if you be carefull in the use of means, and attendant upon his teaching, reveal the same un­to you. We may from hence learn, That in the best ages of the Church there have been, and therefore we cannot expect but that there ever will be, varieties and differences of judgment a­mongst the Members thereof; 1. While we know but in part, and prophesie but in part, 2. While there is difficultie in the disquisition of truth, 3. Weaknesse of judgement in men to make that in­quirie, 4. Carelesnesse to try the spirits, and to prove all things, 5. Prevalency of some Lust or spirituall Interest darkning the mind, and entang­ling [Page 18] the judgment. 6. Credulity in attending un­to false Teachers, 7. Itching ears, affecting and hankering after novell suggestions. 8. A too great Reverence to the persons of men, having them in admiration, and giving our selves up by a blinde obedience, and implicite faith unto their hands, 9. While there is sleepinesse and inadvertency in the labourers, 10. Cunning and Sedulity in the ad­versaries. 11. Unweariednesse in circumambulati­on and supersemination of the envious man, we cannot expect but there will be [...], men that will not in all things agree with their brethren, we cannot wonder to see some Corne in the field of the Church smutted and mildewd, and kept back from maturity by the twisting of weeds about it. When we remember the angry dissentions between the Euseb. Hist. l. 5. c. 22, 23, 24. Western and Eastern Churches in the case of Easter, the sad differences Euseb. lib. 7. cap. 3, 4. Cy­prian. Epist. 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76. between the Roman Church, and the Affrican and other Churches, in the businesse of Rebaptization in the daies of Cyprian, the dolefull Sozemen. l. 7. c. 14, 15. dissentions be­tween d Sozom. l. 1. c. 16. Niceph. lib. 14. cap. 47. Chrysostome and Epiphanius breaking forth e Cyril. ad Euoptium E­piscopum. into mutuall imprecations, the great breaches in many famous and ancient Synods, the differences of judgement between Cyrill and Theodoret, Basil and Baron. Anno. 37 2. S. ct. 15—25. Damasus, Epist. Amaeb. apud Aug. Ep. 8.—19. Austen and Hierom, Hieron. Apo­log. advers. Ruffin. Hierom and Ruffinus, Ussheri Got­schalcus. p. 38— Rhemigius and Hincmarus, Epiphan. Haer. 68. Peter of Alexandria and Miletius, when they were both in prison and Confessors for the truth: and of late years in the dayes of Ed. 6. between Fox Martyr. To. 3. p. 147. Ridley and Hooper, afterwards Martyrs, and in Queen Maries Troubles at Frankford. dayes between the English Protestants in [Page 19] exile for true Religion; nay when we consider that a Barnabas and a Paul had there contention, Act. 15. 39. That a Peter and a Barnabas had there dissimulation, Gal. 2. 11, 12, 13. That the Apo­stle hath told us, that there would be some in the Church who would build upon the foundation sil­ver and gold, and others Hay and stubble, 1 Cor. 3. 12. that some were for Paul, and some for Apollo, and some for Cephas, and others for none of them all, but for Christ without their help, 1 Cor. 1. 11, 12. That our Saviour hath said, necessary it is that offences come, Math. 18. 7. and the Apostle there must be Heresies or Sects, 1 Cor. 11. 19. Cyprian de unitate Eccles. Origen. contra Celsum l. 3. Aug. ep. 105. de Civ. dei lib. 16. c. 2. that the victory of truth, the malice of Satan, the hy­pocrisie of men, the constancy of the perfect, the frailty of the seduced, the compassion, and pati­ence of the Lord may be discovered, well may we, as our duty is, wish, and pray, and project for uni­ty in the Church; but till Satan, and all the Ene­mies of the Church be chained up, and the mem­bers thereof have attained unto their full stature, there cannot be expected such an universall consent of judgments, and harmony of Doctrines even amongst good men themselves, as shall not admit of some varietie and dissonancy.

IV. In this case of unavoidable differences a­mongst good men, there ought to be mutuall chari­ty, meekness, moderation, tolerance, humanity used, not to judge, despise, reject, insult over one another, not to deale with our weaker brethren, [...] sed [...], as with aliens, but as with brethren, not to poceed presently unto seperation, Greg. Naz. Orat. 51. [Page 20] rejection, anathematization, but to restore those that are overtaken with any Errour with the spirit Nazian. Orat. 12. 26. 37, 44. Aug. ep. 19. 64. of meeknesse. The Apostle suffered some things [...], the exigences of the Church re­quiring it, which in other cases they did not al­low, they allowed Jewish Ceremonies, some time and leisure for an honorable interment. We finde Optatus forcing even upon the Donatists the name of Brethren. It was grave advice of Gregory Optat. lib. 1. Orat. 14. Nazianzen in such disputes, [...], to decline all exasperations, to use all meekness and condescention, so farre as our duty to truth will give us leave, that so though we cannot reconcile the judgements, yet we may gain the affections of our brethren. It is noted of Basil that in the con­troversie concerning the holy Spirit, he forbore all unwelcome words, and phrases, whereby the Nazian. Orat. 10. contrary minded were exasperated, and the un­stable startled and made jealous, and used such milde insinuations as might win and confirm men in the truth.

For a more particular stating of this point. Let us 1. distinguish of Opinions. Some are in the Foundation, in those necessary Doctrines upon which the House of God is built, 1 Cor. 3. 9, 10. Heb. 6. 1. Matth. 7. 24. the Errors contrary wherereunto are pernicious and damnable, 2 Pet. 2. 1. Some are only in the superstruction which do not so neerly touch the vitalls and essentials of Re­ligion, which are not fidei but quaestionum, as Austin somewhere distinguisheth. Such were in the A­postles time disputes touching meats, and drinks, and [Page 21] dayes, and things indifferent, Rom. 14. 5, 6. and in our dayes touching Forms of Discipline and Gover­ment in the Church, wherein men abound in their own sense, with meekness, and with submission to the spirits of the Prophets.

2. We are likewise to distinguish of persons, fome are Seducers, who out of pride, enmity against the Doctrine which is according unto godliness, carnall ends, desire of advantage and domination, do sow tares in the Church, and labour to cause rents and divisions therein. Such were Hymeneus, Philetus, Diotrephes, c. Others are Seduced peo­ple, who through ignorance and credulity are led away captive by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive, 2 Tim. 3. 16. Eph. 4. 14. Again some are pious, meek, and peaceable men, others are of turbulent and tumultuating spi­rits, who love to kindle flames, and to foment di­visions, and to fish in troubled waters. Joachim. Camerarius in the life of Melancthon complaineth of the faction of Flacius Illyricus upon this accompt who loaded with challenges and reproaches as betrayers and deserters of the truth, All who Camerar. de vita Philippi Melancthones pag. 353. & 385. were not as flagrant and vehement as themselves, contrary to the meek temper of that good man, who would have all things which might without wickedness and with a good conscience, be en­dured, rather then new wounds to be inflicted upon the Church of Christ.

These things being premised, we conclude; 1. That there can be no Syncretisme or Accom­modation in case of differences, where the differ­ences [Page 22] are against the foundations of Faith, Wor­ship, Obedience, and Holiness, there can be no agreement between light and darkness, Christ and Be­lial, damnable Heresies, and the Doctrine according unto godliness, 2 Cor. 6. 14. 17. 1 Cor. 10. 21. we must depart from the impurity of Hereticall Syna­gogues, Isa. 52. 11. Gal. 1. 8, 9. Hereticks are to be admonished, and in case of pertinacy to be re­jected, Tit. 3. 10. therefore there may be no bro­therly concord or coalescency with them: but se­duced persons are to be by the spirit of meekness and gentleness instructed, and if it be possible be wonne unto the truth, and delivered from the snare of the Divel.

2. Though the differences be not prima facie, so dangerous, yet notwithstanding if it be evident that they be purposely sowed by men of turbulent and ungracious spirits, meerly to kindle flames, and fo­ment divisions, to lay the foundation of perpetual broiles and jars in Church and State, to gratifie the common adversary of the reformed Churches, and to be subservient unto his ends and designs, in this case the Apostle hath taught us to mark such men, and to take heed of them, Rom. 16. 17. and would not give place by subjection for an hour un­to them, Gal. 2. 4, 5.

3. Where a Syncretisme and agreement is al­lowable, yet we must love and joyn peace and truth together, Zach. 8. 19. we must not betray the truth, or dissemble it, or make a mixture of truth and falshood, a kind of Samaritanisme in Religion (for of them it is said that they feared the Lord, and ser­ved [Page 23] their own gods, 2 Reg. 17. 33. and there­fore Gods people would not admit them into the society of building Gods house, Ezra 4. 1, 2, 3.) we must not adde or diminish one jot or title to or from divine truth, or temper and reduce it to the Rules of meer humane wisdom. Jeroboam, and Abaz acted beyond their power, when they set up ways of worship, subservient unto carnal in­terest, and not according to the will of God, we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth, 2 Cor. 13. 8. Math. 5. 18, 19. Deut. 4. 2.

4. When the Foundations and necessary Do­ctrines of Law and Gospel, of Faith, Worship, and Obedience are safe, and on all sides una­nimously embraced, there in differences of an in­feriour nature, which do not touch the Essentials, and vitals of Religion, mutuall tolerance, meeknesse, and tenderness is to be used, as amongst brethren, and fellow members. In the body, if a finger have a Gangraene in it, which cannot be cured, the body cannot without danger of deadly infection hold communion with that member, and there­fore it is severed and cut off, ne pars syncera tra­hatur; but if it have onely a bile, or some other less dangerous sore, the other parts love and che­rish it, and are not at all cruel and churlish unto it. And this is consonant to the Doctrine of Scip­tures, which teacheth the Strong to bear with the infirmities of the weak, Rom. 15. 1. the spiritual to restore their Brethren with meeknels, Gal. 6. 1. the members to have the same care of each other, [Page 24] 1 Cor. 12. 25. to do nothing through strife, or van­glory, but in lowliness of minde to esteem others better then our selves, Phil. 2. 1, 2, 3. with low­linesse, meeknesse, long-suffering, to forbear one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace, Ephes. 4. 2, 3. To follow peace with all men, with whom we may retain holinesse too, Heb. 12. 14. Peace is the Ornament and Honor of Religion, Psal. 133. 1. and the wisdom which is from above is first pure, and then peaceable, gentle, full of mercy, Jam. 3. 17, 18. God is a God of peace, and Christ a Prince of peace, and his Le­gacy to his Church, was a Legacy of peace, Here­unto he hath called us, to be all of one mind, and to love as brethren, 1 Pet. 3. 8, 9. Love and a spirit of unity and peace is the new Commandment, the Oyntment which ran down from the Head to the Members. He that is not a man of peace, cannot be a man of God, this is an Oyntment which be­longs only to Christs body, Exod. 30. 33. Divisi­ons are fruits of the flesh, 1 Cor. 3. 3. Contention a Childe of pride Prov. 13. 10. Light vapors ma­ny times come down in great Tempests, and light differences through pride may grow into great stormes, whereas Love covereth a multitude of sins, 1 Pet. 4. 8..

And as it is consonant to the will of God, so it is greatly beneficiall to the Common Body. 1. Here­by we shew forth the communion of Saints, that we are all members of the same body, when we seek every man anothers wealth, 1 Cor. 10. 17, 24. One Body is animated by one Spirit, Ephes. 4. 4. Gen. 13. 8. [Page 25] Hereby we are known to be Christs Disciples, Joh. 13. 34, 35. 2. Hereby we jointly promote the welfare of the whole body, whereas biting and de­vouring is the way to be consumed, Gal. 5. 15. 3. Hereby we prevent the insultations, and advan­tages of Common Enemies, when we fall out amongst our selves, Hoc Ithacus velit, & mag­no mercentur Atridae. 4. Hereby euen ciuill in­terest and safety is preserved. Charity is a Bond which keeps things fast together, Col. 3. 14. A whole Faggot is not easily broken, cut away the Bond, and then without further breaking the sticks will fall one from another. I will con­clude this point with two good sayings of renowned Calvin, the one touching Luther, though saith he, Calvin epist. ad Bullinger. Anno. 1544. p. 383. Edit. 2. fol. & p. 138. he should call me Divel, yet I will still esteem of him as of an excellent servant of Jesus Christ. The other of another person who is not there named, such a man saith he is a sincere Minister of Christ, a godly and a moderate man, therefore though he dissent from us, I will not cease to love him still.

V. I shall now proceed to speak a few words touching the Rules which the Apostle giveth for reconciling difference in the Church: where­of the

First is, to attend upon God in those means and waies whereby he is pleased to reveale his truth unto us, to dispossesse our selves of prejudice and partiality, and with candid affections & judgments to try the Spirits, as being assured that in all points needful unto life & godliness, [...], [Page 26] he who hath already revealed that Greg. Naz. Orat. 44. wherein we agree, will also reveale that where­in we differ, if with meekness of spirit, with­out wrath and cavillation, we doe waite up­on his Word. And the means thus to doe, are

1. To study the Scriptures, which are the alone Rule of all Controversies, and are able to make us wise unto salvation, and throughly to furnish us un­to every good work.

2. To attend on the Ordinances which open the Scripture unto us, the Ministery which Christ hath erected for this very purpose to perfect the Saints, and to bring them by the unity of the Faith, and knowledge of the Son of God unto a full sta­ture, Ephes. 4. 12, 13.

3. Because the Scripture may speak, and the Ministry teach, and the heart all the while be sealed up and hear nothing, except the Lord from Heaven speak, and open the heart to attend, as he Heb. 12, 25. Act. 16. 14. did the heart of Lydia, therefore we must ever remember Davids Prayer, Psal. 51. 8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, otherwise seeing I shall Mr. 13. 13. not see, and hearing I shall not hear. It is the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, which both open­eth Eph. 1. 17. the heart to the Word, giving an understand­ing to know the Scriptures, and openeth the Scrip­tures to the heart, for he takes of Christs, and shew­eth 1 Joh. 5. 20. it unto us, Joh. 16. 14. the Spirit doth not re­veale truth unto us, as he did in the Primitive pa­tefaction thereof to the Prophets and Apostles, by divine and immediate Inspiration, or in a way [Page 27] of simple Enthysiasme, but what he reveals he doth it by, and out of the Scriptures (which are the full and perfect Rule of Faith & Obedience) as Christ opened to his Disciples in the Scriptures the things which concerned himselfe, Luke 24. 27.

So then the only light by which differences are to be decided is the Word, being a full Canon of Gods revealed will, for the Lord doth not now as in former times make himself known by Dreams or Visions, or any other immediate way. To this the Apo­stle referreth the Church against danger of Wolves, Act. 20. 32. This he saith is profitable, [...], [...], 2 Tim. 3. 16. To this only St. Austin had learned Aug. ep. 19. 48, 112, 166. clem. Alex. strom. l. 7. Timorem & honorem defer­re. Cyprian cont. epist. Steph. o Aug. de Bapt. l. 2. c. 3. l. 5, 26 Contr. literas Petiliani. l. z. Si ad Divinae Traditionis Caput & originem re­vertamur Cessat error humanus. 85. de unitat. eccles. c. 2, 3. Tertullian Apolog. c. 47. de Resur. cap. 3. contr. Marcion. l 3. c. 5. Haec sunt causae nostrae documenta, haec fundamenta, haec firmamenta. Optat. l. 5. Ire­naus l. 4. c. 44. Tertul. de prae­script c. 19, 21, 22, 33, 36. contr. Marcion. lib. 4. c. 5. Aug. ep. 165. contr. Crescon. l. 1. c. 33. Vincent. in commonitorio vid. Raynold. Conference with Hart. p. 141.—151. Field of the Church. l. 3. c. 40 And this is the meaning of Tertullian, Optatus, Vincentius Lirinensis and others, when they teach us to prove the truth of Doctrine by Ecclesiasti­call Tradition, and the voice of the Church, for they speak of Apostolicall Churches, which Tertulli­an calls Matrices Ecclesias, and not of the the per­emptory Authoritative decision of any present Church, for they were all able in so short a time as was between them and the Apostles, to draw down from the Apostles a Doctrinall succession, which he calls Traducem fidei, and to assign the time, Authors, and posteriority of those Heresies which they gain said, as he saith Solemus Haereticis compendij causâ de posterioritate praescribere.

[Page 28] I decline controversie, thus only in a few words. 1. It is fit that he who made the Word should be Judge of the meaning of it, 1 Cor. 2. 11. Hilar. de Trin. l. 1, 3, 5. Cum de rebus deisermo erit, concedamus cognitionem sui Deo, saith Hilary.

2. When any Assembly of men assume to themselves a Judicature which they deny to others, they will shew some ground of the differ­ence, and some Commission directed to them, and not to others, which the Church of Rome endea­vouring to doe, are forced (though with little ad­vantage) Andrad. de concil. Gen. l. 1. fol 49. l. 2. sol. 123. Bellarm. de Rom. pontif. l. 4. c. 3. Staple­ton. princip. fidei doctr. controv. 4. q. 2. & contr. 3. q. 1. in proae­mio. Greg. de Val. to. 3. disp. 1. q. 1. p. 7. q. 5 sect. 28—37 to fly to the Scriptures: So that in this o­veruling controversie, the Scripture is made the Judge, and why not as well in all the rest, since in them a lesser light then Scripture is presumed to suffice?

But then the Objection is, How shall I know the meaning of Scripture, wherof one giveth one sense, and another another, If there be not some infallible Judge to have recourse unto? I answer, 1. Ad homi­nem how shall I know that this man or Church is to give that final sense which my conscience is bound to rest in, rather then another man or ano­ther Church. 2. We fay, That the Word is 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4 2 Pet. 1. 19. Theodor. de eurand. Graec. Affect. l. 8. Aug. de doct. Christ. l. 2. cap. 8. l 1. perspicuous and hath notas insitas veritatis in all needfull truth, as being written not for Scholars only, but for vulgar and illiterate men. And that this light in the Word is manifested unto us, 1. By the Manuduction and Ministry of the Church, pointing unto the Star which is seen by its own light. 2. Because we bring not such an implanted suitableness of Reason to Scripture as [Page 29] we doe to other Sciences in which the principles 1 Cor. 2. 14. Iohn 1. 5. are exactly consonant to the ingraffed notions of the minde, therefore, to proportion the eye of the soule to the light of the Word, there is required 2 Cor. 3. 18. 2 Cor. 5. 17. 1 Cor. 12. 7, 8. 1 Cor. 2. 10. Iohn 14. 21 Ephes. 1. 17. 1 Cor. 2. 16 an act of the Spirit opening the eyes, and drawing away the veile, that we may discern the voice of Christ from strangers, for having the minde of Christ, we doe according to the measure of his Spirit in us, judge of Divine truths as he did.

But here again they object, That we make all Religion hang upon a private spirit. To which Bellar. de verb. de [...]. l. 3 c. 3. Stapleton. de princip. doct. controv. 2. q. 2. Dr. Jo. Whites way. p 50—66. Jun. in Bellar. de interpret. verbi l. 3. c. 3. Dr. Jackson of Scripture. l. 2. sect. 3. c. 6. s. 3. we say, 1. That every true Believer hath the Spirit of Christ, Rom. 8. 9. 2. That Spirit doth enable to know and to judge, 1 Cor. 2. 12. 1 Joh. 4. 13. for Believers have judicium discretionis, as the men of Berea, to try the things which are taught them, Act. 17. 11. 3. That this spirit, though in a private man, yet is not a private Spirit, because not originally from that man, as my money, though private in regard of my property to it, yet it is publick in regard of the currantness of it. The Church by her Ministers hath the ordinary pub­lick power of expounding Scriptures: but not power to lead the people to subscribe to such ex­positions as peremptory and infallible, for they have a spirit of discerning to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.

The Summe of all is. There are differences in the Church in matters of Religion: the remo­ving of them is to be expected from divine Reve­lation: God Reveals it by three concurrent means. [Page 30] Ministerialiter, by the service of the Ministery. Judicialiter, by the Sentence of the Word. Effi­caciter, by the illumination of the Spirit, healing all that folly, inadvertency, unbelief, impeniten­cy, proud and contumacious reasonings, where­by the carnall minde is not only indisposed to re­ceive, but armed also to resist the truth, and thus we having by Gods Spirit an eye, the Word having in it self an evidence, and the Ministery directing this eye to this evidence, so much of Gods Counsel is discovered as is necessary unto faith and holinesse here, and to salvation here­after. Iohn 7. 48. 1 Cor. 1. 19—20.

And our Saviour telleth us that this Revela­tion is not always to the wise and prudent (though learning sanctifyed be an excellent help hereunto) Vid Camero in Mat. 18. 2. to. 2. p. 320, 324 Jackson of Script. l. 2. sect. 2 c. 3. sect. 9. but unto Babes, Matth. 11. 25. whereby are noted two preparative dispositions unto the receiving of Divine truth. 1. Humility, and tractableness of spirit, a meek and docile temper. The poor re­ceive the Gospel. 2. Spirituall hunger after the Melch. canus loc. Theol. l. 12. c. 11. sincere milk of the Word, praying and crying for the knowledge thereof, that we may grow thereby.

The second means for healing divisions in the Church is to have an [...], some [...], some Fundamentall Doctrines wherein all agree, this is the Bafis of unity and concord in the Church. The Irenaus l. 1. 6. 3. Naz. Or. 14, 40 Aug. Enchirid. c. 7. Tertul. de prascript. c. 13, 14. de Veland. Virgin c. 1. Athanas. in Symbol. Iraene. us, l. 1. c. 1. Aug. ep. 57. Vid. Parker de descens. l. 4. c. 3 Ancients cal it, theRule of faith, the Seed of Doctrine, the Catholick Faith, the Chara­cter of the Church, that which is Common to small and great. St. 1 Cor. 3. 10. 11 Heb. 6. 1: 2 Tim. 1. 13. Col. 1. 23. Eph. 4. 13. 1 Tim. 3. 16. Gal. 1. 6: Rom. 6. 17. Rom. 12. 6. 2 Tim. 1. 13, 14 1 Cor. 2. 2. 1 Tim. 6. 3 Tit. 1. 1. Phil. 1. 27. Rev. 14. 12. Paul, the foundation, the forme [Page 31] of sound Words, the principles of Doctrine, the Faith of the Gospel, the unity of Faith, the Mystery of godliness, the Rule by which we are to walk. And these Fundamentals are of three sorts. 1. Fun­damentals in Faith, that knowledge of God and Christ, unto which eternal life is annexed, Joh. 17. 3. Joh. 8. 24. Acts 4. 11, 12. 1 Cor. 1. 23. 2. 2, 3, 11. 2. Fundamentals in practice, viz. Re­pentance from dead works, sincere obedience, self-denial, love of the brethren, c. Luk. 13. 5. Matth. 5. 19, 20. Rom. 6. 1, 2. Rom. 8. 1. Matth. 16. 24. 1 Joh. 3. 14. 3. Fundamentalls in Wor­ship, to worship God in Spirit and Truth, to call upon God in the name of Christ as our Advocate and Propitiation, not to worship creatures, but to hold the head, to keep our selves from Idols, and communion with Devils, Joh. 4. 24. Phil. 3. 3. Joh. 16. 23. Col. 3. 17. Col. 2. 18, 19.

Where there is agreement in these Fundamen­tals, there is 1. A fair way unto discovery of truth in the things of difference: for where true Principles are laid, there is a great preparation unto all true conclusions deducible from them, and the more clearly we understand the compre­hension and latitude of thesePrinciples, (which are Omnimm Doctrinarum Matrix) the more skill we have to discern the genuine deduction of true con­clusions, and the inconsistency of those which are false and spurious, for matters of Division are to be measured by the Doctrines which we have learned, Rom. 16. 17. we must not suffer any Doctrine to corrupt our judgement, or en­thrall [Page 32] our Conscience, which doth either direct­ly, or by visible and just consequence, overturn, or wrench, or shake, or endanger the Foundation, we must not doe with Doctrines in Religion, as Herodotus saith the Babylonians did with their Vir­gins, Herodot. in Clio. sell the fair ones to raise portions for the foule, plead agreement in Fundamentals for pre­varication in other things, for the Rule is made to rectifie other Errors by, not to warrant them. They who consent not in this necessary disposition to Peace, but wil have al Opinions strike sail to theirs, and will exercise Domination over the Faith and 2 Cor. 1. 24. Consciences of their Brethren (which is the case between us and the Roman Church, which boast­eth of her Infallibility, and that her Laws binde the Conscience, as if the Pope and not Christ were to sit in Judgment at the last day) these I say will be found to have been the greatest Scis­maticks, who by intollerable tyranny over the Bishop ushers Serm. on Eph. 4. 13. pag. 7. Mornay de eccl. cap. 3. 10. Gen. 13. 8. Consciences, and cruelty over the Lives of men, have miserably torne the peace and unity of the Church of Christ.

2. Where there is this agreement in Fundamentals, there ought to be mutual and Fraternall affections, notwithstanding differences in other things, no Re­proaches, no Exasperations, no invidious conse­quences, no odious imputations, no uncharitable digladiations, but an owning of one another as Bre­thren, and a discussing and ventilating of the points in difference with a Spirit of Love and meekness, saying to one another, as Abraham to Lot, Let there be no strife between thee and me, for we be brethren.

[Page 33] III. The last expedient which the Apostle useth for pacification amongst Brethren, is, To walk by the same Rule, and to minde the same things, that is, notwithstanding all their differences, to pre­serve Aug. de Grat. & lib. Arb. c. 1 & deprae­dest. sanct. c. 1. unity in these three things, unity of wills in Love, unity of holiness in life, unity of ends in design. The Apostle putteth Faith and Love, Faith and a Gal. 5. 6 1 Tim. 1. 19 1 Tim. 3. 16 1 Tim. 6. 3. 2 Tim. 1. 13 Tit. 1. 1. Heb. 13. 9. good Conscience together, calleth Christian Do­ctrine a Mystery of godlinesse, and knowledge which is according to godliness, without this, our judgments are volatile and unfixed, for the heart is established by grace. He who holds truth to serve turns, or maketh it an Handmaid to his own lusts and ambition, like that Atheist in Hierom, Fac me Romanae urbis Episcopum & ero protinus Christia­nus, Hieron. lib. centr. Joan. Hierosolymit. Tertul, contr. Hermog. c. 1. Amant verita­tem lucentem oderunt redar­guentem. Aug. confess. Ariani non De­um sed purpu­ram colunt. Socrat. l. 3, c. 21 Tertul. contr. Valent. c. 4. Theodorit Hist. l. 1. c. 2. Arist. Metaphy. l. [...]. or like Hermogenes in Tertullian, Legem dei in libidinem defendit, in artem contemnit, will for ad­vantage be ready to set the truth to saile, and to exchange his opinion that he may gratifie his lust. And usually we finde that through mens own wickedness, and the just judgment of God upon them. Corrupt lusts are the causes of corrupt mindes, and that Carnall ends have been the rise and originall of dangerous Heresies, as Tertullian hath observed of Valentinus the Heretick, and Theodoret of Arius. Carnall ends and crooked affections open a passage unto Hereticall Opini­ons, and there is an excellent speech of the Phi­losopher which gives us the reason of it, [...]

That commonly as mens courses of life are, so [Page 34] would they have the Doctrines to be which their Isa. 30. 10, 11 Jer. 5. 12, 13, 31 Jer. 43, 2. M c. 2. 11. 2 Per. 3. 5. Teachers instruct them, notable examples where­of we have in Scripture. The best way then to know that wherein we differ, is to obey that where­in we agree, for as a corrupt heart will make a cor­rupt judgment, so purity of heart is a good step Aug. ep. 112. de doct. Christ. lib. 2. c 6. de Morib. eccles. cap. 17, 18. Greg. Naz. Orat. 34. Clem. Alex. strom. l. 6 p. 489. unto unitie of judgement, the Lord having pro­mised that they who do his will shall know his do­ctrine, Joh. 7. 27. that they who are his sheep shall discern his voice, Joh. 10. 4. that the meck he will teach his way, and reveal his secret to them that fear him, Psal. 25. 9, 14. Let us therefore as we have received Christ so walk in him, and we shall certainly reap one of these two fruits, either we shall get to the knowledge of the truth, and so our differences cease, or we shall so allay them with humility and love (as Austin observes of Cyprian) that they shall never break forth into bitternesse, animosity, or scornful esteeme of our fellow bre­thren.

I conclude all with a very few words of exhor­tation unto this Honourable Assembly, all ground­ed upon the particulars of the Text.

1. To acknowledge with the Apostle your own imperfection. Solomon was sensible of the disparity between his work and his strength, and so all good men are; and thereupon, 1. Wait upon God for wis­dome, Jam. 1. 5. 2. Do not precipitate counsels, but mature them by grave and full deliberation. Ita enim nati estis ut bona malaque vestra ad Remp. pertineant.

2. To settle and secure the weighty doctrines [Page 35] of righteousnesse by Christ alone, of holinesse and conformity to his death and resurrection, of im­perfection of humane righteousness, of necessity of daily progresse in the waies of grace, and of those means which Christ hath set up in his Church in order thereunto.

3. In making Laws and penalties to be tender towards the weak consciences of your brethren. There is indeed a very great veneration due to Laws, and Magistrates do with good reason ex­pect to have their Sanctions obeyed rather then disputed: But they must remember they are brethren as well as Magistrates, and therefore must take heed of writing or binding heavy burdens; no Law-maker can know the lawfulnesse of his own Isa. 10. 1. Mat. 23. 4. edicts more certainly then the Apostles knew that Legal ceremonies were extinguished by the death of Christ. Yet knowing likewise the weakness of their brethren the Jews, they did not present­ly put forth their Apostolical authority to the in­hibiting of them, but suffered them to die a lingring death. It is a sad thing to be reduced un­to that uncomfortable Dilemma, of choosing ei­ther iniquity (as to a mans own conscience I mean) or affliction. And if by any means he be brought unto it, he may take more comfort in suffering it, then others in inflicting it. I speak not this to weaken the hands of Law-makers, or to derogate from the authority of Laws (unto which I shall ever both out of principles of consci­ence and prudence, carrie all Reverence and sub­mission, either chearfully to do, or meekly to [Page 36] suffer.) But I speak it as an humble caution, that since there are some of humble and quiet spirits who may sometimes be otherwise minded, Laws may be made so exactly consonant to the general rules of the word, and may have such prints and evidences of their own goodness, wholsomness, and righteousnesse in them, as that they may not by any rational exception or semblance of equity, be declined or objected against.

And I would here withal distinguish between men of a meek, humble and patient temper, and others of busie, boisterous, turbulent spirits, who under pretence of conscience do at any time in­gage in actions apparently inconsistent with righ­teousness and peace; for we are sure that the Laws of Christ do require all men to lead quiet and peaceable, as well as godly and honest lives, un­der the Laws of men. And no man can with any probable pretence of good conscience tumultuate against publick order and peace in Church or State.

4. Since the Lord doth heale breaches in his Church by his Spirtt and Word, as the ordinarie means thereunto, therefore speciall care should be had that these means be duly used and applied by authorizing, countenancing, encouraging, pro­tecting, rewarding the faithful Ministers of the Gospel in the due discharge of their duties; not suffering their persons, functions, doctrines, la­bours, or comforts to be assaulted by any turbu­lent or malicious opposers.

5. To lay to heart the breaches and differences [Page 37] which are amongst us, and to pour oile and balm into the wounds of the Church, and to applie all requisite expedients for the closing of them, consi­dering the great advantages which adversaries take by our differences and divisions.

6. To countenance and encourage fundamental truths, wherein all agree, and as much as may be to hinder those digladiations, whereby the common enemie is gratified, and his interest pro­moted by animosities from the presse, over which it were very needful that there were a more provident superinspection: there being a great difference between a libertie allowed men between God and their own consciences, and a power to sowe their tares, and to spread their leaven into the whole lump.

7. To mannage all councels and consultations by the Rule of the Word: For though I am not of their opinion, who would have no other humane Lawes, but such as are formally to be found in the Scripture, yet there are there general Rules of Equity, Truth, Justice, Expedien­cy, Liberty, unto which all humane Laws should be conformable.

8. To eye and minde the same things, to have all the same joynt and honourable ends, to have no divided interests, no domestical Reflections, but single upright aimes at the glorie of God, the truth of the Gospel, the power of godliness, the interest of Christ, the soules of men, the peace, tranquilitie and happiness of these Na­tions.

[Page 38] 7. Lastly, to waite continually upon God for counsel and guidance by his Spirit, for Acceptation with him and his people, for blessing and suc­cesse upon all righteous and honourable under­takings, that he would give you one heart and one way, and cause you to know the way wherein you should walk, and do nothing by you but that a­lone which may promote his glory, advance his truth, rejoyce his people, tend to the calming of unhappy differences, and to the reducing of these discomposed Nations unto unitie and serenity, For which purpose let us pray, &c.

FINIS.

The Reader is desired to amend, by the sense, the Errors in false pointing, and in one of the Sermons to correct these few faults.

Brotherly Reconciliation.

Page 5. line 14. put out the word A [...]; l 16, read Athletical. p. 2 [...], 1. 8, for will, r. must. line 26, for needful, r. necessiry.

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