INTEREST DEPOSED, AND TRUTH RESTORED. OR, A Word in Season, delivered in Two SERMONS: The First at St. MARYES in OXFORD, on the 24th of Iuly, 1659. being the time of the Assizes: as also of the Fears and Groans of the Nation in the threatned, and expected Ruin of the Laws, Ministery, and Vniversityes. The other Preached lately before the Honourable Societie of LINCOLNS-INN.

BY ROBERT SOVTH, Mr. of Arts, and Student of CHRIST-CHURCH.

OXFORD, Printed by A.L. for Tho. Robinson, 1660.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFULL EDWARD ATKINS, Serjeant at Law, and formerly one of the Justices of the COMMON-PLEAS.

Honoured Sir,

THough at first it was free, and in my choice, whether or no I should publish these Dis­courses, yet the Publication being once Re­solved, the Dedication was not so indiffe­rent; the Nature of the Subject, no less than the Obligations of the Author, styling them in a peculiar manner Yours: For since their drift is to carry the most Endangered, and Endangering Truth, above the Safest, when sinfull, Interest; as a Practice upon grounds of Reason the most Generous, and of Christia­nity the most Religious; to whom rather should this As­sertion repaire as to a Patron, than to Him whom it has for an Instance? Who in a case of eminent Competition choose Duty before Interest, and when the Judge grew inconsistent with the Justice, preferred rather to be Con­stant to sure Principles, than to an Unconstant Govern­ment: And to retreat to an Innocent, and Honourable Privacy, than to sit and Act inquity by a Law; and make [Page] your Age and Conscience, (the one Venerable, the o­ther Sacred) Drudges to the Tyranny of Fana­tick, Perjured Usurpers. The next attempt of this Discourse, is a Defence of the Minstery, and that at such a time when none owned them upon the Bench (for then you had quitted it) but when on the contrary we lived to hear One in the very face of the University, as it were in defiance of us and our Profession, openly in his Charge defend the Quakers and Fanaticks, persons not fit to be nam'd in such Courts, but in an Indictment. But, Sir, in the Instructions I here presumed to give to others, concer­ning what they should doe, you may take a Narrative of what you have done: what respected their Actions as a Rule or Admonition, applyed to yours is onely a Rehear­sall. Whose Zeal in asserting the Ministeriall Cause is so generally known, so gratefully acknowledged, that I dare affirme, that in what I deliver, you read the Words indeed of One, but the Thanks of All. VVhich affectio­nate Concernment of yours for them, seems to argue a Spirituall sence, and Experimentall Tast of their VVorks, and that you have reaped as much from their Labours, as others have done from their Lands: For to me it seemed alwaies strange, and next to Impossible, that a man con­verted by the Word Preached, should ever hate and per­secute a Preacher. And since you have severall times in discourse declared your self for that Government in the Church, that is founded upon Scripture, Reason, Apo­stolicall Practice and Antiquity, and (we are sure) the on­ly one that can consist with the Present Government of State, I thought the latter Discourse also might fitly ad­dresse it selfe to you, in the which you may read your Judgement, as in the other your Practice. And now since it has pleased Providence, at length to turn our Captivity, [Page] and answer persecuted Patience with the unexpected re­turns of Settlement; to remove our Rulers, and restore our Ruler; and not onely to make our Exactors righteous­nesse, but, what is better, to give us Righteousnesse instead of Exaction, and hopes of Religion to a Church worried with Reformation; I believe upon due and impartiall Reflexion on what is Past, you now find no cause to Re­pent, that you never dipt your hands in the Bloody High Courts of Iustice, properly so called onely by Antiphrasis; nor ever prostituted the Scarlet Robe to those Employ­ments, in which you must have worne the Colour of your Sinne in the Badge of your Office. But notwithstanding all the Enticements of a Prosperous Villany, abhorred the Purchase, when the Price was Blood. So that now being priviledged by an happy Unconcernment in those Legall Murders, you may take a sweeter relish of your own Inno­cence, by beholding the misery of others Guilt, who be­ing Guilty before God, and infamous before men, Obno­xious to Both, begin to find the first fruit of their sinne in the Universal scorn of all, their apparent Danger, and unlikely Remedy: which beginnings being at length consummated by the hand of Justice, the cry of Blood and Sacriledge will cease, mens doubts will be Satisfied, and Providence Absolved.

And thus, Sir, having presumed to honour my first Es­sayes in Divinity, by prefixing to them a Name, to which Divines are so much obliged. I should here in the close of this Addresse, contribute a Wish at least to your Hap­pynesse: But since we desire it not yet in another VVorld, and your Enjoyments in this (according to the Standard of a Christian desire) are so compleat, that they require no Addition, I shall turn my VVishes into Gratulations, and congratulating their Fulnesse, onely wish their Con­tinuance: [Page] Praying, that you may still possesse, what you possesse; and Doe what you Doe; that is, reflect upon a clear, unblotted, acquitting Conscience, and feed upon the ineffable Comforts of the Memoriall of a Conquered Temptation; without the danger of returning to the Try­all. And this (Sir) I account the greatest Felicity that you can enjoy, and therefore the greatest that he can desire, who is

Yours in all Observance, RO. SOVTH.

A Preface to the Reader.

THat being conscious to my self of having in Discourse so often condemned the Scribling of the present Age, I should yet now own it by my Practise; especially in that sort of Writing in which severall have gone before me, whom it is no glory to come behind, I find a Necessity of bespeaking the Readers acceptance with Excuse, which yet I trust I shall not manage so, as to make it onely matter for another, but present him with Reason, as well as Apology. And first for the Publication of these two Discourses the one Preached in the time of our Feares, the other of our Hopes, and now both comming forth in the beginning of our Fruition, I shall not plead their having passed the Test and Approbation of two of the most Iudicious and Learned Auditories in the Nation, as supposing that was rather for the seasonablenesse of the Truth, than any Elegance of the Composure, and more for the Venture than the Performance: Yet from whatsoever cause it came, I shall not vouch it as a reason of the Publication, since the same persons may applaud the same thing from the Pul­pit, that they shall afterwards hisse coming from the Presse; as could be easily instanced in the Forlorne Works of some Vnfor­tunate Divines: But much lesse was it the insolent, imprudent itch of appearing in Publick, that induced me to this, as be­ing confident that these Discourses, had more Hearers than they are like to finde Readers; so that my present attempt may be rather termed an Edition than a Publication. But least of all shall I plead the importunity of Freinds, that stale pretence for publishing so many scribles; such as being by much importunity brought to the Press, need a greater to bring [Page] them to perusall. But because a sordid, complying Spirit has been often charged upon the Vniversity, and (we must con­fesse) a spice of it has appeared in many amongst us, who have fouled, as well as disturbed these Fountains; I thought good to let our Detractors understand, that in the very depth of Sectarian Barbarisme, when the professed Enemies of the Church were the only Favourites of the State, and the very Pillars of it, the Vniversities and Ministers were falling, there has been some, who durst assert a Truth, though to the visible danger of their present Enjoyments, and the utter extinction of their future Hopes; and for so desperate a service the most inconsiderable person was the fittest, whose successe would have equally been an advantage, and whose ruin no losse. Nor can I deny but that I was desirous to clear my self from the under­served surmises, that some (whose good esteem I have cause to value) have had of me; as if the injurious favours of some had not onely courted, but wonne me to a servile compliance, which I alwaies abhorred: But such was my fate, that some while they were in Power injured me by Persecution, when De­clining, by their Favour. The Vindication also of some things here delivered was no small inducement to a Publica­tion: For notwithstanding the forementioned acceptance these Discourses found, yet the former was attached by some severe Reprehenders, who according to the Canting Dialect of Wal­lingford house (which forty years ago would not have been understood, neither will it forty years hence) charged it as full of much Wrath and Darknesse; but it seemes it was such darknesse as the tyrannizing Egyptians began to feele; And I am sure no more Wrath then was deserved, and therefore very well bestowed. However, Providence has encouraged it to see the Light, while some of its Reprehenders sit in Dark­nesse. Yet since by Warrant from the Spirit it self, we may be Angry, and sinne not, the sharpnesse of a Reprehension is [Page] to be ascribed to the Nature of the thing that merits, not to the Temper of him that delivers it. And since it has pleased God to unshackle men from Engagements, Visitations, and the Awe of Vsurpers, it is not to be expected, that Perjury, Blood, and Sacriledge, can be any longer Gospellized into Acts of Piety, or high strains of Evangelicall Perfection, because in­deed they goe much beyond the Command. Yet that Person, the late Oppressor of this Nation, and the known Father of Enthusiasts, in whom those three Perfections eminent­ly concurred, and who, we confesse is glanced upon in what follows, even him I have heard commended, as one, who notwithstanding those forementioned Infirmities (so called I conceive, because they were the matter of his dayly Temptati­ons) yet as to the main was truly pious, and to use his Encomi­asts very expression, had great Communion with God. I sup­pose in the same sence, that the Faithful, Innocent, and Devout, hold Communion with the Devill. Wherefore if by Wrath was meant a Free (though at that time Dangerous) Animad­version upon such Spots of Christianity, We own the Charge, and readily confesse, that the ensuing Discourse was not Cal­culated for the soothing of Galled Consciences, but really in­tended to Gall them more; and professedly designed to reprove Avarice, Oppression, Pious Fraudes, Blasphemies, and Perju­ries, waies not heretofore known of holding Communion with God. And as for Personall Reflexions, I know none such spoken, but made such by being Applyed: And if some proceeded to Application before I did, and from their Consci­ousnesse inferred their Concernment, the Over-ruling sentence of a Guilty Conscience placing them under the Dint of any of these Reproofs, I am not he that either can, or would Absolve them: For, as I have often said, either they are not Guilty, and so they are not concerned in them, or Guilty, and so they deserve them. But whereas it has been further objected, that [Page] I proposed many doubts, which I left unanswered; I am sorry, that it was a fault, to think so honourably of my Auditory, as to esteem it Needlesse: But it is not in my power to inform some mens Ignorance, nor my desire to gratifie their Humour: And whether this Plea proceeds from a tender Conscience, or a tender head, I am not much concerned, but acquiesce fully in this, that for the Objections, those that were Learned, could hear and answer them; those that were not, could not apprehend them, both therefore equally without danger. And whereas I do not now at least in the Printing them, adde their Solutions; I answer, that in regard I professe to publish the Sermon I then Preached, I should not verify my Word, should I by such Ad­ditions make it Another. Having given an account of my de­sign in the former Discourse, and wiped off the Censures that for some time have stuck upon it, I shall endeavour to pre­pare the Reader for a fair understanding of the Second, which being Preached before many of the most considerable Mem­bers of the House of Commons, had an Auditory suitable to its Design. For in as much as an Erastian Antiministeriall Spirit has for many years acted most of the Nation, who would command the Service, without submitting to the Discipline of the Ministers; And since Arguments from Piety or Scripture work little upon most of them, I thought it the best service that could be done to the Ecclesiasticall Cause, to make it ap­pear that even a Politick consideration would perswade that, which was commanded upon a Spiritual: By shewing how Re­ligion is that alone that holds together the whole frame of Government; it being upheld it self by the Encouragement, and Honour of the Clergy. So that whereas I enforce it chiefly by Arguments drawn from Civill Concernments, I would have none offended, since my intent is limited here, only to this re­spect, it being an Argument ad hominem; not the onely One that the the Subject would afford, but that which was the [Page] most likely to reach the Temper of the Times. And if I infer the necessity of Religion, and an Honourable Clergy from the Exigence of the Civil Interest, I suppose the necessity of it from Gods Command, and from the salvation of mens soules, is un­questionable: Wherefore I shall take the boldnesse to entreat those who shall think it worthy their Reading, before they Cen­sure, to vouchsafe it at least an attentive perusal, in as much as it presents to them some Truths, I think not often observed, I am sure, not usually delivered. For my own part, I cannot conceive how Religion can stand without a Ministery, nor the Ministery without its two Essential Props, Iurisdiction and Respect. It is the old, sly, and undermining Plea, that Mi­nisters ought only to procure respect by their Learning, and la­borious, Vpright life; other advantages belong not to them. But to answer this; besides, that late Experience proves, that the most Pious, and the most Learned, have been the most per­secuted and contemned, it is irrationall to think, that men ever yet made their Duty the measure of their Practice. And howsoever all ought, yet there are but very few who reverence Ministers for those Qualifications; but still those that do not, must be governed, or the Church ruined: therefore the Assist­ance of Secular supports must be taken in. Most therefore will confess Church Government Necessary, though they deny that Necessity to any determinate kind. But since Church Govern­ment in Generall sequestred from its severall kinds, is a meer Idea, I am apt to think that the Determination of it was com­manded together with the thing it self. And since only Par­ticular, not Vniversal Natures fall under Practice, in as much as the Apostles did actually Govern the Church, it must needs be, that it was by a certain determinate kind of Government: And then considering the Infallible Apostolick Spirit by which they were acted, I conceive their Practice and Example was a Virtual Command: especially when the reason and [Page] grounds of it continue still the same. What that Practice was, though there are many not obscure Traces of it in Scripture, yet I desire to gather it from the general Practise of the Church successively continued from their times: the most rationall Guide where the Scripture is silent, and the best Comment where it is Obscure. And upon this Rule and Ground, I hold it more reasonable to Erre, than upon Fanatick Principles to Stumble upon the Truth. Having thus shown my intent in these Sermons, and also the Rule, to the guidance of which I intend to resign my self, in whatsoever God shall hereafter call me either to Speak or Act as a Minister, I shall venture these Meditations into the World. What reception they may find I am ignorant, but not sollicitous. But sure, of all per­sons, Ministers, Scholars, and especially those of the Vniver­sities, have little cause to censure, or reprehend me, who have freely ventured the Whole of my Small Advantages from them, in asserting them in a day of the blackest danger and rebuke, that I trust will ever befall the Church. However, I value not the taunts, the murmurs of any: I have learned by bearing, to contemn them. Frequent Endurance has bred an Apathy. But whatsoever men shall Mutter, Rail, or Declaim against these Writings, either out of a dislike of the Subject here Treated of, or a personal hatred of my self; yet in this I rest satisfied, and assured, that the Truth here spoken of, will stand, what­soever becomes of Him, that spoke it.

Math. 10.33.

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father which is in Heaven.

AS the great comprehensive Gospel duty is the denyal of Self, so the grand Gospel sin that confronts it, is the denyal of Christ. These two are both the Command­ing and the Dividing Principles of all our Actions: For whosoever acts in opposition to one, it is alwaies in behalf of the other. None ever opposed Christ, but it was to gratifie Self: None ever renounced the Interest of Self, but from a prevailing love to the Interest of Christ. The subject I have here pitched upon, may seem improper in these times, and in this place, where the number of Professors, and of men is the same; where the Cause and Interest of Christ has been so cryed up; and Christs Personall Reign and Kingdome so called for, and expected. But since it has been still Preached up, but Acted down; and dealt with, as the Eagle in the Fable did with the Oyster, carrying it up on high, that by letting it fall he might dash it in peices: I say, since Christ must Reign, but his Truths be made to serve. I suppose it is but Reason, to distinguish between Profession and Pretence; and to con­clude, that mens present crying, Haile King, and bending the knee to Christ, are onely in order to his future Crucifixion.

For the discovery of the sence of the Words, I shall enquire into their occasion. From the very beginning of the Chapter wee have Christ consulting the Propagation of the Gospel; and in order to it [Page 2] (being the onely way that he knew to effect it) sending forth a Mini­stery; and giving them a Commission, together with Instructions for the Execution of it. He would have them fully acquainted with the Nature and Extent of their Office; and so he joynes Commission with Instruction; by one he conveighs Power, by the other Know­ledge. Supposing (I conceive) that upon such an Undertaking, the more Learned his Ministers were, they would prove never the less faithfull. And thus having fitted them, and stript them of all man­ner of defence, v. 9. He sends them forth amongst Wolves: A hard Expedition, you will say, to go amongst Wolves; but yet much har­der to convert them into Sheep; and no less hard even to discerne some of them, possibly being under Sheeps cloathing; and so by the advantage of that dress, sooner felt than discovered: and probably al­so such as had both the properties of Wolves, that is, they could whine and howle, as well as bite and devoure. But that they might not goe altogether naked amongst their Enemies, the onely Armour that Christ allows them, it is Prudence and Innocence; Be ye wise as Serpents, but harmlesse as Doves, v. 16. Weapons not at all offensive, yet most suitable to their Warfare, whose greatest Encounters were to be Exhortations, and whose only Conquest, Escape. Innocence it is the best caution, and we may unite the expression, to be wise as a Ser­pent, is to be harmless as a Dove. Innocence, it is like polish'd Ar­mour, it adorns, and it defends. In summe, he tells them, that the opposition they should meet with, was the greatest imaginable, from the 16. to the 26. v. but in the ensuing verses he promises them an e­quall proportion of assistance; which if it was not Argument of force enough to out-weigh the fore-mentioned discouragements, he casts into the Balance, the promise of a Reward to such as should Execute, and of Punishment to such as should Neglect their Com­mission: The Reward in the former verse, Whosoever shall confesse me before men, &c. the punishment in this, But whosoever shall deny. &c. As if by way of preoccupation he should have said, Well: here you see your Commission, this is your Duty, these are your Discou­ragements: never seek for shifts and evasions from worldly afflicti­ons; this is your Reward if you perform it, this is your Doome if you decline it.

As for the Explication of the words they are clear and easie; and their Originals in the Greek are of single signification, without any [Page 3] ambiguity; and therefore I shall not trouble you, by proposing how they run in this, or in that Edition: or straining for an interpretation where there is no difficultie, or a distinction where there is no diffe­rence. The onely Exposition that J shall give of them, will be to compare them to other Parallel Scriptures, and peculiarly that in the 8 Mark 38. Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinfull generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy An­gels. These words are a Comment upon my Text.

1. What is here in the Text called a denying of Christ, is there termed a being ashamed of him, that is, in those words the Cause is expressed, and here the Effect: for therefore we deny a thing, because we are shamed of it, First Peter is ashamed of Christ, then he denyes him.

2. What is here termed a denying of Christ, is there called a being ashamed of Christ and his Words: Christs truths are his second Self. And he that offers contempt to a Kings letters or edicts, virtually affronts the King; it strikes his words, but it rebounds upon his Per­son.

3. What is here said before men, is there phrased, in this adulte­rous and sinfull generation. These words import the hindrances of the duty enioyned, which therefore is here purposely enforced with a non obstante to all opposition. The Terme Adulterous I conceive may cheifly relate to the Jewes who being nationally espoused to God by Covenant, every sinne of theirs was in a peculiar manner spirituall Adultery.

4. What is here said I will deny him before my Father, is there ex­pressed: I will be ashamed of him before my Father and his holy Angels, that is when he shall come to Judgment, when Revenging Justice shall come in pomp, attended with the glorious Retinue of all the Host of Heaven. In short the sentence pronounced declares the Judg­ment, the solemnity of it, the Terror.

From the words, we may deduce these Observations.

  • 1. We shall find strong motives and temptations from men, to draw us to a deniall of Christ.
  • 2. No Terrors, or Solicitations from men, though never so great can Warrant or Excuse such a deniall.
  • 3. To deny Christs Words, is to deny Christ.

But since these Observ [...]tions are rather implyed then expressed in the words, I shall wave them, and instead of deducing a Doctrine, dis­tinct [Page 4] from the words, prosecute the words them selves under this Do­ctrinall Paraphrase.

Whosoever shall deny, dis-owne or be ashamed of either the Person or truths of Iesus Christ for any fear or favour of man; shall with shame be disowned, and Eternally rejected by him at the dreadfull judg­ment of the great day,

The discussion of this shall lye in these things.

  • 1. To shew how many wayes Christ and his truths may be denyed, and what is the deniall here cheifly intended.
  • 2. To shew what are the causes that induce men to a deniall of Christ and his truths.
  • 3. To shew how farre a man may consult his safety in time of per­secution, without denying Christ.
  • 4. To shew what is imported in Christs denying us before his Fa­ther in Heaven.
  • 5. To apply all to the present Occasion.

But before I enter upon these I must breifly premise this, that though the Text and the Doctrine run peremptory and absolute, Whosoever denyes Christ, shall assuredly be denyed by him: yet still there is a tacit condition in the words supposed, unless repentance intervene. For this and many other Scriptures, though as to their formall termes they are Absolute, yet as to their sence they are Conditionall. God in mercy has so framed, and temper'd his word, that we have for the most part, a Reserve of mercy wrap'd up in a Curse. And the very first judgment that was pronounced upon fallen man, it was with the allay of a promise. Wheresoever we find a Curse to the Guilty Expressed, in the same words mercy to the Penitent is still Understood.

This premised, I come now to discusse the first thing, viz. How many wayes Christ and his truths may be denyed, &c. Here first in generall I assert, that we may deny him in all those acts that are capa­ble of being morally good or evill: those are the proper Scene in which we act our Confessions or denialls of him. Accordingly therefore all wayes of denying Christ, I shall comprise under these three.

1. We may deny him and his truths by an Erroneous, Hereticall judgment. I know it is doubted whether a bare Error in judgment can condemne: but since truths absolutely necessary to Salvation, are so clearly revealed, that we cannot erre in them, unless we be notori­ously wanting to our selves; herein the fault of the judgment is re­solved [Page 5] into a precedent default in the will: and so the case is put out of doubt. But here it may be replyed, are not truths of absolute and fundamentall necessity, very disputable: as the Deity of Christ, the Trinity of Persons? if they are not in themselves disputable, why are they so much disputed? Indeed I believe if we trace these disputes to their originall cause we shall find, that they never sprung from a re­luctancy in Reason to embrace them. For this reason it self dictates as most rationall, to assent to any thing though seemingly contrary to Reason, if it is revealed by God, and we are certaine of the Revelation. These two supposed, these disputes must needs arise only from curiosity and singularity; and these are the faults of a diseased will. But some will further demand in behalf of these men, whether such as assent to every word in Scripture, for so will those that deny the naturall deity of Christ and the Spirit, can be yet said in Doctrinalls to deny Christ? To this I answere, since words abstracted from their pro­per sense & signification, loose the nature of words, & are only equivo­cally so called: inasmuch as the persons we speak of, take them thus; & derive the Letter from Christ, but the signification from themselves, they cannot be said properly to assent so much as to the words of the Scripture. And so their case also is clear. But yet more fully to state the matter, how farre a deniall of Christ in beleife and judgment is dam­nable: We will propose the question. Whether those that hold the fun­damentalls of faith, may deny Christ damnably, in respect of those su­perstructures and consequences that arise from them? I answer in breif, by fundamentall truths are understood, 1. Either such without the be­leif of which we cannot be saved, or, 2. such, the beleif of which is suf­ficient to save: If the question be proposed of fundamentalls in this latter sence, it containes its own answer; for he that beleives those truths, the beleif of which is sufficient to save, the disbeleif or deni­all of their consequences cannot damne. But what and how many these fundamentalls are, it will then be agreed upon, when all Sects, Opini­ons and Perswasions doe unite and consent. 2ly. If we speake of fun­damentalls in the former sence, as they are only truths without which we cannot be saved: it is manifest that we may believe them, and yet be damned for denying their consequences: for that which is only a Condition without which we cannot be saved, is not therefore a Cause sufficient to save: much more is required to the latter, then to the former. I conclude therefore, that to deny Christ in our judgment, [Page 6] will condemne, and this concernes the learned: Christ demands the homage of your understandings: he wil have your Reason bend to him, you must put your Heads under his feet. And we know that hereto­fore he who had the Leprosy in this part, was to be pronounced ut­terly unclean. A poysoned reason, an infected judgment is Christs greatest enemy. And an Error in the judgment, it is like an impo­ [...]tume in the Head, which is alwayes noysome, and frequently mortall.

2. We may deny Christ verbally, and by orall expressions. Now our words they are the interpreters of our hearts. The transcripts of the judgment with some further addition of good or evill. He that inter­prets usually inlarges. What our judgment whispers in secret, these proclaime upon the house top. To deny Christ in the former imports enmity, but in these open Defiance. Christs passion is renewed in both: be that mis-judges of him, condemnes him, but he that blasphemes him spits in his face. Thus the Jewes & the Pharisees denyed Christ. We know that this man is a sinner, Joh. 9.24. and a deceiver, Mat. 27.63. and he casts out devills, by the prince of the divells. 12. Mat. 24. And thus Christ is dayly denyed, in many blasphemies printed & divulged, and many horrid Opinions vented against the truth. The Schooles dispute whether in moralls the external Action superadds any thing of good or evill to the internall elicit acts of the Will: but certainly the enmity of our judgments is wrought up to an high pitch before it rages in an open deniall. And it is a signe that it is grown too bigge for the Heart, when it seeks for vent in our words. Blasphemy uttered it is Error heightned with Impudence. It is sinne scorning a concealment, not only committed, but defended. He that denyes Christ in his judg­ment sins, but he that speakes his deniall, vouches and ownes his sinne: and so by publishing it, does what in him lies to make it Vni­versall: and by writing it to establish it Eternall. There is another way of denying Christ with our Mouthes, which is Negative: that is when we doe not acknowledge and confesse him: but of this I shall have occasion to treat under the discussion of the Third general Head.

3. We may deny Christ in our Actions and Practice, and these speak much louder then our tongues. To have an Orthodox belief, and a true Profession, concurring with a bad life, it is only to deny Christ with a greater solemnity. Beleif and Profession will speak thee a Christian but very faintly, when thy conversation proclaimes thee an Infidell. Many while they have Preached Christ in their Sermons, [Page 7] have read a lecture of Atheisme in their Practice. We have many here that speak of Godlinesse, Mortification and Self-deniall: but if these are so, what meanes the Bleating of the Sheep, and the lowing of the Oxen, the noise of their ordinary sinnes, and the cry of their great ones? If Godly, why doe they wallow and sleep in all the Car­nalities of the world, under pretence of Christian liberty? Why doe they make religion ridiculous by pretending to Prophecy, and when their prophecies prove delusions, why doe they Blaspheme? If such self-denyers, what means the griping, the prejudice, the co­vetousnesse, and the pluralities preached against, and retained, and the Arbitrary Government of many? When such men Preach of self-denyal and humility. I cannot but think of Seneca, who praised Poverty, and that very safely, in the midst of his great Riches and Gardens; and even exhorted the world to throw away their Gold, perhaps (as one well conjectures) that he might gather it up; So these desire men to be humble, that they may domineer without opposition. But it is an easie matter to commend patience, when there is no d [...]n­ger of any tryall, to extoll humility in the midst of honours, to begin a Fast after Dinner. But O how Christ will deal with such persons when he shall draw forth all their Actions bare and stript from this deceiv­ing vaile of their heavenly speeches! He will then say, it was not your sad Countenance, nor your Hypocriticall groaning, by which you did either confesse or honour me: but your Worldliness, your luxury, your sinister partial dealing; these have denyed me, these have wound­ed me, these have gone to my heart: these have caused the weak to stumble, and the prophane to blaspheme: these have offended the one, and hardned the other. You have indeed spoke me fair, you have saluted me with your lips, but even then you betray'd me. Depart from me therefore you professors of holiness, but you workers of iniquity.

And thus having shewn the three wayes by which Christ may be denyed, it may now be demanded, which is the Deniall here intend­ed in the words.

Answere 1. I conceive if the words are taken as they were particu­larly and personally directed to the Apostles upon the occasion of their mission to preach the Gospel, so the denyall of him, was the not acknowledgement of the Deity or Godhead of Christ; and the reason to prove, that this was then principally intended, is this. Be­cause this was the truth in those dayes cheifly opposed, and most dis­beleived, [Page 8] as appeares, because Christ and the Apostles did most ear­nestly inculcate the beleif of this, and accepted men upon the bare acknowledgement of this, and Baptisme was administred to such as did but profess this, 8 Acts 37, 38. And indeed as this one Aphorisme Iesus Christ is the Son of God, is Vertually and eminently the whole Gospel, so to confess or deny it is vertually to embrace or reject the whole round and series of Gospell truths. For he that acknowledges Christ to be the sonne of God, by the same does consequentially ac­knowledge that he is to be beleived and obeyed in whatsoever he does enjoyne and deliver to the sonnes of men: and therefore that we are to repent and beleive and rest upon him for salvation, and to de­ny our selves: and within the compass of this is included whatsoever is called Gospell.

As for the manner of our denying the Deity of Christ here prohi­bited, I conceive it was by words and orall expressions verbally to de­ny, and dis-acknowledge it: This I ground upon these reasons.

  • 1. Because it was such a deniall as was before men, and therefore consisted in open Profession, for a deniall in judgment and practice, as such, is not alwayes before men.
  • 2. Because it was such a deniall or confession of him as would ap­pear in Preaching: but this is mannaged in words and verball professi­on.

But now 2ly. If we take the words as they are a generall precept equally relating to all times, and to all persons, though delivered on­ly upon a particular occasion to the Apostles (as I suppose they are to be understood) so I think they comprehend all the Three wayes men­tioned of confessing or denying Christ: but principally in respect of practice, and that 1. Because by this he is most honoured or dishonour­ed. 2. Because without this the other two cannot save. 3. Because those who are ready enough to confess him both in judgment and profe­ssion, are for the most part very prone to deny him shamefully in their doings.

Pass we now to a Second thing, to shew

What are the Causes inducing men to deny Christ in his truths. I shall propose Three.

1. The seeming supposed absurdity of many truths: Vpon this foundation Heresie allwayes builds. The Heathens derided the Christians, that still they required and pressed beleif, and well they [Page 9] might (say they) since the Articles of their Religion are so absurd, that upon Principles of Science they can never winne assent. It is easy to draw it forth and demonstrate, how upon this score the cheif Here­sies that now are said to trouble the Church, doe oppose and deny the most important truths in Divinity. As first, hear the denyer of the Deity and satisfaction of Christ. What (saies he) can the same Person be God and man? the Creature and the Creator? can we ascribe such attributes to the same thing, whereof one implyes a Negation and a Contradiction of the other? Can he be also Finite and Infinite, when to be finite is not to be infinite, and to be infinite not to be finite? And when we distinguish between the Person, and the Nature, was not that distinction an invention of the Schooles, favoring rather of Metaphysicks, then Divinity? If we say that he must have bin God, because he was to mediate between us and God, by the same reason they will reply, we should need a Mediator between us and Christ, who is equally God, equally offended. Then for his satisfaction, they will demand to whom this satisfaction is paid? If to God, then God payes a Price to himself: and what is it else to require and need no sa­tisfaction, then for one to satisfie himself? Next comes in the Deny­er of the Decrees and free grace of God. What (saies he) shall we exhort, admonish, and entreat the Saints to beware of falling away finally, and at the same time assert that it is impossible for them so to fall? what shall we erect two contradictory Wills in God, or place two contradictoryes in the same Will, and make the Will of his Pur­pose and Intention run counter to the Will of his Approbation? Hear another concerning the Scripture and Justification. What (saies the Romanist, relye in matters of faith upon a private Spirit? How doe you know this is the sence of such a Scripture? Why by the Spi­rit. But how will you try that Spirit to be of God? Why by the scripture: this he explodes as a circle, and so derides it. Then for Ju­stification. How are you Justified by an imputed Righteousness? Is it yours before it is imputed, or not: if not (as we must say) is this to be Justified, to have that accounted yours, that is not yours? Put a­gain, did you ever hear of any man made rich or wise by imputation? why then Righteous or Just? Now these seeming Paradoxes, attend­ing Gospell truths, cause men of weak and prejudiced intellectualls to deny them, and in them Christ, being ashamed to owne faith so much (as they think) to the disparagement of their Reason.

[Page 10]2. The Second thing causing men to deny the truths of Christ, is their, Vnprofitableness. And no wonder if here men forsake the truth and assert interest. To be Pious is the way to be Poore. Truth still gives its followers its own Badge and Livery, a despised naked­ness. It is hard to maintaine the truth, but much harder to be main­tained by it: could it ever yet feed, clothe, or defend its assernors? Did ever any man quench his thirst, or satisfie his hunger with a No­tion? Did ever any one live upon Propositions? The Testimony of Brutus concerning vertue, is the apprhension of most concerning truth: that it is a Name, but lives and estates are things, and therefore not to be thrown away upon Words. That we are neither to worship or cringe to any thing under the Deity is a truth to strict for a Naaman: he can be content to worship the true God, but then it must be in the house of Rimmon: the reason was implyed in his condition, he was Captaine of the Host, and therefore he thought it reason good to bow to Rimmon, rather then endanger his place: better Bow, then Break. Indeed some times Providence casts things so, that truth and interest ly the same way: and when it is wrapt up in this covering men can be content to follow it, to presse hard after it: but it is as we pursue some beasts only for their skins: take of the covering, and though men obtaine the truth, they would lament the losse of that. As Iacob wept and mourned over the torn Coat, when Ioseph was a­live. It is incredible to consider how interest outweighes truth. If a thing in it self be doubtfull, let it make for interest and it shall be raised at least into a Probable; and if a truth be certaine, and thwart interest, it will quickly fetch it down to but a Probability; nay if it does not carry with it an impregnable Evidence, it will goe near to debase it to a down right falsity. How much interest casts the Ballance in cases dubious, I could give sundry instances, let one suffice. And that concerning the unlawfullness of Usury. Most of the Learned men in the world successively both Heathen and Christian doe assert the taking of Use to be utterly unlawfull; yet the Divines of the Reformed Church beyond the Seas though most severe and rigid in other things, doe generally affirme it to be lawfull. That the case is doubtfull and may be disputed with plausible arguments on either side, we may well grant: But what then is the reason that makes these Divines so unanimously concurre in this opinion? Indeed I shall not affirme this to be the reason, but it may seem so to many: that they [Page 11] receive their Salaryes by way of pension, in present ready money, and so have no other way to improve them; so that it may be suspect­ed, that the change of their salary, would be the strongest argument to change their opinion. The truth is, Interest is the grand wheele, and spring that moves the whole Vniverse. Let Christ and truth say what they will, if interest will have it, gain must be Godliness: If Enthu­siasme is in request, learning must be inconsistent with Grace. If pay growes short, the Vniversity Maintenance must be too great. Rather then Pilate will be counted Cesars enemy, he will pronouce Christ in­nocent one hour, and condemne him the next. How Christ is made to truckle under the world, and how his truths are denyed and shuffled with for profit and pelfe, the clearest proof would be by Induction and Example. Bus as it is the most clear, so here it would be the most un­pleasing: Wherefore I shall passe this over, since the world is now so peccant uopn this account, that I am afraid Instances would be mi­staken for Invectives.

3. The Third Cause inducing men to deny Christ in his truths, is their apparent danger. To confesse Christ, is the ready way to be cast out of the Synagogue. The Chuch, it is a place of Graves as well as of Worship and profession. To be resolute in a Good cause is to bring upon our selves the punishments due to a Bad. Truth indeed it is a possession of the highest value, and therefore it must needs expose the owner to much danger. Christ is sometimes pleased to make the profession of himself costly, and a man cannot buy the truth but he must pay down his life and his dearest blood for it. Christianity marks a man out for destruction: and Christ sometime chalks out such a way to salvation, that shall verifie his own saying, He that will save his life shall loose it. The first ages of the Church had a more abundant expe­rience of this: Paul and the rest, what they planted by their Preach­ing, they watered with their blood. We know their usage was such as Christ foretold, he sent them to Wolves, and the common course then was Christianos ad Leones. For a man to give his name to Christianity in those dayes, was to list himself a Martyr, & to bid farewell not only to the pleasures but also to the hopes of this life. Neither was it a single death only that then attended this profession, but the Terror and sharpnesse of it redoubled was in the manner and circumstance. They had Persecutors, whose Invention was as great as their cruelty. Wit and malice conspired to find out such tortures, such deaths, and those [Page 12] of such incredible anguish, that only the manner of dying was the Punishment, Death it self the deliverance. To be a Martyr signifies only to witness the truth of Christ, but the witnessing of the truth was then so generally attended with this Event, that Martyrdome now signifies not only to witness, but to witness by death. The word besides its own signification importing their practice: And since Christians have been freed from Heathens, Christians themselves have turned Persecutors. Since Rome from Heathen was turned Christian, it has improved its persecution into an Inquisition. Now when Christ and truth are upon these termes, that men cannot confesse him, but upon paine of death, the reason of their Apostacy and Deniall is clear, men will be Wise and leave Truth and misery to such as love it, they are resolved to be Cunning, let others run the hazard of being Sincere. If they must be good at so high a rate, they know they may be Safe at a cheaper. Si negare sufficiat, quis erit Nocens? If to deny Christ will save them, the truth shall never make them guilty. Let Christ and his flock lye open & exposed to all weather of Persecution, Foxes will be sure to have holes. And if it comes to this that they must either renounce Religion, deny and blaspheme Christ, or forfeit their lives to the fire or the sword, it is but inverting Iobs wives advice, Curse God and live.

3. We proceed now to the Third thing, which is to shew, how farre a man may consult his safety, &c▪

This he may doe Two Wayes.

1. By withdrawing his Person. Martyrdome is an Heroick act of faith. An Atcheivement beyond an Ordinary pitch of it: to you saies the Spirit it is given to suffer, 1 Phil. 29. It is a peculiar additionall gift: it is a distinguishing excellency of degree, not an essentiall con­sequent of its Nature. Be ye harmlesse as Doves saies Christ; and it is as Naturall to them to take flight upon danger, as to be Innocent: Let every man throughly consult the temper of his faith, and weigh his courage with his feares, his Weakness and his Resolutions together, and take the measure of both, and see which preponderates, and if his spirit faints, if his heart misgives and melts at the very thoughts of the fire, let him flye and secure his own soul, and Christs honour. Non negat Christum fugiendo qui ideò fugit ne neget: He does not deny Christ by flying, who therefore flyes that he may not deny him. Nay, he does not so much decline, as rather change his Martyrdome: He flies from the Flame, but repaires to a Desart; to poverty and hunger [Page 13] in a wilderness. Whereas if he would dispense with his Conscience, & deny his Lord, or swallow down two or three Contradictory oaths, he should neither fear the one, nor be forced to the other.

2. By concealing his judgement. A man sometimes is no more bound to speak than to destroy himself; and as Nature abhors this, so Religion does not command that. In the times of the Primitive Church, when the Christians dwelt amongst Heathens, it is reported of a certain Mayd, how she came from her Fathers house, to one of the Tribunals of the Gentiles, and declared her self a Christian, spit in the Judges face, and so provoked him to cause her to be exe­cuted. But will any say that this was to confesse Christ, or dye a Martyr? He that uncalled for, uncompelled, comes and proclaims a Persecuted Truth, for which he is sure to dye, he onely dyes a Con­fessour of his own folly, and a Sacrifice to his own rashness. Mar­tyrdome is stampt such onely by Gods command; and hee that ven­tures upon it without a Call, must endure it without a Reward: Christ will say, who required this at your hands? His Gospel does not dictate imprudence: No Evangelical Precept justles out that of a lawfull self-preservation. He therefore that thus throws himself up­on the Sword, he runs to Heaven before he is sent for: where though perhaps Christ may in mercy receive the Man, yet he will be sure to disown the Martyr.

And thus much concerning those lawfull wayes of securing our selves in time of Persecution; not as if these were alwaies lawfull: For sometimes a man is bound to confesse Christ openly, though hee dyes for it; and to conceal a Truth is to deny it. But now to shew when it is our duty, and when unlawfull to take these courses, by some generall rule of a perpetual, never-failing truth, none ever would yet presume: For, as Aristotle saies, We are not to expect Demonstrations in Ethicks, or Politicks; nor to build certain rules upon the contingency of humane Actions: So, in as much as our flying from Persecution, our confessing, or concealing persecuted Truths, vary and change their very nature, according to different circumstances of time, place, and persons, we cannot limit their Directions within any one universall Precept. You will say then, How shall we know when to confess, when to conceale a Truth? when to wait for, when to decline Per­secution? Indeed the onely way that I think can be prescribed in this case, is to be earnest, and importunate with God in Prayer for special [Page 14] direction: And it is not to be imagined, that he who is both faithfull and mercifull, will leave a sincere soul in the dark upon such an oc­casion. But this J shall adde, that the Ministers of God are not to evade, or take refuge in any of these two forementioned wayes. They are publique persons: and good Shepheards must then chiefly stand close to the Flock when the Wolf comes. For them to be silent in the Cause of Christ is to renounce it; and to fly, is to desert it. As for that place urged in favour of the contrary, in 23. v. When they persecute you in this City flee into another, it proves nothing; for the Precept was particular, and concerned onely the Apostles; and that but for that time in which they were then sent to the Jews, at which time Christ kept them as a reserve for the future: For when after his death they were indifferently sent both to Jews and Gentiles, wee find not this clause in their Commission, but they were to signe the Truths they preached with their blood; as we know they actually did. And moreover, when Christ bids them, being persecuted in one City fly into another, it was not (as Grotius acutely observes) that they might lye hid, or bee secure in that City, but that there they might Preach the Gospel: So that their flight here was not to secure their Persons, but to continue their Business. I conclude therefore, that faithfull Ministers are to stand and endure the brunt. A common Souldier may dye, when it is the duty of him that holds the Standard to dye upon the place. And we have abundant of en­couragements so to doe. Christ has seconded and sweetned his com­mand with his promise: Yea the thing it self is not onely our duty, but our glory. And he that has done this work, has in the very work partly received his wages. And were it put to my choice, J think I should chuse rather with spitting and scorn to be tumbled into the dust in blood, bearing witness to any known Truth of our dear Lord, now opposed by the Enthusiasts of the present Age, than by a denyal of those Truths through Blood and Perjury wade to a Scepter, and Lord it in a Throne. And we need not doubt, but Truth, however op­pressed, will have some followers, and at length prevaile. A Christ, though Crucified, will arise: And as it is in the 11 Revel. 3. The Witnesses will Prophesie, though it be in Sackcloth.

Having thus dispatched the third thing, I proceed to the fourth, which is to shew, what it is for Christ to deny us before his Father in Heaven. Hitherto we have treated of mens carriage to Christ in [Page 15] this world▪ now we will describe his carriage to them in the other. These words clearly relate to the last Judgement, and they are a Summary description of his proceeding with men at that day.

And here we will consider:

  • 1. The Action it self, He will deny them.
  • 2. The Circumstance of the Action, Hee will deny them before his Father, aad the holy Angels.

1. Concerning the first; Christs denying us, is otherwise expressed in the 13 Luke 27. I know you not. To Know in Scripture language is to Approve; and so not to Know, is to Reject and Condemne. Now who knows how many Woes are crowded into this one sentence, I will deny him? It is (to say no more) a compendious expression of Hell, an Eternity of Torments comprised in a word: it is Condem­nation it self, and what is most of all, it is Condemnation from the mouth of a Saviour. O the inexpressible horrour that will seize upon a poor soul when he stands arraigned at the Barre of Divine Justice▪ When he shall look about, and see his Accuser his Judge, the Wit­nesses all of them his remorsless Adversaries: The Law impleading, Mercy and the Gospel upbraiding him, the Devill, his grand Accu­ser, drawing his Indictment; numbring his sinnes with the greater exactness, and aggravating them with the cruellest bitterness, and Conscience, like a thousand Witnesses, attesting every Article, fly­ing in his face, and rending his very heart. And then after all, Christ, from whom only Mercy could be expected, owning the Ac­cusation. It will be Hell enough to hear the Sentence; the very Promulgation of the Punishment will be part of the Punishment, and anticipate the Execution. If Peter was so abashed when Christ gave him a look after his denyall; if there was so much dread in his looks when he stood as Prisoner, how much greater will it bee when he sits as a Judge? If it was so fearfull when he looked his Denyer into Repentance, what will it be when he shall look him into Destru­ction? Believe it, when we shall hear an Accusation from an Advo­cate, our Eternall doome from our Intercessour, it will convince us that a Denyall of Christ is something more than a few transitory words: What trembling, what out-cries, what astonishment will there be upon the pronouncing this Sentence! Every word will come upon the sinner like an Arrow striking through his reines; like Thunder that is heard, and consumes at the same instant. Yea it will [Page 16] be a Denyal with scorn, with taunting exprobrations; and to be mi­serable without commiseration, is the height of misery. He that falls below Pitty, can fall no lower. Could I give you a lively re­presentation of guilt and horrour on this hand, and paint out eternall wrath, decypher eternall vengeance on the other, then might J shew you the condition of a sinner hearing himself denyed by Christ: And for those whom Christ has denyed, it will be in vaine to appeale to the Father, unless wee can imagine, that those whom Mercy has condemned, Justice will absolve.

2. For the Circumstance, He will deny us before his Father, and the holy Angels. As much as God is more glorious than man, so much is it more glorious to be confessed before him, than before men: And so much glory as there is in being confessed, so much dishonour there is in being denyed. If there could be any room for comfort after the sentence of Damnation, it would be this, to be executed in secret, to perish Unobserved. As it is some allay to the infamy of him that dyed ignominiously, to be buried privately. But when a mans folly must be spread open before Angels, and all his baseness ript up before those pure Spirits, this will be a double Hell: to be thrust into utter Darkness, onely to be punished by it, without the be­nefit of being concealed. When Christ shall compare himself, who was denyed, and the thing for which he was denyed together, and parallel his merits with a lust, and lay Eternity in the Ballance with a trisle, then the folly of the sinners choice shall be the greatest sting of his destruction. For a man shall not have the advantage of his Former Ignorance and Errour, to approve his sinne: Things that ap­peared amiable by the light of this world, will appear of a different odious hue in the clear discoveries of the Next: As that which ap­pears to be of this colour by a dimn candle, will be found to be of another look'd upon in the day. So when Christ shall have cleared up mens apprehensions about the value of things; he will propose that worthy Prize for which he was denyed: He will hold it up to open view, and call upon Men and Angels: Behold, look, here is the thing, here's that peice of dirt, that windy applause, that poor transitory pleasure, that contemptible danger, for which I was dis­honoured, my Truths disowned, and for which life, eternity, and God himself was scorned and trampled upon by this sinner: Judge all the world, whether what he so despised in the other life, he de­serves [Page 17] to enjoy in this? How will the condemned sinner then crawle forth, and appear in his filth and shame before that undefiled, Tribunall, like a Toade or a Snake in a Kings presence Chamber. Nothing so irksome as to have ones folly displaied before the Pru­dent, ones impurity before the Pure: And all this before that com­pany surrounding him, from which he is neither able to look off, nor yet to look upon. A disgrace put upon a man in company is unsup­portable: it is heightned according to the greatnesse, and multiplyed according to the number of the persons that hear it. And now as this circumstance [before his Father] fully speaks the shame, so also it speaks the danger of Christs then denying us. For when the accusation is heard, and the person stands convict, God is immediately lifting up his hand to inflict the eternal blow; and when Christ denyes to ex­hibit a ransome, to step between the stroak then coming, and the sin­ner, it must inevitably fall upon him, and sinke his guilty soul into that deep and bottomless gulph of endless perdition. This therefore is the summe of Christs denying us before his Father, viz. Unsuppor­table shame, unavoydable destruction.

I proceed now to the Vses that may be drawn from the Truths de­livered. And here (Right Honourable) not only the present occasion, but even the words themselves seem eminently to addresse an Exhor­tation to your Honours. As for others not to deny Christ, is openly to profess him; so for you who are invested with Authority, not to deny him, is to defend him. Know therefore, that Christ does not onely desire, but demand your defence, and that in a double respect.

1. In respect of his Truth. 2. Of his Members.

1. He requires that you should defend and confess him in his Truth. Heresie it is a Tare sometimes not to be pulled up but by the Civill Magistrate. The word Liberty of Conscience, is much abused for the defence of it, because not well understood. Every man may have Li­berty of Conscience to think and judge as he pleases, but not to vent what he please. The reason is, because Conscience bounding it selfe within the thoughts, is of private concernment, and the cognizance of these belong only to God: but when an opinion is published, it concerns all that hear it, and the publique is endamaged, and there­fore becomes punishable by the Magistrate, to whom the care of the publique is entrusted. But there is one truth that concerns both Mi­nistery and Magistracy, and All: which is opposed by those who af­firm, [Page 18] that none ought to Govern upon the Earth but Christ in person: Absurdly, as if the Powers that are, destroyed his; as if a Deputy were not consistent with a King; as if there were any Opposition in Subordination. They affirm also, that the Wicked have no right to their Estates, but onely the Faithfull, that is, themselves, ought to possess the Earth. And it is not to be questioned, but when they come to explaine this principle, by putting it into execution, there will be but few that have estates at present, but would be either found, or made Wicked. I shall not be so urgent to press you to confess Christ, by asserting and owning the Truth contrary to this, since it does not only oppose Truth, but Propriety, and here to deny Christ, would be to deny your Selves.

2. Christ requires you to own and defend him in his Members; and amongst these, the chief of them, and such who most fall in your way, the Ministers; I say, that despised, abject, oppressed sort of men, the Ministers; whom the world would make Antichristian, and so deprive them of Heaven, and also strip them of that poor remain­der of their Maintenance, and so allow them no portion upon the Earth. You may now spare that distinction of Scandalous Ministers, when it is even made Scandalous to be a Minister. And as for their discouragements in the Courts of the Law, I shall onely note this, that for these many years last past, it has been the constant observation of all, that if a Minister had a Cause depending in the Court, it was ten to one but it went against him. I cannot believe your Law justles out the Gospel; but if it be thus used to undermine Christ in his Servants, beware that such Judgements passed upon them, doe not fetch down Gods Judgements upon the Land; and that for such abuse of the Law, Christ does not in anger deprive both you and us of its Vse. (My Lords) I make no doubt, but you will meet with many Suites in your Course, in which the persons we speak of are concerned, as it is easie to Prognosticate from those many worthy Pe­titions preferred against them, for which the well-affected Petitioners will one day receive but small Thanks from the Court of Heaven. But however their Causes speed in your Tribunals, know that Christ himself will recognize them in a greater. And then what a different face will be put upon things! When the usurping, devouring Nimrods of the World shall be cast with scorn on the left hand: And Christ him­self in that great Consistory shall daign to step down from his Throne, [Page 19] and single out a poor despised Minister, and as it were taking him by the hand, present him to, and openly thus confess him before his Father. Father, here is a poore servant of mine, that for doing his duty impartially, for keeping a good conscience, and testifying my truths in an Hypocriticall pretending age, was wrong'd, trood upon, stript of all: Father, I will that there be now a distinction made, be­tween such as have owned & confessed me with the loss of the world, and those that have denyed, persecuted and insulted over me: It will be in vain then to come and creep for mercy: and say, Lord, when did we insult over thee? when did we see thee in our Courts, and despised or oppressed thee? Christs reply will be then quick and sharp: Verily in as much as you did it to one of these little, poor, despised ones, ye did it unto Me.

2. Use is of information, to shew us the danger as well as the base­ness of a dastardly Spirit; in asserting the interest and truth of Christ. Since Christ has made a Christian course a Warfare, of all men living, a Coward is the most unfit to make a Christian: whose infamy is not so great, but it is sometimes less then his perill. A Coward does not allwayes scape with disgrace, but sometimes also he loses his life: wherefore let all such know, as can enlarge their consciences like Hell, and call any sinfull compliance submission, and style a Cowardly silence in Christs cause, discretion and prudence. I say let them know, that Christ will one day scorn them, and spit them with their policy and prudence into Hell; and then let them consult how politick they were for a temporall Emolument, to throw away Eternity. All that causes men to deny Christ, it is either the Enjoyments, or the mise­ries of this life: but alass at the day of Judgment all these will be ex­pired, and as One well Observes, what are we the better for pleasure, or the worse for sorrow when it is past? but then sinne and guilt will be still fresh, and Heaven and Hell will be then yet to Begin. If ever it was seasonable to preach Courage in the despised, abused cause of Christ, it is now, when his truths are Reformed into nothing, when the hands and hearts of his faithfull Ministers are weakned, & even broke, and his Worship extirpated in a mockery, that his honour may be ad­vanced. Well, to establish our hearts in duty, let us before hand pro­pose to our selves the worst that can happen. Should God in his judg­ment suffer England to be transformed into a Munster. Should the faithfull be every where Massacred. Should the places of Learning be [Page 20] demolished, and our Colledges reduced (not only as One in his Zeal would have it) to Three, but to none. Yet assuredly Hell is worse then all this, and this is the Portion of such as deny Christ: wherefore let our discouragements be what they will: losse of Places, losse of E­states, loss of Life and Relations, yet still this sentence stands ratified in Decretals of Heaven. Cursed be that man, that for any of these, shall desert the truth, and deny his Lord.


ECCLESIASTICALL POLICY THE BEST POLICY: OR, RELIGION The best Reason of STATE: In a SERMON delivered before the Honourable Society of LINCOLNES INN.


OXFORD, Printed by A. L. for Tho. Robinson, 1660.

1 King. 13. ch. 33, 34. v.

After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evill way, but made again of the lowest of the people Priests of the High places: whosoever would he consecrated him, and he became one of the Priests of the High places.

And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the Earth.

IEroboam (from the name of a person become the cha­racter of impiety) is reported to Posterity as emi­nent, or rather notorious, for two things; Usurpation of Government, and Innovation of Religion. 'Tis confes­sed, the former is expresly said to have been from God; but since God may Order, and Dispose, what he does not Approve; and Use the wickedness of men while he forbids it; the design of the First cause does not excuse the malignity of the second: And therefore the Advancement and Scepter of Ieroboam was in that Sense onely the work of God, in which it is said, 3 Amos 6. that there is no evill in the City which the Lord has not done. But from his attempts upon the Civill Power, he proceeds to Innovate Gods Worship; and from the subjection of mens Bodies and Estates to enslave their Conscien­ces, as knowing that true Religion is no freind to an unjust Title. Such was afterwards the way of Mahomet, to the Tyrant to joyne the Impostor, and what he had got by the Sword to confirm by the Alcoran; raising his Empire upon two Pillars, Conquest, and Inspi­ration. Ieroboam being thus advanced, and thinking Policy the best [Page 2] Piety, though indeed in nothing ever more befooled; the nature of sin being not onely to defile, but to infatuate. In the II. chap. and the 27. v. he thus argues; If this people goe up to doe Sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Ierusalem, then shall the heart of this people turne again unto their Lord, even unto Rehoboam King of Iudah, and they shall kill me, and goe again unto Rehoboam King of Iudah. As if hee should have said. The true Worship of God, and the converse of those that use it, dispose men to a considerate, lawfull subjection. And therefore I must take another course: my Practise must not be better than my Title; what was won by Force must be continued by Delu­sion. Thus sin is usually seconded with sin: and a man seldome com­mits one sinne to please, but he commits another to defend himself. As 'tis frequent for the Adulterer to commit Murder, to conceal the shame of his Adultery. But let us see Ieroboams politick procedure in the next ver. Whereupon the King took counsel, and made two Calves of Gold, and said unto them, it is too much for you to goe up to Ierusa­lem, behold thy Gods O Israel. As if he had made such an Edict: I Ieroboam, by the advice of my Council, considering the great distance of the Temple, and the great charges that poor people are put to in going thi­ther; as also the intollerable burden of paying the first fruit, and tythes to the Priest, have considered of a way that may be more easie, and lesse burthensome to the people, as also more comfortable to the Priests them­selves; and therefore strictly enjoyne, that none henceforth presume to re­paire to the Temple at Ierusalem, especially since God is not tyed to any place or form of Worship; as also because the Devotion of men is apt to be clogged by such Ceremonies; therefore both for the ease of the peo­ple, as also for the advancement of Religion, we require and command, that all henceforth forth forbear going up to Ierusalem. Questionless these, and such other Reasons the Impostor used to insinuate his de­vout Idolatry. And thus the Calves were set up, to which Oxen must be sacrificed; the God and the Sacrifice out of the same Herd. And because Israel was not to returne to Egypt, Egypt was brought back to them; that is, the Egyptian way of Worship, the Apis, or Serapis, which was nothing but the Image of a Calfe, or Oxe, as is clear from most Historians. Thus Ieroboam having procured his peo­ple gods, the next thing was to provide Priests. Hereupon to the Calves he addes a Commission, for the approving, trying, and ad­mitting the Rascality and lowest of the people to minister in that [Page 3] service: such as kept Cattel, with a little change of their Office, were admitted to make Oblations to them. And doubtless besides the approbation of these, there was a Commission also, to eject such of the Priests and Levites of God, as being too Ceremoniously addicted to the Temple, would not serve Ieroboam before God, nor worship his Calves for their Gold, nor approve those two glittering sins for any reason of State whatsoever. Having now perfected Divine Worship, and prepared both Gods and Priests: In the next place, that he might the better teach his false Priests the way of their new Worship, he beginnes the Service himself, and so countenances by his example, what he had enjoyned by his command, in the 1. v. of this chapter, And Ieroboam stood by the Altar to burne Incense. Burning of Incense was then the Ministerial Office amongst them, as Preach­ing is now amongst us. So that to represent you the nature of Ie­roboams Action: It was, as if in a Christian Nation the chief Go­vernour should authorize and encourage all the scumme and refuse of the people to Preach, and call them to the Ministry, by using to Preach, and invading the Ministerial Function himself. But Iero­boam rested not here, but while he was busie in his work, and a Pro­phet immediately sent by God declares against his Idolatry, he en­deavours to seize upon, and commit him, in the 4. v. He held forth his hand from the Altar, and said, lay hold of him. Thus we have him compleating his sinne, and by a strange Imposition of hands per­secuting the true Prophets as wel as ordaining false. But it was a natu­ral transition, and no wayes wonderful to see him that stood affronting God with false Incense in the right hand, persecute with the left, and abet the Idolatry of one Arme with the Violence of the other. Now if we lay all these things together, and consider the parts, rise, and degrees of his sinne, we shall find, that it was not for nothing, that the Spirit of God, so frequently, and bitterly in Scripture stigmatizes this person: For it represents him, first incroaching upon the Civil Government, thence changing that of the Church, debasing the Office that God had made sacred; introducing a false way of Wor­ship, destroying the right. And in this we have a full and fair de­scription of a foul thing; that is, of an Usurper, and an Impostor: or, to use one word more comprehensive than both, of Ieroboam the sonne of Nebat who made Israel to sinne.

[Page 4]From the Story and Practise of Ieroboam we might gather these Observations.

1. That God sometimes punishes a Notorious sinne, by suffering the sin­ner to fall into a worse.

Thus God punished the Rebellion of the Israelites by permitting them to fall into Idolatry.

2. There is nothing so absurd but may be obtruded upon the Vulgar un­der pretence of Religion.

Certainly otherwise a Golden Calfe could never have been made either the Object, or the means of Divine Worship.

3. Sin, especially that, of perverting Gods Worship, as it leaves a guilt upon the Soul, so it perpetuates a blot upon the Name.

Hence nothing so frequent, as for the Spirit of God to expresse wicked, irreligious Kings, by comparing them to Ahab or Ierobo­am. It being usuall to make the first and most eminent in any kind, not onely the Standard for Comparison, but also the Rule of Ex­pression.

But I shall insist onely upon the words of the Text, and what shall be drawn from thence. There are two things in the words that may seem to require Explication.

  • 1. What is meant by the High places.
  • 2. By the Consecration of the Priests.

1. Concerning the High places. The use of these in the Divine Worship was generall and ancient. And as Dionysius Vossius observes in his Notes upon Moses Maimonides, the first way that was used, long before Temples were either built, or thought lawfull. The rea­son of this seemes to be, because those places did not shut up, or con­fine the Immensity of God, as they thought an house did, and with­all gave his Worshippers a nearer approach to heaven by their Height. Hence we read that the Samaritanes worshipped upon Mount Gere­zim, 4 Ioh. 20. v. And Samuel went up to the High place to sacrifice, 1 Sam. 9.14. And Solomon sacrificed at the High place in Gibeon, 1 King. 3.4. Yea the Temple it selfe was at length built upon a Mount or High place, 2 Chr. 3.1. You will say then, Why are these places condemned? I answer, that the use of them was not con­demned, as absolutely and alwaies unlawfull in it selfe, but onely af­ter the Temple was built, and that God had professed to put his Name in that place, and no other: Therefore what was lawfull in [Page 5] the practice of Samuel and Solomon before the Temple was in being, was now detestable in Ieroboam, since it was constituted by God the onely place for his Worship. To bring this Consideration to the times of Christianity. Because the Apostles and Primitive Christians preached in houses, and had onely private meetings, in regard they were under Persecution, and had no Churches; this cannot warrant the practice of those now adaies, that preferre Houses before Chur­ches, and a Conventicle before the Congregation.

2. For the second thing, which is the Consecration of the Priests, it seems to have been correspondent to Ordination in the Christian Church. Idolaters themselves were not so farre gone, as to ven­ture upon the Priesthood without Consecration and a Call. To shew all the Solemnities of this would be tedious, and here unnecessary: The Hebrew word which we render to Consecrate, signifies to fill the hand, which indeed imports the manner of Consecration, which was done by filling the hand: for the Priest cut a peice of the Sacrifice, and put it into the hands of him that was to be consecrated; by which Ceremony he received right to Sacrifice, and so became a Priest. As our Ordination in the Christian Church, is said to have been heretofore transacted by the Bishops delivering of the Bible into the hands of him that was to be ordained, whereby he received power Ministerially to dispense the Mysteries contained in it, and so was made a Presbyter. Thus much breifly concerning Conse­cration.

There remains nothing else to be explained in the words, I shall therefore now draw forth the sense of them in these two Propo­sitions,

  • 1. The surest means to strengthen, or the readiest to ruin the Civill Power, is either to establish, or destroy the Worship of God in the right ex­ercise of Religion.
  • 2. The next, and most effectuall way to destroy Religion, is to Embase the Teachers and Dispensers of it.

Of both these in their order.

For the prosecution of the former we are to shew,

  • 1. The truth of the assertion, that it is so.
  • 2. The reason of the assertion, why and whence it is so.

1. For the truth of it, it is abundantly evinced from all Records both of Divine and Prophane History, in which he that runs may read [Page 6] he ruine of the State in the Destruction of the Church, and that not only portended by it as its Signe, but also inferred from it, as its Cause.

2. For the Reason of the point it may be drawne

1. From the Judiciall proceeding of God, the Great King of Kings, and supreme Ruler of the Vniverse; who for his commands is indeed carefull, but for his Worship Jealous. And therefore in States notori­ously irreligious, by a secret and irresistable power, countermands their deepest Projects, splits their Counsells, and smites their most re­fined Policies with frustration and a curse: being resolved that the Kingdomes of the world shall fall down before him, either in his A­doration, or their own confusion.

2. The reason of the doctrine may be drawn from the necessary de­pendence of the very Principles of government upon Religion. And this I shall pursue more fully. The great Business of government is to procure obedience, & keep off disobedience: & the great springs upon which those two move are Rewards and Punishments answering the two ruling affections of mans mind, Hope and Fear. For since there is a naturall reluctancy between the Judgment and the Appetite, the former respecting what is honest, the latter what is pleasing, which two qualifications seldome concurre in the same thing, and withall mans designe in every Action is delight: therefore to render things honest also practicable, they must be first represented desireable; which cannot be but by proposing honesty cloathed with pleasure; and since it presents no pleasure to the sense, it must be fetcht from the appre­hension of a future Reward. For questionless duty moves not so much upon command as promise. Now therefore that which proposes the greatest, and most sutable rewards to obedience, & the greatest terrors & punishments to Disobedience, doubtless is the most likely to enforce one, and prevent the other. But it is Religion that does this, which to happinesse and misery joynes Eternity. And these, supposing the Immortality of the soul, which Philosophy indeed conjectures, but only Religion proves, or (which is as good) perswades; I say these two things, eternall happiness & eternall misery, meeting with a perswasi­on that the soul is immortall, are without controversy of all others, the first the most desireable, & the latter the most horrible to humane ap­prehension. Were it not for these, Civill government were not able to stand before the prevailing swing of corrupt nature, which would know no Honesty, but Advantage, no Duty but in Pleasure, nor any Law, but [Page 7] its own Will. Were not these frequently thundred into the under­standings of men, the Magistrate might enact, order and proclaime, Proclamations might be hung upon Walls and Posts, and there they might hang, seen and despised, more like Malefactors, then Lawes: But when Religion binds thē upon the Conscience, Conscience will either perswade or terrify men into their practice. For put the case a man knew, and that upon sure grounds, that he might doe an advantagious murder or Robbery, and not be discovered, what humane lawes could hinder him, which he knowes cannot inflict any penalty, where they can make no discovery? But Religion assures him, that no sin, though concealed from humane eyes, can either escape Gods sight in this world, or his vengeance in the other. Put the case also, th [...]t men looked upon Death without fear, in which sense it is nothing, or at most very little; ceasing while it is endured, and probably without Pain, for it seazes upon the Vitalls and benumms the senses, and where there is no sense, there can be no pain. I say, if while a man is acting his will towards sin, he should also thus act his reason, to despise death, where would be the terror of the Magistrate, who can neither threaten or inflict any more? Hence an old Malefactor in his Executi­on, at the Gallowes made no other confession but this; that he had very jocundly passed over his life in such courses, and he that would not, for fifty yeares pleasure, endure half an hours paine, deserved to dye a worse death then himself: questionlesse this man was not igno­rant before, that there were such things as lawes, assizes, and Gal­lowes, but had he considered, and beleived the Terrors of another world, he might probably have found a fairer passage out of this. If there was not a Minister in every Parish, you would quickly find cause to encrease the number of Constables: And if the Churches were not imployed to be places to hear Gods Law, there would be need of them, to be Prisons for the breakers of the Lawes of men. Hence 'tis observable that the tribe of Levi, had not one Place or Por­tion together like the rest of the Tribes: but because it was their office to dispence Religion, they were diffused over all the Tribes, that they might be continually preaching to the rest, their duty to God, which is the most effectuall way, to dispose them to Obedience to man: for he that truely feares God cannot despise the Magistrate. Yea so near is the connexion between the Civill state, and the Religious, that heretofore, if you look upon well regulated, civilized, heathen Na­tions, [Page 8] you will find the Goverment and the Preisthood united in the same Person: Anius Rexidem hominum, Phaebique Sacerdos. Virg. 3. Aen. If under the true worship of God. Melchisedech king of Sa­lem and Priest of the most high God, Heb. 7.1. And afterwards Moses (whom as we acknowledge a Pious, so Atheists themselves will confess to have been a Wise Prince) he, when he took the Kingly Gover­ment upon himself, by his own choice, seconded by Divine institu­tion, vested the Preisthood in his brother Aaron, both whose concern­ments were so coupled, that if Nature had not, yet their Religious, nay their civill Interests, would have made them Brothers. And it was once the designe of the Emperour of Germany, Maximilian the first, to have joyned the Popedome and the Empire together, and to have got himself choose Pope, and by that meanes derived the Papacy to his succeeding Emperors. Had he effected it, doubtless there would not have been such scuffles between him and the Bishop of Rome; the civill Interest of the State would not have been undermined, by an Adverse Interest, mannaged by the specious and potent pretences of of Religion. And to see even amongst us, how these two are united, how the former is upheld by the latter: the Magistrate sometimes cannot doe his own office dexterously, but by acting the Minister; hence it is, that Judges of Assize find it necessary in their Charges, to use patheticall discourses of Conscience, and if it were not for the sway of this, they would often lose the best Evidence in the world against Malefactors, which is Confession: for no man would confess and be Hanged here, but to avoid being Damned hereafter. Thus I have in generall shewn the utter inability of the Magistrate to attain the End of Goverment, without the Aid of Religion. But it may be here replyed, that many are not at all moved with arguments drawn from hence, or with the happy or miserable state of the Soul after death, & therefore this availes little to procute obedience, and consequently to advance Goverment. I answer by concession: that this is true of E­picures, Atheists, & some pretended Philosophers, who have stifled the Notions of a Deity, and the Souls immortality; but the Unprepossessed on the one hand, and the Well disposed on the other, who both toge­ther make much the major part of the world, are very apt to be affected with a due fear of these things: & Religion accomodating it self to the Generality, though not to every particular temper, sufficiently secures Government, in as much as that stands or falls according to the Behavi­our of the Multitude. And whatsoever Conscience makes the Gene­rality [Page 9] obey▪ to that Prudence will make the rest conforme. Wherefore, having proved the dependance of Government upon Religion, J shall now demonstrate, That the safety of Governement de­pends upon the Truth of Religion. False Religion is in its na­ture the greatest bane and destruction to Religion in the world. The reason is, because whatsoever is False, is also Weak. Ens and Ve­rum in Philosophy are the same: and so much as any Religion has of Falsity, it loses of strength and existence. Falsity it gains Authority onely from Ignorance, and therefore is in danger to be known; for from Being false, the next immediate step is to be Known to be such. And what prejudice this would be to the Civill Government, is ap­parent, if men should be awed into Obedience, and affrighted from sin by Rewards and Punishments, proposed to them in such a Religi­on, which afterwards should be detected, and found a meere Falsitie, and Cheat? For if one part be but found to be false, it will make the whole suspicious. And men will then not onely cast off Obedience to the Civill Magistrate, but they will doe it with disdaine and rage, that they have been deceived so long, and brought to doe that out of Conscience which was imposed upon them out of Designe: For though men are often willingly deceived, yet still it must be under an Opinion of being instructed, though they love the Deception, yet they mortally hate it under that appearance: Therefore it is no wayes safe for a Magistrate, who is to build his Dominion upon the Fears of men, to build those fears upon a false Religion. 'Tis not to be doubted, but the absurdity of Ieroboams Calves, made many Israelites turne subjects to Rehoboams Government, that they might be Proselytes to his Religion. Herein the Weaknesse of the Turkish Religion ap­pears, that it urges Obedience upon the promise of such absurd Re­wards, as that after death they should have Palaces, Gardens, Beauti­full Women, with all the Luxury that could be: as if those things that were the occasions, and incentives of sin in this world, could be the rewards of Holinesse in the Other. Pesides many other inventi­ons, false, and absurd, that are like so many chincks and holes to dis­cover the rottenesse of the whole Fabrick, when God shall be plea­sed to give light to discover, and open their reasons to discern them. But you will say, What Government more sure and absolute than the Turkish, and yet what Religion more false? Therefore certainly Government may stand sure and strong, be the Religion professed ne­ver [Page 10] so absurd. I answer, that it may doe so indeed by Accident, through the strange peculiar temper, and grosse ignorance of a people; as we see it happens in the Turks, the best part of whose Policy, supposing the Absurdity of their Religion, is this, that they prohibit schooles of Learning; for this hinders Knowledge, and Disputes, which such a Religion would not bear. But suppose wee, that the Learning of these Western Nations were as great there as here, and the Alcoran as common to them as the Bible to us, that they might have free re­course to search and examine the flawes and follies of it, and withall that they were of as inquisitive a temper as we: And who knows, but as there are vicissitudes in the Government, so there may happen the same also in the temper of a Nation. If this should come to pass, where would be their Religion? And then let every one judge, whether the Arcana imperii, and Religionis would not fall together. They have begun to totter already; for, Mahomet, having promised to come, and visit his Followers, and translate them to Paradise after a thousand years, this being expired, many of the Persians beganne to doubt and smell the cheat, till the Mufti or cheif Priest told them, that it was a mistake in the figure, and assured them, that upon more diligent survey of the Records, hee found it two thousand instead of one. When this is expired, perhaps they will not be able to re­new the Fallacy. I say therefore, that though this Government continues firme in the Exercise of a false Religion, yet this is by ac­cident, through the present genius of the people, which may change; but this does not prove, but that the Nature of such a Religion (of which we onely now speak) tends to subvert and betray the Civill Power. Hence Machiavel himself, in his Animadversions upon Li­vy, makes it appear, that the Weaknesse of Italy, which was once so strong, was caused by the corrupt practises of the Papacy, in de­praving, and misusing Religion to that purpose, which he, though himself a Papist, sayes could not have hapned, had the Christian Religion been kept in its first, and native simplicity. Thus much may suffice for the clearing of the first Proposition.

The Inferences from hence are two.

1. If Government depends upon Religion, then this shews the pestilential design of those that attempt to disjoyn the Civil and Ec­clesiastical Interests, setting the latter wholly out of the Tuition of the former. But 'tis clear that the Fanaticks know no other step to [Page 11] the Magistracy but through the ruin of the Ministry. There is a great Analogy between the Body Natural and Politick; in whith the Ec­clesiastical or Spiritual part, justly supplyes the part of the soul; and the violent separation of this from the other, does as certainly infer death & dissolution, as the disjunction of the body and the soul in the Natural; for when this once departs, it leaves the Body of the Cōmon­wealth a carcass, noysom, and exposed to be devoured by Birds of Prey. The Ministery will be one day found according to Christs word, the salt of the earth, the only thing that keeps Societies of men from stench and corruption. These two Interests are of that nature, that 'tis to be feared they cannot be divided, but they will also prove opposite; and not resting in a bare diversity, quickly rise into a Contrariety: These two are to the State, what the Elements of Fire and Water to the Body, which united compose, separated destroy it. I am not of the Papists Opinion, who would make the Spiritual above the Ci­vill State in power as well as dignity, but rather subject it to the Ci­vill; yet thus much I dare affirm, that the Civill, which is superi­our, is upheld and kept in being by the Ecclesiasticall and inferiour; as it is in a Building, where the upper part is supported by the lower; the Church resembling the Foundation, which indeed is the lowest part, but the most considerable. The Magistracy cannot so much pro­tect the Ministery, but the Ministers may doe more in serving the Magistrate. A tast of which truth you may take from the Holy War, to which how fast and eagerly did men goe, when the Priests perswa­ded them, that whoever dyed in that Expedition was a Martyr? Those that will not be convinced what a help this is to the Magistra­cy, would find how considerable it is, if they should chance to clash, this would certainly eat out the other. For the Magistrate cannot urge obedience upon such potent grounds, as the Minister, if so di­sposed, can urge disobedience. As for instance, if my Governour should command me to doe a thing, or I must dye, or forfeit my E­state; and the Minister steps in, and tells me, that I offend God, and ruine my soul, if I obey that command; it's easie to see a greater force in this perswasion from the advantage of its ground. And if Divines once begin to curse Meros, we shall see that Levi can use the Sword as well as Simeon; and although Ministers doe not handle, yet they can employ it. This shews the imprudence, as well as the danger of the Civil Magistrates exasperating those that can fire mens [Page 12] consciences against him, and arme his Enemies with Religion: For I have read heretofore of some, that having conceived an irreconcileable hatred of the Civil M [...]gistrate, prevailed with men so farre, that they went to resist him even out of conscience, and a full perswasion and dread upon their spirits, that not to doe it were to desert God, and consequently to incurre damnation. Now when mens rage is both heightned and sanctified by Conscience, the War will be fierce; for what is done out of Conscience, is done with the utmost Activity. And then Campanella's Speech to the King of Spain will bee found true, Religio semper vicit, praesertim Armata: Which sentence deserves seriously to be considered by all Governours, and timely to be under­stood, lest it comes to be Felt.

2. If the safety of Government is founded upon the truth of Re­ligion, then this shews the danger of any thing that may make even the true Religion suspected to be false. To be false, and to be thought false, is all one in respect of men, who act not according to Truth, but Apprehension. As on the contrary, a false Religion, while appre­hended true, has the force and efficacy of truth. Now there is no­thing more apt to induce men to a suspition of any Religion, than frequent innovation and change: For since the object of Religion, God, the subject of it, the soul of man, and the businesse of it, Truth, is alwayes one and the same: Variety and Novelty is a just presum­ption of Falsity: It argues sickness and distemper in the minde, as well as in the body, when a man is continually turning and tossing from one side to the other. The wise Romans ever dreaded the least Innovation in Religion: Hence we find the advice of Mecanas to Augustus Caesar in Dion Cassius in the 52 Book. where hee counsels him to detest, and persecute all Innovators of divine Worship, not onely as contemners of the Gods, but as the most pernicious distur­bers of the State: For when men venture to make changes in things sacred, it argues great boldness with God, and this naturally imports little belief of him: which if the people once perceive, they will take their Creed also, not from the Magistrates Law, but his example. Hence in England, where Religion has been still Purifying, and here­upon almost alwaies in the Fire and Furnace; Atheists, and Irreli­gious persons have took no small advantage from our changes. For in King Edward the sixts time, the Divine Worship was twice altered in two new Liturgies. In the first of Queen Mary, the Pro­testant [Page 13] Religion was persecuted with Fire and Faggot, by Law and publick counsel, of the same persons, who had so lately established it. Upon the coming in of Queen Elizabeth, Religion was changed again, and within a few daies the publick Council of the Nation made it death for a Priest to convert any man to that Religion, which before with so much eagerness of Zeal had been restored. So that it is observed by an Author, that in the space of twelve years there were four changes about Religion made in England, & that by the pub­lick Councill, and Authority of the Realm, which were more than were made by any Christian state throughout the world in fifteen hundred years before. Hence it is that the Enemies of God take oc­casion to blaspheme, and call our Religion Statisme: and now adding to the former, those many changes that have hapned since, J am afraid we shall never be able to claw off that name. Nor, though we may satisfie our own consciences in what we professe, to repell and cleare off the objections of the rational world about us, which not being in­terested in our Changes as we are, will not judge of them as we judge: but debate them by impartiall Reason, by the Nature of the thing, the generall Practise of the Church; against which New Lights, sud­dain Impulses of the Spirit, Extraordinary Calls, will be but weak ar­guments to prove any thing but the madnesse of those that use them, and that the Church must needs wither, being blasted with Inspirati­on. We see therefore how fatall and ridiculous Innovations in the Church are: And indeed when Changes are so frequent, it is not properly Religion, but Fashion. This J think we may build upon as a sure ground, that where there is continuall Change, there is Un­certainty, and Uncertainty in Religion, is a sufficient reason, if not to deny, yet to doubt of its Truth.

Thus much for the first Doctrine, J proceed now to the second, viz. That the next, and most effectuall way to destroy Religion, is to Embase the Teachers and Dispencers of it. In the handling of this J shall shew,

  • 1. How the Dispensers of Religion, the Ministers of the Word are embased or rendred vile.
  • 2. How the Embasing or Vilifying them is a means to destroy Re­ligion.

1. For the first of these, the Ministers and Dispencers of the Word are rendred base or vile two waies.

[Page 14]1. By devesting them of all Temporall Priviledges, and Advan­tages, as inconsistent with their Calling. It is strange since the Priests Office heretofore was alwaies Splendid, and almost Regall, that it is now looked upon as a piece of Religion, to make it low and sordid. So that the use of the word Minister is brought down to the significa­tion of it, a Servant: for now to serve and to minister, servile and ministe­riall, are termes equivalent. But in the Old Testament the same word signifies a Priest, and a Prince, or cheif Ruler: hence, though wee translanslate it Priest of On, 41 Gen. 45. and Priest of Midian, 3 Exod. 1. and, as it is with the People so with the Priest, 24 Isa. 2. Iu­nius and Tremellius render all these places not by Sacerdos, Priest, but by Praeses, that is, a Prince, or at least a chief Counsellour, or Mi­nister of State. And it is strange, that the Name should be the same, when the Nature of the thing is so exceeding different. The like also may be observed in other Languages, that the most Illustri­ous Titles are derived from things Sacred, and belonging to the Wor­ship of God. [...] it was the Title of the Christian Caesars, correspondent to the Latine Augustus, and it is derived from the same word that [...], cultus, [...]es sacra, or sacrificium. And it is usuall in our Language to make Sacred, an Epithete to Ma [...]esty: there was a certaine Royalty in things Sacred. Hence the Apostles, who I thinke was no Enemy to the simplicity of the Gospel, speaks of a Royall Priesthood, 1 Pet. 2.9 which shews at least, that there is no contra­diction or impiety in those tearmes. In Old time, before the placing this office onely in the Line of Aaron, the Head of the Family, and the First-borne offered Sacrifice for the rest, that is, was their Priest. And we know that such Rule and Dignity belonged at first to the Masters of Families, that that they had Ius vitae & necis, jurisdiction and power of Life and Death in their own Family, and from hence was derived the Beginning of Kingly Government; a King being onely a Civill Head, or Master of a Politick Family, the whole People; so that we see the same was the Foundation of the Royall and Sacerdo­tall Dignity. As for the Dignity of this Office among the Jews, it is so pregnantly set forth in Holy Writ, that it is Unquestionable. Kings and Priests are still mentioned together, in the 2 Lamen. 6. The Lord hath dispised in the indignation of his Anger, the King and the Priest, 5 Hosea 2, Hear O Priests, and give ear O house of the King. 17 Deut. 12. And the man that does presumptuously, and will not [Page 15] hearken unto the Priest that standeth there to minister before the Lord thy God, or unto the Iudge, even that man shall dye. Hence Paul, together with a blow, received this Reprehension, Act. 5.4. Revilest thou Gods High Priest? And Paul in the next verse does not defend himselfe, by pleading an extraordinary Motion of the Spirit, or that hee was sent to Reforme the Church, and might therefore lawfully vilifie the Priesthood, and all Sacred Orders; but in the 5. v. he makes an ex­cuse, and that from Ignorance, the onely thing that could take away the fault; namely, that he knew not that he was the High Priest, and sub­joines a reason which further advances the Truth here defended: For it is written thou shalt not speak evil of the Ruler of thy people. To Holy Writ we might adde the Testimony of Iosephus of next Autho­rity to it in things concerning the Jews, who in sundry places of his History, sets forth the Dignity of the Priests, and in his second Book against Appion the Grammarian, he has these words, [...], the Priests were constituted Judges of all doubtfull causes. Hence Iustire also in his 36 Booke has this, Semper apud Iudaeos mos fuit, ut Eosdem Reges & Sacerdo­tes, haberent: though this is false, that they were alwaies so, yet it ar­gues that they were so frequently, and that the distance between them w [...]s not gre [...]t. To the Jews we may joyne the Egyptians, the first Masters of Learning and Philosophy. Synesius in his 57 Epist. ha­ving shewen the generall Practise of Antiquity, [...], gives an instance in the Jews and E­gyptians, who for a many Ages, [...], had no other Kings but Priests. Next we may take a view of the Practise of the Romans: Numa Pompilius, that civilized the fierce Romans, is reported in the 1. Book of Livy, sometimes to have performed the Priests Office himself. Tum Sacerdotibus creandis animum adjecit, quamquàm ipse plurima sacra obibat, but when he made Priests, hee gave them a dignity almost the same with himself. And this honour continued together with the Valour and Prudence of that Nation. For the Success of the Romans did not extirpate their Religion. The Colledge of the Priests being in many things exempted even from the Jurisdiction of the Senate, afterwards the Supream Power. Hence Iu­venal in his 2. Sat. mentions the Priesthood of Mars, as one of the most Honourable places in Rome. And Iul. Caesar who was chose Priest in his minority, thought it not below him to continue the same Office when [Page 16] he was Created absolute Governour of Rome under the name of Per­petuall Dictator. Adde to these the Practise of the Gaules mentio­ned by Caesar in his 6. Book de Bello Gallico, where he saies of the Druides, who were their Priests, that they did judge de omnibus ferè controversiis publicis privatisque. See also Homer in the 1. Book of his Iliads representing Chryses the Priest of Apollo with his Golden Scepter, as well as his Golden Censer. But why have I produced all these examples of the Heathens? Is it to make these a ground of our Imitation? No, but to shew, that the giving honour to the Priesthood, was a custome Universall amongst all civilized Nations: And whatsoever is Universall, is also Naturall, as not being founded upon compact, or the particular humours of men, but flowing from the Native results of Reason: and that which is Natural, neither does nor can oppose Religion. But you will say, this concernes not us, who have an expresse Rule and Word revealed. Christ was himself poor and despised, and withall has instituted such a Ministery. To the first part of this Plea I answer; That Christ came to suffer, yet the suffer­ings and miseries of Christ, does not oblige all Christians to undertake the like. For the second, That the Ministery of Christ was low, and de­spised by his Institution, I utterly deny. It was so indeed by the malice and persecution of the Heathen Princes, but what does this argue or inferre for a low, dejected Ministery in a flourishing State, which professes to encourage Christianity? But to dash this cavill, read but the practise of Christian Emperours and Kings all along down from the time of Constantine, in what respect, what honour and splen­dour they treated the Ministers, and then let our adversaries produce their puny, pittifull Arguments for the contrary, against the ge­nerall, clear, undoubted vogue and current of all Antiquity. As for two or three little Countries about us, the Learned and impartiall will not value their practice; in one of which places the Minister has been seen, for meer want to mend shooes on the Saturday, and been heard to preach on the Sunday. In the other place, stating the severall orders of the Citizens, they place their Ministers after their Apothecaries: that is, the Physician of the Soul after the Drugster of the Body: a fit practice for those, who if they were to ranck Things as well as Persons, would place their Religion after their Trade.

[Page 17]And thus much concerning the first way of Debasing the Ministers and Ministery.

2. The second way is by admitting Ignorant, Sordid, Illiterate persons to this Function. This is to give the Royall stamp to a piece of Lead. I confesse, God has no need of any mans Parts, or Learning; but certainly then, he has much lesse need of his Ignorance, and ill Behaviour. It is a sad thing when all other Employments shall em­pty themselves into the Ministery: When men shall repair to it, not for Preferment, but Refuge; like Malefactors, flying to the Altar onely to save their lives; or like those of Ely's Race, 1 Sam. 2.36. that should come crouching, and seek to be put into the Priests Of­fice, that they might eat a piece of Bread. Heretofore there was required splendour of Parentage to recommend any one to the Priest­hood, as Iosephus witnesses in a Treatise that he wrote of his owne Life; where he sayes, to have right to deale in things Sacred, was a­mongst them accounted an argument of a Noble and Illustrious De­scent. God would not accept the Offals of other Professions. Doubt­lesse many rejected Christ, upon this thought, that he was the Car­penters Sonne, who would have embraced him, had they known him to have been the Sonne of David. The preferring undeserving per­sons to this great se [...]vice, was eminently Ieroboams Sin; and how Ieroboams practise and offence has been continued amongst us in ano­ther guise, is not unknown: For has not Learning unqualified men for Approbation to the Ministery? Has not Parts and Abilities been reputed Enemies to Grace, and Qualities no wayes Ministeriall? Whiles Friends, Faction, Well-meaning, and little Understanding, have been Accomplishments beyond Study and the University; and to falsifie a story of Conversion, beyond pertinent Answers and clear Resolutions to the hardest and most concerning Questions. So that matters have been brought to this passe, that if a man amongst his Sonnes had any blind, or disfigured, he laid him aside for the Mi­nistery, and such an one was presently approved, as having a morti­fied Countenance. In short, it was a fierie Furnace, that often ap­proved Drosse, and rejected Gold. But thanks be to God, those Spi­rituall Wickednesses are now discharged from their high places. Hence it was, that many rushed into the Ministery, as being the onely Calling that they could profess, without serving an Apprentiship. Hence also we have had those that could Preach Sermons, but not De­fend [Page 18] them. The reason of which is clear, because the Works and Wri­tings of Learned men might be borrowed, but not their Abilities. Had indeed the Old Leviticall Hierarchy still continued, in which it was part of the Ministerial Office to slay the Sacrifices, to cleanse the Vessels, to scoure the Flesh-forks, to sweep the Temple, and carry the filth and rubbish to the Brook Kidron. no persons living had been sitter for the Ministery, and to serve in this nature at the Altar. But since it is made a labour of the mind; as to inform mens judge­ments, and move their affections, to resolve difficult places of Scri­pture, to decide and clear off Controversies, I cannot see how to be a Butcher, Scavinger, or any other such Trade, does at all qualifie, or prepare men for this work. But as unfit as they were, yet to clear a way for such into the Ministery, wee have had almost all Sermons full of gibes and scoffs at Humane Learning. Away with vain Phi­losophy, with the disputer of this world, and the enticing words of mans wisdome, and set up the foolishnesse of Preaching, the simplicity of the Gospel: Thus Divinity has been brought in upon the ruines of Humanity; by forcing the Words of the Scripture from the sense, and then haling them to the worst of Drudgeries, to set a Ius Divi­num upon Ignorance and Imperfection, and recommend Naturall Weakness for Supernaturall Grace. Hereupon the Ignorant have took heart to venture upon this great Calling, and instead of cutting their way to it, according to the usuall course, through the Know­ledge of the Tongues, the Study of Philosophy, School-divinity, the Fathers and Councils, they have taken another, and a shorter Cut, and having read perhaps a Treatise or two upon the heart, the bruised Reed, the Crums of Comfort, Wollebius in English, and some such other little Authors, the usuall Furniture of Old Womens Closets, they have set forth as accomplished Divines, and forthwith they present them­selves to the Service; and there has not been wanting Ieroboams, as willing to consecrate, and receive them, as they to offer themselves. And this has been one of the most fatall, and almost irrecoverable blows that has been given to the Ministery.

And this may susfice concerning the second way of Embasing Gods Ministers; namely, by entrusting the Ministery with raw, un­learned, ill-bred Persons, so that what Solomon speaks of a Proverb in the mouth of a Fool, the same may be said of the Ministery vested in them, that it is like a Pearle in a swines snout.

[Page 19]I proceed now to the second thing proposed in the Discussion of this Doctrine, which is to shew, how the Embasing of the Ministers tends to the destruction of Religion.

This it does two wayes.

1. Because it brings them under exceeding scorn and contempt; and then let none think Religion it self secure: For the Vulgar have not such Logicall heads as to be able to Abstract; such subtile conceptions, as to separate the Man from the Minister, or to consider the same person under a double capacity, and so honour him as a Divine, while they despise him as a Poor But suppose they could, yet Actions cannot distinguish as Conceptions doe, and therefore e­very Act of Contempt it strikes both, and unavoydably wounds the Ministery through the sides of the Minister. And wee must know, that the least degree of Contempt weakens Religion, because it is ab­solutely contrary to the nature of it, Religion properly consisting in a Reverentiall Esteem of things Sacred. Now that which in any mea­sure weakens Religion will at length destroy it: For the weakning of a thing is onely a partiall destruction of it. Poverty and meanesse of condition is exposes the Wisest to scorn; it being naturall for men to place their esteem, rather upon things Great than Good; and the Poet observes that this Infelix & Paupertas has nothing in it more intolerable than this, that it renders men Ridiculous. And then how easie and naturall it is for Contempt to passe from the Per­son to the Office, from him that speaks, to the thing that he speaks of, Experience proves. Counsell being seldome valued so much for the Truth of the thing, as the Credit of him that gives it. Observe an excellent passage to this purpose in the 9 Eccl. 14.15. Wee have an account of a little City with few men in it, besieged by a Great and Potent King, and in the 15. v. we read, that there was found in it a poor Wise man, and he by his Wisdome delivered the City. A worthy service indeed, and certainly we may expect that some honourable Re­compence should follow it; a Deliverer of his Country, and that in such distresse, could not but be advanced: but we finde a contrary event in the next words of the same verse, Yet none remembred that same poor man? Why? what should be the reason? Was he not a man of parts and Wisdome? and is not Wisdome honourable? Yes, but he was poor: But was he not also succesfull as well as wise? True; but still he was poor: And once grant this, and you cannot keep off that [Page 20] un [...]voydable sequel in the next verse, The poor mans wisdome is de­spised, and his wo [...]d [...] are not heard. Wee may believe it upon Solo­mons word, who was Rich, as well as Wise, and therefore knew the force of both: and probably had it not been for his Riches, the Queen of Sheba would never have came so farre onely to have heard his Wisdome. Observe her behaviour when she came. Though up­on the hearing of Solomons Wisdome, and the resolution of her hard Questions she expressed a just admiration, yet when Solomon after­ward shew her his Palace, his Treasures, and the Temple which hee had built, 1 King. 10. c. 5. v. it is said, there was no more spirit in her. What was the cause of this? certainly the magnificence, the pomp and splendour of such a Structure: it struck her into an Extasy be­yond his wise Answers. She esteemed this as much above his Wis­dome, as Astonishment is beyond bare Admiration. She admired his Wisdom, but she adored his Magnificence. So apt is the mind, e­ven of Wise persons, to be surprised with the superficies, or circum­stance of things, and value, or undervalue Spirituals, according to the manner of their Externall Appearance. When Circumstances faile, the substance seldome long survives; Cloathes are no part of the Body, yet take away cloathes, and the Body will dye. Livy observes of Romulus, that being to give Laws to his new Ro­mans, he found no better way to procure an esteem and reverence to them, but by first procuring it to himselfe, by splendour of Habit and Retinue, and other signes of Royalty. And the wise Numa, his successor took the same course to enforce his Religious Laws, namely, by giving the same Pomp to the Priest who was to dispense them. Sacerdo [...]em creavit, insignique eum Veste, & Curuli Regiâ sollâ ador­navit. That is, he adorned him with a rich Robe, and a royall Chair of State. And in our Judicatures take away the Trumpet, the Scar­let, the Attendance, and the Lordship, which would be to make Ju­stice Naked, as well as Blind, the Law would lose much of its Terror, and consequently of its Authority. Let the Minister be abject and low, his interest inconsiderable, the Word will suffer for his sake: The Message will still find reception according to the Dignity of the Messenger. Imagine an Ambassadour presenting himselfe in a poor freeze Jerkin, and tattered cloathes, certainly he would have but small Audience, his Embasy would speed rather according to the Meaness of him that brought, than the Majesty of him that sent it. [Page 21] It will fare alike with the Ambassadours of Christ, the People will give them Audience according to their Presence. A notable example of which we have in the Behaviour of some to Paul himselfe, 1 Cor. 10. c. 10. v. Hence in the Jewish Church it was cautiously provided in the Law, that none that was blind or lame, or had any remarkable defect in his body, was capable of the Priestly Office: because these things naturally make a person contemned, and this presently reflects upon the Function. This therefore is the first way by which the low, despised condition of the Ministers, tends to the destruction of the Ministery and Religion: namely, because it subjects their persons to scorn, and consequently their Calling: and it is not imaginable that men will be brought to Obey what they cannot Esteem.

2. The second way by which it tends to the ruine of the Ministe­ry is, because it discourages men of fit and raised Abilities from un­dertaking it. And certaine it is, that as the Calling dignifies the man, so the man much more advances his Calling. As a Garment, though it warmes the Body, it has a returne with an advantage, being much more warmed by it. And how often a good cause may miscarry without a wise mannager; and the Faith for want of a Defender, is, or at least may be known. 'Tis not the Truth of an Assertion, but the Skill of the Disputant that keeps off a baffle; not the Justnesse of a Cause, but the Valour of the Souldiers that must winne the Field. When a Learned Paul was converted, and undertook the Ministery, it stopp'd the mouthes of those that said, None but poor, weak Fish­er-men Preached Christianity, and so his Learning silenced the scan­dall, as well as strengthned the Church. Religion placed in a soule of exquisite Knowledge and Abilities, as in a Castle, it finds not only Habitation but Defence. And what a Learned Forrein Divine said of the English preaching, may be said of all, Plus est in Artifice quàm in Arte. So much of moment is there in the Professors of any thing, to depresse, or raise the Profession. What is it that kept the Church of Rome strong, athletick, & flourishing for so many Centuries, but the happy succession of the choicest Wits engaged to her service by suitable preferments? And what strength doe we think would that give to the True Religion, that is able thus to establish a False? Religion in a great measure stands or falls according to the abilities of those that assert it: And if, as some observe, mens Desires are u­sually as large as their Abilities, what course have we took to allure [Page 22] the sormer, that we might engage the latter to our assistance. But we have tooke all wayes to affright and discourage Schollars from look­ing towards this sacred calling: For will men lay out their Wit and Judgment, upon that employment, for the undertaking of which, both will be questioned? Would men not long since have spent toyl­some dayes and watchfull nights in the laborious quest of knowledge preparative to this work, at length to come and dance attendance for approbation from a Iuncto of Petty Tyrants, acted by Party and Pre­judice, who denyed Fitness from Learning, and Grace from Mora­lity? Will a man exhaust his livelyhood upon Bookes, and his Health, the best part of his life upon Study, to be at length thrust into a poor Village, where he shall have his due precariously, and entreat for his own, and when he has it, live poorly & contemptibly upon it, while the same or lesse labour bestowed upon any other calling, would bring not only Comfort, but Splendor, not only Maintenance but Abundance? 'Tis I confess the duty of Ministers to endure this condition: but neither Religion nor Reason does oblige either them to approve, or others to Choose it. Doubtlesse Parents will not throw away the towardness of a child, and the expence of Education upon a Profession whose labour is encreased, and whose rewards vanished. To condemne promising lively parts to contempt, and penury in a despised calling. What is it elss but the casting of a Moses into the mud, or to offer a Son upon the Altar: and instead of a Preist to make him a Sacrifice. Neither let any here reply, that it becomes not a Ministeriall spirit to undertake such a calling for reward? for they must know, that it is one thing to undertake it for a reward, and not to be willing to undertake it, without one: it is one thing to performe good workes only that we may receive the recompence of them in Heaven, & another thing not to be willing to follow Christ and forsake the world if there were no such recompence. But besides, suppose it were the duty of Scholars to chuse this calling in the mid'st of all its discouragements. Yet a pru­dent governour, who knowes it to be his wisdom as well as his duty, to take the best course to advance Religion, will not consider mens duty, but their practice: not what they ought to doe, but what they use to doe: and therefore draw over the best qualified to this service, by such wayes, as are most apt to perswade and induce men. Solomon built his Temple with the Tallest Cedars: and surely when God refused the defective, and the maimed for sacrifice, we cannot thinke that he re­quires them for the Priesthood. When Learning, Abilities, and what [Page 23] is excellent in the world forsake the Church, we may easily foretell its ruine without the gift of Prophesy. And when ignorance succeeds in the place of Learning, weakness in the roome of Judgment, we may be sure, Heresye and confusion will quickly come in the roome of Religion. For undoubtedly there is no way so effectuall to betray the Truth, as to procure it a weak Defender.

Well: now instead of raising any particular Uses from the Point, that has been delivered, let us make a breif Recapitulation of the whole. Government, we see depends upon Religion, and Religion upon the Encouragement of those that are to dispence, and assert it. For the further evidence of which truths we need not travell beyond our own Borders▪ but leave it to every one impartially to Judge, whether from the very first day that our Religion was unsettled, and Church Go­vernment flung out of Doores, the Civill Government has ever been able to fix upon a sure foundation. We have been changing even to a Proverb. The indignation of Heaven has been rolling and turning us from one form to another, till at length such a Giddiness seazed upon Government, that it fell into the very dreggs of Sectaryes, that threat­ned an equall ruin both to the Minister and Magistrate. And how the State has Symphathized with the Church, is apparent. For have not our Princes, as well as our Preists bin of the lowest of the People? Have not Coblers, Draymen, Mechanicks Governed, as well as reached? Nay have not they by Preaching come to Govern? Was ever that of Solomon more verified, that Servants have Rid, while Princes, and Nobles have gone on Foot? But God has bin pleased by a miracle of mercy to dissipate this confusion and Chaos, and to give us some open­ings, some dawnings of Liberty and Settlement. But now let not those that are to rebuild our Jerusalem, thinke that the Temple must be built last. For if there be such a thing as a God, and as Religion, as, whether men beleive it or no, they will one day find and feele, as­suredly he will stop our Liberty, till we restore him his Worship. Be­sides, it is a senceless thing in reason, to think that one of these Inter­ests can stand without the other, when in the very order of Naturall Causes, Government is preserved by Religion. But to return to Ie­roboam with whom we first began. He laid the foundation of his Go­vernment in destroying, though doubtless he coloured it with the Name of Reforming Gods worship: but see the issue. Consider him Cursed by God; maintaining his usurped title, by continuall vexati­ous [Page 24] Warres against the Kings of Judah; smote in his posterity, which was made like the dung upon the face of the Earth, as low and vile as those Preists whom he had imployed. Consider him branded, and made odious to all after ages. And now when his Kingdome, and glory was at an End; and he and his Posterity rotting under ground, and his Name stinking above it. Judge what a worthy prize he made in getting of a Kingdome, by destroying the Church. Wherefore the summ of all is this; to advise and desire those whom it may concern, to consider Ieroboams punishment, and then they will have little heart to Ieroboams sinne.


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