Viner Major.

ORdered that Mr. Strong be de­sired from this Court to Print his Sermon Preached at Pauls, on the fifth of this instant November.


A Voice from Heaven, CALLING The PEOPLE of GOD to a Perfect SEPARATION FROM Mystical Babylon. AS it was delivered in a Sermon at Pauls before the Right Honorable the Lord Major and Aldermen of the City of London, on Novem. 5. 1653.

By William Strong, PREACHER of the GOSPEL at the ABBY WESTMINSTER.

LONDON, Printed by Robert White, for Francis Tyton, and are to sold at the Sign of the three Daggers in Fleetstreet, near the Inner Temple Gate. 1654.

To the Right Honorable THOMAS VINER, Lord Maior of London, and the Right Worshipful the Court of Alder­men of the City of London.

Right Honorable!

THough there be many reasons which might perswade met silence, especially at such a time, in which some men are made Transgressors for a word, nay every word makes them Transgressors; and benè latere, wisely to conceal a mans self, specially in mat­ters of Religion, is one great part of the wisdom of this Age; Yet by your Command, and in obedience to your Or­der, I have adventured this Sermon in­to publike view; which I confess I [Page] was the more easily induced to, be­cause it tends to keep up the memorial of that antient mercy, which (I conceive) God would not have forgotten by us: as also because (unto my grief) I hear, that its commonly whispered by many, that it was only plotted by King James, like to that of Gowries Conspiracy, for some Politick end. But who ever shall look into the story, as related by Thuanus, (surely no enemy to the Papists) shall see reason enough to conclude the story most true, and the design on their part real; De libertate conscientia­rum despera­ta, &c. The occasion he tells us, was a deep discontent, for not attaining a tolera­tion of their Religion; Sic a Theo­logis suis dis­serebatur, Re­gem deponere, & regna con­cedere penes supremum Ecclesiae ju­dicium esse, &c. that the Popish Di­vines had several Debates about it, to set the Consciences of the Conspirators free from their obedience and Allegiance: great Consultations were held with forrein Princes, great assistances promised, persons brought from several parts, ma­ny of them related to the Iesuites, and of that faction, to act in this design; E sodalitio Jesuitico machinatio sanguinolenta, & si fuisset per acta, ipse ex animo & intimis sensibus detestaturus erat. Et tam atrox & immano faci [...]s Catholicos suscepisse plus morte sibi dolere. [Page] as appears in the confession of Garnet, who did acknowledge when he came to die, that the thing was so horrid, that it grie­ved him more then death it self, that the Catholicks should have a hand therein. And yet will men who cry out against Antichrist, plead so much for him, as to make this a feigned story, and by this means make all our former praises to be mockings of God, and taking his name in vain, and bring the guilt of the blood of all the Conspirators upon this Nation. But whither will ignorance and interest carry men? even to despise the mercies of God, Condemn the practises of the Godly, justify the wicked, and for some petty end, take part with their greatest enemies.

In this Sermon, warning is given un­to the people of God against Poperie, which may seem to some men altogether needless; a melancholy conceit, and no­thing else, especially in such a time as this, when we seem to be so zealous in departing from Antichrist, that we are ready to go too far the contrary way; and [Page] to forsake the things of Christ, under the name of Antichristian. But I have read of a Woolf in Sheeps clothing; and do never look upon Satan as a roaring Lyon, more then when transformed into an Angel, and do never fear Antichrist more, then when he professes to fight under Christs banner. But in the Scri­pture we have variety of Notes by which Antichrist is described, and by these we shall best judge who are Antichristian in their Spirits, Principles, and Practi­ces.

First, Antichrist came in with an Apo­stacy; when men fell away from God, the way of truth and Holyness, which before they professed. [...], 2. Thes. 2.3.

2. He brought in a Lye in Doctrine and worship, [...], 2. Thes. 2.11. and that even in fundamentals; Antichrist denying the Father and the Son, 1 John 2.22.

3. Antichrist did impose upon all men under the danger of persecution; Papalem ex­communica­tionem nota­ri. Mede he did make all, small and great, rich and poor, bond and free, to receive his mark, and no man might buy and sell (trade with him in [Page] things spiritual) that received it not, Revel. 13.16,17.

4. He speaks Blasphemie against the Saints of God, and their worship; he blasphemes the Tabernacle of God, and them that dwell in Heaven, Rev. 13.6. And there hath not been an age since the mysterie of iniquitie began to work, wherein more of these notes were to be found, then in that wherein we live; if therefore the Spi­rit of Antichrist in these great things prevail so much among us, and yet we cry out even against the things of Christ as Antichristian, it may justly make men fear that this is the decoy, the great deceit being to bring in Antichrist under the colour of opposing him, and being zea­lous against him.

And though we have cause to fear the effectual working of this deceit in all parts of this Nation, yet who sees not that the great plot is upon this City? by reason of its confluence from, and its in­fluence upon all parts of the Nation: here they shall be favoured, followed, of what opinion so ever they be: its your [Page] duty therefore Right Honourable, to look up­on it with the more watchful eye: take care of these wanderers, wandering Stars the Scripture calls them, that have no fixed places, that have various motions; now they are here, but if you look for them a­anon they are to be found in some other part of the Heavens: these are the men that raise Stirs, cause Tumults, make Factions, to that end that they may swim in such troubled waters, and seem somebody in a Partie; who if they stood single, would be wholly inconsiderable. These prove slan­derers also, and whom they can not, dare not oppose, they dare asperse, Jer. 20.10. Report say they, & we will report it; this is but the begin­ning of evil. Such are to be noted by you, discountenanced, warned; and so much the rather, because all the disturbances that are among us, are because the peo­ple as Clouds are carryed about with such winds; if we could allay the winds, the Heavens would be clear; We speak much of settlement; the best way to settle men is to remove those that unsettle them; and to establish them, is to dis­countenance [Page] those whose business is to beguile unstable Souls, that they may make merchandize of them. And when in this work it shall be told you, that it belongs not to you to meddle with Re­ligion; your power is only in things Civil, being a Civil Magistrate; Do you consider, the foundation of honesty is laid in Godliness; and all the duties of the se­cond, are grounded in the obedience of the first Table. That men are to obey you for conscience sake, and conscience respects God only; and if you set their consciences at liberty in the things of God sinfully, you may expect that God shall let their consciences loose from obe­dience unto you, judicially; for furely they that are to obey you only out of conscience to God, if they make no conscience of obe­dience to him, it cannot be rationally expected, that they should be conscien­tious in obedience towards you. The Magistrate is to rule with God; and his great care is to be, that nothing provoke God to depart from his Government; for (what ever men imagine) it is the Lord [Page] that builds the house, that keeps the City: Ezech. 10.2. and fire taken off the Altar, burns more fiercely, when scattered over the City, then com­mon fire. Let therefore the great things of Christ, and of his Gospel be your care, and be you very vigilant against all the wiles of Antichrist, for he is a Beast issu­ing out of the Earth, Rev. 13.11. of a base original, and yet growing up insensibly; Stirpium more. Mede. and his horns are like a Lamb, when he speaks like a Dragon. The more subtilty there is in this Adversary, the greater circumspecti­on is required in you. So shall you be chosen Instruments in the Lords hand, to keep this people from returning to Ba­bylon; so shall you eminently serve your Generation, lay down your sword in peace; and the ruine intended, endeavor­ed upon this City, shall not be in your hands, which is the humble and hearty prayers of him who is

Yours to serve you in the Gospel, VV. S.

A Voice from Heaven, Calling the People of God to a perfect sepa­ration from mystical BABYLON.

REV. 18.4.

And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her my People, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

THis Book sets forth the state of the Church, and of the Empire under the two last heads of the fourth Beast: and it contains in it, in refe­rence to the Empire, three great Prophesies.

First, of the Seals, which I con­ceive refer unto Rome Pagan.

Secondly, Of the Trumpets, which refer unto Rome Christian, after the time of Constantine the Emperour.

Thirdly, Of the Vials, which refer unto Rome An­tichristian, after the Apostasie spoken of 2 Thes. 2.3. There must come a falling away first, that the man of sin [Page 2] may be revealed, the son of perdition: the rise of Anti­christ is set down in this Book, Ch. 13. under the repre­sentation of two Beasts, noting his double power; one temporal; so he is a Beast arising out of the Sea with seven heads and ten horns: The other Ecclesiastical: so he is a Beast arising out of the Earth, having two horns like a Lamb, &c. and his ruin is described Chap. 16. where are set down the several steps and degrees thereof.

These words of the Text refer unto the time of the fifth Vial, which is to be poured out upon the Throne of the Beast, Chap. 16.10. which in this Chapter is more fully set forth, with the manner, and the several circumstances thereof; when a mighty Angel shall cry with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of Devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

These words now read unto you, Quamobrem aliquot Electi delitescunt adbuc in elu­vione Romanae impietatis, quorum Deus meminit in communi per­ditione im­proborum. Bright. are taken out of Jer. 51.45. My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his own soul from the fierce anger of the Lord; and they contain in them two things first, An exhortation unto the people of God, who are yet supposed to be mixt amongst the Romish Idolaters; yea even then when Rome comes to receive its last plagues; in these words, come out of her my people.

Secondly, The reason given thereof, taken from a double evil; First of sin, that ye be not partakers of her sins; Secondly of suffering, that ye receive not of her plagues.

Two things are to be spoken of by way of explicati­on, before I can propose the Doctrine which I in­tend: and they are these, First, What is meant here by Babylon.

Secondly, What is the destruction which is here threat­ned unto Babylon.

First, what is meant by Babylon; for the under­standing thereof, we read Chap. 17. ver. 3, 4, 5. Of a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured Beast, full of names of Blasphemy, &c. and her name was written in her forehead, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots; Babylon therefore here spoken of, is described to be a Woman: and vers. 18. the Woman is interpreted to be that great City which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth; so that Babylon in the sense of the holy Ghost, is a great City: and that antient Babylon cannot be here meant, is plain: partly, because the ruin thereof was prophesied, Isa. 21.9. Jer. 51.64. Thus shall Ba­bylon sink, and shall not arise from the evil that I will bring upon her. Which threatnings were inflicted long before Saint Johns time: but the City here spoken of did then raign over the Kings of the Earth: and John in this book doth speak of nothing but the things that were, and that should come to pass hereafter: as appears Chap. 1.19. Write the things which thou hast seen: the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; It appears also, because the Spirit of God hath given us two words of purpose to keep us off from a literal sense; one, Chap. 11.8. which is [...], spiritually called Sodom and Egypt: it is a Ci­ty therefore that is here spoken of, that hath the name of Sodom and Egypt, yet not to be literally, but spiri­tually understood: and the other is Chap. 17.5. [...], Mysterie, Babylon the Great: it is not therefore to be literally, but mystically interpreted: and what City in S. Johns time did rule over the Kings of the Earth, but Rome? called every where in this Book the [Page 4] great City, and by Historians Orbis totius compendium: & orbis terrarum lux & regina, &c. Cum caput illud O [...]bis [...]ccidet & [...] esse cae­perit, quis dubitet ve­nisse jam fi­nem rebu [...] humanis or­bique terra­rum: Illa est enim civitas, quae adhuc sustentat omnia, &c. Ne Tyrannus lumen illud effodiat, cujus interitu mundus ipse lapsu­rus est, Lactan. de divin. praem. lib. 7. cap. 25. Yea, and A Lapide himself, though a Jesuit, doth acknowledge all this to be meant of Rome, and can be understood of nothing else: only he refers it to Rome in the latter dayes of the world: his Observation upon Chap. 18. is this, Nota, Romam meretricem esse, & mercatricem, & cauponam, quae vine suo omnes inebriat & dementat. And this is called mystically Babylon, upon a double account.

First, because of their resemblance in sin: First in pride and Self exaltation: Babylon the glory of Kingdoms, the Beauty of the caldeans excellency, Isa. 13.19. So Rome, she saith in her heart. I sit as a Queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Revel. 18.7.

Secondly, In Tyranny and cruelty: Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lords hand, that made all the Earth drunken; the Nations have drunk of her wine; therefore are the Nations mad. Jer. 51.7. So mystical Babylon is a woman that sits upon many waters, rides upon the Scarlet coloured Beast, and hath a golden cup in her hand, and she was found drunk with the blood of the Saints, and the Martyrs of Jesus, Rev. 17.6.

Thirdly, In their Witchcraft and Sorcery; therefore Caldeans and Southsayers are commonly put one for another: most of them being Magicians, and addicted unto those unlawfull Arts: So Mystical Babylon; by her Sorceries are all Nations deceived, Rev. 18.23. Which sometimes makes me fear Popery in England much the more, because it cannot but be apparent unto every ju­dicious man, that Sorcerie grows common amongst us: [Page 5] and we have many instances, that as Heresie and Cruelty, so Heresie and Sorcery have gone together.

Secondly, It is called Babylon, because of the likness in the punishment.

First, The Vengeance upon Babylon, was the Vengeance of the Temple, Jer. 50.28. the Violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitants of Sion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Caldea, shall Je­rusalem say, Jer. 51.35. So it shall be with Mystical Babylon; in her was found the blood of of the Prophets, and of the Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth; and the Lord will avenge this blood of his servants at her hand, and will give them blood to drink, for they are worthy, Rev. 16.18. & 19.2.

Secondly, The destruction of Babylon did come sud­denly; these two things shall come to thee in a moment, in one day, the loss of children and widdowhood, they shall come upon thee in their perfection, in the multitude of thy Sorceries, and the great abundance of thy Inchantments; Isa. 47.9. So will the Lord deal with mystical Baby­lon, she shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the Cup of his indigna­tion: her plagues shall come in one day: Death, and mourn­ing, and famine: and she shall be utterly burnt with fire: For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her, Rev. 11.10. & 18.8.

Thirdly, The destruction of Babylon shall be perpe­tual: it shall never be built, never be inhabited, nor dwelt in from Generation to Generation, but the wild Beasts of the Desart shall lie there, Owls shall dwell there, and Satyrs dance there, Isa. 13.20,21. The same is said of mystical Babylon also: No crafts-man shall be found any more in thee, the sound of the Milstone shall be heard no more in [Page 6] thee, the light of the candle shall shine no more in thee, but thou shalt become the habitation of Devils, and the cage of every unclean and hateful Bird: Rev. 18.2.22,23.

Secondly what is the destruction threatned to Mysti­cal Babylon in this Book? Duplex Baby­lonis interitus in hisce va­ticiniis, pri­mo pro urbe Bestiae regia, puta urbe Ro­mana; dein­de pro Civi­bus aut Civitate Romana quam constituit Papa, &c. Mede clavis Apoc. Cap. 11. there is a double ruin & over­throw denounced against her: First, as Babylon is taken for the City called the Throne of the Beast, Rev. 13.2. sc. that which was unto the Heathen Emperours the Metropolis or Imperial City, this was given to this new Beast, and becomes his Throne also. Rev. 13.2.

Thus Babylon is to be destroyed under the fifth vi­al, Rev. 16.10. and unto this destruction the words of the Text refer.

Secondly, Babylon is not only taken for the City, but the Citizens, the inhabitants thereof; the chief part of which are the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, with their several Religious Orders, who after the burning of the City by the ten Kings, shall escape by flight, and shall send forth their Emissaries unto the Kings of the Earth, not subdued by the Lamb, and shall prevail with them to joyn in the same interest, and stir them up to unite in that great Battail Armageddon, where Antichrist with all his scattered troups, and his con­federates, even all the wicked of the Earth, shall be de­stroyed at once; for the Lord loves to see them pe­rish together, to bind them in bundles to burn.

This destruction of Babylon is reserved to the last Vial, that upon the Ayr; and then shall great Ba­bylon come up into remembrance before God to her ut­ter ruin, that her name shall either be blotted out, or become a Curse in the Earth.

Having thus opened the words, the Observation which I have pitcht upon, is this,

Doctr. That it is a special duty which the Lord requires of his people, living in such times, that they make a separation from Mystical Babylon, and that especially when her ruin draws near.

For the opening of it, there are two things to be considered.

First, What separation is required.

Secondly, What are the grounds and the reasons of it.

First, What kind of separation doth the Lord re­quire of his people? this we are the more narrowly to look into; because it is a controversie between us and them; and the question, as Cardinal Perron proposeth it, is, Liceatne à communione visibilis Ecclesiae discedere? Cameron opusc. miscel. pag. 522. therefore I must give you this distinction.

First, There is a separation that is a sin.

Secondly, There is a separation that is a duty.

First, There is a separation that is a sin; These are they that separate themselves, sensual, not having the Spirit, Jude 19. [...], the Decompound may seem to note thus much, that they separate and separate, till they have forsaken all the true Churches of Christ upon Earth; many there are for this kind of Separation, who say, there are no true Churches, Ordinances, Ministery, and with the foot of pride and contempt, not only de­part from them all, but kick at them.

Unto these I would only say three things; First, this Doctrine doth at once destroy the whole plot of this Book of the Revelation, wherein the Lord shews unto John all things that should be acted for his Church unto the end of the World; and the Specta­tors thereof, which are as the Chorus, and upon every [Page 8] occasion give their Acclamations, are the Churches.

First, The Church is here meant, because first there is Gods presence amongst his people, his Throne is there erected, Rev. 4.3. sutable to that, A glorious high Throne is the place of our Sanctuary, Jer. 17.12.

Secondly, There is Gods worship, Rev. 4.8. They rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, Holy, Lord God Al­mighty.

Secondly, It is a Church of men, not of Angels: for they sing, thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, Rev. 5.9. which cannot be spoken of the Angels.

Thirdly, It is a Church of men upon Earth, and not in Heaven; for there are the seven spirits before the Throne, which notes the variety of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which are proper only to the Earth: for in Heaven gifts shall cease, as also the present manner of administration from the Throne.

And there is before the Throne a Sea of glass, in al­lusion to Solomons Sea, which was for the priests to wash in, and that supposes defilement, which is not in Heaven.

Fourthly, It is a visible, and not an invisible Church: for here are Beasts and Elders, which are Officers and Brethren, which belong only unto the Church vi­sible: and they are described here as met together to give God glory, which belongs only to visible Churches, Rev. 9.9. And there be Angels round about the Throne, and the Beasts, and Elders. Rev. 5.11. which shall not be in Heaven: for Christ shall put down all rule, and authority, and power, 1 Cor. 15.24. which is to be understood de principatu Angelico, as well as of any other power, and their shall be need of no such guard in Heaven.

Fifthly, It is spoken of visible Churches all the world over; for they say, Thou hast redemed us by thy blood out of every Kinred, and Tongue, People and Na­tion, and hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests, and we shall raign in the Earth: Rev. 5.10. But they that maintain such a separation from all Churches, must blot out this Chapter out of their Bibles; for the pure times of the Church, its conceived, did not con­tinue above 360, or 365 years, and then The man of sin began to be revealed: since which time this Opi­nion doth say, there have been neither Beasts nor El­ders to observe and give God the Glory of his act­ings, during the whole time of Antichrists Tyranny.

Secondly, The Scripture doth clearly tell us, that during the whole time of this great apostacy of Anti­christ, there are some that the Lord will preserve pure unto himself, and which he will own as Churches during the whole time of Antichrist: his first rise is set forth, Rev. 13. and then we have the state of the Church described, Chap. 14.1,2,3,4. by which it appears that when the whole world wondred after the Beast, yet there were reserved an hundred forty and four thousand, who stood with the Lamb upon Mount Si­on, having his Fathers Name, (not Antichrists Mark) written in their forheads, and they sung a new song, that is, did praise and worship God in an excellent and ac­ceptable manner, which was hid from the rest of the world who did worship the Beast: these are said to be redeemed from amongst men, and were as the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb, of that general Conversion which shall be when Antichrist shall be destroyed.Canticum no­vum pro exi­mio. Psal. 33.3. Isa. 62.2. Rev. 21.5. vel novum de no­vo beneficio liberationis factae Isa. 42.10. vel no­vum est inno­vatum, ite­rum at (que) ite­rum rep [...] ­tum.

And Chap. 15.1,2. we read of a sea of Glass, upon which those stood who had gotten the victory over the [Page 10] Beast, his Image Mark, and the Number of his name, & they had the Harps of God in their hands; they did worship God purely and publikely, during the time of Anti­christs raign, which is commonly interpreted of the reformed Churches; And immediately after Babylons ruine, we read of the four Beasts, and the four and twen­ty Elders, who observe this, and give the Lord the Glory, saying, Amen, Halelujah, Rev. 19.4. there­fore during the whole time of Antichrist, there have been, and shall be some that are gathered into Bodies, members and Officers, Beasts and Elders, owned as true Churches by Christ, who during the time of this Apostasie, have kept their garments, are not defiled with women, but in reference to Antichrists fornications, are Virgins, in whose mouth is found no guile, but they are without fault before the Throne of God; Rev. 14.4,5. How then shall any man say, that all Churches have been so corrupted by Antichrist, as that they remain no more Churches unto Christ? when the Lord gives unto some of them this Testimony, that either they have not received the mark of the Beast, or have gotten the victory over it, and his Name, and the num­ber of his Name, that is, whatsoever is Antichristian, and they remain as Virgins and without fault before his Throne.

Thirdly, Let all such persons consider, that deny­ing any true Churches of Christ, they must of necessi­ty place themselves in the Synagogue of Satan; which appears so much the more, because they bring upon themselves the guilt of the highest pride in the World, which was the Devils sin; 1 Tim. 3.6. To unsaint a man is a great height of pride, much more to unchurch a Society, and that under the name of Antichristian, [Page 11] who profess to disclaim Antichrist, and whatsoever shall be made to appear to relate to him.

But what is it then to deal thus with all the Churches of Christ upon Earth? Societies where the Lord hath manifested his presence, to the Conversion and Salvation of many thousand Souls, who have this Testimony from the Lord, that they have gotten the Victory over the Beast, his Image, his Mark, his Name, those whom the Lord owns, as having his Name writ­ten in their foreheads: And yet to unchurch all these, and number them with the Antichristian Party to de­struction, is such a piece of Pride, as one would hardly have thought could have entred into the heart of any but the Devil; And that this is more immediatly from Satan, I am inclined to think, from a passage I have met with in Austin; When Satan could not prevail to keep the Christian Religion out of the world, but the Gospel did spread even as a Sun-beam among the Gentiles, [...]. Euseb. he did then perswade the Heathen, and they were confident of it, that the Christian Religion should continue in the world but three hundred sixty and five years, and then they should return to Paganism again; but that so long Peter had bewitched the world by his Sorceries, that they should believe in Christ: Definitum est quanto tem­pore mansura esset religio Christiana: Petrum male­ficia subjun­gunt, ut cole­retur Christi nomen per trecentos sexaginta quin (que) annos; deinde completo memorato numero annorum, fine mora sinem sumet. de civit. Dei. lib. 18. cap. 53. happily by this Prophesie he might intend, that about this time Antichrist, the man of Sin should rise, and the Temple of God be given to the Antichristian Gen­tiles (Popery being nothing else but Ethnicismus Re­divivus) And so the Devils prophesie was after a sort fulfilled, when after three hundred sixty five years, or thereabouts, the apostacy of Antichrist did over-spread [Page 12] the World: But these men undertake to make it good, and that even in as large a sense as Satan would have it understood; sc. that there are no true Churches, no true Ordinances since that time; and so since Anti­christs rise, the Christian Religion hath been destroy­ed, or in a manner utterly banished out of the world. Qui fratres nullos extra suam partem agnoscere vo­lebant, & adversus orbem terra­rum sacrilegae dissensionis al­tare erexc­runt. Aust. de verit. Eccles. cap. 13.16. There are another sort, who, though they deny not all Churches as the former, yet like to the Donatists of old, they acknowledge none but their own, all other they readily term Antichristian, and such as they can hold no Communion with, though they profess to believe the same principles of Religion, and walk in holiness of Conversation: yet they deny them Com­munion, as Churches, unless they come under their form. Now because godly men may fall under this delusion; therefore I desire all such persons seriously to consider these three things.

First, Christ in the days of his flesh separated not from the Church of the Jews, though there were abun­dance, and those very gross Corruptions in it: Now the Disciple is not above his Lord; it is not good to make our selves wiser or more holy then he.

Secondly, When Christ holds communion as a head, we should not deny it as members: Now Christ did not presently give Babylon a Bill of Divorce, Cor­ruption coming into that Church by degrees; and so long as Salvation was to be had, there this Voice was not heard from Heaven, Come out of her my people: they were not called to separate from her Communion; and it must needs be dangerous for any person, to call a Society Loammi, which God hath not so named.

Thirdly, Where the Foundations of Religion are held, though there be many differences in circumstan­tials, [Page 13] yet it is not lawfull to break communion with such, much less under the name of Antichristian; For though the Sea of glass be mingled with fire, the fire of Contention, and though there be great differences in opinion, yet all may get the Victory over the Beast and his Image, his Mark, and his Name, and they may joyn together to praise God they have so, though it may be they are not all alike Victorious: Quas Eccle­sias non dissi­temur reti­nere con­junctionem & communi­onem salutife­rā cum Chri­sto capite & fundamento sanctae Catho­licae Ecclesiae; cum illis decet nos re­tinere frater­nam Commu­nionem. Daven. ad. hortat. ad pa­cem Eccles. cap. 8. This there­fore hath been a Rule given by Divines in several ages, for the reconciling of brethren among themselves that hold the head, Keep to the Foundation, though in many things of less concernment they differ, and that is, that with all such Communion is to be held, as with the Churches of Christ, their Errors not being such as cut them off from Christ, or being inconsistent with Salvation. Upon this ground the antient Church did own the Donatists as brethren, and held it their duty so to do. Optat. Mile. vit. lib. 3. & 7. de Schis­mat. Donat. Nomen fra­teruitatis non putavit istis denegandum; immo impie­tatis esse pu­tavit de isto nomine vel tacere. Donatistas ab Orthodoxis pro fratribus agnosci &c. Fraternitatis nomen Donatistis fastidiosum, Or­thodoxis vero necessarium, &c. For they durst not deny Communion with them in Church Ordinances, whom they durst not deny to enjoy Communion with Christ here, and of whom they could upon Scripture grounds hope they should have Communion with them in glo­ry hereafter. And if this be not a Rule by which we ought to walk, there can be no Communion beetwen Parties disagreeing in any thing: For so long as there is blindness in the mind of man, and some things in the Scripture [...] hard to be understood, so long as there are different degrees of light, and men not made per­fect in love, 'tis impossible that in every thing we should agree: Yet so long as we hold the main, that wherein Salvation lies (for in brevi & facili stat [Page 14] aeternitas: Hilar.) so long as we differ not in Funda­mentals, such Doctrines which a man cannot be igno­rant of, as Austin observes, sine dispendio promissae Salutis, without missing Salvation, this union in the great things of Religion should ingage men to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and to take heed that they differ not in affections, where they cannot agree in opinion.

Secondly, There is a separation which is a duty; Come out from among them, and be you separate, 2 Cor. 6.17. which is by Cameron and others said to be double; Ex­cessus internus & externus, That is, a separation from the corruption, and from the Communion of a Church.

First, There is a separation from the corruption of a Church; so we are to separate in any Church in the world, that is, to abstain from the evil thereof, and in our place to bear our Testimony against it: Thus we see, though the Lord Jesus did hold communion with the Church of the Jews, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee, Heb. 2.12. Yet he did separate from all the Corruptions thereof, and was unto them a faithfull and true witness against their Erroneous Do­ctrines, Superstitious Customes and Traditions: thus it was the duty of Gods people, from the first Working of the Mysterie of iniquity, to come out of Babylon; and therefore the Witnesses began their Testimony, as soon as Antichrist began his Apostacie to tread down the Temple of God, or rather the outward Court thereof: For they Prophesied in sackcloth and ashes a thousand two hundred and sixty days, which is contemporary with the whole time of the Reign of Antichrist, as appears, Rev. 11.2,3. But yet that was not an immediate [Page 15] separation from Communion; For the Church of God did a great while lie hid among them; There were tempora gemendi & latendi, as Cameron speaks, times of their mourning in, and groaning under those corrup­tions before a total separation.

Secondly, There is a time also when the Lord doth require a separation from Communion; When his people are to withdraw all communion from such, to look upon them as a Church of Christ no more, to abhor them in regard of Communion, as an accursed thing: Thus when the Lord had given the Jews a bill of Divorce, and broke off the natural branches, which is not spoken of breaking men off from grace or electing love, for the Election obtained mercy, when the rest were blinded; but it is here meant of being broken off from a Visible Church state, the good Olive tree being a type thereof, Rom. 11.24. When the Lord had thus called them Loammi, his people were to hold Communion with them as a Church no more, God having cast them off, and wrath being come upon them to the uttermost: So though Rome were sometimes a true Church of Christ, and afterward corrupted by degrees; yet when the Lord divorced her as an Harlot, as the Mother of Harlots, calls her Babylon, and not Sion, then it is the duty of his people, not only to separate from their corruption as before, but from their communion also.

I come now to give the reasons of such a separation from Mystical Babylon, which are these:

First, Because God hath put her away, hath said of them they are not my people, but spiritually Sodom and Egypt, Antichristian Gentiles, ver. 11.2. when the Lord thus forsakes any people, we should forsake [Page 16] them; when the glory of the Lord departs from a people, the Angels withdraw their Protection, and by the same degrees, Ezek. 10.4,5.18.19. and Chap. 11.22.23. when­soever the glory of the Lord removed, the Cherubims also did lift up their wings; And as the departure of God is the ground of their withdrawing Protection, so it should be of our withholding Communion.

Secondly, Such a separation is to be made, because in Babylon no Salvation can be had; A Reprobate may in truth be made par­taker of all that is con­tained in the Religion of the Church of Rome. Ecclesia pro­priè dicta non probat quic­quid probant mali Doctores admixti eccle­siae, nec quic­quid boni Doctores haud bene docue­runt. Melan. Daven. ad­hort. cap. 4. It was Mr. Perkins his Observation long since, That a Papist by the Rules of his own Religion cannot go beyond a Reprobate; where Foundations are destroyed, Principles denyed, or cor­rupted, and this not the Doctrine of some particular men only, (for such there may be in the purest Churches of Christ upon Earth; as in the Church of Corinth, there were those that denyed the Resurrection of the dead) but when it becomes the Doctrine of the Church, which they as a Church do profess to maintain, and refuse to be reclaimed: then there is no more Salvation to be expected there; which is con­ceived to be the pouring out of the second Vial upon Mystical Babylon, Rev. 16.3. The Sea then became as the blood of a dead man, and every living Soul died in the Sea: By the Sea is meant their Doctrine, and the Comprehension or Collection thereof: as by the Rivers are meant those that carry abroad this Doctrine in all places and all parts of the World. This Doctrine is become the blood of a dead man, ex corrupta fit cor­ruptissima; it was corrupt before, yet some lived in it; but now every living thing dyed: That is, there was no more Salvation to be had by the Doctrine of their Religion; therefore with them no more Communion is to be held.

Thirdly, We are to separate from her, because she is become a persecutor of all the people of God through the world: She rides upon a Scarlet coloured Beast: an Embleme both of Majesty, and Cruelty: she is drunk with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, and in her will be found the blood of the Prophets, of the Saints, and of all that are slain upon the Earth, Rev. 18.24. A sepa­ration therefore is a duty, that we hold not Communion with her, whose trade is Persecution.

Fourthly, Gods people are to separate from Baby­lon, because God hath set himself against her to destroy her with a great and eminent destruction. For when she comes up into remembrance before God, she that made all Nations drunk with the cup of the wine of her Fornication, shall be made to drink of the cup of the wine of the fierceness of Gods wrath, Rev. 16.19. and shall with violence, as a Milstone, be cast into the Sea, and be found no more at all, Rev. 18.19. It was pro­claimed long ago, That if any man worshipped the Beast, or his Image, or received his Mark, he should drink of the wine of the wrath of God without mixture, and be tor­mented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, Rev. 14.10. Cujus vasti­tatis & confusionis haec erit causa, quod Roma­num nomen, quo nunc re­gitur Orbis, tolletur è ter­râ, & in Asi­am Imperi [...] [...]eveitetur, ac rursus Oriens dominabitur, at (que) Occidens serviet. de praem. divin. sect. 7. cap. 15. And this Judgement the Antients did foresee, and do expect: Horret animus dicere: dicam tamen, quia futurum est, Romanum nomen de terra tolletur, Lactan. I am affraid to speak it, yet I will speak, because it shall come to pass, that the name of Rome shall be blotted out, or taken away out of the Earth.

Fifthly, All Gods people are to separate from her, that they partake not with her in her sins; it hath been Antichrists business from her very beginning to infect and corrupt others: and that she doth after the manner of Harlots, in a way of Love, and in the most enticing manner: for she gives the wine of her Fornication in a golden cup. This hath even been the manner of those men, whose spirits Satan hath touched, from that im­pression of devillishness left upon their spirits, to desire and endeavor to draw others into fellowship with them in the same sin, and the same condemnation: and as he that doth not reprove his brother, doth bear sin for him, Lev. 19.17. So he that doth not give Testimony against sin in that way which the Lord requires, brings upon himself the guilt thereof. It is not always enough to speak against sin, or to mourn for it, but a man is to separate from them that walk in it; there is a time for Lot in Sodom to vex his righteous soul from day to day: but there is a time when he must come out of Sodom, unless he will perish with it.

Sixthly, A separation must be made, because they that partake in their sins, shall surely receive of her plagues, and God is no respecter of persons, though such as are justified, can never come under an eternal guilt: yet they may contract a temporal, which may involve them in the same temporal Judgements with the wicked, and so Sampson like, they may die with the Uncircumcised: The good Figs shall go into Captivity with the bad, though not to the same end, Jer. 24. If therefore Gods people desire to be delivered from their plagues, they must not partake in their sins, which they will alwayes do, until they forsake their Communion.

Use. Let this be unto all the people of God as a voice from Heaven, to perswade them to come out of Mystical Babylon: And the rather, because the work of this day should be, as to exalt God in this mercy and deliverance, so to make Popery odious ever after: therefore this day should always revive our detestati­on, that being in our eye which Luther professed to be his aim in all that he did, Brevi efficiam, ut anathema sit, esse Papistam.

And we have the more need to be stirred up hereunto; because since this Nation departed from Rome, there were never greater attempts, nor higher hopes to bring us back unto this spiritual Egypt, then there are at this day. To make this manifest, I shall propose to you some of my observations upon the present times, which seem to argue a tendency and in­clination this way.

First, A Universal unsetling of all things in Religion: all the Principles, and the Doctrines of Godliness are either denied or disputed, though it be true, Spiritus Sanctus Scepticus non est: Luther. which is to me a ground of fear that there is an intent to bring in another Gospel, Antichrists Gospel, [...] that lye; I dare not say, I dare not think that this is the intendment of all those that go this way: but surely it is finis operis, though not operantis; Yet I am not without fear, that many do it designedly, and speak lyes in hypocrisie to that very end: when we look upon the rise of Antichrist, we shall find that Satan before hand cast out of his mouth a flood after the woman, which is interpreted to be the Arian heresie, and abundance of corrupt Doctrines ac­companying it, which though they pass too and fro for some years, yet all setled and were gathered into the [Page 20] Sea of Rome at last; and it is to be feared Satan hath the same aim at this day, though Magistrates and men in Authority may profess never so much against it: Im­peratores facti sunt Christiani, sed diabolus nondum factus est Christianus. August.

Secondly, Consider the instruments that are abroad in the World; we read of frogs sent out of the mouth of the Beast, Rev. 16.13. that is, by his especial command and commission; and these go forth unto the Kings of the Earth in all shapes; and we have cause to fear (nay ap­parent ground to believe) that besides the men of cor­rupt minds risen up among our selves, there are many of those sent in among us; it were well if we could look upon our Cities, Army, Navy, yea Councels to be free: and so much the rather it is to be feared, because we see all antient Heresies revived, Arians, Macedoni­ans, Montanists, Patripassians, yea that conceit of Joachim Abbas, Joachim Ab­bas docebat, triplicem do­ctrinam à tri­bus personis dimanare; doctrinam, sc. Legis à Pa­tre, doctri­nam Evange­lii quod con­signatum ha­bemus à Fi­lio, tertiam doctrinam à Spiriu sancto expectandam, quam appellat Evangelium aeternum. Daven. in Colos. Cap. 2. v. 2. that there is a Gospel of the Spirit, another Gospel then that preached by Christ and to observe by what mean persons these doctrines are vented, and yet all the antient Arguments used to maintain them: A considering man observing this, can hardly imagine but that there be some that do secretly, and with the best advantage instil such things into them, and that in an unobserved way; for they are said to be spirits, that is, though they act very pow­erfuly, yet invisibly: their motions, ways and practi­ces are not known.

Thirdly, Consider that constant pressing of liberty of Conscience, which if granted, must be universal; for who hath power to lay a restraint upon one mans con­science [Page 21] more then another? and therefore the Patrons of this opinion do plead for a toleration for Popery, upon a Religious account; and that it is no more to be imposed upon, then any other perswasion: as also that doctrine of Mariana the Jesuite, Marian. c. 10. Cont. Volit. l 2. Cap. 16. now so generally insisted upon, and pleaded for, Princeps nil stauat de Religione, The Magistrate is not to meddle with mat­ters of Religion: there were two Doctrines antiently, which of necessity brought in Popery; though a man knew-nothing else of that Religion, sc. That the true Church cannot err; and that the Church of Rome is that true Church: Now there are two other principles sprung up in the world; First, that the word in the heart, and the Spirit working there, is not to be tryed and examined by the word in the Book, that being but a dead letter, and for the Spirit to be examined by the word, is a minoration thereunto.

Secondly, as the word must not try the spirits of men, so Magistrates have nothing to do with their Religion. These two principles received, lay all open to Popery or Atheism. And if Popery, as a Religion, receive but a Toleration, and the same Countenance that others do, (it being a Religion most agreeable to Nature, as corrupt, and so exactly fitted to it) it will soon have the most followers: for when Popery first appeared in the world, the whole world wondred after it, as it had done after Arianism a little before.

Fourthly, Look to the Apostacy of the present age, men falling from all things in Religion, and with an impudent face denying deriding all; the Scriptures, the Trinity, the Godhead of Christ, his sufferings and satisfaction, Justification by imputed Righteous­ness, the Law of God as the Rule of Obedience, and [Page 22] whatsoever Doctrines Christian Religion is built up­on: now we know that a great Apostacy did make way for Popery, 2 Thes. 2.3. God giving them up to believe a lye: and by this means the man of sin, [...], the lawless one, was revealed; and there is great cause to fear, that the present Apostacy amongst us may have such a tendency: for we see men fall from one thing to another, untill they hold to nothing in mat­ters of Religion: such an Apostacy (as I think, I may without breach of Charity say) that hath not been the like in any Christian Church, since that great Apostacy before named: and being thus become as it were an outward Court, may we not fear that God should give us over to be trodden down of the Anti­christian Gentiles again? and not receiving truth in the love of it, he should give us up to believe that lye?

Fifthly, If we consider farther, that Antichrist shall have yet a day for it, the time of the killing of the wit­nesses being yet to come: For they must Prophesie in sackcloth and ashes, a thousand two hundred and sixty daies, which is Contemporary with the whole reign of An­tichrist, which is two and forty months; and if we take the beginning from the division of the Empire into ten Kingdoms, The ten Kings receiving Power the same hour with the Beast, I cannot find upon any account, the time of their Prophesie in Sackcloth and Ashes to be fulfilled: and if so, their killing time, and the insult­ing of the Antichristian party over their dead bodies, because they were dead that tormented those that dwell on the Earth, must be yet to come, and that neer unto the time of Antichrists ruine; and who knows? yea hath not every one reason to fear that the present [Page 23] Apostacy and defection may lay the ground of, and prepare the spirits of men for such a Persecution?

Sixthly, What means else that general revolting unto the Doctrines of Popery, and Arminianism? The spirits of Popery, which the Jesuits (being the Popes Janizaries) have laboured most in, and had great contests with the Dominicans about them, before ever the name of Arminius was heard of in the world: and that they are Symbolical, and the passage easie from one to the other, the examples of Bertius, Tilenus, Vorstius, and many others do make manifest: But we need not go abroad for instances: We saw in Episcopal times, that those that were most forward in receiving and propagating these Doctrines of the Jesuits, they soon fell into the superstitions of Rome, in all their ways of Worship: and we have reason to expect that it should be so in our time also: Those Doctrines being as infectious now, as they have been in times past.

Seventhly, What may a man think of that general endeavor that there is to take off the odium from Popery and Papists among us? That courting of them, associ­ating, and complying with them; so that with too many a Papist finds more favor then a faithfull Mini­ster of the Gospel: Nay, what means that general neglect of the observation of this day, In perpetuam Pontificiorum ignominiam? Nay, why is it denyed by some, and the Religious observance thereof, as if it were not a thing plotted by them, but rather fained by us?

Eighthly, What is the meaning of that design now on foot against the Ministers of the Gospel, and their mainte­nance? both being so clearly laid down in the Scrip­ture, [Page 24] and the latter having been so fully proved by the Law: Is it not to be feared that all this is, because they are the men that are lookt upon to stand in the light, and do hinder the bringing forth of some such accursed birth, according unto the Politick Counsel of Contzen the Jesuite, who exhorts them to take away those that are forward and hot men, Zealous for truth: Haeresiarchae & doctores errorum Re­pub. pellendi sunt una vice si commodè fieri queat, sin minus, sensim & paulatim. li. 2. Politic. ca. 18. modus reducendae verae religi­onis. and then error (for so he calls truth) cui patrocinium deerit, sine pugna concidet: or at least they being removed, those may be be brought in who are unable either to discern truth from error, or to convince the gainsayer, and so the blind leading the blind, both may fall into the Ditch.

Ninthly, That general outcry that is upon all Truths, Ordinances and ways of Religion among us, as Antichri­stian: Our Churches Antichristian, our Ministry Antichristian, our Laws Antichristian, &c. For it is Satans manner, when he would set up Antichrist in­deed, to blend all the things of Christ, with the Name of Antichrist; thus giving the Wine of her Fornication in a golden Cup: For Antichrist must blaspheme Gods name, his Tabernacle, and them that dwell in Heaven: neither hath this been a late design only (for none of the Opinions or Practices that are amongst us are new) but there was a book written many years ago, Entituled, Praemonitiones Christi & Apostolorum, de abolendo Christo vero per Antichristum: Wherein the Doctrine of the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, his suffering in the flesh, and his satisfaction unto God for sin: All these are said to be Antichristian Doctrines, and endeavoured to be censured under that Notion of a design of An­tichrist, to undermine the true Christ; who, saith the Author, is Christ in the Spirit, and not in the flesh: [Page 25] Let none therefore be moved to hear every thing now termed Antichristian, whether in Doctrine or practice, according unto the licentiousness of men: but rather fear, lest under the name of Antichristian, the things of Christ be cast off, & he who is truly Antichrist brought in, who comes with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.

Tenthly, When I consider also that general carelesness and inadventencie that is even amongst the people of God concerning these things, a spirit of slumber (and it is to be feared in Judgement) being come upon them: so that no man mourns under it, no man lays it unto his heart. I can remember when the Doctrines of Arminianism were revived in England by Mr. Moun­tagues Book, what impression it made upon the spirits of the godly, called then the Puritans of this Nation: what mourning, fasting, praying, writing there was against it; but now even Godly men sleep, whilst the Enemy sows these Tares. This makes me to see need of pressing this exhortation, that you come out, that you keep out of Babylon. Oh that the Lord would make it a Voice from Heaven to you! For though there be many abominable Heresies, Sects, and Errors in this Land at this day, and in this City: Yet upon the forementioned grounds, I am enclined to conceive, that they all play small game but the Papists, who insinuate themselves under all these Forms; and there­by intend worse to us then a Powder plot, if the Lord prevent it not: and I am perswaded they had never greater hopes of it.

Use. 2. But seeing God hath brought us out of Babylon, what may we do to keep our selves from re­turning thither again? Here I shall offer to you these few Directions, as Preservatives.

First, Receive the truth in the love of it, 2 Thes. 2.10,11. For this was the cause that did provoke God to give men up unto that efficacy of deceit at first: Endeavor therefore to know, and to be established in truth, that you be not carried away with every wind of Doctrine; and do not plead for truth, as Lawyers plead causes, by other mens evidences, but get an experi­mental knowledge thereof in your own souls: Con­sider, it is the great depositum committed unto you to keep, Buy it therefore, and sell it not: contend earnestly for the faith, claim it as your inheritance for ever.

Secondly, Let all those that fear God, unite against this common adversary: your divisions will always be his advantages, their way having always been to fish in such troubled waters; Captare tempor a impacata, Rev. 15.1. though the Sea of glass be mingled with fire, yet they that have gotten Victory over the Beast, should stand together upon the same Sea, with the Harps of God in their hands: Commune periculum con­cordiâ pulsandum. It is the observation of Bullinger several times in his Book de Persecut. Eccles. That be­cause of the dissention of Brethren among themselves, God did give them up into the hands of the Enemy, ad abstergendum aeruginem, quae quotidie magis as mag is crescebat: Temporibus Aureliani Imperatoris, &c. Christiani optime inter se convenie­bant: sed ar­dens illud fludium im­minutum, dissentiones auctae sunt, praecipue inter Episcopos & doctores. Ideoque Dominus passus est infideles Ethnicos manum Ec­clesiae injicere. Ita temporibus Constantini, &c. Yet let not this union be sinfull, and un­worthy: unto that I exhort you not; For Castam Christi sponsum decet casta concordia: but you that agree in the Foundations, the great things of Religion, though in certain forms you differ, or in truths of lesser alloy, yet take Luthers Counsel to the Synod at No­rinberg, [Page 27] to silence your disputes untill a fitter opportu­nity. Meum consilium est, ut causam hanc sinatis ad tem­pus sopitam jacere, hoc tempore enim & animis sic affectis venenum est disputare. And be sure in your diversity of opinion, you endeavor to keep unity in affection.

Thirdly, Suspect all new Doctrines: For we are to enquire for the old way, the good way, that we may find rest to our souls: we are to go forth by the steps of the An­tient flocks: Novelty hath always leaven in it the people of God antiently feared not only novel Doctrines or Tenents, but new coined words, [...], for with such, false teachers use to come: Felix Ecclesin cum nova de Deo dicere lascivia crederetur; that Church is in a happy condition when all Novelties in Doctrine are suspect­ed to be barely the fruit of wanton wits and prophane hearts.

Fourthly, Take heed of hearing any of those that would bring in Popish leaven: Your ears are not your own, take heed what you hear; itching ears seldom consent to true, but ordinarily to unsound Doctrine, 2 Joh. 10. If they bring not this Doctrine, receive them not into your house, bid them not God-speed: Those common civilities which unto some strangers are a duty, they cannot without sin be performed towards men that corrupt truths, and hunt souls.

Fifthly, Let Magistrates do their duty towards Reli­gion: It is Bellarmines Doctrine, that they are Religionis defensores, non Judices: but you (Right Honorable, with the rest in Authority) ought to Judge which is the true Religion, and to endeavor to maintain it, Christianity taking in all our relations: and the Lord having promised, Isa. 49.23. That Kings shall be thy nursing Fathers, and Queens thy nursing Mothers: that [Page 28] which is promised to the Church as a mercy, Magi­strates should make Conscience to perform as a duty. Do you therefore afford favor and encouragement unto those that are good, and be you a terror unto them that are evil: Mark those that cause Divisions, and raise Distractions among you.

Sixthly, Give unto God the glory of the mercy of this day: Let your Vials be gold, and full of Odours. The Enemies fall before the praises, as well as the prayers of Gods people: Out of the mouths of Babes and Sucklings he hath ordained strength, Psal. 8.2. which is rendred by Christ, thou hast perfected praise, Mat. 21.16. and this shall be powerfull, to still the Enemy and the avenger. I shall conclude all with that, 2 Chron. 20.22. when they began to sing, and to praise the Lord, the Lord set am­bushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mounseir, that they helped to destroy one another.


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