THE R: Rd FATHER IN GOD RALPH BROWNRIG L. B. OF EXETER.

Who Died aged 67. Decem: 7th. 1659.

A SERMON PREACHED In the Temple-Chappel, at the FUNERAL of the Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. Brounrig LATE Lord Bishop of EXCETER, who died Decem. 7. and was solemnly buried Decemb. 17. in that Chappel.

With an account of his LIFE and DEATH.

Both Dedicated to those Honorable Societies, by the Author Dr. GAƲDEN.

2 Cor. 4.18. The things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.
[...]. Plato.
Aliud est vivere moriturum cum Platone; aliud mori victurum cum Paulo. Hieron. Ep. Nepot.

LONDON, Printed by J. Best for Andrew Crook, at the Green-Dragon in S. Pauls Church-yard. 1660.

To the Reverend Dr. GAUDEN, these present.

SIR,

YOur Sermon preached at the Funeral of the late eminent Bishop of Ex­ceter, hath been and is of that general acceptation, that those that heard it, or have heard of it, do consent in their earnest de­sires of us to write unto you for its publishing; The honor in it due to that learned Prelate, as a memo­rial of him, the great benefit which will arise to the Church both in the present age and future, the seasona­bleness of the manifestation of his judgement in several subjects, and the happy fruit which may be reap­ed [Page]by the Reader, in the imitation of his exemplary life and pious conver­sation (to Gods glory and the good of souls) these do sufficiently of themselves bespeak your inclina­tion to it: But we do also make it our request, that you will be plea­sed with all convenient speed to print it, which as it will satisfie the expectation of your many other Friends, so will it much oblige

Your very affectionate Friends and Servants
  • N. Bernard.
  • Edw. Young.
  • Tho. Buck.

TO THE Honourable Societies OF THE TEMPLES.

HAving endeavored (Ho­norable and worthy Gentlemen) if not to adorn, yet at least to do some right to the memory of the reverend and renow­ued Bishop Brounrig, by those (justa Parentalia) praises which are most due to his accomplished worth, for his holy obedience to the Word of God, for his conformity to his blessed Saviour, for his loyalty to Soveraign power, for his love to his Country, for his compas­sion to the Church, for his zeal to the Reformed Religion, for those sighs, [Page]prayers and tears, by which he encou­tred the sins and miseries of this Na­tion; for his exemplary merits to all that were or would be good: and lastly, for his particular favour to­wards me (of which I am ambitious to express a most grateful sense:) Yet I finde still something of further duty and discretion incumbent on me, which must be discharged by this Preface or Epistle, to which your name is inscri­bed; wherein first, I am to justifie my own so large and liberal commenda­tion of the Bishop. Secondly, I am to give an account of your particular me­rit, as to this Dedication. Thirdly, I am to crave your patrociny for my vindication.

§. For the first, My own Veraci­ty, as to what I have wrote, ( [...],) without en­vy, flattery or partiality of this excel­lent Bishop, I believe I have the at­testation of all good men, who either personally knew, or have been fully informed of his worth; if they have eyes able to behold and bear the re­splendency of all moral vertues in an excellent man; of all intellectual a­bilites, [Page]in an excellent Schollar; of all sound Divinity in an excellent Divine; of well chosen, well handled, well applied and well practised Texts in an excellent Preacher; of all gra­vity, prudence, circumspectness and candor in an excellent Gover­nour; of sincere and operative gra­ces in an excellent Christian; Lastly, of all these concurrent, compleated and cumulated in an excellent Bishop; who was indeed ( [...]) in in all points of humane and divine perfections, such as he should be.

§. All ingenious persons who are not overgrown with the Antiepisco­pal Jaundise (who have not envious, odious, jealous and implacable eyes against all Bishops, and most against the best;) will readily subscribe to what I have written; Yea I know, there is such a cloud of witnesses, as forbids me solicitously to avow my own integrity and truth on either side.

§. First, For my self, I am as much an enemy to flattery, as a friend to civility. Parasitisme differs as much from just and comely praise, as Divels [Page]do from good Angels; The first is black as hel, the second beautiful as Heaven. I fear nothing (whatever I do, or say, or write,) more then that base fear, which either prosti­tutes to servile adulation of vice: or is overawed from just commenda­tion of vertue, even in Bishops; I do profess (with Greg. Naz. commending St. Cyprian, [...]; I have spo­ken and written as to the verity, and eminency of the patern; nothing to any compliance or partiality, I was not to dress up an Ulyssis with Homer; or an Aeneas with Virgil, after a po­etick freedom, and flourish of inven­tion, but to represent to the unworthy world, a most worthy Bishop, and to reproach the imprudence, and ingra­titude of the age, by letting it see in this particular, what an admirable Bishops it had extirpated, what ac­complished abilities it had suppressed, what useful merits it had discounte­nanced; not onely by not rewarding, but by depriving of such rewards, as they had both deserved, and obtain­ed by Gods blessing, and the mu­nificence [Page]of the Prince and Nation; I was to set forth a chief Pastor of the Church, conformable to Christs cross, as well as serviceable to his flock; having not only the crown of crucified affections, but also crucrify­ing afflictions, yea and of crucified vertues, by the indignities of the world; nay and of self crucifying gra­ces too, by his own humility; for while he was eminent in all men, that had eyes to see true worth, yet in his own eyes he was nothing, and Christ was all in all to him.

§. Secondly, They knew not Bishop Brounrig, who knew not how far he was from either active or passive flattery; As he abhorred both, so he needed neither; He was far above them, being so full and overflowing with reall and solid worth, that he was not capable (as lanck bladders) of any empty and aiery distentions; he had as Plato saith of one Gorgi­as, [...], A soul and life that wanted fictitious comendations no more, then burnish­ed gold, or polished marble doth need any paint, or colouring.

§. Such deceitful decorations, and spurious prayses, are for their Sepulchers who affect to be reputed worthies, when they have done no­thing worthily, who would be recoun­ted for great Rabbies and Refor­mers, when indeed they were but A­baddons, and Apollyons of all things civil and sacred; ambitious, when dead, to be called Patriots and Fathers of their countrey, yea Sa­viours and Preservers of Religion, when they have sought to sacrifice both fathers and children, to the Molochs, Chians, and Remphans, Idols and Images, which they set up, and their fathers never knew; There are that hope to be venerated, as the Divels in India, not for the good, but for the mischeife, they were able to do.

§. For my part, I would not for a world, profane those sacred texts, of The righteous perish, or The me­mory of the just shall be blessed, or Blessed are they that dye in the Lord, or Pretious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints, and the like, by preaching them over those [Page]whose doings are as noysome as their carkasses; who deserve to be bu­ried with the buriall of an Ass; Though violent and vile men, should make their graves with the rich and the Noble; yet their Monuments built with untempered mortar, made up of the bones and blood of men, will sooner rot then their corps.

§. No flattering Confectioners can make Mummy, to impartial posterity, of those abominable livers, whose names are written in the dust, and deserve to perish as their own dung; when they give no evidence to the present age, by their piety or repentance, that the name of God is gravn in their hearts, or their names are written in heaven. No venal pens, and mercenary tongues can keep after ages from cursing and detesting their memories, who like Nero, or Hierostratus, or Ra­viliaac, or Borgia, and other mon­sters of men, seek renown by their enormities, and study to equal their vilanies to their abilities: whose dy­ing is not times digesting them to ma­ture [Page] honour; but its spewing them out to everlasting shame and abhor­rence.

§. But where useful virtues and re­al graces do appear in any, never so poor, afflicted, desolated, (as the Martyes and Confessors of old, and latter ages were;) every just man and ingenuous Christian, will be not on­ly ready to bring sweet odors and spices to their burial, but they are ambitious to embalme their names and memories to a perpetuity of honour; Though proscribed and banished, though undone and de­stroyed by the injuries of the age, in which they lived; as were Ignatius Cyprian, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Boethius, and many others among the Christians, yea and among Heathen too, as Epaminondas, Ari­stides, Themistoeles, Scipio, Affr. and others; whose ingrateful Coun­trys did not hinder the gratitude of posterity, as to persons that deser­ved longer life and better usage.

§. Yea, not onely among the Hea­thens, such extasies of admiration transported them to the superstition of [Page]an imaginary [...], or deification of the dead; (whose deserts they thought purchased for them an immor­tality, Divinity or Godship of a lower form, lesser edition, and lat­ter creation;) But even Christians at first indeed, with moderation and caution, (afterwards by an [...], or excesse of veneration) did canonize those as Saints, or divi, holy, honorable and happy men and women, who by exemplary piety and patience, had sealed to the truth and peace of Christian religi­on; hereby recommending the imita­tion of their graces and vertues to all men, both good and bad, to reprove the one, and improve the other.

§. For not onely well disposed persons are well content to see them­selves encouraged by the commen­dation of those, whose worthy steps they follow; But even those, that are no great valuers, or followers of vertue themselves, no nor prai­sers of it in others, while living, are yet content to lay aside the poyson of their envy, and sting of [Page]their calumny towards them when they onely live in their deserved reputation for goodness; whose re­wards even vicious men are prone to fancy they may more easily ob­tain if they have but a mind to commend them, when dead.

§. Nor is this fallacy without some shew of reason; For vertue is prone to adopt those for her children, who have any value or respect for her even in others; As by pittying, so by praising, we are secretly allu­red to practise things praise-wor­thy; As evil speech corrupts good manners, so good speech is apt to mend evil manners; yea, as to smother, or calumniate, or coldly commend anothers virtue, argues little consciousness to it in ones self; So it is the surest token of grace, and vertue, to love, ad­mire and adore them, First in the highest perfection of the Divine Idea; Secondly, in the clearest image, or representation of them, Je­sus Christ; Lastly in the more familiar instances of them among mankind, where they are (like the Sun-beams, [Page]in watery reflections, infinitely more remisse indeed, and less glo­rious, than in the original, but yet more visible and condescending to humane capacities.

§. And such they were in this Ilu­strious Bishop, however he were eclipsed by the fatal darkness of the times; yet the pregnant de­monstrations of his worth, were publikely attested, as by that love and reverence which all good men payed him while he lived; so by that honorable and ample concourse of many Eagles to his corps and Funerals, which were attended by Noblemen, by Gentlemen, by Judges, by Lawyers, by Divines, by Merchants and Citizens, of the best sort then in London; These flocked to his Sepulcher, these fol­lowed the Bier, these recounted his worth, these deplored their own and the ages loss of him; These reproached those who had occa­sioned, or cast any diminutions up­on such extraordinary merits, and such accomplished Bishops; For he was not the onely Phenix of his age and [Page]order, who had been deplumed, and almost reduced to ashes by the inor­dinate, flames of the times.) But I need no more to justify any so am­ple commendation of this excel­lent Bishop, whom none could with truth or Justice disparage.

§. My second work in this Epistle is, to give the world an account of your particular merit, as to this Dedication, wherein I am comman­ded in modesty, not to insist upon your so propense and unanimous fa­vour expressed towards my self, (which chalengeth its proper time, and place, for my thankeful ac­knowledgment) because the present Subject affords me reason more than enough; Nor could I have been other than extreamly injurious, both to the Dead and the Living, (the ve­nerable Bishop, and your honora­ble selves) if I should have de­dicated this work to any other than your selves; Since not onely to you they were by me at first, for the main, delivered by word of mouth, (which I know more coveted to hear, than well could, by reason of the [Page] great crowd and concourse, of attendants, who may claime of me this Justice, and compensation, of their defeats) but to your honoura­ble Societies, above all men living, the venerable subject and occasion of my labours, this reverend Bishop (next God) did cheifly bequeath and dedicate himself, both living, dying, and dead.

§. If he had lived longer, you had been that happy Society, which should have been honored and bles­sed, with his presence and residence, with his praying and preaching, with his grave counsel and holy ex­ample: The golden remains of his pretious life and strength, were yours; he was so just and grateful, as to own and requite your love and respects to him, who had so highly deserved of him.

When he dyed, and was to put off his earthly Tabernacle, those exuviae mortalitatis, which are due to the grave; It was inter novissi­ma vota, one of his last desires, that as this mantle of Eliah's soul, was likely to fall among you, so it might [Page]be deposited in your Temple, or Sanctuary, as an expectant of a bles­sed Resurrection.

§. This request you not onely am­bitiously entertained, but hono­rable accomplished, being loth, that so great a Prophet, should be buried among the graves of the meaner people; though living, he was almost levelled to them, by some men, I fear of more preposterous, than pious spirits, who seemed most impatient to own the vast differences, which God and nature, education and grace, age and experience, learning and industry, besides our Lawes, and the universal custome of the Churches of Christ, had made among the Ministers of Christ, for the good order, and welfare both of Presbyters and people, grudging that any civil respect or reward should be proportioned to their worth and usefulness in the Church.

§. It became your learning, Ju­stice, and wisdom, to descern and own the advantages, and discrimi­nations, that were so evident in this excellent Bishop, who are not [Page]only Trustees and Guardians of his Urne and ashes; but Conservators of his better self, living Monuments of his excellent soul, Admirers of his rare endowments, Imitators of his worthy example; All which were by him, and now by me devoted to you above all men, among whom he had his last hospitable and ho­norable reception; You, by a gene­rous civility (in an age pittifully and plebeianly Antiepiscopal,) durst in­vite, own and entertain, with pub­lique respect, such a Bishop, whose eminent and unspotted worth every way made him so much more, the object of some mens envy and despite, as the highest Towers and trees are of the rage of tempests.

§. For many have more patience towards Bishops and Ministers of his degree and perswasion, who are less commendable, or more culpable, than to those, whose eminency in goodness becoming Bishops and Divines, makes their injurious ma­lice wholy inexcusable; Some spi­rits are most eager to cast that E­piscopal salt on the ground, which [Page]hath best savour in it; and least of popish or popular fatuity; that greater esteem may be had of their inspired arrogancy, which by parity tends to Ataxy, division and confusion, as it is at this day; Sunt tempora in­quibus maximis virtutibus certissi­mum est exitium: Tacitus observes, that the worst times can least bear the best laws, and worthiest persons; whose exemplary vertues are the daily Satyrs and Sarcasmes of unreasona­ble men, and manners.

§. Some School-men think, that the presence of a good Angel, is an augment to the torture of Divels, exasperating the regret and sense of their hell, deformity, and misery, by the others beauty, glory, and feli­city: it is certaine (Mat. 8.29.) that the evil and unclean spirits, could not smother the great terror, even to torment, which they had seising on them, when the holy Majesty of the Messias, though vailed under the cloud of humane nature, and infirmities, gave check, to their Demoniac malice and mischeif; Thus are the best ministers, either Bishops [Page]or Presbyters, men of the greatest learning, piety and constancy, most unwelcome, (as Micaiah to Ahab) to men of high minds, of heady passi­ons, of giddy spirits, of impotent prejudices, of popular principles, and of licencious Practises, who affect things of vulgar ambition, and ple­beian arbitrariness, being unpati­ent of any thing authoritative, and setled either by civil, or ecclesiastick constitutions, and customes in Church or State.

§. Hence (then) is the Crown of your Honour, more ponderous and illustrious; That you so far owned and expressed your esteem of this learned and religious Bishop, who as much deserved and enjoyed the applause of all good men, as he pa­tiently endured the envy and injuries of others; Him you kindly invited; Him you civilly received; Him you highly honoured; Him you greatly endeared to you; notwith­standing the long and many dimi­nutions, yea disgraces he had suffered as a Bishop, more to the detriment and dishonour of the publique, than [Page]of his private comforts; For it is certaine; that every Christian Church and State in all ages, hath wanted, and ever will such excellent Bishops, as wise and exemplary Goverours, more than they can want publique rewards and incouragements: but as it was said of Paulinus Bishop of Nola, in Italy, Aequiori animo sua pertulit damna, quam alii sua lucra: No man deplored the publique distracti­ons more, and his own depressions less, than this wise and worthy Bi­shop; he still enjoyed himself in an holy and happy tranquility, as much, nay much more, than any of his de­stroyers, whom he lived to see dri­ven as chaffe too and fro, with every wind, till they were hurried to Democracy, to Stratocracy, to Anarchy, both in Church and State.

§. After many Tragedies, which he had seen and suffered, it was a great reviving to his age, to find the noble respects of your honourable Society, shining upon him, and in him, upon all worthy Bishops, and Episcopal Divines; You were desi­rous [Page]to be his Diocess, to own him as a Father in God; And as you deserved, so I know he intended you the best recompences he was able to give you, out of the rich treasury of his learned and pious soul, if God had spared him life and health; As you have the honour to be the emi­nent orbe, and publique Sphear, in which this great Star of learning and religion, of Episcopal desert, and dignity, last moved, both in and out of this world; The Mount Nebo, to which this Moses was to ascend, and there to dye; So it is but just you should have this Monu­ment of singular honour, and re­nown, so long as the name and me­mory of Bishop Brounrig survives, which I presume will be very long; (For he had (omnia victura et sempi­terna, praeter corpusculum,) all things living and lasting to eternity, except his body,) especially, if I have in this work (which is thus De­dicated to you,) done him and you, the present, and after age, that right which I intended, and of which I have thus given the world some ac­count [Page]as to your particular merit towards him, which was my second undertaking.

§. My last work in this Epistle is, to crave your patrociny, for my vin­dication, both against Romish par­tiality, whose designe and interest is to decry and destroy all Reformed Bishops; and also against those im­moderate Antypathies, which others have taken up, against all presiden­tial Episcopacy, and Diocesan Bi­shops; though never so reformed in Doctrine and Manners; Yea and cir­cumscribed by good Laws of Church and State: Not that I fear the wit, which is not overgreat, or the spite which is not very small, of those un­reasonable Episcopomastix, whose ma­lice is as blind, as it is bold, against all Bishops, good and bad, precious and vile, Popish and Primitive Epis­copacy. They shall do well to try their Teeth on this file, to confute any one particular, which I have averred of this excellent Bishop, who (together with many others, his reverend Brethren, (of the last edition and perdition) now with God, (as Usher, Hall, Morton, [Page]Davenant, Prideaux, Winniffe, Westfeild, Potter, and others,) were as far from being drones, and idle bellys, Tyrants and oppressors, Po­pish or antichristian, as those are, who are the most unjust calumniators of them, and their Episcopal dignity; which hath been so antient and uni­versal in the Church of Christ, and is so necessary for the polity, and well be­ing of any Church, and was by them­selves so abundantly deserved, yea and worthily managed.

§. I well know how provoking a thing it is to some mens eyes and eares, to read or hear the praise of any man, who is not of their party, and faction; There are many, who have no patience to behold a Bishop carried to his grave in peace, and laid in the bed of honour; It is their Hell to see a pious Prelate conveyed to Heaven; as it was Dives his regret, to behold Lazarus in Abrahams bosom; Some have sought to make the very name of Bishop a crime, and to render the or­der, degree and honor of it odious, when the first is Scriptural, and given to Christ, first; next to the Apostles [Page]and their cheif Successors; the second is Ecclesiastical, of Primitive, Catho­lick, and Apostolick use.

§. There are, that wish all Bishops out of the world, with all their hearts; but withal they would have them buried in silence, and obscurity; For they are scared to see them walk after they are dead, as much as Herod was, least John Baptist, (whom he had behead­ed in a most wanton and frolick cru­elty,) had been revived in Christ; Some are afraid, least while the names and merits of our excellent English Bishops remaine, they might recover damages, for all the losses they have sustained; but in this I can secure their Excexcutors and Administrators, that if they can give God and their own consciences, a good account, none of these good Bishops, who are now departed in peace, and have seen the Salvation of God, will ever trouble them, being got above the af­fronts, injuries, indignities, and in­digencies of this world.

§. I know the formation of such a Statue, as must resemble, Bishop Brounrig, so burning and shining a [Page]light, must needs dash the unwel­come sparks and strictures of his well known worth, in all Antiepis­copal faces; just as an iron flaming from the forge doth, when wrought on a firme anvel by a strong arm. It is the miserie of many, virtutem vi­deant intabita bescant (que) relicta; first to want worth in themselves; next, not to be able to bear it in another: If envie against worthy Bishops is to be burst in pieces, this piece will do it; if sober moderate minds are re­concilable to venerable Episcopacy (as I believe many, nay most ministers and people now are) this will further invite and confirm them to study the Churches peace, and the honor of the Reformed Religion, no less than the comfort of their own calling, by returning to such temperament and patterns of Episcopal presiden­cy, as were to be seen in Bishop Broun­rig, and in many others of his order in England; in which were as worthy Presbyters, and as excellent Bishops as ever blest any Church, since the Apostles daies, for whom we have cause ever to bless the Divine benignity and [Page] mercy to this unworthy Nation.

§. I have otherwhere erected Tro­phies, and inscribed them to several Bishops of holy, honorable and happy memory in England; yea and I have demonstrated by a familiar and plain emblem, the vast disproportions that are in all histories and successions of the Church to be seen, between the goodly floridness, and fruitful pro­cerity of Christianity in all times, when it was preserved, protected, and prospered by Episcopal eminen­cy, authority and unity (which kept Bishops, Presbyters and people in a blessed harmony) compared to the mo­dern shrubs of novelty, variety, & dis­cord, which later ages have produced.

§. Nor could I forbear (upon this oc­casion) to set forth the industry, learn­ing eloquence gravitie, wisdom, mode­ration, patience, unspottedness, and holy perseverance of this excellent Bi­shop, by way of pleniary opposition, and full confutation, of that Idleness, illiterateness, barrenness, levity, im­prudence, riggidness, passionateness deformity and inconstancy, with which some men have been over­grown, [Page]as with a Manage or Lepro­sie, in this age, by their too great itch­ing, and scratching against all Episco­pacy, even till they fetched blood, and brought such a festring tetter and sore upon us, as is not easily healed.

§. Wherein I have come short of Bi­shop Brounrigs worth, your unani­mous pleadings, and potent eloquence (full of reason and justice, of lear­ning and religion, of order and po­licy) may best supply my many defects, indeed there was need of another Brounrig, to have described him.

§. Wherefore, knowing my own dis­proportions I thought it the best way I could take, to releive them first, by se­riously studying of this great pattern, next by flying to your protection, whose honor is now inseparable from this worthy Bishops, no less than his ashes are from your antient Temple, which since its first consecrating by Heracli­us, Patriarch of Jerusalem, (Anno Christ. 1185. in the 31. of Hen. the 2.) to this day, had never any de­posite, of greater learning, then your famous Selden, or of greater piety and veneration, than your and our [Page]reverend Brounrig, who as little needs any Apology to be made for him, as the age greatly needs, repentance, for treating him so much below his worth, and myself a great Apology, for my adventuring on so great a work.

§. If it be necessary for me fur­ther to disarm or lessen that envy which possibly may befall me, for the honour of this service, which I have done to the name, memory and me­rit, of this worthy Bishop, and in him, to all good Bishops, I am willing to conclude, as St. Bernard doth in his modest and humble oratory, upon a like occasion, Dignus sane ille qui laudaretur, sed indignus ego qui laudem, if the fire of Antiepisco­pal anger, must still be fed with some fewel, Parcite defunctis, in me con­vertite ferrum, let them spare the dead, and fix their talons or teeth on me, who am yet living, who am content not to be commended by them, or any malevolent Reader, yet I am sure this reverend Bishop, was most worthy to be commended by me, and all good men, which is then most effectu­ally [Page]done, by your selves (O worthy Gentlemen) and all equanimous Readers, when his piety, prudence, zeal, courage, humility, charity, and judicious, constancy, in Church and State, are most exactly imi­tated by your selves, and others, which is the just and serious ambition of

Your very humble ser­vant in Christ. IOHN GAUDEN.

ERRATA.

PAge 5. Line 8. read are for is, p. 8.l.13.r. audible, p. 33. l. 12. add when yet, p. 24. l. 4. by for lie, p. 45. l. 1. r. Moenis, p. 56. l. 20. Oracles for creeds, p. 58. l. 28. [...] for [...], p. 59. l. 11. r. Elisha, p. 62. l. 3. r. co­veted, p. 71. l. 1. r. autedate, p. 105. r. Anti­signani, p. 155. l. 9. f. warp for worship, p. 177. l. 1. r. [...], p. 184. l. 7. r. princi­ples, p. 245. [...]. In Epitaphio, p. 3. l. 4. r. Bonorum.

A SERMON Preached at the Funeral of Ralph Brounrig, D.D. LATE L. BP. of EXCESTER.

2 KING. 2.12.‘And Elisha saw it and he cried, My Father, my Father; the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof! and he saw him no more; and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.’

§. ALthough no man is more ambitious then my self to pay all due respects to that Reverend and justly honored Prelate, whose Fune­rals [Page 2]we this day celebrate; yet I should discover too much ignorance of my own disproportion to so grand a Personage, to so sad an oc­casion, and so ample an expectation, as I know possesseth you (right Ho­norable, Worthie and Christian Audi­tors) if I had ambitiously obtruded my self upon this so important a Province, for which many others might have been found much more apt and adequate than my self.

§. But being unexpectedly cal­led to this performance by those worthy Friends of the deceased, to whom he had chiefly committed the care of his decent Interment, I durst not be either so ingrateful to the merits and favour of this ex­cellent Bishop (of which I had great experience for many years while he lived) or so diffident of Gods gracious assistance, and your inge­nuous acceptance of my endeavors, as to refuse so noble an imployment; What is objectable either by my self or others, as to my defects, may possibly be supplied, either by those great respects of love and honor [Page 3]which I ever had, and still have to this Venerable Bishop, or by your Christian candor, or by the Divine grace, which is the fountain of all holy sufficiency, which as I humbly beg of God, so I less despair of it, con­sidering my work and design is not to adorn a Roman but a Christi­an Funeral: I am to speak (non ad plausum, sed ad planctum; non ad pompam, sed ad pietatem) not for pomp, but piety; not to gain your applause, but to amend your and my own lives; as discoursing of a dead man to such as are dai­ly dying and decaying with my self.

§. He speaks best of the deser­ving dead, who leaves the living better than he found them; which might be your happy improvement (honored and beloved) if as you have an Eliah now departed, so you had an Elisha deploring his de­parture: you have indeed seen or heard the first ( [...], as St. Basil speaks, the migration and as­sumption of this great Prophet) [Page 4]you may be most probable to enjoy the second if you joyn with me in Elisha's prayer; Vers. 9. not that a double portion of this Eliah's spirit may be upon me; no, I have not so immo­dest an ambition to excel; a de­cimation will be a great addition; the Tenth part of the Wisdom, Learning, Judgement, Eloquence, Zeal, Courage, Constancy, Gravi­ty and Majesty of this excellent Bishop, will make not onely a com­petent, but as the world is now shrunk, a very compleat Minister; I may tell you the gleanings of this worthy Prelate would be beyond most Presbyters harvests; and his ra­cemation, or after-gatherings, beyond their proudest Vintages. However, since Eliah's work is not to be done without some portion of Eliahs spirit; this is the onely favour next your patience, wherein I crave your concurrence.

§. But I must not detain you long in the porch or preface, when I have two ample edifices with ma­ny fair rooms in them, through which I am to lead you.

§. The first is in this read Text which I have set before your eyes, which was indeed the first that came into my mind as soon as I had a sum­mons to preach on this occasion; The second in that dead Text which is now hidden from your eyes: In both of them there is, as Christ saith of his Fathers house, [...], many Mansions; but I must not tar­ry long in any one, that I may give you some prospect of them all.

§. I begin at the first; And E­lisha saw it, &c.

The words set forth to us,

First, An eminent person, Elisha.

Secondly, His emphatick actions, which are many.

  • 1. His Vision, as to that strange appearance and transaction of Eliah's rapture; He saw it.
  • 2. His exclamation, or vocifera­tion; he cried out.
  • 3. His expressions,
    • 1. As to his private relation and affection; My Father, my Father.
    • 2. As to the publick con­cern, and importance; The [Page 6]chariot of Israel and the horse­men thereof.
  • 4. The cessation or period of the Vision; He saw him no more.
  • 5. His solemn lamentation, set forth by rending his own cloaths in two pieces.

1. In this eminent person Elisha, though many other things be very considerable, The person Elisha consi­dered in his succession to Eliah. yet I shall chiefly fix upon him as the person special­ly designed to be Eliahs Successor in the Prophetick Office, both as to ordinary and extraordinary du­ties, for the service of God and the Church yet remaining in Israel, although now among much rubbish and ruine, sullied with Idolatry and great Apostacy, yet the things that remain are not to be neglect­ed, even those few that had not yet bowed the knee to Baal. Churches must not be cast off, nor Christians left without Prophets, Pastors, and Bishops, because of great disorders and degenerations that may by He­resie, Schism or persecution befal them; those few sheep must not be left in the wilderness without [Page 7]some shepherds to feed and guide them.

§. Here I cannot but observe, 1 King. 19.16, 19. not onely the care of the Prophet Eliah, but of God himself, by whose special mandate Eliah was to no­minate and annoint such an one as might be meet to succeed him in his holy function, as a Prophet, yea, as the Father or chief President and Master, (for so the sons of the Pro­phets call Eliah) of all the other sons who were brought up in the ordinary Schools and Nurseries of the Prophets.

As nothing is more necessary for mankind, The blessing and necessity of an holy suc­cession of Mi­nisters in the Church. than to have some to teach them the will of God, and the way of true Religion, which differenceth them from beasts, and leads them to eternal happiness; so nothing is more an evidence of Gods indulgence and mercy to any people, than to furnish them from among their brethren with such an holy succession of Prophets and Pa­stors, of Priests and Ministers, of Bishops and Fresbyters, of Teachers and Rulers in things sacred and spi­ritual, [Page 8]as may least expose the pro­fession of Religion to any doubt, disorder, division, defect, interrupti­on or uncertainty.

When true Religion and the acceptable service of God was first planted in the single families of the Patriarchs (as rare flowers are in their severall fair pots) then was God their more immediate Prophet and Instructer, The Patri­archal succes­sion in families in dreams and night­visions, in ocular and sensible appa­ritions by day, in audable and ar­ticular expressions, or in mental il­luminations: So to Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; yet so, as the holy Fathers of those fa­milies were at once as successive Princes, Priests, and Prophets to their families, taking care to teach their posterity, children, and ser­vants the true fear and worship of God, Gen. 18.19. which the Lord promiseth himself from Abraham; Iosh. 24.15. and Joshua promiseth to God for himself and his house.

Afterward, After succes­sioning eater Polities. when the Church of God multiplied from a family to a grand Polity, or community (which [Page 9]required those Laws and constitu­tions, both Civil and Ecclesiastical, together with the execution of them, by Princes, Priests and pro­phets, which might best preserve humane society, within those bounds of honesty and holiness, and within the enjoyment of those bles­sings which might answer all just and good desires, either as to the enjoyment of their lives, estates, and liberties in peace, or as to the ser­ving of God, and keeping commu­nion with him in those holy ways of his worship and service which he required of them for their good, as well as his own glory) then was it that the Lord either by special de­signation, or by setled succession, furnished his Church with such Prin­ces, Judges, Priests and Prophets, as he saw necessary for them.

Yea, Ecclesiastical order and suc­ce [...]on most necessary. whatever scambling and con­fusion in Civil and Regular Magistra­cy mens ambition brought on the state of the Jews, yet the Church or­der and polity of Religion, was so fix­ed in Aarons family, as to the con­stant Primacy of the Priesthood, and [Page 10]in the Tribe of Levi, as to the in­ferior offices and services, that it continued many hundred of years after their Kings, and after their Captivity, inviolated among the Jews; nor was that sacred Order and Succession quite depraved in Israel, till a most unreasonable and detestable reason of state policy, lay­ing aside all true sense and consci­ence of piety, 1 King. 12.31. set up golden calves for gods to the silly people; and con­secrated the meanest of the people to serve them: Meet Priests indeed for such bruitish gods.

When the great Prophet Moses was to leave the world, Moses his care for succession. yet he leaves the Church this legacy of comfort, as to the divine care and providence for a succession; The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee of thy brethren like unto me, unto him you shall hearken; which as it was most eminently and consummatively fulfilled in our bles­sed Saviour (as Philip tells Natha­nael, Iohn 1.45. Acts 3.22. Acts 7.37. and as St. Peter with St. Ste­phen convince the Jewes, who was the great inspirer and complea­ter [Page 11]of the Prophets, and their Pro­phesies) so it was also fulfilled in those intermediate Prophets, which followed Moses, even to John Bap­tist, whom God sent successively to preserve, reform and restore true Religion in the Church.

The Priestly, Prophetick, Ministerial successive au­thority as ne­cessary as ma­gistratick. and Ministerial Office is not less neces­sary in the Church, than the Prince­ly and Magistratick power is in the State, unless men judge their souls eternal interests less precious than those of their bodies and estates: Yea for the most part, Gods Pro­vidence hath so distinguished them that when there were the best Prin­ces, yet there were added to them, eminent Prophets, besides the con­stant Priests; as in Davids time, where Samuel, Gad and Nathan were imployed.

And here in the great revolt, and sad Apostacy of Israel, from Gods and Davids house, yet the Lord is not wanting to send an Eliah, and when he is to be gone, order is taken for the appointing Elisha to succeed him; the Ordinances of heaven, 1 Kings 16.1 [...].1 [...]. of [Page 12]night and day, summer and winter, of Spring and Harvest, Gen. 8 22. are not more necessary by the successive motions of Sun, and Moon, and Stars, than those Ministers and Ministrations are, by which true Religion, and an autoritative order in the Church are maintained in present, and du­ly derived to posterity.

Hence our blessed Saviour, Our blessed Saviours care of succession in the Church. Iohn 20.20. the great Minister and Fulfiller of all righteousness, before his ascention took care for the Apostolick confir­mation, Consecration, Mission and Commission, as Stewards and Am­bassadors in his stead, to be sent by him as he was by his Father.

The Apostles also before their departure had the like care, as is evident in the history of the Acts, and in the charge that St. Paul gives to Timothy and Titus, within their respective Provinces and Diocesses to commit the Evangelical, spiritu­al power and Ministry, as a sacred depositum to faithful and able men, that may as Bishops and Pastors, 2 Tim. 2.2. as Presbyters and Teachers, both in­struct and rule the Church or flock [Page 13]of Christ committed to their charge, according to the several proporti­ons and combinations of those Ec­clesiastical Societies, over which not only many Teachers were ordain­ed, but also some one Father or Angel was constituted and owned by the Spirit of Christ, as the [...], Rev. 2, & 3, chap. chief President over them, the head or centre of order and union; the principal Conservator and Dis­penser of all Ecclesiastical power and authority, which Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Origen, and all the Anti­ents counted Successiones & successo­res Apostolorum; having the same [...], gift and character in ordina­ry which the Apostles had, either as Presbyters or Presidents in the Church.

§. Succession sig­nalised by some visible ceremony. That this might be done the more signally and conspicuously, so as all might take notice of the solemn trausaction, in a business of so sacred and great importance to the Church, there was not onely due trial to be made of mens abilities inward and outward for such undertakings; but they were to be invested with [Page 14]the Ecclesiastical power, and admit­ted to the exercise of those sacred Ministrations by some evident cere­monies, as tokens of Gods Ordina­tion, the Clergies approbation, and the peoples acceptance of them. So little is God an enemy (as some have strongly fancied) to all decent ceremonies in Religion, which are shadows indeed of good things, with whose substance they well agree. We see that not only Sacramental mysteries even in the Gospel, as well as under the Law, are set forth by them, and cloathed all over with them, as to the outside or sign; but also the Ordination of Priests, Pro­phets, and all Church Ministers or­dinary and extraordinary have been adorned by them: Elisha is first annointed by Eliah, [...] Kings 19.19. after this Eliah casts his mantle upon him, even that mantle which afterward fell from Eliah ascending, and was as an em­blem of his spirit, with which Elisha was to be cloathed. So our Saviour breathed on the Apostles, Ioh. 20.21, 22. when he said, Receive the Holy Ghost: So the Apostles used imposition of hands, [Page 15]to denote their ordained Succes­sors, 1 Tim. 5.22. and 4.14. Heb. 6.6. which ceremony the Church of Christ in all ages hath observed, in the successive Ordinations of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons, as one of the fundamentals of the Churches polity, order and power. Not that these outward Rites and Ceremonies are of the essence of the duty of the divine power, but for the evidence of that order and authority which is necessary, that there may be nothing dubious, or doubtful, or confused; or upon bare presumptions and conjectures in the Churches sacred Ministry; but such an authority as is both powerful in its efficacy, and pregnant and sig­nal in its derivation and execution, that none might undertake the work, who is not constituted to be a Workman, nor any withdraw from it who is rightly furnished for so worthy a Work, as the Apostle calls the work of a Bishop, either the minores Episcopi, which are or­derly Presbyters, or the majores Presbyteri, which are the paternal Bishops.

We see Eliahs spirit falls on none but his annointed Successor; The spirit and power follows the lawful suc­cession. nor was any so fit for the appointment and succession as Elisha; a man in­deed of plain breeding, of a coun­try, yet honest way of living, which is no prejudice or impediment when God intended to furnish him with Eliahs spirit, 1 Kings 19.19. with extraordinary gifts and endowments, with the power from on high, as Christ did his fishermen when he made them fishers of men; Luk. 5.10. This was in one hour more to their improvement than all Schools and Ʋniversities, all literature and education, all languages, arts, sci­ences, and Scriptures. But when these special gifts which were mi­raculous, are not given, nor need­ful in the ordinary ministration, pro­pagation and preservation of Reli­gion, there reading, and study, and diligence, and education, and Schools of the Prophets, are the conduits of Gods good and perfect gifts con­veyed by holy industry and prayer to those that study to shew them­selves workmen that need not to be ashamed, 2 Tim 2 15. when once they are sancti­fied [Page 17]or set apart by God, and the Church, as here Elisha was.

In whom doubtless God and E­liah had seen something that expres­sed a very gracious and sincere heart, by an humble, holy, Elisha's fitness to succeed E­liah. and un­blameable life: We never finde that men of leud or scandalous lives are called to be Prophets of God, or allowed to be made Preachers, and Bishops of the Church, wherein the antient Canons of the Affrican and other Churches were very strict and circumspect, whom, when, and how they were ordained Bishops, Pres­byters, or Deacons; St. Paul re­quires that they should be not on­ly unblameable, but of good report even among the Heathens and unbe­leivers, as to matters of Justice, Mo­rality, and common honesty, as well as sound and orthodox in the Chri­stian faith.

§. Elisha discovers an excellent spirit, and fit for a Prophet of God, 2 Kings 2.2, 4, 6 not only by his individual adherency to Eliah, three times piously diso­beying his commands, when he bade him leave him; As the Lord [Page 18]liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee: The love of good company is a good sign of a good conscience; a very good way to a good life, and a ready means to make us partakers of spiritual gifts; but further Elisha shews a most de­vout and divine soul in him, fit to make a Prophet to succeed Eliah; when first he doth not preposte­rously and presumptuously obtrude himself upon the holy Office and Succession, but attends Gods call, and the Prophets appointment of him. Secondly, When he sees it is the will of God, and his father Eliah, he doth not morosely refuse, or de­precate and wave the imployment, as some had done; Moses, and Jere­miah after (though he knew it would be heavy and hot service in so bad times, but submits to that (onus, no less than honos) burthen as well as honor God imposeth on him.) Thirdly, In order to his support and encouragement in the work, he doth not covetously or ambitious­ly look to the preferment or honor, or profit, which might easily follow [Page 19]such an imployment, especially if merchandise might be made of mi­racles, as Gehazi designed; and of the Gospel, if Ministers turned Sucklers and Hucksters of the word of God, as the Apostle taxeth some who were greedy of filthy lucre; no, but his earnest and only desire is for a double portion of Eliahs spirit to be upon him; not that he might have more glory, but be able to do more good, 1 Kings 9. [...]4 Iames 17 with more courage and con­stancy, with less dejection and melan­choly despondency than Eliah, who was a man subject to like human passions; and sometimes prone to fall not on­ly into despiciencies and weariness of life, but even to despair, as to the cause of God and true Religi­on. It is (as Chrysologus calls it) a commendable emulation to imitate the best men; and a pious ambiti­on to desire to excel them in spiri­tual gifts and graces, which the A­postle St. Paul excites all to covet in their places; which the more bright and excelling they are (like the light of the sun) the more they dispel all the vapors, mists and fogs of humane [Page 20]passions or pride, which by fits dar­ken the souls of holy men.

I cannot here but own my de­sires, The defective and dubious succession of Evangelical Ministers very deplorable. and deplore the state of our times, which forbids me almost to hope their accomplishment, as to any orderly and meet succession of E­vangelical Prophets, and Pastors, Bi­shops and Presbyters in this Church; our Eliah's dayly drop away, I do not see any care taken for Elisha's to suceed them, in such compleat, clear and indisputable ways of holy Or­dination and Succession, as may most avoid any shew of faction, no­velty and schism; and be most uni­form to the Antient, Catholick, pri­mitive, Apostolick, and uniform pattern, which never wanted in any setled Church either Presbyters to chuse and assist the Bishops; or Bishops after the Apostles to try, ordain, o­versee and govern with the Counsel of Presbyters, and all other degrees, and orders in the Church.

Darkness, disputes, divisions, di­stractions dissatisfactions and con­fusions must needs follow that Ar­my or City, that knows not who [Page 21]are its Commission officers, or lawful and authorised Magistrates; so must it needs be in the Church, when Christians know not who are their Fathers, their Stewards, their Shep­herds, their Bishops, or their Pres­byters.

There is nothing next the funda­mentals of faith, in which the Church should be more clear and confident­ly ascertained than in this, the [...], Rom. 10.15 Ordination and succession of their Evangelical Prophets; for how shall they preach or rule unless they be lawfully sent, and set o­ver the houshold of faith, Christs family? and how shall others, as Sons, pay respect to them as Fa­thers, if they either doubt or de­ny that relation? Iohn 10.1 If every one may affect new ways, by-paths, and postern doors, or climb over the wall, or use force and faction to conse­crate himself or any other a Mini­ster in the Church, according as him­self, or his party in every family, conventicle or congregation fan­cies best, we may look for good store of Jerobohams calves and [Page 22] Idols, as well as Priests; such as vul­gar folly, faction and presumption lists to set up to themselves.

§. But of Eliahs and Elisha's few or none may be expected, when once Ordinations are various, no­vel, defective, mutually destructive, spurious, and so dubious, as no learned, judicious and upright­hearted Schollars or other sincere Christians can in conscience or pru­dence be satisfied with them, either as to holy duties to be done by them, or as to authority inherent in them, or the succession derivable from them, or lastly as to the reverence and honor to be paid to them.

§. Certainly there is but one re­gular, authentick Catholick and compleat way of Ecclesiastical Or­dination and Succession, as this re­verend Bishop sometimes expressed his sense to me. What that was by Bishops and Presbyters, no man can be ignorant that is not so willingly; for the light of Scripture, and Ec­clesiastical history is clear as the sun [Page 23]at noon day; and although he, with others of our learned English Bishops, thought it may be venial or tole­rable in some cases of persecution, necessity, and civil obstructions (which either Prince or people may some­time put on the Church) for some Christian Pastors and people to di­vert to new and by-ways, such as they are permitted to walk in, yet they desire and approve the better, and more excellent way: yet there is no wisdom of Reason or Religion for any Church to forsake the good old way, Ier. 6.16. when they might happily walk in it, onely to give themselves the popular and pittiful pleasure of diverting to such odd broken ways, as possibly may with much scrambling, scratching and dif­ficulty bring them at last to the same journeys end with the other; yet so as through briars and thorns. But I have done with the person of Eli­sha, as here nominated, and designed for Eliah's Successor.

Secondly, I come to the Vision, in which we are to consider, [Page 24]

  • 1 The object, What he saw.
    The strange­fiery appariti­on of Eliah's assumption.
  • 2 The act, or seeing.

The Object, It; That is all that strange apparition, the wonderful and supernatural manner of Eliah's assumption by a fiery chariot and horses of fire, which did gently slide under him, and so took him up that he appeared tanquam auriga lucis, as sitting in the chariot, driving and managing the horses of it; like an holy Phaeton, not fabulous and ficti­tious, but real and visible to Elisha's bodily eyes.

All which heavenly pomp and pa­rada was no other but a manifestati­on of the glory of God, by such An­gelick ministratious, in the way of fire, figured like chariot and horses.

The Observation in general is ob­vious from Scripture histories, Observ. 1 Of Gods glo­ry manifested by fire. How God is pleased to make his special presence and glory appear to men by way of fire, Exod. 3.2. either First, immedi­ately, and in mercy; so to Moses in the bush, which was on fire, yet consumed not: an emblem, First, How God oft chuseth to reveal him­self, [Page 25]not in the ways of worldly wisdom, and power or greatness, as in tall cedars, and strong okes, but in shrubs and bushes, weak and contemptible means: Secondly, Of the state of the Church in this world, which may seem to be all on fire by persecution, as the bush or three children in the furnace, yet is not burned or wasted thereby. Third­ly, To shew there is most of Gods presence, where the soul is most in­flamed with the love of God and zeal for his glory, which is a fire not con­sumptive but refining; not predatici­ous to any, but propitious to all true Saints; destructive to nothing but our sins and corruptions which are our dross.

Or secondly, Mediately, Angels appear in fire. Psalm 104.4 Heb. 27 God makes use of the Angels as Mini­string Spirits, in the similitude of flaming fire.

In both, to shew, not only that spiritual purity, activity and potency which is in God, and proportionably in the holy Angels, but also how terrible he can be and will be at last to the wicked men and Angels too, [Page 26]to whom he will be as a consuming fire; the breath of the Lords an­ger kindling the fire of Tophet with everlasting burnings which none can quench.

From the renown of such fiery apparitions and Gods appointment of holy fire, Levit. 6.12. & 5.24. which first came down from heaven, to be ever kept alive on his altar, The Heathens had those high fancies of fire, That it was a god, and the Conqueror of all things; so worshipped by the Cal­deans, and venerated by the Ro­mans, which their Vestal virgins were to keep unextinguished, that they might have this emblem at least of their gods and their souls im­mortality.

Secondly, Observ. 2 We may observe the different dispensations of Gods power and pleasure in the way of fire, The different events of Gods fiery dispensations. 1 Penal. either in judgement or mercy, for good and evil, for preservation or destruction.

His Justice rains hell fire from heaven upon the impudent and pre­posterous sinners of Sodom and Go­morah; Gen. 19.24 unnatural lusts are punish­ed [Page 27]with preternatural fires.

He destroys Nadab and Abihu by fire, for offering with culinary, N [...]mb. 3.4 and 10.3 com­mon or strange, and unconsecrated sire their incense and sacrifice; to shew that he will be sanctified in all that draw near to serve him, which they must do after his own pre­scriptions, not mans inventions, in the matter, essence and substance of his worship. He blasteth some of Jobs flocks with fire or lightning, Iob 1.16 which came from the aerial or first heaven, by Gods permission, of the devils impression.

He sends fire from heaven at E­liah's word upon those surly and su­percilious Captains with their Fifties who carried themselves to the Prophet Eliah with such pride, rudeness and irreverence, 2 Kings 1. as was a re­proach to the God of Eliah, and that Prophetick authority with which he was invested.

Yet the same God (as we have shewed) began his first familiarity of talking with Moses face to face by the vision of fire in the bush. 2 Propitious. He after continued the visible sign of [Page 28]his presence and perfection to the Jews in the wilderness by a pillar of fire shining in the night. Exod. 40.38.

So to Prophets, Ezek. 1.4. and [...].2. and other holy men, as to Manoah, as to Eliah, God manifested his acceptance of their persons, sacrifices and prayers by fie­ry apparitions of his glory, yet in a way of mercy.

So here again in Eliah, a fiery messenger is sent to take him out of this world, not to his torment or consumption, but to his honor and consummation: This chariot and horses are sent for him, as those Joseph sent to Jacob to bring him out of a land of famine, Gen. 45.27 to a place of plenty.

Divine Omnipotence oft makes different use and ends of the same methods and things; Same death, but different fates of good and bad. the death and departure of good and bad out of this world may seem and is most what the same, as to the visible way and manner; but vastly distant as to the last fate and end; as the fool (that is the wicked) dieth (saith Solomon) so dies the wise (that is the holy and good man) there Eccles. 2.15, 16 [Page 29]is one end to them both; by sword, or plague, or famine, or sickness, or prison, or torment; the fire of feavors, and the fire of fagots con­sumes martyrs and malefactors, Gods witnesses and the devils witches; yet it shall be well with the righte­ous that fear before God, Eccles. 8.13 Luke 16. [...]2 but not with the wicked; Lazarus died, and Dives died; the one on the dung­hil, the other on his purple and im­broidered bed; but the Angels car­ried Lazarus to Abrahams bosom to a refrigerating fire, and the devils attend Dives as a malefactor to hell, that is to a scorching and tormenting fire; wicked men are swept as dung from the face of the earth, by what­ever death they die, never so pla­cid and pompous, Iob 20.7 Mal. 3.17 without any horrors and pangs in their death; but good men, as Gods Jewels, are made up and laid up in his best cabinet, be their deaths never so horrid and painful; Tares and wheat are both cut up by the same hand; but the one to be cast into unquenchable fire, Matth. 13.20 the other to be gathered into ever­lasting Mansions. As the terrors of [Page 30]God and afflictions, even to death it self, in what way soever God or­ders our glorifying him, Rom. 8.28. become bles­sings, and work together for good to those that love God; so to wick­ed men, Psal. 6 [...]. [...]2 their table is a snare, their prosperity cumulates their misery; the blessings they enjoy, or rather abuse, (soure as sweet-meats in summer) curses; to one, death is as the blast­ings of the breath of Gods anger to consume them; the Lord is not in that fire which devours the un­godly, save only in his power and vengeance, which gives this cup of fire and brimstone to drink, Ps. 11.6. To the other it is as a gentle breath, or sweet refreshing gale, when God takes their souls to him as he did Moses's with a kiss, as some Rabins interpret that [...], Deut. 34.4 Moses died, super os Domini, at the word, or upon the mouth of the Lord.

This way of Gods providence to Eliah, The Analogy of Eliah's de­parture to his life. by fiery chariot and horses to take him out of the world to glory, is remarkable for two things.

First, The Analogy and propor­tion; [Page 31]the Talio or recompence where­with God testifies his approbation of Eliah's temper, as to that high and heroick zeal, which he ever shewed to the glory of God, and true Religion; he had [...], flagrantissimam animam, a most flaming soul, not to be quen­ched or damped in Gods cause [...]; he was as a sacred Salamander, im­patient of any cold, or lukewarm, or halting, or dough-baked constituti­on in Religion; he had not onely wrought miraculous execution of Gods vengeance by fire, 2 Kings 1. to chastise the military insolence of some, but he had pleaded Gods cause against Baal and his Priests by fire which came down from heaven, and de­cided the controversie, whether the Lord or Baal was God; a fire not to be obstructed, 1 Kings 18.17 damped or quenched by all the effusion of water upon the Sacrifice and Altar; giving hereby a reflexive character and commendation of the magisterial, and irresistible, and unquenchable zeal wherewith Eliah carried on the interests of God and Religion, [Page 32]against all the terrors and threats of Ahab and Jezebel, also against the ingrateful levities and Apostacies of the people of Israel; many times God suits mens deaths to their lives and tempers, as he did this milde, but majestick Bishops; such as are of meek and calme spirits oft die without any great pain, sometimes without any; yea, I have been very credibly informed of one Mr. Lancaster, a very milde, grave, and worthy Minister, who died about twenty years past, that there was so loud and sweet a con­sort of musick heard by him, and those about him for above half an hour before he died, that the good man owned it as a signal token of Gods indulgence to him, thus to send for him, and to sweeten his death by so heavenly an harmony, with the close of which he gave up the ghost. On the other side, men of high choler, of unmortified and un­sanctified passions, do not only give themselves much trouble in life, but many times their deaths are full of no less terror than torment, espe­cially [Page 33]if they die in their vigor, or before time and infirmity had much mortified and emaciated their natural strength and tem­per.

Secondly, The honor done Eliah by this fiery con­voy. The manner of Eliah's departure by chariot and horses of fire, was a notable instance of the great value and honor which God would set upon him, as his Prophet, of whom the world was not worthy, and yet it thought him not worthy to live; 1 Kings 18 18 Ahab the King hates him as a publick enemy, and troubler of Israel; Jezebel the Queen abhors him, a woman implacably despe­rate, the Court Parasites are all ge­nerally to the same tune, except good Obadiah; the common peo­ple (as always) are pleased with any liberty, (that lets them plough and sow, buy and sell) novelty and a­postacy, hating all men that are out of favour, persecuted and un­prosperous, though never so pious; On all sides good Eliah is driven to fly into wildernesses, to prefer wilde beasts before vile men (Quorum so­cietas omni solitudine tristior) whose [Page 34]society was more sad than any so­litude; yet this poor, yet precious man, 1 Kings 19.4 who was even weary of life, and petitioned to dye out of a de­spondency of minde in desperate times, God not onely sets mira­culous marks of his favour upon him, by frequent intercourse of Angels to him, and by working wonders by him and for him, while he lives thus persecuted and de­spised of men; but he must not die an ordinary death, either with that squallor, pallor or pain which usually attends the sordidness of sickness, and those languishings with which the souls of poor mor­tals usually take their leave of their bodies, as prisoners do of their sad and nasty prison; no, such an ex­taordinary pomp and honor must be had at his vale and departure, as shall declare him to all ages a man as high in Gods favour, as Solomon was in Davids, 1 K [...]ngs 1.33 when he ordered his designation to the Crown, to be signified by setting him on his own Mule, 1 sther 6.8 or as Haman fancied himself in Ahasuerus's when he [Page 35]chose the Royal Robe, and Horse, and Crown to express to the people whom the King delighted to honor: There is an Embassie of Angels sent, a Troop of the host of heaven; Gods immediate guard, or a tri­umphant chariot and horses of fire, such as the divine Majesty is pleas­ed to own and use for the speci­al Harbingers, Convoys and Atten­dants of his glory; these must, as ministring spirits wait upon Eliah, as a person greatly beloved of God, and now to be highly honored be­yond all mortals, at his decessit; which must not be by the common way of death, but of such a trans­port and change to glory, as might be to others a presage and prelu­dium, as of the ascention of Christ, so of the general resurrection, when Christ shall appear in flaming fire to take vengeance of ungodly men that obey not the Gospel; 1 Thess. 1.17 2 Thess 2.8 but to make a general assumption of the godly to himself, first into the air, then into the Empyrean or highest heaven of glory, to be ever with the Lord; Psal. 116.1 [...] so precious in the sight of the Lord is the [Page 36]death of his Saints, especially of his Prophets and faithful Ministers; and such honor in time shall they all have in their several degrees and proportions, how scurvily and contemptuously soever the world notes them for a time, as it did the very Son of God, who was first crucified and then ascended to glo­ry; not in Eliah's fiery chariot, but in a cool and refreshing cloud; to shew the different spirit which Christians under the Gospel, Acts 1.19 as fol­lowers of Christ, must be of, from that of Eliah under the Law, Luke 9.54, 55 as our Saviour told his Disciples, when they urged the practice of Eliah, for a president to justifie their hot spi­rits, thirsting for fire from heaven to execute their revenge, which he tells us is now to be done by Chri­stians with prayers and patience, with a quiet departure, without any more ado than shaking the dust off their feet as a witness against those that refused to entertain them and their doctrine. Luke 2.1 As Christ came in­to the world in a time of profound peace, when Augustus had shut the [Page 37]gates of Janus, so he continued all his life, and at last left the world without any perturbation of civil affairs.

But it is time for me to wind up the contemplation of Eliah's fiery rapture, Vse. Eliah's rapture not to be en­vied. with some useful medita­tion, which teacheth every good Christian to admire indeed, but not to envy, or repine at this so glori­ous and miraculous assumption: As we say of thunderbolts, Poena ad unum, terror ad omnes, The stroke may fall on but one, yet the terror upon many; so are these peculiar indulgencies of God to one holy man, the ground of general com­fort to all: If we have the same graces, we shall attain to the same glory (alia via, but ad eandem pa­triam) by another road, but to the same home and house of our heavenly Father. Iames 2.22 Abraham was called the friend of God; so is e­very one that is a true son of faith­ful Abraham, though kept at great­er distance, and used with less fa­miliarity; Noah and Lot, the three [Page 38]children and Daniel, had signal pre­servations; so mayst thou proporti­onably expect, Matth. 17.5 and have, if thou hast the same God; Peter, James and John saw the transfiguration of Christ; but all the Apostles, and all true be­lievers rejoyce in that news as a pledg and glimpse of glory where­of they shall at last be all spectators and partakers. 2 Cor. 12.2 St. Paul had his high rapture to the third heaven; so hath every good Christian, whose soul is no stranger to the holy exta­sies of humble, judicious, fervent and devout affections.

Many Martyrs had their fiery cha­riots and horses which carried their souls by flames of fagots to heaven, The parallels to Eliah's rap­ture. as that of holy Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, and Angel of that Church, when St. John wrote the Spirits let­ter, Rev. 2.8. whose body the mo­dest fire would not touch, while his soul was in it; the executioner was forced first to kill him, before he could burn him. Ardor affectuum, claritas fidei, charitatis flamma, can­dentes gratiae, certitudo gloriae, hi sunt ignei currus & equitatus, as St. [Page 39] Bernard: The holy fervor of our love to God, and our charity to others, our unfeigned faith, and refined graces, our earnest desires and blessed hopes to depart and be with Christ, Phii. 1.23. these are the fiery cha­riots and horses of every sincere Christian: Daily reading, medita­ting on the Word of God, with ho­ly ejaculations of our spirits to God, and warm inspirations of Gods Spi­rit in us; these (as St. Jerom com­mends to a Lady this circle of de­votion) are as the chariot and horses of fire, to carry thee up to heaven yet alive and in the body; these are as Jacobs Angels ascending and de­scending; there are [...], sa­cred feavers, or holy calentures in which every good Christian must take care to live that so he may die in them. It is to be wished by e­very good Christian, ut nec vivat nec moriatur sine febre; take heed of earthy, lukewarm, cold and dull tempers living, lest when we die our hearts be as Nabals, or Achito­phels, dead, desponding or despe­rate within us. No chariots or horses [Page 40]of fire, no good Angels, no inspirings or aspirings can be looked for at last by those that only mind things earthly, sensual, and devillish. The antient word of the Church was Sursum corda, Col. 3.2 and that [...], lift up your hearts; look upward, set your affections on things that are above, where Christ is; he will give his Angels charge of thee, to be thy conducters to heaven, as here they were of Eliahs; for where the soul is, Luke 16. there is the man, as the histo­rical parable of Lazarus and Dives imports, when one is said to be in A­brahams bosom, and the other in hell, long before their bodies were raised. Carry God while thou livest in the chariot of thy zealous soul, and thou shalt not want his chariot and horses of fire to attend thee when thou diest.

Secondly, The act or in­tuition. Having thus seen the Object, we are now to consider E­lisha's Vision, as to the act or intuiti­on it self, He saw it; he was [...], an eye-witness, by a real view, and ocular perception; not by another relation, or any imagination, or in­ward [Page 41]apparition to the fancy only; This is here so emphatically set down, not only to assure the truth of the transaction, but because it was the only condition, upon which Elisha's having a double portion of Eliahs spirit did depend. Vers. 10

It shews the high esteem Elisha had of that spiritual gift, Observ. The value ho­ly men have of spiritual gifts. which would at once enable him with pow­er of Prophesie and Miracles; there­fore he would not part from Eliah one step, no nor have his eye off him one minute, or wandering in the least twinckling from him; not that he had so rich a blessing, and great a boon barely for a look, or cast of his eye: No, but as To­status, Peter Martyr, and others observe, Intentione oculorum ani­mi intentio exprimitur; Lam. 3.51 the eye af­fected the heart, and the heart the eye: Elisha makes here an holy use of his bodily eyes, not only to ex­piate the usual vanity of them, but farther as a means appointed by Eliah, to convey that expected bles­sing of his spirit upon him; He was loth to take Eliahs place, and [Page 42]undertake his work as a Prophet of God, unless he had his spirit, if it might on any terms be had.

To which end his eyes lie com­pact, are made capable to serve him; therefore he fixeth them un­movably upon his Master, lest any surprise should defeat him of Master and spirit too; as the eyes of our bodies oft occasion much mischief to the soul; so if we look well to them, they may be instruments of much good; Numb. 21.9 Such as would have the benefit of healing, must look up to the brazen Serpent; Zach. 12.10 so look to Christ thou must, whom thy sins have pierced, if thou wilt be healed of the stings which thy lusts have made upon thee. They were or­dered to look to the Temple and Mercy-seat in prayer, [...] Kings 8.48 who desired to have their petitions accepted; these were types of Christ, on whom the believing and devout soul must always keep their eye habitually intent, but especially in holy duties, that they may enjoy not only the fancy and form, but the spirit and power of the duty.

Davids prayer was good, Psal. 119.37 Averte oculos Domine ne videant vanitatem, Lord turn away or divert my eyes from beholding vanity, by keeping them intent to better objects; he had avoided much sin and misery if he had done as he prayed, in the case of Bathsheba. Accordingly was the Churches practice, which eyed God as solicitously and reverenti­ally, Psalm 123.2 as a servant or handmaid doth their Master and Mistris.

Jobs piety would not stand to the curtesie of his eyes, but made a covenant with them, Iob 31.1 and bound them on all occasions to their good behaviour; knowing, that as no­thing is more suddenly or dange­rously moved than the eye, which is in every one as the centre, di­sposed to behold the worlds vaste circumference and hemisphere at once, and prone to turn the glory of all the creatures to sin, shame and vanity.

As the eyes are fenestrae animae, so, Portae paradisi aut inferni, the windows or ports of the soul by which it lets in or goes out to heaven [Page 44]or hell: Either as the Dove which having seen the squallor which the deluge of sin hath made on all things sublunary, returns to it self and to God (as Noah's did to the Ark) or else as the Raven it findes some vile carkass, Gen. 8.7, 9 and fixeth so on it, as never to retun again. Eyes are either full of the stars of heaven, or the sparks of hell: Eves eyes dazled with the forbidden fruit, betrayed all other senses and facul­ties of the soul.

It was not without cause that our Saviour in other things not inclined to too great austerities, Matth. 5.29 yet in this of the eye is so strict and severe, even to pulling it out; even the right eye, rather than to perish by the extravagancies and blastings of those ignis fatui, foolish flashes and offensive flames which reside in, or flow from the eye. Certainly it had been good for some to have been born blind, and not to have seen the light of the Sun, which hath filled their eyes with so many, not motes of vanity only, but beams of inordinate lusts, and vicious debau­cheries. [Page 45]We read of one Mavis an Asian Bishop, when blind, he was reproached by jeering Julian, that his Galilaean Jesus did not restore him to his sight; he blessed God that he was so happy as not to see such a monster of perfidy and apostacy as he was.

If the eyes which are the light of the body be sensually darkned, Matth. 6.23 the whole body must needs be very dangerously dark. O how can we hope with Job to see our Redeemer with these eyes, so vain, so proud, Iob 19.25 so wanton, so polluted, so prosti­tute; they had need be well washed with the eye water of penitent tears and these with the blood of Christ.

As Solomon adviseth to look to our feet, so to our eyes, Eccles 5.2 especially when we attend upon God in any holy duty and service, lest he pass by us (as Job speaks) and we discern him not; Iob 9.11 lest holy duties vanish out of our sight unminded, without any impression of the Spirit of God upon us by their means, a blessing not to be expected by those that [Page 46]are not diligent expectants, and vigi­lant supplicants for the Spirit of God in hearing, reading, praying, re­ceiving; yea in all the occurrences of providence to us for good or e­vil, in which Christ bids us still watch and pray lest we fall into tem­tation, Matth. 26.41.

§. The good in all duties is the Spirit, which goes with them as with Ezekiels wheels, and is given us to teach us a right use of them. Loose looks, and wandring spirits, lose Gods good Spirit, which is the life, and soul, and heaven of every du­ty; unless this move, there is no formation or new creation in us. Roaving souls, and scattered eyes have but a phantasm and shew of Religion, the meer husk and shell, which is at once the satisfacti­on and delusion of Hypocrites: The spirit (as St. Bernard observes) of a Sermon, a Prayer, a Sacrament, is lost while we are unattentive, looking and thinking of something else. Eliah had vanished, and E­lisha been defeated of the desired blessing of his doubled spirit, if he [Page 47]had been roaving but one mo­ment; his vigilant intention fulfills the condition, and obtains the aug­mented donative of his spirit.

2. General; The Vocifera­tion or crying out. I have done with the Vision, both the object and the sight of it. I come to the Vocifera­tion and crying out; In which we are to consider,

  • First, The ( [...]) Pathetick manner.
  • Secondly, The ( [...]) emphatick matter.

First, 1 The manner The manner is with pas­sion and commotion of Spirit, as in a business suddain, and of impor­tance, which justifieth no less than exacts from him this pattern of ear­nestness and vehemency, answering the wonder of it with a deserved a­stonishment.

Calme and even-spun tempers of mind do not become holy men at all times, and at all occasions; Observ. Pious pertuh­bation of spi­rit when sea­sonable. there are pious perturbations, which are as it were the ecchos of devout souls to the louder sound of Gods voyce; ve­hement yet sanctified passions, as of [Page 48]Love, Joy, Desire and Hope; so of Fear, and Terror, of Admira­tion and Dejection, of Horror and Consternation, yea, and self-despair, as St. 2 Cor. 1.8 Paul says of himself, are in some occasions and instances of Pro­vidence, not only comely, but com­mendable; especially in the extra­ordinary appearances of Gods glory, or dispensations of his providence and power.

So there fell upon Abraham an horror of great darkness at one time in his converse with God; Gen. 15.12 So upon Job, to the abhorring him­self in dust and ashes; Iob 42.6 thus Moses, exceedingly feared and trembled, Heb. 12.21 no less than the whole Congregation of Israel, when God gave the Law from Mount Sina; thus he broke the Tables which God had given him, when he was transported with just indignation against the calvish Idolaters; Phineas by a commen­dable zeal brake the usual bounds of native modesty, Numb. 25.8 slaying Zimri and Cosbi; [...]. David great­ly feared when God smote Ʋzzah for his rash touching of the Ark; 2 Sam. 6.8 [Page 49]other times he forgot the gravity of Kingly Majesty, in an high zeal and holy frolick of dancing before the Ark; and the same David more than once roared for the disquietness of his soul. Psalm. 38.8 We read Ezra tore his own hair, as a distracted man; Ezra 9.3 and Nehemiah the hair of others, Neh. 13.12 out of a pious impatience, to see the deformity of Religion unreformed; Gen. 27.38 yea Esau himself, though a man of a curst and fierce spirit, yet cried out with a very loud and bitter cry, when he was supplanted of his Fathers pri­mogenite blessing.

A Stoical restiveness doth not be­come the Saints and Servants of God: Iob 4.14 Eliphaz expresseth well the terror he had, when a spirit from God passed before his face, Fear came upon me, and trembling which made all my bones to shake (Stete­runt (que) comae & vox faucibus haesit) the hair of his flesh stood up. Iudg. 13.20, 22. Ma­noah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground, and cryed, they should surely dye, because they had seen the Angel of God doing won­derfully by fire. Holy men, highly [Page 50]beloved of God, Dan. 8.17, 27. Dan. 10.8, 17 as Daniel, grew pale, dispirited and half dead in some of their visions. Good Josiah rent his cloaths when he heard the book of the Law written, 2 Kings 22.11 and the terrors of God there set forth against a sinful people.

§, Of holy Quakers. God calls sometimes not on­ly to fasting and mourning, but to fear and trembling. There are some holy Quakers (not such as affect to act a part like the old Sybils in their frantick correptions, and Diabolical possessions, to amuse the vulgar, to no purpose, as to any holy moti­ons or improvements of their own or others souls and lives) but hum­bly to conform themselves to that posture, gesture, passion and per­turbation, which the hand of God upon them doth really, rationally, and religiously require.

§. Christs holy passions and extasies. Yea, we finde the Son of God our Saviour Jesus Christ (who en­joyed the greatest serenity, and exactest harmony of body and minde) did not carry on an Apa­thy, but answered in his temper the stroke and tune of the occasion; [Page 51]sometimes he rejoyced in spirit; other­while he grieved, sighed, weeped, Ioh. 11.38 groaned; yea, he expressed his just anger and indignation: Sometime he was in such holy extasies, Mark. 3.21 that those about him thought him beside himself; Mat. 26.36 In his Agony also he began to be [...], surrounded with sorrow; Mark 14.33 nay ( [...]) to be amazed and perplexed with the horror of that cup he was to drink mixed with mans sins and Gods wrath.

§. When God smites, it becomes us to feel his strokes, and express our sence; sullen and stupid souls ar­gue a senseless temper, an hard heart, and a seared conscience. God that hath planted all affections and passions in us, knows how to use and improve them, as a skilful Lutenist strikes on all strings, and at every stop; Though our passions are indeed grown wilde and sowr naturally, like crab-stocks; yet grace can graft fit cyons on every one: The holy im­provement of our constituti­ons. yea and make use of mens complexions and constitutions to the advantages of his glory: So Solomon [Page 52]an amorous Prince, when peni­tent for his extravagancies, or pos­sibly before, in his best estate, is the penman of that holy Song, which is a cypher, and signifies nothing in the Bible, unless we understand the mystical sense of it, which is to pre­sent Christ the most lovely object, and to engage the soul to be pas­sionately enamored of him, Cant. 5.8 even to be sick of love, impatient of his ab­sence; that the froth and folly of our love which perisheth upon pe­rishable objects (as fire on straw or stubble) may be fixed on that ex­cellency which is eternal, and worthy of that affection which is the gold and jewel of our souls, most precious and most durable, whose satisfactions are our Heaven and happiness, Ier. 9.1 as its defeats our hell and misery; In like sort Jeremy, a man of sorrows, naturally sad, weeping and melancholy, fits the sad times he lived to see, with a most pathetick La­mentation; Psal 88 so Hemans Psalmody is still to a doleful ditty and tune, as sort­ing with the sense and experiments of his dark spirit, and sad constituti­on.

§. Gods choice of fit instruments God not only useth but chuseth instruments fit for his work; espe­cially when they are to work things out of the fire, and are to contest with hard mettals, Isai. 48.4 he makes their foreheads brass, and their hands steel; he furnisheth them with such high and undaunted spirits as will do his work, and sometimes (as men) they may a little over-do it, as Moses did at his smiting the rock. So the [...], which Beza and o­thers observe in Luther and Calvin (both men of hot, quick, and cho­lerick complexions) did so far adapt them for the rugged business they were to do as good and great men, which was to help to cleanse an Au­gaean Stable, to bring the Sun of Chri­stianity back again the degrees by which it was gone down in these Western Churches, to releive oppressed Truth and Religion, against infinite prejudices, and potent oppressions; and although in some things they shewed themselves to be but men, and needed grains of allowance (as did Sampson) yet their adversa­ries found them such Gyants as [Page 54]brake the gates, and carried away the bars and posts of great Babylon, beyond their recruiting or recover­ing to this day, though all power and policy have been used.

The great impression then which Elisha found and expressed by this his crying out, is not only justifiable but commendable and imitable in parallel occasions, when they are re­al, unwonted and wonderful, in whch Good men do not deserve blame, if they seem to forget themselves while they remember God, a great and terrible Majesty; it is meet for us to hear the voyce or rod of God, and who hath appointed it.

Secondly, 2 The matter or words of E­lisha. But passions alone and their expressions by crying out, or any outward emotion & disorder, which signifie no more than interjections, or broken and inarticulate sounds, but (as the leaves of the barren figtree without fruit, Of rational and religious exstasies. or as clouds without water) these are neither the intents, nor usual effects of divine manifesta­tions, and extraordinary impressions; for however they may give some exstatick terror and amazement at [Page 55]first, by the newness, suddenness, and wonder of them, so as to dis­compose a while both Reason and Religions clearness; yet they are not considerable further than God is discernable in them, and glorified by them; as that vision of Moses and Elias on the mount with Christ at his transfiguration, Luke 9.8, 9, 10 which gave St. Peter such a present shake and astonishment, that though he spake of making three Tabernacles and staying there, yet he knew not what he said; that is, he did not well con­sider the unseasonableness and un­reasonableness of his proposals; yet afterward upon composed reflecti­ons and calmer thoughts, 2 Pet. 1.17 he makes a very holy and excellent use of that vision, to confirm the faith of Christi­ans in Christ, as in the beloved Son of God, which voyce we heard (saith he) in the holy mount, coming from the excellent glory of God the Father.

§. Why Elisha thus cryed af­ter Eliab. Elisha's cry is not vox & praeterea nihil, a bare clamor insignificant, as one scared and forehared; but his wisdom remained with him; he cries [Page 56]out as still importune and eager for the blessing of the doubled spirit; that Eliah might see he saw him crying now at the instant of his departing, which was the compact and agree­ment, and he now laid claim to the accomplishment, using this potent Charm of My Father, my Father, as begging his last blessing that he might be heir of his spirit.

Here we may observe, Observ. That di­vine manifestations or extasies in whatever way they are applied to our discomposure, O [...] holy trans­ports and im­pressions. still preserve the good man as to grace, and the man as to right reason; they do not speak either evilly or uncivilly, or senselesly, or unadvisedly with their lips, whilst heart and senses divine Creeds or impulses do affect; either they pray or praise God; either they fear or rejoyce before him, either they admire or adore, and set forth the glory of God; as Ba­laam himself did when he was in his Prophetick trances, and was o­ver-byassed by Gods Spirit against his own covetousness and ambition. So the poor Shepherds at the An­gelick [Page 57]Quire and Hymn, Luke 2.9, 10, 11, 12. visibly ap­pearing, and speaking audibly to them of Christs birth, went away believing and rejoycing, wondering and reporting the truth they first heard of, and then found true in the birth of Christ. It is an opinion worthy of the Mahometan blindness to fancy that mad men are inspired, and see Angels when they rave and talk wildely; Insani esse hominis non sanus juret Orestes; They are the madder of the two that do think these harsh strings to be touched with Gods holy Spirit.

§, Of fanatick and frantick deli [...]ancies. Certainly all extasies of deli­rancy and dotage, that bring men first to strange fancies, or to fits of quaking and convulsion, then to vent either nonsense, or blasphemous and scurrillous extravagancies, these must be imputed as learned Dr. Merick, Causabon observes, either to natural distempers of disease and melancholy, or to jugling affectations, or to Di­abolical delusions and possessions, to which some of the Montanists, Mani­ches, Circumcellians, and others of the Energumeni of old and of late have [Page 58]pretended, who made first popular ostentations of special inspirations and correptions or raptures of the Spirit of God; but afterwards the leaves and trash, the toys and im­pertinencies they vented by words, together with the pernicious extra­vagancies of their actions, proclaim­ed as loud as the Devil of Mascon to all hearers and spectators, that their troubles or tempests, with the fol­lowing dirt and mud, arose not from the flowings or emanations of the pure spring of Gods Spirit, but ei­ther from the Devils filthy injecti­ons, or from the foul puddle of their own perturbed fancy and cor­rupt hearts, or over-heated brains, possibly intoxicated with the fumes of some new opinions, and the gal­lant advantages they fancy to make by them.

§. Of demoniac correptions. It is an observation which St. Chrysostom makes, that Demoniac correptions, as those of the Sybils, and other Oracles of old, were [...], with such shakings and transports, as dispos­sessed [Page 59]the possessed for a time of themselves, both as to their reason and senses; but divine Oracles and in­spirations greater or lesse, like loud or still musick, preserve the harmony of the soul, though they make for a time quick and smart strokes up­on the strings of holy mens consti­tutions, understandings, passions and affections.

The words of Eliah are (as St. God [...] Spirit suggests and utters on­ly words of soberness and truth. Acts 26.24. Acts 2.4 Paul refuted Festus his supposal of his madness) words of soberness and truth; they that should then have heard them as now we read them, must confess that God was in him of a truth; 1 Pet. 1.2. he spake (which St. Pe­ter gives as the character of a true Prophet and Apostle) as the Spirit gave him utterance and guidance; as intentive to the last object, the fatal signal token of his obtaining the de­sired Spirit and blessing; This affect­ed him so highly, as the ingemina­tion imports, twice crying out, My Father, My Father.

§. Expressing first a genuine and great sense of his private love, re­spect, duty and honor to Eliah, whose [Page 60]relation and merit was to him as a father, so he had found him, so he valued him, so he shall misse him, remaining without him as an Orphan in minority, desolate, and exposed to injuries as well as indis­cretions.

We may observe the great inge­nuity and humility of Elisha, Observ. 1 The filial re­spects of Elisha to Eliah as his Father. though anointed a Prophet, and thought meet to succeed Eliah; though now of the same order, yet he doth not disdain to count and call Eliah his fa­ther; because first his elder; second­ly his better, and ordainer; third­ly his superiour in merits, graces no less than in degree and authority, in his power or place in the Church; Thus the antient Christian people, yea and the antient Christian Presbyters, owned their Bishops as Fathers, The father of the Christian Churches. in a precedency and presidency of place, degree, dignity, and authority Ec­clesiastical. Thus did St. Jerom write with respect to St. Austin as a Bishop, and his junior in age, yet so far his superiour, although St. Austins humility indeed so far Complements with, and cools the others heat, [Page 61]as to say, that although Bishop Au­stins precedency before Presbyter Jerom was by Ecclesiastical use and custom (very old, Apostolical and universal) yet as to the truth of personal worth, and eminency of merit, Presbyter Jerom was above Bishop Austin. Had Bishops and Presbyters in our days carried this equanimity to each other, it had been happyer for both.

§. But if Presbyters were clear­ly of the same [...], adequate (in their holy Orders and Ecclesiastical Power) as to the main, which is not easily proved, nor was of old so judged by the Fathers; for even St. Jerom excepts Ordination as a peculiar belonging to Bishops, both in fact and in right, for ought ap­pears, as Successors to the twelve Apostles, who were above the Se­venty in point of precedency, in­spection, power and jurisdiction; yet the fancy of equality as to Bishops and Presbyters, was chiefly fomented by some latter School­men, who urged this [...] of Bishops and Presbyters to advance [Page 62]the Popes throne and Soveraignty above Bishops, from whose autho­rity Monks and Friars coverted ex­emption, as immediately under the Popes visitation, who commonly were old men, far off, and had dim eyes to see the Monastick disor­ders: Besides, the Parasites of the Pope were also to magnifie the later device of Transubstantiating, and that Mass power of all Presbyters so high as none might or could ex­ceed it, if true; yet still the emi­nent degree and exercise of Bishops, as to the Polity and government of the Church, both for general in­spection, and chief jurisdiction, for Ordination and Discipline, for pre­sidency as well as precedency, au­thority as order, was never of old questioned much less denied as Antichristian, being as rational and suitable to Religious Order, yea and as Christian, or Evangelical, as for one to be Provost or Master of a Colledge over many Fellows possi­bly as good men and Schollars as himself; or for some Commanders to be over fellow-Souldiers; or for [Page 63]some Citizens to be Magistrates o­ver other Freemen; or for Parents to own their authority or superiority over their children when they are men and women of the same na­ture and stature with themselves.

The levelling of mankinde throughout in State and Church, Of levellings in Church and State. in Civil, Military, and Ecclesiastical power, because in some things they are equal, is but a policy and project of the great author of confusion; 1 Cor. 14.33 the God of order appointed of old, and approves for ever, different de­grees, ranks, and stations in his Church, according as men are fit­ted by him with gifts for govern­ment, in such ways of meet supe­riority and subordination, as pre­serves order, and deserves respect; Exod. 6.25 as the Priests of Aarons family, so of the whole Tribe of Levi had their ranks and orders, their duties, degrees and distances; there were Heads, and Fathers, and chief Fa­thers of their Tribes and Families, as well as of others, which the Sep­tuagint render [...], D [...]. [...], 15 Bishops or Overseers of them; and this not [Page 64]onely in age and primogeniture, by nature and years, but (officio & praelatura) by office and autho­ritative power; so to oversee not as a bare Spectator, but as Shepherds or Masters of Assemblies, 1 Tim. 5.19. Tit. 2.15. who did rebuke with all Authority, yea, and reject in cases of demerit; And then was it also by St Pauls ex­ample and prescription to Timothy and others among the Christian Churches, who in the worst times never wanted their good Bishops; nor in good time that love, honor, and obedient regard to them, as to their Fathers in the Lord, when they were worthy of that name and office.

The name Father is sanctum & suave nomen, Of the Name Father. its highest sense be­longs to God, in comparison of whom none is to be called or counted a Father, as Christ spake. Nemo tam pater, Mat. 3.23.nemo tam pius; as Tertullian, Ambitiosius Patris nomen quam Domi­ni & heri exigit; God hath an am­bition rather to be called Father by us, and so treated, than Lord and Master: Therefore our Saviour be­gins [Page 65]his and our prayer with Our Father; This venerable Name breatheth all comforts; this mind­eth us of, and bindeth us to all filial love; this racks us from the sowre dregs of servile fear; 1 Iohn 4.18. he that can say this proem or first word, Our Father, with true faith to God, and cha­rity to man, need not doubt to go on in that perfect prayer: Since men lost their charity to others, and their filial regard to God, and their reverence to their parents, they have avoided to use the saying or praying of the Lords prayer, as a­fraid and ashamed of it, because it binds them at the very first word to their good behaviour, by the bands of piety to God in Father, and of charity to men in Our, which no factions or schisms, no sinister inte­rests and ends, no Pharisaick pride or singularity can endure, no more than Witches can the Creed, or the unruly Demoniack the presence of Christ.

§. Yet no man is or can be fur­ther happy, than he hath and owns God for his Father, 1. in creation and [Page 66]providence, Father of the whole Family in heaven and earth. Eph. 5.3. 2. In Christ; as sending his Son into the world a Redeemer for all men with­out exception, in the value, me­rit and offer of his sufferings, and in that conditionate capacity, into which every one is by Christ, put upon his faith and repentance, to be saved and owned as the brother of Christ and Son of God. 3. And lastly, God is a Father by those spe­cial effects of regeneration and grace which follow that immortal seed of his Word, and motions of his Spirit, where they fall upon broken and contrite spirits, not upon hard hearts, Mat. 13.5. or fallow and stony ground, which refuse the reception, and damp the operation of those holy means that are both able and apt to work the life of faith, repentance and love in a reasonable soul. This highest account of the name Father, is only to shew how much it imports of honor, love, merit and duty, be­ing a branch rooted in God, and from his goodness springing to his creatures.

§. Why God communicates to men the name of Fa­ther. But this relative name of Fa­ther, is none of the incommunicable ones; God is pleased to lend the graving or character of it to man­kinde, and to stamp this paternal honor and Majesty upon some men in natural, civil and ecclesiastical re­spects. Hence the first command of the Second Table, or the last of the first, is that caution to honor father and mother; a duty of piety and religion, as well as of morality, ci­vility, humanity and polity; God is concerned, as despised and injured in any indignities offered to any Pa­rents: It was stoning to death, Deut. 21.20. by which God would have the honor of the meanest Parents, though poor and old, weak and simple, as­serted against their sturdy and proud children, while yet under their roof and discipline.

§. Next these, Princes and Magi­strates have the name as of Gods and Lords, so of Fathers; Patres Patriae, and of nursing Mothers; after these the Priests and Prophets of old were called Fathers: So the King of Is­rael returns the very same compel­lation [Page 68]to Elisha dying, which he gives here to Eliah; thus in the Go­spel St. 1 Cor 4.15 Paul owns his merit so far; though you have had many teachers or instructers, yet not many Fathers; for he had first begotten them to the faith by his preaching the Gospel to them; so in the antient Christian-Churches, though they had many Presbyters, as Instructers or Conse­crators, yet the Bishops were ( [...]) by a special honor, as Successors to the Apostles in pater­nal inspection and authority, as be­getting Sons to the Church by in­struction; and patres minores lesser Fathers, or Presbyters by Ordina­tion, called Patres; then also Pa­triarchs were Patres patrum, which by way of gemination brought in the two first syllables, Pa, Pa, not from the Syriack, Abba transposed, but from the first syllables of Pater and Patriarcha, or Pater Patrum, into the Church (as before into the Imperial State, from Pater Patriae) to make up Papa; which title the Bishop of Rome hath monopoli­zed, when of old it was given [Page 69]to other Patriarchs and Bishops.

§. This is certain, The duty as well as d [...]gnity implyed in the name Father. God that com­municates the name of Father to Magistrates in State, or Pastors or Bishops in the Church, doth withal teach and exact the duties import­ed in the name Father.

First, Father in Ma­g [...]stracy. Both Governors in Church and State, should delight rather in that exercise which is Paternal, than despotical; fatherly, than imperious or Lordly, much less tyrannick; to remember they govern sons, not slaves; and for Gods glory, not for their own profit, pomp and plea­sure; their design and work must be to glorifie God; and by doing good with a fatherly freedom and indulgence, to deserve the love of others; Although they cannot have it from ingrate and ungracious chil­dren; yet they shall finde God a Fa­ther to them, when they have carri­ed themselves as Fathers to others.

Specially Church Governors, which were of old in England, Fathers in the ministry of the Church. and in all Christian Churches, Bishops, as chief Fathers, chosen by the Presbyters, approved by the people, and [Page 70]endowed with estate and civil ho­nor by Christian Princes; these (as such) must not in their greatest e­minency affect [...], 1 Pet. 5.3 to exercise dominion after the way of the secular sword, and severity o­ver Ministers or people; but only as Fathers and Spiritual Lords, for edification, not destruction, with gra­vity, not austerity, with meekness of wisdom, not rigidness of passion; yea, and as to that civil Dominion which is consistent with spiritual ju­risdiction, when any are both Bishops and Soveraign Princes (which may very well meet in one man; for what hinders a Prince, as George of An­halt, to be a Bishop or Preacher of his Gospel, who is Prince and Priest of his Church?) here they must the more make the world to see they bear the double name of Father to their people; such paternal Bishops we had heretofore in England, and such indeed was this worthy Pre­late; and such Fathers we might have had still, if that had not been fulfilled among us, Filius ante di­em, &c. some Sons are impatient not [Page 71]to antidate their Fathers death and destinies, or longer to expect the re­version of their estates.

§. It is true, that double honor which the piety and munificence of Christian Princes and States had be­stowed on Bishops as Fathers in chief, and other Ministers of the same relation, though a lower sta­tion in the Church, both as to ample revenues, and some secular juris­diction or dignity, to give them greater advantages to improve their spiritual and paternal authority. more to the glory of God, and the good of Christian people, as to in­struction, protection and relief; these ought not in any sort to leaven or overlay those condescending Graces, and paternal tendernessse, which are the greatest eminencies of any Church-man, and which may with all pious industry, humility, chari­ty and hospitality be maintained and exercised by them, without any diminution of their civil dignity, or ecclesiastical authority, as was fre­quently evidenced by our learned, religious, hospitable, charitable and [Page 72]honorable Bishops in England, when they lived both as Lords and as Fathers, governing and doing good.

§. Of civil ho­nour added the Fathers the Church. So that it cannot be other than a most partial and sinister perverse­ness in men of evil eyes and envious hearts, to fancy that no learning, study, devotion, diligence and pru­dence in any Minister, or Clergyman, is capable to merit or enjoy, either such honorable estates and salaries, or such eminent places and dignities, as Counsellors and Senators, as Lords and Peers in Parliament; to which we see many mens meer riches and worthless money, or their lower abilities and industries in legal and civil affairs, or their military hardiness and prowess may actually advance them; yea and this in a ci­vil intestine War, where victory it self is sad and untriumphant; yet we have lived to see many short­lived Gourd-Lords, created in a chaos of times, from very small principles or preexistency of birth, estates, breeding, or worth, and this in one day, by a kinde of su­perfetation [Page 73]of honor, and these to sit as right honorable ones in another House, and to supply the vacant Seats of the antient Barons of Eng­land, which were Peers in Parlia­ment, and consisted of Lords Spi­ritual and Temporal, who had not either forfeited their honor or de­serted their places and duties, but were driven out by such power as they could not withstand.

§. But not to touch that harsh string too hard; we see the Bishops of Eng­land have had no great cause to envy those that cast them out, as to that honor of having a place in Parlia­ments, since from that time the Na­tion hath scarce enjoyed one good day, nor themselves that fulness and freedom, that honor and happiness which of old belonged to the ma­jesty of English Parliaments.

§. This is certain, that the name of Lord did not (as it ought not to) make a venerable Bishop of the Church forget his former name, and softer relation of a Father; the first is now confined much to denote civil order, and secular dignity; but the [Page 74]second implies not only natural, temporal, and humane, but spiritual, divine, and eternal endearments; importing that plentitude of paternal love and goodness, as is never to be exhausted, scarce obstructed; for what such unworthiness was ever in chil­dren, which the benignity and bowels of a Father is not ready to forgive and overcome? yea and to deplore the justest miseries which fall upon them; 2 Sam. 18.33 as David did his Son Absoloms death, when by a most popular and prodigious rebellion he sought to take away both his Kingdom and his life. Of Bishops as Fathers, if not Lords.

§. If we may not enjoy Bishops as Lords in the State, I wish we might enjoy them as Fathers in the Church; if they be truly venerable for their vertues and graces, they will not much want honorable Titles, nor that real love and value, which all good Christians and ingenuous per­sons are more ambitious to pay to real worth and useful merits (for Quis tam perditus ut dubitet Sene­cam praeferre Neroni, Si libera den­tur suffragia?) than to supercilious [Page 75]vanity, empty formality, and an idle kind of pompous luxury; which are but the rust and excrements of hy­dropick and sick estates, or of dis­eased and dwindling honors: The eased and dwindling honors: The name of Lord hath more of vulgar and secular pomp, but the name of Father more of spiritual power, and divine authority; the first hath [...], the second [...], or rather [...], as in Gods name, or in Christs stead, for the good of the Church.

§. To wind up the thread of this discourse, no doubt Elisha's humi­lity and obsequiousness to Eliah was such, as he would willingly have called him his Lord and Master, as the Sons of the Prophets call him; but he rather chose the name of My Father, as more suit­able to Eliahs comportment both to him, and to all the Church of God.

First, Because in this one name, Magistrates and Ministers, Princes Bishops, Priests and Prophets were as in the fairest letter or print to read or learn their duty in their dig­nity, [Page 76]and so to be more sollicitous to do what becomes them, than to exact the respects of others; which best follow where they are best de­served, as water flows easiest when the channel is clearest, and a little descendent or falling.

Paternum est docendi munus, The Officers of Fathers. &c. the duty of Fathers is to teach and educate their children, that they may be Fathers of souls, as well as of bodies; to feed and provide for, to defend and protect, to be bountiful and munificent, to give good counsel and example, which are the best pillars to bear up authority; to re­prove and correct, yet with love and moderation, having always an inter­cessor in their own brests. Gen. 27.4 Lastly, Fa­ther are to bless their children in the name of the Lord, and to trans­mit or deliver that by their hands and mouths to their children, which is truly Gods act and deed; but these are to God, as the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal is to the King; the King grants, but the other legal­ly conveys or passeth the bles­sing.

§. Secondly, The duty of Sons. Such Sons and Sub­jects in Church and State as well as nature, that hope with Elisha to be the inheritors of their Fathers blessing, and Gods by that means, will from this name see their hap­piness in that divine indulgence, which hath set over them in Church or State not Pharoahs and Nero's, hard Masters, and severe Lords, but tender and compasvionate Fathers, whose power and authority they will justly value, rejoycing in the Fathers superiority, and their own subjection, humbly desiring and de­fending their paternal care, benedicti­on, and comprecation for them, and also dreading their sad imprecati­ons or deserved curses: for oft, as Plato observes, the divine hand sets to the seal, and says fiat to Parental curses, as well as bles­sings.

§. As the lives of all Fathers, na­tural, civil, and spiritual, ought to be a Commentary on the name, and a compendium of the divine good­ness; that every thing they do or say may have a relish and tincture, [Page 78]or politure and guilding of this sacred, sweet and divine name: so ought inferiors to learn their duty also by it; to reverence those for Gods sake, who bear the Name and Office of Fathers in Church and State; to love and honor them if worthy; to pray for them, and bear with them if bad and froward; Ʋt parentum, sic principum ferenda sunt ingenia, (saith Tacitus) Pa­rents are forbidden to provoke causelesly their children to wrath; Eph. 6.4 much more ought children to avoid provoking their Parents; rather wink at, hide, conceal, excuse, pal­liate and cover, as Noah's more pi­ous and blessed Sons did, Cen. 9.23 a Fathers nakedness and infirmity: as Con­stantine the Great professed he was ready to do the failing of any Bishop or Churchman. Be not curious to be conscious to their faults, nor forward to complain of them; never reproach them rudely, but intimate thy sense to them with respect and reverence; We read of some parents by a bar­barous superstition, making their children pass through the fire to [Page 97] Moloch; but we never read of children casting their parents alive into the fire, as an acceptable sa­crifice to any gods. Had we all done our duties in England on all hands, we had had (I believe) better dayes; and not onely our tranquillity, civil peace and plenty, but our religious piety, order and charity, which are the life of our lives; and the honor of all honors, had been prolonged in the land of the living, where now our neglect of duty as Fathers and Sons hath di­vided and destroyed us so far, that like wretched children, we cannot see the things which belong to our peace, unless it be to avoid them; much less can we peaceably and chearful­ly enjoy them; they are for our sins, and by our undutiful doings, Luke 19.42 so hidden from our eyes.

§. Of a Fatherly condition in Church and State. How this penal and sad pro­vidence of God hath deprived us of our nursing Fathers in Church and State, exposing us either to be Or­phans and Fatherless, vagabonds, un­der no setled Orders or safe pro­tection; or else betraying us to such [Page 80]various, strange and numerous Step-Fathers (not fathers in Law, but without all Law) as have more of Lordly tyranny, and Soldierly insolen­cy, by meer power, than fatherly benig­nity or authority by any relation, I leave it to wise men to judge, and to God in time to teach us our errors and defects; when our eyes are more open by another twenty years muta­tions, miseries, burdens, exactions, Wars, terrors and confusions, possi­bly we may with the Prodigal so arise from our husks, and go to our Father, and return to the duty we owe to God and man.

§. If God had taken away the Fathers or Prophets of any people (as Eliah) to himself, they had been excusable; but for Sons to destroy and extirpate their deserving Fa­thers; this seems to be not (Turbo de coelo) a whirlwind or fire from heaven; but rather the effect of Turba gravis paci, &c. a fire and tempest from a lower region.

§. I fear the end of our father­less condition in Church and State, will only turn at last to the advance [Page 81]of his interests, who affects to be Pa-Pa, the Father of Fathers, the only So­veraign Bishop and spiritual Father, by immediate and divine right over the Church; yea and to have a Supremacy no less over things civil and temporal, than Spiritual and Ecclesiastical; though he is a little more modest, remote, and mediate in this claim, since the scales are faln from the eyes of Christian Kings and Princes, as well as reformed Bi­shops and Churches.

§. This I may conlude, That as men are sooner weary of their sufferings, than their sins, and more full of com­plaints what they feel, than what they do; so we shall never have case and remedy for one, or par­don for the other, till we do with humble, devout, and affectionate hearts return to that duty we owe to our heavenly Father, and for his sake to those, that on Earth are just­ly invested with the honor of that sacred name: Certainly, no Family can be happy that hath not some who enjoy the authority, and ex­ercise the benignity of a Father. [Page 82]But I have done with Elisha's cry and expression as to his particular re­lation, love and respect to Eliah, My Father, My Father: Pater mul­tis nominibus, many wayes, by ma­ny merits, my most deserving and most endeared Father.

Secondly, The publick import and influence that Eliah had to Church and State. The second part of Elisha's words sets forth the publick import, usefulness and concern, which he imputes to his Father Eliah, by calling him the chariot and horsmen of Israel. This lamentation is an high Eulogy; this crying out a loud commendation; this deploration an exstatick admiration, setting forth the value and esteem he had of Eliah, as to the publick interest of Church and State, both as to ho­nor and safety; In what sense Eliah is called the chariot and horses of Israel. for Eliah was at once as a chariot of burthen, war, and of triumph: he had born the burthen of the prophetick office, of Gods service, and of the Nati­ons sins many years: Further, he had fought the good fight of Faith, as a venturous Souldier and valiant Commander, charging in the very face and front of the enemies of [Page 83]God and true Religion; he had routed Baal and all his Forces, 1 Kings 18.38. con­vinced by miracle the Court and Country, that there was no dis­pute between the Lord Jehova, and their imaginary Baal, which was God; he had resolutely withstood the anger of the King, the rage of the Queen, ventured life and all upon this adventure, and had been more then Conqueror, as to the miracu­lous pregnancy of that true Religi­on which he asserted; and as to the invincibleness of his zeal; 1 Kings 1. not fear­ing the Captains with their Compa­nies, but justly and sharply rebu­king with fire from Heaven their im­perious confidence, who could not be safe till they gave better words, and shewed such respect as be­came them to the Prophet of the Lord.

§. Sword men may swell, rage, Of ministers oppressed by Military power. and menace the faithful Prophets and Ministers of Gods Church; but it will be at last to their own ruine. There is another fire to punish irre­ligious rudeness in the sons of ter­ror beside that which Elisha's word [Page 84]fetched down from Heaven, which will destoy the great and strong, as towe: Isa. 31.3. the horse with the riders, all that are injurious and impenitent oppressors of Gods Church and its Fathers in the Land of the living, whose arms and horses are flesh and not spirit; flashes for a moment, but not lasting fires; they may refine the Church and Ministers of it by the fire of their thorns, but never consume them. For these, (as Eli­sha here expresseth it) not onely have horses and chariots of fire to de­fend them against their enemies, over whom they shall at last be tri­umphant, and ascend to Heaven, having more for them than can be against them; but themselves are among the Angels of the Lord, 2 Kings 6.16, 17. of his host and retinue, yea of his life-guard, among the chariots and horsmen of the Israel of God, with whom Christ hath promised to be present to the end of the world, Mar. 28.20. so that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against them; Rev. 12. nor need they fear the Dragon and his Angels, when they have Michael and his An­gels [Page 85]to assist and second them.

These words (as some Inter­preters well observe) are not spo­ken to describe the manner of Eli­ah's Angelick convoy, but to set forth the personal merit and import of Eliah, what a compleat Army and guard he was, what strength, and de­fence of true Religion, of what use and consequence he was to the pub­lick security and happiness.

The expression or words here are not, The words import the me it of Eli­ahs person. as at first appearance when the vision is set forth; Ecce [...], currus igneus, & equi ignei; But [...] currus Israel, & equites ejus; not [...], but [...], as the Septuagint, The chariot of Israel and horsemen thereof. Eliah now seemed to him as a Conqueror sitting in his Chariot of State and triumph, after he had by his holy valour been as the great ho­nor and ornament, so the defence and director of the Church, and true Israel of God,

§. The useful worth of Gods Prophets and Ministers. The Prophets and Ministers of God are by other very honora­ble, yet more soft and gentle Me­taphors [Page 86]oft set forth in Scripture as Stewards, and Shepherds, and Am­bassadors, and Stars, and ordinary Angels; but here they are compa­red to the chieftains of the Lords host, his principal Forces, his chari­ots and horsemen.

These (currus & equitatus) cha­riots and horsemen were in the an­tient Militia of the world (espe­cially among the more effeminate Nations, The use of Chariots and horsemen. and in hotter Countreys, wich; could less endure the heat of the climate, and burden of Arms) very usual in great number, and in gallant equipage: These (as Ve­getius, Frontinus, Elian and other antique Muster-masters, set forth the Tacticks of these times) were esteemed as the flos gentis & exer­citus, the flower of a Nation, the crown and glory of an Army; as wings, as shields, as Bulwarks, as the thunder and lightning of those dreadful clouds, which Armies are, for agility, swiftness, strength, state, and Majesty, when the weakness of man (Quantula enim sunt hominum corpuscula?) is grafted on the [Page 87] strength of an horse; and his burden so discharged upon the horse or chariot which bears him, that he may longer enjoy, and be a better husband of his strength; In equitatu vis & salus exercitus, summa belli constabat; of old they laid all the stress of their battels on the horsemen and chariots; so Xerzes, so Darius, in his repeated fights with Alexan­der the Great; if once the horse were routed and broken, the foot, which were but as the tail and train of those [...], Horsemen and Charioteers, these were but in la­nienam, for spoil and prey, for slaugh­ter and captivity, till after-ages from the Roman stoutness and Arms learn­ed to fight more like men on foot, trusting more to their own strength, of which they were more Masters, and could better manage it, than to the fierceness of horses, who take up half the man to rule them, and is a vain thing to save by his much strength, Psalm 33.17 as the Psalmist tells us.

The Scripture gives us many hi­storical instances, The weakness of secular Chariots and horses alone. what great Expe­ditions [Page 88]and executions were begun and carried on by multitudes of chariots and horsemen; what great defeats the Lord of hosts had given them; Exod. 1 [...].7, 9. as Paroah with his Chariots and Horses which pursued the Is­raelites into the red Sea, by a most presumptuous malice, which no mi­racle could moderate or humble; So Sisera with his nine hundred iron chariots, [...]ud. 4.3. that is (falcati currus) armed with iron sithes and instru­ments of execution, no less than with plates or shields of iron for defence) were scattered and de­stroyed, at the blasting of Gods displeasure, both the horses and riders did fall.

Hence David, a great and good Souldier (ever great, when good; and prosperous, while pious who received more wounds and detri­ment by one woman and his own wanton lust, than by all the Gyants and Armies, the horse and chariots he ever encountred,) he by long experience tells us how far the pride and confidence of the world was from true safety.

Some put their trust in horses and some in chariots, Psalm: 25.7but we in the name of the Lord our God. It is better to trust in the Lord, Psalm 118.8. than in Princes and their Armies, which easily are discomfited when God ariseth a­gainst them; one of his heavenly Militia, an Angel, Isa. 37.36 can smite in one night, an Hundred fourscore and five thousand to the ground stark dead, of Senacheribs insolent Souldiery; yea and one of his earthly spiritual Militia, his Prophets and Ministers, as Eliah, and after him this Elisha, so Micaiah and others, by lifting up their hands and prayers, as Moses and Jehosaphat, to heaven, were a­ble to strike terror and confusion to an host of men, chariots and horses, 2 Chron. 20.22. when they were a million of men and horses. For these fight in vir­tute Dei altissimi, in the power and name of the most High and Almigh­ty God; these Angels both in hea­ven and earth God useth as he did Elisha afterwards, to give check to the counsels and powers of Kings, 2 Kings 18.14. as the King of Assyria confessed, and the King of Israel found it true; [Page 90]while he had mountains full of Horses and chariots of fire atten­ding of Elisha, 2 King 26.17 and under his com­mand, so that the King gives him this same honor dying; sensible what a loss it was to Church and State to lose such a Prophet, more than to have lost all his chariots and horsemen.

§. God that is on the side of his true Prophets and faithful servants, as the visible Fathers and Guar­dians of his Church and Family, hath his great Militia; and thus sets it forth to humane capacity; Psalm 68.17. The chariots of God are twenty thou­sand, even thousands of Angels; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, when he appeared in terror to give the Law; even so will he execute it, and avenge the breaches of it by the Ministry of Angels at the last day. And our Lord Jesus Christ (who is trumphantly ascended on high) is now Lieutenant General of all power in heaven and earth, Psalm. 8.18 Heb. 2.10 for the good of his Church, the Captain of whose salvation he is; who hath conquered, and is still to conquier, till [Page 91]all enemies are subdued to him; even he takes care to furnish his Church in all ages with some that are as the chariots and horsemen of Israel; ei­ther such Christian Kings and Prin­ces, or such Bishops and Ministers, or such religious Noblemen and learn­ed Gentlemen, or such honest yeo­men, and humble Pesants, yet good Christians, that they are as the Sol­diers and Armies of God, in their several ranks and orders; some as the chariots and horsemen, others as the infantry or footmen: The highest honor in the Churches Mi­litia is given to the Prophets and Ministers, because they have most power with God; they open and shut heaven, they bind and loose souls by Gods command and commis­sion: As every good Christian, so those of the Clergy above others are either publicum lucrum, or dam­num, as they live or die; As it was said of St. Ambrose Bishop of Millan, he was both ornamentum & muni­mentum urbis & orbis; O what gal­lant chariots and horsemen were those Primitive Bishops, and other [Page 93]eminent both Preachers and Writers, such as Iraeneus, Cyprian, Athanasius, Austin, the Cyrils, Basils, Gregories, Chrysostom, Epiphanius, Origen, Cle­mens, Jerom and others innumera­ble, who did so stoutly incounter and rout those Amalekites of Hea­then Idolaters and Philosophers, of Hereticks and Schismaticks, which pestred the Church as Grashopers, and Locusts, or oppressed it as Tyrants and Persecutors!

Two things from these honorable names which Elisha gives to Eliah, we may observe,

First, What the Prophets and Ministers of the Church ought to be, according to their eminency in parts or place.

Secondly, how they ought to be esteemed and treated.

First, 1 What War­riers the Pro­phets and Mi­nisters ought to be in the Church. 1 Their cou­rage. What they ought to be to the Church and to their Country; for­tes, animosi, pugnaces, ordinati; bold as Lyons in Gods cause, valiant, cou­ragious, ready, and orderly to fight the battels of the Lord, the good fight of faith; but bello incruento, [Page 83]sanctis non sanguineis praeliis; by an holy but harmless war; saintly, not sanguinary; unbloody, unless their own blood be to be shed; they must make no wounds but on mens consciences. They must be undaunt­ed by any greatness, policy, or power, that opposeth it self against God; as St. Stephen was, so was Apollos, Act. 6. and 7 so St. Paul, so Timothy and others, who as good Soldiers, sought to please not themselves or men by ease and idleness, by flattery and chmpliance; but him that had called them to his Ensign and Standard.

Their armature and weapons were that ( [...]) evangelical harness; 2 Their Ar­mour. which the Apostle pre­scrbes of the helmet of salvation, Eph. 6.12, 13, 14, 15, 16. the sword of the Spirit, and Word of God, the shield of Faith, and the brestplate of righteousness; their fight­ing must be by preaching, con­vincing, praying, reproving, by doing good, and suffering e­vill.

Their Enemies are to be not on­ly flesh and blood, that is, 3 Their Ene­mies. not the persons of men, but the ignorances, [Page 94]errors, malice, policy, pride, and prophaness of the evil world; yea of Principalities and Powers, of De­vils and evil Angels, 1 Pet. 5.9 their stratagems and devices, their fiery darts and engines; these they were to resist stedfast in the faith. 4 The executi­on or slaught­er they must make.

The strages, execution or slaughter they must make, is not of mens bo­dies, lives, and estates, honors, good names, or liberties; but of their inor­dinate lusts, and vile affections, their rude and unruly passions, their dam­nable opinions and dangerous practi­ces.

The Captives they are to take, 5 The Captives they take. are the Reason, the Will, the Mind, the Souls and Spirits, the high thoughts, and proud imaginations of men, who are detained in ignorance or error, led captive by their own lusts, and others temptations, men or devils; this captivity they are to lead captive; Gal. 5.3 1 Cor. 7.22 Ioh. 8.36 Zach 9.12 that is, to make them the redeemed of the Lord, and Christ's freemen, who were slaves to sin and Satan; these are the Pri­soners of hope, whom they are in Christs name to set free; this is all [Page 95]the hurt they may do, or intend (as Prophets and Ministers) to man­kinde.

Lastly, 6 Their Tri­umph. They have their triumphs in Christ, and rejoycings in the Lord, in doing their duty, 2 Cor. 2.14 and discharg­ing their consciences, by which they may be means to save souls, Isa. 49.5. which will be their crown and rejoycing at the last day; 2 Tim. 4. [...] and if Israel be not gathered, yet they shall not lose the reward and crown which is prepa­red for these spiritual Soldiers, Rev. 3.11 who aim only to save, not to destroy their Sons, Rev. 2.10 fellow-Citizens and bre­thren in this world and in the Church, as men and Christians; Nor shall they want their triumphs in Christ, 2 Cor. 2.14 nor a triumphant song, even the song of Moses at last, Rev. 15.3 when Pha­roah and all his host, the Devil and his iustruments, being quite over­thrown, the Israel of God shall have its full and free deliver­ance.

§. Thus Christ hath had, and e­ver will have his chariots and horse­men, venerable Fathers, Bishops and Presbyters under the Gospel, [Page 96]as well as these Eliahs and Elishas under the Law; Religion now is carried on with less terror and fire indeed than of old, but with greater efficacy to save souls: As the Sun in one day thaws more ice than thousands of hammars could break in a year; the Church is compared to an Army with banners, Cant. 6.4, 12 and her com­panies like the chariots of a willing people, easie to be Marshalled, or­dered and disciplined, as becometh the people of Christ, which will not mutiny against their spiritual guides, rulers, leaders; because this is to rebel against the chief Comman­der Jesus Christ; who like the Sun of righteousness is set upon the Evan­gelical chariot, and drawn by the (Quadrigae) quaternion of Evange­lists, as fiery horses all over the world; he makes his daily and orderly Mi­nisters as his chariots and horses too, sets them on the axis of the Law and Gospel, which support the true faith and their authority; he adds to them the four wheels of good Learning, sober Judgement, honest Zeal, and potent eloquence into their [Page 97]hearts and hands he puts the reins or bridles of charity and discretion, Zack. 14.18 upon which is written holiness to the Lord, Glory to God on high, and good will towards men; Thus be­coming all things honest and come­ly to all men, speaking a word in due season, Ise. 5.4. 2 Tim. 6.15 and rightly dividing the word of Truth, taking care above all, that they overthrow not all the honor and credit of their preaching and ministery by evil con­versation, Ne factis deficientibus ver­ba erubescant, lest the solecisme of of their lives make their Doctrine seem but a riddle or an incredible Fable.

Secondly, In the second place, 2 The enter­tainment due to those spiri­tual Chariots and horsemen If the Prophets of the Lord, both legal and Evangelical, the Pastors and Teachers, the Bishops and Pres­byters of the Church, are of this use and importance, for their ability, sufficiency, and dexterity, and effi­cacy, to the Church of God, and specially to the Christian World, as the charets and horsmen are in an army, being Christs Militia, not fleshly and corporeal, but spiritual [Page 98]and intellectual, an earthly sort of Angels, which help the Lord against the mighty, and assist men to con­quer themselves first, (who are their own and Gods greatest ene­mies) and then the world and De­vil: Sure then this holy Army, these chariots and horsmen deserve to be esteemed, entertained and treated, not as the lixae & calones, the filth and off-scouring of the world, and forced to lie among the pots and kitchin-stuff of contemp and poverty, but as (Mahanaim) the host of God and Christ: Psal. 68.13 Gen. 32.2. listed and employ­ed in his holy war and service, and so to be used with love and respect, as men worthy of double honor: Men will feed their horses, grease their chariot wheels, and pay their Horsmen well to be sure.

§. I know the Pannick, blind, and preposterous terrors of vulgar and Plebean minds are prone (now) to regard one Captain or Colonel, yea, or one sorry Trooper, beyond the best Bishop, or ablest Preacher in England; Luke 2.4 because as beasts they re­gard more those that can kill their [Page 99]bodies, than such as are means to save their souls.

This mistake of poor parasticik people is not for want of ignorance and meanness of spirit, Whether the spiritual, or temporal Mili­tia deserve best of the pub­lique. but for want of judgement and conscience, gratitude and common civility; not considering, that both as to private and publick interest of any Church and State, as well as of every good Christian, that of Tostatus is most true on this place, Fides & preces Eliae fortiores omnibus curribus & to­to equitatu Israelis; The Israel of God owed more to Eliah's prayers and faith, and exemplary zeal, than to all the chariots and horses in the Land.

§. Not that I odiously compare or disparage the honest way of a Souldiers employment: First, in a just and lawfull cause; Secondly, under a just and lawful command; Thirdly, when content with their wages and doing violence to none; Fourthly, when they are modest men, not ambitious to turn all right into might, and set jus gladii above jus gentis, & lex terrae; Fifthly, [Page 100]When in other things they are men that fear God, love true Religion, encourage Learning, and reverence the worthy Ministers, Bishops and Pastors of the Church of Christ; but when Soldiers grudge at Ministers maintenance, and gape to get it, when they will needs turn Preach­ers to put scorns and affronts on Ministers, when they think them­selves necessary, and Ministers su­perfluous; when they urge to have Commanders, Councils of War, Discipline, pay and honor for their Militia, and either deny, or envy, or destroy all these as to the Mini­stry: They must give me leave to magnifie my Office, and to tell those of them who understand it, That nothing is more true than that Maxime both of piety and true policy, Plus debet ecclesia & Respub­lica Christiana ministris Ecclesiasticis, quam militibus secularibus; Soldiers may and oft do the work of Maho­met and Antichrist; but good Preachers do always the work of Christ, and of mens souls, as to their inward and eternal interest; yea as to [Page 101]outward and secular things of peace, safety, prosperity and victory over enemies; Plus profuit Moses orans quam Josua pugnans, Exod. 17.20Moses did avail more by his praying, than Joshua by his fighting.

Yea when the wrath of God is kindled, and the fire of famine, plague or war is broken out against any people, these chariots and horse­men of Israel, such as are power­ful in prayer, sober in their coun­sel, exemplary in their lives, are beyond imagination effectual to moderate, remedy and remove divine vengeance. When Noah, Daniel and Job stand in the gap; when Jacob wrestles with God, Ezek. 14.14 when Moses holds his hands; when Aaron and Phineas intervene between the living and the dead, exciting the spirits of people to repentance and amendment, to fasting and prayer; when the Priests and Ministers of the Lord cry mightily to heaven, Ioel. 2.17 and give the Lord no rest, then is it that God spares and heals, and returns to be gracious to the land.

§. If men thought this, they could not easily be so partial and unjust, as to turn Tythes into Taxes; to grudge the first as the Ministers portion, and augment the second as the Souldiers pay; good Mini­sters make a Nation need no Soldi­ery; they are the (murus aheneus) brasen wall, the fortification and ammunition, that destroys sin the great enemy and traytor to all our happiness: It is as true in the body Politique, Qui militariter vivit mi­sere vivit, as that qui medice vivit, misere vivit; It is a sad life to live always medicinally; and so to live always in a military necessity and danger, (besides the vaste charge that this Physick and these legions of Chyrurgeons stand any Nation in:) but grave, godly, peaceable and able Ministers, are so far from being the lancets and leeches, or the phlebotomists, the exhausting pills and dispiriting purges, that they are indeed the best cordials and restorative of the safety, honors, beauty, strength, peace, health and happiness of any Church and State; [Page 103]these help to put things into that posture of charity and peace, that men may beat their swords into pru­ning-hooks, Isai. 2.4 Math. 4.3 and their armour into plowshears: Once destroy or dis­band your able and orderly, your learned and wel-armed Mini­sters, Bishops, and Presbyters, or take away their order and good Government, as such, in united Councils and Synods; withdraw their maintenance and support, you will soon want their help, and shall ne­ver want wars and enemies in Church and State, as our own sad expe­rience tells us, both the Wars of dis­putation and of digladiation.

Nor are the Peditatus, The Infantry or foot forces of the Church. the In­fantry or foot-soldiery of this spiri­tual Militia to be despised as use­less; I mean the meanest of the people that truly fear God, and humbly keep their ranks and orders both in Church and State; these also do stand in the gap; these (as Tertulli­an speaks) quasi agmine facto, ambiunt & gratam Deo vim inferunt, these be­siege God, as it were, with great squadrons or companies, offering an [Page 104]acceptable force to the Divine ma­jesty; both to disarm his Justice and to obtain his Mercy: Ministers, Ma­gistrates and godly people together, of one heart and of one mind in the Lord, do make a royal and heaven­ly host, a compleat Army both of horse and foot; being under the same Generalissimo, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loves to see his Soldiers, not stragling and freebooting in bro­ken parties, and scattered Conven­ticles, but united and combined in great Congregations, as the Assem­blies of his Saints and Soldiers (not of Sectaries and Schismaticks) under such Commanders both greater and less, as he hath ordained and com­missioned.

§. If these be the merits, use and publick influence both as to Church and State of Gods Prophets and Christs Ministers, in their several degrees and stations, I wonder whence those principles of State po­licy arose and prevailed so far in this Nation, as for some men with e­qual ignorance and injustice to en­deavor to rout and cashier all these [Page 105]settled and reformed forces of the Ministry of England, either stoping their pay, or taking away the (An­tisignani) principal Rulers and Lea­ders; the Ecclesiastical colours and Commanders, with the cheif Standerd-bearers of the Church for learning and prudence; which practices and attempts have already put all the regiments of horse and foot to very great routs and dis­orders irrecoverable without a mi­racle of mercy. Yea some by a strange kinde of fatuity and cruel­ty, strive to gratifie the Papists, Je­suits and others our enemies on all sides, 2 Sam. 8.4 1 Chron. 18.4 by houghing all the best horses, and burning or breaking in pieces all the best chariots of our Israel, and the nurseries or chief conservatories of them; the Uni­versities; just as David did those of the Amonites, or the chariots and horses of the Sun; that in after ages the Reformed Religion in England might have none but pit­tiful unarmed Pygmies to encoun­ter with armed Goliahs of Rome. Of routing and disband­ing the Mini­stry.

§. Many fear we are undermined [Page 106]and betrayed by the secret and sini­ster plottings of our Romish Adver­saries, who have so many Pioneers and Ingineers at work; and are glad beyond measure to see the havoke made of Protestant Preachers, of re­formed Bishops and Churches; which uniform and united are strong; scat­tered are of no great efficacy, though perhaps good Christians; as a single Soldier signifies not much, though valiant. It may be good yarn or thread that is spun, but tis not cloth till it be well woven to­gether in one web; it is not an Ar­my but a rabble without Officers and Order; nor is it a Church; once take these Pastoral staves of beauty and bands away, or deprive both Pastors and people of due order, unity, and government; or rob the Rulers, and Laborers of their set­led pay and due enterainment, 1 Cor. 9.7 that either they must go to war at their own charge for nought, or live by forrage and free-quarter, or de­pend upon the arbitrary contributi­ons of people; which is but a kind of gentle plundering, or living up­on [Page 107]not free-quarter, but alms ra­ther, in a way very uncomfortable to ingenuous and able men; no less than unacceptable to common people, who set no great rate on their souls. Certainly this new modelling of our spiritual Militia or Ministry, being once effected, what can be expected but a petty compa­ny of mendicant Preachers, a black guard, and forlorn-hope of ignorant and contemptible Freebooters, men of little learning, less estate, no re­spect, and least worth to deserve it, to the great triumph, joy and jubilee of all these Jesuited enemies of the Reformed Religion, and the true In­terests of this Church and Nation, whose work this hath been many years to make that vile saying of Campian good in his Decem Rati­ones, Clero Anglicano nihil puti­dius.

Doubtless, The necessa [...]y use of able and orderly Mini­sters. a Church may better in the worst of times want any thing than good Bishops and order­ly Ministers; for these in the midst of persecution made Religion good against all the powers of men and [Page 108]Devils; all the Armies of vain Phi­losophers, Atheists, Epicures, Hereticks and Schismaticks, Heathenish Prin­ces and barbarous people: when they made no more to baite Christians and their Ministers, or Bishops to death, than to kill Bears and other beasts in their Theaters; yet being killed they conquered because uni­ted and orderly; Christianity like a wedg, the more driven home, the more it splits all Idolatry, and it self continued entire.

But when Pastors and people, Bishops and Presbyters are divided, when the whole order and Militia or Army is once disbanded or abased, starved and despised, the very soul is gone from the body, the Sun from the firmament; the (maenia & pro­pugnacula) forces and defences are taken away from the Frontiers and Garisons, we may, write Ichabod on all foreheads, the glory is departed from our Israel; for every good Bishop is as the spiritual Colonel of his Diocesan Regiment, and every good Presbyter under him is as a Captain of his Parochial Com­pany; [Page 109]the first without the second will be weak, and without assist­ance; and the second without the first will be unruly for want of go­vernment; together they are com­pleat.

§. What wise and sober Christian doth not see by woful experience, that since this late rout and disorder hath been made upon the chariots and horsemen of our Israel, we have seen, and heard, and felt nothing but wars, and rumors of wars; scarce one good day of secure serenity, without black and terrible clouds hanging over us, as death, full of blood, faction, fury, discontent and mutual destruction, little of peace, nothing of charity, as far from unity as uniformity in doctrine, discipline and government!

§. Nor have those mens chariots kept their own wheels very well on their axes, but either driven very heavily, or some of them in­to the read sea of blood, who were most active to destroy or disband or disorder our spiritual Militia, or Hierarchy and Ministry, which was [Page 110]the most-able, compleat, well­appointed, goodliest and gallantest in the Christian reformed world; I might say, without vain glory, in the whole world: Some defects and defaults, some halts and ex­travagancies might be in particu­lar persons; but the order and the march, and the ammunition, and the maintenance were, as to the main, very worthy of the honor and wisdom, and bounty, and piety of this Nation and Church, having as much of ability and courage, and more of publique honor and encou­ragement than any where.

§. Love must not yet despaire of this Church. Nor do I yet despair of the wisdom, honor, piety and gratitude of this Church and State, but they may in time return to see the pre­judices, mischiefs and miseries, ei­ther felt or feared, by the daily incursions, as of all manner of er­rors and confusions in Religion, so in civil and secular concernments, which easily drive, God knows whi­ther, to a thousand shipwracking and desperate dangers, when once not only the anchors and cables of Re­ligion [Page 111]are broken, but the Pilots and Masters either cast over-board or kept under hatches and lost. Nothing holds mens hearts so together even in a National peace and harmony, as when they all meet in the same center of Religion, and can all say Amen to the same prayers and praises of God: Nor will any civil cautions & coercions, keep the publick peace, or patch and soder it up, when once the hearts and heads of men are cracked and broken in pieces, as ear­then pitchers, by the mutual dash­ings against one another in differen­ces of Religion; where though men get no conquest or booty, yet they are strangely pleased with a liberty and animosity only to contest, just as Soldiers do in mutinies, when they turn the reverence due to Comman­ders into impudence and insolency.

§. But I have done with this Consideration of Eliahs publique eminency and influence, which made him worthy of these appellations of honor and strength, of safety and de­fence to Church and State, The chariots and horsemen of Israel; be­ing [Page 112]only sorry, that so many of my Countrymen seem also to have done with their spiritual Militia, seeking so to reduce it, as to make it a kinde of Nehustan, to bring all Bishops and Ministers, as wounded and maimed, antiquated, and ex­autorated Soldiers to their almes­houses, and Hospitals of publick cha­rity.

§. Of Voluntiers Preachers and Souldiers, that will serve gra­tis. If we could maintain our secu­lar Militia, at the same rate as some propound for Ministers, that every Soldier and Commander would be content with what men will give them, it would very much ease the charge of the Nation. But some will say, there are that will preach gratis, for nothing; which is no more credible than that any Soldiers will watch and ward and attend their duty, and fight for no­thing; they may do it for a fit of novelty, as Voluntiers of a few days standing, but they will not long stay by their colours, either as Sol­diers or Ministers, if they must do it for nothing. And if they will needs have the Ministerial order [Page 113]and spiritual Militia quite disbanded as chargeable and superfluous, that every one may preach and officiate freely that list; let them withal try the experiment in the secular Mi­litia, lay down their Arms, and let every man fight that lists; if they will not hearken in reason of State to this motion, nor ought they in Religion to the other; since men are naturally more prone to defend their Civil than Religious inte­rests.

These Projectors know well e­nough, that nothing publique is well done, which is done occasionally and arbitrarily; not as a duty of necessity and conscience, but of va­riety and essay, to which neither Ministers nor Soldiers work must be left, unless we list to leave all things to Atheism and confusion: The Apostle saith expresly, 1 Cor. 9.16 A necessity is laid upon him, and wo to him if he preach not the Gospel, being appoin­ted thereunto by God, Acts 20.28 1 Pet. 1.3 and the or­der of the Church: As Ministers are to take heed to the flock over which the Lord by the Church hath [Page 114]set them, so others are to take heed what they do to these men, so as to hinder or discourage them in so great a work, on which the eter­nal safety and good of souls depends, which none but Satan will hinder, none but unbelieving Jews, or false brethren, deceitful workers and e­vil doers will oppose, and seek to oppress, Acts 19.24 by a mechanick kind of malice, like that of Demetrius, or Alexander, 2 Tim 4.14 the one a Silver-smith, the other a Copper-smith, and both Blacksmiths as to their covetous souls and malicious spirits against the Gospel and true Apostles.

The Fourth General, The silence and distance of all after their last departure. Cessatio vi­sionis, the ceasing of the Vision, ad­monisheth me to think of closing this my discourse; for since Elisha saw him no more, there will be no great matter more for me to speak of him or his assumption; where the Scriptures are silent, we must not be inquisitive after, neither prying with our eyes, nor prating with our tongues; what God conceals and hides, we must not be curious to discover, or enquire; as those do, [Page 115]who here are much troubled what became of Eliah, whether he went; whether to Paradise, or Abrahams bo­som, or into some other Limbo, or place of refreshing, or into the third heaven, the place and state of beati­sick vision.

If I should spin this out to a long and fine discourse, Q. What be­came of Eliab. I should but abuse your patience, nor would it be other than a cobweb scarce worth the winding up; as little would that Query be, which some hotly agitate, Whence Eliah sent a let­ter (long after he was ascended) to King Jehnoram, 2 Chron. 21.12 of which mention is made in the second Book of Chro­nicles: Probably it was antidated, as a Prophetick Prescript before E­liah departed, foreseeing, by the spirit of Prophesie, the evil of that Prince and those times; or some o­ther Eliah than the Tisbite might then live, and a Prophet too.

It is enough for us to confine our sight with this dark vail and inter­minate Horison; He saw. him no more; This was the period to Eliah, and all the appearance of charet and [Page 116]horses; as it was with Moses, God hid him; and with Enoch, he was not, for God took him; so here with Eliah, God withdrew him, to an [...], a state invisible, out of the ken of mortal eyes, and humane cogni­zance, which was a kind of dying, although tis probably thought his soul never parted from his body, but the body was changed, and made capable of that new state where­in God set him; no doubt very happy, though not in the highest state and degree, to which Christ did and will bring him and all his at the consummation of all.

This we may observe, Miraculous manifestati­ons few and short. First, That extraordinary manifestations of God to any, are commonly very short; either external or internal: Rara hora, brevis mora, as St. Ber­nard speaks of spiritual motions and joyes, that are most signal and em­phatick; So to Abraham, and Jacob, and Moses in the bush; so to Manoah, Samul, David, Solomon and others; yea the Spirit that descended as a Dove on Christ, Mat. 3.16 and rested on him visibly staid not long, and but once [Page 117]seen; [...]oh. 12.29 so the voyce that seemed as thunder, Mat. 18 3 testifying of Christ as the beloved Son of God; so the Trans­figuration but once, Luk. 22 41 as a glimpse of glory; so the Angel in his Agony made no long stay with Christ; so St. Pauls rapture was but once, and he tells not of its lasting any time.

These dispensations are not quo­tidianae nor diuturnae, neither fie­quent nor continuant, but a touch or or taste, a glimpse or flash like light­ning, that many times it is doubt­ed whether it is real or only ima­ginary, till the good event, or some gracious effect on our spirits, gives a confirmation of the truth of it, as it was in St. Acts 12.17 Peters deliverance out of prison, which assured him of the reality of the vision, that God had sent his Angel and re­prieved him; God is not prodigal of these special favours, but for some great design are they indul­ged; as I have been assured of some in cases of great darkness of soul, have had such visions of light as both cleared and cheared them ever after.

Secondly, The period of death to all, visible com­forts. I observe in this live­ly figure of death which is set forth by Elisha's seeing him no more for ever, what is that (ultima linea) last period, which we must expect our selves, and rest contented in, as to our dearest relations; they must be hidden from our eyes; they go to the (terra incognita) land of darkness, Psal. 88.12 and of forgetfulness; which is a place from whence they cannot return to this mortal view and state; Luk. 16.26 there being ( [...]) a great and black abyss between the dead and the living; one in the cen­ter, the other in the vast circum­ference of the world. All our de­lectable and desirable things, Friends, Parents, Wives, Children, Princes, Prophets, Preachers, semel statutum, it is once appointed, they must shoot that gulf; the shadow of death with a black mantle will inter­pose between them and us, not to be drawn till heaven and earth be no more, as the Stage and Theatre of mortality.

Thirdly, Impreve our short vision and fruition of friends. If we shall see them no more, then it is wisdom to make the [Page 119]best use of them we can, and do them all the good we may, before we or they go from hence and be no more seen. Eccles. 9.10 Whatever thy hand findeth to do do it with all thy might, saith Solomon, when he had reco­vered his wits. Leave them not whom thou lovest without a blessing before thou diest, Gen. 26.4. as Isaac was so­licitous for his Sons; the blessing of pious instruction, good counsel, kind reproof, noble example, frequent yea constant prayers; nor be want­ing to make that use of their wis­dom, parts and worth, who are able and willing to assist thee; many die from us, and we from them (as I have found by sad experience) while we delay to tell them our minds, or open our hearts to them, putting it off till next visit, or another more convenient time, as Felix did St. Paul, and 28.1. when we shall never see them more, till heaven and earth be no more.

Fourthly, Acts 24.25 Set not thy h [...]a [...]t on what will vanish. Take heed of setting thy heart on any thing (Quod a te invito abesse potest) which may leave thee whether thou and it will or no; [Page 120]as St. Austin speaks, not without penitent retracting of his immode­rate love of his friend Alypius, and his excessive mourning for him when he died; for commonly as sowred vinegar is made of the sweetest wine, so vehement affections are but the fewel to maintain or nourish vehement afflictions; as the Bucket of our delights and joyes goes down, so that of our grief comes up full; the highest tide of all comforts sen­sible; usually falls into as low an ebb of discontent and sorrow, if our hearts be too much engaged, or sit not so loose ( [...], as Epictetus saith) as to love an ear­then pot as an earthen pot, that it be­ing broken, thou mayst not seem broken too. This is the law of muta­bility and mortality in this world; wilt thou set thy heart on that which is not, leaning on a reed, and feeding on the wind! O lay hold the self, and help others to fasten on eternal life; for this is the only improvement of this short, 1 Tim. 6.12uncer­tain, and mutable, yet precious mo­ment, and the only entertainment [Page 121]worthy of thy immortal soul, which nothing but the supream, eternal, and immutable good, that is God himself can satisfie: Take heed life be not done before we think of living or dying, as we should and would; lest our candle be out, or but a feeble snuff in the socket be­fore we set to work. Remember upon this moment depends eternity; Nor is the accurate work of our Salvation, which must last to eter­nity, and be seen in heaven, to be done by a dim and foul light.

Lastly, Let us so live here, in our short society on earth, that we may not be ashamed to see one another at the last day, when all shall appear before the Judgement seat of Christ; Rom. 14.10 that when we must see one another no more on earth, yet we may depart in good hope to meet in heaven, in the beatifick Vision of God; where it is not on­ly probably disputed, but strongly presumed by many learned and holy men, that we shall see and know each other, as Angels do, who cer­tainly are not as strangers to each o­ther.

Fifthly, The sorrow and shew of it in Elisha. The last particular ob­servable in Elisha, is his sense and sor­row, when he saw that Eliah was quite gone, and he saw him no more; he doth here parentare, adorn (luctum solemnem) a solemn mour­ning, after the ceremony of the Jews, by rending his own garment in two peices, a custom in that Nation up­on any sad occasion; so the High Priest upon the pretended blasphemy which Christ should speak; Mar. 26.65. not that the Jews were such ill husbands in their grief, as to tear their clothes inconveniently; but at the bosom of their garments was a seam slightly sowed, which they easily rent in sunder, and mended afterwards a­gain.

1. Funeral sor­row, why set forth by rend­ing garments. This they did to shew the deep sense they had of that publick breach or rent God had made by the death of eminent persons; so Da­vid when he heard of Sauls and Jo­nathans deaths, whom he loved by a rare miracle of heroick and gene­rous affection, the one being his Ene­my, the other his Rival in a King­dom.

[Page 123]2. Next they would hereby give vent to their grief, and some ease by the ceremonious and visible renting of it, inviting others by the prospect to pitty and compassion.

3. They set forth the rending of their hearts; the wounds which sorrow made on their souls; there­fore at the death of Christ on the cross, Luk. 23.45. the most dismal and prodigious sight that ever was in the world, to sup­ply the senselesness and want of mour­ning in the Jews, the Sun became a mourner, and the vale of the Temple was rent in twain; to shew how much the whole creation mourned, and the Church was concerned in that Tragedy, so full of cruelty and blas­phemy.

4. Lastly, They hereby humbly testified before God and the world, how sensible they were to have de­served of his Justice, that either all blessings and comforts of life should be rent from them, or they from those enjoyments; that as Jacob said, Gen. 32.10 they were less than the least of the mercies of God; that it was his mer­cy and compassion not failing which [Page 124]afforded them any friend or com­fort, Lam. 3.22 or relation, or blessing, all which they had oft forfeited, and yet they were not consumed. Notice to be taken of Gods deprivations.

Hence we may observe; First, That it is humane, Christian, and comely to take notice of Gods Pro­vidence in the death or loss of any thing he takes from us, which was endeared to us.

Secondly, It is lawful and com­mendable to have a sense of sorrow and to mourn with a solemnity pro­portionable to the stroke, breach or wound which God inflicts by the death of any, whose either worth or wickedness makes them consider­able. Stupidity I told you is no ingredient in piety: Gen. 50.7 Joseph did so for Jacob, David for Jonathan and Absolom, Acts 8.2. and the Church made great lamentation for Stephen, yet not as men without hope.

Thirdly, This sense of sorrow may be with outward formality, and with ceremony expressed; yea, so­lemnly adorned to funeral Obse­quies and honorable attendance, as David at Abners, who followed the [Page 125]Bier, and made a Funeral oration for that great Captain, 2 Sam. 3.31. yea nothing becomes Christian Funerals better than holy and religious duties; which from the occasion of the dead may make pious, apt, and season­able applications to the living, either to our selves or others. As the anti­ent Fathers, St. Basil, Greg. Naz. Nis­sen, Chrysostom and others did, in their Funeral Orations for those ex­cellent persons, men and women who were departed this life, with the honor of dying in the faith of Christ, and communion of his true Church, leaving noble examples of all graces and vertues to posterity. Benefit of Fu­neral Sermons among Christi­ans.

In which as those holy Panegyrists took special notice of Gods hand, and prayed for his Grace to sanctifie the spectacle to the living, that they might lay it to their heart; so they craved of God, and excited their Auditors or Readers to such a supply of others in their room, or broken ranks, that there might be no great or long defects or vacancy in that place they held and filled in the Church: They also set forth the ex­emplary [Page 126]riches and pregnant graces of the departed; that by others remem­bring what they had well spoken, or done worthily, or suffered patient­ly, they might so imitate them that being dead they might seem yet to live in the life and influence of their holy patterns; for constancy as Mar­tyrs, and Confessors for Zeal, Charity, Hospitality, Patience, Meekness, and Perseverance, &c.

This Humanity, yea Christianity allows, nay commands and justifies, when done, as all things ought in the Church of Christ, to edification not for superstition, or meer pomp, and vain ostentation, such as by flattering the dead, and speaking good of those who were [...], haters and hated or abhorred of God, do either de­lude or barden the living in careless and secure ways, to the deferring of their repentance, and hazzard of their souls. These wise and worthy ends being in due and comely sort observed, at the Funerals of our Christian friends, who are not to be buried with the burial of an Ass, with a dumb shew, as if they might never [Page 127]be spoken of any more, because we can see them no more: Nor need we to fear the coy reserve and super­cilious restiveness of some who en­vy others this use and freedom in the Church; the truth is, few are a­gainst who deserve to enjoy; those that are hollow, loose or false in their lives, love not to be brought to the touchstone at their deaths.

Indeed some mens lives, actions and memories are like their carkas­ses, best when least stirred, and most hidden from the sight of others. Psal. 112.6. But the just shall be had in everlasting remembrance, and enjoy this reward (even among men) to have their name as a precious ointment poured out; Eccles. 7.1. Cant. 1.3. Mat. 26.12. not [...], but [...], not preparatory to, but contemporary with their interment or burial, that so the sweet odor of it may not on­ly accompany (as the spices which Mary bought for Christ) their coffin and corps, but fill the whole house, the place, the Parish, the Church or the Temple, where they either lived or are buried.

FINIS.

ΕΠΙΤΑΦΙΟΝ. P. M. S.
Augustius solito Virtutum exemplar Sitibi tuis (que) imitandum velis, Mox Moriture Lector: Subtus positas ne pigeat contemplari EXƲVIAS RADOLPHI BRUNRICI. S.T.D.

IPSWICI, peramaeni Icenorum oppidi,
Parentibus honestis, Tanto (que) Filiobea­tis, orti.
Infantulum terrestri orbum coelestis te­neriùs fovit Pater:
Pia (que) literaturâ penè ad miraculum imbutum,
Per omnes Academiarum gradus eductum,
Ad Aulae Catharinae praefecturam,
Ad saepius repetitam Procan. Cantab. dignitatem
Ad Exoniensis Episcopatus Honorem,
CAROLI Regis favore evexit:
Quem afflictissimum fidelitate inconoussa coluit
Vir undi (que) egregius: Doctior an melior dubites;
Famâ per omnem aetatem immaculatâ,
immo splendida & magnificâ.
[...] olim per biennium, at [...]:
Nec conjugii spretor, nec coelibatui impar,
Severus ubi (que) castitatis exactor;
Tam vultus, quàm vitae majestate venerandus:
Quod enim vultu promisit optimum, vitâ praestitit:
Tacita Sermonum, urbana morum sanctitate
non jucundus minus, quàm utilis.
Supercilii non ficti, non elati, non efferi;
Humillima granditate cuncta gerens.
Credas nec conscio tantas cumulasse dotes
Naturam prodigam, benignam (que) gratiam:
Adeo omne tulit punctum; id (que) levissima invidia.
In Concionibus sacris frequens dominator:
In disputationibus scholasticis semper Triumphator;
Barnabas idem & Boanerges:
Tam pugno, quàm palma nobilis:
Suavi terrore, & venerando amore ubi (que) pollens,
Beatâ uberrimi ingenii facundiâ,
Honorum omnium votis & expectationi nunquam non satisfecit.
Quadratus undi (que) Deo, Ecclesiae, Sibi constans:
A mobili & rotundâ aevi figurâ penitus abhorrens
Scienter, sapienter, & semper bonus:
Reformarae olim in Anglia Religionis priseae do­ctrinae,
Liturgiae, Regiminis, Ecclesiae integrae,
Contra Veteratores & Novatores omnes
aequanimus, at acerrimus vindex.
Serò nimis (pro temporum morbis & remediis)
Episcopali sublimitate meritissimè auctum,
Bellorum et Schismatum late flagrantium incendia
Optimum Antistitem, una cum Coepiscopis omnibus
(viris ut plurimùm innoxiis & eximiis)
Totâ ecclesiâ, Rege, Repub.) mox deturbarunt;
Deturbatum facultatibus penè omnibus spoliârunt.
Jacturam ingenti ut decuit, animo tulit:
de Sacrilegis non spoliis sollicitus,
Queis non minus carere, quàm rectè uti didicerat.
Tandem, ipsa obscuritate illustrior factus,
Generosae Templariorum Societatis amore allectus,
Concionatoris Honorarii munus ibidem suscepit;
Nec diu (proh dolor) sustinuit.
Quum enim Testamentum condiderat,
Quale primaevi solebant Episcopi,
Gratiarum in Deum, Benignitatis in amicos,
Charitatis in omnes copia refertum,
Anno Aetatis Sexagesimo septimo,
Iniqui, inquieti, ingrati seculi mores,
Jam (que) merito recrudescentis belli minas
Laetus fefellit:
Et ad meliorem Dominum
[...] Christiana plenus,
Optata [...] beatus,
Libens migravit,
Decemb. 7. 1659.
Haec verò venerandi Praesulis ramenta aurea, Amplissmi (que) viri parva compendia
L. M. C. J. G. S. T. D.
Magnalia ejus, quae nec marmor breve,
Nec Tabula prolixa, nec mens mortalis capiet,
Beatae Aeternitati
Silentio consecranda.

[...].

ΕΠΙΝΙΚΙΟΝ.

ITe nunc [...], vestros recensete greges;
(Multis Sectarum maculis variegata pecora)
Si quos inter vostros Gigantum fraterculos
(Vilis plebeculae vilia mancipia)
Pares similesve invenistis Heroas
Primaevis nuperis (que) nostris Episcopis:
Usserium (volo) Mortonium, Potterum,
Davenantium, Hallum, Prideaxium,
Westfeildium, Winneffum, Brunricum,
Alios, meliori seculo & fato dignos;
Extra irae invidiae (que) vestrae aleam nunc positos;
Heu tandem pudibundi vobiscum recolite,
Aurea quae in ferrum mutastis secula [...]; quando
Nec merita praemiis deerant, nec praemia meritis:
Quantum à bellis, à mendicitate, à miseriis,
A rixis, ab hodiernis vulgi ludibriis,
Tranquilla & beata ista distabant tempora;
Quae, molles nimis, nec ferre, nec frui potuistis,
Icti, afflicti, prostrati Phryges tandem sapite;
Deum (que) [...], non [...] Authorem
Moribus Catholicis & antiquis colite,
Ut quantum à Papae tyrannide, & plebis [...] dif­ferat
Primaeva & paterna Episcoporum Praelatura,
Sine fuco sciant, fruantur (que) posteri,
BRƲNRICI memores Praesulis Angelici.
FINIS.

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