DIVINITY IN MORTALITY, OR THE GOSPELS EXCELLENCY AND The PREACHERS frailty, Represented in a SERMON Preached at the Funerals of Mr RICHARD GODDARD late Minister of the Parish of St GREGORIES by Pauls; Who died on Thursday the 12th of May 1653. and was buried on Moonday the 16th day of the same Moneth.

By NATH. HARDY Master of Arts, and Preacher to the Parish of St Dyonis Back-Church.

MATTH. 13. 52. Every Scribe instructed for the Kingdom of Heaven, is like unto a man that is an housholder, which bringeth forth out of the Treasure things new and old.
2 PET. 1. 14. Knowing that shortly I must put off this my Tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
Sacra Scriptura utilitas Christianorum, Thesaurus Ecclesiae lumen animarum.
Ubique in eis veritas regnat ubi (que) divina virtus irradiat, ubi (que) pandun­tur humano generi profutura. Cassiod. div. lect. c. 15, & 16.

London, Printed by A.M. for Nathanael Webb and William Grantham, and are to be sold at the Sign of the Black Bear in St Pauls Church­yard near the little North door. 1653.

Errata.

Page 6. in marg. after [...] read [...]. p. 13. in m. for [...] r. [...]. p. 15. in m. for prefectam r. productam. p. 17. line 20. after denominateth dele te. p. 18. l. 5. before Viles, pauperes censu loco humiles, for vitae r. vitâ. after labore adde communes, men of low estates, mean trades, obscure and laborious lives. where in the marg. supply Chrysol. c. 28. p. 19. l. 16. r. are after mentioned. p. 27. l. 28. for innocentia r. innocenter. p. 28. l. 1. pudet r. pudeat. p. 29. marg. for [...] r. [...]. and for [...] r. [...].

To the Worshipfull ROGER PRICE Esq, The upper and the neather Springs of the Water of Life.

Worthy Sir,

I Well know how unworthy this slender Discourse was of those judicious eares which vouchsafed it the hearing; and surely cannot but much more judge it un­deserving a publique view: So that if (besides friends importunity perswading) the fear of an abortive birth to have been brought forth by some unskilfull Notary, had not enforced me, it should have been buried in privacy.

Being thus necessitated, and thereupon advised by you and others to this unwelcome task, I knew not any fitter then your self to whom I should present this Dedication.

How cordial a welwisher, and forward an incourager you have alwaies been of the Orthodox Clergy, all that know you will assert, and in particular, what an ardent affection lodged in your bosome and flamed forth in your expressions towards your Reverend Minister was abun­dantly testified both in his life and at his death, whilest in his life you were one of the first in providing for his com­fortable subsistence, and at his death you took care for his decent buriall, desiring that your house might receive him when dead (which had so often entertained him alive) from [Page] whence he was honourably attended to his grave.

I doubt not but there were many other worthy Gentlemen of your Parish, to whom this deceased servant of Christ was much engaged; but I hope my ignorance of their per­sons will be a sufficient Apologie for my silence. With you (Esteemed Sir) I have had by his means the ho­nour to be acquainted, of whom therefore I am bold (espe­cially for his sake) to desire the Patronage of this Sermon.

What hath suspended the Publication since I last saw you, I am confident you have already heard; a disease not much unlike that which snatched away our dear friend, but from which God was graciously pleased to deliver me: Thus is his wisdom sometimes pleased to let the barren Fig­tree stand, whilest he plucketh up the fruitfull Vine.

His race is now run, and he is gone to Rest; his work is finished, and he hath in part received his Wages; Weep not for him who is already entred into joy, rather rejoyce, that though he be gone, God hath sent you another, one eminent both for Piety and Learning, in whose converse I doubt not but you will finde much content, and by whose labours I hope you will reap much profit.

And now Sir, I commend you to God, earnestly im­ploring the continuance and increase of all externall and internall blessings upon you, in your own person, your dear Consort, aged Father, hopefull children, till at last he crown you all with eternall happiness. I take my leave and subscribe my self,

Your cordial Friend and Servant, NATH. HARDY.

The Text.

2 COR. 4. the former part of the 7th verse. But we have this Treasure in earthen Vessels.

[...]. Bas. Mag. in Isa. c. 3. [...]. Isid. Pel. 1. ep. 32. THe losse of a good man, especially a good Minister, and most especially in bad times, is a just ground of deep sorrow. A faithful Ambassadour of Christ is a com­mon Stock, in which many have a share, a burning Lamp by which many are en­lightned, good reason the exhausting of such a treasury, the quenching of such a Light, should be matter of dolefull complaint. Besides, when Gods wrath is flaming, who but a Moses should stand in the gap? When horrid impieties are reigning, who but an Ezekiel should warn the people? And when heresies are raging, who but a John should defend the truth? And shall it not affect our hearts with grief, when such as these are taken away? No wonder then if when Elisha seeth Elijah carried away from the earth in a fiery Chariot by a whirlwinde, he crieth out, My Father, my Father, the Charists and the horsmen of Israel: 2 Kin. 2. 11, 12 Per tales Deus placatur populo populus instrui­tur Deo Prosp. de vit contempl. c. ult. If when Samuel dieth all Israel gather together and lament for him: 1 Sam. 25. 1. Finally, if when the Priests gave up the ghost in Je­rusalem, Lam. 1. 19, 20. the Church uttereth that mournfull sigh, Behold, O Lord, for I am in distresse.

This This (Men, Fathers and Brethren) is the sad occa­sion of this solemn and sorrowfull Assembly. A Cedar is fal­len, Zech. 11. 2. [Page 2] well may the Fir-trees howl; a bright Starre is removed from our Horizon, well may darknesse cover this Hemisphere: I could willingly now give scope to mine and your passion that we might sit down awhile in silence, and only by the language of our tears speak our sense of this heavy losse. But all passi­ons, especially that of grief, need rather a Bridle then a Spurre. Affected we may, we ought to be with his death, but as a publick, not as a private detriment, and that not in an extream but moderate measure. And so much the rather, considering that it is no new nor rare thing. Your Fathers, where are they? and the Prophets do they live for ever? is the Prophet Zecharie's Question, putting it out of Question,Zech. 1. 5. they do not alwayes live, but are alike with others, subject to mortality, nor have the Ministers of the New Testament, though imployed about a more excellent Ministration, any greater priviledge as to exemption from death then those of the old, Apostles as well as Prophets are under deaths tyranny: So much St Paul here intimateth, when he saith, But we have this Treasure, &c.

Facit hoc propter pseudapostolos quibus hoc erat [...] consueto, ut ex afflictionibus ip­sius argumentum experent vili­pendendi ipsius ministerium. Musc. in loc. The first word of this Text is But, a But which the Apo­stle puts upon himself and fellow-Apostles, yea and all the Ministers of the Gospel. In the fore-going verses we finde him extolling his Ministery, and vindicating his fidelity in the discharge of it, here he interposeth a But, not a But of scandalous impiety, this could not be charged upon him by any. Oh that all Ministers lives were so ordered, as no But of this nature might be deservedly cast upon them. The But here in­tended is only a But of natural frailty, humane imbecillity, and the worlds unjust ignominy. These were the things the Apostle well knew the false teachers would upbraid him and his brethren with, and therefore he prevents them by a vo­luntary Concession that so it was, yea fit it was that so it should be for the advancing of Gods glory, that whilst their message was honourable themselves should be contemptible, But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels.

In which words we have a brief yet exact Delineation both of the Gospel and the Preachers of it, and both by a double Character,

  • [Page 3]The Gospel is cha­racterized by
    • A Metaphor commending, in the Noun Treasure.
    • A Term discriminating, in the Pro­noun This.
  • The Preachers of the Gospel are represented by
    • A word of description, in the Substantive Vessels.
    • A word of diminution, in the Adjective Earthen.

These are as four Keys by which I shall endeavour to un­lock the Treasure of this Text, as four Vents by which the Vessel of this Scripture emptieth its divine liquor. In the open­ing of which I shall strive that my Discourse may keep even pace with the time, I hope your Attention will keep even pace with my Discourse, and then I doubt not but that through Gods grace we shall be richer by this Treasure, and these earthen Vessels will help us somewhat nearer to Heaven. And so I begin with the

Delineation of the Gospel, and therein the

Gener. 1. Partic. 1. Vers. 6. Thesauro Sacra­mentum signifi­catur, Dei in Christo, quod fidelibus ero­gatur, incre­dulis abscondi­tur. Ambros. & Anselm. in loc. De lumine quod illuxerit Deus in cordibus nostris ad illuminationē agnitionis gloriae suae in personae Christi dicit habere nos the­saurum. Tertul. de Resur. carnis, c. 44. Metaphor commending, Treasure. To finde out the Kernel enclosed in the shell of this Metaphor, we must con­sider a three-fold reference that may be made of this word to the preceding.

Some referre it to the end of the former verse, and under­stand by this treasure The knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This is that which there he compareth to Light, and here to Treasure, two Metaphors though different yet consonant, Light being a most precious Treasure, and as Treasures are kept, so Lights were wont to be carried in earth­en Vessels. And well may the knowledge of God in Christ be compared to both, for its resplendency a Light, for its opulency a Treasure, such a Treasure as must be a Light not lockt up in our own brests, but shining forth to others, such a Light as is a Treasure of invaluable and incomparable worth. Our Apostle elswhere expresseth so high an estimation of this knowledge of Christ, Phil. 3. 8. that he accounts all other things, whe­ther worldly fruitions or Jewish observances to be [...], not [Page 4] only uselesse but hurtfull so far as they kept him from Christ, and [...],Suid. as offals which we throw to our dogs, or [...] quasi [...] those base excrements which Physicians force out of the body by their purging: things not to be valued but despised and loathed in comparison of this. And no lesse is that value which our blessed Saviour himself puts upon it, where he saith, This is life eternal to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John 17. 3. Life is the best Treasure in Nature, Eternal is the best of lives, how great a Treasure must the knowledge of Christ be which is Life eternal?

vers. 1. Thesaurum vo­cat munus sibi creditum à Deo hoc est ipsum mi­nisterium E­vangelii. Est. in loc. Secondly, Others take the reference of Treasure here as re­mote as that [...] Ministery, mentioned in the first verse. Indeed the Ministry and Dispensation of the Gospel is a choice and precious Treasure, upon which account the Apostle else­where cals it, [...] a worthy work. 1 Tim. 3. 1. A work it is to which is required both Authority and Ability, and therefore in respect of the former it is an Honour, of the later a Trea­sure. The old verse tels us,‘Dat Galenus opes, dat Justinianus honores.’ The Law brings Honour, and Physick Wealth, but in a divine sense the Ministery hath both. A Burden it is indeed, but withall an Honour. A Labour it is, but withall a Treasure for the edifying and enriching of the Church. This Treasure Christ keeps under Lock and Key, only intrusting those with it whom he cals to, and furnisheth for it. As it was the pri­viledge of the Jews above other Nations, that to them were the Oracles of God committed, Rom. 3. 2. so it is the Prerogative of the Ministers above all other persons, that to them is committed the Dispensation of these Oracles. By which it appears, that they are no better then thieves, nay sacrilegious robbers who without immediate or mediate warrant from Christ assume this trust and break open this treasure.

ver. 3. Thirdly, I conceive we shall best understand the prime in­tent and full extent of this Metaphor, by referring it not so neer as the sixth, nor so farre as the first, but to [...] [Page 5] the Gospel, mentioned in the third verse.

Indeed both the other Interpretations are fully included, and may be fitly reduced to this, since on the one hand that Ministery is principally in respect of the Gospel: Hence it is that we are called the Ministers of the New Testament, 2 Cor. 3. 6. and our Commission is to preach the Gospel, Mark 16. 15. and the English Tran­ [...]lators have not unfitly at once rendered and unfolded that [...] St Paul speaketh of to be the dispensation of the Go­ [...]pel, 1 Cor. 9. 17. for though since Christ came not to destroy but to fulfill, Mat. 5. 17. we must not suppresse but publish the Law, yet our chief er­rand is to promulge the glad tidings of Salvation in the Gospel. And on the other hand, it is the Gospel onely that revealeth the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, [...],Gr. Thaumat. Serm. 2. in Au­nunt. B.M.V. To them that search into the Mine of holy Writ is opened the treasure of the know­ledge of God: And whereas the Creatures leade us to the knowledge of God the Creator, and the Law declares him as a Judge, onely the Gospel manifesteth him as a Redeemer, to wit, God in Christ.

The Gospel then is that which St Paul here primarily cals a Treasure. It is that Metaphor by which Christ himself repre­sents it when he compareth the Kingdom of Heaven to a Trea­sure hid in a field, Mat. 13. 44. as it is said to be hid for its mysteriousnesse, so a Treasure for its preciousnesse. That we may see the fitnesse of the Metaphor, be pleased to take a view of the Analogie, and that in two particulars, to wit, the Nature and the Effi­cacy of a Treasure, what it is, and what it doth.

First, If you enquire into the Nature of a Treasure, that definition may be a full answer, Thesaurus dicitur multarum rerum pretiosarum cumulatio, A Treasure is an accumulation of many precious things, Avend. in Mat. so that there are two things concur to a Treasure, to wit, pretium and copia, value and plenty, worth in the quality, abundance in the quantity. It is not an heap of straw or rubbish that maketh a Treasure, since though there is plenty, there is no value; nor is it a single piece of silver or gold that maketh a Treasure; since though there is value there is not plenty, but many bags of gold and silver, or things of like worth fill up a Treasure. Both of these [Page 6] we finde and meet with in the Gospel, no wonder it is set forth by this appellation.

1. The Truths and Doctrines contained in it are choice and excellent, as much worth as our Souls, as Heaven, as Salva­tion is, nay shall I go higher? look what worth there is in the riches of Gods grace, Eph. 1. 7. the precious bloud of Christ, 1 Pet. 1. 19. that may secondarily be ascribed to the Gospel, which discovereth and offereth both to us: no wonder that the Greek Fathers com­pare the verities of the Gospel to precious stones, and our Sa­viour to a Pearl of great price, and the Minister in this re­spect is called a Merchant of invaluable Jewels. [...]. Athan. de virg. [...] Chrysost. hom. in Gen. 15. [...]. Isid. Pel. l. 1.ep. 146. If you please to take a view of those several things to which Gods word in general is compared, and which may much more be applied to the Gospel in particular, you shall finde its worth set forth by a very observable gradation. The basest metal to which it is compared is silver, and yet that is precious in comparison of lead or brasse or iron; silver refined from its drosse is of farre more worth then as it is taken out of the Mine; and it is resembled not onely to silver, but silver purified in the fire seven times; Psal. 12. 6. Gold is yet of more value by farre then the most purified silver; many pieces of silver are not aequivalent to one of gold, and yet all gold is not of a like worth, but this is more desirable then gold, yea then fine gold; Psal. 12. 6. 19. 10. Rubies are of more account then gold, and yet the wisdome of this word is more precious then rubies, nay that whatsoever else is ac­counted precious, as Pearls, Diamonds and the like may not be left out, there is annexed a comprehensive expressi­on, All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her. Prov. 3. 14, 15.

2. There is no lesse variety then excellency in the Gospel, [...];Basil. in Ps. 44. the doctrines of it are manifold, and of divers kindes, yet all profitable: whatsoever is to be known by us concerning God, Christ, our selves, sin, Righteousnesse, Happinesse, is here delivered, here are wholsome Counsels of vertue, righteous precepts of duty, the precious promises of mercy, and the sweet comforts of the Holy Ghost presented to us. In respect of its Counsels and Precepts, I may well call it (to use Saint Basils [Page 7] phrase) [...], a plentifull promptuary of good documents. Basil. in Psal. 1. [...]; Bas. ibid. [...]. Isid. Pol. l. 3. Epist. 338. What is it (oh Christian, to follow his ex­pressions) thou mayest not learn hence? the measure of patience, the manner of penitence, perfection of prudence, sweetnesse of temperance, exactnesse of Justice, and magnanimity of forti­tude? All moral vertues, and all theological graces are both described and prescribed in the Gospel. In respect of its com­forts and promises, I may well (to use Isidor's comparison) re­semble it to a large and pleasant Garden, replenished with va­riety of fragrant flowers, yielding as it were an heavenly Ne­ctar, which will revive the soul in the saddest distresse. What­soever Relations of life thou art placed in, here are fit directi­ons to guide thee. Whatsoever condition of misery thou maist be cast into, here are full consolations to support thee. Well might St Chrysostome say, [...],Chrysost. hom. 3. in Gen. the holy Scripture is an ever over-flowing fountain that cannot be drawn dry, and an inexhausted Treasure that cannot be emptied. To this purpose tend those resemblances of the Law, made use of by David, and no lesse justly applicable to the Gospel, it is not only better then gold and silver, Psal. 119. 72. which are things of value, but thousands, which implieth abundance, and again comparing it to all riches 14 and great spoil, 162. both which contain in them Multiplex genus, all sorts of valuable Commodities, Sheep, Oxen, Lands, Houses, Garments, Goods, Mo­neys, and the like; Avend. ibid. thus are all sorts of spiritual Riches, yea abundance of each sort to be had, as in the Law, so in the Gospel.

Secondly, As to the Efficacy of a Treasure, what will it not do? The Latine and our English Proverb both assert this, Pecuniae omnia obediunt, Money answers all things, especially where there is plenty of it, Food, Raiment, Lights, Physick, Armour, are all to be purchased by a Treasure. All this is most true of the Gospel. The Spouse speaking of Christs lips, saith, Cant. 4. 11. Ph. Carpath. They drop as the honey-comb, In favomel & cera latent, quorum altero pascimur altera lumen accendimus, sic in sacris literis suavissimus cibus animi & lumen mentis insunt, As in the honey-comb there is honey to yeeld nutriment and wax to give [Page 8] light: So in the Scriptures (chiefly the Evangelical) the soul hath food and the minde light. What an Aegyptian King cau­sed to be writ on the door of a well-furnished Library, [...] is fully verified of the Gospel, whence may be selected the best, nay the onely Receipts to cure a sin-sick person. Finally, no such Wardrobe as this wherein are to be had the Robes of Christs Righteousnesse, and the Ornaments of the Spirits Graces: no Armoury like to this, where all both offensive and defensive weapons against our spiritual enemies are to be found. In a word, what ever the wants of a Christian are he may by the Gospel finde a sutable supply, very justly then doth this Metaphor of a Treasure belong to it. But yet this is not all that concerneth the Gospels excellency: as there is an Analogie, so there is a Discrepancy, as in these the Gospel and a Treasure do agree, so there want not other things wherein the Gospel doth far exceed all Treasures; to which end cast your eyes on the

2. Term discriminating, Non simpliciter thesaurum, sed hunc inquit thesaurum habemus, Musc. in loc. he doth not barely say, we have [A] but emphatically [This] Treasure, to intimate that the Treasure of the Gospel is farre different from and transcen­dent above all other Treasures, which that it may the bet­ter appear, take notice of the Antithesis in these several par­ticulars.

1. Other Treasures are from below, this is from above, those are dig'd out of the Bowels of the Earth, this is sent from Heaven; what are gold and silver but white and yellow earth? the sands and the rocks are the habitation of pearls and jewels, but the things of the Gospel are, and therefore so fitly called by our Saviour heavenly things. Joh. 3. 12.

2. Other Treasures are transient and perishing; St Peters epithete is, corruptible gold and silver; 1 Pet. 1. 18. Solomons observation is, that riches take them wings and flee away; Prov. 23. 5. and therefore as they are got with care and kept with fear, so many times lost with grief; but this Treasure is lasting and permanent, the truth of it inalterable, the goodnesse of it unchangeable, hence it is called the good part which cannot be taken away, Luk. 10. 42. the meat which perisheth not; John 6. 27. and the word of the Lord that endureth for ever. 1 Pet. 1. 25.

[Page 9]3. Other Treasures are only of corporal use for the profit, comfort and support of the Body, and therefore it is they cannot make the possessour either wise or holy or happy. But this Treasure enricheth the soul with wisdom and knowledge, grace and holinesse, whereby it becometh a means of happinesse to him that enjoyeth it, by this it is the minde is enlightened, the will inclined, the affections composed, the conscience qui­eted, and the inward man renewed.

4. Other Treasures though virtually they procure severall comforts, yet formally and in their own nature they are but a remedy against poverty. Gold and silver in themselves have no feeding or cloathing or defending vertue, nor do they certainly and constantly procure those necessaries: Some­times food is not to be had for money, nor is silver alwaies a defence. And yet further though it may get the things, yet it cannot give an efficacy to them, it may buy food but not a sto­mack, Physick but not health, Clothes but not warmth, Ar­mour but not safety, Lights but not eyes: Whereas this Trea­sure is in its own nature all these, and assuredly bringeth strength, wealth, ease, safety, and all spiritual blessings to them that enjoy it, it is such a Treasure as is withall an oracle in doubts, a shield against assaults, a Counsellor in prosperity, a Comforter in adversity, a light in darknesse, and a refuge in danger.

5. Other Treasures oft times become destructive to the possessors, it was a sore evil Solomon saw under the Sun, namely riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt, Eccles. 5. 13. indeed both temporall and spirituall hurt accrueth frequently to men by their treasure; the golden Ring hath sometimes lost the finger, and the bag of money exposed the traveller to danger; yet more often do treasures become nurses of vice, panders to lust, incentives of wickedness, and the mammon of unrighteousness, whereby they ruin the soul, and take away the life of the ow­ners; Prov. 1. 19. in this respect it is that Salvian saith excellently of co­vetous men, perituris simul atque perdentibus student nundinis, Salv. contr. Avarit. l. 1. they eagerly busie themselves in those merchandizes which are not only perishing in their own nature, but destroy the possessors, whereas this Treasure is altogether beneficiall to [Page 10] them that enjoy it; indeed accidentally it proveth pernicious, becoming to some a savour of death, 2 Cor. 2. 16. but this is only to the rejecters and contemners, not to the receivers and possessors of it; If our Gospel be hid, saith the Apostle in this Chapter, it is hid to them that are lost, vers. 3. and if any be lost to whom the Go­spel cometh, its they from whom its hid by the devil and their own corruption blinding their eyes that they see not its worth, and thereby perverting their wils that they refuse its embraces; but to them that beleeve and do it, it is a savour of life, a wellspring of comfort, a means of their eternall well­fare.

Finally, Other Treasures may have the image of a King stamped upon them, such that coyn which had Caesars super­scription, but this hath the image of God and Christ imprin­ted on it, being therefore called the Gospel of God, Rom. 1. 1. and the Word of Christ, Col. 3. 16. other Treasures are the blessings of Gods left hand; so it is said of riches and honours, but this is a bles­sing of Gods right hand; Prov. 3. 16. so it is said of the fiery Law,Deut. 33. and much more is it true of the Gospel: How much the right hand excelleth the left, so much this surpasseth all riches. In a word, other Treasures make the poor rich, but this [...], maketh of mortall immortall, of men in some sense Gods. Just. Mart. ad [...]u. adhort. 2 [...]. And now upon all these considerati­ons the surpassing worth of this Treasure cannot but appear: So as we may truly say, Not all the Silks of Persia, Linnen of Egypt, Spices of Arabia, Silver of the West, Gold of the East, Pretious stones of both the Indies, are severally, nay joyntly able to equalize it. Well may this note of difference be annexed This treasure.

What therefore remaineth but that every one of us labour to have the same esteem of the Gospel, which St Paul had, and which indeed it deserveth?

1. Let us account it our Treasure, and let that appear by doing in reference to the Gospel, as men do by Treasure.

How vehement and active are covetous mens desires after Treasure! they spare no pains to get, nor have they ever e­nough of it, in their longings they are unsatiable, in their labours indefatigable. Such let our desires be after the know­ledge [Page 11] of, and acquaintance with Evangelicall truths: Let us not be satisfied without, no nor yet with the Gospel, but as we have it let us strive to have it more abundantly, according to that Apostolicall precept, Let the Word of Christ dwel in you richly in all knowledge and wisdom. Col. 3. 16.

Besides, what care have men to lay up their Treasure, when they have got it? The Greek word in its Etimology signifi­eth as much, [...] quasi [...], and in the He­brew [...] à [...] abscondit, the nown for Treasure cometh from a verb that signifieth to hide, there being nothing men more secretly and carefully lay up then their Treasures, yea what content do they take in viewing and recounting their bags, Populus me sibilat at mihi plaudo ipse domi, said he in the Poet, The covetous wretch whilest scorned abroad pleaseth himself at home in his heaps of wealth. So let us lay up the Gospel in the Cabinet of our souls, and take delight in meditating upon the divine Truths contained in it, yea whilest we meet with reproach and persecution from the world, let us solace our selves in the fruition of this Treasure. Herein let Davids pra­ctice towards the Law of the Lord be our pattern in that ex­cellent Psalm, wherein he expresseth a singular regard to Gods testimonies, The words of thy mouth are better to me then thousands of gold and silver: Psal. 119. vers. 72. and again, My hands will I lift up to thy Commandments which I have loved, and I will meditate on thy Statutes: 48. and again, I have hid thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee: 11. and once more, I have rejoy­ced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 14.

2. Since the Gospel is not only comparatively a Treasure, but superlatively this Treasure, let our estimation and affection towards it have a This upon it, beyond that we have or any can have to other Treasures. Indeed beloved, though this Treasure so far exceed all others, yet well were it if our love to it did equalize that to others; the truth is, though it is far beyond, yet the most mens valuation of it is far short. What a shame is it that by us who call our selves Christians, earth should be preferred before Heaven, the world before Christ, gold before the Gospel? Oh let us blow up the fire, whet the edge, quicken the dulness of our [Page 12] spirituall affection, that if possible, it may not only parallel, but outvie our earthly desires, and with that wise Merchant in the Gospel, we may sell all we have to buy this Pearl.

And so much be spoken of the first part, the Character here given to the Gospel: I now pass on to those by which

Gener. 2. Partie. 1. [...] [...]. Vox apud He­braeos & Graecos ponitur pro quo­vis instrumento. Loc. in Act. 9. 15. The Preachers of the Gospel are represented, and therein the Word of description, Vessels.

The word both in Hebrew and Greek is many times taken in a large acception for Instrumentum an utensill in an house, or any thing that is used as the instrument of accomplishing any work, and so the Hebrew word is rendred, where we reade of the instruments of cruelty, and the instruments of death, Gen. 45. 5. Psal. 7. 13. and in this sense it is true of the Ministers, they are instruments in the hand of Christ for the great work of gathering his Church; but most properly it signifieth receptaculum, an in­strument of containing any thing, and in this sense it may be here fitly construed, nor do there want fit resemblances in which the messengers of Christ are like to Vessels: More par­ticularly in these four respects.

1. Vessels are not naturall but artificial instruments: Na­ture affords the materials, but Art and Industry produce the Form by which it hath the Capacity of a Vessel. It is no less true of Ministers, Nemo nascitur Christianus, no man is born a Christian, much less a Minister: Indeed ex quovis ligno non fit Mercurius, there must be natural parts in them that under­take this Function, but those are not sufficient: And there­fore in the first Plantation of the Church, God did by imme­diate Inspiration, and the Collation of extraordinary gifts, en­able men for the discharge of this Office, and afterwards in the growth and progresse of the Church; That Inspiration cea­sing, so as no more to be expected, there was and still ought to be a training up of youth in the Tongues, Arts and Sciences, and after that a great deal of Industry (joyned with ardent Prayer) in the study of the Scriptures and Theologicall verities by them that take upon them this sacred Calling. The truth is, whatever account the men of this age make of a Ministers work, yet it is so weighty and divine an imployment, that no small time and pains must be spent in preparation for it. And [Page 13] if St Paul, whom Christ cals a chosen vessel, Act. 9. 15. and accordingly in a singular measure, not only above other Ministers, but Apostles, fitted for this service, cried out, [...]; Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Cor. 2. 16. How justly reprovable is their rashnesse, who whilst they can lay no just claim to an im­mediate inspiration, suddenly and unpreparedly enter upon this high imployment? Indeed such as these there have been in former times, who are called by Leo, Momentanei Sacer­dotes, Leo apud Grat. dist. 48. and Gregory Nazianzen stileth [...],Gr. Naz. or. 29 Justinian. such as in a day, a moment turned Priests. Modò idiota mox Clericus, now Laicks and anon Clerks. But what swarms of such ex­temporary and illiterate Preachers abound in this age, who to use that elegant Fathers expression, Owe more sacrifices for their own, then the peoples ignorances; and as those Romans of old called Cincinnati were advanced A stivâ & aratro ad dicta­tores, from the plough to be Dictators, so these skip from the shopboard to the Pulpit. [...]. Gr. Naz. Orat. 21.

It was a sad but just complaint, and too sutable to our times that Gregory Nazianzen took up in his daies, [...]. Gr. Naz. Orat. 20. No man is ac­counted a Physitian that hath not first studied the natures of di­seases, nor a Painter that hath not been exercised in drawing of lineaments, and laying on of colours, but Preachers are found easily such as have never bestowed time or taken pains in prepa­ring themselves for that service. Oh how shall the very Hea­then rise up at the last day and condemn the men of this genera­tion! Plutarch tels us that the Virgins which were to attend Diana's Temple, were for many years brought up as it were in a School, and called [...], such as should administer sa­cred Rites, and then being sufficiently instructed they were called [...], admitted to their divine mysteries, and afterwards they became [...] Instructers of others. Surely if the light of nature taught them to use so much care in educating those who were to perform the worship of a false Goddess, how shamefull is the blindness of those Christians who think some naturall abilities of memory and elocution sufficient to qualifie a Priest of the true and most high God.

2. Vessels are not all of equal capacity, some are lesse, others greater; severall trades have vessels of divers sizes: So is it [Page 14] among Ministers, both in respect of Offices and Gifts. In the beginning of Christianity there were some Apostles, some Pro­phers, some Evangelists, and soon after there were some Bi­shops, some Priests, some Deacons, and this variety of Orders hath ever conduced much to the unity, harmony and beauty of the Church. This diversity is no lesse apparent in regard of gifts, all have not alike abilities, nor are equally fitted for this sacred Employment; there is indeed a [...] competency of gifts which every one attaineth to whom God calleth to this Work: but though all have some yet not the same gifts, as St Paul puts the question, intending thereby a negation, Are all Apostles, are all Prophets? 1 Cor. 12. 29. So may I say in this, All are not Chrysostome's and Chrysologuse's for golden mouthed O­ratory, all are not Epiphaniuse's and Augustine's for Con­futation of Heresies; all are not like Hierome for skill in lan­guages, and Athanasius for profound knowledge: God who is a most free Agent dispenseth endowments variously accor­ding to the pleasure of his own Will: Some with Elisha have a double portion of Eliah's spirit, yea with Benjamin, their messe is five times bigger then their brethren, whilest he giveth to others with a more sparing and narrow hand. The Mini­sters of the Gospel are elsewhere resembled to Stars, Rev. 1. 20. and a­mong others for this reason, as all Stars are not of the same magnitude nor of the same lustre, so is it in the Firmament of the Church, One Star differeth from another in glory, 1 Cor. 15. 41. and one Minister from another in Gifts. Cant. 3. 7. 10. I shut up this with Gregory Nissen his observation concerning Solomons Chariot, the pil­lars wherof were silver, the botome gold, and the covering pur­ple; Gr. Niss. hom. 7 in Cant. which that Father applieth to the Church, and by the severall parts thereof understandeth [...] the Preachers of the Word, some whereof have golden, others silver, others purple Gifts, of different degrees and excel­lencies.

3. Vessels are not the originals of what they have, but it is poured into and received by them. The Well hath a Spring in it that yieldeth the water, but the Cistern must have it con­veyed into it. The Mines have the Treasure in their own bowels, but it is put into the Chest. The parallel holds in the [Page 15] Preachers of the Gospel, who are not the Authors but only the Receivers of those Truths they publish▪ What St Paul saith of himself, is true of every faithfull Minister, I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. 1 Cor. 11. 23. To this pur­pose it is observable that the Hebrew word which we render report [...] Isa. 53. 1. properly signifieth hearing, intimating that we must first hear from God before we speak to men, and speak no­thing but what we hear. In reference to this it is that the Bi­shops in Clements Constitutions are called [...] the Receivers and Proclaimers of Gods Word.Non a seipso sed ab eo qui cum mittit legatus loquitur. Velacq. in Phil. Among other resemblances Preachers are compared to Ambassadours, 2 Cor. 5. 20. and as the Ambassadour speaketh not from himself, but that message his Prince puts into his mouth, so must every Messen­ger of God. Excellently to this effect Vincentius Lirenensis occasionally treating of that of St Paul to Timothy, Keep the good thing committed to thee. 2 Tim. 1. 14. It is committed to thee, not to be in­vented by thee, What thou hast received, not what thou hast fan­cied. Not framed by thy own wit, but taught by another; of which thou art not an author but a keeper, in which not a leader but a follower; Quid est depo­situm, id est, quod tibi creditum est non quod a te inventum, quod accepisti non quod excogitasti, rem non ingenii sed doctrinae, non usurpationis pri­vatae sed publicae traditionis, rem, ad te profectam non a te prolatā, in quâ non autor debes esse sed custos, non insti­tutor sed sectator non ducens sed sequens. Vinc. Lyr. adv. haer cap. 27. so was Timothy, so is every Minister in respect of divine truths. I close up this with that expression of the Apostle to the Corinthians, God maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place: 2 Cor. 2. 14. We manifest the savour, but it is of his knowledge, to wit that knowledge we receive from him, [...],Occumen. in loc. saith Oecumenius aptly upon the place. The incense is heavenly, we are only as the Censors that contain it, and carry about the savour of it.

4. Vessels are not only for reception, but effusion, as they receive and retain, so they let out what is put into them; yea the vessel receiveth for this end, not only that it may keep, but that it may part with its liquor; such ought the Ministers of the Gospel to be, not only conchae, but canales, Condi, but Promi shels to retain, but Pipes to convey the divine Nectar, Layers up but layers out of this heavenly treasure. The Apostle speak­ing of the ordinary Ministers, describeth them by two Titles, the one metaphoricall, the other proper, to wit Pastors and Teachers, the latter of which, saith St Augustine, is annexed, [Page 16] Ʋt intelligerent Pastores ad Officium suum pertinere doctrinam, Aug. Ep. 59. that Pastors may know it is a chief part of their Office to teach and instruct the people. The stomack receiveth not food for it self, but to nourish the body, The Steward money to imploy for his own use only, but to provide for the family; and the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man, especially Mi­nisters, to profit withall. 1 Cor. 12. 7. This Treasure is a depositum, a trust committed, and that for uses, and those not private but pub­like; this light is communicated not to be hid under a bushell, but for the illumination and consolation of them that are in the house. It was Christs promise to his Apostles to give them os & sapientiam, a mouth and wisdom: Luc. 21. 15. What a vessell is without a vent, that is wisdom without a mouth. Wisdom that is hid and a treasure not seen, what profit is in them both? Wisd. 20. 30. Indeed a mouth without wisdom may prove pernicious, and wisdom with­out a mouth cannot be profitable, Christs Ministers have both, Wisdom in themselves, and a mouth to instruct others.

And so much the more reason have those vessels to com­municate this treasure, because it is not impaired by impar­ting. Indeed this is another excellency wherein this treasure transcends all earthly treasures; these waste by spending, this is not at all diminished by distributing. As the seal maketh an impression on the wax. The fire conveyeth the heat into iron. One candle lighteth many without any losse of figure, heat or light; so the communicating of this treasure will inrich others without impoverishing our selves: Here is no place for that allegation of the Virgins, Not so, least there be not enough for you and us: Matth. 25. 9. Never any had the lesse knowledge himself, by teaching others: Nay the truth is this Treasure absconsione minuitur, communicatione multiplicatur, Cassiod. in Ep. is lessened by hiding, multiplied by imparting; like the widows oyl in the vessel, that increased by pouring out, that being ever verified, To him that hath shall be given. Matth. 25. 29. And thus in all these respects are Preachers fitly compared unto vessels.

Quò in plures diffunditur eò redundantior manat. Ambr. 2. Offic. cap. 15. The Ʋse of this particular is that which concerneth my Re­verend Brethren of the Clergy, that they seek by prayer, and labour to be more and more fitted for their Function, that those of meaner gifts do not envy them that have greater, nor they [Page 17] that have greater, despise those that have meaner; that they deliver nothing but what they have received from above. Ambr. 2. off. cap. 15. Fi­nally, that they hide not their talents in a napkin, but lay out their parts and strength for the peoples good.

But it is not fit for me, who am minimus Apostolorum, to be your instructer, besides I doubt not your piety and wisdom hath already prevented my discourse in your meditations, and there­fore I passe on to the

Partic. 2. Word of diminution, Earthly, One hath well observed the elegancy of the Antithesis, Thesauri pretium opponit vilitati involucri, What more pretious then this treasure? What more vile then earthen vessels? Indeed the Candlesticks by which as generally the Churches, so eminently the Bishops of those Churches are to be understood, are said to be golden, and yet here these vessels are called earthen; both may well stand together, Golden in respect of the solidity of their doctrine, purity of their conversation, and yet earthen in regard of the frailty of their condition.

The chief Question to be discussed is, Upon what grounds the Apostle thus denominateth to himself and his fellow labou­res. To which a threefold Answer may well be and is return­ed by Interpreters.

The term of earthen is fastened by St Paul upon the Mini­sters, Respectu status, personae, corporis, in respect of their state, persons and bodies, the two former more speciall relating to the Apostles, though too often verified in severall ages of their Successours; the last more generall, as being common to all the Messengers of God, that have been are or shall be.

Non illustres sed humiles, & nul­lis humanae po­tentiae, fortunae, praerogativis spectabiles. Musc. in loc. In regard of their state, which is for the most part mean and low in the world, Golden and Silver vessels are of worth and price, but earthen are of little or no value, such is the usuall condition of Gods Messengers who are frequently exposed to want and penury. Instances in this kinde are numerous, and that in most eminent Worthies, Gregory Nazianzen saith of St Basill, that he had only what was necessary for his susten­tation, and [...], his riches was to have no­thing. St Augustine who was rich to Religion, to the Church, yet was poor to himself, and therefore when he died, he made [Page 18] [...]. Gr. Naz. or. 20 no Will, since as Possidius saith of him, Ʋnde conderet pauper Christi non habebat, The poor Saint had nothing whence he should lay up an estate. St Cyprian whose life was golden, death purple, manners pretious, yet his estate was low. Christs own Disciples were poor Fisher-men, Viles arte, obscuri vitae labore. Nay St Paul himself was no other then a Tent-maker, a Trade that could not inrich him, yea beholding to almes for his sup­ply. Thus as the poor receive the Gospel, so they that publish it are many times poor and low; not that thus it ought to be, as the opinion of too many in our daies is, who would have Ministers live like beggars, upon benevolence, and account it a prudent policy to keep them poor. St Paul (though upon spe­cial grounds he was pleased to condescend to that way of live­lihood) yet asserts maintenance to be the Ministers due, and this not narrow, but ample and honourable; what else meaneth that character, which, among others, he giveth of the Ministers in the Epistles, both to Timothy and Titus, that they should be lovers of, 2 Tim. 3. 2. yea given to hospitality, Tit. 1. 8. since it is no small competency of estate, which besides both the present and future provision for his family, will inable a man to be hospitable. But yet thus most usually it fals out, through the impiety and iniquity of men, that the Preachers of the Gospel are necessitous and indigent, earthen vessels. It is that there­fore which they should make account of, not to be great or rich in this world, comforting themselves with this meditation, that their reward is with the Lord.

2. In regard of their Persons: Earthen vessels being little worth are light set by, whiles golden and silver vessels are locked up safely, and onely used for the entertainment of speci­all guests: Earthen vessels stand in open places, are used by every servant, nay many times are trampled under foot; so is it with the Preachers of the Gospel, they are viles, abjecti ho­minum estimatione, base and despised in the eyes of wicked men. Est. in loc. Lap. in loc. Our blessed Saviour speaking to his Disciples, calleth them a little flock, though they were to be Shepherds of the people, yet they were a flock in respect of Christ. But why a little flock? Surely not only in respect of quantity but quality; let Chrysologus give the reason, Chrysolog. Serm. 22. Grex pusillus mundo, magnus [Page 19] Deo. A Flock great indeed in Christs, but little in mans eyes. Chosen vessels they are by God, but rejected by the world; and to use the Prophet Jeremies expression, Vessels wherein there is no pleasure. Jer. 22. 11. What that Emperour Fredrick the 3d said con­cerning Kings, An nescitis principes quasi signum populo expo­sitos? do you not know that they are oft times as a gazing stock to the people? may as truly be affirmed of Ministers. The Prophet Isaiah useth an expression not much unlike, con­cerning himself and the children God gave him, that they were for signes and wonders in Israel: Isa. 8. 18. Nor did Eliah, Elisha, Mi­caiah, Jeremy and the other Prophets fare any better then he, in the places where they prophesied, but were mocked, mis­used and despised by the sons of Belial among whom they li­ved. What entertainment the Apostles found let St Paul speak, We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things to this day. [...]. 1 Cor. 4. 13. Both the words there are mentioned by the late learned Expositor,Dr Hammond on the New Testament. refer'd to the same thing, and were used among the Grecians, concerning that refuse, vile person which was picked out to be a lustration for a City in a publique calamity, of whom they said when they had burnt him, and cast the ashes into the sea, [...]; thus contemptible and odious was St Paul and the other faithfull messengers of Christ in the Jews and Heathens esteem. Should I trace the footsteps of Ecclesiasticall History, I might tell you how Cyprian was nick-named Coprian, Atha­nasius Sathanasius, and still they that have been most Ortho­dox and zealous Preachers, have met with the greatest despite and opposition from hereticall, schismaticall and prophane per­sons. But I need not seek for instances abroad, when there are so many at home. Indeed we may remember those Hal­cion daies when both Wealth and Honour attended those who serve at the Altar, and the Clergy (as they ought to be) were accounted worthy of, and accordingly received double honour. But at this day how doth sad experience verifie, that the Priests are made the lowest of the people! That complaint of the Church may most justly now be taken up, They regard not the person of the Priests. Lam. 4. 16. Yea, as if some new Cadmus had sown the earth with Sauls teeth, and Shimei's tongue, they belch [Page 20] out contumelies against Gods Ministers. Many of these Ves­sels, and those most accomplished for this sacred service, are laied aside as useless, rejected as worthless, and tantum non only not dashed in pieces. Nay to that height of impiety are many come, that not only our persons are despicable, but our very Function is contemptible in their eyes. Oh that such would consider how near they strike at God himself. [...],Ignat. Epist. ad Smyrn. saith Ignatius truly, which we may English by that of our Saviour, He that despiseth you despiseth me, and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. Luc. 10. 16. Nor let my Brethren of the Clergie be too much discouraged because disregarded: It was a notable speech of the Philoso­pher Aristippus. to one that reproached him, Tu proferendis ego perferen­dis injuriis idoneus, let us be as ready to bear, as they forward to cast disgrace upon us. Cast your eyes on the two next verses to my text,vers. 8, 9. and observe St Pauls heroicall expressions, such indeed as well befit a Minister of the Gospel, We are trou­bled on every side, yet not distressed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not discouraged: Though our persons be as earthen vessels in the worlds estima­tion, and so used or rather abused, yet let not our spirits like earthen vessels be broken by any affliction, nay rather remem­ber what Christ said to his Disciples in the like case, Rejoyce and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, and so persecuted they the Prophets which were before, Matth. 5. 12. you are come in their stead, and therefore must expect their usage, and it is a comfort you do but pledge them in that cup of which they have drank to you before, you do but follow them in that way which they have tracked already, so persecuted they the Pro­phets, yea and the Apostles too, in which regard they are here called Earthen vessels.

3. Lastly, This Epithete earthen is annexed to these vessels, the Preachers of the Word, in reference to their bodies, as their mean condition, base estimation; so their bodily constitution proclaimeth them earthen, this is that which is common to Ministers with the people, since though in regard of their Calling they are prae aliis far before others, yet in this respect they are sicut caeteri, such as others.

[Page 21]1. Thus their bodies are earthen because formed of the dust of the earth, Testacea secundum originem, Tertull. so Tertullian, Earthly in their Original, upon which ground they are called houses of clay, Job 4. 19. the inhabitant indeed is heavenly, but the body earthy: Vas fictile nil aliud quam lutum igne coctum, as earthen vessels, so are our bodies fashioned out of clay. Lap. in loc.

2. Again, as earthen vessels are subject to flaws and cracks, yea to breaking in pieces, so are our bodies liable to sicknesses, diseases, till at last by death they fall and are broken in pieces. In this respect the Apostle Paul, calling the body an earthen house, 2 Cor. 5. 1. addeth presently, be dissolved. To this purpose is Gro­tius his Paraphrase, In corpore multis malis obnoxio quod facile frangitur, Grot. in loc. we have this Treasure in bodies subject to many evils, and at last to a dissolution. This construction is that which both the Greek and Latine Fathers generally take it in. Among the Greeks, St Chrysostome speaketh very fully to this sense, [...],Chrysost. in loc. he useth this term of earthen to denote the mortality of our nature, infirmity of our flesh, which by diseases and a thousand other accidents is exposed to death, and so dissolution. Among the Latines St Ambrose speaketh to the same effect, Fictilia vasa dicens infirmitatem naturae significat, Hier. & Theoph. in loc. the weakness of our nature is signified by the earthen vessell, and therefore St Jerome explaineth it by the term fragilis; and Theophylact by the word [...] they are frail mortall bodies we carry about with us: and as earthen vessels are easily, suddenly broken asunder, one fall on the ground in a moment dasheth them in pieces; so are the bodies of Gods Ministers subject to a speedy and sudden dissolution, whereby they become unserviceable to the Church. Indeed in one thi ng there is a difference, earthen vessels when they break, break irrecoverably, so as the pieces cannot be reunited; but the bodies of the Saints and faithfull Ministers of Christ, though they moulder into dust, shall at the last day be repaired, refined and made gloriously beautifull. They differ then in the conse­quent of the breaking, but in the breaking it self they agree, and therefore fitly are our bodies called earthen vessels.

[Page 22]The Greek word here used [...] is derived from [...], which properly signifieth the shell of a fish, and in this sense (as criticall Interpreters observe)Grot. in loc Dr Ham­mond in loc it agrees with the matter in hand, it being ordinary to lay up those things we value in shels or boxes and cabinets made of such: and withall those shels in regard of ther brittleness are apt resemblances of our bodies. The Platonists who fancy two bodies, one more spi­ritual, which they call [...] the Chariot that carrieth the soul in it; the other more grosse, that which we see and feel, call this latter [...], because it is in their opinion as a shell which hath a finer body within it: This being but a fancy I leave it, the true reason of this expression, whether you render it shels or earthen vessels is, because as these so the body is of a frail nature, easily and quickly destroyed, nor have the bodies of Ministers any greater priviledge then others: We that preach eternal life are dying men, yea whilest the word of life is in our mouths, many times death is in our faces. This Wolf will not only worry the sheep but the shepherd: This enemy will not only set upon the souldiers but the Captain: This Plunderer will seize upon the Crown and the Mitre, the Scarlet and the Rochet: and as at Chess when the game is done not only the pawns, but the Bishops, yea King and Queen are tumbled down and put into the bag: so not only mean and vulgar persons, but Princes and Priests fall down by death into the grave; and as Judges, though they be shields of the earth, are but earthen shields; Psal. 47. 9. so Ministers though ves­sels that carry this Treasure, yet are but earthen vessels.

1. A necessary Caution. To winde up this in a word of Caution and Exhortation.

Do not think the worse of, or value the Treasure the less because brought in an earthen vessell. It is that folly, yea wick­edness of which too many are guilty, who because they are men that speak to them, think the message is not Gods, measure­ing the worth of the treasure by the meanness of that which conveyeth it; But tell me, I beseech you, will any man value gold the less, because brought to him in a leathern purse; or slight a pretious pearl, because found on a dirty dunghill? and why then should the Gospel be undervalued because they are mortall men that Preach it?

[Page 23]The truth is we have cause to admire and bless both the power and the goodness of God, his power which by such weak means accomplisheth so great a work; indeed as the Apostle here tels us for this reason the treasure is in such vessels, that the excellency of the power might be of God, his goodness which is pleased to lay it up in such vessels that it may be the easier come by, to speak to us by men like our selves with whom we familiarly converse; he could if he had pleased have put this treasure in heavenly vessels, used the Ministry of Angels, but we could not have received it so comfortably from them; so that in reference to us God is pleased to make men the instru­ments of publishing the Gospels mysteries, and as it is his mercifull condescention that he is pleased to deliver heavenly truths in earthly similitudes, so is it no less that he maketh them known by earthly men.

And to carry it a little further, let us be so far from despi­sing this treasure because of the vessell, as not only to bless God who hath put it into such vessels, but to honour the vessell be­cause of the treasure. Ʋtrumne quia testacea est secundum ori­ginem scilicet ex limo destruetur, an quia divini thesauri condi­torium est extolletur? Tertull. de Resur. cor. c. 44. saith Tertullian rationally. Shall the ves­sell be cast by because it is earthly, or shall it not rather be preferred because it is the repository of a choice treasure? Let me therefore beseech you in St Pauls words to the Thessaloni­ans, to know them which labour among you and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake, 1 Thes. 5. 12, 13. measure them not by their frail natures but their honourable imployment, not by what they finde from the world, but by what they deserve; they are earthen, adore them not as Gods, but the treasure they bring is heavenly, honour them as men of God, let not the treasure be contemned for the vessels sake, but the vessels be esteemed for the treasures sake.

2. The word of exhortation concerneth

1. Partly us who are of the Clergy, that we follow the pat­tern which our Lord and Master hath set us where he saith, I must work the work of him that sent me whilest it is day, the night cometh when no man can work. Jo. 9. 4. Oh let us break this bread of life before we be broken by death, burn and shine in doctrine and [Page 24] conversation before our Lamp be put out; do all the good we can by imparting this treasure, before our earthly house of this Tabernacle be dissolved, But I hope there is not much need to enlarge in this.

2. Partly you who are of the Laity, that you learn

1. To make much of your conscientious painfull Ministers: the more pretious the liquor, and the more brittle the vessell, the more chary are men of it. Oh how tender should you be of them who, though weak creatures, bring the glad tidings of salvation to you? A friend that cometh to us but cannot stay long with us, how much is he made of, and how freely entertained by us, and will you have no regard of those who are both yours and the bridegrooms friends? and ere long must be taken from you? Nay let me tell you, no readier way to hasten their removall then your disregard, nor will God long continue his Candlesticks among that people, who do not prize them and their light.

2. Make use of them, and get all the good you can from them whilest they live: If one have borrowed a book which ere long must be returned to the owner, how diligent is he in picking and transcribing what notes he can out of it: We are but lent you for a time, and that during the good pleasure of God. As Christ said to his Disciples, so may we to you, Ʋs you shall not have alwaies with you: Mar. 4. 17. Oh suck all the knowledge you can from our lips whilest we are able to speak to you, and hear us every day as if it were to be the last day you should hear us.

And truly never more need of practising this duty then now, not only because Ministers are earthen vessels, that is subject to mortality, but because they are earthen, that is de­spised in these times, and who knoweth how far God may per­mit the malice of wicked men to proceed, it may be to the break­ing, or if not, yet to stopping the vent of these vessels. The mouthes of your Ministers must in a few years be stopped with dust when they are laid in the grave, it may be before that they may be silenced from publique Preaching the Gospel: Oh therefore be wise to improve the present opportunities God puts into your hands! Suck the milk of instruction from the [Page 25] breasts of these nurses, whilest they are able to give it you: Buy the oyle of consolation from these spirituall Merchants, whilest they can sell it you; do as the Egyptians, who when Nilus overfloweth the banks, dig pits to put water in, that they may have supply when it shall return to its channell. Do as the shell-fish, which taketh in moisture whilest the tides flow in upon them, that may preserve them when it ebbeth, and leaveth them dry. Finally, do as Joseph, who in the years of plenty laid up store against the famine came. Oh be diligent to fill the vessel of your hearts with that divine treasure which these vessels yield, against the time when you may, nay must be deprived of them; they can instruct, exhort and comfort no longer then life, you have no assurance of their lives, they have none of their own, how long they shall continue; nay in­deed, both they and you are assured they cannot continue long, being but earthen vessels, mortall men.

But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels.

A dolefull instance of this Scriptures verity we have in the sad occasion of this daies solemnity: the death of this faithfull Minister of Christ, affectionate Son of the Church, vigilant Shepherd of his people, Mr Richard Goddard, whose livelesse dust lieth before us, and now my Discourse like a circle is re­turned to the Point where I began, our deceased brother, whose losse is deservedly to be lamented, and Worth highly to be com­mended.

Indeed should I have fulfilled his modest desire, his name and vertues must have been buried in oblivion as well as his body in a grave: But had I in this satisfied his will, I must have been at once injurious to Gods honour, his memory, and others profit, since by paying the tribute of praise to Gods dear servants, we advance Gods glory, perpetuate their re­membrance, and adde spurs to the pious endeavours of those who survive.

I could heartily have wished that this double task both of speaking to so Reverend and Worthy an Assembly, and of so choise and eminent a person, had been imposed on some one of these many silver Trumpets whom I have now in my eye; but the undeserved respects of my dear friend by Will put me [Page 26] upon the one, and his superlative merit and my due regard to his Name, though it be against his will, obligeth me to the other.

I shall not expatiate in his just and due Character, and therein somewhat correspond to his desire: Indeed I need not, his Worth being so well known already, both in City and Countrey, he is gone out not like a common candle in a snuffe or stinke, but like a Taper, hath left a sweet savour behinde him in the Nostrils of all that know him.

That I may the more both sutably and succinctly delineate those graces (which though they are gone with him for his comfort, do yet stay behinde him for his honour and our imi­tation.) I shall make use of the Metaphor of a vessell which we meet with here in the Text.

A Vessell indeed he was a choice Vessell: What Eusebius calleth St Hierome, I may well apply to him, he was Vas virtutum admirabile, a Vessell adorned with an admirable variety of naturall abilities, morall virtues, and spirituall graces, every way fitted and furnished for that Divine im­ployment to which God had called him. What St Basill said of Gregory Nazianzen, I may say of him, [...], he was a deep Well, an elect Vessell, and as it were the mouth of Christ.

To say much in a few words, For knowledge and wisdom he was a Vessell of gold, for purity and innocency a Vessell of silver, for uprightnesse and integrity, a Vessell of transparent glasse; for resolution and courage in suffering (of which he had his share) a Vessell of brasse; for perseverance and con­stancy in the Orthodox Faith, a Vessell of stone; and which was the Crown of all, for lowliness and humility an earthen Vessell; since whilest he was glorious in the eyes of others, he was contemptible in his own.

A Vessell he was full of all sorts of pretious liquor, the wine of zealous devotion, the oyle of pitifull compassion, the honey of a sweet disposition, the water of penitent contrition, and the milk of spiritual consolation.

To come nearer to the Text and Him, He was a Vessel to [Page 27] whom this Treasure of the Gospel, and the dispensation of it was committed, which how conscionably, diligently, faithfully, frequently (as farre as the weaknesse of his body would per­mit) he discharged, I doubt not but many here can and will attest: He was a Vessel not closed but open, not with a narrow but a large vent. That worldly treasure of estate he had, he was continually imparting to his distressed brethren in his life, and at his death bequeathed a full fifth of his estate to them who can hardly obtain a fifth of their own. And this heavenly treasure of the Gospel he did with no lesse alacrity distribute among his people; how many of all degrees from all parts, golden, silver, earthen vessels were filled at his! Noble, rich, poor persons, all inriched their souls with the treasure that was dispensed by his lips. Methinks many of you are now calling to minde in what a clear method, choice words and fit phrases, with what pregnant similitudes, plen­tifull illustrations, pithy perswasions, sweet insinuations, pow­erfull inducements, allegations of antiquity, and variety of good literature (so as both the Learned may receive satis­faction, and the meanest reap benefit) he did Preach the Word amongst you.

Finally, That which compleateth his Character, This Ves­sell retained the sent, the vertue of that himself which he poured out to others: The course of his life was consonant to the tenour of his Preaching, [...], as Gregory Nazianzen saith of St Basill, He spake what was to be done, and did what he spake, he did not only [...] but [...], scienter praedicare, but innocentia agere, order his Preaching, but conversation aright.

That sickness which occasioned the breaking of this preti­ous Vessel was indeed sharp and short, but as himself expressed to me at the beginning of it, he did not fear, because already prepared for death. And though the violence of the disease oppressing his spirits, suppressed the freedom of his speech, yet (blessed be God) it did not bereave him of his senses, nor wholly of his speech, in so much that not many hours be­fore his death he made to a loving friend of his there pre­sent, a pious Confession of his faith and hope, so that what [Page 28] St Ambrose said of himself, Non sic vixi ut me pudeat vivere, nec mori timeo quia bonum, Dominum habemus, In vita Ambr. I may truly affirm of him, He so lived that he was neither ashamed nor afraid to die.

The Vessel of his body is now broken by the hand that formed it (to which I desire we may all submit) yea that service which he was made for is now finished, else he had continued longer. As for the Pearl that was in this casket, his Soul, I doubt not but it is safe in Abrahams bosome; yea the Vessel of his body rests in hope of restoring and reinjoying that Pearl, when it shall be for ever a Vessel of honour, glory and immortality.

I have now only a double word to present,

1. The one to the Reverend Clergie of this City here pre­sent, those particularly who have yet the liberty of their Fun­ction, that according to our several abilites we would endea­vour as much as may be by our diligent Preaching, exempla­ry living, to make up the losse of this our Brother. Methinks God speaketh to us this day, as he did to Joshuah in another case, Moses my servant is dead, be strong and of a good courage, Josh. 1. 2, 6. ever remembring that such a pillar being taken away, the great­er burden lieth upon our shoulders.

2. The other to his Religious Auditors, and especially his well-affected Parishioners. He that stood in this place like a Ja­cob to rowl away the stone from the well, open the difficult places of Scripture to you, is now removed from you; he that stood like a carefull watchman to awake and warn you, is now by death put to silence: Finally, he that like a sun shined with the beams of instruction and consolation among you in this horizon, is now gone down, and which is the more sad, Your eyes shall see him no more till the last day the morning of the re­surrection. The bottle which filled you is now emptied, the vessell which enriched you is now broken, the gourd whose sha­dow refreshed you is now withered; and I am confident, so ardent was the love towards him, so great the benefit you re­ceived by him, that I need not bid you be sensible of the losse. The more needfull counsell is to be content with, and patient under it; and so much the rather, because it is no more then [Page 29] what you ought to expect, and especially in regard of him who was not only an earthen vessell, but one that had such a flaw, I mean disease, which would ere long have broken him. And now Beloved, though the vessell be broken, yet let not the treasure be lost; do you by him as Ireneus did by Polycarpus, keep fresh in his memory his Sermons, his Discourses, his go­ings out and comings in. This is the best way to remember him, by remembring his counsels; to mourn for him, by mourn­ing for your unfruitfulness under his labours, to honour him by expressing the efficacy of his doctrine in your hearts and lives.

Nor let it be an unwelcome admonition to you (with which I will close) be carefull whom you choose to succeed this our Reverend Brother: not one that shall pull down what he hath built, but rear up what he hath laied; pluck up what he hath planted, but water what he hath sown; not one that shall suc­ceed him (to use Gregory Nazianzen's expression) [...]. Gr. Naz. or. 21 as night after day, a disease after health, a frenzy after use of reason, and a storm after a calm; but rather as a sweet shower after a warm sun-shine, and a ripening summer after a budding spring. To this end, as when Joshuah was dead the children of Israel askt of the Lord, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites, Judg. 1. 1. so do you now the Captain is dead, consult with God, beg of him to direct you in the election of one who may leade you in the battell against your spiritual enemies: And withall as you seek to God, so look into his Word, and let those directions which are there given be the rule of your election; so may you expect and shall obtain such an one by whom your faith shall be edified, and thereby (that which was his earnest desire) the salvation of your souls accomplished.

FINIS.

Sermons Preached and Printed by Mr Nathanaell Hardy M. A. and Preacher to the Parish of St Dyonis Back-Church.

  • JƲstice Triumphing, or The Spoilers spoiled: A Sermon preached on the 5th of November in the Cathedrall Church of St Pauls.
  • The Arraignment of licentious Liberty and oppressing Ty­ranny, in a Sermon at a Fast before the Lords in Parliament; In the Abbey-Church at Westminster.
  • Faiths Victory over Nature, A Sermon preached at the Fu­nerals of Mr John Rushout Junior.
  • The safest Convoy or The strongest Helper, A Valedictory Sermon before the Right Honourable Sr Thomas Bendish Bar­ronet, his Majesties Ambassadour to the grand Seigniour at Constantinople.
  • A Divine Prospective representing the Just mans peacefull End, A Sermon at the Funerall of the Right Worshipfull Sr John Gayr Knight.
  • Love and Fear the inseparable Twins of a blest Matrimony, A Sermon occasioned by the Nuptials between Mr William Christmas and Mrs Elizabeth Adams.
  • Divinity in Mortality, or The Gospels excellency and the Preachers frailty, A Sermon at the Funerals of Mr Richard Goddard Minister of the Parish of St Gregories by Pauls.

Printed, and are to be sold by Nathanaell Webb and William Grantham at the black Bear in St Pauls Church-yard near the little North-door, 1653.

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