[Page] Spiritual Salt: OR, A SERMON On Matth. 5. 13.

Ye are the Salt of the earth

Preached in Whitchurch at an Ordi­nation of five Ministers, Febr. 20. 1649.

By Tho. Porter, M. A. Minister of the Gospel there.

Luke 14. 34.

Salt is good, but if the Salt hath lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?


It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill, but men cast it out. He that hath eares to hear, let him hear.

Origines interpretatur illud, Ezek. 16.

—Neque sale salita—

Et hoc crimen (inquit) Hierusalem, quia non fuerat digna Sale Dei. Ego si credi­dero Domino meo Jesu Christo, ipse me Salem faciet, dicetque mihi; VOS ESTIS SAL TERRAE—

Chamier. de Baptismo. 1. 5. c. 16. n. 32.

Scimus sacrificia quae Deus mandaverat fuisse condìta ejus verbo tanquam SALE. Erant igitur boni odoris & bonae fragrantiae coram Deo. Quòd and sacrificia, quae offerebantur Idolis, spectat, erant foetida Cadavera, erant mora putredo. Atqui Caeremonia prorsus erat similis.

Calv. Prael. in Jer. 16, 18.

London, Printed by T. R. & E. M. for Ralph Smith, at the signe of the blew Bible in Cornhill neer the Royal Exchange. 1651.

To my Reverend Brethren in the Ministry, of the Classical Presbytery in Bradford-North.

REverend and Dear Brethren in our Lord Jesus Christ; At your command this Sermon was preached, and at your request its printed; and to your Patronage its now presented. Litera scripta manet; Quod scriptum habetur semper v [...]cat ad legen­dum, cum vacat legenti; Ne one­rosum sit prae­sens, quod cùm voles sumitur, cùm voles poni­tur. Aug Epist 1. it may lye by you, as an hearty Memorial of my Respect, and as an humble Mo­nitor of your Duty, to continue and double your care (as there is occasion) concerning Spiritual Salt. Ex quolibet ligno non fit Mercurius. Salt is not made of e­very sort of water; Though (almost) every Mechanick thinks he can shape a satisfactory Answer to the Apostles Question, [...]. 2 Cor 2. 16 Who is sufficient (fit or meet) for these things? Yet 1 Tim. 5. 22. Probem ego de ordinatione ac­cipi—Diu explo­randus est qui praesicitur Eccle­siae. Ne si quod vitium liabe [...]t i [...] dogmate aut vi­ta, veniat ordina­tor in culpae par­ [...]em, tanquam obfirmator. Gretius loc. lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partakers of other mens sins. Keep your selves pure. Its too true; the children of your people still are talking a­gainst you—as God said to the Ezek. 33. 32. Prophet; But let not their foolish prating, hinder your faithful practising; Ra­ther imitate the Emperour Severus, of whom its reported, that [...]. Melch. Adam de vita Jo. Bugen­hagii. p. 316. he was careful of his own carriage, and carelesse of the peoples calumny concerning himself. Austin Agrigentinum Siciliae Salem per­hibent, cum fuerit admotus igni velut in equa fluescere: cum vero aquae adjungitur, velut in igne crepitare. Aug. Epitom. per piscat. Tom. 1. p. 283. mentions a Salt in Sicily, that when its put into the fire, it swims as if it were in water; but when its put into the water, it sounds as if it were in the fire. Retain your [Page] saltnesse in all conditions and estates. Mark 9. 50. Ha­bete intra vos sa­lem, qu [...] in­ter caetera [...], coagulat, stipat, ac jungit, h. e. [...] pacem colite: Paces enim sym­bolum sal ae vitae. Hims. Have Salt in your selves, and peace one with another. While the Ene­my is sowing Tares, be you sprinkling Salt; while others are throwing bones of dissention, be you fastning the Bond of brotherly union. If the bundle of Arrowes remaine fast bound together, it is not easie to break them; if the bond be loose or broken, its no hard matter to break them one after another. I am therefore bold to conjure you in the words of the Apostle. 1 Cor. 1. 10. Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no Divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joyned together in the same minde and in the same judgment. What an honour and happinesse will it be to say with Myconius Concurrimus, certavimus, pug navimus, VICI­MVS & VIXI­MVS semper conjunctissimè, ut admiratione afficerentur plurimi super illa rara fratrum [...], & conjunctione. Melch. Adam de vita Frid. Myconii p. 177. We have run and wrastled—conquered and conversed together alwayes unanimously, even to the admiration (I will not say the envie) of others. But if in these distracted and divided times there cannot (or will not) be onenesse of mind, yet let there onenesse of heart. Oh! let not difference in judgment produce diffe­rence of affection. Now the good Lord enable you to exert the power and property of good Salt; and the blessing of hea­ven go along with your holy labours, which is the continual and cordial prayer of

Your affectionate freind and fellow-labourer in the Gospel, Tho. Porter.

SPIRITUAL SALT: Or, A Sermon on Mat. 5. 13. Ye are the Salt of the Earth.

THE Evangelical Prophet Isaiah, Isa. 52. 14. speaking of Christ, tels us, That his Visage was so marred more then any mans, and his forme more then the sonnes of men; yet the Pro­phet David Psal. 45. 2. tels us, that, He was fairer then the children of men. Never was there more dung thrown upon the face of Christs Mi­nisters then at this day, and yet the Function is not in it self any whit the lesse venerable, though to some it be more then contemptible. Christ himself disdains not the office of a Minister; A Mountain was the first Pul­pit wherein he preached, and my Text is part of the first Sermon which he preached. He comes like Noah's Dove, with an Olive-branch of Peace in his mouth, or Grotius. rather imitates David, who begins his Psalmes with the Description of a Blessed man; So Christ in certain Paradoxes to flesh and blood pronounceth them blessed, whom the men of the world commonly count, and call wretched. Thus like a skilful Artist he first propounds the end, [Happinesse] from vers. 3. to 13. and then prescribes the way, [Holinesse] and that under a three­fold metaphor. 1. Of Salt, vers. 13. 2. Of Light, vers. 14. 3. Of a Candle, vers. 15. From the coherence something may be noted briefly by the way.

[Page 2] 1. They who would be happy, must be holy, Heb. 1. Muscul. 12. 14.—Without holinesse no man shall see the Lord. The men of the world are much mistaken, who (if you beleeve them) would be happy, but scorn to be holy; But what is holinesse, but happinesse inchoate? and what is happinesse, but holinesse consummate? They say, there is a natural desire in men to be happy. I am sure there is a natural antipathy in men to be holy. If carnal men had leave to peep into heaven, and to see what holy spirits and what holy services are there, they would loath no place more; As a Beggar would dislike no place more then the Court, where he sees the King in his Majesty, and the Nobles in their gallant deport­ment,—as unsuitable altogether to his sordid spirit and base behaviour.

2. If the text be referred to the last beatitude, v. 11, 12. 2. Pareus. Christ doth incourage his Apostles to duty, from a con­sideration of their dignity. What need they care for an Earthquake, who are the Salt of the Earth? or the darknesse of this world, who are the Light of the World? The greater dignity, the greater duty, 1 Tim. 3. 1.—A good work. The Ministry of the Word is a work, there is the duty; And its a good, or (as e [...]. Pra­ctarum, ac proinde ardu­um, si quod a­liud usquam est. Beza in 1 Tim. 3. 1. Beza) an ex­cellent, fair, honourable work, there is the dignity.

3. Christ might have expressed himself in proper termes, as well as figurative, but these are more pow­erful and prevalent. Away then with that unsavoury Paradox; That Figurative expressions become not Christs Sermons, belong not to a Ministers preaching.

But I come to the Text, which (were I pleased with crumbling of a Text,) I might divide into these parts, 1. The Subject, [Ye] 2. The Copulate, [Are] 3. The Predicate, [Salt] 4. The Extent or Object thereof, [Earth] Ye are the Salt of the Earth.

[Page 3] Ye] Some perhaps may say to me, as the Eunuch said to Philip, Acts 8 34. I pray thee of whom speaks the Prophet this? so of whom doth the great Prophet of his Church speak this? Its certain of the Apostles; but whether of the Apostles as Ministers, or as Disciples, is the question? Camer. Prae­lect. in Mat. 13. 15. p. 103. This notion may help much to the ge­nuine understanding of many places. For, because Christ said, Drink ye all of this. Papists would have it said to the Apostles as Ministers, and so sacrilegiously rob the people of the Cup. Most Expositors whom I have met with, understand this of the Apostles as Mi­nisters; But I am almost overcome with Grotius his reasons, that there is no reason of such a restraint. For 1. Those [...]. Beatitudes are common to all the Disciples of Iesus Christ. 2. The Expression in the two uses im­mediately preceding, concern all Christians who suf­fer for the truth. 3. Its very clear, that the same per­sons who are called here, The Salt of the Earth, are called The Light of the World, vers. 14. which is the property and praise of all Christians, Phil. 2. 15.—Ye shine as Lights in the World; and so [...]. Justin Martyr accordingly, Look what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world. 4. To put all out of doubt, that which is here said of Salt, is spoken to the multitude, Luke 14. 25. And there went great multitudes with him, and he turned and said ƲNTO THEM,—vers. 34.—If the Salt hath lost his savour, where­with shall it be seasoned? Though I think without wrong­ing the Text, it may be understood generally of Renatis in Christo dici­tur vos estis sal terrae. Hier­in Luke 16. 4. Christians or the Disciples of Christ, but specially of the Ministers of Christ, according to Ad ipsos PRAECIPUE loquitur. Chrys. in loc. Hom. 10. Chrysostome; Therefore at this time I shall speak to the Text, as rela­ting to the Ministers of Jesus Christ, not excluding the other Members of Christ.

[Page 4] Are] i. e. by my calling ye are set apart, as Mea voca­tione delecti & destinati estis. T. C. Harm. Evang. some expound it, or, ye ought to be the Salt of the Earth, (as Pareus,) for here Christ instructs the Apostles in the execution of their Ministerial Function.

Salt] [...]. The Article is emphatical and demon­strative (as Piscat. notes) That most eminent Salt, with which all other kinds of Salt are not to be compared; ye are to put forth the vigour and vertue, the power and pro­perty, the efficacy and excellency of Salt, as you shall hear anon more fully.

Of the Earth] i. e. The world, (as it seems) verse following, namely mankind, or man inhabiting the earth or world. Nothing is more frequent in Scripture, 1 Kings 10. 24. All the earth sought to Solomon,—And so it seems to hold forth some Priviledge peculiar to the Apostles, and a distinction between the Ministry of the Prophets and of the Apostles, q. d Chrysost. & Chemnitius. They were the Salt of a poor patch of ground, a corner of the world, viz. Judaea, But you are the Salt of the Earth: The whole earth is your Diocesse or Province; But as the words are restrained to Christs Ministers, so they hold out that they are to season the minds of them, who savour earthly things, (as Bed. Bonum est cum Apostolis sal terrae fieri i. e. eorum qui adhuc ter­rena sapierat mentio imbu­endis sufficere. Beda in Mark 9.— observs) The difference (if any) is not much.

The words thus opened, afford to us this Doctrinal Truth.

Doct. The Ministers of Christ are, or ought to be the Salt of the Earth.

For the clearing and confirming of this, I shall pro­pound and answer a few questions.

1. Who are the Salt?—Answ. without doubt, 1. God in Christ by his Spirit is the principal efficient, as to the seasoning quality of Salt. 2. The holy Scripture is the primary instrument. 3. The Ministers of Christ are the secondary instrument, and so here.

[Page 5] 2. How are Ministers Salt? Answ. Interpreters unanimous­ly assert, according to their Function rather then their Persons. Calvin Intelligit Christus eo­rum esse Mu­nus salire ter­rum. Calv. in toc. saith, It is their office to Salt the Earth. Gualt. saith, —Non tam ad personas q [...]àm ad Mu­nus▪ Gualt. Injunctum E­vangelizandi Munus. Muse. The words relate not so much to their Persons as to their Function. It is their work and businesse so to do, where (in the Text) Pareus Sc. Synechd. & Metaphora. Pare. notes a double figure, Earth is put for the inhabitants of the earth; and Salt for them who perform the office of Salt.

3. Wherein? Answ. 1. Inrespect of Purity of Doctrine, dispensing aright both Law and Gospel; (as there is oc­casion) to the people, i. e. (as Theophilact) notes [...]. Theophil. by instru­ction and reprehension, distinguishing between the preci­ous and the vile. I am notignorant they are called Mini­sters of the Gospel, not that they may not preach the Law 3. at all, as the Antinomian dreams (for in this first Sermon preached by Christ in the Mount, the Law was preached by him, and must our Saviour be a legal Preacher in the phrase of the times?) but because they are to preach the Gospel chiefly.—

2. In respect of Piety of Life. Most of men live by ex­amples; They therefore are to be ensamples to the flock, 1 Pet. 5. 3. Sapientiâ docere—moribus edificare, (as Austin speaks) to preach both by Doctrine and Life. What is the meaning of that? Lev. 2. 13.—Salt of the Covenant; but to remind us of the Covenant which we have made, Piscat. and wherein we have ingaged our selves to an hearty endeavour after incorruption in life and conversation. You have both these together, 1 Tim. 4. 12.—Be thou an example of Believers in—conversation—in faith; & Tit. 2 7. In all things shew thy self a pattern of goodworks, in doctrine, uncorruptnes, else as a great Divine Qui benè do­cet & malè vi­vit, is sinistrâ plus destiuit quam extruit dextrâ. M. A­dam. de vita Conrad. Summer hord. p. 12. said in the dawning of Reformation; He that preacheth well and liveth ill, ruines more with his left hand, then he rears up with his right hand.

Why are they compared to Salt?

[Page 6] 1. Because of the piercing or pinching quality. Salt (we know) bites and eats. So Ministers by the doctrine of the Law, pinch the conscience of a sinner till he be convin­ced of sin. Thus did Christ himself with the woman of Samaria, John 4. 18. Thus did Peter with those hearers, Acts 2. 37. yea, they do it by the Gospel too; which dis­creetly preached, bites the people till some of them bite their lips, and gnaw their tongues for pain. The Spirit in the Gospel-Ministry of the Apostles, convinced the world of sin, of righteousnesse, and of judgment, John 16. 8.

2. Because of the purging quality, Salt (we know) scou­reth and cleanseth; Leeches are scowred with Salt, before the Physician applies them to his Patient, to take away the rank humour. Glasses are rub'd and scowred with Salt too. So Christ clenseth his Church—by the Word, Eph. 5. 26. The Disciples themselves were clean by the Word, which Christ spake to them, Iohn 15. 3. How may a young man cleanse his way, but by the word? Ps. 119. 9.

3. Because of the preserving quality; Salis praeci­pua vis est ad­versus putredi­nem. Grotius. The chiefest ver­tue of Salt, is against Putrefaction. Hence that of Varro, Suillo pecori animam pro Sale datam ne putresceret; borrowed from Cleanthes. Id. ☜ Nature hath given to a Swine a soul or life, in stead of Salt, least it should rot above ground. In former times it was an ancient Rite in making a Covenant to use Salt, therefore called A Covenant of Salt, 2 Chron. 13. 5. i. e. an authentical, inviolable, and incorruptible Covenant; be­cause Salt dries up the superfluous humours which are the ground of putrefaction. Mark, its a Covenant of Salt, and not a Covenant of Sand. Godly and learned 4 last things Master Bol­ton mentions some texts of Scripture, of which (he thinks) we shall not understand the genuine meaning, till the day of judgement, to which I may boldly adde, Mark 9. 49. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt; If the words relate to the damned, Maldonate. they shew the perpetuity of their torments, because every [Page 7] one, i. e. of THEM shall be salted with the fire of hell, i. e. They shall burn as fuel in the fire, and yet be preserved as flesh or fish pickled in Salt; and so the particle And is not copulative but comparative, sc. and i. e. as every sacrifice in the Law was to be salted with Salt. And what is more frequent in Scripture, then to term people slain or destroy­ed, by the name of a z Sacrifice? or if the words relate to vers. 47. then they seem to be an argument to perswade the plucking out of an offending eye, because every one is to be salted Isa 34. 6. Jer. 12. 3. & 46. 10. & 51. 40. Eze. 24 9, 10. &. 39 17. with the fire of Gods wrath, or of Gods grace. The phrase to salt with fire, is no more improper then to baptize or wash with fire, Mat. 3. 11. whatsoever the sense is, all agree, the words hold out the preserving pro­perty of Salt;—So Ministers preserve people from rotting in sin, and stinking in the nostrils of God and good men—

4. Because of the pleasing quality; Salt makes meat pleasant to the palat, Ludovic. de Dieu.—Si non jam igne Divinae gratiae, certè aliquan­do igne divinae irae. it renders it savoury? Thus when Elisha threw Salt into the spring, the water became savoury, Sale inest sa­por & acor. Sa­pore cibos in­sipidos reddit gratos & nutri­tios. Acore car­nes à corrupti­one & putredi­ne conservat. Par. in loc. 2 Kings 2. 21. though I confesse that proceeded not from the natural property of Salt, but from the supernatural power of God, yet that refers to Gospel times, Ez. 43. 24. the Priest shall cast salt on the offerings, &c.—So people came to savour spi­ritual things, Rom. 8. 5.: Hence came that Proverb among the Martyrs, Brown bread and the Gospel is good fare; and is not any meat and this Salt good chear?

Ʋse 1. It informs our judgements. 1. Mankind natu­rally are altogether unsavoury; There is in men nothing but insipidity and insulsity, till they be seasoned with the Salt of heavenly doctrine, and the grace of Christs spirit, e Ratio non si­nit naturalis, ut quicquam insulsum co­medi possit. Hier. in Iob 6. 6. Iob 6. 6. Can that which is unsavoury be eaten Insipidus est omnis cibus, fi non hoc sale conditur. Bern. in Cantic. Serm. 15. without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egge? And some think that Sycomore tree, Luke 19. 4. is so called because of its unsavoury fruit. All men are fresh men in the University of this world, till they be thus salted.

[Page 8] 2. Nay, Mankind naturally stinks in the nostrils of God and good men, as tainted flesh, or carrion in a ditch. Flesh unsaulted is quickly tainted. This, man hath from Adams sinne, Psal. 14. 3.—They are altogether become filthy, (or stinking, [...] Faetere putres­c [...]re, tantùm in Niph. inve­nitur, Iob 15. Ps. 14. Pagnine as it is in the Original.) which word (as Piscator notes) is used but once more in the Scripture, viz. Iob 15. 16. How much more abominable and filthy is man,— Hâc meta­phoricâ [...]ocu­tione fatuam & corrupti­oni obnoxiam hominum na­turam indicat quae—magis est foetida & rejectanea in oculis Dei, quam sint ran­cidae & putri­dae carnes in hominum con­spectu. Parc. Its observed to my hand, that it holds forth, that mans nature, unlesse it be salted with the Ministry of the Word, is more filthy in Gods eyes, then putrid flesh can be in the eyes of men. The best natural man hath no reason to be proud of his best natural parts.

3. All men out of Christ are obnoxious to destruction and rejection; if liable to Putrefaction, then to Perdition; Therefore called children of Perdition. That poor Infant which resembles mans natural condition, as well as Ieru­salems is said to be not salted at all, Ezek. 16. 4.—i. e. in a sad perishing condition. Solent infan tium tenera corpora, dum adhuc uteri ca­lorem retinent, sale contingi, ut siccentur & stringantur. Hier. loc. It was a custome among the Jews, to use Salt about infants while they retain the heat of the womb, to dry up, cleanse and strengthen the body of the child. The want of this was sometime the death of the child.

2. It confutes. 1. Some high flown Saints, (Nominal, I dare say not real,) who proudly and vainly conceit them­selves Ʋse 2. to be above all Ordinances, and so above the Mini­stry of the Word: But I would ask them where are they? Above in heaven? or below on earth? Perhaps in affection they may be in heaven, but in Person on earth; And are not Ministers the Salt of the earth? Its a good caution of Chem­nitius, Illis etiam qui justificati sunt, opus esse hòc sale, ne denuò occupa­ti putrefactio­ne cecidant in corruptionem & perditionem Chemnit. Harm. c. 51. [...]eric. 2. That even justified ones have need of this Salt, lest putrefaction expose them to Perdition. A just judgement of God who sets a visible scarre and brand on some such seem­ing Saints, by giving them up to their own hearts lusts, who thus contemn the Ministry. While we are in the wildernes [Page 9] of this world, the best will stand in need of Manna and Salt, Eph. 4. 11. Christ hath given Pastors and Teachers,—v. 13. Till we ALL come in the Ʋnity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a PERFECT man.—

2. The vulgar rabble, a sottish people of a perverse judgement, who think,

1. That the Ministers of the Word are not necessary; Of any calling, that may be best spared; You have heard out of this place by a godly Mr P. Brother, on the like occasion; You must have a Farryer for your Horse, &c. A Physici­an for your bodies, and no Ministry for your sick souls? I am bold to add, You cannot live without Salt, and can you live without the Ministry of the Word? Christ saith, Mark 9. 50. Salt is good; necessarily good.—Its truly alledged by Pareus, Tam necessa­ria est veroi Praedicatio ad salutem nostrā quàm Sal—ad carnes à pu­tridine servan­das. The preaching of the Word is as necessary to save the soul from corruption, as Salt is to preserve flesh from Putrefaction. The Philosophers say, nothing more needful or more profitable then the Sun and Salt. I have read of one Consideration of the Doct ine of the Synod of Dort and Ar­ticles reduced to practise. p. 7. that was strongly opinio­nated, that a man might live without fire, for any thing he was to use, till one asked him how a shooe for his horse, or a nayle for his horse-shooe could be made without fire? So some distressed condition may bring a conviction on these mens spirits, concerning some necessity of the Words-Ministry; of which we may say as he of Friend­ship, Fire and Water (to which adde Salt) are not more useful; my Text holds forth the necessity Ecclesiasti­ci Ministerii NECESSI­TATEM indi­cat. Pare. of the Ministry.

Secondly, That the Ministers of the Word are not vene­rable. There is no excellency to be found in them; therfore in scorn call them Parish-Priests, parish-Ministers, &c. I know the word Parochi is no Scripture-name, (neither are the Ministers of the Gospel termed Priests in the N. T. Nomen Sa­cerdotis Evan­gelium NVL­LI praeterquā Christo in suâ & propriâ sig­nificatione tri­buat Whitak. contra Dec. l. 9 [...] which belongs to all the faithful,) yet the rise and use of it seems to be reverend; For if we may beleeve Polyd. Vir­gil, [Page 10] De Invent. Rerum. l. 4. c. 9. p. 362. he saith, They were certain Magistrates among the Romans, whose charge was to provide Fire and Salt for publike Ambassadors. —Et Parochi quae debent ligna salem (que) Horat. l 1. Ser­monum.—Now because also among the Hebrews no Sacrifice was made without Fire and Salt, therefore Ministers of the Word, providing for their Pa­rishioners things necessary for their souls salvation, its not without cause that we call them parish-Ministers. But let that name go, who doats on it? yet it hints the necessity of their calling, and excellency of their Persons. Homer cals Salt [...] some divine thing, and that which Livy saith of Grecia may more truly be said of them, Sal Genti­um, The Salt of the Nations, or, as my Saviour here, The Salt of the Earth, i. e. That most excellent See J. Down. on Tit. 2. 15. p. 2 Salt with which all other kinds of Salt are not to be compared, as you heard even now out of Piscator opening the Text; I am sure its no disparagement to call them (as they are) spiritual Salters. Nay, other Salters keep flesh from Putre­faction, but cannot make putrid meat sound and sweet, if tainted. But this Salt can make a corrupt soul to become incorrupt, as Chrysostome well observes.

3. That Ministers are not men of a peaceable disposition, but turbulent spirits, where they come, as Luther was called, Tuba Seditionis, the Trumpet of sedition, so was Paul called by Tertullus, [...], pestem Beza. Annot. in Act. 24. 5. A pestilent fellow, the Pest and plague of a country, as the word signifies, but as they are the Salt of the earth, so they are bidden to have Salt in themselves, and peace one with another, Mark 9. 50. Locus ele­gans & erudi­tus. Inter prae­cipuas Salis facultates, est quod unit den­sat & q. coa­gulat—undè & in Foederi­bus tanquam unionis tessera Hebrae is usita­tum. Heins. in Mark 9. 50. an excellent text (as Heinsius observes) Among the properties of Salt, this is none of the least, that it unites and as it were coagu­lates,—therefore used among the Hebrews in making Covenants as a Symbole and Badge of Peace and Union, Numb. 18. 19.—A Covenant of Salt. Ministers serve to unite scattered and divided affections.

4. That, Art, Schollership, or Learning, is not requisite [Page 11] in a Minister. Some speak broadly, that as Ministers are not necessary for the people, so learning is not necessary for a Minister. But is there no Art in making Salt? Go to the Wyches Namptwich and Dirtwich where Salt is made. on both sides this town, and see and be con­vinced. That sweet perfume made of sundry fragrant spi­ces is said to be a Confection after the ART of the Apo­thecary, tempered together, the word is [...] Exod 30. 35. Salitum ex simplice va­cis Etymo. Jun SALTED, which shows not only Ministers excellency and peaceable­nesse (as before) but Art also; yet (alas!) what crying out against Universities, Learning, Arts and Tongues? It was a cursed piece of Policy in Iulian (that Apostate) by Edict to forbid the Christians the publike schools and study of the Arts and Tongues; justing away (as my Au­thor saith) Speeds Hist. of great Brit­taine. l. 6. c. 48. p. 168. n. 8. ‘the reason of his injustice with scoffs, saying, that Aristotle, Isocrates, and Plato, (who must be their guides in such liberal learnings) adoring Mercury and o­ther gods, he held it absurd that they should read and learn of their books, that loath and rayle at their religion.’ Thus would these men do that decry learning, if they had pow­er in their hands answerable to the malice in their hearts, and to the ignorance in their heads. Its strange to me that your children must serve an Apprentiship of seven years, before they can with skill drive on a Civil trade, and yet if any pretend to the spirit one quarter of an year and perhaps lesse, he is fit to step up into the Pulpit, and to debauch the learned Orthodox Minister, Mic. 2. 11. If a manwalking in the Spirit and falshood do lye, saying, I will prophecy to thee of wine and of strong drink, he shall even be the Prophet of this People. Speeds Hist. ibid. l. 9. c. 4. p. 462. n. 43. Our Henry the first, (who for his learning was sirnamed Beauclerk) was wont to say, An unlearned Prince is a crowned Asse, what then are the late swarm of un­learned Preachers?

3. It teacheth, 1. Ministers their dutie, which lies in Ʋse 3. three things.

[Page 12] 1. Perform Sal profaci­entibus offici­um Salis. Par. the office of Salt, shew forth the vigour and vertue, the efficacy and excellency of Salt. Season the hearts of your hearers with the wholesome truths of the Word, 2 Tim. 4. 2. Preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, &c. Chemnitius hath observed to my hand, that here all Ministers are put in mind of their duty, that they diligently sprinkle the Salt of the Law and of the Gospel on their hearers, bring them to repentance, and preserve them from corruption of sinne and death. Some are impotent and cannot, like those Isa. 29. 11. and 56. 10 (Gods house is prettily well swept from such un­savoury Salt.) There are others who are idle and will not; drawing down apace on themselves that judgement of Lots wife, of being turned into a pillar of Salt, Gen. 19. 26. Some of the Hebrew Writers say, the reason was, because she denyed to give Salt to her Guests at a feast the day be­fore; Pareus justly censures this for a Jewish fable, an idle d [...]eam; But its neither uncharitable nor groundlesse to assert, that many are become pillars and monuments of Gods wrath to the present and future age, for not provi­ding this spiritual Salt, for the people committed to their charge, of whom I may say as Austin Ut nobis quoddam prae­staret condi­mentum quo sapiamus ali­quid, unde il­lud caveatur exemplum. Aug. de Civ. Dei l. 16. c. 3. of Lots wife, who became a pillar of Salt, that we being seasoned, may grow savoury and wise by her example. Therefore Christ saith, Luke 17. 32. Remember Lots wife.

Quest. How must this be done?

1. By preaching your Sermons first to your own hearts and souls, Mark 9. 50.—Have Salt in your selves,—in your hearts, as well as in your heads and hands, in your per­sons as well as in your papers. If you your selves be not sea­soned kindly with Salt, how can you season others, except like Lots wife as before? If your spirits be unsavoury, how shall the spirits of others becom savoury? Ier. 23. 13. I have seen folly in the Prophets of Samaria,—Folly,—or (as the word [Page 13] is, u that which is unsavoury—Lam. 2. 14. Thy Prophets have seen vaine and foolish (or Cambd. Rem. p. 248. unsavoury) things for thee [...] In­sulsum pro in­sulsa. i. e. irrati­onabilia—R. D. rem evani­dam, cui non est sapor. Pagn. Thesaur. —Sprinkle therefore some salt on your own souls

2. by Powdring your words with salt, Col. 4. 6.—let your speech be—seasoned with salt—i. e. be savoury, such as may be holily pleasing to the palate and taking the people. If Christians speeches in private, must be such, what then must [...] fatuus, infipidus, in­conditus insul­sus. cibus—Schindl. Pen­taglott. Ministers Sermons in the Pulpit be? Eccles. 12. 10. The Preachers sought to find out acceptable words—Junius reads, he studyed to find—not utter quicquid in buccam ve­nerit, as they say. True, a man must study more for matter then for words, but apt words are not to be neglected, I mean not so much witty words, as weighty words, sound words, not a meer sound of words, which tickle the eare, but do not touch the heart. Some stomackes cannot but nauseate good meate, when it is not well dressed or dished, what unsavoury expressions, nay paradoxes, drop from some mens mouths, for want of this salt? Season therfore your Sermons with this salt.

3. by Putting it on the consciences of the people, Speak (as much as may be) to the heart. Bring the word home to the soul. Salt is for use, and application, as you must render tribute to whom tribute is due, &c. Rom. 13. 7. so you must reach out terrour to whom terrour is due—Be not affraid of that bugge, in being accounted a Leagall Preacher, let the law be seasonably pressed, as well as the Gospel preach­ed. Salt implyes both. Herein it is good to imitate Sal optimum & utilissimum est ciborum condimentum, si MODE­RATE adhi­beatur. Eflius in Col. 4. 6. Simon Deane of Lincolne, who being called to Court and becoming a favourite of King Henry 7th, was wont to say; I am cast a­mong Courtiers, as salt among quick Eeles, for that he made them stirre with his sharp and salt speeches. The powerfull sprinkling of this salt, will startle Conscience, and make a sinner stirre, and looke about him for a Saviour: only take heed of misapplying, as Luk. 19. 22.—Meat may be marred [Page 14] with too much or too little salt. Broken-hearted sinners may become desperate by unreasonable application of the Law, and Brawny-hearted sinners may grow more dissolute, by unseasonable amplification of the free­grace of God in Christ; Scatter wisely this Salt.

4. By practising in your life, what you preach in the Pul­pit, that he that runs may read your doctrine in your doing; Your Sermons preached in the Congregation, must be printed in your Conversation, else you are not the Salt, but the slime and sand of the earth. Some take this to be the meaning of the words, Sensus est qui ab ipso Christo, ve­ram ac saluta­rem doctri­nam percepis­sent, non ex­emplum vi­dendi ab aliis hominibus, pe­tere sed aliis exemplo esse debere. Groti­us in loc. that they who receive from Christ true and wholesome doctrine, must not fetch from others a Copy of their life, but be an example themselves to others. Its a good caution of blessed Calvin, Videant Sa­litores ne mun­dum in suâ fa­tuitate foveant multo etiam magis nè pra­vo eum & vitioso sapore. inficiant. Calv. loc. Let these Salters takeheed saith he) lest they cherish the world in its unsavourinesse, much more lest they corrupt and taint it with some naughty and vitious savour. Set forth therefore this Salt in your life; but I have spoken somewhat to this in the explication of the doctrine. I shall only presse it with some motives, and only from this text of Scripture; and the rather because intrinsecal arguments are the most convincing, as that is (they say) the best myrrhe that naturally flows, and is not violently extorted.

For that end consider,

1. The Vitiousnesse of such a Minister, whose practice is not answerable to his preaching. The disease is incure­able, and the man incorrigible. If the Salt hath lost its savour (the word is, be infatuated, [...]. Si­cut insulsum in cibo trans­fertur ad ho­minem, it a vi­cissim fatu­um in homine transfertur ad cibum. Chem­nit. ibid.— The Evangelist Mark hath it, lost its Saltnes, [...] Mar. 9. 50. or be without Salt) wherwith shall it be salt­ed?—If some other things have lost their savour or saltnes, they may be amended, but if the Salt hath lost its saltnesse, that losse is irreparable and irremediable. If a Minister be nought, by whom shall he be instructed? If he be bad, by whom shall he be amended? Therefore Chrysostome [Page 15] doth sadly propound a question, who ever saw a bad Mi­nister a repenting man? Not that its simply impossible, Maldonate. but because it rarely fals out so. Sad and late experience shews, that among the Prelates and their Party, who ap­peared against the cause of God, where is the man that hath smote on his thigh, and said, what have I done Ezek. 22. 30.? The Lord sought for a man AMONG THEM, (mark it) that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before him for the Land,—but found NONE.

2. The Vanity of such unsavoury Salt, or rather unprofit­ablenesse.—Its good for nothing, or (Luke 14. 35.) Its neither fit for the Land, nor yet for the dunghill. Some things which are degenerate, and have lost their natural property and use, are yet good for something. Maldonate. Clipt silver and wash't gold are not good for the Merchant and Trades­man to traffique withal, yet may serve the Goldsmith to throw into the Furnace; but a scandalous Minister is like Salt, and like Ieremiahs Girdle, c. 13. 7, 10. good for nothing. A Ragge, if it be not fit to wear, is fit for the dunghil, but un­savoury Salt is hurtful to very dunghils,—Sterquiliniis quoque sterilitatem inducit, (as Calvin speaks,) It makes a ve­ry dunghil barren. Torn flesh might not be mans meat, but dogs meat, Exod. 22. 31.—Cast it to the dogs, but tainted flesh is good for neither. A Vine, if it be not for fruit, its for fire, Ezek. 15. 2, 3.—This unsavoury Salt is good for nothing, but to be cast into the fire of hell. Un­holy Ministers do a great deal of hurt Vivi mor­dent, mortui faetent. Austin alive and dead.

3. The Vilonesse of it,—Good for nothing, but to be cast out and tyoden underfoot of men. As we that cast any thing out of doors into the streets or high ways, all that▪ passe by, tread on it as a thing of no account: so said he, Calcate me tanquam Salem insipidum, tread on me as unsavoury Salt, its the language of a Ministers lewd life, and a just reward too. 1 Sam. 2. 30.—They that despise me, shall be lightly esteem­ed, [Page 16] Mal. 2. 9. Therefore I have also made you contemptible and base before all the people.—If Mr. Brightm. be right, Jesus Christ hath made that good, Rev. 3. 16.—I will spue thee out of my mouth,—Its a true maxime in Philosophy, Corruptio optimi est pes­sima. the better a thing is, the worse it is when it is corrupted, and as true, and an excellent saying of Salvian; Vbi sub limi­or Praerogati­va, ibi major culpa. Salv. de Gub. dei l. 4 p. 128. The greatnesse of the Privi­ledge, addes to the greatnesse of the fault. The Papists do so prodigally and prodigiously abuse Salt, that as (P. Martyr P. Martyr loc. com. Class. 4. c. 9. p. 839. saith) they discover themselves to be Salem infatuatum, i. e. unsavoury Salt. So Cardinal Cajetan ingenuously confessed, when the Spaniards sacked & spoiled the City of Rome un­der Clement. the 8. Because (said he) weare now become un­savoury Salt, therfore we are cast out and troden under foot. And is it not as true of some Protestant Ministers?

2. Be not troubled at the envy, hatred, malice and reproch of the world. Chrysost. notes, that it is not to be wondred at, if the men of the world rail and revile, oppose and persecute Gods faithful Ministers; for its the nature of good and right Salt to bite, which is unwelcome to the flesh; when therfore you are bespattered with reproaches, and pursued with per­secutions, its an evident testimony that your Salt retains its acrimony and vertue. And its observable, after our Saviour Christ had spoken of persecution, he adds presently, ye are the Salt of the Earth, as if he would discharge a warning-peece. Thus your Ministry will be very unpleasing and ungrateful to the corrupt world, and the rather, because your office is to declare, that all men out of Christ, though never so world­ly wise or morally honest, are unsavoury before God, but be not discouraged, Salt will make the greatest sound in the fire, yea Salt will keep best by the fire-side, when the moyst or dank weather of peace may melt it, Vos estis Sal terrae, quid igitur terrae-motum ad versum, vos curabitis Par. in loc. Ye are the Salt of the Earth, what need yee quake at an Earthquake?

3. Comfort your hearts in the conscionable discharge of your duty, (these words are not only a warning-peece, but a [Page 17] gracious cordial n or sweet promise, whereby Christ engageth him­self m Verba illa (vos estis Sal terra) reacci­piuntur par tìm ut commo­nè factio, par­tim ut promis­sio. Chemnit. in loc. to make the Ministry fruitful, q. d. I will be present in your Mini­stry by the blessing, grace & efficacy of my Spirit, that your labor shall not be in vain in the Lord; Nay, I will work so, as by your Ministry, the putrid humor of sin shall be purged from some, and the Regene­rate by the use of this Salt, shall be preserved, as that they shall not totally and finally fall away from the grace of God, 1 Pet. 1. 5. They are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation—

2. It holds forth the duty of the people too. Are the Ministers of Christ, the Salt of the earth? Then 1. Be willing to take salt, Jer. 22. 29. O earth, earth, earth hear the words of the Lord. This repetition implys a vehement Increpation for their dulnes this way, Grande opus est insaliri, qui sale con­ditur, g [...]atiâ plenus est. Nam & in communi Pro­verbio, salsus dicitur gratio­sus, & insulsus qui non habet gratiam. Orig. Heb. 13. 22—Suffer the word of exhortation; you shall part with nothing but what you may best spare, even those superfluous humours, which, if they be, let alone, will be undoubtedly the bane and putrefaction of the soul. What is it you can do better, Nihil melius est quàm con­dimentum ad­mittere, quo solo, nostra in­sul fit as corri­gitur. Calv. then to admit of that season­ing, wherby your unsavourines may be amended? Oh that you were of Baldassars mind, writing to Oecolampadius; Veniat, veniat verbū Domini, &c. Let the Word of the Lord come, let it come, and if we had 600. necks, we would put them all under the yoke of Jesus Christ. Of such a temper was Cornelius and his company, will you say so to your Minister, as they to Peter? Act. 10. 33. Now are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Obj. We cannot abide it. Ans. 1. A wounded souldier can and will endure a little salt, lest his wound should fester and rankle; Salt is a means to heal a wound, as those waters mentioned 2 King. 2. 20. 21, 22. 2. If not, you shall be given up to Salt. Ezek. 47. 11. But the miry places & the marishes shall not be healed, they shal be given to SALT. For the sin of barrenness, God will smite you with the curse of bar­renness; so Salt somtimes importeth, as Judg. 9. 45. with Zeph. 2. 9. 3. Nay, hereafter you shall have Salt with a vengeance, Mark. 9. 50. Every one shall he salted with fire—i. e. every one of the damned in hell, shall be salted with fire, (as some expound it,) or every one must be salted with the grace of God, or with the fire of Gods wrath, as others expound it. 4. I will tell you a word of comfort, if you can take comfort in it, the time will come, that all this Salt shal be taken from you, the presence of this Salt troubles you now, but the absence of this Salt shall trouble you more hereafter. Dives de­sired but one Negavit guttam ei, qui negavit mi­cam.—Aust. drop of water to cool his tongue, and it was denied [Page 18] him, you shall desire but one grain of this Salt to season your soul, and it shall be denied you: Not a Minister dare peep out of hea­ven to comfort you.

2 Make it to appear, that you have taken Salt, by sweetnesse, &c. For want of this, many stink above ground, like carrion in a ditch, or like Moab, Jer 48. 11.—his tast remained in him, and his sent is not changed. Its a great sin and shame, there should be any tainted peece of flesh under a powerful and faithful Ministry. In Bap­tisme, Salem vo­lunt consecra­tum in os [...]a [...]i, ut—conditus, iniquitatis foe­tore careat. i. e. carere signi­ficetur. &c. Chamier. de Baptis. l. 5. c. 16 n. 11. the Papists will have Salt put into the mouth of the party baptized, to signifie a preservation from the worms of sin, and a preparation to the savour of wisdom. This, which is a brand of their superstition, will be a badge of your Religion, to evidence it by an unspotted and untainted life, that you have kindly taken Salt.

3. Maintain your Ministers willingly and liberally. They are as Salt to preserve you, why should not you preserve them? in their Names, in their States, in their Bodies in their Liberties &c. as much as in you lieth. Salt anciently was a sign of an inferiours duty, wher­by he was bound to a superiour; whence comes the word Diod. in Le­vit. 2. 13. Salary or wages as some think, Gal. 6 6. Let him that is taught in the Word, communicate to him that teacheth in all good things. Preaching Pres­byters are worthy of double honor, 1 Tim. 5. 17. sc. Videtur du­plicem hono­rem dicere & alimenta, quae & ipsa il­lis cum hono­re dantur ut Regibus tribu­ta. Grot. in 1 Tim. 5. 17. honor of main­tenance as well as of reverence. We have had a Century of scanda­lous Ministers, I hope we shall never see or hear a Century of pious Ministers complaining of a scandalous maintenance. Do not mi­stake me, I preach not for Tythes: In the Prelaticall times, I can say (and that truly) I could never be moulded into that opinion, that Tythes now under the Gospel are Jure Divino; yet I cannot but relate a remarkable passage, A Vindica­on of the Pres­byterial Go­vernment and Ministry. p. 81. published lately by the Reverend Ministers & Elders met together in a Provincial Assembly at Lon­don, Novemb. 2. 1649. That the design of taking away Tythes from the Ministry, was first invented by that cursed Apostate Julian, who (as Mr. Stock, Mr. Stock on Mal. c. 3. that Reverend, Pious and painful Preacher hath ob­served) by this means is noted more to have overthrown the Church then all the persecuting Emperours before him. Because they took away Presbyters, (and the Martyrs blood was the seed of the Church) but he took away Presbyterian, the Ministry it self, in withdrawing the maintenance from the Church, and so over­threw the worship of God. Let me be bold to adde hereunto an ex­pression of a good old Non-conformist, (on Prov. 20. 25. Its a snare [Page 20] to the man who devoureth that which is holy) I mean learned and re­ligious M. Cartw. Illud est sacrum quod sacris usi­bus vel Dei insti­tuto & jussu, vel hominum volun­tarià & spontanea largi [...]one addi­ctum & devo [...]um est.—I am sub Evangel. tametsi primitiae & deci­mae necessariae non sunt tamen quicquid aut le­ge, constitutum aut hominum li­beralitate col­latum ad hos u­sos est, illud om­ne sacrum haben­dum est; ob t­amque causam horum aut SVR­LATIO, aut eti­am diminutio sacrilegii cri [...] [...]e damnatur. T. C. loc. who saith; That is holy, wch is set a part either by the cōmand & institution of God, or voluntary donation of mē for holy uses, as the ministry of the word, &c. Now, though First-fruits and Tythes are not necessary under the Gospel, yet whatsoever is e­stablished by Law, or conferred by mens bounty to such uses, all that is to be accounted holy; and therfore the taking away or diminish­ing of these things is no better then Sacriledge, Deut. 23. 21, 22, 23. I shall conclude this with that famous place. 1 Cor. 9. 11. If we have sown to you spiritual things, is it a great thing, if we shall reap your car­nal things? 13. Even so the Lord hath ordained, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel. Which words are part of a com­parison between Levitical and Evangelical Ministers, both in their work and in their wages. The Protasis or Proposition is set down in v. 13. and the Apodosis or Reddition in v. 14. Even so—The Gos­pel (in the end of this verse) is taken for a reward for some good ti­dings, if Mr. Mede Medes works in 4o. 1. Vol. p. 329. &c. may be beleeved, who shews abundantly, the sense of that word out of many Greek Authors—yea out of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Septuagint Languages, wherein St. Paul was brought up. Nay, makes it more then probable, its so taken ver. 2 [...]. This I do, for the Gospels sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. What [...], Gospel should it be, that Paul here aimed to be partaker of but some Non tan­quam venale sit Evang. ut istud fit pre­tium ejus, quod sumunt qui annunti­ant unde vi­vant. Si enim sic vendunt, magnam rem vili pretio vendunt. Aug. l. de pastorib. c. 2. Praemium or Reward? for it immediatly fol. lows, v. 24. Know ye not, that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?—But perhaps I have made an unpleasing di­gression, I proceed to the fourth Ʋse.

4. Mourn for the losse of Christs Ministers. The taking away of Tythes, is nothing to the taking away of Truths, or Truth-preach­ing Ministers, whether by death or otherwise. A godly Mr. W. Preacher at Prees-Exercise told us, that when the Salt fals toward one at ta­ble, its counted ominous. That is but a toy said he, and a peece of superstition; but if this Salt fall from you, that is truly grievous and rightly ominous, it bodes no good, but evill; Nay, I tell you its one of the greatest evils, Mic. 2. 6.—They shall not prophesie to them—Salt commonly is the last thing taken away from the Table, and when that is gone, dinner or supper is quite ended. Oh! if this Salt be taken away, there is an end of Sabbaths, an end of Sermons, an end of Sacraments, &c. So that we may say with the Prophet in an­other case, Ezek. 7. 5, 6. An evil, an only evil, behold it is come. An end is come,—

[Page 20] 5. Pray frequently and fervently, that God would send this Salt, where it is wanting, and bless it, where it is sent. I say to you, as Christ said to his Disciples, Mat. 9. 37, 38. The harvest truly is plente­ous, but the Labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the har­vest that he would send forth, (or [...]. Significatur non sola divinae providentiae dispensatio sed collatio speci­alis potestatis cum peculiari­bus donis & mandatis. Grot. thrust forth) Labourers into his harvest, not out of, but into his harvest; implying Ministerial Autho­rity, as well as Ability. You can hardly eat a bit of meat without salt; if it be wanting, you will cry, at least, call for it: Me thinks all your enjoyments should be like the white of an egge, unsa­vory, without the Salt of the Ministry. And let Gods promise be the ground of your prayer, Is. 30. 20. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy Teachers &c. And when you have this Salt beg a blessing. Your Ministers preaching doth much-what depend on your praying, perhaps he is dead and dull in preaching, because ye have been so in praying. Its not the Apothecaries drug, but Gods blessing on and with it, that makes it work kindly. How oft doth Paul (a man of a high pitch of holines, of a tall stature in Christ) beg the prayers of others? Eph. 6. 19.—And For Me, q. d. pray for all the Saints, but for me in special; If you should forget others, yet do not forget me. Bernard desiring a friend to pray for him, when he had nearest cōmunion with God, then (said he) remember me. Ile say no more, but take up the words of holy Bradford in this juncture of time, O pray, pray, pray.

6. Be thankful, you that enjoy this Salt. When Salt was wanting in some of our Garisons, how unwholsome did Beef prove to some fo our Soldiers? and how glad were they when they could get some Salt? Micah, a very Idolater, could conclude, Judg. 17. 13. Now I know, that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to be my Priest; much more may you conclude, that God intends good to you, since he hath set & sent this Salt among you; nay, this is an argument of Gods Love. Anciently Salt Symbolum amicitiae fuit Commutatio Salis. Chem. & Diod. was a token of freindship, and it went for a common proverb, familiar freinds do use the same Salt; i. e. feed at one and the same table. The Saints may conclude, as David in an­other case, Ps. 41. 11. By this I know thou favourest me—

To wind up all in one word; Providence hath pitcht my thoughts on this Subject, that whensoever you see Salt on a table, whether Minister or people, you may remember your duty respectively. And let me beseech you to take what I have said, cum grano Salis, with a grain of Salt, and then all will rellish well, which that you may do, let us pray—


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