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rest of the world, the "elect" and the "chosen of | had them, we should never have received those, or God." any thing else that is good: but he had them, that we might have them, and follow his steps who knew no sin, and fulfilled all righteousness. They "must be in us," saith St. Peter; and not only so, they must also abound in us; that is the end of Christ's death; that is the fruit of his Spirit: they must be plentiful, like a full vintage, or like Euphrates in the time of ripe fruits; they must swell over the banks for when they are but "in gradu virtutis," "in the lowest step of sincerity," they may fall from the tree like unripe fruit, and be fit for nothing but for prodigals and swine; they must be in their season and period, great, and excellent, and eminent; they must take up all our faculties, fill up all our time, spend all our powers, satisfy the will, and be adequate to all the powers of our choice; that is, as St. Peter adds, they must be so, that we "make our calling and election sure;" so as that we shall never any more depart from God: well, thus far, you see how severe and sacred a thing it is to be a christian.
Now these being thus chosen out, culled and picked from the evil generations of the world, he separates them from others, to gather them to himself; he separates them and sanctifies them to become holy; to come out, not of the companies so much, as from the evil manners of the world; God chooses them unto holiness, they are Tɛтayμévoι eis Zwny aiwvior, "put in the right order to eternal life." All christians are holy unto the Lord, and therefore must not be unholy in their conversation; for nothing that is unholy shall come near to God; that is the first great line of our duty; but God intends it further; all christians must not be only holy, but eminently holy. For "John indeed baptized with water;" but that is but a dull and inactive element, and moves by no principle, but by being ponderous; Christ "baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire," and God hates lukewarmness; and when he chooses to him a peculiar people, he adds, they must be "zealous of good works."
But in this affair there are many steps and great degrees of progression. 1. All God's people must be delivered from all sin; for as Christ came wholly "to destroy the works of the devil," so he intends also " to present his church as a pure virgin unto Christ;” ἄσπιλον, ἀπρόσκοπον, εἰλικρινῆ, "without | scandal, without hypocrisy,' "without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing:" for to be quit from sin, that is, from all affection to it, is supposed in the christian's life; "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts," and "being cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit," and "having escaped from all corruption that is in the world through lust;" this is not so much commanded as supposed: without this, nothing can be done, nothing can be hoped: this is but the foundation of the christian, who is intended to be "a habitation of God," "a member of Christ," "a temple of the holy Spirit of God:" the building follows.
2. All christians must acquire all the graces of the Holy Spirit of God: St. Peter gives the catalogue; "faith, and virtue, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and godliness, and brotherly kindness, and charity:"a and that you may see what is the spirit of a christian, what an activity and brisk principle is required to the acquisition of these things; the apostle gives this precept, that for the acquiring these things, we should give " πᾶσαν σπουδὴν, "all diligence;' no lazy worker is a good christian, he must be diligent; and not every diligence, nor every degree of good diligence; but it must be all, "omnem omnino diligentiam," "give all diligence."
4. But there are yet three steps more beyond this: God requires of us perseverance; a thrusting all this forward, even unto the end: "without peace and holiness no man shall see God," saith the author to the Hebrews; but that is not all; diúKETE ɛipývŋv kaì åyiaoμòv, “follow after peace and holiness with all men," avɛv ov, "without which;" it is not άvev йs εipývns, "without which peace," but ἄνευ οὗ διώκειν, “ without which following of peace and holiness;" that is, unless we endure all contradiction of sinners and objections; without following it close and home to the utmost issue, to the end of all righteousness, tending even to comprehension, to consummation and perfection, no man shall see God; διοικεῖν ἐν ἁγιασμῷ, is good and great, "to dwell in holiness; "but that is not enough, it must be diwкeir too, we must still pursue it, and that unto the end: "for he that endureth unto the end shall be saved."
5. And what more? yes, there is something yet: for besides this extension of duration, there must be "intensio graduum:" for "nondum comprehendimus, nondum perfecti sumus;" "we have not yet comprehended, we are not yet made perfect;" but that must be aimed at : "Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect;"-be "ye meek as Christ is ;"-"be ye holy as God is holy;-"pure as your Father in heaven is pure :"-and who can be so? no man can be so in degree, but so in kind; every man must desire, and every man must contend to be, and therefore it is possible, else it had never been required.
6. And now after all this, one thing more is to be done you must be so for yourselves, and you must be so for others: you must be so as to please God, and you must be so to edify your brethren : "Let your light so shine before men, that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven:" let it be so eminent and conspicuous, that all that see your conversation, and all that come into your congregations, may be convinced, and "falling down
c Heb. xii. 14.
and worshipping, may say, of a truth, the Spirit of the Lord is in you." And therefore our blessed Saviour, in his sermon upon the mount, which is the summary of a christian's life, at the end of the eight beatitudes, tells all his followers and disciples: "Ye are the salt of the world, ye are the light of the world; " and therefore" the kingdom of heaven," or the gospel, is compared "to a woman that hid, in three measures of meal," the Jews, the Turks, the heathen idolaters,—"her leaven, till all was leavened:" our light must be so shining, our conversation so exemplar, as to draw all the world after us; that they that will not, may be ashamed, and they that will, may be allured by the beauty of the flame. These are the proportions and measures of every christian; for "from the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force;" that although "John the Baptist was the greatest that ever was born of woman,” yet he that “is least in the kingdom of heaven," the meanest of the laity, may be "greater than he." This is a great height: and these things I have premised, not only to describe the duty of all that are here present, even of all christians whatsoever, that you may not depart without your portion of a blessing; but also as a foundation of the ensuing periods, which I shall address to you, my brethren of the clergy, the fathers of the people; for I speak in a school of the prophets, prophets and prophets' sons; to you who are, or intend to be so.
For God hath made a separation of you even beyond this separation: he hath separated you yet again; he hath put you anew into the crucible; he hath made you to pass through the fire seven times more. For it is true, that the whole community of the people is the church; "Ecclesia sancta est communio sanctorum," "the holy catholic church is the communion of saints;" but yet, by the voice and consent of all christendom, you are the church, by way of propriety, and eminency, and singularity; "churchmen," that is your appellative: all are úrèpèç πvevμatikoì, "spiritual men;" all have received the Spirit, and all walk in the Spirit, and ye are all" sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption;" and yet there is a spirituality peculiar to the clergy: "If any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness:"d you who are spiritual by office and designation, of a spiritual calling, and spiritual employment; you who have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, and minister the Spirit of God, you are more eminently spiritual; you have the Spirit in graces and in powers, in sanctification and abilities, in office and in person; the unction from above hath descended upon your heads and upon your hearts: you are кar' ¿oxỳ "by way of eminency" and prelation, "spiritual men." All "the people of God were holy;" Korah and his company were in the right so far; but yet Moses and Aaron were more holy, and stood nearer to God. All the people are prophets it is now more than Moses's wish, for the Spirit of Christ hath made d Gal. vi. 1.
them so : "If any man prayeth or prophesieth with his head covered;" or "if any woman prophesieth with her head uncovered," they are dishonoured: but either man or woman may do that work in time and place; for "in the latter days I will pour out of my Spirit, and your daughters shall prophesy;" and yet, God hath appointed in his church prophets above these, to whose Spirit all the other prophets are subject; and as God said to Aaron and Miriam concerning Moses," to you I am known in a dream or a vision, but to Moses I speak face to face;" so it is in the church; God gives of his Spirit to all men, but you he hath made the ministers of his Spirit: nay, the people have their portion of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, so said St. Paul; "To whom ye forgive any thing, to him I forgive also;" and to the whole church of Corinth he gave a commission, "in the name of Christ, and by his Spirit, to deliver the incestuous person unto Satan ;" and when the primitive penitents stood in their penitential stations, they did “ Charis Dei adgeniculari, et toti populo legationem orationis suæ commendare;" and yet the keys were not only promised, but given to the apostles, to be used then, and transmitted to all generations of the church; and we are "ministers of Christ, and stewards of the manifold myteries of God; and to us is committed the word of reconciliation." And thus, in the consecration of the mysterious sacrament, the people have their portion; for the bishop or the priest blesses, and the people, by saying "Amen" to the mystic prayer, is partaker of the power, and the whole church hath a share in the power of spiritual sacrifice; "Ye are a royal priesthood, kings and priests unto God;" that is, so ye are priests as ye are kings; but yet kings and priests have a glory conveyed to them, of which the people partake but in minority, and allegory, and improper communication: but you are, and are to be respectively, that considerable part of mankind, by whom God intends to plant holiness in the world; by you God means to reign in the hearts of men; and therefore you are to be the first in this kind, and consequently the measure of all the rest: to you, therefore, I intend this, and some following discourses, in order to this purpose: I shall but now lay the first stone, but it is the corner-stone in this foundation.
But to you, I say, of the clergy, these things are spoken properly; to you these powers are conveyed really; upon you God hath poured his Spirit plentifully; you are the choicest of his choice, the elect of his election, a church picked out of the church, vessels of honour for your Master's use, appointed to teach others, authorized to bless in his name; you are the ministers of Christ's priesthood, underlabourers in the great work of mediation and intercession, " Medii inter Deum et populum;" you are for the people towards God, and convey answers and messages from God to the people: these things I speak, not only to magnify your office, but to enforce and heighten your duty; you are holy by office and designation; for your very appointment is a sanctification and a consecration; and therefore whatever holiness God requires of the people who
in the Old Testament calls
"Succoth Benoth," little repositories or booths to hide their images and patterns of their gods; but rapexóμevos τύπον, “ you must be exhibited" and shown forth, brought forth into action and visibility, and notorious observation.
4. There is also another mystery and duty in this word; for Moloch and Remphan they were patterns and figures, but they were τύποι οὓς ἐποιήσαντο, "patterns which the people made;"--but to Titus St. Paul commanded that he himself should be TаρεXÓμEVOS TÚTOV, "he should give a pattern" to the people; that is, the ministers of Christ must not be framed according to the people's humour, they must not give him rules, nor describe his measures; but he should be a rule to them; he is neither to live with them, so as to please their humours, or to preach doctrines "populo ut placerent, quas fecisset fabulas:" but the people are to require the doctrine at his mouth, and he is to become exemplar to them, according to the pattern seen in the mount, according to the laws of the religion and the example of Christ.
have some little portions in the priesthood evangeli- | of Moloch and Remphan, which the Spirit of God cal, he expects it of you, and much greater, to whom he hath conveyed so great honours, and admitted so near unto himself, and hath made to be the great ministers of his kingdom and his Spirit: and now, as Moses said to the Levitical schismatics, Korah and his company, so I may say to you; "Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel to bring you to himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? And he hath brought thee near to him." e Certainly, if of every one of the christian congregation God expects a holiness that mingles with no unclean thing; if God will not suffer of them a lukewarm and an indifferent service, but requires zeal of his glory, and that which St. Paul calls the πόνος τῆς ἀγάπης, "the labour of love;" if he will have them to be "without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing;" if he will not endure any pollution in their flesh or spirit; if he requires that their bodies, and souls, and spirits be kept blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus; if he accepts of none of the people, unless they have within them the conjugation of all christian graces; if he calls on them to abound in every grace, and that in all the periods of their progression, unto the ends of their lives, and to the consummation and perfection of grace; if he hath made them lights in the world, and the salt of the earth, to enlighten others by their good example, and to teach them, and invite them by holy discourses, and wise counsels, and speech seasoned with salt; what is it, think ye, or with what words is it possible to express what God requires of you? They are to be examples of good life to one another; but you are to be examples even of the examples themselves; that is your duty, that is the purpose of God, and that is the design of my text, "That in all things ye show yourselves a pattern of good works; intures, pure truths of God. doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."
Here then is, 1. Your duty. 2. The degrees and excellency of your duty.
The duty is double: 1. Holiness of life. 2. Integrity of doctrine. Both these have their heightenings, in several degrees.
1. For your life and conversation, it ought not only to be good, not only to be holy, but to be so up to the degrees of an excellent example; "Ye must be a pattern."
2. Ye must be patterns, not only of knowledge and wisdom, not of contemplation and skill in mysteries, not of unprofitable notions, and ineffective wit and eloquence; but of something that is more profitable, of something that may do good, something by which mankind shall be better; of something that shall contribute to the felicity and comfort of the world; "a pattern of good words."
3. It must not be a rúroç, "a type" or pattern to be hidden or laid in tabernacles, like those images e Numb. xvi. 9.
5. It must be iv nãow; he must be a pattern "in all things" it is not enough that the minister be a loving person, a good neighbourly man, that he be hospitable, that he be not litigious, that he be harmless, and that he be diligent; but in every grace he must "præferre facem," "hold a torch," and show himself a light in all the commands of God. These are the measures of his holiness, the pattern in his life and conversation.
Secondly; Integrity of doctrine. The matter of the doctrine you are to preach, hath in it four qualifications.
1. It must be adiáp0opos, “incorrupt;" that is, it must be кar' ávaλoyíav TiσTEWç, it must be "according to the analogy of faith," no heretical mix
2. It must be oεμròs, grave," ," and clean, and chaste; that is, avev pλvapías, no vain and empty notions, little contentions, and pitiful disputes; but becoming the wisdom of the guides of souls, and the ministers of Christ.
And 3. It must be vying, "sound speech," so we read it; the word properly signifies" salutary" and wholesome;" that is, such as is apt for edification, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης; “ for the building men up in a most holy faith, and a more excellent charity;" not feeding the people with husks and draff, with colocynths and gourds, with gay tulips and useless daffodils, but with the bread of life, and medicinal plants, springing from the margin of the fountains of salvation. This is the matter of their doctrine; and this also hath some heightenings, and excellencies, and extraordinaries: for,
4. It must be ȧkaTάyvwσTog, so evidently demonstrated, that "no man shall be able to reprove it;" so certainly holy, that no man shall be willing to condemn it.
And 5. It must be ap0aproc, "sincere," not polluted with foul intentions and little devices of
secular interests, complying with the lusts of the potent, or the humours of the time; not biassed by partiality, or bending in the flexures of human policy it must be so conducted that your very enemies, schismatics and heretics, and all sorts of gainsayers, may see that you intend God's glory, and the good of souls; and, therefore, that as they can say nothing against the doctrine delivered, so neither shall they find fault with him that delivers | it: and he that observes all this, will indeed be a pattern both of life and doctrine; both of good words and good works.
But I shall not be so minute in my discourse, as in the division; the duties, and the manner or degrees of the duties, I shall handle together, and give you the best measures I can, both for institution of life and excellency of doctrine :-it is required of every one of you, that in all things you show yourselves a pattern of good works.
ing thou hatest instruction and castest my words behind theç ?" The words are a sad upbraiding to all ungodly ministers, and they need no commentary; for whatever their office and employment be to teach God's people, yet, unless they regard the commandments of God in their heart and practice themselves, they having nothing to do with the word of God,—they sin in taking the covenant, a testament of God, into their mouth. God said to the sinner, y Raschaah, that is, "to him that had sinned and had not repented of his sins;" so the Chaldee paraphrase reads it; "Impio autem, qui non agit pœnitentiam et orat in prævaricatione, dixit Deus." Indeed, if none could be admitted to this ministry but those who had never sinned, the harvest might be very great, but the labourers would be extremely few, or rather none at all; but, after repentance, they must be admitted, and not before; "Iniquitas opilabit os eorum," "iniquity That is the first thing required in a minister: and shall stop their mouths," saith David; that ought this is, upon infinite accounts, necessary: 1. In to silence them indeed: and this was David's care, general. 2. In particular. 1. In general. The when he had fallen into the foul crimes of murder very first words of the whole psalter are an argu- and adultery; he knew himself unfit and unable, ment of this necessity: "Blessed is the man that though he were a prophet, to teach others the laws walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor of God; but when he prayed to God to restore him standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the to a free spirit, he adds; "Then will I teach transchair of the mockers," the seat of the scornful. The gressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted doctor's chair or pulpit must have nothing to do with unto thee:"i till then it was to no purpose for him the "irrisores," that mock God, and mock the to preach. "But thou, when thou art converted," people; he must neither walk with them, nor stand said Christ to Peter, “strengthen the brethren.”with them, nor sit with them; that is, he must The primitive church had a degree of severity be"have no fellowship with the unfruitful workers of yond this; for they would not admit any man, who darkness, but rather reprove them;" for they that had done public penance, to receive holy orders: to do preach one thing, and do another, are y, which purpose they were excellent words which P. "mockers;" they destroy the benefit of the people, Hormisda spake in his letters to the bishops of and diminish the blessings of God; and "binding Spain, in which he exhorts them to the observation burdens on the people's shoulders which they will of the ancient canons of the church, telling them not touch with the top of their finger," they secretly that "They who are promoted to the clergy, ought laugh and mock at the people, as at the asses of to be better than others;""nam longâ debet vitam Issachar, fit to be cozened into unnecessary burdens. suam probatione monstrare, cui gubernacula comThese words are greatly to be regarded: the primi- mittuntur ecclesiæ; non negamus," &c. we deny tive church would admit no man to the superior not but amongst the laity there are many whose orders of the clergy, unless, among other prerequired manners are pleasing to God, but the faithful laws dispositions, they could say all David's psalter by of God seek for him soldiers that are approved; heart; and it was very well, besides many other and they ought rather to afford to others, by themreasons, that they might in the front read their own selves, an example of a religious life, than require duty, so wisely and so mysteriously, by the Spirit of it from them; ideoque nullus ex pœnitentibus God, made preliminary to the whole office. debet ordinari; quis enim quem paulo ante jacentem viderat, veneretur antistitem?" "None of the public penitents must be ordained; for who will esteem that priest venerable, whom a little before he saw dishonoured by scandalous and public crimes?" But this is to be understood of them only, as the prophet Amos expresses it, qui corripiuntur in portâ," "who are rebuked in the gate,” k condemned by public sentence, and are blotted with the reproaches of the law. But in all cases,
To the same purpose is that observation of St. Jerome made concerning the vesting of the priests in the Levitical ministrations; the priest put on the humeral, beset with precious stones, before he took the Xoylov, or the "rationale upon his breast, to signify, that first the priest must be a shining light, resplendent with good works, before he fed them with the yáλa λoyıkòv, “the rational milk," of the word: concerning which symbolical precept, you may please to read many excellent things to this purpose, in St. Jerome's epistle to Fabiola. It will be more useful for us to consider those severe words of David; "But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth; seePsal. 1. 16, 17.
h Psal. cvii. 42.
makes it stammer." For how shall any man preach against sin, or affright his people from their dangers, if he denies God's justice? and if he thinks God is just, why is not he confounded, that, with his own mouth, pronounces damnation against himself? Nothing confounds a man so much, as to be judged out of his own mouth: "Esse munda studeat manus, quæ diluere sordes curat," said St. Gregory; "the hand that means to make another clean, should not itself be dirty. But all this is but in general; there are yet considerations more particular and material.
1. A minister of an evil life cannot do so much good to his charges; he cannot profit them, he is not useful iç oikodoμny, he pulls down as fast, or faster than he builds up. "Talmud absque opere non est magnum Talmud," said the Jews' proverb: "a good sermon without a good example is no very good sermon." For, besides that such a man is contemptible to his people, contemptible, not only naturally, but by Divine judgment (according to that of the prophet, "Propter quod dedi vos contemptibiles omni populo," " for this very reason I have made you to be scorned in the eyes of all the people"): but besides this, it is very considerable what St. Chrysostom says; "Si prædicas et non facis, opus proponis tanquam impossibile :" "he that preaches mortification and lives voluptuously, propounds the duty as if it were impossible:" for certainly if it be good, and if it be possible, a man will ask, why is it not done? It is easy for him that is well to give a sick man counsel: "Verùm tu si hic esses, certè aliter sentires;" when it comes to be his own case, when the sickness pinches, and when the belly calls for meat, where's the fine oration then? “Omnia quæ vindicâris in altero, tibi ipsi vehementer fugienda sunt: etenim non modo accusator, sed ne objurgator ferendus est, qui, quod in altero vitium reprehendit, in eo ipse deprehenditur:" "whatsoever you reprove in others, must be infinitely avoided by yourself; for no man will endure an accuser, no not so much as a man to chide, for that fault in which himself was taken." ""m But if your charges see you bear your sickness patiently, and your cross nobly, and despise money generously, and forgive your enemy bravely, and relieve the poor charitably, then he sees your doctrine is tangible and material; it is more than words, and he loves you, and considers what you say. In the East the shepherds used to go before their sheep, to which our blessed Saviour alludes, "My sheep hear my voice and follow me;" but our shepherds are forced to drive them, and affright them with dogs and noises: it were better if themselves did go before. 3. A minister of an evil life cannot preach with that fervour and efficacy, with that life and spirit, as a good man does; for besides that he does not himself understand the secrets of religion, and the private inducements of the Spirit, and the sweetness of internal joy, and the inexpressible advantages of a holy peace; besides this, he cannot heartily speak all that he knows; he hath a clog at his foot, and a gag in his 1 Mal. ii.
m Cic. Act 5. in Verrem.
teeth; there is a fear, and there is a shame, and there is a guilt, and a secret willingness that the thing were not true; and some little private arts to lessen his own consent, and to take off the asperities and consequent troubles of a clear conviction. To which if we add, that there is a secret envy in all wicked men against the prosperities of goodness; and if I should say no more, this alone were enough to silence a Boanerges, and to make his thunder still and easy as an oaten pipe: "Nonne id flagitium est, te aliis consilium dare, foris sapere, tibi non posse auxiliari ?" "That is a burning shame and an intolerable wickedness, that a minister shall be like Marcotis, or the statue of Mercury, show the way to others, and himself stand still like a painted block; to be wise abroad, and a very fool in his own concerns, and unable to do himself good.”—“ Dicit Reslakis, orna teipsum, postea ornato alios :'' "first trim thyself, and then adorn thy brother," said the rabbins: but certain it is, he that cannot love to see others better than himself, it cannot be that he should heartily endeavour it.
Scilicet exspectas, ut tradat mater honestos, Atque alios mores, quam quos habet? utile porro Filiolam turpi vetulæ producere turpem. JUVEN. It is not to be expected that a diseased father should beget wholesome children: like will come from like, whether the principle be good or evil.
But, secondly; for this is but the ȧpxǹ ¿divwv; this is but the least evil; there is yet much worse behind. A wicked minister cannot with success and benefit pray for the people of his charges; and this is a great matter; for prayer is the key of David, and God values it at so high a rate, that Christ is made the prince of all intercession, and God hath appointed angels to convey to his throne of grace the prayers of the saints; and he hath made prophets and priests, even the whole clergy, the peculiar ministers of prayer: "Orabit pro eo sacerdos ;" "the priest shall pray for him," the priest shall make an atonement for his sin, and it shall be forgiven him." And God's anger is no where more fiercely described, than when things come to that pass that he will not hear the priest or prophet praying for the people: "Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up prayer nor cry for them, neither make intercession to me; for behold mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place." When the prayers of the gracious and acceptable persons, the presidents of prayer, are forbidden, then things are desperate; it is a greater excommunication; "the man sins a sin unto death; and I say not that thou pray for him that sins unto death." This, I say, is the priest's office, and if the people lose the benefit of this, they are undone. To bishop Timothy, St. Paul gave it in charge, "That supplications, and prayers, and intercessions, be made for all men." And St. James advised "the sick to send for the elders of the church," (the bishops and priests,)" and let them pray over them," and then "their sins shall be forgiven them." But how? that is supposed, the minister prays fer"Numb. xv. 5. Lev. iv. 35. o Jer. vii. 16, 20.