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nothings of useless speculation, and all the opinions | how do they prove this? Truly they hate the of men that make the divisions of heart, and do nothing else, cannot bring us one drop of comfort in the day of tribulation, and therefore are no parts of the strength of faith. Nay, when a man begins truly to fear God, and is in the agonies of mortification, all these new nothings and curiosities will lie neglected by, as baubles do by children when they are deadly sick. But that only is faith that makes us to love God, to do his will, to suffer his impositions, to trust his promises, to see through a cloud, to overcome the world, to resist the devil, to stand in the day of trial, and to be comforted in all our sorrows. This is that precious faith so mainly necessary to be insisted on, that by it we may be sons of the free woman, “liberi à vitiis ac ritibus;" that the true Isaac may be in us, which is Christ according to the Spirit, the wisdom and power of God, a divine vigour and life, whereby we are enabled, | with joy and cheerfulness, to walk in the way of God. By this you may try your faith, if you please, and make an end of this question: Do you believe in the Lord Jesus, yea or no? God forbid else; but if your faith be good, it will abide the trial. There are but three things that make the integrity of christian faith; believing the words of God, confidence in his goodness, and keeping his command
For the first, it is evident that every man pretends to it; if he calls himself christian, he believes all that is in the canon of the Scriptures; and if he did not, he were indeed no christian. But now consider, what think we of this proposition? "All shall be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness." m Does not every man believe this? Is it possible they can believe there is any such thing as unrighteousness in the world, or any such thing as damnation, and yet commit that which the Scriptures call unrighteousness, and which all laws and all good men say is so ?
Consider how many unrighteous men there are in the world, and yet how few of them think they shall be damned. I know not how it comes to pass, but men go upon strange principles, and they have made christianity to be a very odd institution, if it had not better measures than they are pleased to afford it. There are two great roots of all evil, covetousness and pride, and they have infected the greatest parts of mankind, and yet no man thinks himself to be either covetous or proud; and, therefore, whatever you discourse against these sins, it never hits any man, but, like Jonathan's arrows to David, they fall short, or they fly beyond. Salvian complained of it in his time: "Hoc ad crimina nostra addimus, ut cum in omnibus rei simus, etiam bonos nos et sanctos esse credamus:" "This we add unto our crimes, we are the vilest persons in the world, and yet we think ourselves to be good people," and, when we die, make no question but we shall go to heaven." There is no cause of this, but because we have not so much faith as believing comes to; and yet most men will pretend not only to believe, but to love Christ all this while. m 2 Thess. ii. 12. " Lib. iii
memory of Judas, and curse the Jews that crucified Christ, and think Pilate a very miserable man, and that all the Turks are damned, and to be called Caiaphas is a word of reproach; and, indeed, there are many that do not much more for Christ than this comes to; things to as little purpose, and of as little signification. But so the Jews did' hate the memory of Corah as we do of Caiaphas, and they built the sepulchre of the prophets; and we also are angry at them that killed the apostles and the martyrs; but, in the mean time, we neither love Christ nor his saints; for we neither obey him, nor imitate them. And yet we should think ourselves highly injured, if one should call us infidels, and haters of Christ. But, I pray, consider; what is hating of any man, but designing and doing him all the injury and spite we can ? Does not he hate Christ that dishonours him, that makes Christ's members the members of a harlot, that doth not feed and clothe these members? If the Jews did hate Christ when they crucified him, then so does a christian too, when he crucifies him again. Let us not deceive ourselves; a christian may be damned as well as a Turk; and christians may with as much malice crucify Christ, as the Jews did and so does every man that sins wilfully; he spills the blood of Christ, making it to be spent in vain. "He that hateth you, hateth me; he that receives you, receives me," said Christ to his apostles. I wish the world had so much faith as to believe that; and by this try whether we love Christ, and believe in him, or no. I shall, for the trial of our faith, ask one easy question: Do we believe that the story of David and Jonathan is true? Have we so much faith as to think it possible that two rivals of a crown should love so dearly? Can any man believe this, and not be infinitely ashamed to see christians, almost all christians, to be irreconcilably angry, and ready to pull their brother's heart out, when he offers to take our land or money from us? Why do almost all men that go to law for right, hate one another's persons? Why cannot men with patience hear their titles questioned? But, if christianity be so excellent a religion, why are so very many christians so very wicked? Certainly they do not so much as believe the propositions and principles of their own religion. For the body of christians is so universally wicked, that it would be a greater change to see christians generally live according to their profession, than it was at first from infidelity to see them turn believers. The conversion from christian to christian, from christian in title to christian in sincerity, would be a greater miracle than it was, when they were converted from heathen and Jew to christian. What is the matter? Is not "repentance from dead works" reckoned by St. Paul as one of the fundamental points of christian religion? Is it not a piece of our catechism, the first thing we are taught, and is it not the last thing that we practise? We had better be without baptism than without repentance, and yet both are necessary; and, therefore, if we were not without faith, we should be without
• Heb. vi.
neither. Is not repentance a forsaking all sin, and | bear contempt: but give them riches, and they grow an entire returning unto God? Who can deny this? insolent; fear and pusillanimity did their first work, And is it not plainly said in Scripture, "Unless ye and an opportunity to sin undoes it all. "Bonum repent, ye shall all perish?" But show me the militem perdidisti, imperatorem pessimum creâsti," man that believes these things heartily; that is, said Galba: "You have spoiled a good trooper, show me a true penitent, he only believes the doc- when you made me a bad commander." Others trines of repentance. can never serve God but when they are prosperous; if they lose their fortune, they lose their faith, and quit their charity : "Non rata fides, ubi jam melior fortuna ruit;" if they become poor, they become liars and deceivers of their trust, envious and greedy, restless and uncharitable; that is, one way or other they show that they love the world, and by all the faith they pretend to cannot overcome it.
If I had time, I should examine your faith by your confidence in God, and by your obedience. But, if we fall in the mere believing, it is not likely we should do better in the other. But because all the promises of God are conditional, and there can be no confidence in the particular without a promise or revelation, it is not possible that any man that does not live well, should reasonably put his trust in God. To live a wicked life, and then to be confident that in the day of our death God will give us pardon, is not faith, but a direct want of faith. If we did believe the promises upon their proper conditions, or believe that God's commandments were righteous and true, or that the threatenings were as really intended as they are terribly spoken,we should not dare to live at the rate we do. But "wicked men have not faith," saith St. Paul; and then the wonder ceases.
But there are such palpable contradictions between men's practices and the fundamentals of our faith, that it was a material consideration of our blessed Saviour," When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith upon earth ?" meaning it should be very hard and scant: " Every man shall boast of his own goodness; 'sed virum fidelem,' (saith Solomon,) but a faithful man,' who can find ?" Some men are very good when they are afflicted.
Hanc tibi virtutem fractâ facit urceus ansâ,
Fit brevis atque eadem nocte dieque toga. MARTIAL. When the gown of the day is the mantle of the night, and cannot at the same time cover the head and make the feet warm; when they have but one broken dish and no spoon, then they are humble and modest; then they can suffer an injury and
Cast up, therefore, your reckonings impartially; see what is, what will be required at your hands; do not think you can be justified by faith, unless your faith be greater than all your passions; you have not the learning, not so much as the common notices of faith, unless you can tell when you are covetous, and reprove yourself when you are proud; but he that is so, and knows it not, (and that is the case of most men,) hath no faith, and neither knows God nor knows himself.
To conclude. He that hath true justifying faith, believes the power of God to be above the powers of nature; the goodness of God above the merit and disposition of our persons; the bounty of God above the excellency of our works; the truth of God above the contradiction of our weak arguings and fears; the love of God above our cold experience and ineffectual reason; and the necessities of doing good works above the faint excuses and ignorant pretences of disputing sinners: but want of faith makes us so generally wicked as we are, so often running to despair, so often baffled in our resolutions of a good life; but he whose faith makes him more than conqueror over these difficulties, to him Isaac shall be born even in his old age; the life of God shall be perfectly wrought in him; and by this faith, so operative, so strong, so lasting, so obedient, he shall be justified, and he shall be saved.
PREACHED AT THE
CONSECRATION OF TWO ARCHBISHOPS AND TEN BISHOPS,
IN THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST. PATRICK, IN Dublin,
January 27, 1660.
Sal liquefit, ut condiat.
TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.
My obedience to the commands of the Right Honourable the Lord Justices, and the most Reverend and Learned Primate, and to the desires of my Reverend Brethren, put it past my inquiry, whether I ought to publish this following Sermon. I will not, therefore, excuse it, and say it might have advantages in the delivery which it would want in the reading; and the ear would be kind to the piety of it, which was apparent in the design, when the eye would be severe in its censure of those arguments, which, as they could not be longer in that measure of time, so would have appeared more firm, if they could have had liberty to have been pursued to their utmost issue: but reason lies in a little room, and obedience in less; and although what I have here said, may not stop the mouths of men resolved to keep up a faction, yet I have said enough to the sober and pious, to them who love order, and hearken to the voice of the spouse of Christ, to the loving and to the obedient: and for those that are not so, I have no argument fit to be used, but prayer, and readiness to give them a reason when they shall modestly demand it. In the mean time, I shall only desire them to make use of those truths which the more learned of their party have, by the evidence of fact, been forced to confess. Rivet affirms, that it descended "ex veteris ævi reliquiis," that presbyters should be assistants or conjoined to the bishops (who is by this confessed to be the principal) in the imposition of hands for ordination. Walo Messalinus acknowledges it to be "rem antiquissimam,” “a most ancient thing," that these two orders, viz., of bishops and presbyters, should be distinct, even in the middle, or in the beginning of the next age after Christ. David Blondel places it to be thirty-five years after the death of St. John. Now, then, episcopacy is confessed to be of about one thousand six hundred years' continuance; and if, before this, they can show any ordination by mere presbyters, by any but an apostle, or an apostolical man; and if there were not visibly a distinction of powers and persons relatively in the ecclesiastical government; or if they can give a rational account why they, who are forced to confess the honour and distinct order of episcopacy, for about sixteen ages, should, in the dark interval of thirty-five years, in which they can pretend to no monument or record to the contrary, yet make unlearned scruples of things they cannot colourably prove; if, I say, they can reasonably account for these things, I, for my part, will be ready to confess, that they are not guilty of the greatest, the most unreasonable and inexcusable schism in the world; but else they have no colour to palliate the unlearned crime for will not all wise men in the world conclude, that the church of God, which was then holy, not in title only and design, but practically and materially, and persecuted, and not immerged in secular temptations, could not, all in one instant, join together to alter that form of church government, which Christ and his apostles had so recently established, and, without a Divine warrant, destroy a Divine institution, not only to the confusion of the hierarchy, but to the ruin of their own souls? It were strange that so great a change should be, and no good man oppose it: "In toto orbe decretum est;" so St. Jerome: "All the world consented" in the advancement of the episcopal order; and, therefore, if we had no more to say for it, yet in prudence and piety we cannot say they would innovate in so great a matter.
But I shall enter no further upon this inquiry: only I remember that it is not very many months since the bigots of the popish party cried out against us vehemently, and inquired, "Where is your church of England, since you have no unity? for your ecclesiastic head of unity, your bishops, are gone:" and if we should be desirous to verify their argument, so as indeed to destroy episcopacy, we should too much advantage popery, and do the most imprudent and most impious thing in the world. But blessed be God, who hath restored that government, for which our late king, of glorious memory, gave his blood; and that,
methinks, should very much weigh with all the king's true-hearted subjects, who should make it religion not to rob that glorious prince of the greatest honour of such a martyrdom. For my part, I think it fit to rest in these words of another martyr, St. Cyprian: "Si quis cum episcopo non sit, in ecclesia non esse :" "He that is not with the bishop, is not in the church:"* that is, he that goes away from him, and willingly separates, departs from God's church; and whether he can then be with God, is a very material consideration, and fit to be thought on by all that think heaven a more eligible good than the interests of a faction and the importune desire of rule can countervail.
However, I have, in the following papers, spoken a few things, which, I hope, may be fit to persuade them that are not infinitely prejudiced; and although two or three good arguments are as good as two or three hundred, yet my purpose here was to prove the dignity and necessity of the office and order episcopal, only that it might be as an economy to convey notice and remembrances of the great duty incumbent upon all them that undertake this great charge. The dignity and the duty take one another by the hand, and are born together; only every sheep of the flock must take care to make the bishop's duty as easy as it can, by humility and love, by prayer and by obedience. It is, at the best, very difficult; but they who oppose themselves to government, make it harder and uncomfortable: but take heed, if thy bishop hath cause to complain to God of thee, for thy perverseness and uncharitable walking, thou wilt be the loser ; and for us, we can only say, in the words of the prophet, "We will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people:" + but our comfort is in God: for we can do nothing without him, but in him we can do all things: and, therefore, we will pray, "Domine, dabis pacem nobis; omnia enim opera nostra operatus es in nobis:" "God hath wrought all our works within us; and therefore he will give us peace, and give us his Spirit."+
"Finally Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you; and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not faith."§
appoint over his family, the church: they are not here named, but we shall find them out by their proper direction and indigitation by and by.
2. But that which is expressed, is the office And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and itself, in a double capacity. 1. In the dignity of wise steward, whom his lord shall make rulerit, it is a rule and a government; "whom the lord over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.—Luke xii. 42, 43.
shall make ruler over his household." 2. In the care and duty of it, which determines the government to be paternal and profitable; it is a rule, but such a rule as shepherds have over their flocks, to lead them to good pastures, and to keep them within Τίς ἐστιν ἄρα πιστὸς καὶ φρόνιμος οἰκονόμος. their appointed walks, and within their folds: dicórai THESE words are not properly a question, though oroμérpiov that is the work, "to give them a meathey seem so; and the particle rig is not interroga- sure and proportion of nourishment:" Tpooùy ¿v tive, but hypothetical, and extends "who" to Kaup, so St. Matthew calls it: "meat in the season;" "whosoever;" plainly meaning, that whoever is a that which is fit for them, and when it is fit; meat steward over Christ's household, of him God requires enough, and meat convenient; and both together a great care, because he hath trusted him with a mean that which the Greek poets call àpμaλiǹr great employment. Every steward öv KaléσTýкev opunov," the strong wholesome diet." Κύριος, so it is in St. Matthew ; ὃν καταστήσει ὁ Kúpios, so it is in my text; every steward whom the Lord hath or shall appoint over the family, to rule it and to feed it, now and in all generations of men, as long as this family shall abide on earth; that is, the apostles, and they who were to succeed the apostles in the stewardship, were to be furnished with the same power, and to undertake the same charge, and to give the same strict and severe
3. Lastly: Here is the reward of the faithful and wise dispensation. The steward that does so, and continues to do so, till his Lord find him so doing, this man shall be blessed in his deed. "Blessed is the servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing." Of these in order.
1. Who are these rulers of Christ's family? for though Christ knew it, and, therefore, needed not to ask; yet we have disputed it so much, and obeyed so little, that we have changed the plain hypothesis
In these words here is something insinuated, and into an entangled question. The answer yet is easy much expressed.
as to some part of the inquiry: the apostles are the first meaning of the text; for they were our fathers in Christ, they begat sons and daughters unto God;
2 Cap. xxiv. 25.
b Hesiod. Epy.
and were a spiritual paternity, is evident: we need | able appellative used amongst the Jews, as "alderlook no further for spiritual government, because in the paternal rule all power is founded; they begat the family by the power of the word and the life of the Spirit, and they fed this family, and ruled it, by the word of their proper ministry: they had the keys of this house, the steward's ensign, and they had the ruler's place; "for they sat on twelve thrones, and judged the twelve tribes of Israel." But of this there is no question.
man amongst us; but it signifies no order at all, nor was ever used in Scripture to signify any distinct company or order of clergy: and this appears not only by an induction in all the enumerations of the offices ministerial in the New Testament, where to be a presbyter is never reckoned either as a distinct office, or a distinct order; but by its being indifferently communicated to all the superior clergy, and all the princes of the people.
2. The second thing I intended to say, is this: that although all the superior clergy had not only one, but divers common appellatives, all being called TрEσCUTEρóι and diákovou, even the apostolate itself being called a deaconship; yet it is evident, that before the common appellatives were fixed into names of propriety, they were as evidently distin
To this purpose St. Paul gave to Titus, the bishop of Crete, a special commission, command, and power, to make ordinations; and in him, and in the person of Timothy, he did erect a court of judicature even over some of the clergy, who yet were called presbyters; "Against a presbyter receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses :" there is the measure and the warranty of the "audientia episcopalis," "the bishops' audience court;" and when the accused were found guilty, he gives in charge to proceed to censures: λεɣxε аτотóμWC, and dei ÉmiσTopíšεiv "You must rebuke them sharply, and you must silence them, stop their mouths," h that is St. Paul's word; that they may no more scatter their venom in the ears and hearts of the people. These bishops were commanded
And as little of another proposition; that this stewardship was to last for ever, for the power of ministering in this office and the office itself were to be perpetual: for the issues and powers of government are more necessary for the perpetuating the church, than for the first planting; and if it was necessary that the apostles should have a rod and a staff at first, it would be more necessary after-guished in their offices and powers, as they are at wards, when the family was more numerous, and this day in their names and titles. their first zeal abated, and their native simplicity perverted into arts of hypocrisy and forms of godliness, when "heresies should arise, and the love of many should wax cold." The apostles had also a power of ordination: and that the very power itself does denote, for it makes perpetuity, that could not expire in the days of the apostles; for by it they themselves propagated a succession. And Christ, having promised his Spirit to abide with his church for ever, and made his apostles the channels, the ministers and conveyances of it, that it might descend as the inheritance and eternal portion of the family; it cannot be imagined, that when the first ministers were gone, there should not others rise up in the same places, some like to the first, in the same office and ministry of the Spirit. But the thing is plain and evident in the matter of fact also:" to set in order things that were wanting" in the Quod in ecclesiâ nunc geritur, hoc olim fecerunt apostoli," said St. Cyprian: "What the apostles did at first, that the church does to this day," and shall do so for ever: for when St. Paul had given to the bishop of Ephesus rules of government in this family, he commands that they should be "observed till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;" and, therefore, these authorities and charges are given to him and to his successors; it is the observation of St. Ambrose upon the warranty of that text, and is obvious and undeniable.
Well, then, the apostles were the first stewards; and this office dies not with them, but must for ever be succeeded in; and now begins the inquiry, Who are the successors of the apostles? for they are, they must evidently be, the stewards to feed and to rule this family. There are some that say, that all who have any portion of work in the family, all the ministers of the gospel, are these stewards, and so all will be rulers. The presbyters surely; for, say they, presbyter and bishop is the same thing, and have the same name in Scripture, and, therefore, the office cannot be distinguished. To this I shall very briefly say two things, which will quickly clear our way through this bush of thorns.
1. That the word "presbyter" is but an honour-
churches, the same with that power of St. Paul ;— "Other things will I set in order when I come," said he to the Corinthian churches; in which there were many who were called presbyters, who nevertheless, for all that name, had not that power. To the same purpose it is plain in Scripture, that some would have been apostles that were not; such were those whom the Spirit of God notes in the Revelation; and some did "love pre-eminence" that had it not, for so did Diotrephes; and some were judges of questions, and all were not, for therefore they appealed to the apostles at Jerusalem; and St. Philip, though he was an evangelist, yet he could not give confirmation to the Samaritans whom he had baptized, but the apostles were sent for; for that was part of the power reserved to the episcopal or apostolic order.
Now from these premises, the conclusion is plain and easy. 1. Christ left a government in his church, and founded it in the persons of the apostles. 2. The apostles received this power for the perpetual use and benefit, for the comfort and edification of the church for ever. 3. The apostles had this government; but all that were taken into the ministry, and all that were called presbyters, had it If, therefore, this government, in which there f Acts i. 25.
h Tit. i. and 11. Tit. ii. 15.
g 1 Tim. v. 19.