PREACHED AT WHITEHALL.
Ezekiel xxxiv. 19.
And as for my flock, they eat that, which ye have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.
Those four prophets, whom the church hath called the great prophets, Esay, and Jeremy, Ezekiel and Daniel, are not only therefore called great, because they writ more, than the lesser prophets did, (for Zechary, who is amongst the lesser, writ more than Daniel who is amongst the greater) but because their prophecies are of a larger comprehension, and extent, and, for the most part, speak more of the coming of Christ, and the establishing of the Christian church, than the lesser prophets do, who were more conversant about the temporal deliverance of Israel from Babylon, though there be aspersions of Christ, and his future government in those prophets too, though more thinly shed. Amongst the four great ones, our prophet Ezekiel is the greatest. I compare not their extraction and race; for, though Ezekiel were de genere sacerdotali, of the Levitical and priestly race; (and, as Philo Judeeus notes, all nations having some marks of gentry, some calling that ennobled the professors thereof, (in some arms, and merchandise in some, and the arts in others) amongst the Jews, that was priesthood, priesthood was gentry) though Ezekiel were of this race, Esay was of a higher, for he was of the extraction of their kings, of the blood royal. But the extraordinary greatness of Ezekiel, is in his extraordinary depth, and mysteriousness, for this is one of those parts of Scripture, (as the beginning of Genesis, and the Canticles of Solomon, also are) which are forbid to be read amongst the Jews, till they come to be thirty years old, which was the canonical age to be made priests; insomuch, that St. Gregory says, when he comes to expound any part of this prophet, Nocturnum iter ago, that he travelled by night, and did but guess at his way. But, besides that many of the obscure places of the prophets are more open to
us, than they were to the ancients, because many of those prophecies are now fulfilled, and so that which was prophecy to them, is history to us, in this place, which we have now undertaken, there never was darkness, nor difficulty, neither in the first emanation of the light thereof, nor in the reflexion; neither in the literal, nor in the figurative sense thereof; for the literal sense is plainly that, that amongst the manifold oppressions, under which the children of Israel languished in Babylon, this was the heaviest, that their own priests joined with the state against them, and infused pestilent doctrines into them, that so themselves might enjoy the favour of the state, and the people committed to their charge, might slacken their obedience to God, and surrender themselves to all commandments of all men; this was their oppression, the church joined with the court, to oppress them; their own priests gave these sheep grass which they had trodden with their feet, (doctrines, not as God gave them to them, but as they had tampered, and tempered them, and accommodated them to serve turns, and fit their ends, whose servants they had made themselves, more than God's) and they gave them water to drink which they had troubled with their feet, that is, doctrines mudded with other ends than the glory of God; and that therefore God would take his sheep into his own care, and reduce them from that double oppression of that court, and that church, those tyrannous officers, and those over-obsequious priests. This is the literal sense of our text, and context, evident enough in the letter thereof. And then the figurative and mystical sense is of the same oppressions, and the same deliverance over again in the times of Christ, and of the Christian church; for that is more than figurative, fully literal, soon after the text, I will set up one shepherd, my servant David, and / will raise up for them a plant of renown; which is the same that Esay1 had called A rod out of the stem of Jesse, and Jeremiah had called A righteous branch, a king that should reign and prosper*. This prophecy then comprehending the kingdom of Christ, it comprehends the whole kingdom of Christ, not only the oppressions, and deliverances of our forefathers, from the heathen, and the heretics in the Primitive church, but that also which touches us more
nearly, the oppressions and deliverance of our fathers, in the reformation of religion, and the shaking off of the yoke of Rome, that Italian Babylon, as heavy as the Chaldean. We shall therefore at this time fix our meditations upon that accommodation of the text, the oppression that the Israel of God was under, then, when he delivered them by that way, the reformation of religion, and consider how these metaphors of the Holy Ghost, The treading with their feet the grass that the sheep were to eat, and the troubling with their feet the water that the sheep were to drink, do answer and set out the oppressions of the Roman church then, as lively as they did in the other Babylon. And so, having said enough of the primary sense of these words, as they concern God's Israel, in the first Babylon, and something by way of commemoration, and thankfulness, for God's deliverance of his Israel, from the persecutions in the Primitive church, insist we now, upon the several metaphors of the text, as the Holy Ghost continues them to the whole reign of Christ, and so to the Reformation.
First, the greatest calamity of those sheep in Babylon, was that their own shepherds concurred to their oppression. In Babylon they were a part, but in Rome they were all; in Babylon they joined with the state, but in Rome they were the state. St. Hierome notes3 out of a tradition of the Jews, that those loaves which their priests were to offer to the Lord, were to be of such corn as those priests had sowed and reaped and threshed, and ground, and baked all with their own hands. But they were so far from that at Babylon, and at Rome, as that they ploughed iniquity, and sowed wickedness, and reaped the same*; and (as God himself complains) trod his portion under foot'; that is, first, neglected his people, (for God's people are his portion) and then whatsoever pious men had given to the church, is his portion too, and that portion they had trodden under foot; not neglected it, not despised it, for they collected it, and audited it providently enough, but they trod it under foot, when that which was given for the sustentation of the priest, they turned upon their own splendour, and glory, and surfeit: Christ will be fed in
the poor that are hungry, and he will be clothed in the poor that are naked, so he would be enriched in those poor ministers that serve at his altar; when Christ would be so fed, he desires not feasts and banquets; when he would be so clothed, he desires not soft raiment fit for kings' houses, nor embroideries, nor perfumes; when he would be enriched in the poor churchman, he desires not that he should be a sponge, to drink up the sweat of others, and live idly; but yet, as he would not be starved in the hungry, nor submitted to cold and unwholesome air in the naked, so neither would he be made contemptible, nor beggarly in the minister of his church. Nor, was there in the world, (take in Turkey, and all the heathen; for they also have their clergy) a more contemptible and more beggarly clergy than that of Rome; I speak of the clergy in the most proper sense, that is, they that minister, they that officiate, they that execute, they that personally and laboriously do the service of the church. The prelacies, and dignities of the church, were multiplied in the hands of them, who under pretext of government, took their ease, and they that laboured, were attenuated and macerated, with lean, and penurious pensions. In the best governed churches there are such dignities, and supplies without cure of souls, or personal service; but they are intended for recompense of former labours, and sustentation of their age, of whose youth, and stronger days, the church had received benefit. But in the Roman church these preferments are given almost in the womb; and children have them not only before they can merit them, but before they can speak for them; and they have some church-names, dean, or bishop, or abbot, as soon almost as they have any Christian names. Yea, we know many church dignities, entailed to noble families, and, if it fall void, whilst the child is so incapable, it must be held for him, by some that must resign it, when it may, by any extent of dispensation, be asked for him. So then the church joined with the state, to defraud the people; the priest was poorly maintained, and so the people poorly instructed. And this is the first conformity between the two Babylons, the Chaldean and the Italian.
Pursue we then the Holy Ghost's purpose and manner of implying, and expressing it the food ordained for sheep, grass. In which make we only these two stops, that the sheep are to eat their grass super terram, upon the ground; and they are to eat it sine rore, when the dew is off". First, upon the ground; that is, where the hand of God hath set it; which for spiritual food is the church. In hard winters we give sheep hay, but in open times open grass. In persecutions of tyrants, in interdicts of antichristian bishops, who sometimes out of passion, or some secular respect shut up church doors and forbid service, and sacraments, to whole cities, to whole nations, sheep must live by hay, God's children must relieve themselves at home, by books of pious and devout meditation; but when God affords abundant pastures, and free entrance thereunto, God's sheep are to take their grass upon the ground, God's grace at the church. Impossibile est eum corrigere, qui omnia scit*: It is an impossible thing to correct him, that thinks he knows all things already. As long as he will admit counsel from another, he acknowledges the other, to know more than he; but if he thinks, he knows all before, he hath no room for farther instruction, nor love to the place where it is to be had. We read in the Eastern histories, of a navigable river, that afforded all the inhabitants exportation, and importation, and all commerce. But when every particular man, to serve his own curiosity, for the offices of his house, for the pleasures of his gardens, and for the sumptuousness of grots and aqueducts, and such water-works, drew several channels, infinite channels out of this great river, this exhausted the main channel, and brought it to such a shallowness, as would bear no boats, and so, took from them the great and common commodities that it had afforded them. So if every man think to provide himself divinity enough at home, for himself and his family, and out of laziness and singularity, or state, or disaffection to the preacher leave the church unfrequented, he frustrates the ordinance of God, which is, that his sheep should come to his pastures, and take his grass upon his ground, his instructions at his house at church. And this we could not do in the Roman church, where all our prayers, and all God's service of that kind, were in a language, not only not understood by him that heard it, but for the most part, not by him that spoke it, it is not of their manifold,
and scornful, and ridiculous and histrionical ceremonies in their service, nor of the dangerous poisons, the direct idolatries (in the practice of the people) in their service, that we complain of now, but of this, that though it had been never so wholesome grass, it was not so to those sheep, they could not know it to be their proper aliment; for certainly they ask without faith, that ask without understanding; nor can I believe or hope that God will give me that I ask, if I know not what I asked. And what a miserable supply had they for this in their legends; for many of those legends were in vulgar tongues and understood by them. In which legends, the Virgin Mary was every good man's wife7, and every good woman's midwife, by a neighbourly, and familiar, and ordinary assistant in all household offices, as we see in those legends, and revelations. In which legends, they did not only feign actions, which those persons never did, but they feigned persons which never were; and they did not only mis-canonize men, made devils saints, but they mis-christened men, put names to persons, and persons to names that never were. And these legends being transferred into the church, the sheep lack their grass upon the ground, that is, the knowledge of God's will, in his house, at church. And this is another conformity between the two Babylons, the Chaldean, and the Italian Babylon, that the sheep lacked due food in the due place.
So is it also, that the sheep eat their grass, whilst the dew was upon it, which is found by experience to be unwholesome. The word of God is our grass, which should be delivered purely, simply, sincerely, and in the natural verdure thereof. The dews which we intend, are revelations, apparitions, inspirations, motions, and interpretations of the private spirit. Now, though we may see the natural dew to descend from heaven, yet it did first ascend from the earth, and retains still some such earthly parts, as sheep cannot digest. So howsoever these revelations and inspirations seem to fall upon us from heaven, they arise from the earth, from ourselves, from our own melancholy, and pride, or our too much homeliness and familiarity in our accesses, and conversation with God, or a facility in believing, or an often dreaming the same thing. And with these dews of apparitions
7 B. Virgo femoralia B. Tho. Cantuar. reparavit. Cantiprat. 1. 2. c x.xix.
and revelations, did the Roman church make our fathers drunk and giddy; and against these does St. Augustine devoutly pray, and praise God, that he had delivered him from the curiosity of sipping these dews, of hearkening after these apparitions and revelations. But so ordinary were these apparitions then, as that any son, or nephew, or friend, could discern his father's, or uncle's, or companion's soul, ascending out of purgatory into heaven, and know them as distinctly, as if they kept the same hair, and beard, and bodily lineaments, as they had upon earth. And as a ship which hath struck sail, will yet go on with the wind it had before, for awhile, so now, when themselves are come to acknowledge, that it was the unanime opinion of the fathers8, that the souls of the dead did not appear after death, but that it was still the devil, howsoever sometimes that that he proposed were holy and religious, yet we see a great author of theirs* attribute so much to these apparitions, and revelations, that when he pretends to prove all controversies by the fathers of the church, he everywhere intermingles that reverend book, of Brigid's Revelations, that they might also have some mothers of the church too; which is not disproportional in that church; if they have had a woman pope, to have mothers of the church too. I speak not this, as though God might not, or did not manifest his will by women; the great mystery of the resurrection of Christ was revealed to women before men; and to the sinfulest woman of the company, first. But I speak of that bold injury done to the mysteries of the Christian religion, by pouring out that dew upon the grass, the Revelations of St. Brigid, upon the controversies of religion. A book of so much blasphemy, and impertinency, and incredibility, that if a heathen were to be converted, he would sooner be brought to believe Ovid's Metamorphoses, than Brigid's Revelations, to conduce to religion. And this is also another conformity between the two Babylons, the Chaldean, and the Italian Babylon, that we could not receive our grass pure, but infected, and dewed with these frivolous, nay pernicious apparitions, and revelations.
But press we a little closer to the very steps, and metaphor of the Holy Ghost, who here lays the corrupting of the sheep's grass
8 Maldon. 8 Coccius.
in this, that the shepherds had trodden it down. And this treading down will be pertinently considered two ways. Tertullian, in his book De habitu muliebri, notes two excesses in women's dressing; one he calls ornatum, the other cultum; one mundum muliebrem, the other, (according to liberty that he takes in making words) immundum muliebrem; the first is a superfluous diligence in their dressing, but the other an unnatural addition to their complexion; the first he pronounces to be always ad ambitionem, for pride, but the other, ad prostitutionem, for a worse, for the worst purpose. These two sorts of excesses do note these two kinds of treading down the grass, which we intend; of which one is, the mingling of too much human ornament, and secular learning in preaching, in presenting the word of God, which word is our grass; the other is of minging human traditions, as of things of equal value, and obligation, with the commandments of God. For the first, human ornament, if in those pastures, which are ordained for sheep, you either plant rare and curious flowers, delightful only to the eye, or fragrant and odoriferous herbs delightful only to the smell, nay, be they medicinal herbs, useful, and behoveful for the preservation, and restitution of the health of man, yet if these specious and glorious flowers, and fragrant, and medicinal herbs, be not proper nourishment for sheep, this is a treading down of the grass, a pestering and a suppressing of that which appertained to them. So if in your spiritual food, our preaching of the word, you exact of us more secular ornament, than may serve, as St. Augustine says, ad ancillationem, to convey, and usher the true word of life into your understandings, and affections, (for both those must necessarily be wrought upon) more than may serve ad vehiculum, for a chariot for the word of God to enter, and triumph in you, this is a treading down of the grass, a filling of that ground which was ordained for sheep, with things improper, and impertinent to them. If you furnish a gallery with stuff proper for a gallery, with hangings and chairs, and couches, and pictures, it gives you all the conveniences of a gallery, walks, and prospect, and ease; but if you pester it with improper and impertinent furniture, with beds, and tables, you lose the use, and the name of a gallery, and you have made it a wardrobe; so if your curiosity extort more than convenient ornament, in delivery of the word of God, you may have a good oration, a good panegyric, a good encomiastic, but not so good a sermon. It is true that St. Paul applies sentences of secular authors, even in matters of greatest importance; but then it is to persons that were accustomed to those authors, and affected with them, and not conversant, not acquainted at all, with the phrase and language of Scripture amongst us now, almost every man (God be blessed for it) is so accustomed to the text of Scripture, as that he is more affected with the name of David, or St. Paul, than with any Seneca or Plutarch. I am far from forbidding secular ornament in divine exercises, especially in some auditories, acquainted with such learnings. I have heard men preach against witty preaching; and do it with as much wit, as they have; and against learned preaching, with as much learning, as they could compass. If you should place that beast, which makes the bezoar-stone, in a pasture of pure, but only grass, it is likely, that out of his natural faculty, he would petrify the juice of that grass, and make it a stone, but not such a medicinal stone, as he makes out of those herbs which he feeds upon. Let all things concur in the name of God, to the advancing of his purpose, in his ordinance, which is, to make his will acceptable to you, by his word; only avoid excess in the manner of doing it. St. Augustine's is an excellent rule, when after in his book De Doctrina Christiana, he had taught a use of all arts in divinity, he allows them only thus far, ut cum ingenia his reddantur exercitatiora, cavendum ne reddantur maligniora, that when a man by these helps is the more full, and the more ready, and the more able for church service, he be not also thereby made the more bold and the more confident; nee ament decipere verisimili sermone, lest because he is able to make anything seem probable and likely to the people, by his eloquence, he come to infuse paradoxical opinions, or schismatical, or (which may be believed either way) problematical opinions, for certain and constant truths, and so be the less conversant, and the less diligent in advancing plain, and simple, and fundamental doctrines and catechistical, which are truly necessary to salvation, as though such plain, and ordinary, and catechistical doctrines were not worthy of his gifts and his great parts. In a word, in sheep-pastures you may plant fruit-trees in the hedge-rows; but if you plant them all over, it is an orchard; we may transfer flowers of secular learning, into these exercises; but if they consist of those, they are but themes, and essays. But why insist we upon this? Was there any such conformity between the two Babylons as that the Italian Babylon can be said to have trodden down the grass in that kind, with overcharging their sermons with too much learning? Truly it was far, very far from it; for when they had prevailed in that axiom, and aphorism of theirs, that it was best to keep the people in ignorance, they might justly keep the priest in ignorance too; for when the people needed no learned instruction, what needed the church a learned instructor? And therefore I laid hold of this consideration, the treading down of grass, by oppressing it with secular learning, thereby to bring to your remembrance, the extreme ignorance that damped the Roman church, at that time; where Aristotle's metaphysics were condemned for heresy10, and ignorance in general made not only pardonable, but meritorious. Of which times, if at any time, you read the sermons, which were then preached, and after published, you will excuse them of this treading down the grass, by oppressing their auditories with over much learning, for they are such sermons as will not suffer us to pity them, but we must necessarily scorn, and contemn, and deride them; sermons, at which the gravest, and saddest man could not choose but laugh; not at the sermon, God forbid; nor at the plainness, and homeliness of it, God forbid; but at the solecisms, the barbarisms, the servilities, the stupid ignorance of those things which fall within the knowledge of boys of the first form in every school. This was their treading down of grass, not with over much learning, but with a cloud, a damp, an earth of ignorance. After an ox that oppresseth the grass, after a horse that devours the grass, sheep will feed; but after a goose that stanches the grass, they will not; no more can God's sheep receive nourishment from him that puts a scorn upon his function, by his ignorance.
But in the other way of treading down grass, (that is, the word of God) by the additions and traditions of men, the Italian
Babylon Rome abounded, superabounded, overflowed, surrounded all. All this is much more dangerous than the other; for this mingling of human additions, and traditions, upon equal necessity, and equal obligation as the word of God itself, is a kneading, an incorporating of grass and earth together, so, as that it is impossible for the weak sheep, to avoid eating the meat of the serpent, Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. Now man upon his transgression, was not accursed, nor woman; the sheep were not accursed; but the earth was, and the serpent was; and now this kneading, this incorporating of earth with grass, traditions with the word, makes the sheep to eat the cursed meat of the cursed serpent, Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
Now, in this treading down this grass, this way, this suppressing it by traditions, be pleased to consider these two applications; some traditions do destroy the word of God, extirpate it, annihilate it, as when a hog doth root up the grass; in which case, not only that turf withers, and is presently useless, and unprofitable to the sheep, but if you dig never so low after, down to the centre of the earth, it is impossible ever to find any more grass under it: so some traditions do utterly oppose the word of God, without having under them, any mysterious signification, or any occasion or provocation of our devotion, which is the ordinary pretext of traditions, and ceremonial additions in their church. And of this sort was that amongst the Jews, of which our blessed Saviour reproaches them, that whereas by the law, children were to relieve decayed parents, they had brought in a tradition, of commutation, of compensation, that if those children gave a gift to the priest, or compounded with the priest, they were discharged of the former obligation". And of this sort are many traditions in the Roman church; where, not only the doctrines of men but the doctrine of devils, (as the apostle calls the forbidding of marriage, and of meats1*) did not only tread down, but root up the true grass.
The other sort of traditions, and ceremonies, do not as the hog, root up the grass, but as a mole, cast a slack, and thin earth upon the face of the grass. Now, if the shepherd, or husbandman be
11 Matt. xv. 5.
14 1 Tim. iv.
present to scatter this earth again, the sheep receive no great harm, but may safely feed upon the wholesome grass, that is under; but if the sheep, who are not able to scatter this earth, nor to find the grass that lies under, be left to their own weakness, they may as easily starve in this case, as in the other; the mole may damnify them as much as the hog. And of this sort, are those traditions, which induce ceremonies into the church, in vestures, in postures of the body, in particular things, and words, and actions, in baptism or marriage, or any other thing to be transacted in the church. These ceremonies are not the institutions of God immediately, but they are a kind of light earth, that hath under it good and useful significations, which when they be understood conduce much to the increase and advancement of our devotion, and of the glory of God. And this is the iniquity that we complain of in the Roman church, that when we accuse them of multiplying impertinent, and insupportable ceremonies, they tell us, of some mysterious and pious signification, in the institution thereof at first; they tell us this, and it is sometimes true; but neither in preaching nor practice, do they scatter this earth to their own sheep, or show them the grass that lies under, but suffer the people, to inhere, and arrest their thoughts, upon the ceremony itself, or that to which that ceremony misleads them; as in particular, (for the time will not admit many examples) when they kneel at the sacrament, they are not told, that they kneel because they are then in the act of receiving an inestimable benefit at the hands of God, (which was the first reason of kneeling then) and because the priest is then in the act of prayer in their behalf, that that may preserve them, in body and soul, unto eternal life. But they are suffered to go on, in kneeling in adoration of that bread,which they take to be God. We deny not that there are traditions, nor that there must be ceremonies, but that matters of faith should depend of these, or be made of these, that we deny; and that they should be made equal to Scriptures; for with that especially doth Tertullian reproach the heretics, that being pressed with Scriptures, they fled to traditions, as things equal or superior to the word of God. I am loath to depart from Tertullian, both because he is everywhere a pathetical expresser of himself, and in this point above himself. Nobis curiositate opus non est, post Jesum Christum, nec inquisitione, post Evangelium. Have we seen that face of Christ Jesus here upon earth, which angels desired to see, and would we see a better face? Traditions perfecter than the word? Have we read the four Evangelists, and would we have a better library? Traditions fuller than the word? Cum credimus nihil desideramus ultra credere; When I believe God in Christ, dead, and risen again, according to the Scriptures, I have nothing else to believe: hoc enim prius credimus, non esse quod ultra credere debeamus; this is the first article of my faith, that I am bound to believe nothing but articles of faith in an equal necessity to them. Will we be content to be well, and thank God, when we are well? Hilary tells us, when we are well; Bene habet quod iis, quw scripta sunt, contentus sis: Then thou art well, when thou satisfiest thyself with those things, which God hath vouchsafed to manifest in the Scriptures. Si aliquis aliis verbis, quam quibus a Deo dictum est, demonstrare velit, If any man will speak a new language, otherwise than God hath spoken, and present new Scriptures, (as he does that makes traditions equal to them) aut ipse non intelliget, aut legentibus non intelligendum relinquit, either he understands not himself, or I may very well be content not to understand him, if I understand God without him. The fathers abound in this opposing of traditions, when out of those traditions, our adversaries argue an insufficiency in the Scriptures. Solus Christus audiendus, says St. Cyprian, We hearken to none but Christ; nec debemus attendere quid aliquis ante nos faciendum putarit, neither are we to consider what any man before us thought fit to be done, sed quid qui ante omnes est, fecerit; but what he, who is before all them, did; Christ Jesus and his apostles, who were not only the primitive, but the pre-primitive church, did and appointed to be done. In this treading down of our grass then in the Roman church, first by their supine ignorance, and barbarism, and then by traditions, of which, some are pestilently infectious and destroy good words, some cover it so, as that not being declared to the people in their signification, they are useless to them, no Babylon could exceed the Italian Babylon, Rome, in treading down their grass.
Their oppression was as great in the other, In troubling their water, my sheep drink that which you have troubled. When the Lord is our shepherd, he leadeth us ad aquas quietudinum", to the water of rest, of quietness; of these, in the plural, quietudinum, quietness of body, and quietness of conscience too. The endowments of heaven are joy, and glory; joy and glory are the two elements, the two hemispheres of heaven; and of this joy, and this glory of heaven, we have the best earnest that this world can give, if we have rest; satisfaction and acquiescence in our religion, for our belief, and for our life and actions, peace of conscience. And where the Lord is our shepherd he leads us, and ad aquas quietudinum, to the waters of rest, multiplied rest; all kind of rest. But the shepherds, in our text, troubled the waters; and more than so; for we have just cause to note the double signification of this word, which we translate trouble, and to transfer the two significations to the two sacraments, as they are exhibited in the Roman Babylon; the word is mirpas; and it denotes not only conturbationem, a troubling, a mudding, but obturationem too, an interception, a stopping, as the Septuagint translates it, (Proverbs xxxV.) and in these two significations of the word, a troubling, and a stopping of the waters, hath the Roman church exercised her tyranny, and her malignity, in the twosacraments. For, in the sacrament of baptism, they had troubled the water, with additions of oil, and salt, and spittle, and exorcisms; but in the other sacrament they came ad obturationem, to a stopping, to an intercision, to an interruption of the water, the water of life, aquw quietudinum, the water of rest to our souls, and peace to our consciences, in withholding the cup of salvation, the blood of Christ Jesus from us. So that if thou come to David's holy expostulation, Quid retribuam, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards mel*; and pursue it to David's holy resolution, Accipiam calicem, I will take the cup of salvation, you shall be told, Sir you must take orders first, or you cannot take that cup. But water is as common as air; and as that element air, in our spiritual food, that is preaching, (which is spiritus Domini, the breath of God) is common to all, Ite, prabdicate omni creaturw, Go preach the Gospel to every creatureso is this water of life in the sacrament, common to all, Bibite ex eo
omnes, Drink ye all of this "; and thereby do the names of communion, and participation accrue to it, because all have an interest in it. This is that blood, of which St. Chrysostom says, Hic sanguis facit, ut imago Dei in nobis floreat; That we have the image of God in our souls, we have by the benefit of the same nature, by which we have our souls; there cannot be a human soul without the image of God in it. But, ut floreat, that this image appear to us, and be continually refreshed in us, ut non languescat animw nobiljtas, that this holy nobleness of the soul do not languish nor degenerate in us, we have by the benefit of this blood of Christ Jesus the seal of our absolution in that blessed and glorious sacrament; and that blood they deny us. This is that blood of which they can make as much as they will, with a thought, with an intention; so, as they pretend a power, of changing a whole vintage at once, all the wine of all the nations in the world, into the blood of Christ, if the priest have an intention to do so, in the time of his consecration; and yet, as easily as they come by it, they will give us none. They have told us, that we had it per concomitantiam, by a necessary concomitancy; that because we had the body in the bread, and that body could not be without the blood, that therefore we had the blood also. But if the bread alone be enough, if the cup be impertinent, why did Christ give it? If we have no loss in their detaining it from us, what gain have they in retaining it to themselves, let all have it, or none? It is true that they can perform all the ill, that they would do, by the bread alone. They can work the spiritual ill, of inducing adoration to a creature, by the bread alone; and they could work the temporal ill, of poisoning an emperor in the sacrament, by the bread alone. They can come to all their purposes, to all their ill, by the bread alone; but we have not all our good, because we have not Christ's entire institution. And so in this troubling, and in this stopping of these waters, in these confusions, we challenge any Babylon, in the behalf of this Italian Babylon, Rome.
All these oppressions are aggravated by the last, and (as weightiest things sink to the bottom) so is this in the bottom the heaviest pressure, that they did this with their feet, they
"Matt. xxvi. 27.
corrupted the grass with their feet, and troubled the waters with their feet. Now, in the Scripture, when this word, feet, doth not signify that part of man's body which is ordinarily so called, but is transferred to a metaphorical signification, (as in our text it is) it does most commonly signify affections, or power. So the Lord will keep the feet11 of his saints; direct their desires, and affections in the ways of holiness. And then for power, (whieh is the more frequent acceptation of the word) he will not suffer thy foot to be moved18, that is, thy power to be shaked; and all such places, Qui festinat pedibus, He that hasteth with his feet sinneth19, our interpreters expound of a hasty abuse of power; and those, They have not refrained their feet", and then, Thy feet are sunk in the mire41, are still interpreted of power, of a wanton abuse of power, or of a withdrawing this power from man, by God; feet signifies affections, and them corrupted and depraved, and power, and that abused. David seems to have joined them, (as when they are joined, they must necessarily be the most heavy) in that prayer, Let not the foot of pride come against me". The hand of pride, nay the sword of pride, affects not a tender soul so much, as the foot of pride; to be oppressed, and that with scorn; not so much in an anger, as in a wantonness. Rehoboam's people were more confounded, with that scornful answer of his to them, when they were come, (My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions*3) than they were with the grievances themselves, for which they came; when the king would not only be cruelly sharp, but wittily sharp upon them, this cut on every side, and pierced deep. And so do the rabbins, the Jewish expositors expound this text, literally, that in the captivity of Babylon, the great men of their synagogues, compounded with the state, and for certain tributes, had commissions, by which they governed their people at their pleasure, and so milked them to the last drop, the last drop of blood, and sheared them to the naked skin, and then flayed off that, and all this while laughed at them, contemned them, because they had
17 1 Sam. ii. 9. 18 Psalm cxxi. 3.
19 Prov. xix. 2. *> Jer. xiv. 10. S1 Jer. xxxviii. 22.
** Psalm xxxvi. 11. 23 1 Kings xii. 10.
nowhere to appeal, nor relieve themselves: and this we complain to have been the proceeding in the Italian Babylon, Rome, with our fathers, they oppressed them, with their feet, that is, with power, and with scorn.
First, for their illimited and enormous power, they had so slumbered, so intoxicated the princes of the earth, the weaker by intimidations, the stronger by communicating the spoil, and suffering those princes to take some fleeces, from some of the sheep in their dominions, as there was no relief any way. They record, nay they boast, gloriously, triumphantly, of threescore thousand of the Waldenses, slain by them in a day, in the beginning of the Reformation; and Possevine the Jesuit will not lose the glory of recording the five hundred thousand, slain in a very few years, only in France, and the Low Country, for some declarations of their desire of a reformation. Let all those innumerable numbers of wretches, (but now victorious saints in the triumphant church) who have breathed out their souls in the Inquisition (where even the solicitations of kings, and that for their own sons, have not prevailed) confess the power, the immenseness of that power, then, when as under some of the Roman emperors, it was treason to weep, treason to sigh, treason to look pale, treason to fall sick, and all these were made arguments of discontent, and ill affection, to the present government: so in Rome, there were heretical sighs, heretical tears, heretical paleness, and heretical sickness; everything was interpreted to be an accusation of the present times, and an anhelation after a reformation, and that was formal heresy, three-piled, deep-dyed heresy: so that a man durst scarce have prayed for the enlarging of God's blessings to the church, because to wish it better, seemed a kind of accusing of it, that it was not well already; and it was heresy to think so. Let those Israelites, which found no way from this Egypt, but by the Red Sea, no way out of idolatry, but by martyrdom, as they have testified for Christ, so testify against Antichrist, how heavy his feet, as feet signify power, trod upon the necks of princes and people.
But that that affected and afflicted most, was the scorn and the contempt, that accompanied their oppressions. To bring kings to kiss his feet, was a scorn; but that scorn determined in man; but it was a scorn to God himself, to say that he had said, it should be so, to apply Scripture to the justification thereof, Kings and queens shall bow down to thee, their <faces towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet**. But limit we all considerations of their scorn in one; in this, that they did these wrongs professedly, and without any disguise. Great men will oppress and ruin others, a great while before they will be content to be seen and known to do it. There is such a kind of reverence, not only for the law, but even to honour, and opinion, as that men are loath to publish their evil actions; to sin as Sodom did, and not to hide it, is an evidence, of neglecting, and scorning of all the world. And therefore the Roman historiographers would not forbear to note the insolency of that young gallant, who knowing what any man whom he struck could recover by action against him, would strike every poor soul or inferior person, whom he met in the street, and then bid his man give him so much money, as the law would for damages. And this oppressing with scorn, this proceeding without any respect of fame, we note (for haste) but in two things, in the Italian Babylon Home; first, in that book, their Taxa Camerw, and then in that doctrine, their reservatio casuum, that they durst compose, and divulge such a book, as their Taxa Camera;, which is an index, a repertory for all sins, and in which every man may see beforehand, how much money, an adultery, an incest, a murder, a parricide, or any other sin, whose name he would never have thought of, but by that remembrancer, that book will cost him, that so, he may sin, and not undo himself, sin according to his means, and within his compass, that they durst let the world see such a book, was argument enough that they were seared up, and scorned all that all men could think, or say, or do in opposition.
So also is their reservation of cases; that though all priests have an equal power of remitting all sins, yet are some sins reserved only to prelates, some only to the pope's legates, some only to the pope himself. Is not this a scornful spurning and kicking of the world, a plain telling them that all is done for money, and shall be so, say all the world what it can? They have a national custom in civil courtesies in that place in Italy, to offer
u Isaiah Xllx. 23.
entertainments and lendings of money, and the like, but it must not be accepted. It is a discourtesy, to take their courteous offers in earnest. Will they play so with the great seal of heaven, the remission and absolution of sins, and send out their priests with that commission, Whose sin s ye forgive are forgiven, but see you forgive none upon which we have set a higher price, and reserved to ourselves. They had such a fashion in old Rome, whilst the republic stood; he that was admitted to triumph must invite the consuls to the feast, and the consuls must promise to come, but they must forbear, lest their presence should diminish the glory of the triumpher. So the priest must profess that he hath (as he hath indeed) power to remit all sins, but there are a great many, that he must not meddle withal. They practise this reservation upon higher persons than their ordinary priests, upon cardinals. A cardinal is created, and by that creation he hath a voice in all the great affairs of the world, but at his creation os clauditur d papa, he that made him, makes him dumb, and he that out of the nature of his place is duly to be heard over all the world, must not be heard in the consistory, the pope gives him an universal voice, and then shuts his mouth; he makes him first a giant, and then a dwarf in an hour; he makes him thunder, and speechless, all at once; fearful to the kings of the earth, if he might speak, but he must not. They were not content to make merchandise of our souls, but they make plays, jests, scorns, of matter of salvation, and "play fast and loose with that sovereign balsamum of our souls, the absolution and remission of sins. Though, no doubt, many of them confess in their own bosoms, that which one of them professes ingenuously, and publicly, Diffiteri non possumus abusum reservationum, et stragem animarum in Us"; We cannot deny the abuse of reservations, even to the butchery of those poor souls, who by reason of these reservations, want their absolution, dolendum, deflendum, pecunia numerata, omnia dispensare: this deserves all our tears, all our sighs, that for money, and not without it, all sins are dispensed withal; but there are fixed seasons for salvation, (some remissions and pardons are reserved to certain times of the year) and there are fixed shops of salvation, (some remissions and pardons are appropriated to certain
fairs and markets, and cannot be given (that is, sold,) at any other time or place. And farther we cannot (we need not) extend this accommodation of the words of our text, literally intended of the condition of God's children in Babylon, but pregnantly appliable to the condition of our fathers in the Italian Babylon, Rome. But having at this time seen the oppressions that those shepherds inflicted there, for the rest which are many and important considerations, as first that they stayed, that they eat that grass, that yet they remained God's sheep, and remained his flock, his church, though a church under a greater church; and then the behaviour of the sheep, whilst they stayed there, their obedience to God's call in coming from them when he called them, and made them way; and lastly the little ground that our separatists can have, for their departing from us, either by Israel's departing from Babylon, or our fathers' departing from Rome, must be the exercise of your devotion another day.