PREACHED AT WHITEHALL.
The Second Sermon on 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.
As by way of accommodation, we have considered these words, as they concern the iniquity and oppression of the shepherds, (that is, the chief rulers amongst the Jews) in the Chaldean Babylon, and as they are appliable to the condition of our fathers in the Italian Babylon, Rome, so now in this exercise are we to consider, the behaviour of the sheep, their nature, and their demeanour under all these pressures; in which we have many steps to go; all these; first, manebant, that for all this ill usage there they did stay, they did not break out, nor scatter themselves, manebant: and then edebant, though their grass were trodden, and their water troubled, yet they did eat that grass, and they did drink that water, edebant: and doing so, manebant oves, they continued sheep, they lost not the nature, nor property of sheep, manebant oves, and oves Dei, they continued God's sheep; (for the devil hath his sheep too) My sheep, says God; not those which had been mine, when they eat fresh grass, and drunk pure water, but then, when they eat trodden grass, and drunk troubled water, they were God's sheep: and more than that, they were grex Dei, God's flock; for those whom our former translation calls my sheep, the latter calls my flock; God hath single sheep in many corners of the heathen, but these, though thus fed, were his flock, his church. But then, though they stayed God's leisure, and lived long upon this ill diet, yet when God was pleased to call them out of Babylon, out of Babylon they went, when God was pleased to lead our fathers out of Rome, they left it. And justly, howsoever our adversaries load us with contumelious names for that departure: in which branch, we shall see the vanity of their criminations, and imputations to us, for that secession from them. And then lastly, by way of condoling and of instructing, we shall make it appear to our weak brethren, that our departing from Rome, can be no example, no justification of their departing from us. Our branches then, from whence we are to gather our fruit, being thus many, it is time to lay hold upon the first, which is manebant, though these sheep were thus ill fed, yet they did stay.
Optimis ovibus pedes breves1; The best sheep have shortest legs; their commendation is, not to make haste in straying away. He that hasteth with his feet sinneth*; that is, from the station in which God hath placed him. Si innumera bona fecerimus, If we have abounded in good works, and done God never so good service, Non minores pwnas dabimus, quam qui Christi corpus proscindebant, si integritatem ecclesiarum discerpserimus3, we are as guilty in the eyes of God, as they that crucified the Lord of life himself, if we violate his spouse, or rent the entireness of his church. Vir quidam sanctus dixit, (says the same father of another, Chrysostom of Cyprian) a certain holy man hath ventured to say, Quod audacius sapere videtur, attamen dixit, that which perchance may seem bodily said, but yet he said it; what was it I This, Peccatum istud nec martyrio deleri; that this sin
* Prov. xix. 2.
of schism, of renting the unity of the church, cannot be expiated, no not by martyrdom itself. When God had made but a hedge about Job4, yet that hedge was such a fence as the devil could not break in: when God hath carried murum wneum, a wall of brass5, nay murum igneum, a wall of fire", about his church, Wilt thou break out through that wall, that brass, that fire? Paradise was not walled, nor hedged; and there were serpents in Paradise too; yet Adam offered not to go out of Paradise, till God drove him out; and God saw that he would have come in again, if the cherubims and the flaming sword had not been placed by God to hinder him. Charm the charmer never so wisely, (as David speaks') he cannot utter a sweeter, nor a more powerful charm, than that, Ego te baptizo, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and nos admittimus, we receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock; there is a sweet and a powerful charm, in the Ego te absolvo, I absolve thee from all thy sins; but this blessed charm I may hear from another, if I stray into another church. But the Ego te baptizo I can hear but once; and to depart from that church, in which I have received my baptism, and in which I have made my contracts and my stipulations with God, and pledged and engaged my sureties there, deserve a mature consideration; for I may mistake the reasons upon which I go, and I may find after, that there are more true errors in the church I go to, than there were imaginary in that that I left. Truly I have been sorry to see some persons converted from the Roman church, to ours; because I have known, that only temporal respects have moved them, and they have lived after rather in a nullity, or indifferency to either religion, than in a true, and established zeal. Of which kind, I cannot forbear to report to you so much of the story of a French gentleman8, who though he were of good parts, and learned, yet were not worthy to be mentioned in this place, but that he soared so high, as to write against the learnedest king, that any age hath produced, our incomparable King James. This man, who was turned from the reformed to the Roman religion, being asked, half in jest; Sir, which is the best religion, you must needs
4 Job i. 10. 5 Jer. i. 18. 6 Zecli. ii. 5.
7 Pealm tviii. 5. 8 Peletier.
know, that have been of both? answered, Certainly, the religion I left, the reformed religion, must needs be the best religion, for when I changed, I had this religion, the Roman's religion, for it, and three hundred crowns a year to boot; which was a pension given him, upon his conversion. Neither truly doth any thing more loosen a man's footing, nor slacken his hold upon that church in which he was baptized, nor open him more to an undervaluation of all churches, than when he gives himself leave, to think irreverently, slightly, negligently of the sacraments, as of things, at best, indifferent, and, many times, impertinent. I should think I had no bowels, if they had not yearned9 and" melted, when I heard a lady, whose child of five or six days, being ready to die every minute, she being moved often that the child might be christened, answered, That, if it were God's will, that the child should live to the Sabbath, that it might be baptized in the congregation, she should be content, otherwise, God's will be done upon it, for God needs no sacrament. With what sorrow, with what holy indignation did I hear the son of my friend, who brought me to that place, to minister the sacrament to him, then, upon his death-bed, and almost at his last gasp, when my service was offered him in that kind, answer his father, Father, I thank God, I have not lived so in the sight of my God, as that I need a sacrament. I name a few of these, because our times abound with such persons as undervalue, not only all ritual, and ceremonial assistances of devotion, which the wisdom, and the piety of the church hath induced, but even the sacraments themselves, of Christ's own immediate institution, and are always open to solicitations to pass to another church, upon their own surmises of errors in their own. Whereas there belongs much consideration, and a well-grounded assurance, of fundamental errors in one church, and that these errors are repaired, and no other, as great as those, admitted, in the other church, before, upon any collateral pretences, we abandon that church, in which God hath sealed us to himself in baptism. Our fathers stayed in Rome; manebant, they stayed, and edebant, they eat that grass, and they drunk that water, which was trodden and troubled. Alas, what should they have eaten, what should they have
* Folio edition, "earned."
drunk? Should a man strangle himself rather than take in an ill air? Or forbear a good table, because his stomach cannot digest every dish? We do not call money, base money, till the alloy exceed the pure metal; and if it do so, yet it may be current, and serve to many offices; those that are skilful in that art, know how to sever the base from the pure, the good parts of the religion from the bad; and those that are not, will not cast it away, for all the corrupt mixture. It is true, they had been better to have stayed at home and served God in private, than to have communicated in a superstitious service. Domum vestram Christi ecclesiam deputamus10, I shall never doubt to call your house the church of Christ. But this was not permitted to our fathers; to serve God at home; to church they must come, and there, all their grass was trodden, and all their water troubled. What should they do I God never brings us to a perplexity, so as that we must necessarily do one sin to avoid another. Never. It seems that the apostles had been traduced, and insimulated of teaching this doctrine, That in some cases evil might be done that good might follow; and therefore doth St. Paul with so much diligence discharge himself of it11. And yet, long after this, when those men, who attempted the reformation, whom they called Pauperes de Lugduno, taught that doctrine, That no less sin might be done, to escape a greater, this was imputed to them, then, by the Roman church, for an heresy18; that that was orthodox in St. Paul, was heresy in them that studied a reformation. But the doctrine stands like a rock against all waves, That nothing that is naturally ill, intrinsically sin, may upon any pretence be done, not though our lives, nor the lives of all the princes in the world, though the frame, and being of the whole world, though the salvation of our souls lay upon it; no sin, naturally, intrinsically sin, might be done, for any respect. Christus peccatum factus est, sed non fecit peccatum13, Though Christ pursued our redemption with hunger, and thirst, yet he would have left us unredeemed, rather than have committed any sin. Of tbis kind, therefore, naturally, intrinsically sin, and so known to be to them that did it, certainly our fathers coming to the super
10 Aug. Julianse viduse. ep. 242. ia Prateolus, Art. 23.
11 Rom. iii. 8.
stitious service in the church of Rome, was not: for had it been naturally sin, and so known to them, when they did it, they could not have been saved, otherwise than by repentance after, which we cannot presumo in their behalf, for there are no testimonies of it. If any of them had invested at any time a scruple, a doubt whether they did well or no, alas how should they divest and overcome that scruple? To whom durst they communicate that doubt? They were under an invincible ignorance, and sometimes under an indivestible scruple. They had heard that Christ commanded to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and SaddiKees", and so of the Hcrodians; that is, of the doctrines of those particular sects; of affirming fate, and destiny, and stoical necessity, with the Pharisees; of denying spirits, and resurrection with the Sadducees; of mis-applying the prophecies concerning the Messias, to the person of Herod, or any earthly king; but yet, after all this, he commands them to observe, and perform the doctrine of the Pharisees, because they sat in Mosei chairl5; though with much vehemence and bitterness, he call them hypocrites, though with many ingeminations upon every occasion, he reiterate that name, though he aggravate that name with other names of equal reproach, fools, blind guides, painted tombs, and the like, yet he commands to obey them; and, which is most remarkable, this is said, not only to the common sort, but even to his own disciples too; Christ had begun his work of establishing a church, which should empty their synagogues; but because that work was not yet perfected, he would not withdraw the people from their synagogues; for there wrought God's ordinance, (though corrupted by the workmen) which ordinance was, that the law should be publicly expounded to the people; and so it was there; there God was present; and though the devil (by their corruption) were there too, yet, the devil came in at the window, God at the door; the devil by stealth, God by his declared ordinance, and covenant. And this was the case of our fathers in the Roman church; they must know that all that hath passed between God and man hath passed ex pacto, by way of contract and covenant.
14 Matt. xvi. 6. Mark viii. 15.
15 Matt, xxiii. 1.
The best works of the best man have no proportion with the kingdom of heaven, for I give God but his own: but I have it ex pacto, God hath covenanted it so, Fac hoc et vives, Do this and thou shalt live; and at the last judgment, Christ shall ground his Venite benedicti, Come ye blessed, and his Ite maledicti, Go ye accursed, upon the quia, and upon the quia non, because you have, and because you have not done this and this. Faith, that is of infinite value above works, hath yet no proportion to the kingdom of heaven; faith saves me, as my hand feeds me; it reaches the food, but it is not the food; but faith saves ex pacto, by virtue of that covenant, which Christ hath made, Tantummodo crede Only believe. To carry it to the highest, the merit of Christ Jesus himself, though it be infinite so, as that it might have redeemed infinite worlds, yet the working thereof is safeliest considered in the School to be ex pacto, by virtue of that contract which had passed between the Father and him, that all things should thus and thus be transacted by Christ, and so man should be saved; for, if we shall place it merely, only in the infiniteness of the merit; Christ's death would not have needed; for his first drops of blood in his circumcision, nay his very incarnation (that God was made man) and every act of his humiliation after, being taken singly, yet, in that person, God and man, were of infinite merit; and also, if it wrought merely by the infiniteness of the merit, it must have wrought, not only upon all men, but to the salvation of the devil; for certainly there is more merit in Christ, than there is sin in the devil. But the proceeding was ex pacto, according to the contract made, and to the conditions given; Ipse conteret caput tuum, that the Messias should bruise the serpent's head for us, included our redemption, that the serpent's head should be bruised, excluded the serpent himself. This contract, then between God and man, as it was able to put the nature of a great fault, in a small offence, if we consider only the eating of an apple, and so to make even a trespass high treason, (because it was so contracted) so does this contract, the ordinance of God, infuse a great virtue and efficacy, in the instruments of our reconciliation, how mean in gifts, or how corrupt in manners soever
18 Mark v. 30.
they be. Circumcision in itself a low thing, yea obscene, and subject to misinterpretation, yet by reason of the covenant, He that is not circumcised, that person shall be cut off from my people*1. So also baptism, considered in itself, a vulgar, and a familiar thing: yet, Except a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heavenTM. The Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, a domestic, a daily thing, if we consider only the breaking of the bread and participation of the cup, but if we ascend up to the contract in the institution, it is to every worthy receiver, the seal, and the conduit of all the merits of Christ, to his soul. God threw down the walls of Jericho, with the sound of horns, not of trumpets". A homely sound, yet it did the work; so neither is the weakness, no, nor the corruptness of the instruments always to be considered in the church of God. Our fathers knew there had passed a contract between God and man, a church there should be ad consummationem, to the end of the world, therefore they might safely make their recourse thither; and portas inferi, the gates of hell should not prevail against it*°, therefore they might confidently dwell there; they knew there was a die ecclesiw, a bill to be exhibited to the church, upon any disorder, and a si noluerit, an excommunication upon disobedience, If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man, and as a publican*1. This church they saw, and God's contract upon them sealed in baptism, they knew, God had revealed no other church, nor contract to them. And therefore, though they did not eat their trodden grass, with that ridiculous temptation, as the friar is boasted to have eaten a toad, which was set upon the table, because he had read, Whatsoever is set before you eat**; nor, as their Dorotheus, who when his man had reached him ratsbane, instead of honey, which he called for, refused it not, because said he, If GooVs will had been, that / should have had honey, he would have directed thy hand to the honey, but being under an invincible ignorance, and indivestible scruples, and having this contract, and this church, to give them some satisfaction and acquiescence, they were partakers of that blessing, that though serpents and scorpions lurked in their grass, they had power
17 Gen. xyii. 14. 16 John iii. 3. "Josh. vi. 4.
80 Matt. xvL 18. 81 Matt, xviii. 17. 8* 1 Cor. x. 27.
VOL. IV. 2 P
to tread on scorpions and on serpents*3, and nothing could hurt them, and that if they drink any deadly thing it shall do them no harm**. And so our fathers with a good conscience, manebant, stayed there, and edebant, they eat trodden grass, and drunk troubled water, and yet manebant oves, they continued sheep still.
Sheep, that is, without barking, or biting. Some faint and humble bleatings there were always in the days of our fathers; in every age thero arose some men, who did modestly, and devoutly, but yet courageously and confidently appear, and complain against those treadings, and those troublings. Every age, every nation had some such bleatings, some men who by writing or preaching against those abuses, interrupted the tyrannical prescriptions of that church, and made their continual claim, to their Christian liberty; but still they continued sheep, without denying either their fleece or their throats to those pastors.. We read in natural story of divers pastures, and divers waters, which will change the colour of cattle, or sheep, but none that changes the form, and makes them no such cattle, or no sheep. Some waters change sheep of any colour to white. And these troubled waters, temporal or spiritual afflictions, may bring God's children to a faint and lean, and languishing paleness. If it do, as Daniel and his fellows appear fairer, and fatter in flesh, with their pulse and water85, which they desired rather than the king's polluted delicates, than others that fed voluptuously: so the hearts of God's children shall be filled, as with marrow and with fatnessi6, when others shall have all their hearts' desire, but leanness in their souls. There are waters that change all coloured sheep to black. So may these troubled waters, afflictions, effect that upon God's children, the enemy shall come, and before him all faces shall gather blackness87, as Jerusalem complains, that their faces were blacker than coals88. If it do, yet as long as they stay, and continue sheep, members of the body, as long as they partake of the body, they shall partake of the complexion of the church, who says of herself, I am black, 0 daughters of Jerusalem, but comely, (acceptable in the sight of my Christ) and that shall be verified
83 Luke x. 19. w Mark xvi. 18. 85 Dan. i. 15.
86 Psalm Lxiii. 5. w Joel ii. 6. 88 Lam. iv. &
in them, which Solomon says, By the sadness of the countenance, the heart is made betterTM; that is, by the occasion of the sadness, God's correction. But the strangest change is, that some waters change sheep into red, the most unlikely, most extraordinary, most improper colour for sheep, of any other. Yet there is one redness natural to our sheep in the text, the redness of blushing, and modesty, and self-accusing; and there is another redness, which is not improper, the redness of zeal and godly anger. Tho worst redness that can befall them, is the redness of sin, and yet, lest that should deject them, God proceeds familiarly with them, Come now, and let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow30, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Yea, to show, that where sin abounds, grace also may abound31, to show that that whiteness of God's mercy doth pursue and overtake this redness of sin, it pleases the Holy Ghost to use such a phrase as expresses a redness in whiteness itself; he says, that the religious men of the Jews before that time, were whiter than milk, and redder than pearl8*: mippeninim is the original word, which the Rabbins translate pearl; and tho Vulgate edition hath it, rubicundiores ebore antiquo, redder than the oldest ivory, which is the whitest thing that can be presented. Perchance to intimate thus much, that there is neither in the holiest actions, of the holiest man, any such degree of whiteness, but that it is always accompanied with some redness, some tincture, some aspersion of sin, nor any such deep redness in sin, any sin so often, and deeply dyed in grain, but that it is capable of whiteness, in the application of the candour, and pureness, and innocency of Christ Jesus: therefore may the Holy Ghost have wrapped up this whiteness in redness, redder than pearl. Our fathers were not discouraged, when they were discoloured; what paleness, what blackness, what redness soever, these troubled waters induced upon them, still they were sheep; they become not foxes, to delude the state with equivocations; nor wolves, to join with the state to the oppression of the rest; nor horses, to suffer themselves to be ridden by others, and so made instruments of their passions; no nor uni
corns, to think to purge and purify the waters for all the forest, to think to reform all abuses in state, and church at once; but they continued sheep; opened not their mouths in biting, nor barking, in murmuring, or reproaching the present government. So our fathers stayed, manebant, so they eat that grass, so they continued sheep, and, as it follows next, oves Dei, God's sheep, my sheep have eaten, my sheep have drunken.
God's sheep; for nature hath her sheep; some men by natural constitution, are lazy, drowsy, frivolous, inactive, sheepish men. And states have their sheep; timorous men, following men, speechless men, men, who because they abound in a plentiful state, are loath to stir. Nay the devil hath his sheep too; men whom he possesses so entirely, that, as the law says, Dominium est potestas, tum utendi, tum abutendi, Only he is truly lord of anything, who may do what he will with it, he does what he will with those men, even to their own ruin. And from these folds and flocks did the devil always serve his shambles, in his false martyrdoms in the Primitive church; when (as Eusebius notes) envying the honour which the orthodox Christians had in their thousands of martyrs, the heretics studied ways of equalling them in that. And though within four hundred years after Christ, the church, (who could not possibly take knowledge of all) was come to celebrate, by name, five thousand martyrs (as some books have the account) for every day in the year, yet the heretics went so far towards equalling them, as that they had some whole sects, (particularly the Euphemitae) which called themselves Martyrians, men exposed to the slaughter. One limb of the Donatists, the Circumcelliones, might have furnished their shambles; they would provoke others to kill them; and if they failed in that, they would kill themselves. And this was, as St. Augustine says, Ludus quotidianus, their daily sport, they played at no other game. And lest all these means should not have provided martyrs enough, Petilian, against whom St. Augustine writes, invented a new way of martyrdom, when he taught, that if a man were guilty in his conscience of any great offence to God, and only to punish that fault, did kill himself, he was by that act of justice a martyr. The devil had his sheep then; he hath so still; those emissarii papw, those whom the bishop of Rome sends hither into this kingdom; whom Baronius calls Candidates Martyrii, pretenders to martyrdom, suitors for martyrdom; men, who (as he adds there) do sacramento spondere sanguinem, take an oath at Rome that they will be hanged in England; and, in whose behalf he complains de sterilitate martyrii, that there is such a dearth of martyrdom, that they find it hard to be hanged; and therefore, (perchance) they find it necessary to enter into powder plots, and actual treasons, because they see that for religion merely, this state would never draw drop of blood, et sacramento sanguinem, they have taken an oath to be hanged, and are loath to be foresworn. But the sheep of our text, were not nature's sheep, men naturally lazy, and inactive, nor state sheep, men loath to adventure, by stirring, nor the devil's sheep, men headlong to their own ruin, even by way of provocation; but they were God's sheep, men, who, out of a rectified conscience, would not prevaricate, not betray nor forsake God, if his glory required tho expense of their lives, and yet would not exasperate nor provoke their superiors, how corrupt soever, by unseasonable, and unprofitable complaints: so our fathers stayed in Rome, so they eat trodden grass, and drunk troubled waters, so they continued harmless sheep towards others, and the sheep of God, such as though they stayed there and fed upon an ill diet, God had distinguished from goats, and reserved for his right hand, at the day of separation. And they were more than so; they were not only his sheep, but his flock; for so, this translation reads it, My flock hath eaten, my flock hath drunk.
God had single sheep in many nations; Jobs, and Naamans, and such; servants, and yet not in the covenants, sheep, and yet not brought into his flock. For though God have revealed no other way of salvation to us, but by breeding us in his church, yet we must be so far, from straitening salvation, to any particular Christian church, of any subdivided name, Papist or Protestant, as that we may not straiten it to the whole Christian church, as though God could not, in the largeness of his power, or did not, in the largeness of his mercy, afford salvation to some, whom he never gathered into the Christian church. But these sheep in our text, were his flock, that is, his church. Though they durst not communicate their sense of their miseries, and their desires to one another, yet they were a flock. When Elias complained, /, even I only, am leftTM, and God told him, that he had seven thousand besides him, perchance Elias knew none of this seven thousand, perchance none of this seven thousand knew one another, and yet, they were his flock, though they never met. That timber that is in the forest, that stone that is in the quarry, that iron, that lead that is in the mine, though distant miles, counties, nations, from one another, meet in the building of a material church; so doth God bring together, living stones, men that had no relation, no correspondence, no intelligence together, to the making of his mystical body, his visible church. Who ever would have thought, that we of Europe, and they of the Eastern, or Western Indies, should have met to the making of Christ a church? And yet, before we knew, on either side, that there was such a people, God knew there was such a church. He that lies buried, in the consecrated dust under your feet, knows not who lies next him; but one trumpet at last shall raise them both together, and show them to one another, and join them, (by God's grace) in the Triumphant church. These that knew not one another, that knew not of one another, were yet God's flock, the church in his eye; for there, (and only there) the church is always visible. So were our fathers in Rome, though they durst not meet, and communicate their sorrows, nor fold themselves so in the fold of Christ Jesus, that is in open, and free confessions. They therefore that ask now, Where was your church before Luther, would then have asked of the Jews in Babylon, Where was your church before Esdras; that was in Babylon, ours was in Rome.
Now, beloved, when our adversaries cannot deny us this truth, that our church was enwrapped, (though smothered) in theirs, that as that balsamum naturale, which Paracelsus speaks of, that natural balm which is in every body, and would cure any wound, if that wound were kept clean, and recover any body, if that body were purged, as that natural balm is in that body, how diseased soever that body be, so was our church in theirs, they vex us now, with that question, Why, if the case stood so, if your fathers, when they eat our trodden grass, and drunk our troubled
33 1 Kings xix. 14.
waters, were sound and in health, and continued sheep, and God's sheep, and God's flock, his church with us, why went they from us? They ought34 us their residence, because they had received their baptism from us. And truly, it is not an impertinent, a frivolous reason, that of baptism, where there is nothing but conveniency, and no necessity in the case. But, if I be content to stay with my friend in an aguish air, will he take it ill, if I go when the plague comes? Or if I stay in town till twenty die of the plague, shall it be looked that I should stay when there die one thousand? The infection grew hotter and hotter in Rome; and their may, came to a must, those things which were done before de facto, came at last to be articles of faith, and de jnre, must be believed and practised upon salvation. They chide us for going away, and they drove us away; if we abstained from communicating with their poisons, (being now grown to that height) they excommunicated us; they gave us no room amongst them but the fire, and they were so forward to burn heretics, that they called it heresy, not to stay to be burnt.
Yet we went not upon their driving, but upon God's calling. As the whole prophecy of the deliverance of Israel, from Babylon, belongs to the Christian church, both to the Primitive church, at first, and to the reformed since, so doth that voice, spoken to them, reach unto us, Egredimini de Babylone31, Go ye out of Babylon with a voice of singing, declare, show to the ends of the earth, that the Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob. For, that Reme is not Babylon, they have but that one-half comfort, that one of their own authors36 hath ministered, that Jtomoy regulariter male agitur; that Babylon is confusion, disorder, but at Rome all sins are committed in order, by the book, and they know the price, and therefore Rome is not Babylon. And since that many of their authors confess, that Rome was Babylon, in the time of the persecuting emperors37, and that Rome shall be Babylon again, in the time of Antichrist, how they will hedge in a Jerusalem, a holy city, between these two Babylons, is a cunning piece of architecture. From this Babylon then were our fathers called by God; not only by that whispering sibilation
of the Holy Ghost, Sibilabo populum, I will hiss for my people3*, and so gather them, for I have redeemed them, and they shall increase, not only by private inspirations, but by general acclamations; every where principal writers, and preachers, and princes too, (as much as could stand with their safety) crying out against them before Luther, howsoever they will needs do him that honour to have been the first mover, in this blessed revolution.
They reproach to us our going from them, when they drove us, and God drew us, and they discharge themselves for all, by this one evasion; That all that we complain of, is the fault of the court of Rome, and not of the church; of the extortion in the practice of their officers, not of error in the doctrine of their teachers. Let that be true, (as in a great part it is) for, almost all their errors proceed from their covetousness and love of money, this is that that we complain most of, and in this especially lies the conformity of the Jewish priests in the Chaldean Babylon, and these prelates in the Roman Babylon, that the court, and the church, joined in the oppression. But since the court of Rome, and the church of Rome are united in one head, I see no use of this distinction, court and church. If the church of Rome be above the court, the church is able to amend these corruptions in the court. If the court be got above the church, the church hath lost, or sold away, her supremacy.
To oppress us, and ease themselves, now, when we are gone from them, they require miracles at our hands; when indeed it was miracle enough, how we got from them. But, Magnum charitatis argumentum, credere absque pignoribus miraculorum39, He loves God but a little that will not believe him without a miracle. Miracles are for the establishing of new religions; all the miracles of, and from Christ and his apostles, are ours, because their religion is ours. Indeed it behoves our adversaries to provide new miracles every day, because they make new articles of faith every day. As ^Esop therefore answered in the market, when he that sold him was asked what he could do, that he could do nothing, because his fellow had said, that he could do all, so we say, we can do no miracles, because they do all; all
88 Zech. x. 8. 38 Chrysostom.
ordinary cures of agues, and toothache being done by miracle amongst them. We confess that we have no such tie upon the Triumphant church, to make the saints there do those anniversary miracles, which they do by their relics here, upon their own holy days, ten days sooner every year, than they did before the new computation. We pretend not to raise the dead, but to cure the sick; and that but by the ordinary physic, the word, and sacraments, and therefore need no miracles. And we remember them of their own authors40, who do not only say, that themselves do no miracles, in these latter times, but assign diligently strong reasons, why it is that they do none. If all this will not serve, we must tell them, that we have a greater miracle, than any that they produce: that is, that in so few years, they that forsook Rome, were become equal, even in number, to them that adhered to her. We say, with St. Augustine, That if we had no other miracle, hoc unum stupendum et potentissimum miraculum esse, that this alone were the most powerful, and most amazing miracle, ad hanc religionem, totius orbis amplitudinem, sine miraculis subjugatum, that so great a part of the Christian world, should become Protestants of Papists, without any miracles.
They pursue us still, being departed from them, and they ask us, How can ye pretend to have left Babylon, confusion, dissension, when you have such dissensions, and confusions amongst yourselves? But neither are our differences in so fundamental points, as theirs are, (for a principal author of their own41, who was employed by Clement the Eighth, to reconcile the differences between the Jesuits and the Dominicans, about the concurrence of the grace of God, and the free will of man, confesses that the principal articles, and foundations of faith were shaken between them, between the Jesuits, and Dominicans) neither shall we find such heat, and animosity, and passion between any persons amongst us, as between the greatest amongst them; the succeeding pope mangling the body of his predecessor, casting them into the river for burial, disannulling all their decrees, and ordinations; their ordinations; so that no man could be sure who was a priest, nor whether he had truly received any sacrament, or no. Howsoever, as in the narrowest way there is most
40 Ios. Acosta. 41 Benius.
jostling, the Roman church going that broad way, to believe as the church believes, may scape some particular differences, which we that go the narrower way, to try every thing by the exact word of God, may fall into. St. Augustine" tells us of a city in Mauritania Ceesarea, in which they had a custom, that in one day in the year, not only citizens of other parishes, but even neighbours, yea brethren, yea fathers, did fling stones dangerously, and furiously at one another in the streets; and this they so solemnized, as a custom received from their ancestors; which was a licentious kind of carnival. If any amongst us have fallen into that disease, to cast stones, or dirt at his friends, it is an infection from his own distemper, not from our doctrine; for, If any man list to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the church of God*3. We departed not from them then, till it was come to a hot plague, in a necessity of professing old opinions to be new articles of faith; not till we were driven by them, and drawn by the voice of God, in the learnedest men of all nations; when they could not discharge themselves by the distinction of the court of Rome, and the church of Rome, because, if the abuses had been but in the court, it was tho greatest abuse of all, for that church, which is so much above that court, not to mend it. Nor can they require miracles at our hands, who do none themselves, and yet need them, because they induce new articles of religion; neither can they reproach to us our dissensions amongst ourselves; because they are neither in so fundamental points, nor pursued with so much uncharitableness, as theirs. So we justify our secession from them; but all this justifies in no part, the secession of those distempered men, who have separated themselves from us, which is our next, and our last consideration.
When the apostle says, Study to be quiet, (1 Thess. iv. 11.) methinks he intimates something towards this, that the less we study for our sermons, the more danger is there to disquiet the auditory; extemporal, unpremeditated sermons, that serve the popular ear, vent, for the most part, doctrines that disquiet the church. Study for them, and they will be quiet; consider ancient and fundamental doctrines, and this will quiet and settle the understanding, and the conscience. Many of these extem
a De doctrina Christiana. <a 1 Cor. xi. 10.
poral men have gone away from us, and vainly said, that they have as good cause to separate from us, as we from Rome. But can they call our church, a Babylon; confusion, disorder? All that offends them, is, that we have too much order, too much regularity, too much binding to the orderly, and uniform service of God in his church. It affects all the body when any member is cut off; Cum dolore amputatur, etiam quw putruit, pars corporis"; and they cut off themselves, and feel it not; when wo lose but a mystical limb, and they lose a spiritual life, we feel it and they do not. When that is pronounced Sit tibi sicut ethnicus, If he hear not the church, let him be to thee as a heathen, gravius est quam si gladio feriretur, flammis absumeretur, seris subigeretur", it is a heavier sentence, than to be beheaded, to be burnt, or devoured with wild beasts; and yet these men, before any such sentence pronounced by us, excommunicate themselves. Of all distempers, Calvin falls oftenest upon the reproof of that which he calls morositatem, a certain peevish frowardness, which, as he calls in one place, deterrimam pestem, the most infectious pestilence, that can fall upon a man, so, in another, he gives the reason, why it is so, semper nimia morositas est ambitiosa, that this peevish frowardness is always accompanied with a pride, and a singularity, and an ambition to have his opinions preferred before all other men, and to condemn all that differ from him. A civil man will depart with his opinion at a table, at a council table, rather than hold up an argument to the vexation of the company; so mil a peaceable man do, in the church, in questions that are not fundamental. That reverend man whom we mentioned before, who did so much in the establishing of Geneva, professes, that it was his own opinion, that the sacrament might be administered in prisons, and in private houses; but because he found the church of Geneva of another opinion, and another practice before he came, he applied himself to them and departed, (in practice) from his own opinion, even in so important a point, as the ministration of the sacrament. Which I present to consideration the rather, both because thereby it appears, that greater matters than are now thought fundamental, were then thought but indifferent, and arbitrary, (for, surely, if
44 Ambrose. 45 Augustine.
Calvin had thought this a fundamental thing, he would never have suffered any custom to have prevailed against his conscience) and also, because divers of those men, who trouble the church now, about things of less importance, and this of private sacraments in particular, will needs make themselves believe, that they are his disciples, and always conclude that whatsoever is practised at Geneva was Calvin's opinion. St. Augustine saith excellently, and appliably, to a holy virgin, who was ready to leave the church, for the ill life of churchmen, Christus nobis imperavit congregationem, sibi servavit separationemK; Christ Jesus hath commanded us to gather together, and recommended to us the congregation; as for the separation, he hath reserved it to himself, to declare at the last day, who are sheep and who are goats. And he wrought that separation which our fathers made from Rome, by his express written word, and by that which is one word of God too, vox populi, the invitation and acclamation of doctors, and people, and princes; but have our separatists any such public, and concurrent authorizing of that which they do, since of all that part from us, scarce a dozen meet together in one confession? When you have heard the prophet say, Can two walk together, except they be agreed*1, when you have heard the apostle say, / beseech you brethren by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same things, and that there be no divisions among you**, (for, if preachers speak one one way, another another, there will be divisions among the people) and then, it is not only, that in obedience to authority, they speak the same things; but, Be perfectly joined in the same mind, and in the same judgment, you had need make haste to this union, this pacification; for when we are come thither, to agree among ourselves, we are not come to our journey's end.
Our life is a warfare; other wars, in a great part end in marriages: ours in a divorce, in a divorce of body and soul in death. Till then, though God have brought us, from the first Babylon, the darkness of the Gentiles, and from the second Babylon, the superstitions of Rome, and from the third Babylon, the confusion of tongues, in bitter speaking against one another, after all this, every man shall find a fourth Babylon, enough to exercise all his
"Ep. 209. Felicia: Virgini. « Amos iii. 3. 48 1 Cor. i. 10.
forces, the civil war, the rebellious disorder, the intestine confusion of his own concupiscences. This is a transmigration, a transportation laid upon us all, by Adam's rebellion, from Jerusalem to Babylon, from our innocent state in our creation, to this confusion of our corrupt nature. God would have his children first brought to Babylon, before he would be glorified in their deliverance, Venies usque ad Babylonem; ibi liberaberis"; To Babylon thou shalt come; there I will deliver thee; but not till then; that is, till you come to a holy sense of the miseries you are in, and what hath brought you to them.
Though then you have suffered the calamities of all these Babylons, in some proportions, though you be not incolw, but indigenw, not naturalized but born Babylonians, (original sin makes you so) yet since you are within the covenant, hear him, that said to you in Abraham's ears, Egrederede terra tudso, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, unto tho land I will show thee; come out of Babylon to Jerusalem; since ye are within his adoption, and may cry, Abba, Father, hear that voice Egredimini filiw Sion", Come forth ye daughters of Sion, come to Jerusalem. Though ye be dead, and buried, and putrefied in this corrupted, and corrupting flesh, yet since he cries with a loud voice, (as it is said in that text) Lazare veni forasTM, Lazarus come forth, come forth of your tombs in Babylon, to this Jerusalem, come from your troubled waters, your waters of contention, of anxiety, of envy, of solicitude, and vexation of worldly encumberances, and come ad aquas quietudinum'3, to the waters of rest, the application of the merits of Christ, in a true church: Vinum non habetis? Have ye no wine to refresh your hearts; no merits of your own to take comfort in? Implete hydrias aqud'*, Fill all your vessels with water, that water of life, remorseful tears, perchance he will change your water into wine, as he did in that place; perchance he will give you abundance of temporal blessings; perchance he will change that water into blood, as in Egypt; that is, into persecutions, into afflictions, into martyrdom, for his sake, for he will accept our water for blood, our tears of repentance
49 Mich. iv. 10. 50 Gen. xii. 1. 51 Cant. iii. 11.
58 John xi. 43. 43 Psalm xxiii. 2. M John ii. 4.
and contrition for martyrdom, ut cum desit martyrium sanguinis, habeamus martyrium aquw, that we may be martyrs in his sight, and shed no blood; martyrs of a new dye, white martyrs. That our waters of sorrow for sin may answer our Saviour's tears over Lazarus and over Jerusalem; and the sweat of our brows in a lawful calling may answer our Saviours sweat of water and blood in his agony; and that our reverent and profitable receiving of the sacrament, may answer the water and blood that issued from his side, which represented omnia sacramenta, all the sacraments; that, as we do, we may still feed upon grass " that is not trodden, and drink water that is not troubled, with the feet of others, or our own; that we be never shaked in the sincerity nor in the integrity of religion with their power, nor our own distempers of fears or hopes. But that our meat may be, to do the will of him that sent us, and to finish his work56.