PREACHED AT A CHRISTENING.
Ephesians V. 25—27.
Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify it, and cleanse it, by the washing of water, through the word: that he might make it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blame.
Almighty God ever loved unity, but he never loved singularity; God was always alone in heaven, there were no other gods, but he; but he was never singular, there was never any time, when there were not three persons in heaven; Pater et ego unum sumus; The Father and I are one, says Christ: one in essence, and one in consent; our substance is the same, and our will is the same; but yet, Tecum fui ab initio, says Christ, In the person of Wisdom, I was with thee, disposing all things, at the creation. As then God seems to have been eternally delighted, with this eternal generation, (with persons that had ever a relation to one another, Father, and Son) so when he came to the creation of this lower world, he came presently to those three relations, of which the whole frame of this world consists; of which, (because the principal foundation, and preservation of all states that are to continue, is power) the first relation was between prince and subject, when God said to man, Subijcite et dominamini, Subdue and govern all creatures1; the second relation was between husband and wife, when Adam said, This now is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh*; and the third relation was between parents and children, when Eve said, That she had obtained a man by the Lord3, that by the plentiful favour of God, she had conceived and borne a son: from that time, to the dissolution of that frame, from that beginning to the end of the world, these three relations, of master and servant, man and wife, father and children, have
1 Gen. i. 28.
* Gen. ii. 23.
3 Gen. iv. 1.
been, and ever shall be the materials, and the elements of all society, of families, and of cities, and of kingdoms. And therefore it is a large, and a subtle philosophy which St. Paul professes in this place, to show all the qualities, and properties of these several elements, that is, all the duties of these several callings; but in this text, he handles only the mutual duties of the second couple, man and wife, and in that consideration, shall we determine this exercise, because a great part of that concerns the education of children, (which especially occasions our meeting now).
The general duty, that goes through all these three relations, is expressed, Subditi estote invicem, Submit yourselves to one another, in the fear of God; for God hath given no master such imperiousness, no husband such a superiority, no father such a sovereignty, but that there lies a burden upon them too, to consider with a compassionate sensibleness, the grievances, that oppress the other part, which is coupled to them. For if the servant, the wife, the son be oppressed, worn out, annihilated, there is no such thing left as a master, or a husband, or a father; they depend upon one another, and therefore he that hath not care of his fellow, destroys himself.
The wife is to submit herself; and so is the husband too: they have a burden both. There is a greater subjection lies upon her, than upon the man, in respect of her transgression towards her husband at first: even before there was any man in the world, to solicit, or tempt her chastity, she could find another way to be false and treacherous to her husband: both the husband and the wife offended against God, but the husband offended not towards his wife, but rather ate the apple, Ne contristaretur delicias suas, as St. Hierome assigns the cause, lest by refusing to eat, when she had done so, he should deject her into a desperate sense of her sin. And for this fault of hers, her subjection was so much aggravated, Thy desire shall be subject to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. But if she had not committed that fault, yet there would have been a mutual subjection between them; as there is even in nature, between both the other couples; for if man had continued in innocency, yet it is most probably thought, that as there would certainly have been marriage, and so children,
so also there would have been magistracy, and propriety, and authority, and so a mutual submitting, a mutual assisting of one another, in all these three relations.
Now, that submitting, of which the apostle speaks of here; is a submitting to one another, a bearing of one another's burdens: what this submission is on the wives' part, is expressed in the two former verses; and I forbear that, because husbands at home, are likely enough to remember them of it; but in the duty, in the submitting of the husband, we shall consider first, what that submitting is, and that is love, Husbands love your wives; even the love of the husband to the wife, is a burden, a submitting, a descent; and secondly, the pattern and example of this love, even as Christ loved his church.
In which second part, as sometimes the accessory is greater than the principle, the symptom, the accident, is greater than the disease, so that from which the comparison is drawn in this place, is greater than that which is illustrated by it; the love of Christ to his church requires more consideration, than the love of the husband to the wife; and therefore it will become us to spend most of our thoughts upon that; and to consider in that, quod factum, and quis finis: what Christ did for his church; and that was, a bounty, which could not be exceeded, seipsum tradidit, he gave, he delivered himself for it; and then, secondly, what he intended that should work; and that was, first, that he might make to himself a glorious church, and without spot and wrinkle, in the triumphant state of the church at last; and then, that whilst it continues in a militant state upon earth, it might have preparations to that glory, by being sanctified and cleansed by the washing of water, through his word; he provides the church means of sanctification here, by his word, and sacraments.
First then de amore maritali, of this contracting a man's love to the person of a wife, of one woman, as we find an often exclamation in the prophets, Onus visionis, The burden of my prophecy upon Nineveh, and Onus verbi Domini, The burden of the word of God upon Israel, so there is onus amoris, a burden of love, when a man is appointed whom he shall love. When Onan was appointed by his father Judah, to go in to his brother's
VOL. IV. F
widow4, and to do the office of a kinsman to her, he conceived such an unwillingness to do so, when he was bid, as that he came to that detestable act, for which God slew him. And therefore the panegyric, that raised his wit as high as he could, to praise the emperor Constantino, and would express it, in praising his continence, and chastity, he expressed it by saying, That he married young; that as soon as his years endangered him, formamt animum maritalem, nihil de concessit wtati voluptatibus admittens: he was content to be a husband, and accepted not that freedom of pleasure, which his years might have excused. He concludes it thus, Novum jam tum miraculum, juvenis uxor ius; Behold a miracle, such a young man, limiting his affections, in a wife. At first the heats and lusts of youth overflow all, as the waters overflowed all at the beginning; and when they did so, the earth was not only barren, (there were no creatures, no herbs produced in that) but even the waters themselves, that did overflow all, were barren too; there were no fishes, no fowls produced out of that; as long as a man's affections are scattered, there is nothing but accursed barrenness; but when God says, and is heard, and obeyed in it, Let the waters be gathered into one place*, let all thy affections be settled upon one wife, then the earth and the waters became fruitful, then God gives us a type, and figure of the eternity of the joys of heaven, in the succession, and propagation of children here upon the earth. It is true, this contracting of our affections is a burden, it is a submitting of ourselves; all states that made laws, and proposed rewards for married men, conceived it so; that naturally they would be loath to do it. God married his first couple, as soon as he made them; he dignified the state of marriage, by so many allegories, and figures, to which he compares the uniting of Christ to his church, and the uniting of our souls to Christ, and by directing the first miracle of Christ, to be done at a marriage. Many things must concur to the dignifying of marriage, because in our corrupt nature, the apprehension is general, that it is burdenous, and a submitting, and a descending thing, to marry. And therefore St. Hierome argues truly out of these words,
Husbands love your wives, Audiant episcopi, audiant presbyteri, audiant doctores, subjectis suis se esse subjectos, Let bishops, and priests, and doctors learn in this, that when they have married themselves to a charge, they are become subject to their subjects. For, by being a husband, I become a subject, to that sex which is naturally subject to man, though this subjection be no more in this place, but to love that one woman.
Love then, when it is limited by a law, is a subjection, but it is a subjection commanded by God; Nihil majus a te subjecti animo factum est, quam quod imperare caepisti*; A prince doth nothing so like a subject as when he puts himself to the pain to consider the profit, and the safety of his subjects; and such a subjection is that of a husband, who is bound to study his wife, and rectify all her infirmities; her infirmities he must bear; but not her sins; if he bear them they become his own. The pattern, the example goes not so far; Christ married himself to our nature, and he bare all our infirmities, hunger, and weariness, and sadness, and death, actually in his own person; but so, he contracted no sin in himself, nor encouraged us to proceed in sin. Christ was sahator corporis, a saviour of his body, of the church, to which he married himself, but it is a tyranny, and a devastation of the body, to whom we marry ourselves, if we love them so much, as that we love their sin too, suffer them to go on in that, or if we love them so little, as to make their sin our way to profit, or preferment, by prostituting them, and abandoning them to the solicitation of others, still we must love them so, as that this love be a subjection; not a neglecting, to let them do what they will; nor a tyrannizing, to make them do what we will.
You must love them then, first, quia vestrw, because they are yours; as we said at first, God loves couples; he suffers Hot .our body to be alone7, nor our soul alone, but he marries theni together; when that is done, to remedy the vw soli, lest this man should be alone, he marries him to a help meet for him; and to avoid fornification, (that is, if fornication cannot be avoided otherwise) every man is to have his wife, and every woman her own husband8. When the love comes to exceed these bounds, that it departs a vestris, from a man's own wife, and settles upon
6 Plinius Trajano. 7 Gen. ii. 20. 6 1 Cor. vii. 1.
another, though he may think he discharges himself of some of his subjection which he was in before, yet he becomes much more subject; subject to household and foreign jealousies, subject to ill-grounded quarrels, subject to blasphemous protestations, to treacherous misuse of a confident friend, to ignoble and unworthy disguises, to base satisfactions; subject, lastly, either to a clamorous conscience, or that which is worse slavery, to a seared and obdurate, and stupified conscience, and to that curse, which is the heavier because it hath a kind of scorn in it, be not deceived, (as though we were cozened of our souls) be not deceived, for no adulterer shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. All other things, that are ours, we may be the better for leaving; vade et vende, which Christ said to the young man, that seemed to desire perfection, reached to all his goods; Go and sell them, says Christ, and thou shalt follow me the better. But there is no selling, nor giving, nor lending, nor borrowing of wives; we must love them quia nostrw, because they are ours; and if that be not a tie, and obligation strong enough, that they are nostrw, ours, we must love them quia nos, because they are ourselves; for no man ever yet hated his own flesh.
"We must love them then, quia nostrw, because they are ours, those whom God hath given us, and quia uxores, because they are our wives. St. Paul does not bid us love them here, quanquam uxores, but quia, not though they be, but because they are our wives; St. Paul never thought of that indisposition, of that disaffection, of that impotency, that a man should come to hate her, whom he could love well enough, but that she is his wife. Were it not a strange distemper, if upon consideration of my soul, finding it to have some seeds of good dispositions in it, some compassion of the miseries of others, some inclination to the glory of God, some possibility, some interest in the kingdom of heaven, I should say of this soul, that I would fast, and pray, and give, and suffer anything for the salvation of this soul if it were not mine own soul, anybody's else, and now abandon it to eternal destruction, because it is mine own? If no man have felt this barbarous inhumanity towards his own soul, I pray God no man have felt it towards his own wife neither, that he loves her the less, for being his own wife. For we must love them, not quanquam, says St. Paul, though she be so; that was a caution, which the apostle never thought he needed, but quia, because in the sight of God, and all the triumphant church, we have bound ourselves, that we would do so. Here marriages are sometimes clandestine, and witnesses die, and in that case no man can bind me to love her quia uxor, because she is my wife, because it lies not in proof, that she is so; here sometimes things come to light, which were concealed before, and a marriage proves no marriage, Decepta est ecclesia, The church was deceived, and the poor woman loses her plea, quia uxor, because she is his wife, for it falls out that she is not so; but, if thou have married her, in the presence of God, and all the court, and choir of heaven, what wilt thou do to make away all these witnesses? who shall be of thy council to assign an error in God's judgment? whom wilt thou bribe to embezzle the records of heaven? It is much that thou art able to do in heaven; thou art able, by thy sins, to blot thy name out of the Book of Life, but thou art not able to blot thy wife's name out of the records of heaven, but there remains still the quia uxor, because she is thy wife. And this quia uxor is quamdiu uxor; since thou art bound to love her because she is thy wife, it must be as long as she is so. You may have heard of that quinquennium Neronis; the worst tyrant that ever was, was the best emperor that ever was for five years; the most corrupt husbands may have been good at first: but that love may have been for other respects: satisfaction of parents, establishing of hopes, and sometimes ignorance of evil; that ill company had not taught them ill conditions; it comes not to be quia uxor, because she is thy wife, to be the love which is commanded in this text, till it bring some subjection, some burden. Till we love her then, when we would not love her, except she were our wife, we are not sure, that we love her quia uxor, that is, for that, and for no other respect. How long that is, how long she is thy wife, never ask wrangling controverters, that make gipsyknots of marriages; ask thy conscience, and that will tell thee that thou wast married till death should depart you. If thy marriage were made by the devil (upon dishonest conditions) the devil may break it by sin; if it were made by God, God's way of breaking of marriages, is only by death.
It is then a subjection, and it is such a subjection, as is a love; and such a love, as is upon a reason, (for love is not always so). This is, quia uxor, because our wife, and that implies these three uses; God hath given man a wife, ad adjutorium, ad sobolem, ad medicinam; for a help, for children, and for a remedy, and physic. Now the first, society, and increase, we love naturally; we would not be banished, we would not be robbed, we would not be alone, we would not be poor; society and increase, every man loves; but doth any man love physic I he takes ft for necessity; but does he love it? Husbands therefore are to love wives ad sobolem, as the mothers of their children; ad adjutorium, as the comforters of their lives; but for that, which is ad medicinam, for physic, to avoid burning, to avoid fornication, that is not the subject of our love, our love is not to be placed upon that; for so it is a love, quia mulier, because she is a woman, and not quia uxor, because she is my wife. A man may be a drunkard at home, with his own wine, and never go out to taverns; a man may be an adulterer in his wife's bosom, though he seek not strange women.
We come now to the other part, the pattern of this love, which is Christ Jesus: we are commanded to be holy, and pure, as our Father is holy, and pure; but that is a proportion of which we are incapable; and therefore we have another commandment, from Christ, discite a me, learn of me; there is no more looked for, but that we should still be scholars, and learners how to love; we can never love so much as he hath loved: it is still discite; still something to be learnt, and added; and this something is, quia mitis, learn of me, make me your pattern, because I am meek, and gentle; not suspicious, not froward, not hard to be reconciled; not apt to discomfort my spouse, my church; not with a sullen silence, for I speak to her always in my word; not apt to leave her unprovided of apparel, and decent ornaments, for I have allowed her such ceremonies, as conduce to edification; not apt to pinch her in her diet; she hath her two courses, the first, and the second sacrament: and whensoever she comes to a spiritual hunger and thirst under the heat, and weight of sin, she knows how, and where there is plentiful refreshing and satisfaction to be had, in the absolution of sin. Herein consists the substance of the comparison, Husbands love your wives, as Christ did his church: that is, express your loves in a gentle behaviour towards them, and in a careful providence of conveniences for them. The comparison goes no farther, but the love of Christ to his church goes farther. In which we consider first, quid factum, what Christ did for his spouse, for his church.
It were pity to make too much haste, in considering so delightful a thing, as the expressing of the love of Christ Jesus to his church. It were pity to ride away so fast from so pleasant, so various a prospect, where we may behold our Saviour, in the act of his liberality, giving; in the matter of his liberality, giving himself; and in the poor exchange that he took, a few contrite hearts, a few broken spirits, a few lame, and blind, and leprous sinners, to make to himself and his Spirit a church, a house to dwell in; no more but these, and glad if he can get these.
First then, Ille dedit, He gave, it was his own act; as it was he, that gave up the ghost, he that laid down his soul, and he that took it again; for no power of man had the power, or disposition of his life. It was an insolent, and arrogant question in Pilate to Christ, Nescis, quia potestatem habeo, Knowest not thou that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to loose thee'? If Pilate thought that his power extended to Christ yet Tua damnaris sententia; qui potestate latronem absolvis, autorem vitw interficis10. His own words and actions condemned him, when having power to condemn and absolve, he would condemn the innocent, and absolve the guilty. A good judge does nothing, says he, domesticw proposito voluntatis, according to a resolution taken at home; nihil meditatum domo defert, he brings not his judgment from his chamber to the bench, but he takes it there according to the evidence. If Pilate thought he had power, his conscience told him he misused that power; but Christ tells him he could have none, nisi datum desuper, Except it had been given him from above; that is, except Christ had given him power over himself: for Christ speaks not in that place of Pilate's general power and jurisdiction, (for so, also, all power is desuper, from above) but for this particular"power that Pilate boasts to have over him, Christ tells him that he could have none over
* John xix. 10. 10 Ambrose, Sermon xx., in Psalm cxix. 4.
him, except himself had submitted himself to it. So, before this passage with Pilate, Judas had delivered Christ; and there arose a sect of heretics, Judaists", that magnified this act of Judas, and said that we were beholden to him for the hastening of our salvation, because when he was come to the knowledge that God had decreed the crucifying of Christ for mankind, Judas took compassion of mankind, and hastened their redemption, by delivering up of Christ to the Jews. But Judas had no such good purpose in his haste; though our Jesus permitted Judas to do it, and to do it quickly, when he said, Quod facts fac cito1*. For out of that ground in the schools, Missio in divinis est nova operatio in creaturaTM, when any person of the Trinity, is said to be sent, that only denotes an extraordinary manner of working of that person: Saint Augustine says truly, That as Christ misit seipsum, he sent himself, and sanctificavit seipsum, he sanctified himself, so tradidit seipsum; Judas could not have given him, if he had not given himself; Pilate could not give him, Judas could not give him; nay, if we could consider several wills in the several persons of the Trinity, we might be bold to say, That the Father could not have given him, if he had not given himself. We consider the inexpressible mercy of the Father, in that he would accept any satisfaction at all for all our sins. We consider the inexpressible working of the Holy Ghost that brings this satisfaction and our souls together; for without that, without the application of the Holy Ghost, we are as far from Christ's love now, as we were from the Father's before Christ suffered. But the inexpressible and inconceivable love of Christ is in this, that there was in him a willingness, a propenseness, a forwardness to give himself to make this great peace and reconciliation, between God and man; it was he himself that gave himself; nothing inclined him, nothing wrought upon him, but his own goodness.
It was then his deed; and it was his gift; it was his deed of gift: and it hath all the formalities and circumstances that belong to that; for here is a seal in his blood; and here is a delivering, pregnantly implied in this word, which is not only dedit, he gave, but tradidit, he delivered. First, dedit, he gave himself for us to his Father, in that eternal decree by which he
11 Philaster. 1* John xiii. 27. 13 Augustine.
was Agnus occisus ab origine mundi, The Lamb slain from the beginning of the world. And then tradidit, he delivered possession of himself to death, and to all human infirmities, when he took our nature upon him, and became one of us. Yea this word implies a further operativeness, and working upon himself, than all this; for the word which the Apostle uses here, for Christ giving of himself, is the same word, which the Evangelists use still, for Judas betraying of him: so that Christ did not only give himself to the will of the Father, in the eternal decree; nor only deliver himself to the power of death in his incarnation, but he offered, he exhibited, he exposed, (we may say) he betrayed himself to his enemies; and all this, for worse enemies; to the Jews, that crucified him once, for us, that make sin our sport, and so make the crucifying of the Lord of life a recreation.
It was a gift then, free, and absolute; he keeps us not in fear of resumption; of ever taking himself from the church again; nay he hath left himself no power of revocation: / am with you, says he, to the end of the world. To particular men, he comes, and he knocks, and he enters, and he stays, and he sups, and yet for their unworthiness goes away again; but with the church he is usque ad consummationem, till the end; it is a permanent gift; dedit, and dedit seipsum; it was he that did it; that which he did was to give; and that which he gave, was himself. Now since the Holy Ghost, that is the God of unity and peace, hath told us at once, that the satisfaction for our sins is Christ himself, and hath told us no more, Christ entirely, Christ altogether, let us not divide and mangle Christ, or tear his church in pieces, by froward and frivolous disputations, whether Christ gave his divinity for us, or his humanity; whether the divine nature, or the human nature redeemed us; for neither his divinity nor his humanity, is ipse, he himself, and dedit seipsum, he gave himself: let us not subdivide him into less pieces, than those, God, and man; and inquire contentiously, whether he suffered in soul, as well as in body, the pains of hell, as well as the sting of death; the Holy Ghost hath presented him unite, and knit together. For neither soul nor body was ipse, he himself, and dedit seipsum, he gave himself; let us least of all shred Christ Jesus into less scruples and atoms than these, soul, and body; and dispute whether, consisting of both, it were his active, or his passive obedience that redeemed us; whether it were his death and passion only, or his innocency, and fulfilling of the law too; let us only take Christ, himself, for only that is said, he gave himself, it must be an innocent person, and this innocent person must die for us; separate the innocency, and the death, and it is not ipse, it is not Christ himself: and dedit seipsum, it was himself. Let us abstain from all such curiosities, which are all but forced dishes of hot brains, and not sound meat, that is, from all perverse wranglings, whether God, or man redeemed us; and then, whether this God, and man suffered in soul, or in body; and then whether this person, consisting of soul and body, redeemed us, by his action, or by his passion only; for as there are spiritual wickednesses, so there are spiritual wantonnesses, and unlawful and dangerous dallyings with mysteries of divinity. Money that is changed into small pieces is easily lost; gold that is beat out into leaf-gold, cannot be coined, nor made current money: we know the heathens lost the true God, in a thrust; they made so many false gods, of every particular quality, and attribute of God, that they scattered him, and evacuated him, to an utter vanishing; so doth true, and sound, and nourishing divinity vanish away, in those impertinent questions. All that the wit of man adds to the word of God, is all quicksilver, and it evaporates easily. Beloved, Custodi depositum, says the Apostle, keep that which God hath revealed to thee; for that God himself calls thy talent; it hath weight and substance in it. Depart not from thy old gold; leave not thy catechism-divinity, for all the school-divinity in the world; when we have all, what would we have more? if we know that Christ hath given himself for us, that we are redeemed, and not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ Jesus, we care for no other knowledge but that, Christ, and Christ crucified for us; for this is another, and a more peculiar and profitable giving of himself for thee, when he gives himself to thee, that is, when he gives thee a sense, and apprehension, and application of the gift, to thyself, that Christ hath given himself, to thyself.
We are come now to his exchange; what Christ had for himself when he gave himself; and he had a church. So this Apostle, which in this place, writes to the Ephesians, when he preached personally to the Ephesians, he told them so too, the church is that Quam acquisivit sanguine suo, which he purchased with his blood14. Here Christ bought a church, but I would there were no worse simony than this. Christ received no profit from the church, and yet he gave himself for it; and he stays with it to the end of the world; here is no such non-residency, as that the church is left unserved: other men give enough for their church, but they withraw themselves, and necessary provision; and if we consider this church that Christ bought, and paid so dearly for, it was rather an hospital, than a church: a place where the blind might recover sight; that is, men born in paganism, or superstition, might see the true God, truly worshipped: and where the lame might be established; that is, those that halted between two religions, might be rectified in the truth: where the deaf might receive so quick a hearing, as that they might discern music in his thunder, in all his fearful threatenings; that is, mercy in his judgments, which are still accompanied with conditions of repentance; and they might find thunder, in his music, in all his promises; that is, threatenings of judgments, in our misuse of his mercies. Where the hereditary leper, the new born child into whose marrow his father's transgression cleaves in original sins, and he that hath enwrapped implicates morbos, one disease in another, in actual sins, might not only come, if he would but be entreated to come, yea compelled to come, as it is expressed in the Gospel, when the master of the feast sends into the streets, and to the hedges to compel blind and lame to come in to his feast15. A fountain breaks out in the wilderness, but that fountain cares not, whether any man come to fetch water, or no; a fresh, a fit gale blows upon the sea, but it cares not whether the mariners hoise sail' or no; a rose blows in your garden, but it calls you not to smell it. Christ Jesus hath done all this abundantly; he hath bought an hospital, he hath stored it with the true balm of Palestine, with his blood, which he shed there, and he calls upon you all to come for it, Ho every one that thirsteth; you that have no money, come buy trine, and milk, without money16:
14 Acts xx. 21). 15 Luke xiv. 21. 16 Isaiah Lv. I.
eat that which is good, and let your souls delight in fatness, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. This hospital, this way, and means to cure spiritual diseases, was all that Christ had for himself: but he improved it, he makes it a church, and a glorious church: which is our last consideration, quis finis, to what end, he bestowed all this cost.
His end was, that he might make it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle; but that end, must be in the end of all; here it cannot be: Cum tota dicat ecclesia, quamdiu hie est, dimitte debita nostra, non utique hic est sine macula et ruga17, Since as yet the whole church says, Forgive us our trespasses, the church as yet is not without spots or wrinkles. The wrinkles are the testimonies of our age; that is, our sin, derived from Adam; and the spots are the sins, which we contract ourselves; and of these spots, and wrinkles, we cannot be delivered in this world. And therefore the apostle says here, That Christ hath bestowed all this cost on this purchase, ut sister et sibi ecclesiam, that he might settle such a glorious, and pure church to himself: first, ut sisteret, that he might settle it; which can only be done in heaven; for hete in earth, the church will always have earthquakes. Oportet hwreses esse; storms, and schisms must necessarily be; the church is in a warfare, the church is in a pilgrimage, and therefore here is no settling. And then he doth it, ut sisteret sibi, to settle it to himself; for, in the tyranny of Rome, the church was in some sort settled, things were carried quietly enough; for no man durst complain; but the church was settled all upon the vicar, and none upon the parson: the glory of the bishop of Rome, had eclipsed, and extinguished the glory of Christ Jesus. In other places we have seen the church settled, so as that no man hath done or spoken anything against the government thereof; but this may have been a settling by strong hand, by severe discipline, and heavy laws; we see where princes have changed the religion, the church may be settled upon the prince, or settled upon the prelates, that is, be serviceable to them, and be ready to promote and further any purpose of theirs, and all this while, not be settled upon Christ: this pur
17 Augustine, Retrac. 1, L c. 7.
pose, ut sisteret sibi, to settle such a glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, holy to himself, is reserved for the triumphant time when she shall be in possession of that beauty, which Christ foresaw in her, long before when he said, Thou art all fair my love, and there is no spot in thee1*; and when we that shall be the children of the marriage-chamber, shall be glad and rejoice, and give glory to him, because the marriage of the Lamb is come, and Ms wife hath made herself ready1'; that is, we that are of that church, shall be so clothed, as that our own clothes shall not defile us again, as Job complains that they do, as long as we are in this world; for, though I make me never so clean, yet mine own clothes defile me again, as it is in that place.
But yet, beloved, Christ hath not made so improvident a bargain, as to give so great a rate, himself, for a church, so far in reversion, as till the day of judgment: that he should enter into bonds for this payment, from all eternity, even in the eternal decree between the Father, and him, that he should really pay this price, his precious blood, for this church, one thousand six hundred years ago, and he should receive no glory by this church till the next world: here was a long lease, here were many lives; the lives of all the men in the world, to be served before him; but it is not altogether so; for he gave himself, that he might settle such a church then, a glorious, and a pure church: but all this while, the church is building in heaven, by continual access of holy souls, which come thither, and all the way he works to that end, He sanctifies it, and cleanses it, by the washing of water, through the word, as we find in our text.
He therefore stays not so long, for our sanctification, but that we have means of being sanctified here; Christ stays not so long for his glory, but that he hath here a glorious Gospel, his word, and mysterious sacraments here. Here then is the writing, and the seal, the word, and the sacrament; and he hath given power, and commandment to his ministers to deliver both writing, and seal, the word and baptism to his children. This sacrament of baptism is the first; it is the sacrament of inchoation, of initiation; the sacrament of the supper, is not given but to them, who are instructed and presumed to understand all Christian duties;
18 Cant. iv. 7. 15 Apoc. xix, 7.
and therefore the word, (if we understand the word, for the preaching of the word) may seem more necessary at the administration of this sacrament, than at the other. Some such thing seems to be intimated in the institution of the sacraments. In the institution of the supper, it is only said, Take, and eat, and drink, and do that in remembrance of me"; and it is only said that they sang a psalm, and so departed*1. In the institution of baptism there is more solemnity, more circumstance; for first, it was instituted after Christ's resurrection, and then Christ proceeds to it with that majestical preamble, All power is given unto me in heaven, and in earth"; and therefore, upon that title he gives power to his apostles, to join heaven and earth by preaching, and by baptism: but here is more than singing of a psalm; for Christ commands them first to teach, and then to baptize, and then after the commandment of baptism, he refreshes that commandment again of teaching them, whom they baptized, to observe all things, that he had commanded them. I speak not this, as though baptism were ineffectual without a sermon; St. Augustine's words, Accedat verbum, et fiat sacramentum, When the word is joined to the element, or to the action, then there is a true sacrament, are ill understood by two sorts of men; first by them, that say that it is not verbum deprecatorium, nor verbum concionatorium, not the word of prayer, nor the word of preaching, but verbum consecratorium, and verbum sacramentale, that very phrase, and form of words, by which the water is sanctified, and enabled of itself to cleanse our souls; and secondly, these words are ill understood by them, who had rather their children died unbaptized, than have them baptized without a sermon; whereas the use of preaching at baptism is, to raise the whole congregation, to a consideration, what they promised by others, in their baptism; and to raise the father and the sureties to a consideration, what they undertake for the child, whom they present then to be baptized; for therefore says St. Augustine, Accedat verbum, There is a necessity of the word, Non quia dicitur, sed quia creditur, Not because the word is preached, but because it is believed; and that belief, faith, belongs not at all to the incapacity of the child, but to the disposition of the rest; a
*1 Matt, xxvi, 26. "Mark xiv. 26. "Matt, xxviii. 18.
sermon is useful for the congregation, not necessary for the child, and the accomplishment of the sacrament.
From hence then arises a convenience, little less than necessary, (in a kind) that this administration of the sacrament be accompanied with preaching; but yet they that would evict an absolute necessity of it, out of these words, force them too much, for here the direct meaning of the apostle is, that the church is cleansed by water, through the word, when the promises of God expressed in his word, are sealed to us by this sacrament of baptism: for so St. Augustine answers himself in that objection, which he makes to himself, Cum per baptismum fundati sint, quare sermoni tribuit radicem. He answers, In sermone intelligendus baptismus, quia sine sermone non perficitur. It is rooted, it is grounded in the word; and therefore true baptism, though it be administered, without the word, that is, without the word preached, yet it is never without the word, because the whole sacrament, and the power thereof is rooted in the word, in the Gospel. And therefore since this sacrament belongs to the church, as it is said here (that Christ doth cleanse Ms church by baptism) as it is argued with a strong probability, that because the apostles did baptize whole families, therefore they did baptize some children, so we argue with an invincible certainty, that because this sacrament belongs generally to the church as the initiatory sacrament, it belongs to children, who are a part, and for the most part, the most innocent part of the church.
To conclude, as all those virgins which were beautiful, were brought into Shusan, ad domum mulierum*3, to be anointed, and perfumed, and prepared there for Ahasuerus's delight and pleasure, though Ahasuerus took not delight, and pleasure in them all, so we admit all those children which are within the covenant made by God, to the elect, and their seed, in domum sanctorum, into the household of the faithful, into the communion of saints: whom he chooseth for his marriage-day, that is, for that church which he will settle upon himself in heaven, we know not; but we know that he hath not promised, to take any into that glory, but those upon whom he hath first shed these fainter beams of glory, and sanctification, exhibited in this sacrament: neither hath he
88 Esther ii. 3.
threatened to exclude any but for sin after. And therefore when this blessed child derived from faithful parents, and presented by sureties within the obedience of the church, shall have been so cleansed by the washing of water, through the word, it is presently sealed to the possession of that part of Christ's purchase, for which he gave himself, (which are the means of preparing his church in this life) with a faithful assurance, I may say of it, and to it, Jam mundus es, Now you are clean", through the word, which Christ hath spoken unto you: the seal of the promises of his gospel hath sanctified, and cleansed you; but yet, Mundatiu mundandus, says St. Augustine upon that place, it is so sanctified by the sacrament here, that it may be further sanctified by the growth of his graces, and be at last a member of that glorious church, which he shall settle upon himself, without spot or wrinkle; which was the principal, and final purpose of that great love of his, whereby he gave himself for us, and made that love, first a a pattern of men's loves to their wives here, and then a means to bring man, and wife, and child, to the kingdom of heaven. Amen.