Imágenes de páginas

Christ bids them, being persecuted in one and aggravating them with the cruelest bittercity, fly into another, it was not (as Grotius ness; and conscience, like a thousand witacutely observes) that they might lie hid, or nesses, attesting every article, flying in his be secure in that city, but that there they face, and rending his very heart; and then, might preach the Gospel : so that their flight after all, Christ, from whom only mercy could here was not to secure their persons, but to be expected, owning the accusation. It will continue their business. I conclude, there be hell enough to hear the sentence ; the very fore, that faithful ministers are to staud and promulgation of the punishment will be part endure the brunt. A common soldier may of the punishment, and anticipate the execufly, when it is the duty of him that holds the tion. If Peter was so abashed when Christ standard to die upon the place. And we have gave him a look after his denial; if there was abundant encouragement so to do. Christ so much dread in his looks when he stood as has seconded and sweetened his command prisoner, how much greater will it be when with his promise : yea, the thing itself is not he sits as a judge! If it was so fearful when only our duty, but our glory. And he who he looked his denier into repentance, what has done this work, has in the very work will it be when he shall look him into destrucpartly received his wages. And were it put tion ? Believe it, when we shall hear an to my choice, I think I should choose rather accusation from an advocate, our eternal doom with spitting and scorn to be tumbled into from our intercessor, it will convince us that the dust in blood, bearing witness to any a denial of Christ is something more than a known truth of our dear Lord, now opposed few transitory words. What trembling, what by the enthusiasts of the present age, than, outcries, what astonishment will there be by a denial of those truths, through blood and upon the pronouncing this sentence! Every perjury wade to a sceptre, and lord it in a word will come upon the sinner like an arrow throne. And we need not doubt, but truth, striking through his reins; like thunder, that however oppressed, will have some followers, is heard, and consumes at the same instant. and at length prevail, A Christ, though Yea, it will be a denial with scorn, with crucified, will arise; and as it is in Rev. xi. 3, taunting exprobrations; and to be miserable "the witnesses will prophesy, though it be in without commiseration is the height of misery. sackcloth."

He that falls below pity, can fall no lower. IV. Having thus despatched the third thing, Could I give you a lively representation of I proceed to the fourth, which is, to shew guilt and horror on this hand, and paint out what it is for Christ to deny us before his eternal wrath, and decipher eternal vengeance Father in heaven. Hitherto we have treated on the other, then might I shew you the conof men's carriage to Christ in this world; now dition of a sinner hearing himself denied by we will describe his carriage to them in the Christ; and for those whom Christ has denied, other. These words clearly relate to the last it will be in vain to appeal to the Father, judgment, and they are a summary descrip- unless we can imagine that those whom mercy tion of his proceeding with men at that day. has condemned, justice will absolve. And here we will consider,

2. For the circumstance, “ He will deny us 1. The action itself, “ He will deny them.” before his Father and the holy angels.” As

2. The circumstance of the action, « He will much as God is more glorious than man, so deny them before his Father and the holy much is it more glorious to be confessed before angels.”

him, than before men; and so much glory as 1. Concerning the first. Christ's denying there is in being confessed, so much dishonour us is otherwise expressed in Luke, xiii. 27, there is in being denied. If there could be “ I know

you not.” To know, in Scripture any room for comfort after the sentence of language, is to approve; and so, not to know, damnation, it would be this, to be executed is to reject and condemn. Now, who knows in secret, to perish unobserved ; as it is some how many woes are crowded into this one allay to the infamy of him who died ignosentence; “ I will deny him ?" It is (to say miniously, to be buried privately. But when no more) a compendious expression of hell, a man's folly must be spread open before the an eternity of torments comprised in a word. angels, and all his baseness ript up before It is condemnation itself, and, what is most those pure spirits, this will be a double hell : of all, it is condemnation from the mouth of to be thrust into utter darkness, only to be a Saviour. Oh the inexpressible horror that punished by it, without the benefit of being will seize upon a poor sinner, when he stands concealed. When Christ shall compare himarraigned at the bar of divine justice! When self, who was denied, and the thing for which he shall look about, and see his accuser, his he was denied, together, and parallel his judge, the witnesses, all of them his remorse merits with a lust, and lay eternity in the less adversaries; the law impleading, mercy balance with a trifle, then the folly of the and the Gospel upbraiding him, the devil, his sinner's choice shall be the greatest sting of grand accuser, drawing his indictment; num his destruction. For a man shall not have bering his sing with the greatest exactness, the advantage of his former ignorances and


error to approve his sin: things that appeared conscience” is much abused for the defence amiable by the light of this world, will appear of it, because not well understood. Every of a different odious hue in the clear discove man may have liberty of conscience to think ries of the next; as that which appears to be and judge as he pleases, but not to vent what of this colour by a dim candle, will be found he pleases. The reason is, becanse conscience to be of another, looked upon in the day. bounding itself within the thoughts, is of So when Christ shall have cleared up men's private concernment, and the cognizance of apprehensions about the value of things, he these belong only to God; but when an will propose that worthy prize for which he opinion is published, it concerns all that hear was denied; he will hold it up to open view, it; and the public being endamaged by it, and call upon men and angels, -- Behold, look, it becomes punishable by the magistrate, here is the thing, here is that piece of dirt, to whom the care of the public is intrusted. that windy applause, that poor transitory But there is one truth that concerns both pleasure, that contemptible danger, for which ministry, and magistracy, and all, which is I was dishonoured, my truths disowned, and opposed by those who affirm, that none ought for which life, eternity, and God himself, was to govern upon the earth but Christ in perscorned and trampled upon by this sinner : Absurdly; as if the powers that are, judge, all the world, whether what he so destroyed his; as if a deputy were not condespised in the other life, he deserves to en sistent with a king; as if there were any joy in this. How will the condemned sinner opposition in subordination. They affirm then crawl forth, and appear in his filth and also, that the wicked have no right to their shame, before that undefiled tribunal, like a estates; but only the faithful, that is, themtoad or a snake in a king's presence-chamber! selves, ought to “possess the earth.” And it Nothing so irksome, as to have one's folly dis is not to be questioned, but when they come played before the prudent; one's impurity to explain this principle, by putting it into before the pure. And all this before that execution, there will be but few that have company surrounding him, from which he is estates at present, but will be either found neither able to look off, nor yet to look upon. or made wicked. I shall not be so urgent to A disgrace put upon a man in company is press you to confess Christ, by asserting and insupportable : it is heightened according to owning the truth contrary to this, since it the greatness, and multiplied according to the does not only oppose truth, but property ; number of the persons that hear it. And now, and here to deny Christ, would be to deny as this circumstance (“ before his Father”) yourselves, in a sense which none is like fully speaks the shame, so likewise it speaks to do. the danger of Christ's then denying us. For (2.) Christ requires you to own and defend when the accusation is heard, and the person him in his members; and amongst these, the stands convict, God is immediately lifting up chief of them, and such as most fall in your his hand to inflict the eternal blow; and when way, the ministers; I say, that despised, Christ denies to exhibit a ransom, to step be- abject, oppressed sort of men, the ministers, tween the stroke then coming and the sinner, whom the world would make antichristian, it must inevitably fall upon him, and sink and so deprive them of heaven; and also strip his guilty soul into that deep and bottomless them of that poor remainder of their maingulf of endless perdition. This, therefore, tenance, and so allow them no portion upon is the sum of Christ's denying us before his the earth. You may now spare that distincFather, -namely, insupportable shame, un tion of scandalous ministers, when it is even avoidable destruction.

made scandalous to be a minister. And as V. I proceed now to the uses which may for their discouragement in the courts of the be drawn from the truths delivered. And law, I shall only note this, that for these here,

many years last past, it has been the constant 1. (Right honourable) not only the present observation of all, that if a minister had a occasion, but even the words themselves, seem cause depending in the court, it was ton to eminently to address an exhortation to your one but it went against him. I cannot behonours. As for others not to deny Christ, lieve your law justles out the Gospel ; but if is openly to profess him ; so for you who are it be thus used to undermine Christ in his invested with authority, not to deny him, is servants, beware that such judgments passed to defend him. Know, therefore, that Christ upon them, do not fetch down God's judgdoes not only desire, but demand your defence, ments upon the land; and that for such abuse and that in a double respect,

of law, Christ does not in anger deprive both (1.) In respect of his truth. (2.) Of his you and us of its use. (My lords) I make no members.

doubt, but you will meet with many suits in (1.) He requires that you should defend your course, in which the persons we speak and confess him in his truth. Heresy is a of are concerned, as it is easy to prognosticate tare sometimes not to be pulled up but by from those many worthy petitions preferred the civil magistrate. The word “liberty of I against them, for which the well-affected peti


tioners * will one day receive but small thanks weakened, and even broke, and his worship from the court of heaven. But however their extirpated in a mockery, that his honour may causes speed in your tribunals, know that be advanced. Well, to establish our hearts in Christ himself will recognize them at a greater. duty, let us beforehand propose to ourselves And then, what a different face will be put the worst that can happen. Should God in upon things! When the usurping, devouring his judgment suffer England to be transformed Nimrods of the world shall be cast with scorn into a monster, should the faithful be everyon the left hand, and Christ himself, in that where massacred, should the places of learngreat consistory, shall deign to step down ing be demolished, and our colleges reduced from his throne, and single out a poor de (not only, as one t in his zeal would have it,) spised minister, and (as it were taking him to three, but to none; yet, assuredly, hell is by the hand) present him to, and openly thus worse than all this, and is the portion of such confess him before his Father, - Father, here as deny Christ; wherefore, let our discourageis a poor servant of mine, who, for doing his ments be what they will, loss of places, loss of duty impartially, for keeping a good con estates, loss of life and relations, yet still this science, and testifying my truths in an hypo sentence stands ratified in the decrees of critical pretending age, was wronged, trod

Heaven, Cursed be that man, that for any upon, stripped of all : Father, I will that of these shall desert the truth, and deny his there be now a distinction made, between Lord. such as have owned and confessed me with the loss of the world, and those that have denied, persecuted, and insulted over me. It will be in vain then to come and creep for mercy; and say, Lord, when did we insult

SERMON IV. over thee? when did we see thee in our courts, and despised or oppressed thee? Christ's ECCLESIASTICAL POLICY THE BEST POLICY; OR, reply will be then quick and sharp, -Verily, RELIGION THE BEST REASON OF STATE. inasmuch as you did it to one of these little, poor despised ones, ye did it unto me. The 2. Use is of information, to shew us the

LINCOLN'S INN. danger as well as the baseness of a dastardly spirit, in asserting the interest and truth of After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but Christ. Since Christ has made a Christian made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high

places : whosocver would, he consecrated him, and he became course a warfare, of all men living a coward is

one of the priests of the high places. And this thing became the most unfit to make a Christian ; whose

sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to deinfamy is not so great but it is sometimes stroy it from off the face of the carth.”—1 Kinos, xiii. 33, 34. less than his peril. A coward does not always escape with disgrace, but sometimes also he JEROBOAM (from the name of a person loses his life; wherefore, let all such know, as become the character of impiety) is reported can enlarge their consciences like hell, and to posterity eminent, or rather infamous, for call any sinful compliance submission, and two things, - usurpation of government, and style a cowardly silence in Christ's cause dis innovation of religion. It is confessed, the cretion and prudence ; I say, let them know, former is expressly said to have been from that Christ will one day scorn them, and spit God; but since God may order and dispose them, with their policy and prudence, into what he does not approve, and use the wickedhell; and then let them consult how politic ness of men while he forbids it, the design of they were, for a temporal emolument, to the first cause does not excuse the malignity throw away eternity. The things which of the second ; and therefore, the advancegenerally cause men to deny Christ are, either ment and sceptre of Jeroboam was in that the enjoyments or the miseries of this life; sense only the work of God, in which it is but, alas! at the day of judgment all these said, (Amos, iii. 6,) “ that there is no evil in will expire ; and, as one well observes, what the city which the Lord hath not done.” But are we the better for pleasure, or the worse from his attempts upon the civil power, he for sorrow, when it is past? But then sin proceeds to innovate God's worship; and and guilt will be still fresh, and heaven and from the subjection of men's bodies and hell will be then yet to begin. If ever it was estates, to enslave their consciences, as knowseasonable to preach courage in the despised, ing that true religion is no friend to an abused cause of Christ, it is now, when his unjust title. Such was afterwards the way of truths are reformed into nothing, when the hands and hearts of his faithful ministers are + A colonel of the army, the perfidious cause of Penruddock's

death, and some time after high-sheriff of Oxfordshire, openly * Whenenever any petition was put up to the parliament in and frequently affirmed the uselessness of the universities, and the year 1653, for the taking away of tithes, the thanks of the that three colleges were sufficient to answer the occasions of the house were still returned to them, and that by the name and nation, for the breeding of men up to learning, so far as it was elogy of the well-affected petitioners.

either necessary or useful.

Mahomet, to the tyrant to join the impostor, people to minister in that service ; such as and what he had got by the sword to confirm kept cattle, with a little change of their office, by the Alcoran ; raising his empire upon two

were admitted to make oblations to them. pillars, conquest and inspiration. Jeroboam And doubtless, besides the approbation of being thus advanced, and thinking policy the these, there was a commission also to eject best piety, though indeed in nothing ever such of the priests and Levites of God, as being more befooled, the nature of sin being not too ceremoniously addicted to the temple, only to defile, but to infatuate; in the twelfth would not serve Jeroboam before God, nor chapter and the 27th verse, he thus argues, worship

his calves for their gold, nor approve “ If this people go up to do sacrifice in the those two glittering sins for any reason of house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the state whatsoever. Having now perfected heart of this people turn again unto their divine worship, and prepared both gods and Lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, priests, in the next place, that he might the and they shall kill me, and go again unto better teach his false priests the way of their Rehoboam king of Judah.” As if he should new worship, he begins the service himself, have said, The true worship of God, and and so countenances by his example what he the converse of those that use it, dispose had enjoined by his command, in the 11th men to a considerate lawful subjection. And verse of this chapter, “and Jeroboam stood therefore I must take another course ; my by the altar to burn incense.” Burning of practice must not be better than my title; incense was then the ministerial office amongst what was won by force, must be continued by them, as preaching is now amongst us. So delusion. Thus sin is usually seconded with that to represent to you the nature of Jerosin ; and a man seldom commits one sin to boam's action; it was, as if in a Christian please, but he commits another to defend nation the chief governor should authorize and himself; as it is frequent for the adulterer to encourage all the scum and refuse of the commit murder to conceal the shame of his people to preach, and call them to the ministry adultery. But let us see Jeroboam's politic by using to preach, * and invade the minisprocedure in the next verse. “Whereupon terial function himself. But Jeroboam rested the king took counsel, and made two calves of not here, but while he was busy in his work, gold, and said unto them, It is too much for and a prophet immediately sent by God you to go up to Jerusalem, behold thy gods, declares against his idolatry, he endeavours to O Israel.” As if he had made such an edict, seize upon and commit him ; (verse 4,) “he I Jeroboam, by the advice of my council, held forth his hand from the altar, and said, considering the great distance of the temple, Lay hold of him.” Thus we have him comand the great charges that poor people are put pleting his sin, and, by a stange imposition of to in going thither; as also the intolerable hands, persecutiog the true prophets, as well burden of paying the first-fruits and tithes to as ordaining false. But it was a natural tranthe priest, have considered of a way that may sition, and no ways wonderful to see him, be more easy, and less burdensome to the who stood affronting God with false incense people, as also more comfortable to the priests in the right hand, persecuting with the left, themselves ; and therefore strictly enjoin, that and abetting the idolatry of one arm with the none henceforth presume to repair to the violence of the other. Now, if we lay all temple at Jerusalem, especially since God is these things together, and consider the parts, not tied to any place or form of worship; as rise, and degrees of his sin, we shall find, that also because the devotion of men is apt to be it was not for nothing that the Spirit of God clogged by such ceremonies ; therefore, both so frequently and bitterly in Scripture stigfor the ease of the people, as well as for the matizes this person; for it represents him first advancement of religion, we require and com encroaching upon the civil government, thence mand, that all henceforth forbear going up to changing that of the church, debasing the Jerusalem. Questionless these and such other office that God had made sacred, introducing reasons the impostor used, to insinuate his a false way of worship, and destroying the devout idolatry. And thus the calves were true. And in this we have a full and fair set up, to which oxen must be sacrificed ; the description of a foul thing, that is, of an god and the sacrifice out of the same herd. usurper and an impostor : or, to use one And because Israel was not to return to word more comprehensive than both, "of Egypt, Egypt was brought back to them ; Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Ísrael that is, the Egyptian way of worship, the to sin.” Apis, or Serapis, which was nothing but the From the story and practice of Jeroboam, image of a calf or ox, as is clear from most we might gather these observations, historians. Thus Jeroboam having procured 1. That God sometimes punishes a notohis people gods, the next thing was to provide rious sin, by suffering the sinner to fall into priests. Hereupon to the calves he adds a commission for the approving, trying, and admitting the rascality and lowest of the * Cromwell (a lively copy of Jerob. am) did 80.

a worse.


Thus God punished the rebellion of the church. Idolaters themselves were not so far Israelites, by permitting them to fall into gone, as to venture upon the priesthood idolatry.

without consecration and a call. To shew all 2. There is nothing so absurd, but may be the solemnities of this would be tedious, and obtruded upon the vulgar under pretence of here unnecessary : the Hebrew word which religion.

we render to consecrate, signifies, to fill the Certainly, otherwise a golden calf could hand, which indeed imports the manner of never have been made either the object or the consecration, which was done by filling the means of divine worship.

hand : for the priest cut a piece of the sacri3. Sin, especially that of perverting God's fice and put it into the hands of him that worship, as it leaves a guilt upon the soul, so was to be consecrated ; by which ceremony it perpetuates a blot upon the

he received right to sacrifice, and so became a Hence nothing so frequent, as for the Spirit priest. As our ordination in the Christian of God to express wicked, irreligious kings, by church is said to have been heretofore trancomparing them to Ahab or Jeroboam. it sacted by the bishop's delivering of the Bible being usual to make the first and most emi into the hands of hím that was to be ordained, nent in any kind, not only the standard for whereby he received power ministerially to comparison, but also the rule of expression. dispense the mysteries contained in it, and so

But I shall insist only upon the words of was made a presbyter. Thus much briefly the text, and what shall be drawn from concerning consecration. thence. There are two things in the words There remains nothing else to be explained that may seem to require explication, - in the words : I shall therefore now draw

1. What is meant by the high places. forth the sense of them into these two pro2. What by the consecration of the priests. positions,

1. Concerning the high places. The use of I. The surest means to strengthen, or the these in the divine worship was general and readiest to ruin the civil power, is either to ancient; and as Dionysius Vossius observes establish or destroy the worship of God in the in his notes upon Moses Maimonides, the first right exercise of religion. way that was used, long before temples were II. The next and most effectual way to either built or thought lawful. The reason of destroy religion, is to embase the teachers and this seems to be, because those places could dispensers of it. not be thought to shut up or confine the Of both these in their order. immensity of God, as they supposed an house For the prosecution of the former we are to did; and withal gave his worshippers a nearer shew, approach to heaven by their height. Hence 1. The truth of the assertion, that it is so. we read that the Samaritans worshipped upon

2. The reason of the assertion, why and mount Gerizim, (John, iv. 20,) and Samuel whence it is so. went up to the high place to sacrifice, 1. For the truth of it: it is abundantly (1 Sam. ix. 14,) and Solomon sacrificed at thé evinced from all records both of divine and high place in Gibeon, (1 Kings, iii. 4.) Yea, profane history, in which he that runs may the temple itself was at length built upon a read the ruin of the state in the destruction mount or high place, (2 Chron. iii. 1.)" You of the church ; and that not only portended will say then, why are these places con by it, as its sign, but also inferred from it, as demned? I answer, that the use of them was its cause. not condemned, as absolutely and always 2. For the reason of the point ; it


be unlawful in itself, but only after the temple drawn – was built, and that God had professed to put (1.) From the judicial proceeding of God, his name in that place and no other : there- the great King of kings, and supreme Ruler of fore, what was lawful in the practice of the universe ; who for his commands is indeed Samuel and Solomon before the temple was in careful, but for his worship jealous; and therebeing, was now detestable in Jeroboam, since fore in states notoriously irreligious, by a that was constituted by God the only place secret and irresistible power, countermands for his worship. To bring this consideration their deepest project, splits their counsels, and to the times of Christianity. Because the smites their most refined policies with frusapostles and primitive Christians preached in tration and a curse ; being resolved that the houses, and had only private meetings, in kingdoms of the world shall fall down before regard they were under persecution, and had him, either in his adoration, or their own no churches ; this cannot warrant the practice confusion. of those nowadays, nor a toleration of them (2.) The reason of the doctrine may be that prefer houses before churches, and a con drawn from the necessary dependence of the venticle before the congregation.

very principles of government upon religion. 2. For the second thing, which is the con And this I sball pursue more fully. The secration of the priests; it seems to have been great business of government is to procure correspondent to ordination in the Christian obedience, and keep off disobedience: the great

« AnteriorContinuar »