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would needs set up for the new lights of this last age: blazing comets always portending, or rather causing wars and confusions both in church and state; first setting all on fire, and then shining by the flames they raised. But light, as we have seen, being so often made the devil's livery, no wonder if his servants affect to be seen in it.
And now, after this short view of Popery and enthusiasm, I hope I shall not incur the suspicion of any bias to the former, if (as bad as it is) I prefer it to the latter, and allow it the poor commendation, of being the less evil of the two. I confess, that under both, the great enemy of truth strikes at our church and state; and that whether he acts by the fanatic illuminati or by Vaux's lantern, the mischief projected by him is the same; there being in both a light (and something else) within, for the blowing up of churches and kingdoms too. Nevertheless, if we consider and compare these two extremes together, we shall find enthusiasm the more intractable, furious, and pernicious of the two, and that in a double respect :
1. That the evils of Popery are really the same in enthusiasm.
2. That the little good which is in Popery is not in this.
the Spirit,) the infallible, unappealable judge of all that was delivered in the written word. And now upon these terms, what could keep a man so disposed from coming over to Socinianism; since the prime art and engine made use of by Socinus himself, for the venting of all his abominations, was a professed defiance of the judgment of all antiquity in matters of religion? And what likewise could hinder a man (if his temper inclined that way) from taking up in anabaptism, when he could neither find any clear precept for infant baptism, nor express instance of it in the scripture; but only probable inferences from thence, and remote consequences; all of them perhaps too little, without the universal tradition of the church, to found the necessity and perpetuity of such a practice upon? Especially having been encountered by such specious objections, as have been too often produced against it. And thus we see, how both the two forementioned extremes commence upon one and the same principle; to wit, the laying aside the judgment of antiquity, both in matters of faith, and in all expositions of scripture but Socinianism being, as was observed, an heresy much too fine for the gross and thick genius of vulgar capacities, the devil found it requisite sometimes to change his engine, and amongst such as these to set up his standard in Familism, or enthusiasm. A monster, from whose teeming womb have issued some of the vilest, the foulest, and most absurd practices and opinions, that the nature of man (as corrupt as it is) was ever poisoned and polluted with. For these enthusiasts having first brought all to the naked letter of scripture, and then confined that letter wholly to the exposition of the Spirit, (as they called it,) they proceed farther, and advance this " mystery of iniquity," to its highest dzu, by asserting the immediate indwelling of the said Spirit in their persons; so that by his impulse and authority they may, like Abraham, Phinehas, or Eliud, be carried out to actions, otherwise and in other men, indeed unlawful, but in themselves sufficiently warranted by the Spirit's dispensing with his own laws in their behalf, and much more with the laws of men; besides that, according to the same doctrine, he only who has this Spirit can be a competent judge of what is suggested to him by it. A principle of that diabolical malignity, that it sets men beyond all reach of the magistrate, and frets asunder the very nerves of all government and society. For it owns an impulse lawful, and yet unaccountable; whereby they are empowered to shake off laws, invade the rights and properties of all about them, and, if they please, to judge, sentence, and put to death kings; "because the spiritual man," forsooth, "judgeth all things, but himself is judged of none. And these were the persons who
And first; that the evils of both are equal, may appear upon these two accounts:
1. That the enthusiasts challenge the same infallibility which the papal church does, but are more intolerable in their claim; for Popery places it only in one person, the pretended head of the church, the pope; but enthusiasm claims it, as belonging to every Christian amongst them, every particular member of their church. So that upon a full estimate of the matter, the papacy is only enthusiasm contracted, and enthusiasm the papacy diffused; the evil is the same in both, with the advantage of multiplication in the latter. But,
2. Both of them equally take men off from the Scriptures, and supplant their authority. For as one does it by traditions, making them equal to the written word; so the other does it by pretending the immediate guidance of the Spirit, without the rule of the said word. For see with what contempt the father of the Familists, Henry Nicholas, casts off the use and authority of it. See also the Quakers, (who may pass for the very elixir, the ultimum quod sic, and hitherto the highest form of enthusiasts amongst us.) See, I say, how they recur only to the light within them: a broad hint to men of sense and experience, how they intend to dispose of the Scriptures, when the angel of this light within them shall think fit to screw them up to a higher dispensation; for then no doubt they will judge it convenient to bury this dead letter out of their sight. But,
2. As for the other proposition mentioned by us, namely, that the little good which is in Popery is not in enthusiasm ; this will appear upon these grounds:
1. Upon a political account. The design of the popish religion is, in the several parts and circumstances of it, to reach and accommodate itself, as much as possible, to all the humours and dispositions of men and I know no argument like this universal compliance, to prove it catholic by. So that a learned person, in his "Europa Speculum," or survey of the religions of the western church, pronounces Popery, upon a strict view of the artificial, wonderful composure of the whole frame of it, the greatest piece of practical wit that was ever yet set on foot in the world. For to shew how in a depraved sense it "becomes all things to all men;" is any one of a pious, strict, and severely disposed mind? There are those retirements, austerities, and mortifications in this religion, which will both employ and gratify such a disposition. Or is he, on the other side, of a loose, jolly temper? Why there is that sufficiency placed in the opus operatum, and the external acts of religion, pieced out with suitable supplies from the bank of merit, which shall make the whole practice of it easy and agreeable. And lastly, if a man has lost his estate, broke his credit, missed of his preferments, failed in his projects, or the like, he may fairly and creditably take sanctuary in some monastery or convent, and so pretend piously to leave the world, as soon as he finds that the world is leaving him.
And as for the doctrinal part of the Christian religion, Escobar, with his fellow casuists, has so pared off all the roughness of that, and suited the strictest precepts to the largest and loosest consciences, that it will be a much harder matter to prove a man a sinner, than to condemn him for his being so; so carefully and powerfully do these men step in between sin and sorrow; so that if conscience should at any time become troublesome, and guilt begin to lift up its voice, and grow clamorous, it is but to go and disgorge all in confession, and then absolution issuing of course, eases the mind, and takes off all that anguish and despair, which (should it lie pent up, without vent) might overwhelm, or, as Ovid expresses it, even choke or strangle a man, and either send him to a halter, or prove itself instead of one.
his spite upon the public: for spite will be always working, and either find or make itself an object to work upon. Cain was the only person I have read of, who sought to divert his discontent by building cities; but the reason was, because then there were none for him to pull down. These, I say, are some of the benefits and benign influences which the papal constitution bestows upon the outward and civil concerns of such as fall within its communion.
And thus these spiritual sinks receive and divert all those ill humours of desperate, discontented persons, which the world will never want, and which, in all probability, would otherwise discharge and spend themselves upon the state. For he who is malecontent and desperate, will assuredly either let fall his spirit, and consume himself, or keep it up, and so (as occasion serves) wreak
* Sir Edwin Sandys.
But on the contrary, where the quicksilver or rather gunpowder of enthusiasm (for the fifth of November must not claim it all) has once insinuated itself into the veins and bowels of a kingdom, it presently rallies together all the distempers, all the humours, all the popular heats and discontents, till it kicks down crowns and sceptres, tramples upon thrones, much like those boisterous vapours shut up within the caverns of the earth, which no sooner inspire it into a quaking fit, (as I may express it,) but it overturns houses and towns, swallows up whole cities, and, in a word, writes its history in ruins and desolations, or in something more terrible than all, called a farther reformation. But,
2. Popery is likewise preferable to enthu siasm, in respect of the nature, quality, and complexion of the subjects in which it dwells.
The Popish religion has not been of that poisonous influence but it has brought up men of accomplished learning and morals, of a sublime wit, and all other excellent parts and endowments, which human nature can recommend itself by: whereas enthusiasm, on the contrary, seldom or never falls upon such dispositions, but commonly takes up its abode in the gloomy regions of melancholy, of au ill habit of body, and a worse of mind; so that the spirit of darkness, brooding upon the ill humours of the one and the distractions of the other, commonly hatches this monster. For, to look back upon some of the most noted ringleaders and promoters of our late disorders in church and state, were they not such as were first under some disorder themselves? persons for the most part cracked either in fortune or in brain, acted by preternatural heats and ferments; and so mistaking that for devotion, which was only distemper, and for a good conscience, which too often proved little else but a bad constitution. And in such cases certainly we may well collect the malignity of that principle, which never dwells but in such venomous tempers; and rationally conclude that the leprosy must needs have seized the inhabitants, where the infection sticks so close to the walls.
3. Popery is likewise much more tolerable than enthusiasm, upon a religious account. The great basis and foundation upon which the whole body of Christianity rests, is the
third and last general head proposed, and under it very briefly set down some certain principles, by which he is likely enough to play over his old game again, and, if not counterworked, to trump up the same religious cheats upon the world, with more advantage than before. And these are eminently three:
divinity of Christ's person, the history of his nativity, life, and death, his actions and sufferings, and his resurrection and ascension concluding all. But though the popish church has presumed to make several bold additions to, and some detractions from, the old system of our faith, yet it always acknowledged and held sacred the foregoing articles, without ever venturing to make any breach upon them. Whereas on the contrary, Familism and Quakerism, the two grand and most thriving branches of enthusiasm, have reduced the whole gospel to allegories and figures; and turned the history of what Christ actually and personally did and suffered, into mystical and moral significations of some virtues to be wrought within us, or some actions to be wrought by us. And this in truth does, and must directly strike at the very vitals of our religion, and without more ado will (if not prevented) effectually send Christianity packing out of the world. Popery indeed has forced some bad consequences from good principles, but this destroys the very principles themselves.
Add to this, that the corruptions in a church are not of so destructive an influence as schisms and divisions from it, the constant effects of enthusiasm. It being much in the body spiritual as in the natural; where that which severs and dissolves the continuity of parts tends more to the destruction of the whole, than that which corrupts them. You may eure a throat when it is sore, but not when it is cut.
And so I have done with this parallel; after which, give me leave to recapitulate to you, in short, some of Satan's principal and most specious abuses of religion hitherto discoursed of by us. As first, how he made use of the church's abhorrence of polytheism, for the introducing of Arianism, in the denial of our Saviour's divinity; and next, how, upon the declension and fall of that heresy, he took occasion, from the zealous adoration of Christ's person, to bring in a superstitious worship of the Virgin Mary his mother, and of his picture in crucifixes, and the like; and so at length appeared, in Popery, a sort of religion making men in nothing more zealous than in worshipping such things. And lastly, how, when this also was shaken off, with the tales and legends that chiefly supported it, and the bare Scripture, with the guidance of the Spirit, made the sole rule of faith, without the help of a pretended infallible judge, he then in the greater and more refined wits turned Socinian, and in the vulgar played the enthusiast. And thus, having pursued the impostor through all his labyrinths, pulled off his vizard, and turned his inside outwards, that we may know, by reflecting upon what is past, the better fence against his methods for the future; I shall here proceed to the
1. The stating of the doctrine of faith and free grace so as to make them undermine the necessity of a good life. God's mercy is indeed the crown and beauty of all his attributes, and his grace the emanation of his mercy; and whosoever goes about in the least to derogate from it, may he (for me) fiud no share in it. But, after all, has not the devil endeavoured to supplant the gospel in a considerable part of it, by the very plea of grace; while some place an irreconcileable opposition between the efficacy of that and all freedom of man's will, and thereby make those things inconsistent, which the admirable wisdom of God had made so fairly subordinate. But notwithstanding such fancies, we shall find that religion, in the true nature of it, consists of action, as well as notion; of good works, as well as faith; and that he believes to very little purpose, whose life is not the better for his belief.
But to state (as some do) the nature of justifying faith in this, that he who is confident his sins are forgiven him, is by that act of confidence completely justified, and beyond the danger of a final apostasy, so that all sins must for ever after be surnamed infirmities; what is this, but to give a man a licence to sin boldly and safely too, and so to write a perpetual divorce between faith and good works? The church of England owns and maintains free grace as much as any. But still let God be free of it, and not men; who, when he gives it, never makes a bare Crede quod habes the only title to it, or character of it.
Antinomianism, as both experience and the nature of the thing has sufficiently taught us, seldom ends but in Familism. And the sum and substance of that doctrine is, that it makes men justified from eternity; and faith not to be the instrument, but only the evidence of our justification, as no more than barely declaring to the conscience of the believer what is already done and transacted in heaven. Now let us see whether the former definition of faith can stand upon any other or better bottom than this of Antinomianism. For if the faith which justifies me be a firm belief and persuasion that my sins are remitted, it must follow, that my sins are remitted antecedently to that act of belief; forasmuch as the object must needs precede the act assent or belief being such an act as does not produce, but presuppose its object. But if my sins are not actually remitted before I
believe, how can I truly believe they are so? unless the believing of a false proposition can make it true; which would be a piece of logic as new as this divinity. Bellarmine indeed fixes this upon the doctrine of all the protestant churches, and much triumphs in the charge, but falsely and invidiously, and like a Jesuit, as (in spite of the character some have given him for learning and candour) he still shews himself upon this subject. For all the reformed churches (especially the church of England) disclaim it as a paradox in reason, a pest in morality, and an assertion so grossly absurd and contradictious, that not so much as the least shadow of an argument can be brought for it, unless "Credo, quia impossibile est," may pass for one, which it will hardly ever do, but in the case of transubstantiation.
2. A second principle, by which in all likelihood the devil may and will (as opportunity serves) impose upon the church, is by opposing" the power of godliness" irreconcileably to all forms. And what is this, but in another instance to confront subordinates, and to destroy the body, because the soul can subsist without it? But thus to sequester the divine worship from all external assistances, that by this means, forsooth, it may become wholly mental, and all spirit, is, no doubt, a notable fetch of the devil, who, we know, is all spirit himself, but never the less a devil for being so. On the contrary, we have rather cause to fear, that, in the strength of this pretence, the worship of Christ may be treated as Christ himself once was; that is, first be stripped, and then crucified. For would you know what the devil drives at in all this seemingly seraphic plea? Why, first he pleads, that a set service or liturgy for divine worship is superstition and formality; and then, that churches and a ministry are so too; and lastly, that the very letter of the scripture is but a mere form, (if so much,) and accordingly to be laid aside, as in Familism and Quakerism we have shewn it actually is. But then again some other shortsighted schismatics were for proceeding upon that doughty principle, that nothing ought to be allowed in the church or worship of God, but what is expressly enjoined in his written word: and accordingly in the strength thereof having run down several of the constitutions of the church of England, as forms and rules uncommanded in the scriptures, they soon had the same principle every whit as strongly, and more justly, retorted upon themselves by some of the brotherhood of another class, who (their interest leading them to carry the argument much farther) inferred from thence, that tithes were to be taken away too. But this, you will say, was a pinching, ill-natured inference; and therefore the Presbyterians themselves (who it seems could find matter,
as well as form, in the revenue, though none in the service of the church) not only granted, but stiffly contended also, that tithes were by all means to be continued and retained in the house of God; especially since they were so thoroughly convinced, that without them they could not keep their own. Now that certainly must needs be a very unkind and ungrateful principle, which starves the persons who maintain it; and a very weak one too, which affords no consequences but what make for its own confutation. It must be confessed, that "the power of godliness," so much and so often boasted of by some amongst us, has been a very plausible, well-sounding word; and many a foul fact has been committed under the splendid cover of it. But it is now high time to redeem truth from the slavery and cheat of words; and certainly that can never be imagined to be " the spirit or power of godliness," which teaches either to rob or desert the church, and shews itself in nothing but sacrilege and separation; it being, no doubt, a very odd and strange sort of" zeal for God's house, which eats it up ;" and a fire much likelier to come from hell than heaven, which consumes the altar itself. But,
3. The third and last principle which I shall mention, whereby Satan has so much disturbed and abused the world, and may (for ought appears to the contrary) do so again, is the ascribing such a kingdom to Christ, as shall oppose and interfere with the kingdoms and governments of the world. Christ is indeed our king, and it is our honour and happiness to be his subjects; but where a zealous rebellion destroys monarchy, it renders his greatest prerogative, which is to be "King of kings," impossible. There cannot, one would think, be a better design, or a more unexceptionable pretence, than to advance the sceptre of Christ in promoting the due authority of his church and yet even upon this the devil can forge such blessed maxims and conclusions as these:
1. That since Christ has two kingdoms in the world, one his providential over all things, as he is God; the other his mediatorial, belonging to him as head of his church, with a full subordination of the former to this latter, during this world; men are apt to reckon of kings as his vicegerents only in the administration of the former of these, but church-officers as his deputies for governing the latter; and consequently that the sceptre ought to submit to the keys, and Christ's providential kingdom to come under his mediatorial: a principle which the pope and some others (should opportunity serve) know how to make no small use of.
2. That these ecclesiastical deputies of Christ, by virtue of a power immediately derived from him, may meet together, and consult about church affairs, when and where
they shall think fit, in any part or place of their prince's dominions without his consent, and, if they shall judge it requisite, excommunicate him too. And then Buchanan tells the world, "that he who is thrown out of the church by excommunication is not worthy to live." And he might, if he had pleased, have told us also, in what soil such doctrines root deepest and thrive best.
ment than itself. For can we have a higher concern at stake, than our happiness in both worlds, or a subtler gamester to win it from us, than he who understands his game so perfectly well, that though he stakes nothing, yet never plays for less than all, in any of his temptations? Which being our case, should not he who is so wise as to see the danger he is in, be so wise also as not to cast the least pleasing look or glance upon any of his insidious offers? especially in their first addresses, when they paint and flatter most: considering that nothing ever flatters, but what is false; nor paints, but what, without it, would appear exceeding ugly. There cannot certainly be a greater and a juster reproach to an intelligent being, than to barter away glory and immortality for baubles and fancies, to lose paradise for an apple, to damn one's soul to please one's palate, and, in a word, to be tempted with such proposals as the proposer himself shall extremely scorn and laugh at us for accepting. For what is all this but the height of mockery as well as misery, the very "sting of death," and like being murdered (as the best of kings was) by a disguised executioner? For such an one the tempter ever was and will be; never accosting us with a smile, but he designs us a stab; nor on the other hand ever frighting those whom he would destroy. Such a course, he well knows, will not do his work; but that if he would attempt and ruin a man effectually, silence and suddenness are his surest ways; and he must take heed of giving an alarm, where he intends a surprise. No; we may be sure that he understands the arts of tempting too well not to know, that the less he appears, the more he is like to do; and that the tempter himself is no temptation. He is indeed an old, thorough paced, experienced sophister, and has ways to make the very natures and properties of things equivocate. He can, if need be, shroud a glutton in a fast, and a miser in a feast ; and though the very nature of swine hurries them into the foulest dirt and mire, yet, to serve a turn, we read, he can make them run as violently into the water.
3. That these ecclesiastical deputies of Christ have the sole cognizance and decisive power in all spiritual causes, and in all civil also in ordine ad spiritualia.
4. That a minister of Christ uttering any thing, though sedition or treason, in the execution of his ministerial office, and in the pulpit, is not to be accountable for it to any civil court, but only to the tribunal of Christ; to wit, the church, (or, in other words, to those who call themselves so ;) forasmuch as "the spirit of the prophets," they tell us, is to be "subject to," and judged by, "only the prophets."
5. That when religion is in danger, (of which they themselves are to be the sole judges,) they may engage in an oath or confederacy against the standing laws of the country which they are actually of and belong to, and then plead, that they cannot in conscience turn to the obedience required by those laws, because of the obligation of the said oath.
And now, if this be the grand charter and these the fundamental laws of Christ's kingdom, and the execution thereof be committed wholly to a sort of ecclesiastics, (and those made such by none but themselves,) it will in good earnest behove kiugs and princes to turn their thrones into stools of repentance; for, upon these terms, I know not where else they can expect to sit safe. As for the late troubles and confusions caused in these poor kingdoms by the same rebellious ferment, and carried on much more by black coats than by red, we shall find that they all moved by the spring of a few specious, abused words; such as "the Spirit," "Christian liberty," "the power of godliness," "the sceptre and kingdom of Jesus Christ," and the like. Touching which, it will be found no such strange or new thing for Satan to teach rebellion, as well as to manage a temptation, in scripture phrase. He can trepan a Jephthah into a vow and solemn oath, and then bind him, under fear of perjury, to perform it by a horrid and inhuman murder. And, in a word, by a bold and shameless pretence of God's cause, he can baffle and break through any of his commands.
And thus, at length, I have upon the matter despatched what I had to say upon this text and subject; a subject of such vast importance, that it would be but to upbraid any hearer, to enforce it by any further argu
Still his way is to amuse the world with shows and shadows, surface and outside; and thereby to make good that old maxim in philosophy, that in all that occurs to the eye, it is not substance, but only colour and figure, which we see. This has been his practice from the beginning, from the very infancy and nonage of the world to this day; but whatsoever it was then in those early times, shall we, whose lot has cast us upon these latter ages, and thereby set us upon their shoulders, giving us all the advantages of warning, and observations made to our hands, all the benefits of example, and the assurances of a long and various experience; shall we, I say, after all this, suffer ourselves to be fooled