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And to have done otherwise, had neither been shift for itself: but still those two stand best zeal nor discretion, but a kind of ridiculous by mutual support and communication, elocuand morose partiality. But,
tion without wisdom being empty and irra2. The other instance of the wisdom given tional, and wisdom without elocution barren by our Saviour to his apostles, was their reso and unprofitable. “ Præstat eloqui, modo lute opposing all doctrines and interests what cum prudentia, quam sine eloquio acutissime soever, so far as they stood in opposition to cogitare,” said the great master of eloquence. the gospel. They would not so much as hold A faculty to speak properly, and to act wisely, their peace in such a case, but their proceed was a legacy fit to be left by the Saviour of ing was absolute and peremptory,(Acts, v. 29,) the world to those, by whom he intended to “We ought to obey God rather than men.” instruct the world. And so much for the first And when a point of Christian liberty was general thing proposed from the words, to wit, endangered by the judaizing brethren, (Gal. the thing promised. I proceed now to the
“ We gave place to them,” (says the 2d, The person promising, who was Christ blessed Saint Paul,) “no, not for an hour.” himself: "I will give you a mouth and And we know how “ he withstood Saint wisdom.” I lay a peculiar stress and remark Peter himself to the face" upon the like occa upon this, because Christ seems by this very sion. We read also how the same apostle thing to give his disciples an assurance of his preached of justice and temperance before resurrection. He knew that it would not be Felix, who he notoriously knew lived in a long before they should see him crucified, lewd, incestuous marriage, and was equally killed, and laid in the grave, and so under all infamous for bribery and extortion.
the umbrages of weakness and mortality that And this undoubtedly was his wisdom, his human nature could undergo; but when high and apostolic wisdom; though had he again, in the midst of all this, they should indeed lived in such an age as measures con remember, that there was still a promise in science by latitude, and compliance and wis store, not yet fulfilled, and withal not capable dom by what a man can get, much another of being fulfilled by a person dead and extinct, kind of character would no doubt have at they must needs from thence have concluded tended him, and he would have been taxed that he could not abide in that condition, but as a wcak, hasty, and inconsiderate person, must irresistibly triumph over the grave, for reflecting upon and provoking the gover ascend and enter into a state of sovereignty nor, who had used him fairly and civilly; and glory. Every tongue which sat upon the so that if he had been but less free of his apostles at the day of Pentecost, spoke aloud tongue, and a little more free of his purse, he the resurrection and ascension of him who might in all likelihood have been very easily had promised, and then gave the same. For released, and perhaps preferred too; but now, surely they could not expect to receive gifts poor man, he has quite lost himself.
from above, while the giver of them was under Such would have been the descants of our ground. And so I proceed to the modern politics upon this occasion ; but after 3d, And last thing proposed from the text, all, if the word of truth itself may be heard, which was, to shew by what means Christ that, we shall find, knows no wisdom in an conferred those gifts upon his disciples and apostle, but what makes him bold and fear- apostles; and that, we find, was by the effizless in the cause of the church and of religion, sion of the Holy Ghost, the author and giver and ready to discharge a rebuke upon any of of every good and perfect gift, ministerial the highest rank of right worshipful or right gifts more especially. Those were endowhonourable sinners, where a scandalous guilt ments too great to spring either from the shall call for, or make it necessary; the con strength of nature or the force of industry. trary practice being incomparably the gros The conferring of which we have eminently sest of follies, and such as will be sure to set forth in Matt. x. 19, 20.
“ Take no lay man low enough in the next world, thought” (says our Saviour) “what ye shall whatsoever preferment it may raise him to speak: for it shall be given you in that same in this.
hour what ye shall speak." They were And thus we have seen here the full com- surely the first, and perhaps will be the last, pass of our Saviour's promise to his ministers who ever did or are like to speak so much and disciples, even the two most valuable sense and reason extempore. But the cause perfections of man's nature, and the very top is assigned in the next verse,
“ for it is not ye of the wisest of the heathens' wish, “ sapere that speak, but the Spirit of the Father et fari, - a mouth and wisdom," a sagacity which speaketh in you.” And this glorious of mind, and a command of speech. And he day, we know, informs us, that it spoke at bestows them also in their proper lustre and length with a witness, with fiery tongues, greatest advantage, that is to say, united, and and a flaming eloquence, and such an one as like two stars in conjunction; many indeed bore down all contradiction before it. This being able to bring mouth enough to the was the inspiration which filled and raised ministry, though as for wisdom, that may even them so much above themselves, for their
work was too big for a mere mortal strength ; church of Galatia (then but newly planted) and therefore, as God himself was to send, so could pass into so corrupt and degenerate si he was also to furnish out his own ambassa- condition as this epistle represents it in, let dors at the cost of heaven, (as I may with none be surprised to find the very grossest reverence express it.) The apostles, we find, errors sometimes got into the very best and were not (and that by our Saviour's particular purest churches, but wonder rather, that, order) to stir out of Jerusalem till the Holy after so many centuries since passed, there Ghost was come upon them, and then they should still be (abat our Saviour foretold went forth armed at all points, to encounter there should scarce be at his second coming) either Jew or Gentile, and they did it both such a thing as “ faith upon earth,” or indeed with courage and wisdom, and consequently any church at all. with triumph and success.
As for that of Galatia, the subject of the And accordingly we are to carry it in per text before us, and consisting of great numbers petual remembrance, that while the work of both of Jews and Gentiles, just converted to preaching the gospel continues in the world, Christianity, there arose a very early and (as he, who is truth itself, has assured us it fierce dispute amongst them, whether the ever will,) the Spirit will never be wanting Jewish customs and ceremonies were to be to the faithful preachers of it in a suitable joined with and adopted into the Christian assistance of them, though not in the same profession; and consequently, whether the measure, we own, in which the apostles were converted Gentiles ought not to be cireumassisted by it, whose work being peculiar and cised according to the law of Moses, as well extraordinary, their assistance was to be so as they had been baptized according to the too. Infallibility was in the apostles a real institution of Christ The Jewish converts
, privilege, but nowadays an insolent, or rather whose education had made them infinitely impudent pretence. And yet nothing is more fond of the Mosaic rites, and who, though confidently and constantly laid claim to, both they had the substance, still doted upon the by the papist and the enthusiast, than the shadow, even after they had given up their Spirit; but none certainly ever yet ventured vames to Christ, eagerly contended for the to speak lies and nonsense by the Spirit but continuance of circumcision, and that not themselves. To some of which persons indeed amongst themselves.only, but for obliging the the world may allow a sort of wisdom, but converted Gentiles also to the same. And in far from “ the wisdom which is from above;" this their error they chanced unhappily to be and a mouth too they are well known to have, the more confirmed by a temporizing practice but a mouth never so open to speak as to of Saint Peter himself, the great apostle of the devour. Christ defend his church from such circumcision ; who yet, (as great as he was,) inspired impostors, and vouchsafe bis mighty by judaizing in some things, and that even presence to all the true (though too much contrary to his own judgment, as well as to despised) ministers of it, according to the the truth of the gospel, (the text itself telling measure of that glorious promise, and the last us, in verses 12, 13 of this chapter, that it was uttered by him here on earth at his victorious indeed no better than downright dissimulaascension into heaven. “Go, teach all nations; tion,) he spread and carried the infection and, lo, I ain with you always, even unto the much farther by the authority of his example; end of the world.”
so that, by this his insincere dealing and To whom, therefore, with the Father, and compliance, he mightily fixed these half Christhe Holy Ghost, three persons and one God, tian Jews, not only in a confident persistance be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, all in their error, but gave them heart also to praise, might, majesty, aud dominion, both expostulate the matter very insolently even now and for evermore. Amen.
with Saint Paul himself, who, being by divine commission no less the apostle of the Gentiles than Saint Peter was of the Jews, with a
courage equal to his siucerity, both taught SERMON LX.
and practised quite otherwise than that his
brother apostle. Nay, so high did their THE FALSE METHODS OF GOVERNING judaizing impudence work, that they began
AND ESTABLISHING THE CHURCH OF to question the very truth of his doctrine, as ENGLAND EXPLODED, &c.
Saint Paul not obscurely intimates in chap. Ist of this epistle, verse 9. To all wbich they add
their no less rude reflections upon his apostle“ To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you."
ship, extolling Saint Peter and others as GALATIANS, ii. 6.
pillars, but undervaluing, Saint Paul, as
nothing in comparison of them. And lastly, If in the compass of so small a space as to complete these scurrilities, we have their from the first entrance of Christianity into vilifying reproaches of his person, their ridicuthe world to the times of the apostle Paul, the ling his bodily presence as mean, and his
speech as contemptible; and, in a word, him and never since (for what they could learn) self also as by no means so gifted a brother, forbidden by Christ; but rather so much the forsooth, so powerful an holderforth, nor of contrary, that to countenance, and, as it were, such edifying lungs and loudness, as some of even christen this ceremony, Christ submitted their own schismatical tribe.
to be circumcised himself? This, I say, was the language of a set of Now surely these things could not but schismatics in the church of Corinth, men carry some more than ordinary show of reason tioned in 2 Cor. x. 10; and the like, no doubt, with them; and I frankly declare, that I of the brotherhood in Galatia ; and not of cannot but own them for arguments much them only, but so long as there shall be more forcible against the abrogation of cirgovernors and government in the church, the cumcision, than any, that I could ever çet same, we may be sure, will be naturally the find our nonconformists were able to bring cry and virulence against them of all schis- for the abrogation of the ceremonies of our matics, sectaries, and dissenters whatsoever. church. And yet, as forcible as they were, or
But as to Saint Paul's case now before us, seemed to be, they had no other effect upon he, in his apostolic circuit or visitation, Saint Paul, than that with an inflexible coming to visit these hopeful converts in steadiness he rejects both the arguments Galatia, accompanied with his beloved Titus, themselves, and those who urged them; and (not indeed then circumcised,) finds himself upon a full cognizance of the merits of the very vehemently pressed by them, and that whole cause, he peremptorily withstands those with an importunity next to compulsion, to judaizing trimmers, and without the least have him circumcised also, according to the regard either to the occasional communion false persuasion they had conceived of the which Saint Peter himself had lately vouchnecessary and perpetual use of circumcision. safed them, or fear of his depriving power for Nevertheless, as false and confident as this doing so, (if he had any,) this high-church persuasion of theirs was, and as positively as apostle (as we may worthily call him) reit stood condemned by Saint Paul, it wanted solves neither “ to give place to him nor them, not for several arguments, and those, seem no, not for an hour.” ingly at least, not inconsiderable, to give This historical account of the occasion of colour to the defence of it. As, to instance in the words here pitched upon by me for my some of them, might not these Galatians have text, I thought necessary to premise, for the pleaded for the continuance of circumcision, better clearing and handling of them; in that Christ himself declared, that he came order to which I shall consider in them “not to destroy the law of Moses, but to fulfil these five particulars : it;" and if so, was not circumcision one of the 1. A fierce opposition made by some erronmost considerable parts of that law? and in eous Christians in the church of Galatia deed so considerable, as to be the grand obli- against Saint Paul, the great apostle of the gation to bind men to all the rest? Did not Gentiles, and consequently of prime authority also Christ command his own disciples to in that church. “ hear and to do whatsoever the Scribes taught 2. The cause of this opposition; which was them out of Moses's chair ?” And did those their importunate and unreasonable pressing Scribes teach or own any thing as more neces of him to the practice of a thing as necessary, sary than circumcision? Moreover, did not which neither was in itself necessary, nor so Saint Peter, who was the proper apostle of accounted by him. the circumcision, (as we have shewn,) agree 3. The way of their managing this oppoand concur with these men in this practice, sition, which was by bespattering his doctrine, or, at least, pot dissuade them from it? Nay, and detracting from the credit and authority and did not Saint Paul himself cause his be of his person, for withstanding these their loved Timothy to be circumcised? And if in encroaching demands. this matter there should be any difference 4. The way which the apostle took to deal between these two apostles, would not the with such violent encroachers, and that was advantage be clearly on Saint Peter's side, by "not yielding, or giving place to them, no, who, having conversed with Christ in the not for an hour." flesh, might rationally be presumed to know 6. and lastly, The end and design driven at
the true sense and design of the gospel more by the apostle in this his method of dealing | exactly than Saint Paul, who had not so con with them; and that was no less than the
versed with him; and consequently, that it very preservation of the gospel itself, in the must be much safer to adhere to the former, truth and purity of it, in those words, “that in this controversy, than to the latter? And, the truth of the gospel might continue with lastly, besides, and above all this, might they you." not plead themselves extremely scandalized, The sum of all which five particulars I grieved, and offended at the practice of such shall gather into this one proposition, which brethren as should lay aside circumcision, shall be the subject of the following discourse; which they were sure was at first commanded, namely, That the best and most apostolical
way to establish a church, and secure to it a is altogether as superstitious as the other, and lasting continuance of the truth and purity of as diametrically opposite to and destructive the gospel, is, for the governors and ministers of that Christian liberty, which Christ has thereof not to give place at all, or yield up the invested his church with. least lawful, received constitution of it, to the Which observation being thus premised, I demands or pretences of such as dissent or shall now enter upon the first general thing separate from it, though never so urging and proposed, to wit, to examine and consider the importunate.
several pretences alleged by dissenters for our This, I say, is a most plain, natural, undeni- quitting or giving up any of the constitutions able inference, from the words and practice of or customs of our church : and here I shall Saint Paul himself; and that in a case so like not pretend to recount them all in particular, ours in the church of England, that a liker but only at large, and as they are derivable can hardly be imagined. And accordingly I from, and reducible to, these three particulars : shall manage the prosecution of this proposi 1. The unlawfulness ; 2. The inexpediency; tion under these three general heads : and 3. and lastly, The pretended smallness
1. I shall examine and consider the pre-(as they word it) of the things excepted tences alleged by dissenters for our quitting, against ' by them.' Each of which I shal or yielding up, any of the rites, ceremonies, touch very briefly upon. And, or orders of our church.
1. For their leading plea of the unlawful2. I shall shew what are naturally like to ness of our ceremonies, grounded upon that be the consequences of such a yielding, or old, baffled argument, drawn from the unlawgiving them up. And,
fulness of will-worship, and the prohibition 3. And lastly, I shall shew what influence of adding to or detracting ought from the and efficacy a strict adherence to the consti word or worship of God, no other answer need tutions of our church, and an absolute refusal or can be given to it, than that which has to part with any of them, is like to have to been given over and over, namely, that our wards a lasting settlement of the same, and of ceremonies are not looked upon either af the truth and purity of the gospel amongst us. divine worship, or as any necessary essential
But before I enter upon a more particular part of it, but only as circumstances, and ex: discussion of any of these, I must premise this ternal appurtenances, for the more decent observation, as the ground and rule of all that performance of that worship : for that men I shall say upon this subject; namely, that should of their own will impose or use any the case is altogether the same of requiring, thing as the necessary worship of God, or add upon the account of conscience, the forbear- any thing to that worship as a necessary essenance of practices in themselves lawful, out of tial part of it, this questionless (as the fore a pretence of their unlawfulness; and of im- mentioned allegations sufficiently prove, and posing upon the
conscience practices in them- nobody, that I know of, denies) must needs selves not necessary, upon an allegation and be sinful; but if from hence it be affirmed also pretence of their necessity : which latter was that no circumstance is to be allowed about heretofore the case between Saint Paul and the divine worship, but what
is declared and those judaizing Galatians, as the former has enjoined by express Scripture, the consequence been, and still is, between the church of of that is so insufferably ridiculous, that it will England and the nonconformists. Now both extend to the making it unlawful for the church of these courses are really and equally super to appoint any stated place or hour for God's stitious : for though amongst us loudness and public worship, that it will reach also to the ignorance have still carried the charge and cry very taking away of pulpits, reading deska , against the ceremouies of our church, yet (as fonts, and everything else circumstantially a very learned divine* of our own has fully ministering to the discharge of divine service, proved in a sermon of his at a visitation) if not expressly mentioned and commanded this charge truly recoils upon our dissenters in the written word of God; and let these themselves, in the very point and matter now men, upon the foregoing principle, avoid the before us. For, as to urge the practice of a absurdity of this consequence, if they can)
. thing in its nature really indifferent, as a But it has been well remarked, that the truth part of God's worship, and for itself necessary is, those men do not really believe themselves, to be practised, (which the church of England while they thus plead against the ceremonies never did, nor does, in the injunction of any and orders of our church. For when a late of its ceremonies,) is properly superstitious; act of parliament required all persons in so, on the other side, to make it necessary to office, or designing to qualify themselves for abstain from practices in themselves lawful any office in the state, to receive the sacraand indifferent, (as the dissenters do, by ment according to the use and order of the alleging them to be sinful and unlawful, and church of England, (which we all know was consequently that to abstain from them is
to receive it kneeling) we find not that those part of our obedience to Almighty God,) this men, in such cases, "refused the doing of it
, * Bishop Sanderson,
(how idolatrous soever both now and then
they pretended it to be,) rather than quit the know, that God will not be served by halves, least office of gain which they actually had, but bé honoured by body as well as soul, (thé or miss of any which they were in pursuit of; whole man being less than enough, for all our which practice of theirs, had it been unlawful, solemn acts of devotion.) And so we come surely men of such tender consciences, as they
now to the own themselves to be of, would never have Third and last of their exceptions, grounded been brought to; forasmuch as not the least un- upon the smallness of the things excepted lawful thing ought to be done for the greatest against : to which also my answer is twofold: temporal advantage whatsoever : though it 1st, That these things being in themselves may be quite otherwise, I confess, with those lawful, and not only so, but also determined new lights, whose humour is their law, their by sufficient anthority, their smallness is so will their reason, and their interest their far from being a reason why we should refuse whole religion. And so to pass from hence and stand out against the use of them, that it to their
is an unanswerable argument, why they Second plea, to wit, of the inexpedience or should, without any demur, submit to and inconvenience of the said ceremonies in the comply with authority in matters which they divine worship; to which I answer these two themselves confess to be of no very great mothings:
ment. For it ought to be a very great and 1st, That expedient or inexpedient being words weighty matter indeed, which can warrant a of a general, indefinite sense or signification, man in his disobedience to the injunctions of and upon that account determinable chiefly lawful authority in any thing whatsoever. by the several fancies, humours, and apprehen- And that which is a reason why men should sions of men about one and the same thing, comply with their governors, I am sure can (so that what is judged expedient by ope be no reason why their governors should give man is often judged as inexpedient by place to them. But, another ;) the judgment of expedient or in 2dly, I add farther, that nothing actually expedient in matters to be passed into law, enjoined by law is or ought to be looked upon ought in all reason to rest wholly in the as small or little, as to the use or forbearance legislators and governors of any community; of it, during the continuance of that law, nor and consequently, that no private persons yet as a sufficient reason for the abrogation of whatsoever ought to be looked upon as com that law; since, be the thing never so small petent judges of the inexpedience of that in itself, yet being by great deliberation first which the legislative power has once enacted established, and for a long time since received and established as expedient. But, 2dly, I in the church, and contended for with real affirm also, that what is not only in itself and great reason on the one side, be the lawful, but likewise highly conducible to so reasons never so plausible (which yet hithergreat a concern of religion, as decency and to does not appear) on the other, yet the conorder in divine worship certainly is, and that sequence of a change cannot be accounted to such a degree conducible to the same, that small, since it is certainly very hazardous at without it neither order nor decency could best, and doubtful what mischief such a chauge possibly continue or subsist ; that surely can may occasion, how far it may proceed, and not, ought not to be reckoned inexpedient where it may end; especially since the experiupon any contrary account, considerable ence of all governments has made it evident, enough to be compared with, and much less that there was hardly ever any thing altered to overbalance that great one of order and in any settled estate, which was not followed regularity in our addresses to Almighty God; by farther and farther alterations, and several which I'affirm the ceremonies used by our inconveniences attending those alterations, church are most properly subservient to. For unforeseen indeed at first, but such as, in the since the outward acts of divine worship can event, made too great impressions upon the not be performed, but with some circumstances public to be accounted either small or inconand postures of the body, either every man siderable. inust be left to his own arbitrement to use These exceptions therefore being thus stript what circumstances and postures he pleases, or of their plausibility and force too, and returna rule must be fixed to direct these things after ed upon the makers of them, it follows that one and the same manner : the former of notwithstanding all the late barangues conwhich will of necessity infer great diversity cerning our differing in lesser things, (as the and variety in the discharge of the divine phrase still goes,) and our contending about worship; and that, by as great a necessity, shadows, and the like, made by some amongst will infer such a disorder, indecency, and us, who would fain be personally popular at confusion in the same, as nothing but a uni- the cost of the public, and build themselves a formity in the behaviour and circumstances reputation with the rabble upon the ruins of of all persons joining in that worship can that nurch, which all the obligations of possibly prevent: an argument, no doubt, oaths and gratitude they are bound to support, worth the consideration of all, who must needs as (I am sure) that supports them ; it follows,