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English, and some other little authors, the usual furniture of old women's closets, they have set forth as accomplished divines, and forthwith they present themselves to the service; and there have not been wanting Jeroboams as willing to consecrate and receive them, as they to offer themselves. And this has been one of the most fatal and almost irrecoverable blows that has been given to the ministry.
continued amongst us in another guise, is not unknown for has not learning unqualified men for approbation to the ministry? have not parts and abilities been reputed enemies to grace, and qualities no ways ministerial? while friends, faction, well-meaning, and little understanding, have been accomplishments beyond study and the university; and to falsify a story of conversion, beyond pertinent answers and clear resolutions to the hardest and most concerning questions. So that matters have been brought to this pass, that if a man amongst his sons had any blind, or disfigured, he laid him aside for the ministry; and such an one was presently approved, as having a mortified countenance. In short, it was a fiery furnace, which often approved dross, and rejected gold. But thanks be to God, those spiritual wickednesses are now discharged from their high places. Hence it was, that many rushed into the ministry, as being the only calling that they could profess without serving an apprenticeship. Hence also we had those that could preach sermons, but not defend them. The reason of which is clear, because the works and writings of learned men might be borrowed, but not the abilities. Had indeed the old Levitical hierarchy still continued, in which it was part of the ministerial office to slay the sacrifices, to cleanse the vessels, to scour the flesh-forks, to sweep the temple, and carry the filth and rubbish to the brook Kidron, no persons living had been fitter for the ministry, and to serve in this nature at the altar. But since it is made a labour of the mind, as to inform men's judgments, and move their affections, to resolve difficult places in Scripture, to decide and clear off controversies; I cannot see how to be a butcher, scavenger, or any other such trade, does at all qualify or prepare men for this work. But, as unfit as they were, yet to clear a way for such into the ministry, we have had almost all sermons full of gibes and scoffs at human learning. Away with vain philosophy, with the disputer of this world, and the enticing words of man's wisdom, and set up the foolishness of preaching, the simplicity of the Gospel :" thus divinity has been brought in upon the ruins of humanity, by forcing the words of the Scripture from the sense, and then haling them to the worst of drudgeries, to set a jus divinum upon ignorance and imperfection, and recommend natural weakness for supernatural grace. Hereupon the ignorant have took heart to venture upon this great calling, and instead of cutting their way to it, according to the usual course, through the knowledge of the tongues, the study of philosophy, school divinity, the fathers and councils, they have taken another and a shorter cut: and having read perhaps a treatise or two upon the Heart, the Bruised Reed, the Crumbs of Comfort, Wollebius in
And this may suffice concerning the second way of embasing God's ministers: namely, by intrusting the ministry with raw, unlearned, ill-bred persons; so that what Solomon speaks of a proverb in the mouth of a fool, the same may be said of the ministry vested in them, that it is like a "pearl in a swine's snout."
2. I proceed now to the second thing proposed in the discussion of this doctrine, which is, to shew how the embasing of the ministers tends to the destruction of religion.
This it does two ways,—
(1.) Because it brings them under exceeding scorn and contempt; and then, let none think religion itself secure: for the vulgar have not such logical heads, as to be able to abstract such subtile conceptions as to separate the man from the minister, or to consider the same person under a double capacity, and so honour him as a divine, while they despise him as poor. But suppose they could, yet actions cannot distinguish as conceptions do; and, therefore, every act of contempt strikes at both, and unavoidably wounds the ministry through the sides of the minister. And we must know, that the least degree of contempt weakens religion, because it is absolutely contrary to the nature of it, religion properly consisting in a reverential esteem of things sacred. Now, that which in any measure weakens religion, will at length destroy it : for the weakening of a thing is only a partial destruction of it. Poverty and meanness of condition expose the wisest to scorn, it being natural for men to place their esteem rather upon things great than good; and the poet observes, that this infelix paupertas has nothing in it more intolerable than this, that it renders men ridiculous. And then, how easy and natural it is for contempt to pass from the person to the office-from him that speaks, to the thing that he speaks of, experience proves : counsel being seldom valued so much for the truth of the thing, as the credit of him that gives it. Observe an excellent passage to this purpose in Eccles. ix. 14, 15. We have an account of a little city, with few men in it, besieged by a great and potent king, and in the fifteenth verse, we read, that "there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city." A worthy service indeed, and certainly we may expect that some honourable recompense should follow it; a deliverer of his country, and that in such distress, could not but be advanced: but we
find a contrary event in the next words of the same verse, "yet none remembered that same poor man." "Why, what should be the reason? Was he not a man of parts and wisdom? and is not wisdom honourable? Yes, but he was poor. But was he not also successful as well as wise? True; but still he was poor: and once grant this, and you cannot keep off that unavoidable sequel in the next verse, 66 "the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard." We may believe it upon Solomon's word, who was rich as well as wise, and therefore knew the force of both and probably, had it not been for his riches, the queen of Sheba would not have come so far only to have heard his wisdom. Observe her behaviour when she came: though upon the hearing of Solomon's wisdom, and the resolution of her hard questions, she expressed a just admiration; yet when Solomon afterwards shewed her his palace, his treasures, and the temple which he had built, (1 Kings, x. 5,) it is said, "there was no more spirit in her." What was the cause of this? Certainly, the magnificence, the pomp and splendour of such a structure: it struck her into an ecstasy beyond his wise answers. She esteemed this as much above his wisdom, as astonishment is above bare admiration: she admired his wisdom, but she adored his magnificence. So apt is the mind, even of wise persons, to be surprised with the superficies, or circumstances of things, and value or undervalue spirituals, according to the manner of their external appearance. When circumstances fail, the substance seldom long survives: clothes are no part of the body; yet take away clothes, and the body will die. Livy observes of Romulus, that being to give laws to his new Romans, he found no better way to procure an esteem and reverence to them, than by first procuring it to himself by splendour of habit and retinue, and other signs of royalty. And the wise Numa, his successor, took the same course to enforce his religious laws, namely, by giving the same pomp to the priest, who was to dispense them. "Sacerdotem creavit, insignique eum veste, et curuli regia sella adornavit;" that is, he adorned him with a rich robe, and a royal chair of state. And in our judicatures, take away the trumpet, the scarlet, the attendance, and the lordship, which would be to make justice naked as well as blind, and the law would lose much of its terror, and consequently of its authority. Let the minister be abject and low, his interest inconsiderable, the word will suffer for his sake: the message will still find reception according to the dignity of the messenger. Imagine an ambassador presenting himself in a poor frieze jerkin and tattered clothes, certainly he would have but small audience, his embassy would speed rather according to the weakness of him that brought,
than the majesty of him that sent it. It will fare alike with the ambassadors of Christ, the people will give them audience according to their presence. A notable example of which we have in the behaviour of some to Paul himself, (1 Cor. x. 10.) Hence in the Jewish church it was cautiously provided in the law, that none that was blind or lame, or had any remarkable defect in his body, was capable of the priestly office; because these things naturally make a person contemned, and this presently reflects upon the function. This, therefore, is the first way by which the low despised condition of the ministers tends to the destruction of the ministry and religion; namely, because it subjects their persons to scorn, and consequently their calling; and it is no imaginable that men will be brought to obey what they cannot esteem.
(2.) The second way by which it tends to the ruin of the ministry is, because it discourages men of fit parts and abilities from undertaking it. And certain it is, that as the calling dignifies the man, so the man much more advances his calling: as a garment, though it warms the body, has a return with an advantage, being much more warmed by it. And how often a good cause may miscarry without a wise manager, and the faith for want of a defender, is, or at least may be known. It is not the truth of an assertion, but the skill of the disputant, that keeps off a baffle; not the justness of a cause, but the valour of the soldiers, that must win the field: when a learned Paul was converted, and undertook the ministry, it stopped the mouths of those that said, None but poor weak fishermen preached Christianity; and so his learning silenced the scandal, as well as strengthened the church. Religion, placed in a soul of exquisite knowledge and abilities, as in a castle, finds not only habitation, but defence. And what a learned foreign divine* said of the English preaching, may be said of all, "Plus est in artifice quàm in arte." So mucli of moment is there in the professors of any thing, to depress or raise the profession. What is it that kept the Church of Rome strong, athletic, and flourishing for so many centuries, but the happy succession of the choicest wits engaged to her service by suitable preferments? And what strength, do we think, would that give to the true religion, that is able thus to establish a false? Religion in a great measure stands or falls according to the abilities of those that assert it. And if, as some observe, men's desires are usually as large as their abilities, what course have we took to allure the former, that we might engage the latter to our assistance? But we have took all ways to affright and discourage scholars from looking towards this sacred calling for will men lay out their wit and ⚫ Gaspar Streso.
judgment upon that employment, for the undertaking of which both will be questioned? Would men, not long since, have spent toilsome days and watchful nights, in the laborious quest of knowledge preparative to this work, at length to come and dance attendance for approbation, upon a junto of petty tyrants, acted by party and prejudice, who denied fitness from learning, and grace from morality? Will a man exhaust his livelihood upon books, and his health, the best part of his life, upon study, to be at length thrust into a poor village, where he shall have his due precariously, and entreat for his own; and when he has it, live poorly and contemptibly upon it, while the same or less labour, bestowed upon any other calling, would bring not only comfort, but splendour, not only maintenance, but abundance? It is, I confess, the duty of ministers to endure this condition; but neither religion nor reason does oblige either them to approve, or others to choose it. Doubtless, parents will not throw away the towardness of a child, and the expense of education, upon a profession, the labour of which is increased, and the rewards of which are vanished; to condemn promising, lively parts to contempt and penury in a despised calling, what is it else but the casting of a Moses into the mud, or offering a son upon the altar; and instead of a priest, to make him a sacrifice? Neither let any here reply, that it becomes not a ministerial spirit to undertake such a calling for reward; for they must know, that it is one thing to undertake it for a reward, and not to be willing to undertake it without one. It is one thing to perform good works only that we may receive the recompense of them in heaven, and another thing not to be willing to follow Christ and forsake the world, if there were no such recompense. But besides, suppose it were the duty of scholars to choose this calling in the midst of all its discouragements; yet a prudent governor, who knows it to be his wisdom as well as his duty, to take the best course to advance religion, will not consider men's duty, but their practice; not what they ought to do, but what they use to do and therefore draw over the best qualified to his service, by such ways as are most apt to persuade and induce men. Solomon built his temple with the tallest cedars and surely, when God refused the defective and the maimed for sacrifice, we canot think that he requires them for the priesthood. When learning, abilities, and what is excellent in the world, forsake the church, we may easily foretell its ruin, without the gift of prophecy. And when ignorance succeeds in the place of learning, weakness in the room of judgment, we may be sure heresy and confusion will quickly come in the room of religion; for undoubtedly there is no way so effectual to betray the truth, as to procure it a weak defender.
Well now, instead of raising any particular uses from the point that has been delivered, let us make a brief recapitulation of the whole. Government, we see, depends upon religion, and religion upon the encouragement of those that are to dispense and assert it. For the farther evidence of which truths, we need not travel beyond our own borders; but leave it to every one impartially to judge, whether, from the very first day that our religion was unsettled, and church government flung out of doors, the civil government has ever been able to fix upon a sure foundation. We have been changing even to a proverb. The indignation of heaven has been rolling and turning us from one form to another, till at length such a giddiness seized upon government, that it fell into the very dregs of sectaries, who threatened an equal ruin both to minister and magistrate; and how the state has sympathized with the church is apparent. For have not our princes as well as our priests been of the lowest of the people? Have not cobblers, draymen, mechanics, governed, as well as preached? Nay, have not they by preaching come to govern? Was ever that of Solomon more verified, "that servants have rid, while princes and nobles have gone on foot?" But God has been pleased by a miracle of mercy to dissipate this confusion and chaos, and to give us some openings, some dawnings of liberty and settlement. But now, let not those who are to rebuild our Jerusalem think that the temple must be built last for if there be such a thing as a God and religion, as, whether men believe it or no, they will one day find and feel, assuredly he will stop our liberty, till we restore him his worship. Besides, it is a senseless thing in reason, to think that one of these interests can stand without the other, when in the very order of natural causes, government is preserved by religion. But to return to Jeroboam, with whom we first began. He laid the foundation of his government in destroying, though doubtless he coloured it with the name of reforming, God's worship: but see the issue. Consider him cursed by God, maintaining his usurped title by contínual vexatious wars against the kings of Judah; smote in his posterity, which was made like the dung upon the face of the earth, as low and vile as those priests whom he had employed: consider him branded, and made odious to all after ages: and now, when his kingdom and glory was at an end, and he and his posterity rotting under ground, and his name stinking above it, judge what a worthy prize he made in getting of a kingdom, by destroying the church. Wherefore the sum of all is this; to advise and desire those whom it may concern, to consider Jeroboam's punishment, and then they will have little heart to Jeroboam's sin.
THE DUTIES OF THE EPISCOPAL FUNCTION.
Preached at Lambeth Chapel, on the 25th of November, 1666, upon the Consecration of the Right Reverenl Father in God, Dr John Dolben, Lord Bishop of Rochester.
TO THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
JOHN, LORD BISHOP OF ROCHESTER,
DEAN OF THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF WESTMINSTER, AND CLERK OF THE CLOSET TO HIS MAJESTY.
MY LORD, Though the interposal of my Lord of Canterbury's command for the publication of this mean discourse may seem so far to determine as even to take away my choice, yet I must own it to the world, that it is solely and entirely my own inclination, seconded by my obligations to your lordship, that makes this, that was so lately an humble attendant upon your lordship's conse cration, now ambitious to consecrate itself with your lordship's name. It was my honour to have lived in the same college with your lordship, and now to belong to the same cathedral, where at present you credit the church as much by your government, as you did the school formerly by your wit. Your lordship even then grew up into a constant superiority above others, and all your after-greatness seems but a paraphrase upon those promising beginnings; for whatsoever you are, or shall be, has been but an easy prognostic from what you were. It is your lordship's unhappiness to be cast upon an age in which the church is in its wane; and if you do not those glorious things that our English prelates did two or three hundred years since, it is not because your lordship is at all less than they, but because the times are worse. Witness those magnificent buildings in Christ Church in Oxford, begun and carried on by your lordship, when by your place you governed, and by your wisdom increased the treasure of that college; and, which must eternally set your fame above the reach of envy and detraction, these great structures you attempted at a time when you returned poor and bare to a college as bare, after a long persecution, and before you had laid so much as one stone in the repairs of your own fortunes; by which incomparably high and generous undertaking, you have shewn the world how fit a person you are to build upon Wolsey's foundation, a prelate whose great designs you imitate, and whose mind you equal. Briefly, that Christ Church stands so high above ground, and that the church of Westminster lies not flat upon it, is your lordship's commendation. And therefore your lordship is not behindhand with the church, paying it as much credit and support as you receive from it; for you owe your promotion to your merit, and, I am sure, your merit to yourself. All men court you, not so much because a great person, as a public good. For, as a friend, there is none so hearty, so nobly warm and active to make good all the offices of that endearing relation; as a patron, none more able to oblige and reward your dependents, and, which is the crowning ornament of power, none more willing; and lastly, as a diocesan, you are like even to outdo yourself in all other capacities, and, in a word, to exemplify and realize every word of the following discourse, which is here most humbly and gratefully presented to your lordship by your lordship's most obliged servant,
From ST JAMES'S, Dec. 3, 1666.
These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
Ir may possibly be expected, that the very taking of my text out of this Epistle to Titus, may engage me in a discourse about the nature, original, and divine right of episcopacy; and if it should, it were no more than what some of the greatest and the learnedest persons in the world (when men served truth instead of design) had done before: for I must profess, that I cannot look upon Titus as so far unbishoped yet, but that he still exhibits to us all the essentials of that jurisdiction, which to this day is claimed for episcopal. We are told in the fifth verse of the first chapter, "that he was left in Crete to set things in order, and to ordain elders in every city;" which text one would think were sufficiently clear and full, and too big with evidence to be perverted: but when we have seen rebellion commented out of the thirteenth of the Romans; and since there are few things but admit of gloss and probability, and consequently may be expounded as well as disputed on both sides; it is no such wonder, that some would bear
the world in hand, that the apostle's design and meaning is for presbytery, though his words are all the time for episcopacy: no wonder, I say, to us at least, who have conversed with too many strange unparalleled actions, occurrences, and events, now to wonder at any thing: wonder is from surprise; and surprise ceases upon experience.
I am not so much a friend to the stale starched formality of preambles, as to detain so great an audience with any previous discourse extrinsic to the subject matter and design of the text; and therefore I shall fall directly upon the words, which run in the form of an exhortation, though in appearance a very strange one; for the matter of an exhortation should be something naturally in the power of him to whom the exhortation is directed. For no man exhorts another to be strong, beautiful, witty, or the like; these are the felicities of some conditions, the object of more wishes, but the effects of no man's choice. Nor seems there any greater reason for the apostle's exhorting Titus, that no man should despise him; for how could another man's action be his duty? Was it in his power that man should not be wicked and injurious; aud
if such persons would despise him, could any thing pass an obligation upon him not to be despised? No, this cannot be the meaning; and therefore it is clear that the exhortation lies not against the action itself, which is only in the despiser's power, but against the just occasion of it, which is in the will and power of him that is despised: it was not in Titus's power that men should not despise him, but it was in his power to bereave them of all just cause of doing so; it was not in his power not to be derided, but it was in his power not to be ridiculous.
a man a kind of prerogative; for even in the common dialect of the world every teacher is called a master: it is the property of instruction to descend, and upon that very account, it supposes him that instructs, the superior, or at least makes him so.
II. Of the means to facilitate and make effectual their execution.
I. The duties of his place were two,-1. To teach. 2. To rule. Both comprised in these words; "These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority."
And then the means, the only means to make him successful, bright, and victorious in the performance of these great works, was to be above contempt, to shine like the Baptist, with a clear and a triumphant light. In a word, it is every bishop's duty to teach and to govern; and his way to do it is not to be despised.
We will discourse of each respectively in
In all this epistle it is evident that Saint Paul looks upon Titus as advanced to the dignity of a prime ruler of the church, and intrusted with a large diocese, containing many particular churches under the imme-guish, but rather to inflame, the charity of the diate government of their respective elders; teacher: for since it is not in men as in and those deriving authority from his ordina- vessels, that the smallest capacity is the soonest tion, as was specified in the fifth verse of the filled; where the labour is doubled, the value first chapter. And now, looking upon Titus of the work is enhanced; for it is a sowing under this qualification, he addresses a long where a man never expects to reap any thing advice and instruction to him, for the discharge but the comfort and conscience of having done of so important a function, all along the first virtuously. And yet we know moreover, that and second chapters; but sums up all in the God sometimes converts even the dull and the last verse, which is the subject of the ensuing slow, turning very stones into sons of Abradiscourse, and contains in it these two ham; where, besides that the difficulty of the things, conquest advances the trophy of the conqueror, it often falls out, that the backward learner makes amends another way, recompensing sure for sudden, expiating his want of docility with a deeper and a more rooted retention; which alone were argument sufficient to enforce the apostle's injunction of being instant in season and out of season, even upon the highest and most exalted ruler in the church. He that sits in Moses's chair, sits there to instruct, as well as to rule and a general's office engages him to lead, as well as to command his army. In the first of Ecclesiastes, Solomon represents himself both as preacher and king of Israel: and every soul that a bishop gains is a new accession to the extent of his power; he preaches his jurisdiction wider, and enlarges his spiritual diocese, as he enlarges men's apprehensions.
I. An account of the duties of his place or office.
The teaching part indeed of a Romish bishop is easy enough, whose grand business is only to teach men to be ignorant, to instruct them how to know nothing, or, which is all one, to know upon trust, to believe implicitly, and in a word, to see with other men's eyes, till they come to be lost in their own souls. But our religion is a religion that dares to be understood; that offers itself to the search of the inquisitive, to the inspection of the severest and the most awakened reason: for, being secure of her substantial truth and purity, she knows, that for her to be seen and looked into, is to be embraced and admired: as there needs no greater argument for men to love the light, than to see it, it needs no legends, no service in an unknown tongue, no inquisition against
1. And first, for the first branch of the great work incumbent upon a church ruler, which is to teach. A work that none is too great or too high for; it is a work of charity, and charity is the work of heaven, which is always laying itself out upon the needy and the impotent: nay, and it is a work of the highest and the noblest charity; for he that teacheth another, gives an alms to his soul; he clothes the nakedness of his understanding, and relieves the wants of his impoverished reason: he, indeed, that governs well, leads the blind; but he that teaches gives him eyes: and it is a glorious thing to have been the repairer of a decayed intellect, and a sub-worker to grace, in freeing it from some of the inconveniencies of original sin. It is a benefaction that gives
To say a man is advanced too high to condescend to teach the ignorant, is as much as to say, that the sun is in too high a place to shine upon what is below it. The sun is said to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night: but do they not rule them only by enlightening them? Doctrine is that which must prepare men for discipline; and men never go on so cheerfully, as when they see where they go.
Nor is the dulness of the scholar to extin