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Church: the bells of warlike horses shall be turned to the quiet use of religion; there is the religious Peace of the Church: The pots to seethe in, shall be as bowls, to offer up incense in; there are the degrees of the Church's Perfection: so that here arise Four Heads of our speech; the PROFICIENCY, SANCTIFICATION, PEACE, PERFECTION OF THE CHURCH. Als which crave your gracious and Christian attention; or, lest I be too long, two of them only.
1. When therefore shall this be fulfilled ? Not under the Law. It had been a great profanation: for none but the High Priest might wear this posy. The place ofttimes disparages; as to put the ark of God into a cart, or to set it by Dagon.
It is under the Gospel, that this posy of Holiness shall be so common; in illá die ; and this is that day. How great is this PROFICIENCY of the Church! Look how much difference there is between one and many, between the holiest of men and an ordinary beast, between the frontal of the high priest and the bells of horses, so much there must be betwixt the Church in that day and in this. It is the fashion of the true Church, to grow up still, from worse to better; as it is said of the head of the Church, Crescebat et corroborabatur. As it is compared to stones for firmness, so to grafts for growth; yea, the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard-seed, that, of the least seed, proves the greatest plant in his kind. The river of God flows first up to the ancles, then to the knees, and at last to the chin,
The Church was an embryo, til Abraham's time; in swathingbands, till Moses; in childhood, till Christ; a man, in Christ; a man full-grown, in glory. As man is an epitome of the world, so is every Christian an abridgement of the Church; best at last; In illá die.. He is like to the feast of Cana, where the best wine was brought in last; not naturally, but by transmutation. It was a blasphemous, and, methinks, a Vorstian reason, that Tostatus brings, why God did not create the voices out of the Propitiatory, Quia Deus non potest agere per successionem : surely in us he doth; and, as we can do nothing, in instante, no more doth God in us.
As in the Creation, he could have made all at once, but he would take days for it; so in our re-creation by grace: as natural, so spiritual agents, do agere per moram. That rule of Aquinas is sure, Successivorum non simul est esse et perfectio : to which that accords of Tertullian, Perfectio ordine post-humat..There must be an illa dies, for our full stature; till which, if we be true Christians, we must grow from strength to strength : herein grace is contrary to nature, strongest at lastWe must change till then, but in melius, till we come to our best; and then, we must be like him, in whom is no shadow by turning.
But, where we should be like the Sun till noon, ever rising; there be many like Hezekiah's sun, that go back many degrees in the dial; whose beginnings are like Nero's first five years, full of hope and peace; or, like the first month of a new servant; or, like unto the four ages, whose first was gold, the last iron; or, to Nebuchadpezzar's inage, which had a precious head but base feet. Look to yourselves: this is a fearful sign, a fearful condition. Can he ever be rich, that grows every day poorer? Can he ever reach the goal, that goes every day a step back from it ? Alas, then, how shall he ever reach the goal of glory, that goes every day a step backward in grace? He, that is worse every day, can never be at his best, In illâ die, In that day.
II. Hitherto the Proficiency; The SANCTIFICATION follows, The Mosaical Law was scrupulous: there were unholy places, unholy garments, persons, beasts, fowls, vessels, touches, tastes. Under the Gospel, all is holy. All was made unholy, when the First Adam sinned: when the Second Adam satisfied for sin, all was made holy. Moses, the servant, built his house, with a TÒ MECOTOXOV Opayu8; Eph. ii. 14; a partition wall in the midst : Christ, the Son, pulled down that screen, and cast all into one áu Dótepe év: Jews and Gentiles, whole hoofs and eloven, dwell now both under a roof. Moses branded some creatures with uncleanness: He, that redeemed his children from moral impurity, redeemed his creatures from legal. What should St. Peter's great sheet let down by four corners teach us, but that all creatures, through the four corners of the world, are clean and holy? St. Paul proclaims the sum of Peter's vision; Omnia munda inundis.
It is an injurious scrupulousness, to make differences of creatures; injurious to God, to the creature, to ourselves: to God, while we will not let him serve himself of his ownl; to the crea. ture, while we pour that shame upon it which God never did; to ourselves, while we bring ourselves into bondage, where God hath enlarged us. When Julian had poisoned the wells, and shambles, and fields, with his heathenish Lustrations, the Christians, saith Theodoret, ate freely of all, by virtue of Paul's, Quicquid in macello,
To let pass the idle curiousness of our Semi-Anabaptists, of the separation; at whose folly, if any man be disposed to make himself sport, let him read the tragicomical relation of the Troubles and Excommunication of the English at Amsterdam. There shall he see such wars waged betwixt brothers, for but a busk, or whale, bone, or lace, or cork-shoe, as if all Law and Gospel stood upon this point; as if heaven and earth were little enough to be mingled in this quarrel; Nec gemino bellum Trojanum.
To pass over all other lighter niceness of this kind; who can chuse but be ashamed of the Church of Rome; which is here in a double extremity, both gross : in denying, wiping out holiness, where God hath written it; and in writing it, where God hath not written it.
In the first : how do they drive out devils out of good creatures, by foolish esorcisms! I would he were no more in themselves. How do they forbid meats, drinks, days, marriage which God hath written holy! He, that reads Navar's “Manual,” shall find choleric blasphemy, a venial sin; p. 91: some theft, venial; p. 140: common lying, venial; p. 191: cursing of parents, if not malicious, venial; p. 100 : and yet, in the same author, (chap. xxi. nu. 11. p. 209,) to eat of a forbidden dish, or an allowed dish more than once on a forbidden day, is a mortal sin. And now these venials, saith Francis à Victoria, by a pater-noster, or sprinkling of holy water, or knock of the breast are cleared; but that mortal eater is évoxos ty upíoel, guilty of judgment, yea, of hell itself: Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites; which prate of Peter's chair, but will never take out Peter's lesson, That, which God hath sanctified, pollute thou not.
In the other: what holiness do they write in religious cowls, altars, reliques, ashes, candles, oils, salts, waters, ensigns, roses, words, grains, Agnus Dei, medals, and a world of such trash! so much, that they have left none in themselves. Let me have no faith, if ever playbook were more ridiculous, than their Pontifical, and Book of Holy Ceremonies. It is well, that Jerome reads these words, super frænum, not super tintinnabulum : else, what a rule should we have had; though he had said, equorum, not templorum! What comparisons would have been! If Holiness to the Lord must be written on the Bells of Horses, much more on the Bells of Churches. What a colour would this have been for the washing, anointing, blessing, christening of them! What a warrant for driving away devils, chasing of ghosts, stilling of tempests, staying of thunders, yea delivering from temptations, which the Pontifical ascribes to them! By whose account, there should be more virtue in this piece of metal, than in their Holy Father himself; yea, than in any Angel of Heaven. But their Vulgate bridles them in this, which reads it, super frænum; which some superstitious man would say were fulfilled in Constantine's snaffle, made of the nails that pierced Christ.
How worthy are they, in the mean time, of the whip, not of men only but of God, which thus, in a ridiculous presumption, write holiness, where God would have a blank; and wipe out holiness, where God hath written it!
For us, there is a double holiness; for Use, for Virtue: all things are holy to us for use; nothing is holy for virtue of sanctification, but those things which God hath sanctified to this virtue; his Word, his Sacraments. We may use the other, and put no holiness in them; we must use these, and expect holiness from them : s'dèy nouvòv, Nothing unclean, is Peter's rule; but with Paul's explication, munda mundis. All things are clean in themselves; to thee they are not clean, unless thou be clean. Mine own clothes shall make me filthy, saith Job; ix. 31. Many a one may say so, more justly. The proud man's gay coat, the wanton woman's beastly fashions, both shew them to be unclean, and make them so. But the lewd man makes his own clothes, filthy: his meats, drinks, sports, garments, are unclean to him; because he is unclean to God: they are cursed to him; because he is cursed of God: God hath written on the outside of his creatures, “ Holy to the Lord : we write on the inside, “ Unholy to men;" because our outside, and inside, is unholy to God: yea, we do not only deface this in
scription of holiness in other creatures to us, but we will not let God write it upon us, for himself.
O our misery and shame! All things else are holy; Men, Christians are unholy. There is no impurity, but where is reason, and faith, the grounds of holiness. How oft would God have written this title upon our foreheads ! and, ere he can have written one full word, we blot out all. One swears it away, another drinks it away, a third scoffs it away, a fourth riots it away, a fifth swaggers it away; and, I would to God it were uncharitable to say, that there is as much holiness in the bridles of the horses, as in some of their riders. O ho iness, the riches of the Saints, the beauty of Angels, the delight of God, whither hast thou withdrawn thyself? where should we find thee, if not among Christians ? and yet how can we be, or be named Christians, without thee? I see some, that are afraid to be too holy: and I see but some, that fear to be too profane.
We are all Saints ; naytou ávio, i Cor. i. 2: all, by calling; and some, but by calling; by calling of men, not of God: as the Church of Rome hath some Saints, which are questioned whether ever they were in nature; others, whether they be not in hell; burning tapers to them on earth, to whom perhaps the fiends light firebrands below. As Casarius, the monk, brings in Petrus Cantor and Roger the Norman disputing the case of Becket; so we have many titular Saints, few real; many, which are written in red letters in the calendar of the world, “ Holy to the Lord," whom God never canonizes in heaven, and shall once entertain with a Nescio, I know you not. These men yet have holiness written upon them; and are like, as Lucian compares his Grecians, to a fair, gilt, bossed book : look within, there is the Tragedy of Thyestes, or perhaps Arrius's Thalia; the name of a muse, the matter hetesy; or Conradus Vorstius's late monster, that hath De Deo in the front, and atheism and blasphemy in the text. As St. Paul says to his Corinthians, Would God ye could suffer me a little : ye cannot want praisers, ye may want reprovers; and yet you have not so much need of panegyrics, as of reprehensions. These, by how much more rare they are, by so much more necessary. Nec censura deest quæ increpet, nec medicina quæ sanet, saith Cyprian.“ A false praise grieves, and a true praise shames" saith Anastasius. As kings are by God himself called Gods (for there are Dii, nuncupatirè, and not essentialiter, as Gregory distinguishes) because of their resernblance of God; so their courts should be like to heaven, and their attendants like saints and angels: Decet domum tuain sanctitudo, agrees to both.
Thus you should be: but, alas, I see some care to be gallant, others care to be great, few care to be holy. Yea, I know not what devil hath possessed the hearts of many great ones of our time, in both sexes, with this conceit, That they cannot be gallant enough, unless they be godless. Holiness is for Divines, or meni of mean spirits ; för grave, subdued, mortified, retired minds; not for them, that stand upon the terms of honour, height of place and spirit, noble humours : hence are our oaths, duels, profanenesses. Alas, that we should be so besotted, as to think that our shame, which is our only glory! It is reason, that makes us men; but it is holiness, that makes us Christians. And woe to us, that we are men, if we be not Christians! Think as basely of it as ye will, you shall one day find, that one dram of holiness is worth a whole world of greatness; yea, that there is no greatness, but in holiness. For God's sake, therefore, do not send Holiness to colleges or hosi pitals for her lodging; but entertain her willingly into the Court, as a most happy guest
. Think it a shame and danger, to go in fine clothes, while you have foul hearts; and know, that in vain shall you be honoured of men, if you be not holy to the Lord. Your goodly outsides may admit you into the Courts on Earth; but you shall never look within the gates of the Court of Heaven without holiness : without holiness no man shall see God. O God, without holiness we shall never see thee; and, without thee, we shall never see holiness : write thou upon these Ainty hearts of ours, Holiness to thyself: make us holy to thee, that we may be glorious with thee, and all thy saints and angiels.
All this only for thy Christ's sake; unto whom, &c.
THE IMPRESS OF GOD.
ZECHARIAH xiv. 20. It is well near a year ago, since, in this Gracious Presence, we entered upon this mystical yet pertinent text. You then heard what This Day is; what these Bells or Bridles; what this Inscription ; what these Pots and Bowls : And out of That Day you heard the PROFICENCY of the Church; out of Holiness written on the -Bells, the SANCTIFICATION of the Church: You shall now hear, out of these Bells or Bridles of warlike horses, thus inscribed, the change of the holy war, and PEACE of the Church; out of these Pots, advanced to the likeness of the bowls of the altars, the degrees of the Church's PERFECTION, and acceptation: All which trave your gracious and honourable attention.
III. That conceit, which yet is graced with the name of some Fathers, that takes this in the literal sense of Constantine's bridle, we