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288 SEARCHING FOR OUT-OF-THE-WAY TEXTS. [ Aug home
that was made upon St. Matthew viii. 19. And a certain Scribe came and said, “Master, I will follow thee wheresoever thou goest.” " A thou shall be followed more than a that. I will follow thee wheresoever thou goest.
And, in my opinion, that was not altogether amiss, upon St. Matthew xi. 2. Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples. The discovery is this. That “it is not good sending single to Christ, he sent two of his disciples.
Some also, possibly may not dislike that upon St. Luke xii. 35. Let your loins be girded. “I discover," says he, there must be a holy girding and trussing up for heaven.”
But I shall end all, with that very politic one that he makes upon St. Matthew xii. 47. Then said one unto him “Behold thy inother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.” But he answered and said, “Who is my mother ? and who are my brethren ? " "I dis
cover now,” says he, “that Jesus is upon business." Doubtless, this was one of the greatest Discoverers of Hidden Mysteries, and one of the most Pryers into Spiritual Secrets that ever the world was owner of. It was very well that he happened upon the godly calling, and no secular employment: or else, in good truth! down had they all gone! Turk! Pope! and Emperor ! for he would have discovered them, one way or another, every man!
Not much unlike to these wonderful Discoverers, are they who, choosing to preach on some point in Divinity, shall purposely avoid all such plain Texts as might give them very just occasion to discourse upon their intended subject, and shall pitch upon some other places of Scripture, which no creature in the world but themselves, did ever imagine that which they offerto be therein designed. My meaning, Sir, is this.
Suppose you have a mind to make a sermon concerning Episcopacy, as in the late times (the Cominonwealth] there were several occasions for it, you must, by no means, take any place of Scripture that proves or favours that kind of Ecclesiastical Government! for then the plot will be discovered; and the people will say to themselves, “We know where to find you! You intend to preach about Episcopacy!"
J. Eachard. & Aug. 1670.
AN ARGUMENT FOR THE RESTORATION.
But you must take Acts, chapter xvi. verse 30, Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? An absolute place for Episcopacy! that all former Divines had idly overlooked! For Sirs being in the Greek Kúploi, which is to say, in true and strict translation, Lords, what is more plain than, that of old, Episcopacy was not only the acknowledged Government; but that Bishops were formerly Peers of the Realm, and so ought to sit in the House of Lords !
Or, suppose that you have a mind to commend to your people, Kingly Government : you must not take any place that is plainly to the purpose! but that of the Evangelist, Seek first the Kingdom of GOD! From which words, the doctrine will plainly be, that Monarchy or Kingly Government is most according to the mind of GOD. For it is not said, "seek the Parliament of GOD!" "the Army of GOD!” or "the Committee of Safety of GOD!” but it is "seek the Kingdom of GOD!” And who could expect less ? Immediately after this [i.e., this argument], the King came in, and the Bishops were restored (1660 A.D.).
Again, Sir (because I would willingly be understood), suppose you design to preach about Election and Reprobation. As for the eighth chapter to the Romans, that is too well known ! but there is a little private place in the Psalms that will do the business as well! Psalm xc. 19, In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul.
The doctrine, which naturally flows from the words, will be that amongst the multitude of thoughts, there is a great thought of Election and Reprobation; and then, away with the Point ! according as the preacher is inclined.
Or suppose, lastly, that you were not fully satisfied that Pluralities were lawful or convenient. May I be so bold, Sir ? I pray, what Text would you choose to preach up against non-residents ? Certainly, nothing ever was better picked than that of St. Matthew i. 2. ABRAHAM begat ISAAC. A clear place against non-residents ! for “had ABRAHAM not resided, but had discontinued from SARAH his wife, he could never have begotten ISAAC!"
But it is high time, Sir, to make an end of their preaching, lest you be as much tired with the repetition of it, as the people were little benefited when they heard it.
ENG. GAR. VII.
290USUAL PREACHING. Misuse of ConcordANCE. [3 Hughoza
I shall only mind you, Sir, of one thing more; and that is 4) the ridiculous, senseless, and unintended use which many of thcm make of Concordances.
I shall give you but one instance of it, although I could furnish you with a hundred printed ones.
The Text, Sir, is this, Galatians vi. 15, For in CHRIST JEsus neither Circumcision nor Uncircumcision avail anything; but a new creature. Now, all the world knows the meaning of this to be, that, let a man be of what nation he will, Jew or Gentile, if he amends his life, and walks according to the Gospel, he shall be accepted with GOD.
But this is not the way that pleases them! They must bring into the sermon, to no purpose at all! a vast heap of places of Scripture, which the Concordance will furnish them with, where the word new is mentioned.
And the Observation must be that “GOD is for new things. GOD is for a new creature. St. John xix. 41, Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden ; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never inan yet laid. There they laid JESUS. And again St. Mark xvi. 17. CHRisT tells his disciples that they that are true believers, shall cast out devils, and speak with new tongues. And likewise, the prophet teaches us, Isaiah xlii. 10, Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise to the end of the earth.
“Whence it is plain that Christ is not for old things. He is not for an old sepulchre. He is not for old tongues. He is not for an old song. He is not for an old creature. Christ is for a new creature! Circumcision and Uncircumcision availeth nothing, but a new creature. And what do we read concerning SAMSON ? Judges xv. 15. Is it not that he slew a thousand of the Philistines with one new jawbone ? An old one might have killed its tens, its twenties, its hundreds ! but it must be a new jawbone that is able to kill a thousand ! GOD is for the new creature!
“But may not some say, 'Is GOD altogether for new things?' How comes it about then, that the prophet says, Isaiah i. 13, 14, Bring no more vain oblations ! &c. Your new Moons, and your appointed Feasts, my soul hateth ! And again, what means that, Deuteronomy xxxii. 17, 19, They sacrificed unto devils, and to new gods, whom they knew
J. Eachard. 8 Aug. 1670.
The PovertY OF SOME OF THE CLERGY. 291
not, to new gods that came newly up. 'And where the LORD saw it, He abhorred thein ! To which I answer, that GOD indeed is not for new moons, nor for new gods; but, excepting moons and gods, He is for the new creature."
It is possible, Sir, that somebody besides yourself, may be so vain as to read this Letter : and they may perhaps tell you, that there be no such silly and useless people as I have described. And if there be, there be not above two or three in a country [county). Or should there be, it is no such complaining matter : seeing that the same happens in other professions, in Law and Physic: in both [of] which, there be many a contemptible creature.
Such therefore as these, may be pleased to know that, if there had been need, I could have told them, either the book (and very page almost) of all that has been spoken about Preaching, or else the When and Where, and the Person that preached it.
As to the second, viz. : that the Clergy are all mightily furnished with Learning and Prudence ; except ten, twenty, or so; I shall not say anything myself, because a very great Scholar of our nation shall speak for me : who tells us that “such Preaching as is usual, is a hindrance of Salvation rather than the means to it.” And what he intends by “usual," I shall not here go about to explain.
And as to the last, I shall also, in short, answer, That if the Advancement of true Religion and the eternal Salvation of a Man were no more considerable than the health of his body and the security of his estate; we need not be more solicitous about the Learning and Prudence of the Clergy, than of the Lawyers and Physicians. But we believing it to be otherwise, surely, we ought to be more concerned for the reputation .and success of the one than of the other.
Come now, Sir, to the Second Part that was designed, viz. : the Poverty of some of the Clergy. By whose mean condition, their Sacred Profession
is much disparaged, and their Doctrine undervalued. What large provisions, of old, GOD was pleased to make
292 PRIESTLY PROVISION UNDER THE Old Law. [Agchard.
for the Priesthood, and upon what reasons, is easily seen to any one that but looks into the Bible. The Levites, it is true, were left out, in the Division of the Inheritance; not to their loss, but to their great temporal advantage. For whereas, had they been common sharers with the rest, a Twelfth part only would have been their just allowance; GOD was pleased to settle upon them, a Tenth, and that without any trouble or charge of tillage: which made their portion much more considerable than the rest.
And as this provision was very bountiful, so the reasons, no question ! were very Divine and substantial : which seein chiefly to be these two. First, that the Priesthood might be altogether at leisure for
the service of GOD: and that they of that Holy Order might not be distracted with the cares of the world ; and interrupted by every neighbour's horse or cow that breaks their hedges or shackles (or hobbled, feeds among] their corn. But that living a kind of spiritual life, and being removed a little from all worldly affairs; they might always be fit to receive holy inspirations, and always ready to search out the Mind of GOD, and to advise and direct the people therein.
Not as if this Divine exemption of them from the common troubles and cares of this life was intended as an opportunity of luxury and laziness : for certainly, there is a labour besides digging ! and there is a true carefulness without following the plough, and looking after their cattle!
And such was the employment of those holy men of old. Their care and business was to please GOD, and to charge themselves with the welfare of all His people : which thing, he that does it with a good and satisfied conscience, I will assure he has a task upon him much beyond them that have for their care, their hundreds of
oxen and five hundreds of sheep. Another reason that this large allowance was made to the
Priests, was that they might be enabled to relieve the poor, to entertain strangers, and thereby to encourage people in the ways of godliness. For they being, in a peculiar manner, the servants of GOD, GOD was pleased to entrust in their hands, a portion more than