Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

she has thrown aside, and substituted in its place an embroidered cross of gold on her flaunting petticoat. And this is the lady whom we worship! this is our pure and decent maiden, our chaste and modest bride, our holy and estimable virgin whom we would present to Christ for his espousals! And is Christ's mystical body, which is his Church, to be so libelled and slandered as to be mistaken for this rich prostitute? No--that night-mare of the understanding WILL be shaken off at last, and men WILL open their eyes at last to behold the true glories of the Lord, and his wonderful love for his real Church. But let us, my Christian brethren, consider the deceptions of the understanding caused by the Babylonian vintage.

In the first place, then, this woman, arrayed in purple and scarlet, has persuaded us that she herself is the bride of Christ, and that we ought to worship her on that account. We know that we ought to have a purified faith, a faith unconnected with the trappings of power, a faith of the spirit and not of the flesh, a faith of invisible and not of temporal things, and she has so far deceived us as to make us shut our eyes to all her abominations, to wink at her loads of silver and of gold, to pass by unnoticed her tithes and extortions, her innumerable acts of Parliament, drawn up with the most spiteful accuracy, to enforce her dominion, her proctors, and her consistorial courts, her purple Bishops, fattening in stately palaces, and her outlandish squadrons of deans, prebendaries, canons, vicars-choral, lay-vicars, precentors, sub-deans, rectors, curates, archdeacons, surrogates, deans of arches, vicar-generals, and all the other swarms of her heathen and popish caste of priests. By aid of these her myrmidons she has established the dominion of Anti-Christ in the land, for the harlot of Babylon is spouse of Anti-Christ, and it is one of her prime inventions to persuade men that she is Christ's spouse, and that her husband is Christ; and lamentable it is to see how many she deceives into this belief, many, I say, who having the form of godliness, deny the power thereof, and who still read the Scriptures without having withdrawn the veil from their hearts.

But that this veil may be withdrawn, let us consider this subject in an orderly manner, and so leave the lovers of the Babylonian prostitute without excuse; for, I trust, with God's help, to handle this my Sermon so as to bring conviction home to the hearts of some, who at present resist the truth.

These, then, shall be our steps in the argument:

I. We will shew what Christ's mystical spouse, the Church,

Feally is.

II. We will trace the woman of Babylon in all her different shapes at Jerusalem, before the coming of the Lord.

III. We will discover her brought again into repute by the Emperor. Constantine, and cherished by kings and queens in all Christian lands up to this day.

IV. We will behold her now enthroned in England, in high pomp and glory, with full blown impudence and pride.

V. We will shew that she is the same woman who slew the prophets, and decorated their tombs; which acts of cruelty and hypocrisy she delights in now as much as ever.

VI. We will contemplate her approaching fall, which cannot long be delayed.

I. Christ's real spouse, the Church,

St. Paul, in a memorable passage, says: 'I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the Church,' (Col. i. 24.)—a passage that teaches us more than one important truth—that the whole body of believers is the Church

--that that body is the spiritual body of Christ--that it is a suffering body. Let this be remarked, for it will be important. The Scriptures, however, repeatedly teach the same doctrine:—He is

the head of the body, the Church,' (Col. i. 18.)— ye are complete in him which is the head of all principality and power,' (ii. 10.)—whereby we again see the believers and Christ's body considered synonomous. God bath put all things under Christ's feet, and

gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, . wbich is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.' (Eph. i. 22.)

There is one body and one spirit, &c. &c. and he gave some Apostles, some Prophets .... for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.' (Eph. iv. 4–12.) The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the Church; and he is the Saviour of the body, therefore as the Church is subject unto • Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing, ' Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, ' and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ; that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or 'any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. ? So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that * loveth his wife loveth himself, for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Church.' (Eph. v. 23.) See 2. Cor. xi. 2. Col. i. 22. 1. Thess. v. 23. Psi. xlv: 13.-xxxvii. 3. Is. lx. 15. 16. Jer. xxxiii. 9. Heb. xii. 22, 23. 1. Pet. i. 19.

This doctrine being thus amply displayed from Seriptures, we come to the application, that if we discover the state required and expected of believers whilst they are on earth, we shall also discover the state of the Church by an inevitable logical deduction, for if the body of believers form the Church, and are the Church, then what is said of the one is said of the other: We shall also hereby discover the false Church, the false spouse of Christ, the woman covered with spot, wrinkles, and blemishes, entirely unholy and entirely impure, and in every respect opposite to the true Church. Calling, then, to mind the words of St. Paul, that we

are members of Christ's body, of his flesh, and of his bones, (Eph. v. 30.) what is said of us the believers? Blessed are the 'poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.-(Matt. v.) • Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted; blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; rejoice and be exceeding glad, for so persecuted they the prophets that were

before you.'

If, then, a Church consists of persons who are not meek, not poor in spirit, and who do not mourn; whom no one persecutes, but who, on the contrary, are themselves the persecutors, it is clear that such a Church cannot be the body of Christ; but as it in every respect contradicts that which is predicated of the true Church, it follows as an inevitable consequence that it must be the body of Anti-Christ, and such a Church is the Church of England, which rests entirely upon acts of Parliament and brute force, which is supported by violence and exists by violence: for every farthing of money that is paid into the Babylonian treasury, in the way of tithe, is by violence, and is only paid because men

well that if it is not paid there will soon be marshalled against them a possé of constables, with warrants and other tender mercies of the great whore, that their crops, and their sheaves of corn, the firstlings of their flocks, and their fatted calves will be taken from them by force—their goods distrained and sold up --and they themselves eventually beggared, if they endeavour to resist these bowels of love, either by force or by law. For the wife of Anti-Christ is both a hypocrite and a thief, she not only devours widows' houses, but for a pretence makes long prayers; she not only talks of mercy and charity, bụt she tithes mint, anise, and cummin; she leaves charity undone, concerning which she prays and preaches with seeming solemnity, but tithing she does

know very

to the uttermost farthing, and will not release her dear children till they have paid up all arrears for the health of their souls.

Where, then, is the poverty of spirit of the Church of England? Where her meekness ? Who persecute her? From whom does she ever hear so much as a whisper of dispraise, excepting in these last days of her falling dominion, when those whom she has trampled upon find their strength, and are able at last to bring down her towering pride?

Is it not a universal test of good-breeding and gentlemanly manners, throughout the kingdom, to belong to the Church of England? Is it not a proof of vulgarity, and a want of fashion, to withdraw from her? Do not all constituted authorities, all kings, dukes and lords, all queens, princesses and peeresses in their own rights doat on the Church of England ? A re not her Bishops and her Dignitaries men of immense wealth and overwhelming power? Are they not men about town,' riding in fine coaches, clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day? Go to all places of fashionable resort, go to Court, frequent the gala-day raree-shews, the drawing rooms, the levees, the presence chambers, the king's closet, and the prime minister's ante-chamber, and there you will find bishops and deans, chaplains in ordinary, and prebendaries of Cathedrals; wherever there is power and praise of men, wealth and increase of riches, there you will find the Clergy, squatting at the ear of majesty, or driving off waggon loads of tithe corn. From the penetralia of royalty down to sheaves of wheat and baskets of pot-herbs, you may hear of the successors of the Apostles.—there are frogs in the king's chamber, and in the

kneeding-troughs :' and yet of such they would persuade us that the true Church is constituted !

We read in the Gospel, that Christ said woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers * to the false prophets. Luke vi. 26. What, then, is to become of the Church of England ? for her whole essence, nay the very breath of her nostrils, is praise of men; the world has breathed into her nostrils the breath of life, she is animated by the spirit of the world, and lives by the strength and nerve and vigor of the world. Every thing about her is gross, carnal, tangible, and worldly: she could be killed to-morrow morning by an act of Parliament, and by an act of Parliament she will soon be killed : they that made her can unmake her, and when that day of unmaking arrives, we shall then see how many of her present flatterers and lovers stick to her ;-the hireling will flee, because he is an hireling.

Again : Christ says, 'woe unto you that are rich, for ge

have received your consolation : woe unto you that are full, for

ye shall hunger,' Luke vi. 24. Do not these words seem as if they were written for the express purpose of condemning the Church of England ? Is she not rich to insolence, is she not full to plethory? Has she not received consolation upon consolation, comfort upon comfort ?- This was the iniquity of Sodom-pride, "fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness' (Ez. xvi. 49.) three unerring marks of a false and apostate Church.

Again: Christ said to his true Church, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, nor bread, neither money, neither have two coats apiece_provide neither gold, nor silver, (nor brass in your purses'— go your ways: behold, I send you

forth as lambs among wolves,' &c. How can the pluralists and dignitaries of our Church read these texts of Scripture without blushing? If there is any meaning in words, then do I boldly say, that by these words alone, without going any further, the Church of England stands detected as a false Church, and it is time for all her pious ministers, on considering these things, to flee from the abominations, and repent themselves in sackcloth and in ashes.

But Christ's body, his true Church, is a body of suffering, of reproach, and of tribulation : for if there be any one doctrine more insisted on than another in Scripture it is this, that every

Christian must endure hardships. It is impossible to avoid this universal Christian law, distress of some sort or other must come to every one who takes up the true Christian profession; and this every believer knows and feels and dare not deny. All that will live

godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. (2. Tim. iii. 12.) • Paul and Barnabas went about confirming the souls of many,

and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Acts xiv. 22.) “They shall put you out of synagogues, yea the

time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think he doeth God service, and these things will they do because they have not - known the he nor me.' (John xvi. 2.) [See also, Rom. viii. 17. 2. Cor. iv. 8. Philipp. i. 29. 2. Tim. ii. 11. 2. Cor. xii. 10. Heb. xii. 5. Acts ix. 15. Heb. v. 9. Heb. ii. 10. Rom. v. 3. John xvi. 33. ]. Thess. iii. 3. Heb. xi. 24. 1. Thes. 1. 6. Col. i. 24. 1. Pet. iv. 12. Acts xx. 23.]

Again : we have another test for Christ's true Church : it is a Church totally separate from the world, whilst the Church of Anti-Christ is empress of the world, and loves and is beloved by it. On this subject there can be no doubt, because Scripture has recorded, in express terms, the separate rights and lordships of Christ and Anti-Christ. 6 The Devil taketh him up into an

« EdellinenJatka »