« EdellinenJatka »
them up, Non est vestrum; your question is nothing " to the purpose; the kingdom that I have spoken of
is another manner of kingdom than you conceive.
Sixteen hundred years, & quod excurrit, hath the • gospel been preached unto the world, and is this
stain spunged out yet? I doubt it. Whence arise r those novel and late disputes, de notis ecclefiæ, of the ( notes and visibility of the church? Is it not from • hence, they of Rome take the world and the church I to be like Mercury and Sofa in Plautus his comedies,
so like one another, that one of them must wear a I toy in his cap, that so the spectators might distinguish
them. Whence comes it, that they stand so much upon state and ceremony in the church? Is it not ' from hence, that they think the church must come Sin like Agrippa and Bernice in the Acts, usta Imorans Pantadias, as St. Luke speaks, with a great deal of
pomp, and train, and Mew, and vanity? And that the < service of God doth necessarily require this noise
and tumult of outward state and ceremony? Whence I comes it, that we are at our wits end, when we see ( perfecution, and sword, and fire, to rage against the
true professors of the gospel? Is it not because, as " these bring ruin and defolation upon the kingdoms
of the world, so we suppose they work no other ef"feet in the kingdom of Christ? All these conceits,
and many more of the like nature, spring out of no o other fountain than that old inveterate error, which s is so hardly wiped out of our hearts, that the state
of the church and kingdom of Christ, doth hold some proportion, some likeness, with the state and managing of temporal kingdoms. Wherefore to
pluck out of our hearts, opinionem tam insitam, tam o vetustam, a conceit so ancient, so deeply rooted in ( us, our Saviour spake most excellently, most pertiInently, and most fully, when he tells us that his s church, that his kingdom is not of this world."
* John xviii. 36.
- In which words of his, there is contained the true
art of discovering and knowing the true nature and < essence of the church. For as they which make fta'tues, cut and pare away all superfluities of the mat
ter upon which they work; fo our Saviour, to shew us the true proportion and features of the church,
prunes away the world, and all superfluous excres. cences, and sends her to be seen, as he did our first o parents in paradise, stark-naked: as those elders in I the apocryphal story of Susanna, when they would < see her beauty, commanded to take off her mask; lo che that longs to see the beauty of the church, must o pull off that mask of the world, and outward shew,
For as Juda, in the book of Genesis, when Thamar
fat veiled by the way-side, knew not his daughter < from an whore; so whilst the church, the daughter < and spouse of Christ, sits veiled with the world, and « pomp and new, it will be an hard matter to discern
her from an harlot. But yet farther, to make the < difference betwixt these kingdoms the more plainly
to appear, and so better to fix in your memories, I < will briefly touch some of those heads, in which " they are most notoriously differenced.
. The first head wherein the difference is seen, are " the persons and subjects of this kingdom: for as - the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, so the
subjects of this kingdom are men of another world,
and not of this. Every one of us bears a double o person, and accordingly is the subject of a double I kingdom': the Holy Ghost, by the Psalmift, divides I heaven and earth betwixt God and man, and tells r us, as for God, “ He is in heaven; but the earth r has he given to the children of men:" fo hath the < same Spirit, by the apoitle St. Paul, divided every " one of our persons into heaven and earth, into an routward and earthly man, and into an inward and • heavenly man: this earth, that is, this body of clay,
hath he given to the sons of men, to the princes under ( whose government we live; but heaven, that is, the inward and spiritual man, hath he reserved unto him,
felf: they can restrain the outward man, and mode
rate our oytward aétions, by edicts and laws; they I can tie our hands and our tongues; illa se jačtet in
aula Æolus: thus far they can go; and when they
are gone thus far, they can go no farther: but to I rule the inward man in our hearts and souls, to set up
an impartial throne in our understandings and wills, ' this part of our government belongs to God and to
Christ: these are the subjects, this the government,
of his kingdom. Men may be kings of earth and « bodies; but Christ alone is the King of spirits and
Souls. Yet this inward government hath influence ' upon our outward actions: for the authority of I kings over our outward man is not so absolute, but " that it suffers a great restraint; it must stretch no
farther than the Prince of our inward inan pleases:
for if secular princes stretch out the skirts of their "authority to command aught by which our fouls are < prejudiced, the King of souls hath in this case given rus a greater command, “ That we rather obey God «c than men.”
III. A third great cause of persecution for religion is this, " That men make too many things necessary to « be believed to salvation and communion.' Persecution entered with creed-making : for it fo falls out, that those who distinguish the tree in the bulk, cannot with the like ease discern every branch or leaf that grows upon it: and to run out the necessary articles of faith to every good or true thing that the wit of man may deduce from the text, and so too, as that I ought to have a distinet idea or apprehension of every one of them, and must run them over in my mind, as a child would con a lesson by heart, of which I must not miss a tittle upon my salvation; this I think to be a temptation upon men to fall into dispute and division : and then we are taught, by long experience, that he that has most power will oppress his opinion that is weaker; whence comes persecution. This certainly puts unity and peace too much upon the hazard. Mary's choice therefore was not of many things, but 0 .46
the one thing necessary, as Christ, the Lord of the true divinity, terms it, Luke x. 42. And pray what was this one needful thing, but Christ Jesus bimself, and her faith, love and obedience in and to him? Here is no perplexed creed to subscribe, no System of divinity to charge the head with: this one needful thing was Mary's choice and blessing: may it be ours! and then I should hope a quick end to controversies, and consequently to persecutions. * IV. Another cause of persecution, is · The preju
dice of education, and that bias tradition gives to I those men, who have not made their religion the
religion of their judgment :' for such will forbid all the inquiry which might question the weakness or falsehood of their religion, and had rather be deceived in an honourable descent, than be so uncivil to the memory of their ancestors as to seek the truth; which found, must reprove the ignorance of their ages: of this, the vainest of all honours ! they are extremely careful; and at the very mention of any thing, to them new, though as old as truth, and older than this world, are easily urged into a tempest, and are not appeased but by a sacrifice. This ignorance, and want of inquiry, helps on persecution.
V. Another reason, and that no small one, is ' self« love, and impatience of men under contradiction,' be it of ignorance, that they are angry with what they cannot refute, or out of private interest, it matters not; their opinion must reign alone; they are tenacious of their own sense, and cannot endure to have it questioned, be there never so much reason for it. Men of their passions are yet to learn that they are ignorant of religion, by the want they have of mortification ; such persons can easily let go their hold on charity, to lay violent hands upon their oppofers : if they have power, they rarely fail to use it fo; not remembering, that when they absolved themselves from the tie of love, meekness, and patience, they abandoned true religion, and contended not for the faith
to opinion th would find that thole a reflection
once delivered to the faints, which stood therein, but for mere words.
It is here that proud flesh, and a capricious head, disputes for religion, and not an humble heart and a divine frame of spirit. Men that are angry for God, passionate for Christ, that can call names for religion, and Aing stone's for faith, may tell us they are Christions if they will, but nobody would know them to be such by their fruits; to be sure they are no Chrif. tians of Christ's making.
I would to God that the disputants of our time did but calmly weigh the irreligiousness of their own heats for religion, and see if what they contend for will quit the cost, will countervail the charge of departing from charity, and making a facrifice of peace, to gain their point. Upon so seasonable a reflection I am confident they would find that they rather shew their love to opinion than truth, and seek vi&tory inore than con. cord.
Could men be contented, as he whom they call their Lord was, to "declare their message, and not to strive for profelytes, nor vex for conquest, they would recommend all to the conscience; and, if it must be fo, patiently endure contradiction too, and so lay their religion, as he did his, not in violence, but suffering: but I must freely profess, and in duty and conscience I do it, that I cannot call that religion, which is introduced against the laws of love, meekness, and friendship: superstition, interest, or faction, I may.
There is a zeal without knowledge; that is superstition: there is a zeal against knowledge; that is interest or faction, the true heresy: there is a zeal with knowledge; that is religion : therefore blind obedience may be superstition, it cannot be religion, and if you will view the countries of cruelty, you shall find them fuperstitious rather than religious. Religion is gentle, it makes men better, more friendly, loving, and patient, than before. And the success which followed Chriftianity, whilst the ancient professors of it betook themselves to no other defence, plainly proves both the