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Three Restoration Divines: Barrow, South and Tillotson. Volume I

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Irène Simon

Part two

Of Obedience to our Spiritual Guides and Governours

Heb. XIII.17. Obey them that have the rule over you

Texte intégral

1Obedience unto Spiritual Guides and Governours is a duty of great importance; the which to declare and press is very seasonable for these times, wherein so little regard is had thereto: I have therefore pitched on this Text, being an Apostolical precept, briefly and clearly enjoining that duty: and in it we shall consider and explain these two particulars: 1. The persons, to whom obedience is to be payed. 2. What that obedience doth import, or wherein it consisteth: and together with explication of the duty, we shall apply it, and urge its practice.

  • 1 Heb. XIII, 7, 17.

2I. As to the persons, unto whom obedience is to be performed, they are generally speaking all Spiritual Guides, or Governours of the Church (those who speak to us the word of God, and who watch for our souls1, as they are described in the context) expressed here by a term very significant and apposite, as implying fully the nature of their charge, the qualification of their persons, their rank, and privileges in the Church, together consequently with the grounds of obligation to the correspondent duties toward them. There are in Holy Scripture divers names and phrases appropriate to them, each of them denoting some eminent part of their office, or some appurtenance thereto; but this seemeth of all most comprehensive; so that unto it all the rest are well reducible: the term is γούμενοι, that is Leaders, or Guides, or Captains; which properly may denote the subsequent particulars in way of duty, or privilege appertaining to them.

  • 2 Acts XV, 22.
  • 3 1 Tim. V, 17; Rom. XII, 8; 1 Thess. V, 12.
  • 4 Matt. XX, 27.
  • 5 Luke XXII, 26.
  • 6 Phil. II, 29; 1 Thess. V, 13; 1 Tim. V, 17.

31. It may denote eminence of dignity, or superiority to others: that they are (as it is said of Judas and Silas in the Acts)2 ἄνδρες ηγούμενοι ν ἀδελφοῖς, principal men among the brethren: for to lead implieth precedence, which is a note of superiority and preeminence. Hence are they styled προεστῶτες3 Presidents or Prelates; οἱ πρῶτοι4 the first, or prime men; οἱ μείζους, the greater, Majors, or Grandees among us: He (saith our Lord) that will be the first among you, let him be your servant2; and He that is greater among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve5; where μείζων, and ἡγούμενος (the greater and the Leader) are terms equivalent, or interpretative the one of the other; and our Lord in those places as he prescribeth humility of mind and demeanour; so he implieth difference of rank among his Disciples: whence to render especial respect and honour to them, as to our betters, is a duty often enjoined6.

  • 7 Matt. II, 6; Acts V, 31.
  • 8 1 Cor. XII, 28.
  • 9 Acts XX, 28.
  • 10 [Epistola CXLVI, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 22, col. 1193.]
  • 11 Ps. LXXVIII, 71.
  • 12 1 Pet. V, 2.
  • 13 2 Sam. V, 2; VII, 7; 1 Tim. III, 5.
  • 14 2 Tim. II, 24; Rom. XV, 16; 1 Cor. IV, 1, 2; III, 9; VI, 4; XVI, 15; 2 Cor. VI, 4; Tit. I, 1; Gal. (...)

42. It doth imply power, and authority: their superiority is not barely grounded on personal worth or fortune; it serveth not merely for order, and pomp; but it standeth upon the nature of their office, and tendeth to use: they are by God’s appointment enabled to exercise acts of power; to command, to judge, to check, controll, and chastise in a spiritual way, in order to spiritual ends; (the regulation of God’s worship and service, the preservation of order and peace, the promoting of edification in divine knowledge and holiness of life) so are they ἡγούμενοι, as that word in common use (as the word ἡγεμὼν of kin to it) doth signify Captains and Princes; importing authority to command and rule; (whence the Hebrew word נשיא a Prince is usually rendred by it7; and ἡγούμενος, is the title, attributed to our Lord, to express his Kingly function, being the same with ἀρχηγὀς, the Prince or Captain) Hence are they otherwise styled ϰυβερνήσεις8 (Governours) ἐπίσϰοποι9 (Overseers, or Superintendents, as St. Hierome rendreth it)10 Pastors11 (a word often signifying rule, and attributed to civil Governours) πρεσβύτεροι12 (Elders, or Senators; the word denoteth not merely age, but office and authority) οἱ ἐπιμελοῦντες13 such as take care for, the Curators, or Supravisors of the Church: Hence also they are signally and specially in relation unto God styled δοῦλοι (the Servants) διάϰονοι (the Ministers) ὑπηρέται (the Officers) λειτουργοὶ (the publick Agents) οἰϰονόμοι (the Stewards) ουνεργοὶ (the Coadjutors, or Assistants) πρέσβεις (the Legates) ἄγγελοι (the Angels, or Messengers) of God14; which titles imply, that God by them, as his substitutes and instruments, doth administer the affairs of his spiritual Kingdom: that as by secular Magistrates (his Vice-gerents and Officers) he manageth his Universal temporal Kingdom, or governeth all men in order to their worldly peace and prosperity; so by these spiritual Magistrates he ruleth his Church, toward its spiritual welfare and felicity.

  • 15 Eph. IV, 11; 1 Cor. XII, 28; Rom. XII, 7.
  • 16 1 Tim. III, 2.
  • 17 2 Tim. II, 24; II, 2.
  • 18 1 Tim. IV, 13, 16; V, 17; 2 Tim. IV, 2; Col. I, 28.

53. The word also doth imply direction, or instruction; that is guidance of people in the way of truth and duty, reclaiming them from errour and sin: this as it is a means hugely conducing to the design of their office, so it is a principal member thereof: whence διδάσϰαλοι15, Doctours, or Masters in doctrine, is a common name of them; and to be διδαϰτιϰοὶ16, able and apt to teach (ἱϰανοὶ διδάξαι and πρόθυμοι)17 is a chief qualification of their persons; and to attend on teaching, to be instant in preaching, to labour in the word and doctrine are their most commendable performances18: hence also they are called Shepherds, because they feed the souls of God’s people with the food of wholsome instruction; Watchmen, because they observe mens ways, and warn them when they decline from right, or run into danger; the Messengers of God, because they declare God’s mind and will unto them for the regulation of their Practice.

  • 19 1 Pet. V, 3; 1 Tim. IV, 12; Phil. III, 17; Tit. II, 7; 2 Thess. III, 9, 7; Heb. XIII, 7; 1 Thess. I (...)

64. The word farther may denote exemplary Practice; for to lead implieth so to go before, that he who is conducted may follow; as a Captain marcheth before his troop; as a Shepherd walketh before his flock, as a Guide goeth before the Traveller, whom he directeth; hence they are said to be, and enjoined to behave themselves as patterns of the flock; and the people are charged to imitate, and follow them19.

7Such in general doth the word here used imply the persons to be, unto whom obedience is prescribed; but there is farther some distinction to be made among them; there are degrees and subordinations in these guidances; some are in regard to different persons both empowred to guide, and obliged to follow, or obey.

  • 20 [Heb. II, 10.]
  • 21 [Col. I, 18.]
  • 22 1 Pet. V, 4.
  • 23 Heb. III, 1.
  • 24 [1 Pet. II, 25.]
  • 25 1 Pet. V, 5; Eph. V, 21; Phil. II, 3.
    Ύποτασσέσθω ἕϰαστος τῷ πλησίον αύτοῦ ϰαθώς ϰαὶ ἐτέθη v τῷ χαρ (...)

8The Church is acies ordinata, a well marshalled Army; wherein under the Captain General of our faith and salvation20 (the Head of the Body21, the Sovereign Prince and Priest, the Arch-pastor22, the chief Apostle of our profession23, and Bishop of our Souls)24 there are divers Captains serving in fit degrees of subordination; Bishops commanding larger regiments, Presbyters ordering less numerous companies; all which by the bands of common faith, of mutual charity, of holy communion, and peace being combined together do in their respective stations govern and guide, are governed and guided: The Bishops, each in his precincts guiding more immediately the Priests subject to them; the Priests, each guiding the people committed to his charge; all Bishops and Priests being guided by Synods established, or congregated upon emergent occasion; many of them ordinarily by those principal Bishops, who are regularly setled in a presidency over them; according to the distinctions constituted by God and his Apostles, or introduced by humane prudence, as the preservation of order and peace (in various times and circumstances of things) hath seemed to require; to which subordination the two great Apostles may seem to have regard, when they bid us ύποτάσσεσθαι ἀλλήλοις, to be subject to one another25; their injunction at least may, according to their general intent (which aimeth at the preservation of order and peace) be well extended so far.

  • 26 Cyp. Ep. X, Ep. XII, Ep. XXVII, Ep. LXV [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4].
  • 27 [friend of Eustathius, ordained by him, later became his rival and taught that there was no distinc (...)
  • 28 [history].
  • 29 [Macedonius, elected bishop of Constantinople by the Arian bishops in 314, became the leader of the (...)
  • 30 [Sect founded by Novatianus, a Roman presbyter, one of the earliest antipopes (beginning of 3rd cen (...)
  • 31 [Sect in N. Africa, of same character as the Novatians; they believed that ‘all sacerdotal acts dep (...)

9Of this distinction there was never in ancient times made any question26, nor did it seem disputable in the Church, except to one malecontent (Aerius)27 who did indeed get a name in story28, but never made much noise, or obtained any vogue in the World: very few followers he found in his heterodoxy; No great body even of Hereticks could find cause to dissent from the Church in this point; but all Arians, Macedonians29, Novatians30, Donatists31, etc. maintained the distinction of Ecclesiastical orders among themselves, and acknowledged the duty of the inferiour Clergy to their Bishops: and no wonder, seeing it standeth upon so very firm and clear grounds; upon the reason of the case, upon the testimony of Holy Scripture, upon general tradition and unquestionable monuments of antiquity, upon the common judgment and practice of the greatest Saints, persons most renowned for wisedom and piety in the Church.

  • 32 Ecclesiae salus in summi Sacerdotis dignitate consistit, cui si non exors quaedam, et ab omnibus em (...)
  • 33 Essentiale fuit, quod ex Dei Ordinatione perpetua necesse fuit, est, et erit, ut presbyterio quispi (...)
  • 34 [obliged].

10Reason plainly doth require such subordinations; for that without them it is scarce possible to preserve any durable concord, or charity in Christian Societies; to establish any decent harmony in the worship, and service of God, to check odious scandals, to prevent or repress banefull factions, to guard our religion from being overspread with pernicious heresies, to keep the Church from being shattered into numberless Sects, and thence from being crumbled into nothing; in fine, for any good time to uphold the profession, and practice of Christianity it self: for, how if there be not setled Corporations of Christian people, having bulk and strength sufficient by joint endeavour to maintain the truth, honour, and interest of their religion, if the Church should onely consist of independent and incoherent particles (like dust or sand) easily scattered by any wind of opposition from without, or by any commotion within; if Christendom should be merely a Babel of confused opinions and practices, how I say, then could Christianity subsist? how could the simple among so discordant apprehensions be able to discern the truth of it, how would the wise be tempted to dislike it, being so mangled, and disfigured? what an object of contempt and scorn would it be to the profaner World, in such a case? It needeth therefore considerable societies to uphold it; but no Society (especially of any large extent) can abide in order and peace, under the management of equal and coordinate powers; without a single undivided authority, enabled to moderate affairs, and reduce them to a point, to arbitrate emergent cases of difference, to put good orders in execution, to curb the adversaries of order and peace; these things cannot be well performed, where there is a parity of many concurrents, apt to dissent, and able to check each other32: no Democracy can be supported without borrowing somewhat from Monarchy; no body can live without a head; an Army cannot be without a General, a Senate without a President, a Corporation without a Supreme Magistrate33: this all experience attesteth; this even the chief impugners of Episcopal presidency do by their practice confess; who for prevention of disorder have been fain34 of their own heads to devise Ecclesiastical subordinations of Classes, Provinces and Nations; and to appoint Moderat ours (or temporary Bishops) in their assemblies; so that reason hath forced the dissenters from the Church to imitate it.

11If there be not inspectours over the doctrine and manners of the common Clergy, there will be many who will say and doe any thing; they will in teaching please their own humour, or sooth the people, or serve their own interests; they will indulge themselves in a licentious manner of life; they will clash in their doctrines, and scatter the people, and draw them into factions.

12It is also very necessary for preserving the unity and communion of the parts of the Catholick Church; seeing single persons are much fitter to maintain correspondence, than headless bodies.

13The very credit of religion doth require, that there should be persons raised above the common level, and endued with eminent authority, to whose care the promoting it should be committed; for such as the persons are, who manage any profession, such will be the respect yielded thereto; if the ministers of religion be men of honour and authority, religion it self will be venerable; if those be mean, that will become contemptible.

  • 35 Apoc. [Rev.] II, III, etc.
  • 36 Tit. I, 5.
  • 37 1 Tim. V, 1, 17, 19, 20, 22, etc.
  • 38 Tit. II, 15
  • 39 [excluding].

14The Holy Scripture also doth plainly enough countenance this distinction; for therein we have represented one Angel presiding over principal Churches35 which contained several Presbyters; therein we find Episcopal ordination, and jurisdiction exercised; we have one Bishop constituting Presbyters in divers Cities of his Diocese; Ordering all things therein concerning ecclesiastical displine36; judging Presbyters37, rebuking, μετ πάσης πιταγής, with all authorit38 (or imperiousness, as it were;) and reconciling Offenders, secluding39 Hereticks, and scandalous persons.

15In the Jewish Church there were an High-priest, Chief-priest, a Sanedrin, or Senate, or Synod.

  • 40 דאש חקחל

16The Government of Congregations among God’s ancient people (which it is probable was the pattern that the Apostles, no affecters of needless innovation, did follow in establishing ecclesiastical discipline among Christians) doth hereto agree; for in their Synagogues, answering to our Christian Churches, they had as their Elders and Doctours, so over them an ρχισυνάγωγος40, the Head of the Eldership, and President of the Synagogue.

  • 41 [to aim at].

17The primitive general use of Christians most effectually doth back the Scripture, and interpret it in favour of this distinction; scarce less than demonstrating it constituted by the Apostles; for how otherwise is it imaginable, that all the Churches founded by the Apostles in several most distant, and disjoined places (at Jerusalem, at Antioch, at Alexandria, at Ephesus, at Corinth, at Rome) should presently conspire in acknowledgment and use of it? how could it without apparent confederacy be formed, how could it creep in without notable clatter, how could it be admitted without considerable opposition, if it were not in the foundation of those Churches laid by the Apostles? How is it likely, that in those times of grievous persecution falling chiefly upon the Bishops (when to be eminent among Christians yielded slender reward, and exposed to extreme hazard; when to seek preeminence was in effect to court danger and trouble, torture and ruine) an ambition of irregularly advancing themselves above their brethren should so generally prevail among the ablest and best Christians? How could those famous Martyrs for the Christian truth be some of them so unconscionable as to affect41, others so irresolute as to yield to such injurious encroachments? and how could all the Holy Fathers (persons of so renowned, so approved wisedom and integrity) be so blind as not to discern such a corruption, or so bad as to abet it? how indeed could all God’s Church be so weak as to consent in judgment, so base as to comply in practice with it? in fine, how can we conceive, that all the best monuments of antiquity down from the beginning (the Acts, the Epistles, the Histories, the Commentaries, the Writings of all sorts coming from the Blessed Martyrs, and most Holy Confessors of our faith) should conspire to abuse us; the which do speak nothing but Bishops; long Catalogues and rows of Bishops succeeding in this and that City; Bishops contesting for the faith against Pagan Idolaters, and Heretical corrupters of Christian doctrine; Bishops here teaching, and planting our religion by their labours, there suffering and watering it with their bloud?

  • 42 1 Cor. XI, 16.

18I could not but touch this point: but I cannot insist thereon; the full discussion of it, and vindication of the truth from the cavils advanced against the truth by modern dissenters from the Church, having employed voluminous Treatises; I shall onely farther add, that if any man be so dully, or so affectedly ignorant as not to see the reason of the case, and the dangerous consequences of rejecting this ancient form of discipline; if any be so overweeningly presumptuous, as to question the faith of all History, or to disavow those Monuments and that tradition, upon the testimony whereof even the truth and certainty of our religion, and all its sacred Oracles do rely; if any be so perversly contentious, as to oppose the custome42, and current practice of the Churches through all ages down to the last age; so self-conceitedly arrogant, as to condemn or slight the judgment, and practice of all the Fathers (together also with the opinion of the later most grave Divines, who have judged Episcopal presidency needfull, or expedient, where practicable) so peevishly refractary as to thwart the setled order of that Church, in which he was baptized, together with the law of the Countrey, in which he was born; upon such a person we may look as one utterly invincible, and intractable: so weak a judgment, and so strong a will who can hope by reason to convert? I shall say no more to that Point.

19The ἡγούμενοι then, (the Guides and Governours) in our Text are primarily the Bishops, as the Superiour and chief Guides, each in his place according to order peaceably established; then secondarily the Presbyters in their Station as Guides inferiour, together with the Deacons as their assistants; such the Church always hath had, and such, by God’s blessing, our Church now hath, toward whom the duty of obedience is to be performed.

  • 43 [failure to recognize as valuable].
  • 44 Sen. Ep. XCV, [50].
  • 45 1 Thess. V, 12.
  • 46 1 Cor. XVI, 16, 18.
  • 47 3 John 10.
  • 48 2 Tim. IV, 15.
  • 49 2 Cor. IX, 2; XI, 13; Phil. III, 2.

20To the consideration of that I should now proceed, but first it seemeth expedient to remove a main obstruction to that performance; which is this; a misprision43, or doubt concerning the persons of our Guides and Governours; for in vain it would be to teach or persuade us to obey them, if we do not know who they are, or will not acknowledge them: for as in religion it is Primus Deorum cultus Deos credere, The first worship of God to believe God (as Seneca saith)44 so it is the first part of our obedience to our Governours to avow them; it is at least absolutely prerequisite thereto. It was of old a precept of St. Paul to the Thessalonians; We beseech you brethren to know those, who labour among you, and preside over you45; and another to the Corinthians; Submit your selves (saith he) to such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth—then he subjoineth, ἐπιγινώσϰετε τοὺς τοιούτους, acknowledge such46; there were, it seemeth, those in the Apostolical times, who would not know, or acknowledge their guides; there were even those, who would not admit the Apostles themselves, (as St. John saith of Diotrephes)47 who resisted their words (as St. Paul saith of Alexander)48 to whom the Apostles were not Apostles, as St. Paul intimateth concerning some in regard to himself; there were then Pseud-apostles, who excluded the true Apostles, intruding themselves into that high office49: No wonder then it may be, that now in these dregs of time, there should be many, who disavow, and desert their true Guides, transferring the observance due to them upon bold pretenders; who are not indeed Guides, but seducers; not Governours, but Usurpers, and sacrilegious invaders of this holy Office: The duty we speak of cannot be secured without preventing or correcting this grand mistake; and this we hope to compass by representing a double character or description, one of the true Guides, another of the counterfeits, by comparing which we may easily distinguish them, and consequently be induced dutifully to avow and follow the one sort, wisely to disclaim and decline the other.

21Those, I say, then, who constantly do profess, and teach that sound and wholsome doctrine, which was delivered by our Lord, and his Apostles in word and writing, was received by their Disciples in the primitive Churches, was transmitted and confirmed by general tradition, was sealed by the bloud of the blessed Martyrs, and propagated by the labours of the Holy Fathers; the which also manifestly recommendeth and promoteth true reverence and piety toward God, justice and charity toward men, order and quiet in humane Societies, purity and sobriety in each man’s private conversation:

22Those who celebrate the true worship of God, and administer the Holy Mysteries of our religion in a serious, grave, decent manner, purely and without any notorious corruption either by hurtfull errour, or superstitious foppery, or irreverent rudeness, to the advancement of God's honour, and edification of the participants in vertue and piety.

  • 50 1 Tim. III, 7, 10.
  • 51 [1 Tim. IV, 14.]

23Those who derive their authority by a continued succession from the Apostles; who are called unto, and constituted in their office in a regular and peaceable way, agreeable to the institution of God, and the constant practice of his Church; according to rules approved in the best and purest Ages: who are prepared to the exercise of their function by the best education, that ordinarily can be provided, under sober discipline, in the Schools of the Prophets, who thence by competent endowments of mind, and usefull furniture of good learning, acquired by painfull study, become qualified to guide and instruct the people: who after previous examination of their abilities, and probable testimonies concerning their manners (with regard to the qualifications of incorrupt doctrine, and sober conversation prescribed by the Apostles) are adjudged fit for the office50; who also in a pious, grave, solemn manner, with invocation of God’s blessing, by laying on the hands of the Presbytery51 are admitted thereunto.

24Those whose practice in guiding and governing the people of God is not managed by arbitrary, uncertain, fickle, private fancies or humours, but regulated by standing Laws; framed (according to general directions extant in Holy Scripture) by pious and wise persons, with mature advice, in accommodation to the seasons and circumstances of things for common edification, order and peace.

  • 52 [having a tender regard for].
  • 53 [seditious],

25Those who, by virtue of their good principles, in their disposition and demeanour appear sober, orderly, peaceable, yielding meek submission to Government, tendring52 the Churches peace, upholding the communion of the Saints, abstaining from all schismatical, turbulent and factious53 practices.

  • 54 1 Pet. II, 13.

26Those also, who are acknowledged by the Laws of our Countrey, an obligation to obey whom is part of that humane constitution, unto which we are in all things (not evidently repugnant to God’s Law) indispensably bound to submit54; whom our Sovereign, God’s Vicegerent and the nursing Father of his Church among us (unto whom in all things high respect, in all lawfull things entire obedience is due) doth command and encourage us to obey:

  • 55 [adorned].

27Those, I say, to whom this character plainly doth agree, we may reasonably be assured, that they are our true Guides and Governours, whom we are obliged to follow and obey: for what better assurance can we in reason desire? what more proper marks can be assigned to discern them by? what methods of constituting such needfull officers can be setled more answerable to their design, and use? how can it be evil or unsafe to follow guides authorized by such warrants, conformed to such patterns, endowed with such dispositions, acting by such principles and rules? can we mistake, or miscarry by complying with the great body of God’s Church through all ages, and particularly with those great Lights of the Primitive Church, who by the excellency of their knowledge, and the integrity of their vertue have so illustrated55 our Holy Religion?

28There are on the other hand sufficiently plain characters, by which we may descry seducers, and false pretenders to guide us.

  • 56 1 Tim. VI, 3; I, 3, 4.
  • 57 [depart].
  • 58 [strange, uncommon].
  • 59 Gal. I, 9; 1 Tim. I, 4; VI, 4, 20; 2 Tim. II, 14, 16, 23; Tit. III, 9; 2 Pet. II, 18.

29Those who do έτεροδιδασϰαλεν, teach otherwise56, or discost57 from the good ancient wholsome doctrine, revealed in the Holy Scripture, attested by Universal Tradition, professed, taught, maintained to death by the Primitive Saints, and Martyrs; who affect novelties, uncouth58 notions, big words, and dark phrases, who dote on curious empty speculations, and idle questions, which engender strife, and yield no good fruit59.

  • 60 Ipsorum ordinationes temerariae, inconstantes, leves. Tertull. [De Praescriptionibus, cap. xli, Mig (...)

30Those60 who ground their opinions, and warrant their proceedings not by clear testimonies of divine revelation, by the dictates of sound reason, by the current authority of wise and good men, but by the suggestions of their own fancy, by the impulses of their passion, and zeal, by pretences to special inspiration, by imaginary necessities, and such like fallacious rules.

  • 61 [Isa. XXX, 10; Ezek. XXII, 28].

31Those who by counterfeit shews of mighty zeal, and extraordinary affection, by affected forms of speech, by pleasing notions, by prophesying smooth things, daubing and glozing61, by various artifices of flattery and fraud attract and abuse weak and heedless people.

  • 62 Hi sunt qui se ultro apud temerarios convenas sine divina dispositione praeficiunt, qui se praeposi (...)
  • 63 2 Tim. IV, 3.

32Those who without any apparent commission from God, or allowable call from men, or extraordinary necessity of the case, in no legal or regular way, according to no custome received in God s Church do intrude themselves into the office62, or are onely assumed thereto by ignorant, unstable, giddy, factious people, such as those of whom St. Paul saith, that according to their own lusts they heap up teachers to themselves, having itching ears63.

33Those who are not in reasonable ways fitly prepared, not duly approved, not competently authorized, not orderly admitted to the office, according to the prescriptions of God’s Word, and the practice of his Church; not entring into the fold by the door, but breaking through, or clambering over the fences of sober discipline.

  • 64 [evilly disposed].
  • 65 Heb. XIII, 9.
  • 66 Eph, IV, 14.

34Those who in their mind, their principles, their designs, and all their practice appear void of that charity, that meekness, that calmness, that gravity, that sincerity, that stability, which qualify worthy and true Guides: who in the disposition of their mind are froward64, fierce, and stubborn, in their principles loose and slippery, in their designs and behaviour turbulent, disorderly, violent, deceitfull: who regard not order or peace, but wantonly raise scandals, create dissensions, abet and foment disturbances in the Church. Who under religious appearances indulge their passions, and serve their interests, using a guise of devotion, and talk about holy things as instruments to vent wrath, envy and spleen; to drive forward designs of ambition and avarice: who will not submit to any certain judgment or rule, will like nothing but what their fancy suggests, will acknowledge no law but their own will; who for no just cause, and upon any slender pretence withdraw themselves, and seduce others from the Church, in which they were brought up, deserting its communion, impugning its laws, defaming its Governours, endeavouring to subvert its establishment: Who manage their discipline (such as it is of their own framing) unadvisedly and unsteadily, in no stable method, according to no setled rule, but as present conceit, or humour, or advantage prompteth; so that not being fixed in any certain judgment or practice, they soon clash with themselves, and divide from one another, incessantly roving from one Sect to another; being carried about with divers and strange doctrines65; like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine66.

  • 67 [management],
  • 68 [2 Tim. III, 5.]

35Those, the fruits of whose doctrine and managery67 amount at best onely to empty form of godliness, void of real vertue68; while in truth they fill the minds of men with ill-passions, ill-surmises, ill-will; they produce impious, unjust and uncharitable dealing of all kinds, particularly discontentfull murmurings, disobedience to Magistrates; schisms and factions in the Church; combustions and seditions in the State.

  • 69 2 Tim. III, 13.

36In fine those, who in their temper, and their deportment resemble those ancient seducers, branded in the Scripture, those evil men, who did seduce, and were seduced69:

  • 70 Tit. I, 10.
  • 71 2 Pet. II, 10.
  • 72 [Jude 16.]
  • 73 Tit. III, 10, 11.
  • 74 2 Tim. III, 13.
  • 75 [deceiving, beguiling].
  • 76 2 Tim. III, 5.
  • 77 Matt. VII, 15.
  • 78 Acts XX, 29.
  • 79 2 Cor. XI, 13, 15.
  • 80 [2 Tim. III, 2, 3, 4, etc.]; 1 Tim. VI, 4.
  • 81 2 Pet. III, 16.

37Whose dispositions are represented in these epithets: they were ἀνυπόταϰτοι70 unruly, or persons indisposed and unwilling to submit to Government; τολμηταὶ, αὐθάδεις71, presumptuous, and self willed, or self-pleasing darers; γογγυσταὶ, μεμψίμοιροι72, murmurers, complainers, or conjunctly discontented mutiners; αὐτοϰατάϰριτοι73, selfcondemned, namely by contradictious shufling and shifting, or by excommunicating themselves from the Church; γόητες74, bewitchers, inveagling75 and deluding credulous people by dissimulation, and specious appearances; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof76; being wolves in sheeps cloathing77, grievous wolves not sparing the flock78; deceitfull workers, transforming themselves into the servants of Christ, and Ministers of righteousness79; lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, revilers, truce-breakers, false-accusers, traytours, heady, high-minded, vain talkers, deceivers, ignorant80, unlearned, unstable81;

  • 82 Rom. XVI, 17, 18.
  • 83 1 Tim. I, 6, 7.
  • 84 [2 Pet. II, 14.]
  • 85 Eph. IV, 14.
  • 86 Acts XX, 30.
  • 87 2 Tim. III, 6.
  • 88 1 Tim. VI, 4.
  • 89 2 Pet. II, 18; Jude 16.
  • 90 Tit. I, 11.
  • 91 1 Tim. IV, 2.
  • 92 Phil. I, 16, 17.
  • 93 2 Pet. II, 19.
  • 94 2 Thess. III, 6, 11.
  • 95 2 Pet. II, 10; Jude 8, 16.
  • 96 Jude 10.
  • 97 Jude 19.

38Whose practices were; To cause divisions and offences contrary to received doctrine; By good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple82;—To swerve from charity— having turned aside to vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm83. To beguile unstable souls84; To lie in wait to deceive85; To speak perverse things that they may draw disciples after them86; To creep into houses captivating silly women87; To dote about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings88; To speak swelling words of vanity; To admire persons because of advantage89 (or out of private design, for self-interest;) To subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucres sake90; To speak lies in hypocrisie91; To preach Christ out of envy and strife, not out of good-will, or pure intention (oχ γνῶς, not purely;)92 To promise liberty93 to their followers; To walk disorderly94 (that is in repugnance to order setled in the Church;) To despise dominion, and without fear to reproach dignities95; To speak evil (rashly) of those things which they know not96 (which are beside their skill and cognizance) To separate themselves97, from the Church.

  • 98 Tit. III, 10; 2 Thess. III, 6; Rom. XVI, 17; 1 Tim. VI, 5.

39Such persons as these, arrogating to themselves the office of Guides, and pretending to lead us we must not follow or regard, but are in reason and conscience obliged to reject and shun them, as the Ministers of Satan, the Pests of Christendom, the Enemies and Murtherers of Souls98.

  • 99 Jude 13.
  • 100 Acts V, 36.

40It can indeed no-wise be safe to follow any such Leaders (whatever pretences to special illumination they hold forth, whatever specious guises of sanctity they bear) who in their doctrine or practice deflect from the great beaten roads of holy Scripture, primitive Tradition, and Catholick practice, roving in bye-paths suggested to them by their private fancies and humours, their passions and lusts, their interests and advantages: there have in all ages such counterfeit Guides started up, having debauched some few heedless persons, having erected some parasunagwgἀς, or petty combinations against the regularly setled Corporations; but never with any durable success or countenance of divine providence; but like prodigious Meteors99, having caused a little gazing, and some disturbance, their Sects have soon been dissipated, and have quite vanished away; the authours and abetters of them being either buried in oblivion, or recorded with ignominy: like that Theudas in the speech of Gamaliel; who rose up boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men about 400. joined themselves; who was slain, and all as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought100.

41But let thus much suffice to have been spoken concerning the Persons, to whom obedience must be performed.

***

  • a I proceed... may] T. ; B. I proceed to the duty itself. The obedience prescribed may

42aI proceed to the duty it self, the obedience prescribed, which may (according to the extent in signification of the word πείθεσθαι) be conceived to relate either to the government, or to the doctrine, or to the conversation of the persons specified; implying that we should obey their laws, that we should embrace their doctrine, that we should conform to their practice, according to proper limitations of such performance, respectively:

43We begin with the first, as seeming chiefly intended by the words:

44Obedience to ecclesiastical Government; what this doth import we may understand by considering the terms, whereby it is expressed, and those whereby its correlate (spiritual government) is signified; by examples and practice relating to it, by the nature and reason of the matter it self.

  • 101 Tit III, 1; Rom. XIII, 1; 1 Pet II, 13.
  • 102 1 Pet. V, 5.
  • 103 Luke XXII, 26.
  • 104 1 Cor. XVI, 16.
  • 105 Eph. V, 21; 1 Pet. V, 5.

45Beside the word πείθεσθαι (which is commonly used to signify all sorts of obedience, chiefly that which is due to Governours) here is added a word serving to explain that, the word πείϰειν, which signifieth to yield, give way, or comply; relating (as it seemeth by its being put indefinitely) to all their proceedings in matters concerning their charge. In other places, parallel to our Text, it is expressed by ποτάσσεαθαι101, the same term, by which constantly the subjection due to secular powers (in all the precepts enjoining it) is expressed: μοίως νεώτεροι, ποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις102, In tike manner (or correspondently saith St. Peter) ye younger submit your selves to the elder (that is, as the Context shews, ye inferiours in the Church obey your superiours; νεώτερος where103 doth signify the state of inferiority, as πρεσβύτερος importeth dignity and authority.) And, ὑποτάσσεσθε τοῖς τοιούτοις, Submit your selves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth104, saith St. Paul; and ἀλλήλοις ὑποτασσόμενοι, Submitting your selves to one another in the fear of God105, that is, yielding conscientiously that submission, which established order requireth from one to another: whence we may collect, that the duty consisteth in yielding submission and compliance to all laws, rules and orders enacted by spiritual Governours for the due celebration of God’s worship, the promoting edification, the conserving decency, the maintenance of peace; as also to the judgments and censures in order to the same purposes administred by them.

46This obedience to be due to them may likewise be inferred from the various names and titles attributed to them; such as those of Prelates, Superintendents, Pastours, Supravisours, Governours and Leaders; which terms (more largely touched before) do imply command and authority of all sorts, Legislative, Judicial and Executive.

  • 106 Cujus in solidum singuli participes sumus. Vid. Cypr. de Unit. Eccl. [Episcopatus unus est, cujus a (...)
  • 107 2 Cor. X, 8; XIII, 10.
  • 108 To ordain Elders; to confirm Proselytes; to exercise jurisdiction.
  • b to] T. ; B. for
  • 109 1 Cor. XI, 34; Tit. I, 5; Acts XIV, 23; XV, 28.
  • 110 1 Cor. V, 12; 2 Cor. X, 6.
  • 111 2 Cor. XIII, 10.
  • 112 1 Cor. IV, 21; 2 Cor. XII, 21; XIII, 2; 2 Thess. III, 6, 14.
  • 113 Tit. III, 10.
  • 114 1 Tim. VI, 5; Rom. XVI, 17.
  • 115 2 Cor. X, 8; XIII, 10.
  • 116 Episcopi successores Apostolorum. Cypr. Ep. XXVII, LXIX, XLI, LXXV (Firmil). [Migne, Patrol, lat., (...)
  • 117 Matt. XXVIII, 20.

47Such obedience also Primitive Practice doth assert to them: for what authority the Holy Apostles did assume and exercise, the same we may reasonably suppose derived to them; the same in kind, although not in peculiarity of manner (by immediate commission from Christ, with supply of extraordinary gifts and graces) and in unlimitedness of extent: for they do succeed to the Apostles in charge and care over the Church, each in his precinct (the Apostolical office being distributed among them all106). The same titles, which the Apostles assumed to themselves, they ascribe to their Sympresbyters, requiring the same duties from them, and prescribing obedience to them in the same terms; They claimed no more power than was needfull to further edification107, and this is requisite that present Governours also should have; their practice in government108 may also well be presumed exemplary to all future Governours: As then we see them διατάσσειν, to order things, and frame Ecclesiastical Constitutions, δίορθον to rectify things, or reform defects, to impose observances necessary, or expedient bto the time109; to judge causes and persons, being ready to avenge or punish every disobedience110; to use severity upon occasions111; with the spiritual rod to chastise scandalous offenders, disorderly walkers, persons contumacious and unconformable to their injunctions112; to reject hereticks113, and banish notorious sinners from communion, warning the faithfull to forbear conversation with them114: As they did challenge to themselves an authority from Christ115 to exercise these and the like acts of spiritual dominion and jurisdiction, exacting punctual obedience to them; as we also see the like acts exercised by Bishops116, whom they did constitute to feed and rule the Church; so we may reasonably conceive all Governours of the Church (the heirs of their office) invested with like authority in order to the same purposes, and that correspondent obedience is due to them; so that what blame, what punishment was due to those, who disobeyed the Apostles, doth in proportion belong to the transgressours of their duty toward the present Governours of the Church; especially considering that our Lord promised his perpetual presence and assistence to the Apostles117.

48We may farther observe, that accordingly in continual succession from the first ages, the good Primitive Bishops (the great Patrons and Propagatours of our Religion) did generally assume such power, and the people readily did yield obedience; wherein that one did wrongfully usurp, the other did weakly comply, were neither probable, nor just to suppose; whence general tradition doth also confirm our obligation to this duty.

49That this kind of obedience is required doth also farther appear from considering the reason of things, the condition of the Church, the design of Christian Religion.

501. Every Christian Church is a Society; no Society can abide in any comely order, any steady quiet, any desireable prosperity without government; no government can stand without correspondent obligation to submit thereto.

  • 118 Eph. IV, 8, 11, 12.

512. Again, The state of Religion under the Gospel is the Kingdom of Heaven; Christ our Lord is King of the Church; it he visibly governeth and ordereth by the spiritual Governours as his Substitutes and Lieutenants (whence they peculiarly are styled his Ministers, his Officers, his Stewards, his Legates, his Co-workers.) When he ascending up to God’s right hand was invested with entire possession of that royal State, he setled them to administer affairs concerning that government in his place and name; Ascending up on high he gave gifts unto men—He gave some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastours and Teachers; He gave them, that is he appointed them in their office, subordinate to himself, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministery, for the edifying of the body of Christ118; As to him therefore ruling by them, by them enacting laws, dispensing justice, maintaining order and peace, obedience is due.

  • 119 1 Cor. XIV, 23; Tit. II, 10.
  • 120 1 Cor. XIV, 40.
  • 121 1 Cor. XIV, 33.

523. Again, For the honour of God, the commendation of Religion, and benefit of the People119, it is needfull, that in all religious performances things should, according to St. Paul's rule, be performed decently, and according to order120, without unhandsome confusion, and troublesome distraction; this cannot be accomplished without a determination of persons, of modes, of circumstances appertaining to those performances (for how can any thing be performed decently, if every person hath not his rank and station, his office and work allotted to him; if to every thing to be done, its time, its place, its manner of performance be not assigned, so that each one may know what, when, where, and how he must doe?) such determination must be committed to the discretion and care of some persons, impowered to frame standing laws or rules concerning it, and to see them duly executed (for all persons without delay, strife, confusion, and disturbance cannot meddle in it) with these persons all the rest of the body must be obliged to comply; otherwise all such determinations will be vain and ineffectual. Such order reason doth recommend in every proceeding; such order especially becometh the grandeur and importance of sacred things; such order God hath declared himself to approve, and love, especially in his own house, among his people, in matters relating to his service; for He is not (as St. Paul saith, arguing to this purpose) the God of confusion, but of peace, in all Churches of the Saints121.

  • 122 Eph. IV, 3.
  • 123 Phil. II, 2 (σόμψυχοι); 1 Pet. III, 8 (μόφρονες); 2 Cor. XIII, 11.
  • 124 Phil. II, 2; I, 27.
  • 125 Phil. III, 16.
  • 126 Rom. XV, 5, 6; XII, 16.
  • 127 1 Cor. I, 10.
  • 128 Acts IV, 32.
  • 129 1 Cor. XII, 25; XI, 18; I, 11; III, 3.
  • 130 2 Cor. XII, 20; Phil. II, 14.
  • 131 [without, but for].

534. Again, It is requisite that all Christian brethren should conspire in serving God with mutual charity, hearty concord, harmonious consent; that (as the Apostles so often prescribed) they should endeavour to keep unity of spirit in the bond of peace122; That they should be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind123, standing fast in one spirit, with one mind124; That they should walk by the same rule, and mind the same thing125; That with one mind, and one mouth they should glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ126; That they should all speak the same thing; and that there be no divisions among them, but that they be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment127; (like those in the Acts, of whom it is said, The multitude of believers had one heart, and one soul)128 That there should be no schisms (divisions, or factions) in the body129; that all dissensions, all murmurings, all emulations should be discarded from the Church130: the which precepts, secluding131 an obligation to obedience, would be impossible, and vain; for (without continual miracle, and transforming humane nature, things not to be expected from God, who apparently designeth to manage Religion by ordinary ways of humane prudence, his gratious assistence concurring) no durable concord in any Society can ever effectually be maintained otherwise than by one publick reason, will and sentence, which may represent, connect, and comprize all; in defect of that every one will be of a several opinion about what is best, each will be earnest for the prevalence of his model and way; there will be so many Law-givers as Persons, so many differences as matters incident; nothing will pass smoothly and quietly, without bickering and jangling; and consequently without animosities, and feuds; whence no unanimity, no concord, scarce any charity or good-will can subsist.

  • 132 2 Cor. XIII, 10; X, 8.

545. Farther, in consequence of these things common edification requireth such obedience: It is the duty of Governours to order all things to this end, that is to the maintenance, encouragement, and improvement of piety; for this purpose their authority was given them, (as St. Paul saith132) and therefore it must be deemed thereto conducible: it is indeed very necessary to edification, which without discipline guiding the simple and ignorant, reclaiming the erroneous and presumptuous, cherishing the regular, and correcting the refractary, can no-wise be promoted.

  • 133 1 Tim. I, 19; VI, 5; 2 Tim. II, 16, 17, 18.
  • 134 2 Tim. II, 16.
  • 135 Tit. I. 11.
  • 136 2 Tim. II, 17.

55Excluding it, there can be no means of checking or redressing scandals, which to the reproach of Religion, to the disgrace of the Church, to the corrupting the minds, and infecting the manners of men will spring up, and spread133. Neither can there be any way to prevent the rise and growth of pernicious errours, or heresies; the which assuredly in a state of unrestrained liberty the wanton and wicked minds of men will breed, their licentious practice will foster, and propagate; to the encrease of all impiety134; their mouths must be stopped, otherwise they will subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre sake135; the word of naughty seducers will spread like a gangrene136, if there be no corrosive or corrective remedy to stay its progress.

  • 137 Jas. III, 16.

56Where things are not managed in a stable, quiet, orderly way, no good practice can flourish, or thrive; dissension will choak all good affections, confusion will obstruct all good proceedings; from anarchy emulation and strife will certainly grow, and from them all sorts of wickedness; for where (saith St. James) there is emulation and strife, there is confusion, and every evil thing137.

  • 138 1 Pet. II, 5.

57All those benefits, which arise from holy communion in offices of piety and charity (from common prayers and praises to God, from participation in all sacred ordinances, from mutual advice, admonition, encouragement, consolation, good example) will together vanish with discipline; these depend upon the friendly union and correspondence of the members; and no such union can abide without the ligament of discipline, no such correspondence can be upheld without unanimous compliance to publick order. The cement of discipline wanting, the Church will not be like a spiritual house, compacted of lively stones138 into one goodly pile; but like a company of scattered pebles, or a heap of rubbish.

58So considering the reason of things, this obedience will appear needfull; to enforce the practice thereof we may adjoin several weighty considerations.

59Consider obedience what it is, whence it springs, what it produceth, each of those respects will engage us to it.

60It is in it self a thing very good and acceptable to God, very just and equal, very wise, very comely and pleasant.

  • 139 Tempus est, — ut de submissione provocent in se Dei clementiam, et de honore debito in Dei sacerdot (...)

61It cannot but be gratefull unto God, who is the God of love, of order, of peace, and therefore cannot but like the means furthering them; he cannot but be pleased to see men doe their duty, especially that which regardeth his own Ministers; in the respect performed to whom he is himself indeed avowed, and honoured, and obeyed139.

  • 140 [equitable, fair].
  • 141 [2 Cor. XII, 15.]

62It is a just and equal140 thing, that every member of society should submit to the laws, and orders of it; for every man is supposed upon those terms to enter into, and to abide in it; every man is deemed to owe such obedience in answer to his enjoyment of privileges, and partaking of advantages thereby; so therefore whoever pretendeth a title to those excellent immunities, benefits and comforts, which communion with the Church affordeth, it is most equal, that he should contribute to its support and welfare, its honour, its peace; that consequently he should yield obedience to the orders appointed for those ends. Peculiarly equal it is in regard to our spiritual Governours, who are obliged to be very solicitous and laborious in furthering our best good; who stand deeply engaged, and are responsible for the welfare of our souls: they must be contented to spend, and be spent141, to undergo any pains, any hardships, any dangers and crosses occurring in pursuance of those designs: and is it not then plainly equal (is it not indeed more than equal, doth not all ingenuity and gratitude require?) that we should encourage, and comfort them in bearing those burthens, and in discharging those incumbencies by a fair and chearfull compliance?’tis the Apostle's enforcement of the duty in our Text: Obey them (saith he) and submit your selves; for they watch for your souls, as those, who are to render an accompt, that they may doe it with joy, and not with grief (or groaning.)

63Is it not indeed extreme iniquity and ingratitude, when they with anxious care, and earnest toil are endeavouring our happiness, that we should vex and trouble them by our perverse and cross behaviour?

  • c hinder] T.; B. impede

64Nay, is it not palpable folly to doe thus, seeing thereby we do indispose and chinder them from effectually discharging their duty to our advantage? λυσιτελές γρ ύμν τοτο, for this (addeth the Apostle, farther pressing the duty) is unprofitable to you, or it tendeth to your disadvantage and damage; not onely as involving guilt, but as inferring loss; the loss of all those spiritual benefits, which Ministers being encouraged, and thence performing their office with alacrity and sprightfull diligence would procure to you: it is therefore our wisedom to be obedient, because obedience is so advantageous and profitable to us.

  • 142 Ps. CXXXIII, 1.
  • 143 Tit. II, 10, 5.

65The same is also a comely and amiable thing, yielding much grace, procuring great honour to the Church, highly adorning and crediting Religion: It is a goodly sight to behold things proceeding orderly; to see every person quietly resting in his post, or moving evenly in his rank; to observe superiours calmly leading, inferiours gladly following, and equals lovingly accompanying each other; this is the Psalmist's, Ecce quam bonum! Behold, how (admirably) good, and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity142! such a state of things argueth the good temper, and wisedom of persons so demeaning themselves, the excellency of the principles, which do guide, and act them, the goodness of the constitution which they observe; so it crediteth the Church, and graceth Religion; a thing which (as St. Paul teacheth) in all things we should endeavour143.

66It is also a very pleasant and comfortable thing to live in obedience; by it we enjoy tranquillity of mind, and satisfaction of conscience, we taste all the sweets of amity and peace, we are freed from the stings of inward remorse, we escape the grievances of discord and strife.

67The causes also and principles, from which obedience springeth, do much commend it: it ariseth from the dispositions of soul, which are most Christian, and most humane; from charity, humility, meekness, sobriety of mind, and calmness of passion; the which always dispose men to submiss, complaisant, peaceable demeanour toward all men, especially toward those, whose relation to them claimeth such demeanour; these a genuine, free, cordial and constant obedience do signify to live in the soul; together with a general honesty of intention, and exemption from base designs.

  • d Church,] B. ; 1686 Church
  • 144 Neque hoc ideo ita dixerim, ut negligatur Ecclesiastica disciplina, et permittatur quisquam facere (...)
  • 145 [serious].
  • 146 [evilly disposed].

68In fine, innumerable and inestimable are the benefits and good fruits accruing from this practice; Beside the support it manifestly yieldeth to the Church, the gracefulness of order, the conveniences and pleasures of peace, it hath also a notable influence upon the common manners of men, which hardly can ever prove very bad, where the Governours of the Church do retain their due respect and authority; nothing more powerfully doth instigate to vertue, than the countenance of authority, nothing more effectually can restrain from exorbitancy of vice, than the bridle of discipline: this obvious experience demonstrateth, and we shall plainly see, if we reflect upon those times when piety and vertue have most flourished: whence was it, that in those good old times Christians did so abound in good works, that they burnt with holy zeal, that they gladly would doe, would suffer any thing for their Religion? whence but from a mighty respect to their superiours; from a strict regard to their direction and discipline? did the Bishops then prescribe long fasts, or impose rigid penances? willingly did the people undergo them; did the Pastour conduct into danger, did he lead them into the very jaws of death, and martyrdom? the flock with a resolute alacrity did follow; did a Prelate interdict any practice scandalous, or prejudicial to thed Church, under pain of incurring censure? Every man trembled at the consequences of transgressing144: No terrour of worldly power, no severity of justice, no dread of corporal punishment had such efficacy to deter men from ill-doing as the reproof and censure of a Bishop; his frown could avail more than the menaces of an Emperour than the rage of a Persecutour, than the rods and axes of an Executioner: No rod indeed did smart like the spiritual rod, no sword did cut so deep as that of the spirit; no loss was then so valuable145 as being deprived of spiritual advantages; no banishment was so grievous as being separated from holy communion; no sentence of death was so terrible, as that which cut men off from the Church: No thunder could astonish or affright men like the crack of a spiritual anathema: This was that which kept vertue in request, and vice in detestation; hence it was that men were so good, that Religion did so thrive, that so frequent, and so illustrious examples of piety did appear: Hence indeed we may well reckon that Christianity did (under so many disadvantages, and oppositions) subsist, and grow up; obedience to Governours was its guard; that kept the Church firmly united in a body sufficiently strong to maintain it self against all assaults of faction within, of opposition from abroad; that preserved that concord, which disposed and enabled Christians to defend their Religion against all fraud and violence; that cherished the true vertue, and the beautifull order, which begot veneration to Religion; to it therefore we owe the life and growth of Christianity, so that through many sharp persecutions it hath held up its head; through so many perillous diseases it hath kept its life untill this day. There were not then of old any such cavils and clamours against every thing prescribed by Governours; there were no such unconscionable scruples, no such hardhearted pretences to tender conscience devised to baffle the authority of superiours; had there been such, had men then commonly been so froward146 and factious as now, the Church had been soon shivered into pieces, our Religion had been swallowed up in confusion, and licentiousness.

69If again we on the other hand fix our consideration upon disobedience, (the nature, the sources, the consequences thereof) it will, I suppose, much conduce to the same effect, of persuading us to the practice of this duty:

70It is in it self a heinous sin, being the transgression of a command in nature and consequence very important, upon which God layeth great stress, which is frequently inculcated in Scripture, which is fenced by divers other Precepts, which is pressed by strong arguments, and backed by severe threatnings of punishment upon the transgressours.

  • 147 Luke X, 16; Matt. X, 40.
  • 148 Matt. XVIII, 17.
  • 149 Nec putent sibi vitae aut salutis constare rationem, si Episcopis et sacerdotibus obtemperare nolue (...)

71It is in its nature a kind of apostasie from Christianity, and rebellion against our Lord; for as he that refuseth to obey the King’s Magistrates in administration of their office is interpreted to disclaim his authority, and to design rebellion against him; so they who obstinately disobey the Ministers of our Lord’s spiritual Kingdom, do thereby appear to disavow him, to shake off his yoke, to impeach his reign over them; so doth he himself interpret and take it: He (saith our Lord) that heareth you, heareth me, and he that ( ἀθεtn, that baffleth) despiseth you, despiseth me147; and, If any man neglect to hear the Church (or shall disobey it, ν παρακούστη) let him be to thee as a heathen, and a publican148; that is, such a refractary person doth by his contumacy put himself into the state of one removed from the Commonwealth of Israel, he forfeiteth the special protection of God, he becometh as an alien, or an Outlaw from the Kingdom of our Lord149.

  • 150 Deut. XVII, 12.
  • 151 Num. XVI, 11, 30.
  • 152 Hos. IV, 4. Quo exemplo ostenditur, et probatur obnoxios omnes et culpae et paenae futuros, qui se (...)

72Linder the Mosaical Dispensation those who would doe presumptuously, and would not hearken unto the Priest, that stood to minister before the Lord150, did incur capital punishment; those who factiously murmured against Aaron, are said to make an insurrection against God, and answerably were punished in a miraculous way (The Lord made a new thing, the earth opened, and swallowed them up; they went down alive into the pit.)151 It was in the Prophetical times an expression signifying height of impiety; My people is as those, who strive with the Priest152: Seeing then God hath no less regard to his peculiar Servants now than he had then; seeing they no less represent him, and act by his authority now, than any did then; seeing their service is as pretious to him, and as much tendeth to his honour now, as the Levitical service then did; seeing he no less loveth order and peace in the Church, than he did in the Synagogue; we may well suppose it a no less heinous sin, and odious to God, to despise the Ministers of Christ's Gospel, than it was before to despise the Ministers of Moses his Law.

  • 153 1 Cor. XVI, 14.
  • 154 Phil. II, 14.
  • 155 Rom. XII, 18; 2 Tim. II, 22; Heb. XII, 14; Mark IX, 50.
  • 156 An esse tibi cum Christo videtur, qui adversus sacerdotes Christi facit? etc. CYPR. de Unit. Eccl.,(...)

73It is a sin indeed, pregnant with divers sins, and involving the breach of many great commands, which are frequently proposed and pressed in the New Testament, with design in great part to guard and secure it; That of doing all things in charity153, of doing all things without murmurings, and dissentions154, of pursuing peace so far as lieth in us155, of maintaining unity, concord, unanimity in devotion, of avoiding schisms, and dissensions; and the like; which are all notoriously violated by this disobedience; it includeth the most high breach of charity, the most formal infringing peace, the most scandalous kind of discord that can be, to cross our Superiours156.

74It is also a practice issuing from the worst dispositions of soul, such as are most opposite to the spirit of our Religion, and indeed very repugnant to common reason, and humanity; from a proud haughtiness, or vain wantonness of mind, from the irregularity of unmortified, and unbridled passion, from exorbitant selfishness (selfishness of every bad kind, self-conceit, self-will, self-interest) from turbulent animosity, froward crosness of humour, rancorous spite, perverse obstinacy; from envy, ambition, avarice, and the like ill sources, the worst fruits of the flesh and corrupt nature; to such dispositions the rejecting God’s Prophets of old, and the non-compliance with the Apostles are ascribed in Scripture; and from the same the like neglect of God’s Messengers now do proceed; as whoever will observe, may easily discern; do but mind the discourses of factious people, you shall perceive them all to breathe generally nothing but ill-nature.

75The fruits also, which it produceth, are extremely bad; manifold great inconveniences and mischiefs, hugely prejudicing the interest of religion, and the welfare of the Church.

  • 157 Vid. Cypr. Ep. LV. Neque enim aliunde, etc. [haereses obortae sunt, aut nata sunt schismata, quam i (...)

76It is immediately and formally a violation of order, and peace; whence all the wofull consequences of disorder and faction do adhere thereto157.

  • 158 Inde Schismata, et Haereses obortae sunt, et oriuntur, dum Episcopus, qui unus est, et Ecclesiae pr (...)

77It breedeth great disgrace to the Church, and scandal to Religion, for what can appear more ugly than to see among the Professours of Religion Children opposing their Fathers, Scholars contesting with their Masters, Inferiours slighting and crossing their Superiours? what can more expose the Church and religion to the contempt, to the derision of Atheists and Infidels, of profane and lewd persons, of wild Hereticks, and Schismaticks, of all enemies unto truth and piety, than such foul irregularity158?

  • 159 Ecclesiae gloria praepositi gloria est. Id. Ep. VI [ibid., t. 4, col. 241]; Ep. LV [i.e. Ep. XII Ad (...)
  • 160 [fences, curbs].

78It corrupteth the minds and manners of men; for when that discipline is relaxed, which was ordained to guard truth, and promote holiness; when men are grown so licentious, and stubborn, as to contemn their Superiours, to disregard their wholsome laws, and sober advice, there can be no curb to restrain them; but down precipitantly they run into all kind of vitious irregularities and excesses159; when those mounds160 are taken away, whither will men ramble; when those banks are broken down, what can we expect but deluges of impious doctrine, and wicked practice to overflow the ignorant and inconsiderate people?

  • 161 Matt. XXVI, 31.
  • 162 [lost in a maze],
  • 163 [Acts XX, 29; Matt. VII, 15.]
  • 164 Τοῦτο πάντων τῶν ϰαϰῶν αἴτιον, ὃτι t τῶτ ἀρχόντων ὴφανίσθη, οὐδεμία αἰδὼς, οὐδεὶς φόβος, etc. Chry (...)

79Doth not indeed this practice evidently tend to the dissolution of the Church, and destruction of Christianity? for when the Shepherds are (as to conduct and efficacy) taken away, will not the Sheep be scattered, or wander astray, like Sheep without a Shepherd161, being bewildred162 in various errours, and exposed as a prey to any wild beasts; to the grievous wolves, to the ravenous lions, to the wily Foxes163? here a fanatical Enthusiast will snap them, there a profane Libertine will worry them, there again a desperate Atheist will tear and devour them164.

  • 165 [undermining].
  • e at] T.

80Consult we but obvious experience, and we shall see, what spoils and mines165 of faith, of good conscience, of common honesty and sobriety this practice hath in a few years caused: how have Atheism and Infidelity, how have profaneness and dissoluteness of manners, how have all kinds of dishonesty and baseness grown up since men began to disregard the authority of their spiritual Guides? what dismal tragedies have we in our age beheld acted upon this stage of our own Countrey: what bloudy wars and murthers (murthers of Princes, of Nobles, of Bishops and Priests) what miserable oppressions, extortions and rapines; what execrable seditions and rebellions; what barbarous animosities, and feuds, what abominable treasons, sacrileges, perjuries, blasphemies; what horrible violations of all justice and honesty? and what I pray was the source of these things; where did they begin; where but at murmuring against, at rejecting, at persecuting the spiritual Govemours, at casting down and trampling on their authority; at slighting and spurninge at their advice? surely would men have observed the Laws, or have hearkned to the Counsels of those grave and sober persons, whom God had appointed to direct them, they never would have run into the commission of such enormities.

81It is not to be omitted, that in the present state of things the guilt of disobedience to spiritual Governours is encreased and aggravated by the supervenient guilt of another disobedience to the Laws of our Prince and Countrey: Before the secular powers (unto whom God hath committed the dispensation of justice, with the maintenance of peace and order in reference to worldly affairs) did submit to our Lord, and became nursing parents of the Church, the power of managing Ecclesiastical matters did wholly reside in spiritual Guides; unto whom Christians as the peculiar subjects of God, were obliged willingly to yield obedience; and refusing it were guilty before God of spiritual disorder, faction, or schism; but now after that political authority (out of pious zeal for God’s service, out of a wise care to prevent the influences of disorder in spiritual matters upon the temporal peace, out of gratefull return for the advantages the Commonwealth enjoyeth from religion, and the Church) hath pleased to back and fortify the Laws of spiritual Governours by civil sanctions, the knot of our obligation is tied faster, its force is redoubled, we by disobedience incur a double guilt, and offend God two ways, both as Supreme Governour of the World, and as King of the Church; to our schism against the Church we add rebellion against our Prince, and so become no less bad Citizens, than bad Christians; Some may perhaps imagine their disobedience hence more excusable, taking themselves now onely thereby to transgress a political Sanction; but (beside that even that were a great offence, the command of our temporal Governours being sufficient, out of conscience to God’s express will, to oblige us in all things not evidently repugnant to God's Law) it is a great mistake to think the civil law doth any-wise derogate from the Ecclesiastical; that doth not swallow this up, but succoureth and corroborateth it; their concurrence yieldeth an accession of weight, and strength to each; they do not by conspiring to prescribe the same thing either of them cease to be Governours, as to right; but in efficacy the authority of both should thence be augmented; seeing the obligation to obedience is multiplied upon their subjects; and to disobey them is now two crimes, which otherwise should be but one.

***

82Such is the nature of this duty, and such are the reasons enforcing the practice thereof; I shall onely farther remove two impediments of that practice; and so leave this Point.

  • 166 [urge].
  • 167 Μάλιστα γἀρ ἁπάντων Χριστιανοῖς οὐϰ ἐφεῖται πρὀς βίαν ἐπανορθοῦν τἀ τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων πταίσματα, etc (...)
  • 168 2 Tim. II, 25; IV, 2; 1 Tim. III, 3.

831. One hindrance of obedience is this, that spiritual power is not despotical, or compulsory, but parental or pastoral; that it hath no external force to abet166 it, or to avenge disobedience to its laws: they must not ϰατεξουσιξειν, or ϰαταϰυριεύειν (be imperious, or domineer) they are not allowed to exercise violence, or to inflict bodily correction167; but must rule in meek and gentle ways, directly influential upon the mind and conscience, (ways of rational persuasion, exhortation, admonition, reproof) in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;—convincing, rebuking, exhorting with all long-suffering, and doctrine168: their word is their onely weapon, their force of argument all the constraint they apply; hence men commonly do not stand in awe of them, nor are so sensible of their obligation to obey them; they cannot understand why they should be frighted by words, or controlled by an unarmed authority.

  • 169 [not to be perceived by the senses].
  • 170 Matt. XVIII, 18.
  • 171 [Exod. XXX, 33, 38; Lev. VII, 20, 21, 25, 27; XVII, 4, 9; XIX, 8; XXIII, 29; Num. IX, 13; etc.].
  • 172 Heb. X, 31.
  • 173 [powerful].
  • 174 2 Cor. X, 4.
  • 175 [with regard to all comfort in existence].

84But this in truth (things being duly considered) is so far from diminishing our obligation, or arguing the authority of our Governours to be weak and precarious, that it rendereth our obligation much greater, and their authority more dreadfull; for the sweeter and gentler their way of governing is, the more disingenuous and unworthy a thing it is to disobey it; not to be persuaded by reason, not to be allured by kindness, not to admit friendly advice, not to comply with the calmest methods of furthering our own good, is a brutish thing; he that onely can be scared and scourged to duty, scarce deserveth the name of a man: it therefore doth the more oblige us, that in this way we are moved to action by love rather than fear: Yet if we would fear wisely and justly, (not like Children, being frighted with formidable shapes, and appearances, but like men apprehending the real consequences of things) we should the more fear these spiritual Powers, because they are insensible169: for that God hath commanded us to obey them, without assigning visible forces to constrain or chastise, is a manifest argument, that he hath reserved the vindication of their authority to his own hand, which therefore will be infallibly certain, and terribly severe; so the nature of the case requireth, and so God hath declared it shall be; The Sentence that is upon Earth pronounced by his Ministers upon contumacious Offenders, he hath declared himself ready to ratify in Heaven, and therefore most assuredly will execute it170: As under the Old Law God appointed to the transgression of some laws, upon which he laid special stress, the punishment of being cut off from his people171; the execution of which punishment he reserved to himself to be accomplished in his own way, and time; so doth he now in like manner take upon him to maintain the cause of his Ministers; and to execute the judgments decreed by them; and if so, we may consider that it is a dreadfull thing to fall into the hands of the living God172: Ecclesiastical Authority therefore is not a shadow, void of substance or force, but hath the greatest power in the World to support, and assert it; it hath arms to maintain it most effectual and forcible173 (those of which St. Paul saith; The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God—)174 it inflicteth chastisements far more dreadfull, than any secular power can inflict; for these onely touch the body, those pierce the soul; these concern onely our temporal state, those reach eternity it self; these at most yield a transitory smart, or kill the body, those produce endless torment; and (utterly as to all comfort in being)175 destroy the soul.

  • 176 [1 Tim. I, 20].
  • 177 Spiritali gladio superbi et contumaces necantur, dum de Ecclesia ejiciuntur. Cypr. Ep. LXI [Migne, (...)
  • 178 [Matt. XVIII, 18].
  • f in aguilt] 1686; B. in a noose of guilt
  • 179 [broad sword].
  • 180 [Eph. VI, 17].
  • 181 [Rev. XXI, 8].
  • 182 [consigns].

85The punishment for extreme contumacy is called delivery to Satan176; and is not this far worse than to be put into the hands of any Gaolor, or hangman177? what are any chords of hemp, or fetters of iron in comparison to those bands, of which’tis said, Whatever ye bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven178; which engage the soulf in a guilt, never to be loosed, except by sore contrition, and serious repentance? what are any scourges to St. Paul's rod, lashing the heart and conscience with stinging remorse; what any axes or faulchions179 to that sword of the spirit180; which cutteth off a member from the body of Christ; what are any faggots and torches to that unquenchable fire and brimstone181 of the infernal lake; what, in fine, doth any condemnation here signify to that horrible curse, which devoteth182 an incorrigible soul to the bottomless pit?

86It is therefore indeed a great advantage to this power that it is spiritual.

  • 183 Cypr. Ep. L, LII (p. 97) [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4].

872. Another grand obstruction to the practice of this duty is, pretence to scruple about the lawfulness, or dissatisfaction in the expedience of that, which our Governours prescribe, that we are able to advance objections against their decrees, that we can espy inconveniences, ensuing upon their orders; that we imagine the constitution may be reformed, so as to become more pure, more convenient, and comely, more serviceable to edification; that we cannot fansie that to be best, which they enjoin183: For removing this obstruction let me onely propound some questions.

  • 184 Φιλονοις [, ς φησιν παροιμία,] οίνος ού λείπει, οδ φιλονείϰψ μχη. Socrat. Hist. [Eccl.] VII, (...)

88Were not any Government appointed in vain, if such pretences might exempt, or excuse from conformity to its orders? can such ever be wanting184? is there any thing deviseable, which may not be impugned by some plausible reason, which may not disgust a squeamish humour? is there any matter so clearly innocent, the lawfulness whereof a weak mind will not question, any thing so firm and solid, in which a small acuteness of wit cannot pick a hole, any thing so indisputably certain, that whoever affecteth to cavil may not easily devise some objections against it?

89Is there any thing here, that hath no inconveniences attending it? are not in all humane things conveniences, and inconveniences so mixt and complicated, that it is impossible to disentangle and sever them? can there be any constitution under Heaven so absolutely pure and perfect, that no blemish or defect shall appear therein? can any providence of man foresee, any care prevent, any industry remedy all inconveniences possible? Is a reformation satisfactory to all fancies any-wise practicable; and are they not fitter to live in the Platonick Idea of a Commonwealth, than in any real society, who press for such an one? to be facile and complaisant in other cases, bearing with things which do not please us, is estemed commendable, a courteous and humane practice, why should it not be much more reasonable to condescend to our Superiours, and comport with their practice? is it not very discourteous to deny them the respect which we allow to others, or to refuse that advantage to publick transactions, which we think fit to grant unto private conversation?

  • 185 Ο γὰρ μόνον τὴν ἀρίστην (πολιτείαν) δει θεωρεῖν, ἀλλἀ ϰαί τὴν δυνατήν. Arist. Pot. IV, i [1288 b, (...)

90To what purpose did God institute a Government, if the resolutions thereof must be suspended, till every man is satisfied with them185; or if its state must be altered so often, as any man can pick in it matter of offence or dislike; or if the proceedings thereof must be shaped according to the numberless varieties of different and repugnant fancies?

  • 186 [manifestly].

91Are, I pray, the objections against obedience so clear, and cogent, as are the commands, which enjoin, and the reasons, which enforce it? are the inconveniences adhering to it apparently186 so grievous, as are the mischiefs, which spring from disobedience? do they in a just balance counterpoise the disparagement of authority, the violation of order, the disturbance of peace, the obstruction of edification, which disobedience produceth?

  • 187 Dixisti sane scrupulum tibi esse tollendum de animo, in quem incidisti; Incidisti sed tua credulita (...)

92Do the scruples (or reasons, if we will call them so) which we propound, amount to such a strength and evidence, as to outweigh the judgment of those, whom God hath authorized by his Commission, whom he doth enable by his grace to instruct and guide us187? May not those, whose office it is to judge of such things; whose business it is to study for skill in order to that purpose, who have most experience in those affairs specially belonging to them, be reasonably deemed most able to judge both for themselves, and us what is lawfull, and what expedient? have they not eyes to see what we doe, and hearts to judge concerning the force of our pretences, as well as we?

  • 188 Qui fidei et veritati praesumus. Cypr. Ep. LXXII [ibid., t. 3, col. 1170].

93Is it not a design of their office to resolve our doubts, and void our scruples in such cases, that we may act securely and quietly, being directed by better judgments than our own188? Are they not strictly obliged in conscience, are they not deeply engaged by interest to govern us in the best manner? Is it therefore wisedom, is it modesty, is it justice for us to advance our private conceits against their most deliberate publick resolutions? may we not in so doing mistake; may we not be blind, or weak (not to say fond, or proud, or perverse) and shall those defects or defaults of ours evacuate so many commands of God, and render his so noble, so needfull an ordinance quite insignificant?

  • 189 [to disguise],
  • 190 [evil].
  • 191 [motives].

94Do we especially seem to be in earnest, or appear otherwise than illusively to palliate189 our nauyhty190 affections, and sinister respects191, when we ground the justification of our non-conformity upon dark subtilties, and intricate quirks; which it is hard to conceive that we understand our selves, and whereof very perspicacious men cannot apprehend the force? Do we think we shall be innocent men, because we are smart Sophisters; or that God will excuse from our duty, because we can perplex men with our discourses? or that we are bound to doe nothing, because we are able to say somewhat against all things?

95Would we not doe well to consider, what huge danger they incur, and how massy a load of guilt they must undergo, upon whom shall be charged all those sad disorders, and horrid mischiefs, which are naturally consequent on disobedience; what if confusion of things, if corruption of manners, if oppression of truth, if dissolution of the Church do thence ensue; what a case then shall we be in, who confer so much thereto? would not such considerations be apt to beget scruples far more disquieting an honest, and truly conscientious mind, than any such either profound subtilties, or superficial plausibilities can doe; which Dissenters are wont to alledge? For needeth he not to have extreme reason (reason extremely strong, and evident) who dareth to refuse that obedience, which God so plainly commandeth, by which his own authority is maintained, on which the safety, prosperity, and peace of the Church dependeth, in which the support of Religion, and the welfare of numberless souls is deeply concerned?

  • 192 2 Tim. IV, 15; 1 Tim. I, 20; 2 Thess. III, 14, 6.

96Did, let me farther ask, the Apostles, when they settled orders in the Church, when they imposed what they conceived needfull for edification, and decency, when they inflicted spiritual chastisements upon disorderly walkers, regard such pretences? or had those self-conceited, and self-willed people (who obeyed not their words, but resisted and rejected them)192 no such pretences? had they nothing, think we, to say for themselves, nothing to object against the Apostolick orders, and proceedings? they had surely; they failed not to find faults in the establishment, and to pretend a kind of tender conscience for their disobedience; yet this hindred not, but that the Apostles condemned their misbehaviour and inflicted severe censures upon them?

  • 193 [to feel].

97Did not also the primitive Bishops (and all spiritual Govern-ours down from the beginning every-where almost to these days of contention and disorder) proceed in the same course; not fearing to enact such laws concerning indifferent matters, and circumstances of Religion, as seemed to them conducible to the good of the Church? did not all good People readily comply with their orders, how painfull soever, or disagreeable to flesh and bloud, without contest, or scruple? yet had not they as much wit, and no less conscience than our selves? They who had wisedom enough to descry the truth of our Religion through all the clouds of obloquy and disgrace, which it lay under; who had zeal and constancy to bear the hardest brunts of persecution against it; were they such fools as to see no fault, so stupid as to resent193 nothing, or so loose as to comply with any thing? No surely; they were in truth so wise as to know their duty, and so honest as to observe it.

98If these considerations will not satisfy, I have done; and proceed to the next Point of our duty, to which the precept in our Text may extend; concerning the doctrine of our Guides: In which respect it may be conceived to imply the following particulars, to be performed by us, as instances, or parts, or degrees thereof.

  • 194 Neh. IX, 29; Prov. I, 24; Isa. LXV, 12; LXVI, 4; Jer. VII, 13; VI, 10.
  • 195 Acts XIII, 46.
  • 196 Matt. X, 14.
  • 197 Luke VIII, 37.
  • 198 Ps. LVIII, 4, 5.
  • 199 [implicit].
  • 200 Jer. VII, 13.
  • 201 Luke X, 16.
  • 202 2 Cor. V, 20.
  • 203 Jas. I, 19.
  • 204 1 Pet. II, 2.

991. We should readily, and gladly address our selves to hear them; not out of profane and wilfull contempt, or slothfull negligence declining to attend upon their instructions: There were of old those, of whom the Prophets complain, who would not so much as hearken to the words of those, whom God sent unto them; but stopped their ears, withdrew the shoulder, and hardned the neck, and would not hear194; there were those in the Evangelical times, who did pwθεῖn tn lógon, thrust away the word of God, judging themselves unworthy of eternal life195; who would not admit, or hear the word of life196, and overtures of grace propounded by the Apostles; There were Gadarenes, who beseeched our Lord himself to depart from their Coasts197; There have always been deaf Adders, who stop their ears to the voice of the Charmer, charm he never so wisely198; No wonder then if now there be those, who will not so much as allow a hearing to the Messengers of God, and the Guides of their soul: some out of a factious prejudice against their office, or their persons, or their way do shun them, giving themselves over to the conduct of Seducers; some out of a profane neglect of all Religion, out of being wholly possessed with worldly cares, and desires, out of stupidity and sloth (indisposing them to mind any thing that is serious) will not afford them any regard: All these are extremely blameable, offensive to God, and injurious to themselves: It is a heinous affront to God (implying an hostile disposition toward him, an unwillingness to have any correspondence with him) to refuse so much as audience to his Ambassadours; It is an interpretative199 repulsing him; so of old he expressed it; I (saith he) spake unto you, rising early, and speaking, but ye heard not, I called you, but ye answered not200; so under the Gospel, He (saith our Lord) that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth (or regardeth not) you, despiseth me201; and, We are Ambassadours of Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead be reconciled to God202 It is a starving our souls, depriving them of that food, which God hath provided for them; It is keeping our selves at distance from any means or possibility of being well informed and quickned to the practice of our duty, of being reclaimed from our errours, and sins; it is the way to become hardned in impiety, or sinking into a reprobate sense: This is the first step to obedience; for how can we believe, except we hear? this is that, which St. fames urgeth, Let every man be quick to hear203; and which St. Peter thus enjoineth: Like new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby204; We should especially be quick and ready to hear those, whom God hath authorized and appointed to speak; we should desire to suck the milk of the word from those, who are our spiritual Parents, and Nurses.

  • g discourses] 1686 ; B. discourse
  • 205 Matt. XIII, 5.
  • 206 Heb. II, 1.
  • 207 1 Thess. II, 13.
  • 208 Jas. I, 21.
  • 209 [2 Tim. III, 15.]

1002. We should hear them with serious, earnest attention, and consideration; so that we may well understand, may be able to weigh, may retain in memory, and may become duly affected with theirg discourses; We must not hear them drowsily and slightly, as if we were nothing concerned, or were hearing an impertinent tale; their word should not pass through the ears, and slip away without effect; but sink into the understanding, into the memory, into the heart; like the good seed falling into a depth of earth205, able to afford it root, and nourishment; therefore we must attend diligently thereto: περισσοτέρως ον δε προσέχειν, we should therefore give more abundant heed (as the Apostle saith) to the things we hear, lest at any time we should let them slip206. This duty the nature and importance of their word requireth: It is the word not of men, but in truth the word of the great God207, (his word as proceeding from him, as declaring his mind and will, as tendring his overtures of grace and mercy) which as such challengeth great regard and awe; it informeth us of our chief duties, it furthereth our main interests, it guideth us into, it urgeth us forward in the way to eternal happiness;’tis the word that is able to save our souls208; to render us wise unto salvation209; It therefore claimeth, and deserveth from us most earnest attention; it is a great indignity and folly not to yield it.

1013. We should to their instructions bring good dispositions of mind, such as may render them most effectual and fruitfull to us; Such as are right intention, candour, docility, meekness.

  • 210 [2 Tim. IV, 3.]
  • 211 [Acts XVII, 19.]
  • 212 [alluring].
  • 213 Acts XVII, 21.
  • 214 Luke XI, 54.

102We should not be induced to hear them out of curiosity, (as having itching ears)210 being desirous to hear some new things211, some fine notions, some taking212 discourse; somewhat to fansie or talk pleasantly about; (as the Athenians heard St. Paul)213 not out of censoriousness, or inclination to criticize, and find fault (as the Pharisees heard our Saviour, Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him)214 not out of design to gratify our passions in hearing them, to reprove other persons; or for any such corrupt and sinister intention, but altogether out of pure design that we may be improved in knowledge, and excited to the practice of our duty.

  • 215 [biased].
  • 216 Acts XVII, 11.
  • 217 1 Pet. II, 2.

103We should not come to hear them with minds imbued with ill prejudices, and partial215 affections, which may obstruct the virtue and efficacy of their discourse; or may hinder us from judging fairly, and truly about what they say; but with such freedom and ingenuity as may dispose us readily to yield unto, and acquiesce in any profitable truth declared by them; like the generous Beraeans, who received the word met pάsης pάsης proqumίaς with all alacrity and readiness of mind, searching the scriptures daily whether these things were so216 ὼς rtιgnnηηta brjη, like infants newly born217, that come to the dugg without any other inclination than to suck what is needfull for their sustenance.

  • 218 Heb. V, 11.
  • 219 1 Cor. III, 2.
  • 220 Rom. XI, 8; Isa. XXIX, 10.
  • 221 Isa. VI, 9; Acts XXVIII, 26; John XII, 40.
  • 222 [Matt. XIII, 15].
  • 223 Jas. I, 21.

104We should be docile, and tractable; willing and apt to learn; shaking off all those indispositions of soul (all dulness, and sluggishness, all peevishness and perverseness, all pride and self-conceitedness, all corrupt affection and indulgence to our conceits, our humours, our passions, our lusts, and inordinate desires) which may obstruct our understanding of the Word, our yielding assent to it, our receiving impression from it: There were those, concerning whom the Apostle said, that he could not proceed in his discourse, because they were νωθροὶ τας ϰοαΐς, dull of hearing218 (or sluggish in hearing,) who were indisposed to hear, and uncapable to understand219, because they would not be at the pains to rouse up their fancies, and fix their minds upon a serious consideration of things: there were those, who had a spirit of slumber, eyes not to see, and ears not to hear220; who did hear with the ear, but not understand221; seeing did see, but not perceive; for their heart had waxed gross, their ears were dull of hearing; and their eyes were closed222; Such indocile persons there always have been, who being stupified and perverted by corrupt affections became uncapable of bettering from good instruction: All such we should strive to free our selves from; that we may perform this duty to our Guides, and In meekness receive the engrafted word223.

  • 224 1 Cor. IX, 16; 2 Cor. V, 14; 1 Pet. V, 2; Rom. XII, 3; 1 Tim. V, 17.
  • 225 1 Tim. IV, 13, 16.
  • h to doe it] T
  • 226 2 Tim. IV, 2.
  • 227 Col. I, 28.
  • 228 1 Cor. IV, 2.

105These practices (of hearing, of attending, of coming well disposed to instruction) are at least steps and degrees necessarily prerequisite to the obedience prescribed; and farther to press them all together upon us, we may consider, that it is strictly incumbent on them (under danger of heavy punishment and woe) willingly, earnestly, with all diligence and patience to labour in teaching and admonishing us224; they must give attendance, and take heed unto their doctrine, that it may be sound and profitable; they must preach the word225, and be instant upon it in season, out of season (that is not onely taking, but seeking and snatching all occasionsh to doe it) reproving, rebuking, exhorting with all long-suffering, and doctrine226; they must warn every man, and teach every man in all wisedom, that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus227: as they are obliged in such manner to doe these things, so there must be correspondent duties lying upon us, to receive their doctrine readily, carefully, patiently, sincerely and fairly: As they must be faithfull dispensers of God’s heavenly truth228, and holy mysteries, so we must be obsequious entertainers of them: imposing such commands on them doth imply reciprocal obligations in their hearers and scholars; otherwise their office would be vain, and their endeavours fruitless; God no less would be frustrated in his design, than we should be deprived of the advantages of their institution.

106But farther, it is a more immediate ingredient of this duty, that

  • 229 2 Cor. X, 5.
  • 230 Luke XXIV, 25.
  • 231 Acts VII, 51.
  • 232 1 Cor. IV, 20; II, 4.
  • 233 2 Cor. I, 24; 1 Cor. III, 5.

1074. We should effectually be enlightned by their doctrine, be convinced by their arguments persuading truth and duty, be moved by their admonitions, and exhortations to good practice: We should open our eyes to the light, which they shed forth upon us; we should surrender our judgment to the proofs, which they alledge: we should yield our hearts and affections pliable to their mollifying, and warming discourses: It is their part to subdue our minds to the obedience of faith, and to subject our wills to the observance of God’s Commandments (Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth it self against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ)229 it must therefore answerably be our duty not to resist, not to hold out, not to persist obstinate in our errours, or prejudices; to submit our minds to the power of truth, being willingly, and gladly conquered by it; it must be our duty to subjugate our wills, to bend our inclinations, to form our affections to a free compliance of heart with the duties urged upon us: we should not be like those Disciples, of whom our Lord complaineth thus: O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken230; nor like the Jews, with whom St. Stephen thus expostulates: Ye stiffnecked, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost231. They should speak with power, and efficacy232: we therefore should not by our indispositions (by obstinacy of conceit, or hardness of heart) obstruct their endeavours; they should be co-workers of your joy233 (that is working in us that faith and those vertues, which are productive of true joy and comfort to us) we therefore should co-work with them toward the same end; they should edify us in knowledge, and holiness: we should therefore yield our selves to be fashioned, and polished by them.

  • 234 Matt. XXIII, 2.3.
  • 235 Heb. VI, 7, 8; X, 26.
  • 236 Rom. II, 13.
  • 237 Jas. I, 22
  • 238 [of no avail].
  • 239 Luke XIII, 26, 27.
  • 240 Matt. VII, 24, 26; John XIV, 21.

1085. We should, in fine, obey their doctrine by conforming our practice thereto: this our Lord prescribed in regard even to the Jewish Guides and Doctours; The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses his seat; all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and doe234; the same we may well conceive that he requireth in respect to his own Ministers, the teachers of a better Law, authorized to direct us by his own Commission, and thereto more specially qualified by his grace: this is indeed the Crown and completion of all; to hear signifieth nothing; to be convinced in our mind, and to be affected in our heart will but aggravate our guilt, if we neglect practice: Every Sermon we hear, that sheweth us our duty, will in effect be an enditement upon us, will ground a sentence of condemnation, if we transgress it: for, as The Earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God, so that which beareth thorns and briers, is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, and its end is to be burned235: and, Not the hearers of the law are just with God, but the doers of the law shall be justified236. And it is a good advice, that of St. James; Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers onely deceiving your own selves237;’tis, he intimateth, a fallacy some are apt to put upon themselves to conceit they have done sufficiently, when they have lent an ear to the word; this is the least part to be done in regard to it, practice is all in all; what is it to be shewed the way, and to know it exactly, if we do not walk in it, if we do not by it arrive to our journey’s end, the salvation of our souls? To have waited upon our Lord himself, and hung upon his discourse, was not available238; for when in the day of accompt, some shall begin to allege, We have eaten, and drank before thee, and thou hast taught in our streets; Our Lord will say, I know you not, whence ye are, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity239. And, it is our Lord’s declaration in the case, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock;—but every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, that built his house upon the sand240.

  • 241 Mark VI, 20.
  • 242 Matt. XIII, 20.
  • 243 Isa. LVIII, 2.
  • 244 Ezek. XXXIII, 30, 31, 32.
  • 245 John V, 35.

109Many are very earnest to hear, they hear gladly, as Herod did St. John Baptist’s homilies241; they receive the word with joy, as the temporary believers in the Parable did242; They doe, as those men did in the Prophet, delight to know God’s ways, do ask of God the ordinances of justice, do take delight in approaching God243; Or as those in another Prophet; who speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord; And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people; and they hear thy words, but will not doe them; for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness: And lo thou art to them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they doe them not244: They for a time rejoice in the light of God’s Messengers, as those Jews did in the light of that burning and shining lamp, St. John the Baptist245; but all comes to nothing; but they are backward and careless to perform, at least more than they please themselves, or what suteth to their fancy, their humour, their appetite, their interest: Many hearers will believe onely what they like, or what suteth to their prejudices and passions; many of what they believe will practise that onely which sorteth with their temper, or will serve their designs; they cannot conform to unpleasant, and unprofitable Doctrines: Sometimes care choaketh the word, sometimes temptation of pleasure, of profit, of honour allureth, sometimes difficulties, hazards, persecutions discourage from obedience to it:

110These particulars are obvious, and by most will be consented to: there is one point which perhaps will more hardly be admitted, which therefore I shall more largely insist upon: 'tis this,

  • 246 [entirely, without qualification].

1116. That as in all cases it is our duty to defer much regard to the opinion of our Guides, so in some cases it behoveth us to rely barely246 upon their judgment and advice; those especially among them who excell in dignity, and worth; who are approved for wisedom and integrity; their definitions, or the declarations of their opinion, (especially such as are exhibited upon mature deliberation and debate, in a solemn manner) are ever very probable arguments of truth and expediency; they are commonly the best arguments which can be had in some matters, especially to the meaner and simpler sort of people. This upon many accompts will appear reasonable.

  • 247 [1 Cor. XIV, 20].
  • 248 Rom. XIV, 1; XV, 1, etc. ; 1 Cor. III, 2; VIII, 9.
  • 249 Rom. XVI, 18.
  • 250 1 Cor. XIV, 16.
  • 251 [Heb. V, 12].

112It is evident to experience, that every man is not capable to judge, or able to guide himself in matters of this nature (concerning divine truth and conscience.) There are children in understanding 247 there are men weak in faith248 (or knowledge concerning the faith,) there are idiots, ἄϰaϰoι (men not bad, but simple)249 persons occupying the room of the unlearned250, unskilfull in the word of righteousness, who (as the Apostle saith) need that one should teach them which be the first principles of the oracles of God251.

  • 252 Vulgo non judicium, non veritas. TAC. [Neque illis judicium aut veritas. Hist. I, xxxii].
  • 253 ἄϰριτον ὁ ῆμος. M. Ant. [Comment. IV, 3: ἀπιδὼν... τ εὐμετάβολον ϰαὶ ἄϰριτος τῶν εὐφημεῖν δοϰούντ (...)
  • 254 Eph. IV, 14.

113The vulgar sort of men are as undiscerning and injudicious in all things252, so peculiarly in matters of this nature, so much abstracted from common sense and experience; whence we see them easily seduced into the fondest conceits253 and wildest courses by any slender artifice, or fair pretence; like children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive254.

  • 255 Ἀλλ’ εἰδότες ἑτέροις βέλτιον εἶναι τἀς ἑαυτῶν ἡνίας ἐνδιδόναι τεχνιϰωτέροις, ἢ ἄλλων ἡνιόχους εἶναι (...)

114There are also some particular cases, a competent information and skill in which must depend upon improvements of mind acquired by more than ordinary study and experience; so that in them most people do want sufficient means of attaining knowledge requisite to guide their judgment, or their practice255: And for such persons in such cases it is plainly the best, the wisest, and the safest way to rely upon the direction of their Guides, assenting to what they declare, acting what they prescribe, going whither they conduct.

  • 256 [to descry].

115The very notion of Guides, and the design of their office doth import a difference of knowledge, and a need of reliance upon them in such cases; it signifieth, that we are in some measure ignorant of the way, and that they better know it; and if so, plain reason dictateth it fit that we should follow them; and indeed what need were there of Guides, to what purpose should we have them, if we can sufficiently ken256 the way, and judge what we should doe, without them?

  • 257 Regi debet, dum incipit posse se regere. Sen. Ep. XCIV [51],

116In the state of learning (in which the assigning us Teachers supposeth us placed) whatever our capacity may be, yet our judgment at least (for want of a full comprehension of things, which must be discovered in order, and by degrees) is imperfect; in that state therefore it becometh us not to pretend exercise of judgment, but rather easily to yield assent to what our Teachers, who see farther into the thing, do assert; The learner (as Seneca saith) is bound to be ruled, while he beginneth to be able to rule himself257.

  • 258 [not identified].

117Δε μανθάνοντα πιστεειν, A learner should in some measure be credulous258; otherwise as he will often fail in his judgment, so he will make little progress in learning; for, if he will admit nothing on his Master’s word, if he will question all things, if he will continually be doubting and disputing, or contradicting and opposing his Teacher, how can instruction proceed? He that presently will be his own Master, is a bad Scholar, and will be a worse Master. He that will fly before he is fledged, no wonder if he tumble down.

118There are divers obvious, and very considerable cases, in which persons most contemptuous of authority, and refractary toward their Guides, are constrained to rely upon the judgment of others, and are contented to doe it, their conscience shewing them unable to judge for themselves; In admitting the literal sense of Scripture, according to translations; in the interpretation of difficult places, depending upon the skill of languages, grammar, and criticism, upon the knowledge of humane arts and sciences, upon histories and ancient customs; in such cases all illiterate persons (however otherwise diffident, and disregardfull of authority) are forced to see with the eyes of other men, to submit their judgment to the skill and fidelity of their learned Guides, taking the very principles and foundations of their Religion upon trust; And why then consonantly may they not doe it in other cases; especially in the resolution of difficult, sublime, obscure, and subtile points, the comprehension whereof transcendeth their capacity?

***

119But farther,

120The more to engage and incline us to the performing this part of our duty (the regarding, prizing, confiding in the judgment of our Guides) we may consider the great advantages, both natural and supernatural, which they have to qualify them in order to such purposes.

  • 259 Heb. V, 14.

1211. They may reasonably be presumed more intelligent and skilfull in divine matters, than others; for as they have the same natural capacities and endowments with others (or rather commonly somewhat better than others, as being designed and selected to this sort of employment) so their natural abilities are by all possible means improved: it is their trade and faculty, unto which their education is directed: in acquiring ability toward which they spend their time, their care, their pains; in which they are continually versed and exercised (having, as the Apostle speaketh, by reason of use their senses exercised to discern both good and evil)259 for which also they employ their supplications, and devotions to God.

122Many special advantages they hence procure, needfull or very conducible to a more perfect knowledge of such matters, and to security from errours; such as are conversing with studies, which enlarge a man’s mind, and improve his judgment; a skill of disquisition about things, of sifting and canvasing points coming under debate; of weighing the force of arguments, and distinguishing the colours of things; the knowledge of languages, in which the divine Oracles are expressed, of Sciences, of Histories, of practices serving to the discovery and illustration of the truth: exercise in meditation, reading, writing, speaking, disputing and conference, whereby the mind is greatly enlightned, and the reason strengthned; acquaintance with variety of learned Authours, who with great diligence have expounded the Holy Scriptures, and with most accuracy discussed points of doctrine; especially with Ancient writers, who living near the Apostolical times, and being immediately, (or within few degrees mediately) their Disciples may justly be supposed most helpfull toward informing us what was their genuine doctrine, what the true sense of their writings: By such means as in other Faculties, so in this of Theology, a competent skill may be obtained; there is no other ordinary, or probable way; and no extraordinary way can be trusted, now that men appear not to grow learned or wise by special inspiration or miracle; after that all pretences to such by-ways have been detected of imposture, and do smell too rank of hypocrisie.

123Since then our Guides are so advantageously qualified to direct us; it is in matters difficult, and doubtfull (the which require good measure of skill and judgment to determine about them) most reasonable, that we should rely upon their authority, preferring it in such cases to our private discretion; taking it for more probable, that they should comprehend the truth, than we (unassisted by them, and judging merely by our own glimmering light) can do; deeming it good odds on the side of their doctrine against our opinion, or conjecture.

  • 260 2 Tim. II, 4.

124They have also another peculiar advantage toward judging sincerely of things, by their greater retirement from the World and disengagement from secular interests260; the which ordinarily do deprave the understandings, and pervert the judgments of men; disposing them to accommodate their conceits to the maximes of worldly policy, or to the vulgar apprehensions of men: many of which are false, and base; by such abstraction of mind from worldly affairs together with fastning their meditation on the best things (which their calling necessarily doth put them upon) more than is usual to other men, they commonly get principles and habits of simplicity and integrity, which qualify men both to discern truth better, and more faithfully to declare it.

  • 261 ν [γὰρ] ἂν ἡγήσωνται περὶ τὰ συμφέροντα έαυτοῖς φρονιμώτερον ἑαυτῶν εἶναι, τούτῳ οἱ ἄνθρωποι ὑπερη (...)

125Seeing then in every Faculty the advice of the skilfull is to be regarded, and is usually relied upon; and in other affairs of greatest importance we scruple not to proceed so; seeing we commit our life and health (which are most pretious to us) to the Physician, observing his prescriptions commonly without any reason, sometimes against our own sense; we entrust our estate, which is so dear, with the Lawyer, not contesting his advice; we put our goods and safety into the hands of a Pilot, sleeping securely, whilst he steereth us, as he thinketh fit: seeing in many such occasions of common life we advisedly do renounce, or wave our own opinions, absolutely yielding to the direction of others, taking their authority for a better argument or ground of action, than any which our conceit, or a bare consideration of the matter can suggest to us; admitting this maxime for good, that it is a more adviseable and safe course in matters of consequence to follow the judgment of wiser men, than to adhere to our own apprehensions261: Seeing it is not wisedom (as every man thinks) in a doubtfull case to act upon disadvantage, or to venture upon odds against himself, and it is plainly doing thus to act upon our own opinion against the judgment of those who are more improved in the way, or better studied in the point than our selves; seeing in other cases these are the common approved apprehensions and practices; and seeing in this case there is plainly the same reason, for that there are difficulties and intricacies in this no less than in other Faculties, which need good skill to resolve them; for that in these matters we may easily slip, and by errour may incur huge danger and damage; why then should we not here take the same course, following (when no other clearer light, or prevalent reason occurreth) the conduct and advice of our more skilfull Guides? especially considering, that beside ordinary, natural and acquired advantages, they have other supernatural both obligations to the well discharging this duty, and assistences toward it: For

  • 262 Jer. III, 15. I will give you Pastours according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge (...)
  • 263 Rom. X, 15.
  • 264 [prompting].
  • 265 Acts XIII, 2.
  • 266 Eph. IV, 11, 12; I Cor. XII, 28; 1 Tim. I, 11, 12; II, 7; Tit. I, 3; I Thess. II, 4.
  • 267 2 Cor. V, 20.

1262. We may consider, that they are by God appointed, and impowred to instruct and guide us: it is their special office, not assumed by themselves, or constituted by humane prudence, but ordained and setled by divine wisedom for our edification in knowledge, and direction in practice262: they are God’s messengers purposely sent by him263 selected and separated by his instinct264 for this work265; they are by him given for the perfecting of the Saints, and edifying the body of Christ266: It is by God’s warrant, and in his name that they speak, which giveth especial weight to their words, and no mean ground of assurance to us in relying upon them: for who is more likely to know God’s mind and will, who may be presumed more faithfull in declaring them, than God’s own Officers, and Agents? those whose great duty, whose main concernment it is to speak not their own sense, but the word of God? They are God’s mouth, by whom alone ordinarily he expresseth his mind and pleasure; by whom he entreateth us to be reconciled267 in heart and practice to him; what they say therefore is to be received as God’s word, except plain reason upon due examination do forbid.

  • 268 Mal. II, 7.
  • 269 Deut. XVII, 11.
  • 270 Matt. XXIII, 3.
  • 271 Ezek. XXXIV, 16.

127If they by office are teachers, or Masters in doctrine, then we answerably must in obligation be Disciples, which implies admitting their doctrine, and proficiency in knowledge thereby; If they are appointed Shepherds, then must we be their Sheep, to be led and fed by them; if they are God’s messengers, we must yield some credence, and embrace the message uttered by them; so the Prophet telleth us: The Priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts268; so the Law of old enjoined According to the sentence of the law, which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment, which they shall tell thee thou shalt doe; thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee to the right hand, nor to the left269; so our Lord also in regard to the Scribes and Pharisees saith, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses his chair, all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and doe270; upon accompt of their office, whatever they direct to (not repugnant to the divine Law) was to be observed by the people271; and surely in doubtfull cases, when upon competent inquiry no clear light offereth it self, it cannot be very dangerous to follow their guidance, whom God hath appointed and authorized to lead us; if we err doing so we err wisely in the way of our duty, and so no great blame will attend our errour.

1283. We may consider that our Guides as such have special assistence from God; to every vocation God’s aid is congruously afforded; but to this (the principal of all others, the most important, most nearly related to God, and most peculiarly tending to his service) it is in a special manner most assuredly and plentifully imparted.

  • 272 1 Pet. IV, 10.
  • i dispense] B. ; 1686 dispence
  • 273 1 Cor. III, 9.
  • 274 2 Cor. III, 5; Phil. II, 13.
  • 275 1 Pet. IV, 11.
  • 276 1 Cor. XV, 10.

129They are stewards of God’s various grace272; and they who idispense grace to others cannot want it themselves: they are cooperatours with God273, and God consequently doth cooperate with them; It is God who doth ἱϰανoν, render them sufficient to be Ministers of the new Testament274; and they minister of the ability, which God supplieth275; Every spiritual labourer is obliged to say with St. Paul; By the grace of God I am what I am—I have laboured, yet not I, but the grace of God, which was with me276.

  • 277 Eph. IV, 11, 12; 1 Cor. XII, 28.

130God’s having given them (as St. Paul saith) to the Church, doth imply that God hath endowed them with special ability, and furthereth them (in their conscionable discharge of their ministery) with aid requisite to the designs of perfecting the saints, and edifying the Body277 in knowledge, in vertue, in piety.

  • 278 Acts XX, 28.
  • 279 1 Tim. IV, 14; 2 Tim. I, 6.
  • 280 1 Cor. XII, 7, etc. ; Eph. IV, 16; Rom. XII, 5, 6.

131As the Holy Ghost doth constitute them in their charge (according to that of St. Paul in the Acts; Take heed unto your selves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers)278 so questionless he doth enable, and assist them in administring their function. There is a gift (of spiritual ability, and divine succour) imparted by their consecration to this office, with the laying on the hands of the Presbytery279, joined with humble supplications for them, and solemn benedictions in God’s name upon them. The divine Spirit, which distributeth, as he seeth good, unto every member of the Church needfull supplies of grace doth bestow on them in competent measure the word of wisedom, and the word of knowledge requisite for their employment280.

  • 281 2 Cor. III, 8.
  • 282 Matt. XXVIII, 20.

132God of old did in extraordinary ways visibly communicate his spirit unto his Prophets and Agents; the same he did liberally pour out upon the Apostles, and first planters of the Gospel; The same questionless he hath not withdrawn from those, who under the Evangelical dispensation (which is peculiarly the ministration of the Spirit281 unto which the aid of God’s Spirit is most proper and most needfull) do still by a setled ministery supply the room of those extraordinary ministers; but imparteth it to them, in a way although more ordinary and occult, yet no less real and effectual, according to proportions answerable to the exigencies of need and occasion; And by the influence hereof upon the Pastors of his Church it is, that our Lord accomplisheth his promise to be with it untill the end of the World282.

  • 283 Luke XI, 52.

133Clavis scientiae, the key of knowledge283 spiritual, is one of those keys, which he hath given to them, whereby they are enabled to open the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • 284 [Luke X, 16].

134Great reason therefore we have to place an especial confidence in their direction; for whom can we more safely follow, than those, whom (upon such grounds of divine declarations and promises) we may hope that God doth guide; so that consequently in following them we do in effect follow God himself? He that heareth you, heareth me284, might be said not onely because of their relation unto Christ; but because their word proceedeth from his inspiration, being no other than his mind conveyed through their mouth.

  • 285 [1 Cor. XV, 34],
  • 286 [i.e. bottom of a ship; in the same boat].
  • 287 Ezek. III, 18; XXXIII, 2, 8.
  • j interest] B.; 1686 interests

1354. We may also for our encouragement to confide in our Guides consider, that they are themselves deeply concerned in our being rightly guided; their present comfort, their salvation hereafter depending upon the faithfull, and carefull discharge of their duty herein: they must render an accompt for it; so that if by their wilfull, or negligent miscarriage we do fall into dangerous errour or sin, they do thence not onely forfeit rich and glorious rewards (assigned to those, who turn many unto righteousness)285 but incur wofull punishment; this doth assure their integrity, and render our confidence in them very reasonable; for as we may safely trust a Pilot, who hath no less interest than our selves in the safe conveyance of the vessel to port; so may we reasonably confide in their advice, whose salvation is adventured with ours in the same bottom286, or rather is wrapped up, and carryed in ours; It is not probable they will (at least designedly) misguide us to their own extreme damage, to their utter ruine: If they do not warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, God hath said that he will require his bloud at their hands287; and is it likely they wittingly should run such a hazard, that they should purposely cast away the souls, for which they are so certainly accomptable? it is our Apostle’s enforcement of the precept in our Text; Obey them that guide you; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an accompt; which argumentation is not onely grounded upon the obligations of ingenuity and gratitude, but also upon considerations of discretion andj interest; we should obey our Guides in equity and honesty; we may doe it advisedly, because they in regard to their own accompts at the final judgment are obliged to be carefull for the good of our souls.

  • 288 Eph. IV, 14.
  • 289 Heb. XIII, 9.
  • 290 Eph. IV, 14.

136Upon these considerations it is plainly reasonable to follow our Guides in all matters, wherein we have no other very clear and certain light of reason, or revelation to conduct us: the doing so is indeed (which is farther observable) not onely wise in it self, but safe in way of prevention, that we be not seduced by other treacherous Guides; it will not onely secure us from our own weak judgments, but from the frauds of those who lie in wait to deceive288. The simpler sort of men will in effect be always led not by their own judgment, but by the authority of others; and if they be not fairly guided by those, whom God hath constituted and assigned to that end, they will be led by the nose by those, who are concerned to seduce them: so reason dictateth that it must be, so experience sheweth it ever to have been; that the people whenever they have deserted their true Guides, have soon been hurried by impostors into most dangerous errours, and extravagant follies; being carried about with divers, and strange doctrines289; being like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine290.

137It is therefore a great advantage to us, and a great mercy of God, that there are (by God’s care) provided for us such helps, upon which we may commonly for our guidance in the way to happiness more safely rely, than upon our own judgments lyable to mistake, and than upon the counsel of others, who may be interested to abuse us; very foolish and very ingratefull we are, if we do not highly prize, if we do not willingly embrace this advantage.

  • 291 1 Pet. V, 5.
  • 292 Prov. III, 5, 7.
  • 293 1 Cor. VIII, 2; Rom. XII, 3, 10; Gal. VI, 3.
  • 294 Phil. II, 3; 1 Tim. VI, 4.

138I farther add, that as wisedom may induce, so modesty and humility should dispose us to follow the direction of our Guides; Ye Younger (saith St. Peter) submit your selves unto the Elder (that is, ye Inferiours to your Superiours, ye that are the Flock to your Pastours) and (subjoineth he immediately) be cloathed with humility291; signifying; that it is a point of humility to yield that submission; Every modest, and humble person is apt to distrust his own, and to submit to better judgments: And Not to lean to our understanding, not to be wise in our own eys292; not to seem to know any thing, not to seem any body to ones self293, in humility to prefer others before our selves294, are divine injunctions, chiefly applicable to this case, in reference to our spiritual Guides; for if it be pride or culpable immodesty to presume our selves wiser than any man, what is it then to prefer our selves in that respect before our teachers; as indeed we do, when without evident reason we disregard, or dissent from their opinion?

139It is then a duty very reasonable, and a very commendable practice to rely upon the guidance of our Pastours in such cases, wherein surer direction faileth, and we cannot otherwise fully satisfy our selves.

  • 295 [do violence to].

140Neither in doing so (against some appearances of reason, or with some violence to our private conceits) do we act against our conscience, but rather truely according to it; for conscience (as the word in this case is used) is nothing else but an opinion in practical matters, grounded upon the best reason we can discern; if therefore in any case the authority of our Guides be a reason outweighing all other reasons apparent, he that in such a case, notwithstanding other arguments less forcible, doth conform his judgment and practice thereto, therein exactly followeth conscience; yea in doing otherwise he would thwart and violence295 his own conscience, and be self-condemned, adhering to a less probable reason in opposition to one more probable.

  • 296 Isa. III, 12. O my people, they which lead thee, cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy path (...)

141I do not hereby mean to assert, that we are obliged indifferently (with an implicite faith or blind obedience) to believe all that our teachers say, or to practise all they bid us; for they are men, and therefore subject to errour, and sin; they may neglect or abuse the advantages they have of knowing better than others; they may sometimes by infirmity, by negligence, by pravity fail in performing faithfully their duty toward us: they may be swayed by temper, be led by passion, be corrupted by ambition or avarice, so as thence to embrace and vent bad doctrines: We do see our Pastours often dissenting and clashing among themselves, sometimes with themselves, so as to change and retract their own opinions296.

  • 297 Jer. II, 8.
  • 298 Isa. XXVIII, 7.
  • 299 Jer. XXIII, 11; X, 21; VI, 13; XII, 10; Zeph. III, 4; Jer. XVIII, 18; V. 31.
  • 300 Ezek. XXII, 26.
  • 301 Jer. II, 8; Mal. I, 6.
  • 302 Ezek. VII, 26.
  • 303 Mic. III, 11.
  • 304 Mal. II, 8, 9;/er. XXIII, 10, 11, 12.
  • 305 [Jer. XXIII, 1].

142We find the Prophets of old complaining of Priests, of Pastours, of Elders and Prophets, who handled the law, yet were ignorant of God297; who erred in vision, and stumbled in judgment298; who were profane, brutish, light and treacherous persons; who polluted the sanctuary and did violence to the Law299; and profaned holy things300; who handled the Law, yet knew not God301; from whom the Law, and counsel did perish302; who taught for hire, and divined for money303; who themselves departed out of the way, and caused many to stumble, and corrupted the covenant of Levi304; who destroyed and scattered the sheep of God’s pasture305.

  • 306 Matt. XVI, 6, 12; Luke XII, 1.
  • 307 Matt. XV, 2, 6.
  • 308 Luke XI. 52.
  • 309 Matt XV, 14.
  • 310 Matt. XV, 9.

143There were in our Saviour’s time Guides, of the ferment of whose doctrine good people were bid to beware306; who transgressed and defeated the commandment of God by their traditions307; who did take away the key of knowledge, so that they would not enter themselves into the Kingdom of Heaven, nor would suffer others to enter308; blind guides309, who both themselves did fall, and drew others into the ditch of noxious errour, and wicked practice: the followers of which Guides did in vain worship God, observing for doctrine the precepts of men310.

  • 311 Vid. [John Jewel] Apol. Eccl. Angl. [Londini, 1562, sig. D 8 v: “Et quid mirum, si Ecclesia errorib (...)

144There have not since the primitive times of the Gospel wanted those who (indulging to ambition, avarice, curiosity, faction, and other bad affections) have depraved and debased religion with noxious errours, and idle superstitions; such as St. Bernard describeth, etc.311.

145We are in matters of such infinite concernment to our eternal welfare, in wisedom and duty obliged not wholly without farther heed or care to trust the diligence, and integrity of others, but to consider and look about us, using our own reason, judgment and discretion, so far as we are capable; we cannot in such a case be blamed for too much circumspection, and caution.

146We are not wholly blind, not void of reason, not destitute of fit helps; in many cases we have competent ability to judge, and means sufficient to attain knowledge; we are therefore concerned to use our eyes, to employ our reason, to embrace and improve the advantages vouchsafed us.

  • 312 Ezek. III, 18.

147We are accomptable personally for all our actions as agreeable or cross to reason; if we are mistaken by our own default, or misled by the ill guidance of others, we shall however deeply suffer for it, and die in our iniquity312; the ignorance, or errour of our Guides will not wholly excuse us from guilt, or exempt us from punishment; it is fit therefore that we should be allowed, as to the sum of the matter, to judge and chuse for our selves: for if our salvation were wholly placed in the hands of others, so that we could not but in case of their errour or default miscarry; our ruine would be inevitable, and consequently not just: we should perish without blame, if we were bound, as a blind and brutish herd, to follow others.

  • 313 Rom. XII, 2; Eph. V, 10.
  • 314 [render us safe].
  • 315 Luke XII, 48.

148We, in order to our practice, (which must be regulated by faith and knowledge) and toward preparing our selves for our grand accompt, are obliged to get a knowledge and persuasion concerning our duty; to prove (or search, and examine) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God313; for ignorance (if anywise by our endeavour vincible) will not secure314 us: He that (saith our Lord, and Judge) knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes315 (few; not in themselves, but comparatively to those, which shall be inflicted on them, who transgress against knowledge, and conscience.)

149We are bound to study truth, to improve our minds in the knowledge and love of it, to be firmly persuaded of it in a rational way; so that we be not easily shaken, or seduced from it.

  • 316 2 Cor. VIII, 7.
  • 317 Col. II, 7.
  • 318 1 Cor. XV, 58.
  • 319 2 Thess. II, 2.
  • 320 Col. I, 10; 2 Pet. III, 18; 1 Pet. II, 2; Eph. IV, 15.
  • 321 Col. III, 16.
  • 322 Rom. XV, 14.
  • 323 Phil. I, 9, 10.
  • 324 1 Cor. I, 5.
  • 325 Col. I, 9.
  • 326 Eph. V, 17.
  • 327 Col. IV, 12.
  • 328 1 Cor. XIV, 20; Heb. V, 12.

150The Apostles do charge it upon us, as our duty, and concernment; that we abound in faith, and knowledge316; that we be rooted and built up in Christ, and stablished in the faith317, so as to be stedfast, and unmoveable318, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled319; to grow up, and encrease in all divine knowledge320; that the word of God should dwell richly in us in all wisedom321; that we should be filled with all knowledge so as to be able to teach, and admonish one another322; that our love should abound more and more in knowledge and all judgment, that we may approve things excellent323 (or scan things different) that we be enriched in all the word (that is in all the doctrine of the Gospel) and in all knowledge324: that we be filled in the knowledge of God’s will in all wisedom and spiritual understanding325; that we should not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is326; That we should be perfect and complete in all the will of God327 (that is first in the knowledge of it, then in compliance with it) that in understanding we should not be children, but perfect men328.

  • 329 Matt. VII, 15.
  • 330 1 John IV, 1.
  • 331 Matt. XXIV, 4; Eph. V, 6.
  • 332 Col. II, 8, 18.
  • 333 1 Thess. V, 21.
  • 334 John V, 39.
  • 335 John X, 37, 38; XV, 22, 24; XII, 48.
  • 336 1 Cor. X, 15.

151We are likewise by them commanded to take heed of false Prophets329, to try the spirits whether they are of God330, to see that no man deceive us331, to look that no man spoil us by vain deceit332, to try all things and hold fast that which is good333; which precepts imply, that we should be furnished with a good faculty of judgment and competent knowledge in the principal matters of Christian doctrine, concerning both the mysteries of faith, and rules of practice. Our Lord himself, and his Apostles did not upon other terms than of rational consideration and discussion exact credit and obedience to their words, they did not insist barely upon their own authority, but exhorted their Disciples to examine strictly, and judge faithfully concerning the truth, and reasonableness of their doctrine: Search the Scriptures, for they testify of me334; If I doe not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works335: so our Lord appealed to their reason, proceeding upon grounds of Scripture, and common sense: and, 7 speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say336; so St. Paul addressed his Discourse to his Disciples; otherwise we should be uncapable to observe them.

  • 337 Acts IV, 19.
  • 338 Acts V, 29.
  • 339 Gal. I, 8.

152We are also bound to defer the principal regard to God’s wisedom and will, so as, without reservation or exception, to embrace whatever he doth say, to obey what he positively doth command, whatever authority doth contradict his word, or cross his command: in such cases we may remonstrate with the Apostles, If it be just before God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye337: and we ought to obey God rather than men338; we may denounce with St. Paul, if an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed339.

  • 340 Rom. XIV, 23.
  • 341 Rom. XIV, 22.

153We are obliged always to act with faith (that is, with a persuasion concerning the Lawfulness of what we doe) for Whatever is not of faith, is sin340: We should never condemn our selves in what we try or embrace341.

  • 342 Acts XVII, 11.
  • k Our Guides ... helpers.] T.
  • 343 2 Cor. I, 24.

154These things considered, we may, and it much behoveth us, reserving due respect to our Guides, with humility and modesty to weigh and scan their dictates, and their orders; lest by them unawares we be drawn into errour or sin; like the ingenuous Beraeans, who did νακρνειν τς γραφς, search and examine the scriptures, if those things were so342 kOur Guides are but the helpers, they are not Lords of our faith; the Apostles themselves were not343.

  • 344 Isa. VIII, 20. Plebs tiraens Dominum separare se debet a peccatore praeposito. Cypr. [Ep. LXVIII, M (...)

155We may, and are bound, if they tell us things evidently repugnant to God's word, or to sound reason and common sense, to dissent from them344; if they impose on us things evidently contrary to God’s Law, to forbear compliance with them; we may in such cases appeal ad legem et testimonium; we must not admit a non obstante to God’s law.

156If other arguments (weighed in the balance of honest and impartial reason, with cautious and industrious consideration) do overpoise the authority of our Guides; let us in God's name adhere to them; and follow our own judgments; it would be a violation of our conscience, a prevarication toward our own souls, and a rebellion against God to doe otherwise: when against our own mind, so carefully informed, we follow the dictates of others, we like fools rashly adventure and prostitute our souls.

157This proceeding is no-wise inconsistent with what we delivered before; for this due wariness in examining, this reservation in assenting, this exception in practice, in some cases, wherein the matter hath evidence, and we a faculty to judge, doth no-wise hinder, but that we should defer much regard to the judgment of our Guides; that we should in those cases, wherein no light discovereth it self outshining their authority, rely upon it; that where our eyes will not serve clearly to direct us, we should use theirs; where our reason faileth to satisfy us, we should acquiesce in theirs; that we should regard their judgments so far, that no petty scruple emerging, no faint semblance of reason should prevail upon us to dissent from their doctrine, to reject their advice, to disobey their injunctions.

  • 345 Matt. XXIII, 2, 3; XV, 14.
  • 346 [to depart].
  • 347 Prov. V, 12, 13.

158In fine, let us remember, that the mouth of truth, which bid us to beware of the bad doctrine of those who sate in Moses's chair, did also charge us to observe all they taught and injoined345; that is all not certainly repugnant to the divine Law. In effect, if we discost346 from the advices of our sober teachers, appointed for us by God; we shall in the end have occasion to bewail with him in the Proverbs: How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me347?

159To these things I shall onely add one rule, which we may well suppose comprised in the precept we treat upon; which is that at least we forbear openly to dissent from our Guides, or to contradict their doctrine; except onely, if it be so false (which never, or rarely can happen among us) as to subvert the foundations of faith, or practice of holiness. If we cannot be internally convinced by their discourses, if their authority cannot sway with us against the prevalence of other reasons, yet may we spare outwardly to oppose them, or to slight their judgment; for doing thus doth tend as to the disgrace of their persons, so to the disparagement of their office, to an obstructing the efficacy of their Ministery, to the infringement of order and peace in the Church: for when the inconsiderate people shall see their teachers distrusted and disrespected; when they perceive their doctrine may be challenged, and opposed by plausible discourses; then will they hardly trust them, or comply with them in matters most certain and necessary; than which disposition in the people there cannot happen any thing more prejudicial or banefull to the Church.

160But let thus much serve for the obedience due to the doctrine of our Guides; let us consider that which we owe to them in reference to their conversation, and practice.

161The following their practice may well be referred to this precept; for that their practice is a kind of living doctrine, a visible Law, or rule of action; and because indeed the notion of a Guide primarily doth imply example; that he which is guided should respect the Guide as a Precedent, being concerned to walk after his footsteps.

  • 348 [imply].

162Most of the reasons, which urge deference to their judgment in teaching, do in proportion infer348 obligation to follow their example, (which indeed is the most easie and clear way of instruction to vulgar capacity; carrying with it also most efficacious encouragement and excitement to practice:) they are obliged, and it is expected from them to live with especial regularity, circumspection, and strictness of conversation; they are by God’s grace especially disposed, and enabled to doe so; and many common advantages they have of doing so; (a more perfect knowledge of things, firmness of principles, and clearness of notions; a deeper tincture, and more savoury relish of truth, attained by continual meditation thereon; consequently a purity of mind and affection, a retirement from the world and its temptation, freedom from distraction of worldly care, and the encombrances of business, with the like.)

  • 349 John V, 35.
  • 350 Apoc. [Rev.] I, 16, 20.
  • 351 Matt. V, 14, 16.

163They are often charged to be exemplary in conversation (as we before shewed) and that involveth a correspondent obligation to follow them. They must (like St. John Baptist) be burning and shining lights349; Stars in God’s right hand350; lights of the world; whose light should shine before men, that men may see their good works351; and by their light direct their steps.

164They are proposed as copies, which signifies that we must in our practice transcribe them.

  • 352 [Heb. XIII, 7],

165We are often directly commanded to imitate them; ν μιμεῖσθε τν πίστιν, whose faith imitate ye352 (that is their faithfull perseverance, in the doctrine and practice of Christianity) saith the Apostle in this chapter.

  • 353 Matt. XXIII, 3.

166Their conversation is safely imitable in all cases, wherein no better rule appeareth, and when it doth not appear discordant from God's Law, and the dictates of sound reason; for supposing that discordance, we cease to be obliged to follow them; as when our Lord prescribeth in respect to the Pharisees; Whatever they bid you observe, that observe and doe; but doe not after their works; for they say and doe not353.

167It is indeed easier for them to speak well, than to doe well; their doctrine therefore is more commonly a sure Guide than their practice; yet when there wanteth a clearer guidance of doctrine, their practice may pass for instructive; and a probable argument, or warrant of action.

Notes

1 Heb. XIII, 7, 17.

2 Acts XV, 22.

3 1 Tim. V, 17; Rom. XII, 8; 1 Thess. V, 12.

4 Matt. XX, 27.

5 Luke XXII, 26.

6 Phil. II, 29; 1 Thess. V, 13; 1 Tim. V, 17.

7 Matt. II, 6; Acts V, 31.

8 1 Cor. XII, 28.

9 Acts XX, 28.

10 [Epistola CXLVI, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 22, col. 1193.]

11 Ps. LXXVIII, 71.

12 1 Pet. V, 2.

13 2 Sam. V, 2; VII, 7; 1 Tim. III, 5.

14 2 Tim. II, 24; Rom. XV, 16; 1 Cor. IV, 1, 2; III, 9; VI, 4; XVI, 15; 2 Cor. VI, 4; Tit. I, 1; Gal. IV, 14; Apoc. [Rev.] I, 29.

15 Eph. IV, 11; 1 Cor. XII, 28; Rom. XII, 7.

16 1 Tim. III, 2.

17 2 Tim. II, 24; II, 2.

18 1 Tim. IV, 13, 16; V, 17; 2 Tim. IV, 2; Col. I, 28.

19 1 Pet. V, 3; 1 Tim. IV, 12; Phil. III, 17; Tit. II, 7; 2 Thess. III, 9, 7; Heb. XIII, 7; 1 Thess. I, 6; 1 Cor. XI, 1; IV, 16.

20 [Heb. II, 10.]

21 [Col. I, 18.]

22 1 Pet. V, 4.

23 Heb. III, 1.

24 [1 Pet. II, 25.]

25 1 Pet. V, 5; Eph. V, 21; Phil. II, 3.
Ύποτασσέσθω ἕϰαστος τῷ πλησίον αύτοῦ ϰαθώς ϰαὶ ἐτέθη v τῷ χαρίσματι αὐτοῦ. Clem, ad Corinth., p. 49 [Clem. Rom. Ad Corinthios, Ep. I, cap. xxxviii, Migne, Patrol. gr., t. 1, col. 284].

26 Cyp. Ep. X, Ep. XII, Ep. XXVII, Ep. LXV [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4].

27 [friend of Eustathius, ordained by him, later became his rival and taught that there was no distinction between presbyter and bishop. 4th C.]

28 [history].

29 [Macedonius, elected bishop of Constantinople by the Arian bishops in 314, became the leader of the Pneumatomachi, Macedonians or Marathonians.]

30 [Sect founded by Novatianus, a Roman presbyter, one of the earliest antipopes (beginning of 3rd cent.); he excluded from ecclesiastical communion all those who after baptism had sacrificed to idols (lapsi). Novatians later called themselves ϰαθαρoί or Puritans. See Epistles of Cyprian.]

31 [Sect in N. Africa, of same character as the Novatians; they believed that ‘all sacerdotal acts depended upon the personal character of the agent’ (Enc Brit.) and therefore denied the elegibility for sacerdotal office of the traditores, i.e. those who had delivered up their copies of Scripture under Diocletian; condemned by the synod of Arles (314) but restored under Julian.]

32 Ecclesiae salus in summi Sacerdotis dignitate consistit, cui si non exors quaedam, et ab omnibus eminens detur potestas, tot in Ecclesia efficiuntur schismata, quot sacerdotes. Hier. in Lucif. [Dialogus contra Luciferianos, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 23, col. 173].
Nec Presbyterum coetus rite constitutus dici potest, in quo nullus sit ἡgoύmenoς. Bez. de Grad. Min., cap. 22 [Ad Tractationem De Ministrorum Evangelii Gradibus, ab Hadriano Saravia Belga editam, Theodori Bezae Responsio, Geneva, 1592, p. 132],

33 Essentiale fuit, quod ex Dei Ordinatione perpetua necesse fuit, est, et erit, ut presbyterio quispiam et loco et dignitate Primus actioni gubernandae praesit cum eo, quod ipsi divinitus attributum est jure. Bez. de Min. Evang. Grad., cap. 23, p. 153. [op. cit., p. 153].

34 [obliged].

35 Apoc. [Rev.] II, III, etc.

36 Tit. I, 5.

37 1 Tim. V, 1, 17, 19, 20, 22, etc.

38 Tit. II, 15

39 [excluding].

40 דאש חקחל

41 [to aim at].

42 1 Cor. XI, 16.

43 [failure to recognize as valuable].

44 Sen. Ep. XCV, [50].

45 1 Thess. V, 12.

46 1 Cor. XVI, 16, 18.

47 3 John 10.

48 2 Tim. IV, 15.

49 2 Cor. IX, 2; XI, 13; Phil. III, 2.

50 1 Tim. III, 7, 10.

51 [1 Tim. IV, 14.]

52 [having a tender regard for].

53 [seditious],

54 1 Pet. II, 13.

55 [adorned].

56 1 Tim. VI, 3; I, 3, 4.

57 [depart].

58 [strange, uncommon].

59 Gal. I, 9; 1 Tim. I, 4; VI, 4, 20; 2 Tim. II, 14, 16, 23; Tit. III, 9; 2 Pet. II, 18.

60 Ipsorum ordinationes temerariae, inconstantes, leves. Tertull. [De Praescriptionibus, cap. xli, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 2, col. 68].

61 [Isa. XXX, 10; Ezek. XXII, 28].

62 Hi sunt qui se ultro apud temerarios convenas sine divina dispositione praeficiunt, qui se praepositos sine ulla ordinationis lege constituunt, qui nemine Episcopatum dante Episcopi sibi nomen assumunt. Cypr. de Un. Eccl., p. 256 [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 523].

63 2 Tim. IV, 3.

64 [evilly disposed].

65 Heb. XIII, 9.

66 Eph, IV, 14.

67 [management],

68 [2 Tim. III, 5.]

69 2 Tim. III, 13.

70 Tit. I, 10.

71 2 Pet. II, 10.

72 [Jude 16.]

73 Tit. III, 10, 11.

74 2 Tim. III, 13.

75 [deceiving, beguiling].

76 2 Tim. III, 5.

77 Matt. VII, 15.

78 Acts XX, 29.

79 2 Cor. XI, 13, 15.

80 [2 Tim. III, 2, 3, 4, etc.]; 1 Tim. VI, 4.

81 2 Pet. III, 16.

82 Rom. XVI, 17, 18.

83 1 Tim. I, 6, 7.

84 [2 Pet. II, 14.]

85 Eph. IV, 14.

86 Acts XX, 30.

87 2 Tim. III, 6.

88 1 Tim. VI, 4.

89 2 Pet. II, 18; Jude 16.

90 Tit. I, 11.

91 1 Tim. IV, 2.

92 Phil. I, 16, 17.

93 2 Pet. II, 19.

94 2 Thess. III, 6, 11.

95 2 Pet. II, 10; Jude 8, 16.

96 Jude 10.

97 Jude 19.

98 Tit. III, 10; 2 Thess. III, 6; Rom. XVI, 17; 1 Tim. VI, 5.

99 Jude 13.

100 Acts V, 36.

101 Tit III, 1; Rom. XIII, 1; 1 Pet II, 13.

102 1 Pet. V, 5.

103 Luke XXII, 26.

104 1 Cor. XVI, 16.

105 Eph. V, 21; 1 Pet. V, 5.

106 Cujus in solidum singuli participes sumus. Vid. Cypr. de Unit. Eccl. [Episcopatus unus est, cujus a singulis in solidum pars tenetur. Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 516].

107 2 Cor. X, 8; XIII, 10.

108 To ordain Elders; to confirm Proselytes; to exercise jurisdiction.

109 1 Cor. XI, 34; Tit. I, 5; Acts XIV, 23; XV, 28.

110 1 Cor. V, 12; 2 Cor. X, 6.

111 2 Cor. XIII, 10.

112 1 Cor. IV, 21; 2 Cor. XII, 21; XIII, 2; 2 Thess. III, 6, 14.

113 Tit. III, 10.

114 1 Tim. VI, 5; Rom. XVI, 17.

115 2 Cor. X, 8; XIII, 10.

116 Episcopi successores Apostolorum. Cypr. Ep. XXVII, LXIX, XLI, LXXV (Firmil). [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4.]

117 Matt. XXVIII, 20.

118 Eph. IV, 8, 11, 12.

119 1 Cor. XIV, 23; Tit. II, 10.

120 1 Cor. XIV, 40.

121 1 Cor. XIV, 33.

122 Eph. IV, 3.

123 Phil. II, 2 (σόμψυχοι); 1 Pet. III, 8 (μόφρονες); 2 Cor. XIII, 11.

124 Phil. II, 2; I, 27.

125 Phil. III, 16.

126 Rom. XV, 5, 6; XII, 16.

127 1 Cor. I, 10.

128 Acts IV, 32.

129 1 Cor. XII, 25; XI, 18; I, 11; III, 3.

130 2 Cor. XII, 20; Phil. II, 14.

131 [without, but for].

132 2 Cor. XIII, 10; X, 8.

133 1 Tim. I, 19; VI, 5; 2 Tim. II, 16, 17, 18.

134 2 Tim. II, 16.

135 Tit. I. 11.

136 2 Tim. II, 17.

137 Jas. III, 16.

138 1 Pet. II, 5.

139 Tempus est, — ut de submissione provocent in se Dei clementiam, et de honore debito in Dei sacerdotem eliciant in se divinam misericordiam. Cypr. Ep. XXX. [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 314],

140 [equitable, fair].

141 [2 Cor. XII, 15.]

142 Ps. CXXXIII, 1.

143 Tit. II, 10, 5.

144 Neque hoc ideo ita dixerim, ut negligatur Ecclesiastica disciplina, et permittatur quisquam facere quod velit, sine ulla correptione, et quadam medicinali vindicta, et terribili lenitate, et charitatis severitate. Aug. adv. Petil. III, iv [Contra Litteras Petiliani Donatistae, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 43, col. 350].

145 [serious].

146 [evilly disposed].

147 Luke X, 16; Matt. X, 40.

148 Matt. XVIII, 17.

149 Nec putent sibi vitae aut salutis constare rationem, si Episcopis et sacerdotibus obtemperare noluerint; cum in Deuteronomio Dominus Deus dicat, etc. Cypr. Ep. LXI [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 381].

150 Deut. XVII, 12.

151 Num. XVI, 11, 30.

152 Hos. IV, 4. Quo exemplo ostenditur, et probatur obnoxios omnes et culpae et paenae futuros, qui se schismaticis contra praepositos et sacerdotes irreligiosa temeritate miscuerint. Cypr. Ep. LXXVI [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 3, col. 1192].

153 1 Cor. XVI, 14.

154 Phil. II, 14.

155 Rom. XII, 18; 2 Tim. II, 22; Heb. XII, 14; Mark IX, 50.

156 An esse tibi cum Christo videtur, qui adversus sacerdotes Christi facit? etc. CYPR. de Unit. Eccl., p. 258 [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 529].

157 Vid. Cypr. Ep. LV. Neque enim aliunde, etc. [haereses obortae sunt, aut nata sunt schismata, quam inde quod sacerdoti Dei non obtemperatur. Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 3, col. 828-9].

158 Inde Schismata, et Haereses obortae sunt, et oriuntur, dum Episcopus, qui unus est, et Ecclesiae praeest superba quorundam praesumptione contemnitur. Cypr. Ep. LXIX [ibid., t. 4, col. 416].
Haec sunt initia Haereticorum, et ortus atque conatus Schismaticorum male cogitantium ut sibi placeant, ut praepositum superbo tumore contemnant. Sic de Ecclesia receditur, sic altare profanum foris collocatur, sic contra pacem Christi, atque unitatem Dei rebellatur. Cypr. Ep. LXV [ibid., t. 4, col. 409].

159 Ecclesiae gloria praepositi gloria est. Id. Ep. VI [ibid., t. 4, col. 241]; Ep. LV [i.e. Ep. XII Ad Cornelium Papam, ibid., t. 3, col. 821].

160 [fences, curbs].

161 Matt. XXVI, 31.

162 [lost in a maze],

163 [Acts XX, 29; Matt. VII, 15.]

164 Τοῦτο πάντων τῶν ϰαϰῶν αἴτιον, ὃτι t τῶτ ἀρχόντων ὴφανίσθη, οὐδεμία αἰδὼς, οὐδεὶς φόβος, etc. Chrys. in 2 Tim. [cap. i] Orat. 2 [Migne, Patrol, gr., t. 62, col. 609],

165 [undermining].

166 [urge].

167 Μάλιστα γἀρ ἁπάντων Χριστιανοῖς οὐϰ ἐφεῖται πρὀς βίαν ἐπανορθοῦν τἀ τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων πταίσματα, etc. Chrys. de Sacerd. II [Migne, Patrol, gr., t. 48, col. 634]. Ένταῦθα o βιαζόμενον, ἀλλά πείθοντα δεῖ ποιεῖν ἀμείνω τὀν τοιοῦτον. Ibid. [col. 634]. Matt. XX, 27; Luke XXII, 26; I Pet. V, 3.

168 2 Tim. II, 25; IV, 2; 1 Tim. III, 3.

169 [not to be perceived by the senses].

170 Matt. XVIII, 18.

171 [Exod. XXX, 33, 38; Lev. VII, 20, 21, 25, 27; XVII, 4, 9; XIX, 8; XXIII, 29; Num. IX, 13; etc.].

172 Heb. X, 31.

173 [powerful].

174 2 Cor. X, 4.

175 [with regard to all comfort in existence].

176 [1 Tim. I, 20].

177 Spiritali gladio superbi et contumaces necantur, dum de Ecclesia ejiciuntur. Cypr. Ep. LXI [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 382].

178 [Matt. XVIII, 18].

179 [broad sword].

180 [Eph. VI, 17].

181 [Rev. XXI, 8].

182 [consigns].

183 Cypr. Ep. L, LII (p. 97) [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4].

184 Φιλονοις [, ς φησιν παροιμία,] οίνος ού λείπει, οδ φιλονείϰψ μχη. Socrat. Hist. [Eccl.] VII, xxxi [Migne, Patrol. gr„ t. 67, col. 807].

185 Ο γὰρ μόνον τὴν ἀρίστην (πολιτείαν) δει θεωρεῖν, ἀλλἀ ϰαί τὴν δυνατήν. Arist. Pot. IV, i [1288 b, 37],
Si ubi jubeantur quaerere singulis liceat: pereunte obsequio etiam imperium intercidit.
Tac. I, p. 450. Otho [Hist. I, 83],

186 [manifestly].

187 Dixisti sane scrupulum tibi esse tollendum de animo, in quem incidisti; Incidisti sed tua credulitate irreligiosa, etc. Cypr. Ep. LXIX (ad Florent.) vid. optime et apposite de hac re disserentem [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 417].

188 Qui fidei et veritati praesumus. Cypr. Ep. LXXII [ibid., t. 3, col. 1170].

189 [to disguise],

190 [evil].

191 [motives].

192 2 Tim. IV, 15; 1 Tim. I, 20; 2 Thess. III, 14, 6.

193 [to feel].

194 Neh. IX, 29; Prov. I, 24; Isa. LXV, 12; LXVI, 4; Jer. VII, 13; VI, 10.

195 Acts XIII, 46.

196 Matt. X, 14.

197 Luke VIII, 37.

198 Ps. LVIII, 4, 5.

199 [implicit].

200 Jer. VII, 13.

201 Luke X, 16.

202 2 Cor. V, 20.

203 Jas. I, 19.

204 1 Pet. II, 2.

205 Matt. XIII, 5.

206 Heb. II, 1.

207 1 Thess. II, 13.

208 Jas. I, 21.

209 [2 Tim. III, 15.]

210 [2 Tim. IV, 3.]

211 [Acts XVII, 19.]

212 [alluring].

213 Acts XVII, 21.

214 Luke XI, 54.

215 [biased].

216 Acts XVII, 11.

217 1 Pet. II, 2.

218 Heb. V, 11.

219 1 Cor. III, 2.

220 Rom. XI, 8; Isa. XXIX, 10.

221 Isa. VI, 9; Acts XXVIII, 26; John XII, 40.

222 [Matt. XIII, 15].

223 Jas. I, 21.

224 1 Cor. IX, 16; 2 Cor. V, 14; 1 Pet. V, 2; Rom. XII, 3; 1 Tim. V, 17.

225 1 Tim. IV, 13, 16.

226 2 Tim. IV, 2.

227 Col. I, 28.

228 1 Cor. IV, 2.

229 2 Cor. X, 5.

230 Luke XXIV, 25.

231 Acts VII, 51.

232 1 Cor. IV, 20; II, 4.

233 2 Cor. I, 24; 1 Cor. III, 5.

234 Matt. XXIII, 2.3.

235 Heb. VI, 7, 8; X, 26.

236 Rom. II, 13.

237 Jas. I, 22

238 [of no avail].

239 Luke XIII, 26, 27.

240 Matt. VII, 24, 26; John XIV, 21.

241 Mark VI, 20.

242 Matt. XIII, 20.

243 Isa. LVIII, 2.

244 Ezek. XXXIII, 30, 31, 32.

245 John V, 35.

246 [entirely, without qualification].

247 [1 Cor. XIV, 20].

248 Rom. XIV, 1; XV, 1, etc. ; 1 Cor. III, 2; VIII, 9.

249 Rom. XVI, 18.

250 1 Cor. XIV, 16.

251 [Heb. V, 12].

252 Vulgo non judicium, non veritas. TAC. [Neque illis judicium aut veritas. Hist. I, xxxii].

253 ἄϰριτον ὁ ῆμος. M. Ant. [Comment. IV, 3: ἀπιδὼν... τ εὐμετάβολον ϰαὶ ἄϰριτος τῶν εὐφημεῖν δοϰούντων. See Gataker s edition, Cambridge, 1654, Annotationes in Librum IV, p. 125].

254 Eph. IV, 14.

255 Ἀλλ’ εἰδότες ἑτέροις βέλτιον εἶναι τἀς ἑαυτῶν ἡνίας ἐνδιδόναι τεχνιϰωτέροις, ἢ ἄλλων ἡνιόχους εἶναι ἀνεπιστήμονας, ϰαὶ άϰοὴν ὑποτιθέναι μᾶλλον ευγνώμονα,ἢ γλῶσσαν ϰινεῖν ἀπαίδευτον. Greg. Naz. Orat. I [Apologetica, XLVII. Migne, Patrol. gr„ t. 35, col. 456]. — fide calidus, et virtute robustus, etc. Cypr. Ep. XXIII de Luciano [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 290].

256 [to descry].

257 Regi debet, dum incipit posse se regere. Sen. Ep. XCIV [51],

258 [not identified].

259 Heb. V, 14.

260 2 Tim. II, 4.

261 ν [γὰρ] ἂν ἡγήσωνται περὶ τὰ συμφέροντα έαυτοῖς φρονιμώτερον ἑαυτῶν εἶναι, τούτῳ οἱ ἄνθρωποι ὑπερηδέως πείθονται. Xen. Paed. I [Cyropaedia, I, vi, 21].
Ἐν μν τῷ πλεῖν πείθεσθαι δεῖ τῷ ϰυβερνήτη, ἐν δέ τῷ ζῆν τῷ λογίζεσθαι δυναμένῳ βέλτιον. Aristonymus apud Stob. Tom. II, Tit. 3. [Socrates, no. 41, in Joannis Stobaei Florilegium, Lipsiae, 1838; the quotation from Aristonymus is no. 40].

262 Jer. III, 15. I will give you Pastours according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Cypr. Ep. LV [on Jer. III, 15, i.e. Ep. XII. Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 3].

263 Rom. X, 15.

264 [prompting].

265 Acts XIII, 2.

266 Eph. IV, 11, 12; I Cor. XII, 28; 1 Tim. I, 11, 12; II, 7; Tit. I, 3; I Thess. II, 4.

267 2 Cor. V, 20.

268 Mal. II, 7.

269 Deut. XVII, 11.

270 Matt. XXIII, 3.

271 Ezek. XXXIV, 16.

272 1 Pet. IV, 10.

273 1 Cor. III, 9.

274 2 Cor. III, 5; Phil. II, 13.

275 1 Pet. IV, 11.

276 1 Cor. XV, 10.

277 Eph. IV, 11, 12; 1 Cor. XII, 28.

278 Acts XX, 28.

279 1 Tim. IV, 14; 2 Tim. I, 6.

280 1 Cor. XII, 7, etc. ; Eph. IV, 16; Rom. XII, 5, 6.

281 2 Cor. III, 8.

282 Matt. XXVIII, 20.

283 Luke XI, 52.

284 [Luke X, 16].

285 [1 Cor. XV, 34],

286 [i.e. bottom of a ship; in the same boat].

287 Ezek. III, 18; XXXIII, 2, 8.

288 Eph. IV, 14.

289 Heb. XIII, 9.

290 Eph. IV, 14.

291 1 Pet. V, 5.

292 Prov. III, 5, 7.

293 1 Cor. VIII, 2; Rom. XII, 3, 10; Gal. VI, 3.

294 Phil. II, 3; 1 Tim. VI, 4.

295 [do violence to].

296 Isa. III, 12. O my people, they which lead thee, cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

297 Jer. II, 8.

298 Isa. XXVIII, 7.

299 Jer. XXIII, 11; X, 21; VI, 13; XII, 10; Zeph. III, 4; Jer. XVIII, 18; V. 31.

300 Ezek. XXII, 26.

301 Jer. II, 8; Mal. I, 6.

302 Ezek. VII, 26.

303 Mic. III, 11.

304 Mal. II, 8, 9;/er. XXIII, 10, 11, 12.

305 [Jer. XXIII, 1].

306 Matt. XVI, 6, 12; Luke XII, 1.

307 Matt. XV, 2, 6.

308 Luke XI. 52.

309 Matt XV, 14.

310 Matt. XV, 9.

311 Vid. [John Jewel] Apol. Eccl. Angl. [Londini, 1562, sig. D 8 v: “Et quid mirum, si Ecclesia erroribus abducta fuerit, illo praesertim tempore, cum nec episcopus Romanus qui summae rerum solus praeerat, nec alius fere quisquam aut officium suum faceret, aut omnino officium suum intelligeret? Vix enim est credibile, illis otiosis et dormientibus, Diabolum toto illo tempore, aut dormivisse perpetuo, aut fuisse otiosum. Quid enim illi interim fecerint, quaque fide curaverint domum Dei, ut nos tacemus, audiant saltern Bernardum suum: Episcopi, inquit, quibus nunc commissa est Ecclesia Dei, non doctores sunt, sed seductores: non Pastores, sed impostores: non Praelati, sed Pilati (Ad Eugenium)”. [Cf. Bern. De Consideratione. Ad Eugenium (Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 182), though the words quoted by Jewel are not used there].

312 Ezek. III, 18.

313 Rom. XII, 2; Eph. V, 10.

314 [render us safe].

315 Luke XII, 48.

316 2 Cor. VIII, 7.

317 Col. II, 7.

318 1 Cor. XV, 58.

319 2 Thess. II, 2.

320 Col. I, 10; 2 Pet. III, 18; 1 Pet. II, 2; Eph. IV, 15.

321 Col. III, 16.

322 Rom. XV, 14.

323 Phil. I, 9, 10.

324 1 Cor. I, 5.

325 Col. I, 9.

326 Eph. V, 17.

327 Col. IV, 12.

328 1 Cor. XIV, 20; Heb. V, 12.

329 Matt. VII, 15.

330 1 John IV, 1.

331 Matt. XXIV, 4; Eph. V, 6.

332 Col. II, 8, 18.

333 1 Thess. V, 21.

334 John V, 39.

335 John X, 37, 38; XV, 22, 24; XII, 48.

336 1 Cor. X, 15.

337 Acts IV, 19.

338 Acts V, 29.

339 Gal. I, 8.

340 Rom. XIV, 23.

341 Rom. XIV, 22.

342 Acts XVII, 11.

343 2 Cor. I, 24.

344 Isa. VIII, 20. Plebs tiraens Dominum separare se debet a peccatore praeposito. Cypr. [Ep. LXVIII, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 3, col. 1061: “Propter quod plebs obsequens praeceptis dominicis et Deum metuens a peccatore praeposito separare se debet”].

345 Matt. XXIII, 2, 3; XV, 14.

346 [to depart].

347 Prov. V, 12, 13.

348 [imply].

349 John V, 35.

350 Apoc. [Rev.] I, 16, 20.

351 Matt. V, 14, 16.

352 [Heb. XIII, 7],

353 Matt. XXIII, 3.

Notes de fin

a I proceed... may] T. ; B. I proceed to the duty itself. The obedience prescribed may

b to] T. ; B. for

c hinder] T.; B. impede

d Church,] B. ; 1686 Church

e at] T.

f in aguilt] 1686; B. in a noose of guilt

g discourses] 1686 ; B. discourse

h to doe it] T

i dispense] B. ; 1686 dispence

j interest] B.; 1686 interests

k Our Guides ... helpers.] T.

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