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rule; the congregation hath its power, and therefore well saith that blessed and learned man Dr. Whitaker,* who is now in heaven : If you consider the government of the church in regard of its Head, Christ, so it is monarchical ; if in regard of the elders, so it is aristocratical ; if in regard of the people who have a power to choose their own officers, it is democratical: whether this power of theirs be a matter of privilege or of jurisdiction, I dispute not now; but a power they have: a power the people, a power the minister and elder, a power the magistrate; and if your line can be so drawn, as that every one of these three may have that native power which Jesus Christ hath left them by legacy, then have you drawn your line aright: view therefore your ground well.
Which that you may do, in the next place take heed of self-engagements and self-respects in this work of reformation. Veritas stat in aperto campo, the truth stands in the open field, it sees no house, it sees no friend, no home; and if your eye be upon your engagements, your hand will draw the line awry. Chrysostom observeth, that when our Saviour propounded the parable of the husbandmen unto the scribes and pharisees, saying, “What shall be done to these husbandmen?” Matt. xxi. 41., the Jews answered, “He shall miserably destroy those husbandmen;" Luke xx. 16, yet in another gospel when our Saviour saith, “ he shall miserably destroy them,” the Jews answered, “God forbid." In one gospel their answer is related to be, “He shall miserably destroy them;" in the other gospel their answer is related on the contrary,“ God forbid.” How can these agree? Yes, says Chrysostom, for first they say, "he will miserably destroy these husbandmen;" but when they perceived Christ
* Ergo si velimus Christum ipsam respicere, fuit semper ecclesiæ regimen monarchicum ; si ecclesiæ presbyteros qui in doctrina et disciplina suas partes agebant, aristocraticum : si totum corpus ecclesiæ quatenus in electione episcoporum et presbyteros suffragia ferebat ita tamen ut ev tožia semper a presbyteris servaretur, democraticum: sic partim monarchicum, partim aristocraticum, partim democraticum est semperque fuit ecclesiæ regimen; non quod unus aliquis episcopus potuit pro suo arbitratu singula facere, sed qnod Christus summus ecclesiæ suæ monarcha episcopum quemque suo loco constituit, qui cum consilio pastorum, seniorum, et populi ecclesiam quoque suam regeret : hanc fuisse eeclesiæ apostolicæ TOLTELAV ex scripturis discimus, eamque longo tempore conservatum in ecclesiis fuisse historiæ ecclesiasticæ tetantur.-Whitaker controvers. iv. de Rom. Pontif. q. i. c. i.
that aimed at them, then they said, “God forbid.” So misleading are all self-respects and engagements in receiving the truth; reforming persons therefore must be self-denying persons.
They must deny their own wits, understandings, reasonings, though they be never so plausible: Da mihi baptizatam rationem; Give me baptized reason, saith one, mortified reason. Natural reason may be a drawer of water unto the temple but no officer in the temple.
They must deny their own wills and affections though they be never so strong. The saints in heaven are the least proprietaries to their own wills, and yet most happy. Our Saviour
says, “ I am not come to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me;" and this must be the resolution and practice of all those that are sent by God upon any service.*
They must deny their own labours though they be never so great. So did Paul, who thJugh “he laboured more abundantly than all,” yet says, “I am the least of all the apos. tles.” I have read or heard a story of one being in the boat where the king's crown was, and the crown falling accidentally into the water, he leaped after it, and having recovered it, to save himself and it, he put the crown upon his own head, that so he might swim the better unto the boat or land; but though he was thanked for his venture, yet he was sharply reproved for his boldness for putting the crown upon his own head. The case is ours, is yours, the crown of the Lord Jesus hath as it were fallen into the water, and been ready to sink; it is our duty and practice to venture for to save it, but you must not then set the crown upon the head of your own labours, but upon Christ himself. “ The four and twenty elders threw down their crowns at the feet of Christ,”. Rev. iv. 10.
They must deny their own enjoyments, comforts and contentments, though they be never so sweet. So Nehemiah denied his court favours, his governor's table, and sometimes to shift his own clothes : he that will lift up one that is fallen must stoop himself.+
They must deny their own relations, though they be never so near. Salmeron observeth that our Saviour Christ did still
* Quia voluntati propria non divinæ obedit, sibi parit ruinam.—Mendoza.
† Nullus jacentem excitabit nisi in flexione sui.-- Augustin.
call his mother, woman: “ Woman, what have I to do with thee?” not mother, but woman. Why so, says he, but to shew that in matter of religion we are to know no relations.* Thus must all reforming persons be self-denying persons. And thus, right worthy Zerubbabels, if you do first take the right line into your hands, then view your ground well, giving unto every one those immunities that Christ hath left him, and deny yourselves in working, your own reasons, wisdoms and understandings, your own affections, your own labours, your own outward contentments and all relations, I make no question but our stones of reformation shall be laid with much exactness, and the Lord's blessing; and the Lord grant it
As for these that are to measured, let them be willing to be measured, to be reformed, exactly reformed, willing to be fully measured. Wonder not that I call upon you to be willing; I shall tell you what I read concerning Beza, who coming unto a disputation before the court of France, and being very mighty in his arguments against the adversary, a cardinal stood
up and said unto some peers, I would to God that either Beza were dumb, or that we were all deaf; so unwilling were they to receive the truth and to be reformed by it. And if people did not in their hearts wish as much now, why should they say in every place, Would to God we had never meddled with this work of reformation; here is ado about reformation and exact reformation, see what it has come to, would to God that we had stayed in our old condition. Oh, my beloved, do you not remember Christ's complaint ? “I came unto my own, and my own received me not.” Shall Jesus Christ take up the like complaint and say, I came unto my own in England and they received me not; I offered, I tendered my own government unto them, and they would none of it? O England, England, how long have I stood knocking at thy door, and as it were put my finger in at the hole of the door by my providential works : wilt thou not yet open unto me? How often would I have gathered thee under my wings as a hen gathereth her chickens, and thou wouldest not; wherefore now thy house is left unto thee desolate. Oh that people therefore would be willing ! yea, go to God and say, Behold, ,
* In causa religionis consanguineos non esse audiendos nec respiciendos.
Lord, we are all here before thee, do with us what is good in thine eyes, only measure us; measure my family, measure my children, measure my servants, measure myself, only let the line of reformation pass over me and mine; I am willing, Lord, help my unwillingness.
Then, again, if ever God shall please to bring you unto the haven of your desires, reformation in exactness, Christ in his own government into your congregations, be sure that you lay fast hold of him, that he may
you any more. When the spouse in the Canticles had lost Christ, she goes bemoaning, lamenting, crying and inquiring after him; when she had found him, she brings him into the chamber of her mother, and says, “I charge you, oh, ye daughters of Jerusalem, I charge ye by the roes and by the hinds, that ye awake not my Beloved until he please.” So do you; if ever you light on Jesus Christ again, a settled gospel, carry him, oh, carry him into the chamber of your mother, as it were, and say unto all your friends, neighbours and congregations, I charge ye, oh, ye daughters of England, yea by the roes and hinds of the field, I charge ye, oh, ye daughters of England, that ye awake not my Beloved until he please. This do hereafter, and for the present engage yourselves thereunto.
In the mean while, that you may do and have all this, now pray, pray alone and pray in company, pray in public, pray in private. The “man with a measuring-line in his hand," says, Pray; your carpenters that are abroad in the field, say, Pray; the examples of all reformed churches, say, Pray; your parliament, say, Pray; your assembly, say, Pray; your lives, your liberties, your gospel, your all, say, Pray: oh, you that have any credit in heaven, pray now; you that never prayed before, pray now. It is but one hour and the work is done. Can ye not watch with Jesus Christ one hour? “Watch and pray.” And that I say unto one I say unto all, and unto my own soul, Let us all watch and pray lest we enter into temptation.
THE SAINTS' HIDING-PLACE IN THE TIME OF GOD'S ANGER.
PRESENTED TO The Right HoNOURABLE THE House of Lords, IN THE ABBEY CHURCH AT WESTMINSTER, Oct. 28, 1646, THE SOLEMN
DAY OF THEIR Monthly Fast.
To the Right HoNOURABLE THE LORDS ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT.
Right HonourABLE, — According to your command I have published these notes, which I humbly present to your lordships. They were once in your ear, they are now in your eye, the Lord ever keep them in your hearts. They lead to hiding love in the day of God's anger, and tell your honours where his hiding places are: and though it is better to have no storms than the best harbour ; yet if it shall please God that we must put to sea again, which mercy prevent, it is good to be acquainted with a good harbour. They call for righteousness. The first part of true righteousness, is to deny our own righteousness and to seek Christ's. As, “ prima pars salutis est nullam videre salutem.” The second part is to acknowledge and contend for the truth, the word of righteousness. Solomon bids us“ buy the truth,” but doth not tell us what it must cost, because we must get it though it be never so dear. " Multi amant veritatem lucentem oderunt redarguentum," Aquin. ex Augustino. We should love it both shining and scorching.
And another part, is to deal justly, and to set this land free from oppressions. “ Blessed art thou land (saith Solomon), where thy king is the son of nobles,' Eccles. x. 17. The Septuagint reads it, elevteqwv, the son of free-man. Righteousness doth not only strengthen, but nobilitate a nation and enrich it. When the officers are peace, and exactors are righteousness, then the gold and silver abounds. Isa. lv. 17.
The work of righteousness seems to be divine work, as authority itself is a beam of divine majesty : for as the sun is said to be God's peculiar, “ He maketh his sun to rise." &c.; and the wind is called his, “ He causeth his wind to blow," Ps. cxlvii. 18; so is righteousness also in a special manner called his, “Give thy judgments unto the king, and thy righteousness unto the king's son,” Ps. lxxii. 1. Da judicia tua et justitiam tuam, Ps. lxxii. 1, habet mundus sua judicia et suam justitiam verum ita ut quod vere justum est, magis opprimatur quam promoveatur ; ergo dicit Psal. da id est da illis hanc gratiara ut quod apud te justum est judicent. Quæ ut recto judicent principes et justitiam exerceant est donum Dei,” Musculus. And if God lead your lordships into bis own work, he will accompany you with his own strength. You cannot better consult honour unto your own families, and happiness unto this nation, than by causing justice and judgment to run down like mighty streams into all the countries thereof.
They call for meekness and sweetness of disposition : which being gained, you shall not need to leave your place if the spirit of the ruler rise up against you ; “ for yielding (saith the English, but according to the Hebrew and Montanus's translation, lenity or sweetness,) pacifieth great offences.” Eccles. X. 4, 8079, sanitas autlenitas, Ar. Montan. None pretend more to good nature than our