Page images

advice together. And they smarted for it. But I pray, what's the difference for men not to meet in council, and to fall in pieces when they meet? If the first were our forefathers' error, God of his mercy grant this second be not ours !

• Now there is coagmentatio duplex, a double buckling and knitting of the state together; and if either fail, the unity is broken. The one is of the members of the state with their head, especially the most honourable, which are nearest. The other is, of the members one with another. And this is grounded upon that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. xii. where we find some necessity of every member; not a like necessity of any: but honour and respect done to all. And why so ? Why? Why, the Apostle tells you, ver. 25.

It is, that there may be no division in the body ; that still it may be at unity in itself.

. And it is very observable, that in all that large discourse of St. Paul concerning the unity of the body and the members, he conceives at full, how corruption can unnaturalise nature itself. Therefore he supposes the eye may quarrel with the hand, ver. 21.; and ’tis a dangerous quarrel that, when the eye and the hand, direction and execution, are at odds in any State.

. Well he can conceive that ; but he doth not so much as suppose, that any members would be at odds with the head : No, God forbid! The head can compose other members, and settle their

in the body; but if any quarrel the head, all unity is gone. And yet the Apostle cannot suppose so much unnaturalness, that any member should quarrel the head; not 'the tongue, as unruly as it is : yet he is very direct, that there is an office, which the head



owes the body, and all the members to the very meanest, for the preservation of this unity. For the head cannot say to the very feet, as low as they are, I have no need of gou; ver. 21. * And for the Church, that's as the city too ; just

Doctrine and Discipline are the walls and the towers of it. But be the one never so true, and be the other never so perfect, they come short of preservation, if that body be not at unity in itself. The Church, take it Catholic, cannot stand well, if it be not compacted together into a holy unity in faith and charity. It was miserable, when St. Basil laboured the cure of it: For distracted it was then, as St. Gr. Nazianzen witnesseth, into six hundred divers opinions and errors. And 'tis miserable at this day : : the Lord in his time show it mercy!

* And, as the whole Church is in regard of the affairs of Christendom, so is each particular Church in the nation and kingdom in which it sojourns. If it be not at unity in itself, it doth but invite malice, which is ready to do hurt without any invitation; and it ever lies with an open side to the devil, and all his batteries. So both State and Church then happy, and never till then, when they are both at unity in themselves and one with another.

- The words in my text are plural, seats of judgement. And 'tis observable. For the exorbitances of men, that quarrel others, are such and so many, that one seat of judgement only was scarce ever sufficient for any state. Seats they must be, and they seldom want work. In the prime times of the Church, Christians could not hold from going to law, one with another, and that under unbelievers ; 1 Cor. vi.

To meet with this frailty of man, God in this


[ocr errors]


commonwealth, which himself ordered, appointed not one but many seats of judgement. And therefore, even the inferior seats, howsoever as they are settled by the King and the State severally to fit the nature of the people in several kingdoms, are of positive and human institution; yet as they are seats of judgement, they have their foundation upon divine institution too, since there is no power but of God; Rom. xi. By these seats of justice and judgement, the learned in all ages understand judiciary power and administration, both ecclesiastical and civil : and they are right.

• For the Sanhedrim of the Jews, their greatest , seat of judgement under the King (after they had that government) was a mixed court of priests and judges, Deut. xvi.; though other kingdoms since, and upon reason enough, have separated and distinguished the seats of ecclesiastical and civil judicature.

Since this division of the seats of judgement, there was a time when the ecclesiastical took too much upon

them. Too much indeed; and lay heavy not only upon ordinary civil courts, but even upon the house of David, and throne of the King himself. But God ever, from the days of Lucifer, gave pride a fall; and pride of all sins least beseems the Church. May we not think, that for that she fell? But I pray remember 'twas Fastus Romanus, 'twas Roman pride, that then infested this Church with many others.

• The time is now come in this kingdom, that the civil courts are as much too strong for the ecclesias tical, and may overlay them as hard, if they will be so unchristian as to revenge. But we hope they which sit in them will remember, or at the least that the house of David will not forget, that when God himself (and he best knows, what he doth for the unity of Jerusalem) erected seats of judgement, he was so far from ecclesiastical anarchy, that he set the high-priest very high in the Sanhedrim, and ecclesiastical and church-causes must have their trial and ending as well as others.

“ I know there are some, that think the Church is not yet far enough beside the cushion; that their seats are too easy yet, and too high too. A parity they would have. No Bishop, no governor, but a parochial consistory, and that should be lay enough too. Well, first this parity was never left to the Church by Christ. He left Apostles, and disciples under them. No parity. It was never in use with the Church since Christ. No Church ever, any where (till this last age) without a Bishop. If it were in use, it might perhaps govern some petty city; but make it common once, and it can never keep unity in the Church of Christ. And for their seats being too high, God knows they are brought low, even to contempt. They were high in Jerusalem. For all divines agree, that this in prime reference is spoken of ecclesiastical censures and seats. And the word is · Thrones ;' no less. So the original: so the Septuagint; and so, many of the later divines, forgetting their own invention of the Presbytery.

“ And one thing more I will be bold to speak, out of a like duty to the Church of England and the house of David. They, whoever they be, that would overthrow sedes ecclesiæ, the seats of ecclesiastical government, will not spare (if ever they get power) to have a pluck at the throne of David. And there is not a man that is for parity, all fellows in the Church, but he is not for monarchy in the State. And, certainly, either he is but half-headed to his own principles, or he can be but half-hearted to the house of David.

From a Fast Sermon on Ps. lxxiv. 22. before the

King, July 5, 1626.

[ocr errors]

“ Now the cause of God meant here, though it be proposed as causa una, one cause, yet ’tis very large, and comprehends many particulars under it. Some directly concern God, and some only by reflex. But God is so tender of his justice and his honour, that nothing can so much as touch upon him, but 'tis God's cause presently: Inasmuch as ye have done it (or not done it) to one of these little ones, you have done it (or not done it) to me, St. Matt. xxv. And so goes the text, God's cause; all and but one, whether it be directed against him, or reflected upon him : whether it be the reproach which the Son of God suffered for us, or the troubles and afflictions which we suffer for him, 'tis God's cause still, and accounted as one.

“ As one: And yet I find three things agreed upon, to be principally contained in this cause of God. First, the Magistrate, and his power and justice: and resist either of these, and ye resist the power and the ordinance of God, Rom. xü. There's God's cause plain. And the eye of nature could see aliquid divinum, somewhat that was divine in the governors and orderers of commonwealths. In their very office: inasmuch as they are singled out to be the ministers of Divine Providence upon earth, and

« PreviousContinue »