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Ch.4 Abuses blemish not, but their toleration.125
Secondly, this doth reach us that not Use 2. abuses, but the toleration of them doth blemish a Church, and detract from the perfect beauty of it; for otherwise in the PrimitiveChurches were found Schisms, Herefies, ja denying the Resurrection, uncharitable going to Law, Incest,love- 13.-22. feasts in the Lords Supper, strange & 14.& toligues in the publicke worship, and yet
15. Chap because the Apostles stood out against these and reformed them, the Church still retaines her perfect beauty. In the Church of Ephesus there were false Apostles* , yet it was a Church; so it is, corruptions not cut off defile a Church As we then desire the Church should be pure, leave we all our finnes and corruptions which may any way blemish the beauty of the Church.
Thirdly, this teaches us to be ready to use 3. extoll and acknowledge ( as occasion ferveth) other mens labours above our owne. Christ gathered a Church in his owne time which hee called, Faire *; but * Cant. this Church gathered by his Apostles ( 41. he calleth, All faire *. It grieveth him not to ascribe thousands to himselfe, and ten thousands to them, yea, he foretold Lii)
* Cant. 4.
126 When we may leave a Church. Ch.4. Ioh.1 4.12 it, and promised it freely aforehand:
How farre was he from a Spirit of envie and emulation, though indeed all their
fuccefse was by his grace and blessing, as * s Cor. Paul said, * By the grace of God I am that I
am : The contrary Spirit of emulacion hindereth Churches from taking that which is their owne from one another.
Fourthly, hence wee learne in what cases one Church may step from another, to wit,
First, when Christ leaveth a Church, and goeth away with us from it ; Come with me from Lebanon (my spouse,) with me: So when Chrift leaves and forsakes a Church, wee may leave it and goe our with him.
Secondly, when a Church is become an universáll spotted Leopard', and a
cruell Lion,blaspheming and persecuting * A&. 19. the Gospell of Christ, as * 9. & 13:
These things were found in Rome, from whence wee departed not in England, (blessed be the Lord from whom the Se. paratists would have us to depart : But Chrift ftill vouchsafes to be with us, comverting soules, feeding his lambes, hearing our prayers ;; We may also worship
Ch-4 How to knit Chrifts heart to w6. 127 Chrift in truth without feare of lawes, yea
with acceptance. When Christ goes, let all his faithfull spouses goe with him; when there are dens of Lions, and men cannor keepe the profession of Christ, but fall into their mouthes, then it is time to goe: But are there these causes now? doch not Christ dwell here in the fimplicity of his ordinances : As long as Chrift
' is here in England, let us notgoe away: but say,as Peter and Fohn, Lord, t01 58. wbom fhall wee goe? thou hast the words of eternall life. As long as Christ is pleased to feed us, to drop milke and honey into our soules, let us not depart.
Fifthly,this may teach us how to knit uses. the heart of Christ to us in ravishing aftection, by cleaving to Christ with fetled purpose *, by abounding in helpfulneffe to the Saints, by procuring and keeping | 23. faithfull fhepherds, by burthening the Church nor with many chains of lawes, Verle. 9. but onely with few and those neceffary: all thefe are formerly mentioned in the Church of Antioch. As ever we desire to have the Lord Jesus Chrift to love us, let us grow in knowledge, faith, and ali Faving graces of his Spirit, and hereby
128 How Ministers may become amiable. Ch.4.
shew our love to him, and then we shall
finde Christ ravished with our love. use 6.
Sixthly, this doth teach us what kind Verse 10. of love Christ acknowledgeth and em
braceth; to wit, faire, strong, sweet, cheerefull, in an enlarging our felves to the reliefe of his poore Saints.
Seventhly, this doth teach Ministers how to make their Ministry amiable to Chrift; (not to preach once a moneth, or quarterly, by the preaching of the Law, but)to be full as the honey-combe dropping out of it selfe, to preach sweet doatrine as honey, and wholesome as milk, for the nourishment of Christs lambs.
The Pastors and Ministers of the Primitive Church did this without help of Universities; what a shame then is this for us to come short of them in such abundance of outward helpes and means? Would'st thou be a faithfull Minister : let thy doctrine drop as honey, preach
willingly, freely, sweetly, comfortably. Use 8. Lastly, this may learne and stirre up
Christians fo to walke, and so to furnilh our selves with inward graces, and with outward commendable carriage,as may yeeld á fweer favour and smel to God
Ch.4.The Church under the 10. Persecutions.129 and man, that it may be like the smell of Lebanon, that men may smell a sweet favour that come neere them : let our hearts be inwardly furnished with the graces of God as with sweet oyntments; and our outward garments, our outward conversation so directed with honesty, integrity,humility, meekenesse and love, &c. that our names be not dishonoured, much lesse God by our meanes. Cast we afide stinking drunkennesse, whoredome, malice, covetoufnesse , &c. And Rorn 13. thus doing, we shall take away all of 13, 14, fence;
so doing , Christ shall looke at us as his faire spouse, and say, Thou art all faire my love,verse 7.
* A garden inclosed is my sister, my Spouse:]
After the Church gathered by the Ministry of the Apostles, next followeth that under the ten persecutions; which is here described, First, by her restraint,verfe 13. Secondly, by her privacy,verse 14. Thirdly, by her fruitfulnesse, refreshing and watering others,
verfe 15: Fourthly, by her prayer in this estate: wherein consider,
12.to cha. 5.2.