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150

Verse 6.

Reafons of Chrifts withdrawings. Ch.5. | ly and folemnly convinced and condemned the worship of Images: As also when Charles the Great did the like some fortic yeares after,at a Synod in Frankford,

I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had withdrawne bimselfe, and was gone : my foule failed when he spake:I fought him, but I could not finde him: 1 called bim, but he gave me no answer..

I opened to my beloved. ] This attempt of the Church in executing in some places the decrees of these fynods was an opening of the doorе to Christ: Images and Idolatris being shut forth, there is a doore open for Christ to enter.

beloved had withdrawn himselfe, and was gone. ] Christ did not delight to reveale himselfe in their publikeafsemblies, though Images were in some places well removed, both because chose dccrces for removing of Images were not generally received and executed, through the comming in of the Bishop of Rome; and because the worship of God was still full of heathenish and Jewish superstitions, which Christ tooke no pleasure in.

My foule failed when he spake : ] The faithfull in thofe times were affembled

But my

Ch.5 How the Church ufd by her Watchmen. 151 with feare and griefe, to consider how Christ now spcaketh to them afarre off, comes not neer to their hearts and consciences ; so that now, though they used such meanes to finde him as the times af. forded, yet Chrilt did take no plcasure in those meanes, in those worships, nor, to their sense, in those that used them.

The watchmen that went about the citie Verse 7. found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walles took away my vaile from me.

The watchmen that went about the Citie found me :). These watchmen are the Bishops and Ministers of that time; as al. so the keepers of the wals may well bee the Magistrates ; for civill government is a wall of defence to the Church of God.

They found me, ] And yet the Church enquireth not of them, as shee had done before of other watchmen,* Have you not * Chap. seen him whom my foule loves? for she knew 3.3. these warchmen were of another spirit, rather wolves in sheeps cloathing, and more ready to beat her from Christ, then to bring her to Christ. They (mote me with censures of excommunications, as Grego: rie the third Pope of Rome did Leo 1fa4

152 The Church wounded by her Watchmen.Ch.

ricus for hisendeavours. Afterwards wher sundry Christians, having intelligence that the Bishops and Doctors were assembled in a Temple at Byzantium, to give fen. tence for restoring of Images, in the daics of the Empresse Irene, came upon them, and forced them with weapons to leave off such decrees; these people were af. terwards dis-armed and banished into fundry Islands. Thus were the faithfull smitten with the censures of Excommunica: tion by the watchmen of the Citie ;of banishment by the keepers of the walls.

They wounded me,] With the Canons of the second Councell of Nice; whither that Councell, assembled in the Temple of Byzantium, & scattered by the people, was afterwards translated by the counsell of the Bishops of Rome. In this Councell Images were againe restored, to the great griefe of the godly, yea to che wounding of their hearts. The sentence of a generall Councell in the behalfe of any error is no small wound to the whole Church.

They tooke away my vaile from me, ] when they forced the Bishops of Rhodes, Nice, Neo-Cefarea, Hierapolis, and others

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Ch.5. Waldenses why so called. 153
to recantation, who beforc had worthily
opposed Images. To bring men to open
recantation, to lay open their nakedneile,
especially when they recant from the
trueth, is to take away the vaile.

1 charge you, o daughters of Ferusalem, Verse 8. if ye finde my beloved, that ye tell him that I am ficke of love.

I charge you,o daughters of Ferusalem.] The Church, finding her selfe so hardly dealt with by the Ministers and Magistrates, would not give over her search af. ter Christ; yet now secketh him in the fellowship of private Christians, and stirreth them up to pray for her.

Tell him I am ficke of love. ] That is, in your prayers acknowledge that the Church is ready to faile and perish for want of his presence and fellowship in his publike ordinances.

What is thy beloved more then another Verse 9. beloved, o thou faireft among women ? &c.]

The Christians, the daughters of Fcru. Salem, from this day forward, to the daies of Petrus Waldus (of whom the Waldenses tooke their name) were very ignorant of Christ, and therefore they ask who hee

was,

154 The Albingenses defeat the Pope. Ch.5.

was, and wherein better then another: But in stead of him they magnified the Church; Holy mother Church was all in all with them: Her they acknowledg. ed to be fairest among women, though they see nothing in Christ better then in

another, Ver. 10.

My beloved is white and ruddy,&c.] Thus Petrus Waldus, a Citizen of Lians, opened Christ to the daughters of Jerusalem, to the children of the Church,setting before them the white innocency of truc holinesse in him, and the ruddy Scarlet dyc of his death. The righteousnesse and death of Christ plainly, yet powerfully, opened by him, brought many to behold Christ, and to profeffe him ; who (whea by persecution stirred up against them by the Bishop of Rome they were dispersed into many places) multiplied. exceedingly; and being then called Albingenfes, in many battels fought against the fouidiers which Pope Innocent the third had sent against them, under conduct of Simon Mounteford, and others signed with the crosse: in many of which the Albingenfes prevailed, helped by Reymund Earle of Thelms, and Peter King of Aragon;though

after

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