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Ch.4. Chaines how used by the Apostles. tioch concerning the necessity of the Ceremoniall Lawes ; * the Apostles or * A&.15. Elders made a Law or decree to abrogate the Ceremonies, and yet enjoyne some things, partly necessary in themselves, as to avoid fornication; partly necessary to avoid the offences of the Jews, as to abstaine from bloud, &c. This Law the Apostles and Elders hanged as a chaine upon the necke of the Church of Antioch and other Churchest:whence | A&.15. that Church received great consolation*, *3*29. and the other Churches 'establishment and increase*. How faire is thy love my fifter, my Spouse !
Verse 10. how much better is thy love then wine, and the smell of thine oyntments then all spices !
How faire is thy love, my sister!] Sister implies the same, and such like Gencile Churches, whose love is here set forth,
First, by the fairnesse of it.
Secondly, by the strength, sweetnesse, cheerfulnesse, implied in the preferring it above wine.
How faire, and strong, and sweet, and cheerfull was the love of the Church of Antioch; which aforehand prepared a contribution of their owne accord for
* A&. 16.
Macedonia commended for Charity. Ch.4. * A&.11., the poor Saints at Jerufalem, even * every 29,30. man according to his ability! The like or greater love feemed in the
e poore Chur*, Cor.8. ches of Macedonia *. A faire' love for
poorè inen to send reliefe to others: A Itrong love for deeply poore to send rich liberality ; yet more strong and sweet to pray the messengers with much intreaty to receive it, and a cheerefull love to doe all this in abundance of joy, and beyond the Apostles owne expectation.
This kinde of benevolence the Apostle calleth an odour of a sweet smell * it was sweeter and better then wine. All this love shewed to the poore Saints
Christ takes here as done to himselfe, Mat.25. as he will also take it at the last day. The BT40; decayes of this first love shewes how
great this love was at the first t.
The smell of thine oyntments then all +Rom. 1.3: spices. ] Oyntments, are the graces of Col.2.5.
Gods Spirit* : These 'gave a sweet re1 Ther. 1.
farre and neare in those. Primitive 6,7,8.
Thy lips o my Spouse, drop as the boneycombe : honey and milke are under thy tongue, and the fmell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
What the churches garments. Thy lips, O my Spouse, drop as the honeycomb : honey and milk are under thy tongue.] This commendeth the Doctrine and Ministery of those first Churches, in these foure respects : 19
First, for the readinesse and Aowingnesle of it ; it dropped forth of it selfe, it needed not to be prest and constrained, as an honey-combe.
Secondly, for the sweetnesse of it, as the honey or the honey-combe.
Thirdly, for the wholsomnesfe of it, as milke.
The smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.] Lebanon is full of sweet trees of spices growing in it, which yeeld a fragrant smell even afarre off, 'Garinents are,
First, partly the wedding garments of Christs righteousneffe.
Secondly, partly the gracious carriage wherewith they cloathed themselves in their outward conversation: They cloathed and decked themselves with Christ, not onely to their Juftification, but with his Spirit to their Sanctification; which shewes forth it selfe in their humility, meeknesse,patience, honesty,faithfulnesse,
124 Churches planted by th’ Apostles pure.Ch.4.
diligence, serviceablenesse of their outward carriage, so farre forth as that the
Heathen smelled a sweet favour in their *Phil.4.8. whole course ; * yea , even in Trajans 1 Thel. 4. time, when the smell of garments was
not so strong: yet what a sweet testimony doth Pliny himselfe (though a persecutor)
give of them, when hee said, hee could Euseb.lib. finde no fault with them, but that they Boca poza rofe early, and went into the woods to Plin. Epift. lib.1o. sing Hymnes to one Fesus? Epift.97.
This first is to reforme their judgements who speake of the Apostolicall Church as an infant and rude Church, whereas Christ, whose eyes were as a flame of fire, and who best knew it, commends it for perfection of beauty, and faith it was faire: So that if a Church were such, Christ might imbrace it with both his armes.
This is the Church excellent for her Ministers, excellent for common Christians, which had pure eyes of knowledge and faith; so that by how much neerer any Church comes to this, by so much the fairer it is; and by how much any Church comes short of it, by so much the fouler it is.
in Itable going to Law, Incest, loveCh.4. Abuses blemish not, burtheir toleration. 125
Secondly, this doth teach us that not sure 2. abuses, but the toleration of them doth blemish a Church, and detract from the perfect beauty of it; for otherwise in the Primitive Churches were found Schisms, Herelies , à denying the Resurrection, Cor. Ii.
19.-22. feasts in the Lords Supper'; - strange & 14.& tongues in the publieke worship;and yet -s. 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 Apoftlesyet it was a Church z fo it is, *Rev.2.2 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 * Capt. this Church gathered by his Apostles 4.5. hee calleth, All faire *. It grieveth him * Canc.4. not to ascribe thousands to himselfe, and 7. ten thousands to them