« PreviousContinue »
Ch.5. The Churches state after Constantine.
141 pray, that God would now stirre up a wholesome Northwinde , to blow favourably upon the Churches beyond the seas, and strongly against their enemics.
Eightly, this may teach us whileft we use 8. enjoy at home these faire blasts, not to streame forth the unfavoury corruptions of our owne spirits, but the sweet graces of God; elle wee abuse these sweer
opportunities wee doe enjoy.
Lastly, it is a time of much rejoycing uses when God stirreth up Kings and Princes to come into the fellow:hip of the Church, and to partake of Gods ordinances in the same. I sleepe, but my heart waketh, it is the
Cane.s.2. voyce of my beloved that knockerh, saying, to Chape: &c.]
Now followeth the description of the estate of the Church from Constantines time to the time of restoring of the Gospell, and reforming of the Church by the Ministery of Luther, and other late Divines.
After that Constantine had largely endowed the Church with peace,
and wealth, and honour ; it fell into an estate
The churches security described. Ch.5. of carnall security; which carnall security is described,
First, by a comparison, resembling it to fleep; which sleep of hers is amplified by the divers conditions, yet my heart waketh.
Secondly, by the carriage of Christ towards her in this her sleepe ; where observe,
1. The meanes he useth to awake and stirre her up:which were,
First, calling to her and knocking, as verse 2.
Secondly, putting in his hand by the hole of the doore, verfe 4.
2. The fucceffe of those meanes,or the respect she gave to them, or the use shee made of them ; which was double,
First,his calling and knocking she neglecteth wholly, upon very slight pretences and excuses, verse 3.
Secondly, his putting in his hand by the hole of the doore;
1. She is affected with it: My bowels were moved for him, ver.4.
2. She upon it sought him: which is further set forth, First, by the degrees of her seeking
Ch.5. How the Church feekes Chrif.
1. She arose to open to him, verse s.
2. Her hands and fingers dropped Myrrh upon
the handles of the locke, verses.
3. She.opened to her beloved, ver.6.
Secondly, by the fruits or successe of her seeking, where is interpreted the fruit or successe of these two degrees of her seeking, in regard,
1. Of Christ, he was gone, he had with drawn himself, &c. ver.6.
2. Of the watchmen, of whom shee asketh not for her beloved; but they finding her seeking Christ, they
First, smote her.
Thirdly, tooke away her vaile from her, verfe 7.
Fourthly,she, not discouraged with this bad dealing and hard usage of the watchmen added a fourth degree in her seeking of Christ; shee chargeth the daughters of Jerusalem to move Christ for her, ver.8. The successe or fruit whereof is added ; for upon this charge,
1. The daughters of Jerusalem are stirred and occasioned ro enquire of her, who Christ is, verse 9.
In peace Gods worship neglected. Ch.si
2. She by their enquiry is occasioned to describe him,
First, by his colours, verse 1o.
Thirdly, by his severall members and parts, verse 11, --16.
Fourthly, by his amiablenesse, verse 16.
3. The daughters of Jerusalem by this her description of him, are stirred up to affect him, and to promise their fellowfhip in seeking of him with her, Chap 6..
i seepe.] The Church surfeiting with abundance of prosperity in Constantines time, neglected the purity and power boch of doctrine and worship, and received corruptions; of which were prayers to Saints, building of Temples to them, Superstitious regard of their reliques, Images, and their worship, Ceremonies annexed to their Sacraments, choice of meats, affecting and applauding Monkish life, Purgatory, &c.
My heart waketh.] The Church was still awake,
First, to hearty devotion, according to their knowledge, and beyond it.
Ch.5. What Christs knocking is.
145 Secondly, to discerne some such grosse heresies as quenched the heart and life of Christianity; as the impiety of Arius, denying the Godhead of Christ; Macedoníus and Eunomius, denying the person of the holy Ghoft; of Nestorius, dividing the person in Christ; of Eutyches,confounding their natures : other straw and stubble built upon the foundation they neglected.
It is the voice of my beloved that knocketb, saying, Open. ] Christ used good meanes to awaken his spouse, and to raise her up from this carnall security.
First, he calleth to her in the voice of sundry good Divines, who complained of the intolerable burthen of humane inyentions, wherewith the common Christians were defiled and dabled, as Christ here complaines:His locks and haire were full of the drops of the night; drops with Auguft.ep. coldnesse of Religion and darknesle of 119. ignorance ingendred.
Secondly, he knocked by the raps and blowes which Constantius, Valens, and fulian gave to the Church; the two former persecuting the orthodox Bishops and Ministers and other Christians, in favour of the Arians ; and Fulian making Alat