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The Kejes of the Kingdome of Ch.6. come to their Ministers with a good dowry, and comfortable and honourable maintenance, they are like wives. O. thers who bring little or no maintenance with them, are like to Concubines, though indeed the former condition is more essentiall to lawfull marriage ; to wit, free consent, and mutuall stipulation on both sides; for as sometimes lawfull wives have but poore dowries, and Concubines sometimes bring large maintenance with them: fo fome Congregations that freely consent to the acceptance of their Ministers can allow them but flender maintenance, whereas some others upon whom Ministers thrust themfelves are richly endowed: Furthermore, such Congregations as enjoy the
power of the Keyes, they are as Queenes, lawfull wives. The Keyes of the Kingdome of Heaven, are
First, the one of Knowledge, Luke 11. ver.52.1,
Secondly, the other of Jurisdiction, Matth.18.18. and both of them mentio ned, Mat.16.19.
Where then a Congregation enjoyeth a faithfull Ministery, opening an entrance
Ch.6. Heaven in the hands of tbe Church. into the Kingdome of Heaven to penitent beleevers, and shutting it against impenitent hypocrites and scandalous livers, there the power of the Keyes is not wanting and if withall they have liberty exercising Jarisdiction, there is their Queen-like, or Wife-like authority more compleat, of this fort are divers, both English and Foraine Churches, though sundry Germane Churches dispensing the Keyes of Knowledge more corruptly in their Doctrine of the Sacrament, and Predeftination, and neglecting the use of Excommunication, doe rather turne to the condition of Concubines, write
But such Churches as have no Preachers, or such as have no power in their gifts to open and shut the Kingdome of Heaven, to the conscience and foules of men, they are as Concubines.
Lastly, fuch Congregations where the people remaine ftill ignorant in darknesse, and are not brought on to be begotten of God by the lively Word of Regeneration, but continue altogether ignorant, wordly, and profane, they are as Concubines whofe children inherit not, though God may give them outward blessings.
188 Scaucity of Preachers at first Reformation. Ch.6.
Burt fuch Congregations where the word wives, yea Queenes : Ofthis sort our En
is lively to the begetting of foules to an immortall inheritance, they are lawfull
elith and Forain Churches have many, (God be blessed) though the Church of Sardis hath but a few names.
Damosels are without number, &c.] Damosels, or Virgins in this marriage-song are of lesse reckoning, as being yet either not spoken to in way of marriage by Christ and his Ministers, or coily refusing him. Ofthis sort there were many Churches at the first reforming of the Gospel, to whom for want of Ministers Readers were fent; whence one of the Martyrs wished, that every
able Minister might have ten Congregations committed to his charge, till further provifion could be made; so that such Churches there'were, even ten to one, abundantly many, that scarcely heard of Christs knocking at their hearts by any conscionable Ministery; yea, and how many be there at this day, that either doe want fuch Minifters as doe espouse them to Christ, or else doe coily deny their motions, and stand out against Christ and their Mini
Ch.6. When the Church as a Dove. 189
Of Queenes hee reckoneth threescore, of Concubines fourefcore. A certaine number put for an uncertaine ; and of Churches, the lesse pure the greater.
Damosels hee reckons without number.
First, partly, because they have been exceeding many of them, and are still too many.
Secondly, partly, because Christ maketh no account of them, as if they were with him nullius numeri, not worth the reckoning
But my Dove, my undefiled is one, &c.] Verse 9. A Dove is noted,
First, for her chastity;
Secondly, mildenesse, or innocency: Mac. 1o. such are those Churches which goe not a whoring after any Superstition, or Idolatry, nor exercise that captivity of Tyranny over their Sister Churches, which the Popish watchmen are taxed for; that smote and wounded the Members of the Churches for seeking after Christ, and took her vaile from her, which are un. spotted, undefiled, either
First, of Romish pollutions, or
Is one ; such congregations are,
Secondly, at unity, or brotherly love one with another, as one body, though scattered into many places, as England, Scotland, Germany, &c. In all Christendome, fome Churches are more chaste, milde, and unfpotted than others, even of the same countrey; and yet such are but few, and though few, yet at entire unity, as one body.
The onely one of her Mother, the choiceft one of her that bare her.] In the Hebrew phrafe, the whole is the Mother, the parts are the Members. The true Catholique Church of Christ is the Mother of all Reformed Daughters ; and these Daughter-Churches that are most chaste and milde, and undefiled, they are best esteemed, and best beloved of the Mother Catholique Church, as coming neerest to her in chastity, innocency, purity, &c.
The Daughters fato her, and blessed her yea, the Queenes and the Concubines, and they praised her.] Thefe Daughters, whether they be the members of the unspotted Churches mentioned in the former