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whom any profitable way is censured as reprovable, only under colour of some small difference from great examples going before. To do throughout every the like circumstance the same which Christ did in this action, were, by following his footsteps in that sort, to err more from the purpose he aimed at, than we now do by not following them with so nice and severe strictness. They little weigh with themselves how dull, how heavy, and almost how without sense, the greatest part of the common multitude every where is, who think it either unmeet or unnecessary to put them, even man by man, especially at that time, in mind whereabout they are. It is true, that in Sermons we do not use to repeat our sentences severally to every particular bearer; a strange madness it were if we should. The softness of wax may induce a wise man to set his stamp or image therein; it persuadeth no man, that because wool hath the like quality, it may therefore receive the like impression. So the reason taken from the use of Sacraments, in that they are instruments of grace unto every particular man, may with good congruity lead the Church to frame accordingly her words in Administration of Sacraments, because they easily admit this Form; which being in Sermons a thing impossible, without apparent ridiculous absurdity, agreement of Sacraments with Sermons in that which is alleged as a reasonable proof of conveniency for the one, proveth not the same allegation impertinent, because it doth not enforce the other to be administered in like sort. For equal principles do then avail unto equal conclusions, when the matter whereunto we apply them is equal, and not else. Our kneeling at Communions is the gesture of piety.* If we did there present ourselves but to make some show or dumb resemblance of a spiritual Feast, it may be that sitting were the fitter ceremony; but coming as receivers of inestimable grace at the hands of God, what doth better beseem our bodies at that hour, than to be sensible witnesses of minds unfeignedly humbled? Our Lord himself did that which custom and long usage had made fit; we, that which fitness and great decency hath made usual. The trial of ourselves, before we eat of this Bread, and drink of this Cup, is, by express
Kneeling carrieth a show of worship: Sitting agreeth better with the action of the Supper. Christ and his Apostles kneeled not. T. C. lib. i. p. 165.
commandment, every man's precise duty. As for neces-
the profitable use it may have in such cases, we reject not. 1 Cor. Our fault in admitting Popish Communicants, is it in that
we are forbidden to eat, and therefore much more to com
municate with notorious malefactors? The name of a Pap. 167.
pist is not given unto any man for being a notorious male-
• All things necessary were used in the Churches of God in the Apostles' times ;
+ Although they would receive the Communion, yet they ought to be kept back, until such time as by their religious and Gospel-like behaviour, they have purged themselves of that suspicion of Popery which their former life and conversation hath caused to be conceived.' T. C. lib. i. p. 167.
v. 11. T.C. lib. i.
tify us, which ought not (they say) to admit them in any wise, till their Gospel-like behaviour have removed all suspicion of Popery from them, because Papists are “ dogs, swine, beasts, foreigners and strangers from the House of God;" in a word, “they are not of the Church.” What the terms of the Gospel-like behaviour may include is obscure and doubtful; but of the visible Church of Christ in this present world, from which they separate all Papists, we are thus persuaded. Church is a word which art hath devised, thereby to sever and distinguish that society of men which professeth the true Religion, from the rest which profess it not. There have been in the world, from the very first foundation thereof, but three Religions: Paganism, which lived in the blindness of corrupt and depraved nature; Judaism, embracing the Law which reformed heathenish impieties, and taught salvation to be looked for through one whom God in the last days would send and exalt to be Lord of all; finally, Christian Belief, which yieldeth obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and acknowledgeth him the Saviour whom God did promise. Seeing then that the Church is a name, which art hath given to professors of true Religion; as they which will define a man, are to pass by those qualities wherein one man doth excel another, and to take only those essential properties whereby a man doth differ from creatures of other kinds, so he that will teach what the Church is, shall never rightly perform the work whereabout he goeth, till in matter of Religion he touch that difference which severeth the Church's Religion from theirs who are not the Church. Religion being therefore a matter partly of contemplation, partly of action; we must define the Church, which is a religious Society, by such differences as do properly explain the essence of such things, that is to say, by the object or matter whereabout the contemplations and actions of the Church are properly conversant. For so all knowledges and all virtues are defined. Whereupon, because the only object, which separateth ours from other Religions, is Jesus Christ, in whom none but the Church doth believe, and whom none but the Church doth worship; we find that accordingly the Apostles do every where distinguish hereby the Church from Infidels and from Jews, “accounting them which call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to
be his Church.” If we go lower, we shall but add unto this certain casual and variable accidents, which are not properly of the being, but make only for the happier and better being, of the Church of God, either in deed, or in men's opinions and conceits. This is the error of all Popish definitions that hitherto have been brought. They define not the Church by that which the Church essentially is, but by that wherein they imagine their own more perfect than the rest are. Touching parts of eminency and perfection, parts likewise of imperfection and defect, in the Church of God, they are infinite, their degrees and differences no way possible to be drawn unto any certain account. There is not the least contention and variance, but
it blemisheth somewhat the unity that ought to be in the Rom. Church of Christ, which notwithstanding may have, not 1 Cor . only without offence or breach of concord, her manifold
varieties in Rites and Ceremonies of Religion, but also her strifes and contentions many times, and that about matters of no small importance; yea, her schisms, factions, and such other evils whereunto the body of the Church is subject, sound and sick remaining both of the same body, as long as both parts retain by outward profession that vital substance of truth, which maketh Christian Religion to differ from theirs which acknowledge not our Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Saviour of mankind, give no credit to his glorious Gospel, and have his Sacraments, the seals of eternal life, in derision. Now the privilege of the visible Church of God (for of that we speak) is to be herein like the Ark of Noah, that, for any thing we know to the contrary, all without it are lost sheep; yet in this was the Ark of Noah privileged above the Church, that whereas none of them which were in the one could perish, numbers in the other are cast away, because to eternal life our profession is not enough. Many things exclude from the Kingdom of God, although from the Church they separate not. In the Church there arise sundry grievous storms, by means whereof whole kingdoms and nations professing Christ, both have been heretofore, and are at this present day, divided about Christ. During which divisions and contentions amongst men, albeit each part do justify itself, yet the one of necessity must needs err, if there be any contradiction between them, be it great or little; and what side soever it be that hath the truth, the same we must also acknowledge alone to hold with the true Church in that point, and consequently reject the other as an enemy, in that case fallen away from the true Church. Wherefore, of hypocrites and dissemblers, whose profession at the first !John was but only from the teeth outward, when they afterwards took occasion to oppugn certain principal articles of Faith, the Apostles which defended the truth against them, pronounce them gone out from the fellowship of sound and sincere believers, when as yet the Christian Religion they had not atterly cast off. In like sense and meaning, throughout all ages, Heretics have justly been hated, as branches cut off from the body of the true Vine; yet only so far forth cut off as their Heresies have extended. Both Heresy, and many other crimes which wholly sever from God, do sever from the Church of God in part only. The mystery of piety, saith the Apostle, is without peradventure great: “God hath been manifested in the flesh, hath been justified in the Spirit, hath been seen of Angels, hath iii. 16. been preached to nations, hath been believed on in the world, hath been taken up into glory.” The Church is a pillar and foundation of this truth, which no where is known or professed but only within the Church, and they all of the Church that profess it. In the meanwhile it cannot be denied, that many profess this, who are not therefore cleared simply from all either faults or errors, which make separation between us and the wellspring of our happiness. Idolatry, severed of old the Israelites, iniquity those Scribes and Pharisees, from God, who notwithstanding were a part of the seed of Abraham, a part of that very seed which God did himself acknowledge to be his Church. The Church of God may therefore contain both them which indeed are not bis, yet must be reputed his by us that know not their inward thoughts, and them whose apparent wickedness testifieth even in the sight of the whole world that God abhorreth them. For to this and no other purpose are meant those parables, which our Saviour in the Gospel Matt. xiii. hath concerning mixture of vice with virtue, light with 24. 47. darkness, truth with error, as well an openly known and seen, as a cunningly cloaked, mixture. That which separateth therefore utterly, that which cutteth off clean from the visible Church of Christ, is plain apostacy, direct de