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ters of Diana: beasts indeed; as for their Sottishness, so for their Violence and Impetuosity.
Their Sottishness is notable, even in their ring-leader Demetrius. Do you hear his exception against St. Paul? verse 26. No other than this; “ He says, that they are not gods, that are made with hands."? Did ever any Ephesian beast bray out such another challenge? Is it possible, that human reason should be so brutified, as to think a man may make his own god; as to seek a deity in lifeless metals; as to bow his knees to what had fallen from his fingers? O Idolatry, the true sorceress of the world, what beasts do thine enchantments make of men! Even the fine Athenian (not the gross Theban) wits were fain to be taught, that the Godhead is not like to gold, or silver, or stone. And would to God the modern superstition were less foppish! Hear this, ye Seduced Souls, that are taught to worship a pastry-god. Ergo adeo stolidi opifices ab se jabreferi Deos credunt? saith our Jesuit Lorinus of these Ephesians; “ These so foolish workmen think they can make their gods.” And why not of gold, as well as of grain? why not the smith, as well as the baker Change but the name, the absurdity is but one. To hold, that a man can make his own fingers, or that those fingers can make that wheat whereof the wafer is made, were a strange folly: but, that a man can make the God that made him, and eat the god that he hath made, is such a monster of paradoxes, as puts down all the fancies of Paganism; and were enough to make a wavering soul say with Averroes, Sit anima mea cum Philosophis. I remember their learned Montanus, upon Luke xxii. 19, construes that Hoc est corpus meum, thus, Verum corpus meum in hoc Sacramento panis continetur sacramentaliter, et etiam corpus meum mysticum; “My true body is sacramentally contained in this Sacrament of bread, as also my body mystical:” and, withal, as willing to say something if he durst speak out, adds, cujus arcanam et mysteriis refertissimam rationem, ut explicatiorem habeant homines Christiani, dabit aliquardo Dominus ; “whose secret and most deeply-mystical meaning, God will one day more clearly unfold to his Christian people.” Now the God of Heaven make good this honest prophecy; and open the eyes of poor mis-led souls, that they may see to distinguish, betwixt a slight corruptible wafer, and an incomprehensible immortal God. And if from this prolatpeíc, “ bread worship,” I should lead you to their sæuponát kíu, “ cross-worship," and from thence to their cinovonatpid, “ image-worship," you would find reason enough why that Man of Sin, the author of these superstitions, should be called the Beast. !
The Violence, and Impetuosity, of these Ephesians was answerable: for here was téczy Trouble, verse 23 ; then cusco y Concourse; verse 40; then cúy HUGIS Confusion, and that in the whole city, verse 29; and, more than that, oque a furious rushing into the theatre; and then suvarmáyue a boisterous snatching of those that were conceived opposites; besides all their shouting, and outcries, and savage uproar. What should I need to tell you, that this fuficus prosecution is no other than an ordinary symptom of idolatry? And, to make it good, what should I need to lay before your eyes all those turbulent effects, that in our days have followed malicious superstition; those instigations of public invasions; those conspiracies against inaligned sovereignty; those sutfossions of walls; those powder-trains; those shameless libels; those patrocinations of treasons: and, to make up all, those late Bulls, that bellow out prohibitions of justly-sworn allegiance; those bold absolutions from saCred oaths (άτε βωμός, έτε πίςις, έτε όρκου, 1s he said of the Lacedemonians)? In all these, we too well feel, that we have to do with the Beast; with St. John's Beast, no whit short of St. Paul's. God knows how little pleasure I take in displaying the enormities of our fellow-Christians. Although, to say as it is, not the Church, but the Faction, is it, that by their practice thus merits the title of savageness. Of that Faction, let me say with sorrow of heart, that their wilful opposition to truth, their uncharitable and bloody courses, their palpable idolatry hath poured shame and dishonour, and hath brought infinite loss and disadvantage to the blessed Name of Christ.
5. And now ye see by this time, that, in the generality, natural and vicious men are no other than beasts; that, specially, all contentious adversaries to the truth and impetuous idolaters are beasts of St. Paul's theatre. Wherefore then serves all this, but to stir • us up to a threefold use; of holy Thankfulness, of Pity, of Indignation?
The two first are those duo ubera Sponse, “the two breasts of Christ's Spouse,” as Bernard calls them, Congratulation and Compassion.
(1) The former, of Thankfulness to our good God, that hath delivered us; as from the wretchedness of our corrupt nature, so from blind and.gross mis-devotion, yea from the tyranny of superstition. Alas! what are we better, what other, than our neighbours; that our Goshen should be shined upon, while their Egypt is covered with darkness? What are we, that we should be renewed in the spi. rit of our minds, and be created according to the image of God; while they continue in the woeful deformation of their bestial corruptions? that our understanding should be enlightened with the beams of divine truth; whereas those poor souls are left in the natural dungeon of their ignorance, or groveling to base earthly unreasonable traditions? () God of Mercies, had it pleased thee to give them our illumination and attraction, and to have left us in their miserable darkness and indocility, we had been as they are, and they perhaps had been as we should be. Non nobis, Domine; Not unto us, Lord, not Uitte us, but to thy name let the praise be given, of this thy gracious sequestration; and thou, that only hast done it, take to thyself the glory and improvement of thine own work.
(2) Of Pity and yearning of bowels: whether to those careless unregenerates, that cannot so much as complain of their too-pleasing corruptions, but applaud themselves in the free scope of their own brutish sensuality, as if they had made a covenant with death, an agreement with hell; or, whether to our poor seduced brethren, that are nursed up in an invincible ignorance of truth, and are held down with the imperious sway of antichristian usurpation. Alas! it is too true, which our learned Spalatensis (why should I not call him ours, who sealed up that truth of ours, which his pen had so stoutly maintained, with his last blood?) hath observed and published; Nam et plebem rudiorem, &c. “That the ruder multitude, under the
papacy, are carried commonly with more inward religious affection toward the Blessed Virgin, or some other Saint, than towards Christ himself.” Whose heart would not bleed at the thought of this deplorable irreligion? And yet these poor souls think they do so well, as that they cry out of our damnation, for not accompany. ing them. At tu, Domine, usque quò? How long, Lord, how long wilt thou suffer the world to be deluded, with these foul and pernicious impostures? How long shall thy Church groan' under the heavy yoke of their sinful impositions? O thou, that art the Great Shepherd, look down and visit thy wandering flock; and, at last, let Joose those silly sheep of thine, that are fast entangled in the briers of antichristian exaction. And we, why do not we as heartily labour to reclaim them, as they to withdraw us? Why should they burn with zeal, while we freeze with indifferency? Oh, let us spend ourselves in prayers, in tears, in persuasions, in unweariable endeavours for the happy conversion of those ignorant, mis-guided souls; who, having not our knowledge, yet shame our affections.
(3) Of Indignation, lastly: as, on the one side, at those practical revolters, that, having begun in the spirit, will needs end in the flesh; that, having made a shew of godliness, deny the power of it in their lives, returning, with that impure beast, to their own vomit: so, on the other, at those speculative relapsers, that have, out of policy or guiltiness, abandoned a known and received truth. Pity is for those silly creatures, that could never be blessed with divine reason, and upright forms; but for a Gryllus, that was once a man, to quit his Humanity, and to be in love with four feet, what stomach can but rise at so affected a transformation? The cameleon is, for a time, beautiful, with all pleasing varieties of colours: in the end, no skin is more nasty. Hoe is me! the swept house is repossessed with seven devils
. This recidivation is desperate: although, indeed, there would not be a revolt, without an inward unsoundness. Do ye see an apple fall untimely from the tree? view it, ye shall find it worm-eaten; else, it had held. Avolent, quantum zolent, paleæ ist«e lemns fidei, as that Father said; “Let this light chaff fly whither it will:" it shews it to be but chaff. God's heap shall be so much the purer: and, in the mean time, what do they make themselves fit for, but the fire? What shall we say to these absurd changes ? Our forefathers thought themselves in heaven, when first the bright beams of the Gospel brake forth in their eyes: and shall we, like those fond -subterraneous people that Rubruquis speaks of, curse those glorious beams of the sun now risen up to us; and lay. our ears close to the ground, that we may not bear the harmony of that motion? Our fathers blessed themselves in this angelical manna: and shall our mouths hang towards the onions and garlic of Fgypt?
Revertimini, filii aversantes ; Return, ye backsliding children; return to the fountains of living waters, which ye have exchanged for your broken cisterns. Recordamini priorum ; as Isaiah speaks, xlvi. 9. But, if their will do lie still in their way, it were happy for them, if authority would deal with them as confident riders do with a startling horse, spur them up, and bring them back to the block they leaped from. But, if still their obstinacy will needs, in spite of contrary endeavours, feoff them in the style of filn desertores, it is a fearful word, that God speaks to them, Væ tis quo
. niam vagantur à me; Woe to them, for they have wandered from me; Hos. vii. 13. Now the God of Heaven reclaim them; coir firm us; save both them and us, in the day of the Lord Jesus ! To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, One Infinite God, be given all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
ST. PAUL'S COMBAT:
I CORINTHIANS XY. 32.
Έθηριομάχησα. I have carried you into St. Paul's theatre at Ephesus; I have shewed you his beasts : you must now see his FIGHT.
It was his charge to Timothy, that he should be an example: know then, that what he bids, he practises. It is an exemplary combat, which St. Paul fought; and that, wherein we must follow him, as Teachers, as Christians.
Here he says, I have fought: afterwards, in imitation of him that saw his own works and approved them, he says, I have fought a good fight; doubtless, as with principalities and powers elsewhere, so even with these beasts at Ephesus.
Let it please you to see, first, the Person of the Combatant; then, secondly, the Manner of the Fight.
1. In the PERSON OF THE COMBATANT, ye may not look at St. Paul as a common soldier, but as a selected champion of God: not merely as Paul, but as an Apostle; as a public person; as the spiritual leader of God's people : so Sugrovázyou, I have fought with beasts,
There is no trained man in the whole troop of God, but must have his 'bout with the beasts of the time. Vita hominis militia super ierram : we are here in a Militant Church. As we have all received our press-money in baptism, so we must every one, according to our engagement, maintain this fight against the world. But if a man be dowpoué, as St. Paul, singled out to a public calling, now he must think himself made for combats, because for victories : for Bellum durius contra victores, as Gregory speaketh.
It was the charge of the Apostle, that a Bishop should be no striker; and Clericus percussor is an old brand of irregularity. But if, in this kind, he strike not, I must say of him as St. Paul to Ananias, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall. All his whole life must be spent in these blows: he must be, as Jeremiah speaks of himself, 1172 V'N 39 W'N; Jer. xv. 10. a man of strife and contention : there is no beast comes in his way, but he must have a fling at him. When Gregory Nazianzen (Epist. 23.) speaks of Basil
, designed to the Bishoprick of Casarea,“ If any man," saith he, “ pretend his weakness, non athletem, sed doctorem creabitis." But, in this spiritual sense, if he be a Doctor in the Chair, he must be a Champion in the Theatre. No St. Martin may plead here," I am Christ's soldier, I may not fight;" yea, therefore must be fight, because he is Christ's soldier. Whosoever then would be a fit combatant for God, to enter into these lists against the beasts of the world, must be a St. Paul, in proportion : so must he be a follower of him, as he is of Christ. Will it please you to see him, first qualified, then armed.
(1.) Qualified first, with Holiness, Skill, Courage.
Holiness: for he must be a man of God, and, as the Apostle charges, äufuniQ irreprehensible; otherwise he is a beast himself, and had need of some body to bait him. Woe be to those cham, pions of God, that take upon them to wield the sword of the Spirit with unclean hands. That divine weapon is not so fit to wound any, as their own souls. Ex ore tuo, serve nequam. truly, It were a happy and hopeful thing, that even our external and secular wars should be managed with pure and innocent hands. I shall tell you that, which perhaps few of you have either known or considered, that of old a soldier was a sacred thing: and it is worth your notice, what, in foriner times, was the manner of our ancestors, in consecrating a soldier or a knight to the wars. Some six hundred years ago and upward, as I find in the History of Ingulphus, the manner was this: Anglorum erat consuetudo, quòd qui militiæ legitimae consecrandus esset, &c. “ He, that should be devoted to the trade of war, the evening before his consecration came to the Bishop or Priest of the place; and, in much contrition and compunction of heart, made a confession of all his sins: and, after his absolution, spent that night in the Church, in watching, in prayers, in afflictive devotions : on the morrow, being to hear Divine Service, he was to offer up his sword upon the altar; and, after the gospel, the priest was, with a solemn benedig
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