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THE KINGS CENSURE UPON RECUSANTS, THAT Refuſe the SACRAMENT of the Lords Supper. Delivered in three SERMONS, CONTAINING A Refutation of ſome dangerous common errors, And a Remonſtration of the Duties of Adminiſtra­tion and Participation of that Holy Sacrament.

  • Proving the Neceſſity of receiving it.
  • Reproving the Neglect and contempt of it.
  • Diſproving the Exceptions and excuſes alleged againſt either the giving or taking of it.
  • Set forth to publick view for the hungry and thirſty Souls ſake that deſire to be ſatisfyed.

By Thomas Marſhal Miniſter of the Doctrin and Sacra­ments of the Goſpel.

6. Ioh. 53. Except ye eat the fleſh of the Son of man, and drink his bloud, ye have no life in you.

22. Luke 19. This do in remembrance of me.

LONDON, Printed for Francis Cowles in the Old-Baily, 1654.

To the antient ſtanding Clergy of our Church, Preſ­byterians, Independents, or by what other Names and Titles elſe they be diſtinguiſhed.

Reverend and Beloved Brethren,

LEt it not offend you, if after ſo many years diſtra­ction and contention to find out a Reformation of things in the Church, I mind you to return again to your ſelves, and enter into ſerious con­ſideration, how little good we have done in that, and with what ill ſucceſs we have mana­ged our undertakings, whereby, through our manifold diviſions, we have brought contempt upon our perſons, almoſt to the le­velling of the Miniſterial function, diſolv'd the Unity, and de­faced the Beauty of the faireſt of all the Reformed Churches, even in the judgement of**Florētiſ­ſima Ang­lia ocellus Eccleſia­rum pecu­lium Chri­stiani ſin­gulare, &c. Hor­rore toti concuti­mur ad verſam hanc pul­cherrimam Eccleſiae inter vos faciem, &c. in the Letter penned by Dr. Deo­date to the late Aſſembly of Di­vines. 1 Cor. 11. Geneva, from whence we were to take our pattern; expoſed the eſſential marks of the Church to be ſhot at and beaten down; The Doctrine which was pure obſcu­red with many errors; The Sacrament; which were rightly and duly adminiſtred, to be many ways abuſed and diſuſed, even thoſe〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, thoſe reverend myſteries, as the antients tearmed the Elements in the Euchariſt, to be undervalued and vilified by ſome, as Chriſts bloud and the chalices given by Conſtantine, were by that unhappy Foelix, which God avenged with vomit­ting bloud night and day until he dyed: Theſe things, as they cannot but ſadly afflict the Souls of all good Chriſtians; ſo ſhould they excite all faithful Ministers in their ſeveral places, to en­deavour their Reformation according to the Primitive pattern and inſtitution: more particularly for redreſs of things amiſs in and about the Holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper (which is the ſubject of this enſuing diſcourſe) to look to the firſt Inſtitu­tion (as St. Paul did in the ſame caſe) of our Saviour; wherein he ſtraightly charged his Apoſtles and their Succeſſors, hoc a­gere, to do this in remembrance of him; In which word he gave us a Commiſſion for two things, Immitation and Intention, Imitation of all his Sacrament alactions, bleſſing, taking, brea­king, giving, eating and drinking the Bread and Wine; and the Intention to do theſe in remembrance of him, or to continue a memorial of his death and paſſion. This was our Lord and Sa­viours laſt Will and Teſtament at his death; thus to give him­ſelf body and bloud to poor hungry and thirſty Souls under the figures of Bread and Wine, and ſhall we his Miniſters take on us to be his Executors and not perform the will of him that dy­ed? profeſs our ſelves his Stewards (of whom as St. Paul ſays, it is required that they be men faithfu) and not diſpenſe the Bread he gave to his family in due ſeaſon? 1 Cor. 4.2.Or ſhall we take on us to be Chriſts Amanuenſes, his Secretaries to draw the Ar­ticles of the Covenant betwixt him and his people, which we do in our daily Preaching, and not confirm it to their ſouls and conſciences? if we adminiſter the Goſpel without the Sacra­ments which are the Seals (as too many do) we give the hand­writing of the Covenant cancelled, and defraud the people of their right. This they do which follow not the example of his Sacra­mental actions. And beſides theſe, others fail in the main In­tention. Chriſt bids do this in remembrance of him, or of his death and paſſion, which they ſimply do not, which give the Sacrament to none but Proſelites of their own Schiſm and fa­ction, and ſo uſe the Seal of the Covenant as a badge or cog­nizance to diſtinguiſh the members of their own gathered Churches or Conventicles. If both the one and the other, he that fails in the action, and he that diverts the intention, would impartially communicate this holy myſtery of Chriſts Body to the Body of Chriſts Congregation, our rents and Schiſms would be ſooner drawn up together, and the people return to a better union in points of Religion, which is the chief ſcope and endea­vour of this following tractat; which I preſent you with to peruſe, and ſubmit to your impartial cenſure; beſecching him that gave the encreaſe to what Paul planted, and Apollos wa­tered, to crown your ſtudies with ſuch happy ſucceſs, that you may by them knit the peoples hearts again in the union of Re­ligion, and the Communion of Christian love and affection; that the Doctrin every where may from the leven of error and He­reſy be refined, the Sacraments to the right uſe and adminiſtra­tion be reſtored, the rod of Diſcipline may like Aarons bloſſom again and be replanted, and the face of the Church, which is now clouded and obſcured, may appear again in perfect beauty, and be preſented without ſpot or wrinckle at the day of our Lord and Maſters ſecond comming; to whoſe Grace at that great day, and always, he commends you, who is

Your Brother in all Chriſtian ſervice and love. Tho. Marſhal.
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The Bridegrooms Invitation to a Wedding Supper &c.

Matth. 22.8.

And he ſaid unto his ſervants, Truly the wedding is rea­dy, but they that were bidden are not worthy.

THE word of God comes to us in Parables,1 Kings 14 3. like Jeroboams wife to the Prophet Ahijah with Cracknells and Hony, But diſguiſed and hard to be known. There is in them ſweet­neſs of Speech, but difficulty of Senſe; So that as none could expound Sampſon's Riddle,14 Judges 18. but they that had plowed with his Heifer, ſo it is given to none to expound Chriſts, the antityped Sampſons Parables, but them which have ſet their hand to his plough, from which a look­ing back makes unfit for the Kingdom of God. 13 Mat. 11, 13.To you (ſaith he) it is given to know the Myſteries of the Kingdom of Hea­ven; but to them all things are ſpoken in Parables, that ſeeing they may ſee and not perceive.

Now by the general ſentence of them that expound theſe Myſteries,1 Tim. 1, 17. The Parable of the King that made a marriage­feaſt for his Son is this; The immortal, inviſible, and only wiſe God is the King, His Son, Jeſus Chriſt;3 Matt, This is my wellbeloved Son, ſaies he, by a voice from Heaven at his Bap­tiſm, and again at his Transfiguration. 17 Matt. This Son is the Brid­groom; His Spouſe, the Church; The Marriage, the ſpiritual Union betwixt them; The wedding dinner, the merrie cheer which the faithfull perceive in the Doctrin and Sacraments of the Goſpell. The Gueſts invited are of three ſorts; they which lye in the high-wayes and hedges, are Separatiſts and2 ſchiſmaticks,Auguſt. in Epiſt. 50. Intellige­mus vias Haereſes, ſchiſmata ſaepes. Idem l. 2. cont. 2 E­piſt. Gau­denſii tom 7. & in Serm. 53. de verb. Dō. Ven­ant de ſae­pibus Hae­retici nam qui con­ſtrunt ſae­pes diviſio nes quae­runt. Diviſion. which adhere to the diviſions and ſeparations made from the Church of God, and theſe the King would have compelled to come in Luke 14.23. They that in the firſt place were called and would not come, were the obſti­nate Jewes and all other Recuſants, which refuſe the Grace of God offered them in the Goſpell. They that made light of it, and by going another way, to their Farm or Merchan­dise, thought to be excuſed, are the careleſs and negligent, that preferre the profits of the World, before the proviſion of their Souls. The ſervants ſent to call the Gueſts to the wedding, are the Miniſters of God, at whoſe bidding they that come not when tis ready, are by the ſentence of God the King to his ſervants, ſaid to be unworthy.

And he ſaid unto his ſervants, Truly, the Wedding is ready, but they that were bidden are not worthy. Thus have you that Parable unmasked in which my Text is, which admits of a threefold partition: In the firſt, ſtands the Maſter of the Feaſt talking with his ſervants, And he ſaid unto his ſervants. In the ſecond, is the marriage-Feaſt made ready, truly the Wedding is ready. In the third, the Gueſts abſent are cenſu­red, but they that were bidden are not worthy.

In the firſt, which is the entrance into the Text, there is quis & quibus to be conſidered of, who ſpeaks, and to whom: and thirdly the modus dicendi, the manner how, he ſaid unto his ſervants.

In the ſecond, as in the dining Room, there are two things moſt obſervable, Nuptiae & Paratio, or the nature and quality of the Feaſt, a Wedding; and ſecondly the prepa­ration or propenſity of it, the wedding is ready.

In the third, as in a Court of Judicature, we hear two things, querela & cenſura; a Complaint a nda Cenſure; The Kings complaint of the gueſts invited, they were bidden but came not, (for that is alſo here implied;) and his Cenſure upon them, they were not worthy.

Theſe are the parts of the text, all worthy to be ſpoken of by me, and hearkened unto by you in theſe times; And firſt of the firſt,1 Quis. the Quis, who it is that ſpeaks this.

And if we mean to find him out,Obſervati­on. we muſt look back as far as the ſecond verſe, where he is ſtiled Rex quidam, a certain King. God goes often under the name of a King, as Kings3 ſomtimes under the name of Gods:82 Pſalm 6. 47 Pſalm 44 51 5 24 3 Eſa Vſe of In­formation. Hoc toto tempore uſ que ad Cae ſarem Au­guſt. qui videtur non adhue vel ipſo­rum opini­one glori­oſam ſed contentio­ſam & ex­itioſam & planè jam enervem & langui­dam liber­tatem ōni­modo ex­torſiſſe Ro­manis & ad regale arbitrium cuncta re­vocaſſe & quaſi mor­bida vetu­ſtate col­lapſam ve­lutinſtau­raſſe & re­novaſſe rempubli­cam. Aug. de Civita. Dei. l. 3. c. 21. Exhortati­on. The Spirit of God in the Holy Scripture ſeems to take pleaſure in the Metaphor, and cloathes the Deitie of Heaven oft times with the Maje­ſty of a King on Earth. God is my King of old, ſaies the King­ly Prophet, God is the King of all the Earth, a great King a­bove all Gods, my King and my God, the King of Glory, and many more. The Prophets ſet him out by the like Epithite, Jehovah is our King ſaith Eſay. The living God and King, ſaith Jeremiah. King of Kings and Lord of Lords is one of his names in the Revelation, and in the Parables of the Go­ſpel he is by Chriſt compared to a King that took account of his ſervants: and here to a certain King that made a marri­age-feaſt for his Son.

Surely then the name and Office of a King is not ſimply noxious and ſinfull; God never puts on ſuch Attributes as import ſin and miſchief to his people; and therefore the Ro­man Senators were ſimply (being Heathen) or knowingly miſtaken, being conſcious of what they had done, when af­ter Tarquinius their King was expelled, they rendered the very name and office of a King, odious unto the People, whom they gulled of their Libertie, while they pretended to get it for them; Nor was it ever reſtored (as St. Augu­ſtine, a man as well verſt in thoſe Hiſtories as any man li­ving now is or can be, reports out of his reading) untill Auguſtus Caeſar wreſted it out of the hands of the Senators, and brought back their contentioſam & exitioſam libertatem (as he tearmes it) ad Regale arbitrium, reduced their con­tentious and exitious liberty, to royal rule and arbitrie.

But to follow that is not my purpoſe, happily you will think tis no Theme for this time: yet God is our King, what ever Kings on earth be. Let me and you keep our ſelves cloſe unto him, whoſe Kingdome is everlaſting: He is our King, let us obey him, he rules, and of right ought to rule internally in the hearts of us all, externally in the Churches of his Saints, and will reign eternally amongſt the Saints and Angells of Heaven. All which rule goes often in the Goſpell under the name of the Kingdom of Heaven, but that may be diſtinguiſht into two, the Kingdome of Heaven in Heaven, and the Kingdome of Heaven on Earth. In this on earth (the ſcope of my ſpeech now) the Saints are his4 Subjects, the Preachers his Embaſſadors, the Temples his Houſes of Parliament, the word and Scriptures his Lawes and Statutes, the Spirit his Vice-Roy, the Rayment the Robe of Chriſts Righteouſneſs, the Food the Sacrament, which is the marriage feaſt of his Son, the Miniſters of the Goſpel the ſervants and waiters at the Table. The King ſaid unto his ſervants,

And here I would have turned over to the Servants (it be­ing beſide my purpoſe to ſtay long in the Dore and entrance of my text) but that the Rebellious wickedneſs, and open Prophaneſs of our times, calls upon me to vindicate his Rights, and to ſtand up in the defence of his Honour and Eſtate.

1 Againſt them that ſay,22Of Re­proof ond Refutation. 1 of the Li­bertines, that under a pretence of Libertie will not o­bey him in­wardly in heart: Nor outwardly in Church. 13 Heb. 17 like thoſe diſobedient ſervants in the Parable, nolumus hunc regnare we will not have him to Reign over us, will not endure to be guided by the Vice-Roy of his Spirit, that rules in the hearts of his Children, nor ſubmit to any Government that ever yet he ſet up in the Churches of his Saints; but under a pretence of liberty of Conſcience, obey the unruly Luſts of their own wicked hearts, and ſo fall off from God's guidance, to make them­ſelves the ſervants of Sin, and ſlaves to the Devill, and un­der a pretext of Chriſtian liberty, refuſe to conform to any Order or Diſcipline in his Church. Count them but Prieſt­ridden, thats their terme, that will hearken to St. Paul and obey them that rule over them, and ſubmit to them that watch over their Souls, that they may give an account with joy, which they ſhall never do of ſuch, but with grief: which looſneſs and unrulineſs diſſolves all Bands of his Govern­ment, who is ſet up King in his holy hill of Sion, and brings all Beauty and Order in a Church to ataxie and confuſion.

Theſe deny him obedience,22Of A­theists 'two ſorts. 14. Pſalm. 1. will not have God their King to rule over them; nor is that all, they will take away ano­ther part of his Kingly Office, his Court of Judicature from him, ſay he is not Elohim, with David's Fool in the Pſalm, no Supreme Judge that puniſheth men; but if the ludgments of God befall them, impute it to Fortune and Chance, with the Epicures of old, or with Aſtrologers to an unluckie Conſtellation at the day of Birth, which carries them on to an unfortunate death.

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How ſalfe the Firſt is, God tells by his Prophet, that ſaies,Such as attribute the judge­ments of God to For­tune and Chance. 10 Matth. 29 There is no evill in the City (meaning malum poenae, the evill of puniſhment) but the Lord hath done it. And by his Son, who oppoſes his Providence againſt Fortune and Chance, when he ſaies, a ſparrow lights not on the ground, without the providence of your Heavenly Father: and if Providence be in ſuch light Accidents, how much more in heavy judg­ments that befall mens Perſons, Families, and Nations?

But if his word be of no weight with them (for they count it but a device of mans brain) examples enough may be found in all Ages to demonſtrate his juſtice upon Sinners. Who could ſee the Doggs licking up Ahabs blood in the ſame place where they had licked the blood of innocent Naboth before,1 Kings 21, 19. and not ſay, it is the juſt judgment of God upon him for his ſin, according to the word of Eliah? Or look upon that Ty­rant Adontbezeck, bleeding under the table, with his thumbs and great toes cut off, as he had ſerved ſeventy Kings before,1 Iudg. 7. 2 Machab. 6, 7, & 9. and not ſay with him, as he had done to others, ſo had the Lord requited him? Or who can think of the intolerable pains, crawling wormes, noyſom Vloers, odious ſmell of the body of that bloody Antiochus,Iuſeb. his Eccl. Hiſt. that ſo cruelly perſecuted the people of God, and not acknowledg with him, the ſcourg of God upon him for his ſin? Or read Joſephus or Euſebi­us of the cruelties acted, and the miſeries endured by Herod, through the burning heat of his body both within and with­out, the gnawing in his ſtomach, the ſwelling in his leggs and thighs, feſtering of his Bowells, wormes breeding in his fleſh that eat him up, and ſtinking with putrefaction, and not ſay, as thoſe that ſaw him, theſe are not diſeaſes inci­dent to human Nature, but the manifeſt ſtripes of divine An­ger? Or can any recount the wrongs done by thoſe unrigh­teous Jews to their King and Saviour? How their King Agrip­pa was, after the ſame manner, mocked, and their Nobles ſcourged at Alexandria; Thirty of them ſold for a penny, which bought Him for thirty pence; were crucified by hun­dreds, upon the Walls, as they crucified Him; beſides eleven hundred thouſand that were deſtroyed by thoſe three de­vouring Plagues at one time, Famin, Sword, and Peſtilence: and not acknowledge a jus talionis from the revenging hand of the great King of the World, who ordereth all things by6 his Providence, without giving way to Fortune or Chance.

And to the ſecond,22Such as impute them to the influence of the Starrs, Hexam l. 4, c. 14. Lib. 5 de civit. Dei c. 1 that impute their Calamities to Con­ſtellations at their Nativities, a thing which St. Ambroſe la­bours to evince with many Arguments, I ſhall only in ſhort, but ſhoot out the Queries of St. Auguſtin. If they ſay the Starrs are cauſes of human actions and events, Quale judici­um de hominum factis Deo relinquitur quibus Coeleſtis neceſſi­tas adhibetur, What judgment is left to God over humane affairs, if we attribute the guidance of them to a neceſſary influence of the Starrs? Or whats the Reaſon there can no Reaſon be given why Twinns, born under the ſame Figure of the Heavens, as Jacob and Eſau, yea one at that time laying hand on the others heel, ſhould oft-times differ more in Diſpoſitions, Events, Actions, Profeſſions, Honours, and other things of this life, and in the manners of Death alſo, than they which were born of divers Parents, in di­vers Countries, and at divers times; Or why ſhould men ſo diverſly born, ſo often come to the ſame ends, periſhing by water, or ſlaughter, as is often ſeen in Souldiers and Ma­riners, if their deaths depend upon the Conſtellations at their Births? No ſure, there is a King that ruleth in theſe things, a God that judgeth the earth.

And yet I have not done with the perſon of this King in my Text,33Of Blaſ phemers that take the name of God upon themſelves. till I have vindicated him againſt another ſort of Rebells more groſſe than theſe, that would pull the King of Heaven out of his Throne, Vote him down, and ſet up them­ſelves in his room, ſay they are God, ſo have ſome done of late, O Deus bone, in quae nos tempora reſervaſti! O good God in what an evill age do we live, to hear of ſuch horri­ble Blaſphemies againſt the Divine Majeſtie! If they did ſimply deny God's Eſſence (and yet they do it by conſe­quence, ſeing there is but one God) with the word of God we might put them to ſilence; Or if they believe not that to be of Divine inſpiration, but, as ſome ſay, of humane inventi­on, we might turn them to the volume of Gods Workes, where every Creature is a Character, in which they may read the Eſſence and Attributes of God the Creator. Eſt Caelum & tellus ſuperos quid quaerimus ultra, There is an Heaven and an Earth, there is a God, make no more queſtion on't. But to ſuch a one as ſaies it himſelf, or his Followers7 for him that he is God, I know no better way than to let him blood for his Blaſphemies as he deſervs, at ſight whereof he will cry peccavi, and ſay no leſs than great Alexander, bleeding of a wound, to them that ſaluted him by the name of God〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉This is blood as ye ſee,Pluta. de adulat. & Amici diſ­crimine. no ſuch hu­mour flows from the immortal Gods. Or elſe to ſecure his perſon, and put him in ſafe cuſtody (as many better than they have beene) and then tell him he is no God, God is nuſquam incluſus, never kept within the walls of a Priſon. Cyclops, that derided Ulyſses for ſaying his wine in a Bottle was the God Bacchus, would never take him for a God that ſhould look out at a Grate: No ſuch condition is com­petible to our Sovereign God, no corruption, no reſtriction, but rather, the Majeſty of a King upon his Throne. And none of them dare challenge that I am ſure: None dare ſay he is King, though more bold with God, to ſay in theſe times he is God. And our God is even ſo, Rex quidam, The cer­tain King, that made the marriage-Feaſt for his Son.

I have been ſomwhat long in the perſon of the King,22The modus dicen­di how he ſpeakes. his Rights now in queſtion required it, I will be brief in the next, His Speech unto his ſervants, He ſaid unto his ſer­vants. God ſpeaks three maner of waies: Firſt verbis cre­antibus, with creating words: Secondly verbis vocalibus, with vocall words; Thirdly, verbis mentalibus, with men­tal words, to the minds and underſtandings of men.

After the firſt maner he ſpake when he made the Worlds. He ſpake the word and they were made ſaith the Pſalmiſt,148 Pſalm 5. 4 Deut. 15. He commanded and they were created. Sayd after the ſecond ma­ner, when he gave the Law, The Lord ſpake unto you out of the midſt of the fire, ſaith Moſes, and ye heard the Voice of the words. And after the third way he ſake to the Prophets, in­forming their minds and underſtandings. Prophecy came not of old time by the will of man, ſaith St. Peter,2 Pet. 1.21 but holy men ſpake as they were moved by the Holy Ghoſt.

And this laſt way he ſpeaks ſtill to his ſervants under the Goſpel; not with words of his voice unto their eares, but with words of his mind or Spirit to their hearts. The Spirit teſtifieth to our ſpirit, ſaith St. Paul,8 Rom. 16. that we are the Sons of God. Dicuntur tibi quaedam verba arcana intrinſecus ut du­bitare non poſſis quin juxta te ſit Spiritus, ſaith St. Cyprian. 8There are certain words ſpoken to thee inwardly, ſo that thou canſt not chooſe but know the Spirit ſpeaks unto thee. Theſe are the good motions of the Spirit that ſpeaks to in­form thee in the truth, perform good duties, reform ill ma­ners,30 Eſay 21. and admoniſh thee of dangers. Thou ſhalt hear a voice behind thee ſaying, This is the way, walk in it, when thou turneſt to the Right hand or the left. And after this way the King intimates his pleaſure now, concerning the Feaſt and the Gueſts, when he ſaies to his ſervants, The Wedding is rea­dy, but they that were bidden are not worthy.

And of this manner of ſpeaking,Application to two ſorts I ſhould now ſay no more, but for thoſe of our times that forge the Mandats of this great Monarch, and wreſt the words of his letters Patent, and ſay Sic dicit Dominus, thus ſaith the Lord, when the Lord hath not ſo ſpoken. And they are of two ſorts, ſome pub­like Paſtors, and others privat Profeſſors, as they have uſed to ſtile themſelves,

And firſt,11To ſome Preachers. 5 Ier. 30, 31. ſome Paſtors there are, or Prophets, that do ſo. In the Jewiſh Church were ſuch, A wonderfull and horrible thing is committed in the Land, the Prophets propheſie falſly, ſaith Jeremie, and the People love to have it ſo. And a Conſpiracy of ſuch Prophets Ezekiel ſpeaks of,22 Ezek. 25. that deſtroyed Souls for love of Luore, made many Widdows, and dawbed the Princes with untempered morter,28. divining lies and ſeeing vanity, and ſaying, Thus ſaith the Lord, when the Lord had not ſpoken.

But there are no ſuch in our Church, if every one may be heard ſpeak for himſelf, They will ſay every one with Saul to Samuel, when God ſent him againſt the Amalekites, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord:1 Sam. 15. But what mean the bleating of the Sheep, and the lowing of the Oxen which I hear in mine cares? ſaid Samuel; So what mean the crying Sins and Blaſ­phemous Hereſies of the times, which we hear in our eares? God ſends thee to cut down theſe, as he ſent Saul to ſlay them: But they ſpare them as Saul did the Amalekites for favour or feare, love of Lucre and Preferment, whereby they ſpread and increaſe. 22 Numb. Oh that we had no ſuch Balaams among us, that will be hired with promotions to curſe Iſrael, and yet ſay they will not ſpeak more or leſs than the word of the Lord for an houſe full of Silver and Gold. But they are not to be truſted upon their word in a matter of that moment, as9 is the everlaſting eſtate of your Souls, that will be drawn with the byaſs of by-reſpect from the ſcope and mark that they are chiefly to aim at. Such as are the cauſe of Schiſms and Sins contrary to the ſound Doctrine ye have learned, St. Paul bids, Mark and avoyd.

Neither is this the fault of ſome publick Preachers onely,22To ſome Profeſſors. but of ſome private Profeſſours too, who of late have learnt a way to counterfeit the King's Coyn, and ſet his own ſtamp upon their own baſe adulterate Metal; put a Verbum Do­mini, or a Sic dicit Deus, upon the thoughts and imaginations of their own hearts; A conceit ſo full of deceit and deluſion, as nothing can be more. Ger. 6.5.Every imagination of the thoughts of Man's heart is evil continually, ſaid God. Not the ſug­geſtions of Satan onely, but what imagination proceeds from Man's heart, is evil; not ſome thoughts onely, but every imagination of the thoughts; not ſometimes neither, but ſo continually. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,Mat. 15.19. adulteries, fornications, falſe-witneſs, blaſphemies, ſaith our Saviour: No ſuch ungodly motions can be of God, unleſs they mean another God, the God of this World (an expreſſion of St. Paul's, wherewith he dignifies the Devil, 2 Cor. 4.4.) Prava cogitatio Sathanae ſeminatio, Evil cogitation is the Devil's ſuggeſtion;Mat. 16.23. who as he ſpake in Peter an Apoſtle to Chriſt, to favour himſelf, ſo may better be thought to ſpeak in People apoſtate, to prompt them on to errour and ſin. A ſtrong deluſion it is which God juſtly ſends upon ſome of this Nation to their damnation, for their wilfull deſcrtion of the Truth, which was ſo plent fully preached among them. And ſo St. Paul ſaies,2 Theſſ. 2.11, 12. That for this cauſe God ſhall ſend a ſtrong deluſion, that they ſhall believe〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an untruth, falſhood, or hereſie, or lye, to this end, that they all might be damned which believed not the Truth, but had pleaſure in Un­righteouſneſs.

Whether the thoughts of Mens hearts be the dictates of God's Spirit, they muſt prove, by comparing them with what the Spirit of Truth writes in holy Scriptures: And if the Spirit that ſpeaks in thee, contradicts the Spirit that writes in that, 'tis not of God, neither are they his Servants that obey that; his Servants hear his voyce that is the Maſter of the Feaſt; And ſo from him now we come to them, He ſaid unto his Servants.

10

And they are mentioned before,33Quibus to his Ser­vants. verſe 3. the Men he ſent out to call the Gueſts to the VVedding. They ran not before they were ſent, as did the falſe Prophets, but ſtaid for their Miſſion, and that was their Commiſſion,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the verb the ſame from whence the name Apoſtle ſprings. And again,Luk. 10. Mat. 28. in the 9 verſe, he ſaies,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Go, a word of Au­thority, wherewith Chriſt ſent out his Apoſtles in other places. Obſerva­tion.Without Letters of Orders to take the Miniſterial Office upon us, is in the Church but diſorder. None ought〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to call the Gueſts by preaching of the Word, or wait on the Table of the Lord, but whom he appoints to that Service.

And here the Servants are not to be taken in the common and largeſt ſenſe, for all that worſhip him, and ſerve him as the People do, but in a ſtricter and more peculiar way for them that officiate in his ſervice, as the Prieſts and Miniſters do. Kings make a difference in their Servants; ſome wait more nearly upon their Perſons, ſome in Offices further off: So doth God the King here, who makes a diſtinction betwixt his Miniſters and his People; though all ſerve him together, yet they in a nearer way. Num. 16.9.God hath ſeparated them to be near himſelf in the ſervice of the Tabernacle, and to ſtand before the Congregation to miniſter unto him. They are his Stewards, the People his Houſhold; they his Embaſſadours, but thoſe their Auditors; they his Servitors, thoſe his Gueſts. The Gueſts are ſent for, the Servants ſent; the Gueſts called, the Servants call them. Verſ. 3.He ſent out his Servants to call them that were bidden.

A diſtinction then ſure muſt be betwixt theſe two,Vſe 1. of Inſtructi­on. Prieſt and People, Clergy and Laity; God hath ordained it ſo, and gives no licenſe to private men to take upon them the publick Mi­niſtring without a Lawfull, yea and an External Calling. To do ſo upon preſumption of Gifts and Abilities, is as great diſorder in the Church, as for the Common Souldier, upon pretence of his skill and valour, to uſurp his Captains or chief Commanders place in the Camp; or for the Common Lawyer upon pretence of his Learning and Judgement, to ſet him down in the Judges place in the Court. This to do, without Commiſſion, brings all in all the three into confuſion.

But for private men to officiate in the Prieſts room,22Of Con­ So〈◊〉though a Heathen, yet a Wiſe Man, ſo abhorred11 that he counted it〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a deed deſerving many deaths. He it may be you will think was ſevere: But God, who is gentle and mercifull, cenſured it worthy a foul Diſ­eaſe, when he, for offering Incenſe in the Prieſts office, pu­niſhed Ʋzziah the King with the Leproſie; VVorthy of de­privation in King Saul,1 Sam. 13.11, 12, 13, 14. who but once played the Sacrificer in caſe of neceſſity, yet for this was caſt out of the Throne, both he and his Poſterity. Nay more than ſo, worthy of death, and that a ſtrange death too,Numb. 16.40. in the 250 Princes of the Congregation, that for offering Incenſe were conſumed with ſtrange Fire that came out from the Lord. And that for a memorandum, That no Stranger which is not of the Seed of Aaron come near to offer Incenſe before the Lord, that he be not as Corah and his Company. And theſe all had the na­tural gift, ſufficient abilities to act thoſe parts of the Prieſts Office they enterpriſed: But God, that was not therewithall pleaſed, ſeverely puniſhed it as a prophanation for want of lawfull Calling and Conſecration.

If private men for their practice of unlicenſed preaching pretend there is more liberty under the Goſpel to take on them the publick Miniſtry, they are deceived, there is no ſuch warrant from the Word of God.

Not from the Prophecy of thoſe times by Joel,Ioel 2.28. which St. Peter ſaies was fulfilled in the Apoſtles ſpeaking with Tongues thoſe Magnalia Dei upon the day of Pentecoſt;Act. 2.16, 17. This is that, ſaies he, which was ſpoken by the Prophet Joel, that in the laſt daies (meaning the daies of the Goſpel at the beginning of them, not the laſt daies before the end of the World) God will pour out his Spirit upon all Fleſh, and your Sons and Daughters ſhall prophecy (as did the Daughters of Philip the Evangeliſt) for this was a prediction of the holy Spirits emanation at the firſt plantation of the Goſpel,Act. 21.9. not of phanatique ſpirits eruption towards the end of the World, when falſe Chriſts and falſe Prophets ſhall ariſe,Mat. 24. and Mockers be in the laſt times, which walk after their own luſts. And theſe are they, ſaies St. Jude, which ſeparate themſelves,Iude 18, 19 and are ſenſual, having not the Spirit.

Nor have they precept, as they pretend, for their practice. That of St. Paul, That all may prophecy one by one,1 Cor. 13.31. will not patronize them in it. That is not to be underſtood of all the People, private Men and Women, which he forbids elſwhere12 to ſpeak in the Church,1 Cor. 14.34. but of all the Prophets or Preachers lawfully called to inſtruct the Church of God, as appears by the Context.

'Tis great boldneſs then, without an external Calling from Men, to aſſume that high Calling under God, and to be, as St. Baſil tearms it,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Mans ſelf-ordainer. Yea a madneſs,Lib. 4. In­ſtit. cap. 3. ſect. 14. ſaies Calvin, Ʋt ab hominibus deſignetur Epiſco­pus omninò ex ordine legitimae vocationis eſſe nemo ſobrius in­ficiabitur, That a Biſhop or Miniſter ſhould be deſigned of Men, none but a mad Man will deny to be a lawfull Or­dination. Heb. 5.4. Exod. 29.1.St. Paul ſaith, No man aſſumed the honour of the Prieſthood, unleſs he was called of God, as Aaron was, who was conſecrated by Moſes with a great deal of Ce­remony.

But that none ſhould upon a conceit of an internal Cal­ling, or Gift of the Spirit, go out to preach, without the ex­ternal Conſecration by Impoſition of Hands, the Holy Ghoſt hath given us a plain direction,Act. 13.3. ſaying, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them: Called they were to the work of the Miniſtry by the Holy Ghoſt, it appears by the words (whereto I have called them) and yet he ſaies, Separate them for the work, which was done accordingly in the next verſe,4. They faſted, and prayed, and laid their hands on them, and ſo ſent them away. Where you ſee the orderly proceeding of the Holy Ghoſt in making the Miniſters of the Goſpel, when he appoints them that were internally called by him, to receive an external Calling by the hands of Men.

For a Man then to run from his Shop, and ruſh into the Pulpit; to leave the Cart, and leap into the Chair of Moſes; to live by the Sword of War, and handle the Word, the Goſpel of Peace, and that without Authority, is ſuch a pre­ſumption as was ſcarce heard of in the Primitive times,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, For Laymen to preach, ſaith a Biſhop in Euſebius, is a thing not heard of before; and yet he ſpoke it of Origen, a Man of extraordinary gifts and learning; and ſome judge (and that not without cauſe) his many Errours to be Gods juſt judgement upon him for that his preſumption. No marvel then if illiterate Idiots. Men and Women in our times, become the Broachers of ſo many blaſphemous Errours and Hereſies, uſurping that holy Function, in which, without a lawfull Calling, none can expect a bleſſing.

13

I have been long going through the entry of my Text,The ſe­cond par­tition of the Text. but you ſee what crouds of Oppoſites ſtood in my way; which now having paſſed, I ſhall bring you to the Dining-room, the ſecond Partition; where are Nuptiae & Paratio, the Quality of the Feaſt, a VVedding, and the fitting and making it ready for the Gueſts, He ſaid unto his Servants, The Wedding is ready.

And firſt, of the Quality of the Feaſt,The Qua­lity of the Feaſt, A Wedding. which he intimates in the Wedding, more plainly explicates in the fourth verſe, ſaying, I have prepared my Dinner,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the Greek, the beſt thing that I have; and that is the ſacrifice of Chriſt's Body, ſometimes called the Paſchal Lamb, and the fatted Calf in the Parable of the Prodigal, here figured by his Oxen and Fatlings that were made ready; for in the ſa­crifice of theſe things was Chriſts death ſhadowed under the Law. So that Chriſt crucified, is all that is here underſtood, and made a Feaſt for our Souls, he being in the Sacrament both Sponſus & Convivium, Bridegroom and Feaſt, as he was at his Death both Sacerdos & Sacrificium, both Sacrifice and Prieſt.

But before we come to the Dinner,How the Bride and Bride­groom were cou­pled. Eph. 5.12. Christus ex puriſſimis & ſanctiſ­ſimis Vir­ginis ſan­guinibus copulavit ſibi carnem animatam anima ra­tionali per Spiritum Sanctum creans. Pet. Lomb. lib. 3. diſ. 3. c. 1. Hoſ. 2.19. it is meet I ſpeak firſt of the Marriage, and ſhew how the Bride and Bridegroom were coupled together; and that is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (St. Paul ſaies) a great Myſterie, for I ſpeak of Chriſt and his Church. Jeſus Chriſt, the onely begotten, and dearly beloved Son of God, is the Son of the great King (as you heard) He came forth as a Bridegroom out of his Chamber of Heaven, and took to VVife the Catholick Church here on Earth; Of which myſtical Match, and matchleſs Union, that Royal Preacher, King Salomon, made that Nuptial Song of the Canticles. The ſanctified VVomb of the Virgin was the Chappel where the Matrimonial Knot was tyed. The Holy Ghoſt the Prieſt that joyned them together by uniting to the Son of God the Humane Nature. This his Conception was the inception of the Wedding. The Communion betwixt Chriſt and his Church, the Continuation, which laſts with his Spouſe ſo long as the World endures. I will marry thee to me in faithfulneſs (ſaith he) and in righteouſneſs, loving­kindneſs, and mercy. And at the end of the World ſhall be the Conſummation of this Marriage, when Chriſt ſhall come again, and take his Bride home to his Fathers houſe, to live14 with him for ever in Heaven. And then it ſhall be ſaid, Let us be glad and rejoyce,Rev. 19.7. for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his Wife hath made her ſelf ready.

For this Wedding great feaſting was made in Heaven and on Earth,The Mar­riage feaſts. publick and private.

The Angels, the Friends of the Bridegroom, held a Fe­ſtival of Joy and Gladneſs in Heaven, when they ſaw this Match go forward,Luk. 2. and ſung that Nuptial Hymn, Glory be to God on high, on Earth peace, and good will among Men.

At the Converſion of a Sinner, which to the Bridegroom is the uniting of a Member to his Church,Luk. 15. Rev. 3.20. Salmeron. tract. 23. de parab. hac. Hic eſt ſenſus li­teralis hu­jus parabo­lae, quae ad coenam Eu­charistiae ad quam vocati ſunt omnes, pauci accc­dunt exten­di potest. Orig. Euthym. Author imperfecti operis, &c. ſec undum Terinum in Iocum. Luk. 14.16 1 Cor. 11.10. 1 Cor. 11.24. Do this inemem­rance ofe. ev. 19.7.8. is merry chear in Heart and in Heaven; Joy in Heaven among the Angels over one Sinner that repenteth; and joy in the heart of the pe­nitent Sinner, which is that the Bridegroom meaneth, when he ſaies, He ſtands at the door (of the heart) and knocks, by the Finger of his Spirit, and if any will open to let him in, he will ſup with him, bringing good chear with him, even the comfort that comes of the free pardon of his ſins.

In Heaven and in Heart this Chear is made: but the Marriage-feaſt of my Text may beſt be applyed to the ſpi­ritual refreſhing of Souls by means of the Miniſtry of the Word, and Sacraments of the Goſpel in the Temple. And that chiefly of the Euchariſt, by the conſent of many Inter­preters; the Sacrament of Chriſt's Body and Blood exhibited under the ſigns of Bread and Wine to nouriſh our Souls to Everlaſting Life. This is the Feaſt of Fat things, full of Marrow, and of VVine upon the Lees, which the Lord pro­miſed to make to all People in the Mountain of the Lord of Hoaſts, which is his Church, Iſa. 25.9. St. Luke calls it,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a great Supper, and St. Paul, the Supper of the Lord, becauſe firſt inſtituted and adminiſtred by the Lord himſelf at Supper-time. Of which he gave a ſpecial charge to his Apoſtles and their Succeſſors to act over the myſterious rites thereof for a memorial of him, till his coming again at the end of the World, when he ſhall take his Bride, and lead her in a Triumphant manner into the Bridechamber of Hea­ven, where the marriage-feaſt of the Lamb ſhall be conſum­mated, To which the Bride ſhall dreſs her ſelf with fine white Linnen, which is the Righteouſneſs of the Saints; and all the Congregation of Heaven ſhall ſing Allelujah, and ſay, Let us〈…〉15of the Lamb is come, and his VVife hath made her ſelf ready.

But till this his ſecond coming to call us to that Supper of the Lamb in the Temple of Heaven, he calls us to celebrate the Supper of the Lord in his Church here on Earth;1 Cor. 11.24. Do this, ſaith he, in remembrance of me; and that's the great Sacramental Feaſt of the Goſpel, and ſolemnization of the Wedding made ready.

And here I might to theſe moſt high and excellent Feaſts annex thoſe ſubordinate Solemnities which the Spouſe out of her devotion hath thought fit to obſerve in memorial of her Bridegrooms tranſcendent acts of grace in the aſſumption of our humane nature from the immaculate Virgin,Applicati­on. in his Birth into the World; in his Circumciſion, and Obedience to the Law for us; in his Paſſion for our Sins, Reſurrection from the Dead, Aſcenſion into Heaven, and his Miſſion of the Holy Ghoſt. For the Catholick Church was not antiently of the Presbyterian Reformers minds, that take away the ſpecial memorials of theſe never-to-be-forgotten Favours, and under a pretence of pulling down Superſtition, ſhake the Foundation, and leave the Frame in a tottering con­dition. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſaid Ignatius,Epiſt. ad Philip. Lib. 5. cap. 3 α. β. Diſhonour not thoſe holy Feaſts. And if that be ſuſpected, Socrates the Hiſtorian tels us of a certain, that they did in thoſe times,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in ſeveral Countryes abſtain from labour, and obſerve〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Feaſt of Eaſter, and other Feaſts; and that of Cuſtome they held〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Commemoration of the ſoul-ſaving Paſſion of Jeſus Chriſt. And St. Auguſt. in ep. ad Janu. 118. ſaies, they obſerved a Day to the memorial of our Saviour's Nativity, and other Feſtivals, vel ab ipſis Apoſtolis, vel à plenariis Conciliis. No doubt the Church hath power to ſhew her gratitude and love to her Saviour in theſe Feſtival remembrances; and though precept ſhe hath none in the New Teſtament for it, yet is ſhe not left without precedents in the Old. The Jewiſh Church yearly obſerved, for her temporal deliverance,Heſt. 9.2.22. the Feaſt of Purim, and ſo they did the Feaſt of Dedication after the building of the ſecond Temple,Ioh. 10.2 to which our Saviour himſelf reſorted, approving it by his own example.

But I forbear to preſs the obſervance of theſe, but cannot chooſe but breath out in ſighs, the words of Jeremie's La­mentation,16 for the other,Lam. 1.4. and ſay, The waies of Sion do mourn, becauſe Men come not to the Solemn Feaſts: For ſo it is in too many Places and Pariſhes, that the Oracle for Doctrine is ſilenced, the Table for the holy Communion ſequeſtred, the Temple for the Congregation deſolate, and made a de­teſtation. The Food of Souls, in the Doctrine of the Goſpel, Multitudes of People reliſh not, unleſs it be leavened with unwholſome Errours, which beſt pleaſe their diſtempered Palats; loath the Manna which their Fathers liked ſo well, cry out, Our Soul is we ary of this dry Bread, and wiſh for the Onions, Leeks and Melons of Hereſies and Errours; or elſe reject altogether the wholſome nouriſhment of their Souls, to feed upon the corrupt and crude humours of their own ſto­macks, for which they ſhall eat in the end the fruit of their own Inventions. They that forſake that Word which was to David a Light unto his feet,Pſal. 119. and a Lanthorn unto his paths, to follow the Ignis Fatuus of their own idle brains, will fall into the Ditch at laſt, when they dye, from whence will be no redemption.

Nor is this all, but, which is more grievous to think of, that holy Feaſt, the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, which all Chriſtians have had in ſo high and honourable eſtima­tion, is counted with many but a needleſs Ceremony, and the Table of the Lord in the Church valued no better worth than the Dreſſer-board in their Kitchen; the Cups and Cha­lices become uſeleſs, or put to prophane uſes, and the precious Blood of Chriſt trampled under foot through contempt. And is this a Reformation in Church? or rather, is it not the abhomination of deſolation ſtanding in the Holy Place? the fore-running ſign (as our Saviour ſaid) when ſeen in the Temple of Jeruſalem,Mat. 24. of that Nations total ruine and ſub­verſion. VVhich to prevent here, let us honour God's Ordinan­ces better, and make proviſion for theſe holy Feaſts of the Goſpel; where we have with God on Earth the neareſt Communion. Let the Servants, the Miniſters, prepare, and the Gueſts, the Communicants, draw near, and all things be in readineſs; which comes next to our handling, in the pre­paration and making ready of the Feaſt; He ſaid unto his Servants, truly the Wedding is ready. Of which I ſhall ſay no more at preſent, but have your attention in readineſs for it againſt the next day.

17

THE SECOND SERMON.

IN the ſecond Partition of the Text where I left off, two things were obſerved, Nuptiae, & Paratto, or the qualitie of the Feaſt, a Wedding, and its preparation, it is ready. Of the Firſt, the Wedding, I have ſpoken: now let your atten­tion wait upon the ſecond, The preparation,Obſervati­on. The Wedding is ready. And that repreſents to us the good will and plea­ſure of God towards his people, that he would not have them ſtay out of time for the Ordinances of the Goſpell: He would have the bread of life, the Word of God, ready for them, though they be not ready for it;Ezeck. 2.7 Bids the Prophet ſpeak his Word, though the people will not hear. And by his Apoſtle laid that charge on Timothy, and in him,2 Tim. 4.2. on us all, to preach the Word, and be inſtant in ſeaſon and out of ſeaſon. Volentibus & nolentibus, Whither they will hear or not, he would have it alwaies in a readines, and I think none doubts of that; I need not preſſe it.

The Feaſt now moſt in queſtion, is that of the holy Com­munion at the Table of the Lord; For which alſo proviſion ought to be made, that all things may be in a readineſs for the Receivers. The Table ſpread, the Wine and Bread ſet on, the Miniſters waiting on their Office; All implyed in that the King ſo often replyed to his ſervants, ſaying, I have pre­pared my Dinner, the Wedding is ready.

And that not ſo to be taken, that it will ſerve once, or ſeldome to be eaten; but that uſually it be prepared, other­wiſe how can it be ready? The night before Chriſt's Paſſion, two daies before Eaſter, was the firſt inſtitution: Preparation was then made for the Paſſover, and that; the old Sacrament of the Law, and the new one of the Goſpel: But the Apo­ſtles thought not this ſufficient to ſuſtain them ever, or for the whole yeare after; But they, at or upon the day of Pen­tecoſt next enſuing, prepare for themſelves again,Acts 2.41 42. and their new Congregation of three thouſand Souls which they had converted; theſe they admitted into Communion with them in their Doctrine and fellowſhip, breaking of bread and praiers. Chriſts ſufferring once is ſufficient for ever, Once he appeared in the end of the World to put away ſin,18 by the ſacrifice of himſelf. Heb. 9.26.But his Supper, that ſignifieth his ſuftering is often to be iterated. The Sacrifices under the Law were the daly Figures of his Death to the people till he came into the World: So ought this Sacrament to be ſince he ſuffered, till he comes again at the end of the World. 2 Cor. 11, 26.As oft as you eat this Bread, and drink this Cup of the Lord, you ſhew the Lords death till he come. Where〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉as oft implies〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉an often and not a ſeldom receiving.

This did the Apoſtles daily at firſt make ready this Feaſt for their Congregation:Acts 2.12.46. For they continued daily with one accord in the Apoſtles Doctrine, Communion, breaking of Bread, and Prayers; where breaking of bread is not meant of Common, but conſecrated Bread, by the common conſent of Interpreters: Calvin's Reaſon amongſt the reſt, gives good ſatisfaction, St Luke here relates thoſe things (ſaith he) quibus publicus Eccleſiae ſtatus continetur;Acts 2. wherein the publique ſtate of the Church conſiſts. Imo hic quatuor not as exprimit, ex quibus vera & genuina facies Eccleſiae dijudicare queat, Nay here the Evangeliſt fets down Four Markes or Notes whereby the true genuine Face of the Church may be diſcerned, that is, Apoſtolicall Doctrine, Communion a­mong the Members, the breaking of Bread in the Sacrament, and publike praiers in the Church. Hic nobis ad vivum depicta eſt Eccleſiae imago, Here is ſet out to the life the I­mage of Chriſt's Church. What face of a Church is there then in all Conventicles, and many Congregations, where the eſſential marks of Apoſtolical Doctrine and Sacraments are wanting? Acts 20.7.Theſe two, as they met at often in the week­day as to their daily bread, ſo chiefly on the Lords-day as to their Sundaies meal. Upon the Firſt day of the week (which is the Lords-Day) when the Diſciples met toge­ther to break Bread, St. Paul preached unto them. The two principall duties of Religion wherewith a Chriſtian Sabbath is Sanctified, we find they there exerciſed, the miniſtry of the Word, and the adminiſtration of the Sacrament. The pri­mitive Chriſtians after them, in times of perſecution, made their breakfaſt of this bread & wine every morning, & call'd it their Viaticum, their wayfaring fre, to ſtrengthen the inward man for the long journey in caſe they chanced that day to die and depart this World into another; This Sacra­ment,19 ſaith Tertullian, commanded of God to all,Decoron-Militis. we take in antelucanis coetibus, in our meetings before Day, at the hands of none but the Preſident of the Congregation. In Epiſt.And in times of Peace, they made it their Sunday dinner, and took it every Lords-Day. St. Baſill ſaith they communi­cated in his time foure daies in the week,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, on the Lords Day,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, on the Wedneſday,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, on the Friday and on the Saturday, which was the Jews Sab­bath; however before his time he ſaies they received〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, every Day in the Week.

St. Auguſtine's judgement upon the Caſe of often com­municating is worthy to be followed. Quotidie Euchariſtiam accipere nec laudo nec vitupero, to receive the Holy Euchariſt every day, I neither praiſe it nor diſpraiſe it; Omnibus ta­men diebus Dominicis communicandum hortor, But I adviſe that there be a Communion every Lords-Day; Qui vero in Natali Domini, in Paſchate & Pentecoſte non communicave­rint vix catholici credantur, But they which ſhall not commu­nicate at Eaſter, Pentecoſt, and Chriſtmas, are ſcarce to be counted good Chriſtian Catholickes.

Our Proteſtant Church of England following the ſteps of the Primitive, had formerly a Communion ſervice for every Lords day in the year, and injoyned every Communicant to appear before the Lord at his Table 3 times a year at leaſt, & in moſt great Congregations it was made ready 12 times a year, and ſo held as a monethly Feaſt. Monthly, Weekly, & Daily, in former ages and better times, it was made ready,

And great reaſon is there for the frequent participation,Reaſons. if we conſider hut the Prerogative of this Feaſt, and the Pri­vileges we have by it. Firſt for Prerogative, it is above all Feaſts, Civil, Legal, or Evangelical, that ever were; being all way ſince the firſt inſtitution accounted the higheſt and holieſt part of Divine ſervice in the Church; and had in grea­teſt Honour and Reverence of all Chriſtians, for that it ſets forth unto us the great Myſtery of our Redemption, lively repreſenting before our eies that great and effectuall Sacri­fice, whereof all legal Offerings before were but types and ſhadows, even the ſuffering of our Lord and Saviour Jeſus Chriſt upon the Croſſe for our ſins. The breaking of whoſe Body there, is figured in the breaking of Bread here, and20 the effuſion of his Blood there, expreſſed in the pouring out of the Wine here, His Death and Paſſion all wholly repre­ſented in the Sacramental actions: To which to be admit­ted, though upon our knees we eat it, is greater honour than to ſit at meat with a King or Emperour. The high prerogative of this Feaſt, is one ſpecial motive to ſtirre up the devout ſervants of the great King to prepare it; another is the happy Privileges we have by it.

As firſt, the neereſt Communion with God the King, and his Son Jeſus Chriſt, and the Saints and Angells, that can be here on Earth. Contemplare obſecro, adstat menſa Re­gia, adeſt Rex ipſe, adſunt Angeli miniſtri, & tu oſcitabun­dus adſtas. Conſider and behold the Royall Table is before thee, God the King is there preſent with thee, the Angells waiting on him, and thou poor hungry Soul art admitted to eat among them. O cogita quali ſis inſignitus honore, quali menſa frua­ris, O do but think then what honour thou hast to be admit­ted to feaſt at a Table with Jeſus Chriſt.

Secondly, Diet for our dying Souls. My Fleſh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed (ſaith our Saviour) and he that eateth my Fleſh,Iohn 6.55. and drinketh my Blood, ſhall live for ever; And there is no ſuch ready way to do that, as to eat and drink in this Sacrament, where the outward Elements are not only Figures to preſent, but alſo Inſtruments which the Lord hath ordained to convey the things ſignified, Chriſt and all his benefits,

Thirdly, a renewing the Copy of our Pardon. We daily ſin and had need of a Pardon; and that is here offered to be ſigned and ſealed to our Souls and Conſciences by the Blood of Jeſus Chriſt.

Fourthly, increaſe of Grace. Faith is here ſtrengthened, Hope enlarged, Charity confirmed, Patience relieved, Temperance prooved, Chaſtity corroborated, and all other vertues which they that come to this feaſt contend for, either granted or augmented. Pet. Lomb. l. 4. diſt. 4.Adjutrix Gratia omniſque virtus augetur, & fo­mes peccati debilitatur. As he ſaid of the other, ſo may〈◊〉of this, all virtue is increaſed by it, and concupiſence dimini­ſhed. Briefly, there is peace of Conſcience, freedom from the fear of Death, the bondage of ſin and Sathan, and the pain of condemnation; there is ſtrength againſt temptation,21 and certain hope and aſſurance of eternal life and ſalvation, purchaſed by Chriſts death and ſuffering here ſignified, and by this Sacrament ſigned and ſealed,

He that duſy prepares himſelf for this Feaſt, communes with his own heart, calls himſelf to account for his by-paſt actions and errors, examines his own ſtate, and reſolves upon amendment of life, ſo that he muſt needs grow in Grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt. But where this myſticall marriage Feaſt is not made ready, ſin increaſeth, errour and Hereſie ſpringeth up, Prophaneſs ſpreadeth, Religion withereth, Faith fadeth, Hope fainteth, Charity dyeth, true knowledge of God decayeth, Reforma­tion goes backward, and the danger of Death and Damna­tion is incurred.

And thus having made known the good pleaſure of the great King to have the Wedding in readineſs for his Gueſts;Applicati­on. First to the Miniſters of the feast. I ſhall now for application addreſs my ſelf firſt to the Ser­vants that miniſter, and expoſtulate with them the reaſon of their remiſneſs, or rather refuſall to do that part of their office in making the Feaſt ready; and then after that ſpeak a word or two to the Gueſts, to make themſelves ready for the Feaſt when it is ready for them.

And the ſervants I mean, are not all that miniſter about Holy things, but only thoſe which have polluted the Com­memorative Sacrifice of the Lord, ſaying with thoſe propha­ning Prieſts, Malac. 1.7. The Table of the Lord is not to be regarded. They had no regard to the ſacrifice, theſe to the ſacrament (both figurative Feaſts of Chriſts death) they cared not what was offerred, theſe care not though nothing be miniſtred at all to the people.

And theſe are they who have ſequeſtred the bodily bread from the Paſtors, the right owners; and ſince they came in­to their places, have ſequeſtred, at their pleaſure alſo, the bread of Chriſts Body, which is the life of their Souls, from the Pariſhioners which were their charges, and debarred them quite of that right, ſince the Barres that were an of­fence to ſome were taken away. From henceforth then let them enveigh no more againſt the Prieſts of Rome for a­bridging the Laity of the Cup, one half of the Feaſt, when we have them in England that do a great deal worſe, and22 deprive them of all, both Cup and Bread too.

And what's the cauſe we might not know a long time, but as if we were in a confuſion, like thoſe tumultuous Ephe­ſians,Acts 19. The Preſ­byterians plea againſt giving the Sacrament anſwered. ſome cryed one thing, and ſome another; and as they knew not the cauſe why they were met together, ſo the peo­ple might not know the cauſe why they might not meet toge­ther. Pretences we hear of ſome, rather than cauſes, which have more of will than weight in them.

One, is the peoples unworthineſs; but this will not excuſe their willfullneſs in not doing their office. First touch­ing the peo­ples un­worthineſs through ſin and igno­rance.The King makes ready his dinner, and ſends out his ſervants to call the Gueſts, though they that were bidden, he ſaies, were not worthy. And they that are unworthy in one reſpect, may be worthy in another, as you ſhall hear hereafter. If we demand wher­in lies their unworthineſs now, which they themſelves coun­ted worthy before, they uſually pretend (though ſomwhat prejudicial to their late preaching) the peoples ſin and Ig­norance, which will not be rectified by this long abſtinence from the food of their Souls, which would make them grow in Grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt; but Ignorance in part,Note. and ſin, whereof men repent, hinder not any of the efficacy of Chriſt's death, nor make them unwor­thy of that Sacrament.

The Diſciples were ignorant of many things, had many infirmities and ſins, yet Chriſt made ready this Feaſt for them. They were ignorant of Chriſts Kingdome, dreamed of a temporal Kingdom, hoping to atchieve to themſelves great Offices and Honours, and this bred great emulation among them: Ignorant they were of Chriſt's Reſurrection, knew not as yet that Chriſt muſt riſe from the dead, nay I queſtion whether they well underſtood his Paſſion. The Son of man,Iohn 20.9. ſaith he, ſhall be delivered up to the Gentiles, and ſhall be mocked and ſpitefully intreated, and ſpitted on, and they ſhall ſcourg him, and put him to death, and the third day he ſhall riſe again;Luke 18.32, 33. Of which St. Luke ſaies, they underſtood none of theſe things, and the ſaying was hid from their eyes.

Nay among theſe was one worſe than any is or can be among us, Judas the Traitor, a Thief, a Devill. Our Church ſeemed to ſay ſo, that he was there, in the Exhortation be­fore the Communion. Take heed leſt after the taking of23 that holy Sacrament, the Devill enter not into you as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquity, and bring you to deſtruction of Body and Soul. St. Auguſtine ſaies it, and that with reaſon for it, Tunc intravit in eum Sa­tanas, quando indigne Corpus Chriſti ſuſcipiens, judicium ſibi manducavit & bibit, Then entered the Devill into Judas, when receiving the Body of the Lord unworthily, he eat and drank his own damnation. And the Evangeliſts include him among the reſt, making no mention of his departing till ſupper was ended. When Even was come, Jeſus ſat down with the twelve, ſaith Matthew,Matth. 26.25 Mark 14.20. of which number Jndas was one, and bade them all drink, not Judas excepted. Mark ſaies, the Betrayer dipped with him in the diſh; But St. Luke makes expreſs mention of his remaining after the Sacra­ment, For after Jeſus had given the Bread and the Wine, Luke 22.19, 20. it follows in 21. The hand of him that be­trayeth me is on the Table.

Surely then they that profeſs Chriſtianity may be admit­ted to this holy Feaſt,Note. though unworthy by reaſon of ſin and ignorance, yet this may be done without prejudice to the Miniſter or Communicants. 1 Cor. 11.29.The worſt is to themſelves who thereby eat and drink their own damnation. No Com­municants are to be debarred unleſs openly ſcandalous and detected, Thats St. Auguſtine's Rule in this caſe. Note.Si Chriſtus ipſe Judam paſſus eſt quem ſciebat furem eſſe, nec eum qui accu­ſatus non eſt abjecit, hoc exemplo uti oportet, nec eum abjicere, qui publice detectus non eſt, If Chriſt ſuffered Judas whom he knew a Thief and ſhould betray him, and did not refuſe him, becauſe none did accuſe him, this example muſt we make uſe of, and reject none that are not openly detected of ſin, and ſcan­dalous to the Congregations. Many were faulty among the Corinthians, but none excommunicated but the Inceſtuous, who was ſcandalous. Tripart. hiſt. lib. 9. cap. 30.St Ambroſe would not connive in this caſe at the great Emperour Theodoſius, who by his raſh E­dict ſpilt the blood of ſeven thouſand Citizens, the Inno­cent periſhing together with the guilty, but excluded him (though not in a compulſive but a perſwaſive way) from the Lords Table and Temple for eight Moneths ſpace, till he had with tears waſhed the ſtain of Blood from his Conſcience, and given good teſtimonie of his Repentance. And ſo ought24 the Governors of the Church indeed to uſe the power of the Keies, and inflict their Cenſure upon blood-ſhedders, Fornica­tors, and other open ſcandalous livers, to bring them to a ſenſe of their Sins, and repentance of the ſame. But to ex­clude all, the Godly and religious, as well as the openly vici­ous and notorious, is an act of as litle mercy and diſcreti­on to the ſouls of poor Chriſtians, as that of Theodoſius was to the lives and bodies of his Citizens, he cauſed the inno­cent with the nocent to be put to death, and theſe the wor­thy with the unworthy to be deprived of the bread of life.

If we had power to raiſe the faithfull Samuels of our Church which are dead and gone, or recall a Councell of the antient fathers, I verily believe that none of them upon theſe grounds would conſent to this long ſuſpenſion of the Sa­crament. Ours urged much (ye know) the due and fitting preparation to it, and the frequent participation of it, ex­cluding none but the ignorant and offenſive. But the Anti­ents leſs ſcrupling ſimplicity and ignorance gave it to Chil­dren and infants. That they did ſo is not unknown in the time of Cyprian, Innocentius, Auguſtin, and others, and that they did as well in Europe as in Africa and Aſia, That which moved them to it, was the ſaying of our Saviour, 6 Joh. 53. Except ye eat the Fleſh of the Son of man, and drink his Bloud, ye have no life in you, from whence they con­cluded not onely the ſpirituall, but alſo the ſacramentall eat­ing and drinking neceſſary for Children, and all that would live the life of Grace: Beſides other reaſons they rendred. That Children are capable of the benefits of Chriſts death, and therefore ought partake of the ſignes of it in the Sacra­ment. That they are members of Chriſt's myſticall body, and therefore not to be abridged of that Communion where­by we are all one body. Nay Chriſt (ſay they) invited them to his bodily preſence,Mark 10. ſaying, Suffer little Children to come unto me and forbid them not, why ſhould they not then be admitted to the ſigne of his body?

And though the modern Divines in all our Churches have changed that cuſtome uppon Conſideration of St. Pauls ex­amination, which he preſcribeth every Communicant, 1 Cor. 11.28. Which Children for want of the uſe of reaſon and diſcretion cannot do, yet that may be anſwered like the Ana­baptiſts25 argument againſt their Baptiſm, when they plead they are uncapable through the want of ſaith and repentance; namely, That ſuch things are required before Sacraments onely in them that have the uſe of reaſon, and are grown up to years of diſcretion, not in Children.

I deny not that Children have all the benefits of Chriſts death in their Baptiſm, which is the proper Sacrament for them: But for my part I ſhould rather follow the practice of the Fathers in their charitable judging Children worthy, than our Presbyters in their uncharitable cenſuring all Men and Women under their charge, unworthy of that ſacred Myſterie Chriſt ordained to be a means to convey his merits, and they at their entrance upon their Miniſtry undertook to diſpenſe to them in that Sacrament.

But this is not all the Peoples unworthineſs,The ſe­cond pre­tence, Not to give the Sacrament for want of due Fx­aminati­on, an­ſwered. but another Exception is, they come not to them to Examination; and St. Paul ſaies, Let a Man examine himſelf, and ſo let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup.

Mr. Calvin and his Fellows, whom the Presbyterian Re­formadoes follow, perceiving what a Jewel they have loſt of Auricular Confeſſion, which hangs ſtill at the Prieſts ears in the Church of Rome, would fain recover this loſs, and by ſtrict examination before the Communion, unlock the Ca­binets of counſels, and skrew themſelves into the ſecrets of their Peoples hearts, the beſt way that can be deviſed to keep them in awe under their new Diſcipline. But to make any imperious ſearch or ſcrutinie into other Mens Con­ſciences, is not St. Paul's ſenſe, but that every Man ſhould look into his own. He ſaies not, Let the Paſtors examine the Pariſhioners (that indeed was an antient and uſefull way to inſtruct and prepare the younger ſort, and ſuch as were to be catechized) but as ſpeaking to well-grounded Communi­cants, he ſaies, Let every one examine himſelf,1 Cor. 11.28. and ſo eat of this Bread, &c.

In the new conſtituted Church of Corinth there were Of­fendors of many ſorts, and them that had need of purga­tion as well as we; Some that were ignorant,1 Cor. 15.34. Some have not the knowledge of God, I ſpeak this to your ſhame; Some that ſaid there was no Reſurrection;5.1. Fornicators there were, and Contentious perſons,6.1. that went to Law before26 Infidels;1 Cor. 3.3.4.11.21. Carnal perſons, that were makers of Sects and Schiſms, given to envy, ſtrife, and diviſions; and ſome that he taxes for Drunkenneſs, and irreverence at the Lords Table: And for remedy of theſe iniquities and enormities, he preſcribes not an Enquiry to be made by the Presbyters into the Lives and Conſciences of theſe Sinners, but that every one, who beſt knows his own iniquity, ſhould examin his own heart;11.28. Let every Man examin himſelf, &c.

And that to teach and exhort the People to do, with the manner how, is the duty of them that have the charge of Souls, and to admoniſh them of the danger, if they ſuſpect them unworthy, but not to refuſe to make preparation of the Feaſt for their ſakes; unleſs firſt they come all to them to Catechize and Examination before their Elders.

A thing which moſt of themſelves are loath to do, and turn the point of Examination upon themſelves (which is the hindrance rather, as ſome ſuppoſe) For how can he that hath thruſt himſelf into anothers Place and Poſſeſſion without a rightfull Inveſtiture, put that ſubſequent Interrogatory in the Text to himſelf, Quomodo hùc intraſti? which the King did here to him that came without his Wedding-garment, and ſay to his own Soul, How cameſt thou in hither? This before that be received, which we ſpeak of, is a thing to be thought of, muſt be repented of, and what is wrongfully de­tained,Auguſtin. muſt be reſtored. Si res aliena reddi poteſt, & non redditur, poenitentia non agitur, ſed fingitur; He that re­pents before he receives, and reſtores not, if he have it in his power, is no true Penitent, but an Hypocrite, and cannot, without danger of damnation to his Soul, take that holy Sa­crament.

But if we had power to examine them as they would others,33Their chiefeſt reaſon for the cauſe of their Diſcipline, anſwered. and ſearch the depth of their hearts for the cauſe of their ſuſpenſion of the Sacrament all this while from the People, we ſhould find it is for the promoting of their intended Diſcipline. Of which they would beget ſuch a reverend eſteem in the hearts of Men while they delay it, till their Lay Elders be elected, and their Claſſes erected; as if the right Adminiſtration of this Sacrament depended onely on that rigid Government, and all Chriſtians for 1500 years to­gether, and more, were in ſome errour to follow Chriſt's firſt27 Inſtitution, before Geneva found out this new Invention.

And how falſe a Suppoſition that is, will plainly appear, if we examine all thoſe Texts in the New Teſtament, where­in the Adminiſtration of the Sacrament is recorded, without the leaſt mention of this pretended Diſcipline.

We have the firſt Inſtitution of it by our Saviour, Matth. 26.26, 27. Luk. 22.16, 17. where none will ſay any needfull rite was wanting for the more effectual receiving; and we find the Maſter and his Diſciples there, with a pre­cept to do this in remembrance of him: but no Lay Elders to take the Diſciples into examination. And yet it may be ſuppoſed, ſome there had need to be ſearched, and by the ſtrict rules of their ruling Elders, to be ſecluded for their ignorance (as was before intimated) and their ambition and emulation. This was a pattern for all ſucceeding Admini­ſtrations; and yet we find neither expreſſion in the Text, nor collection from the Text, of any Elders doing this office, either of admiſſion of any to, or of ſuſpenſion of any from, that Sacrament. If they have any unwritten Tradition for it, they may produce it, and we will promiſe them, for affi­nities ſake in Doctrine, to be more inclined to credit it, than thoſe proofs of that nature which our Adverſaries of Rome ſometimes make their refuge, when they are hard put to it in Diſputation.

From the firſt, go along to the ſecond; from the Maſter's firſt Inſtitution, to the Apoſtles his Miniſters firſt Admini­ſtration, ſet down Act. 2.42. They continued ſtedfaſtly in the Apoſtles Doctrine, and Fellowſhip, in breaking of Bread, and in Prayer; Where breaking of Bread, by the common conſent of Expoſitors, is not underſtood of Common, but Bread conſecrated. And now the Apoſtles had a full Con­gregation of 3000 Souls newly converted, ver. 41. in which number there was choyce enough for ſuch Church-Officens, if their Examination and Approbation had been ſo abſolutely neceſſary before the Communion a but we find not a word there to make good their Aſſertion, who ſuſpend the Sacra­ment for want of a ſetled Elderſhip, to prove and approve of them that are fit to receive it.

No nor in the third place, Act. 20.7. where the firſt day of the week ſeems to be ſet apart for this ſervice of the Sa­crament;28 Ʋpon the firſt day of the week the Diſciples met together to break Bread; which is there mentioned, tanquanopus diei in die ſuo, as the proper buſineſs of the day, and yet not a tittle that inferrs a cenſure paſſed before by the Elders upon the Receivers. The Evangeliſt tels, how upon that day the Diſciples came together to break Bread, but ſaies no­thing of ruling Elders that appoint who ſhall eat it.

And laſtly, if we conſult the faithfull Apoſtle, more copious in 1 Cor. 11.20. than any of the Evangeliſts, in this My­ſterie, we find him ſilent in this Office of Elderſhip; for which he had been blame-worthy, undertaking as he doth, ver. 23. to make a true relation of that he had received from the Lord Jeſus Chriſt touching this holy Communion, if he had left out ſo needfull a preparative as that of the El­ders: whereon the whole Adminiſtration dependeth.

Nay, I ſhall ſay more; it is apparent from that Epiſtle, that there was then no ſuch order in the Church: For there was an Inceſtuous perſon ſuffered to come into their Aſſem­blyes,1 Cor. 5.4, 5. till St. Paul ſent out his Excommunication againſt him, which they were to put in execution in a full Congrega­tion;6.1. There were Contentious perſons, that went to Law before Infidels; Sectaries,1.12. that cryed up their ſeveral Teachers; Idolaters,8.10. that eat in the Idols Temple; Hereticks, that denied a Fundamental of Faith,15. the Reſurrection of the Body. And an inſtance there is of ſome overtaken with Drunken­neſs (one of their great exceptions) not that fell through in­firmity into that ſin at ſome time before, but even when they came to that reverend Myſterie;11.21. Some come hungry, and ſome come drunken. Now where were the Lay Elders, whoſe Office it is to keep the Door, and prevent ſuch prophanation? None appear in the Text, no, nor were at all in that time, which makes the Apoſtle take another courſe to redreſs theſe abuſes, and apply the remedy to the Conſcience of every Communicant,11.28. ſaying, Let every Man examine himſelf be­fore he eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. He adviſes not the Miniſters, in this mixture of many unworthy Re­ceivers, to ſuſpend the Sacrament altogether till the Con­gregation be purged by the aſſiſtance of Elders in a Court of Judicature, but puts the Caſe over to the Court of Con­ſcience, wherein every Communicant is to cenſure himſelfe,29 and upon his repentance and purpoſe of amendment take that holy Sacrament. Every word in holy Writ that ſounded but that way, they wreſt to maintain their Covenant; and, if there were any ſuch Warrant, the Pulpits would ring on't to defend their denial of this Sacrament.

But no Text of Scripture is found for Miniſters to deprive their People of this Sacrament for want of Diſcipline, no more than for Parents to withhold Bread from their Children till they have made ready for them a Rod to their minds. But though Scripture they have none, yet Reaſons they have deviſed, ſome to defend their Suppoſition, which when they are removed, there will be no Bar to the Lord's Board, but they muſt come and diſpence this Sacrament as well as we.

And the chiefeſt of their Reaſons I have met with, may be reduced under three heads; for they are, either ex parte Sacramenti, ex parte Miniſtri, vel ex parte Convivarum; They have relation either to the Sacrament, or to the Giver, or to the Receivers. To the Sacrament, leſt that ſhould be prophaned; to the Giver, leſt he ſhould be prejudiced; to the Receivers, which are of two ſorts, worthy and un­worthy, leſt the one ſhould be ſcandalized, and the other be condemned. All which miſchief they make account would be prevented, if their Presbyterie were but ſtated. Fair Pre­tences all.

1. The Preſ­byterians Reaſons for ſtating of their Diſcipline before their Ad­miniſtra­tion of this Sacrament anſwered. 1. In re­gard. of the Sacra­ment. In 3. part. Thom. diſp. 17. ſec. 2.The Sacrament it ſelf they ſay will be prophaned by the intruſion of leud Livers among the Receivers. And we will grant their Diſcipline would make a difference in ad­miſſion, though not alwaies with diſcretion. But if ſome un­prepared Perſons, whom we have neither the skill to diſcern, nor power to reſtrain, preſs in among the reſt (a thing that muſt be tolerated, becauſe it cannot be avoyded) the Sacrament for all this is not in it ſelf prophaned, but in them is of none effect, and ſo is ſaid to be prophaned in that reſpect. In re­ceiving the Sacrament, two things are to be conſidered (ſaith Suarez) Ʋnum ex parte Sacramenti, ut verè, integrè, & cum debit is circumſtanti is fiat; aliud ex parte effectus Sa­cramenti, & conſequenter ex parte diſpoſitionis ſuſcipient is quae ad effectum eſt neceſſaria. One in reſpect of the Sacra­ment it ſelf, that it be truly, wholly, and with all the rites and30 circumſtances adminiſtred; another in reſpect of the effect of the Sacrament, and conſequently of the diſpoſition of the Receiver, which to that effect is neceſſary. More plainly, Prophanation is two-fold, Material and Perſonal; Ma­terial, when any abuſe is offered to the Elements, or any part of the Ordinance, at the time of Adminiſtration; Per­ſonal, when the Perſons which communicate are not fitted with pre-requiſite qualifications. The Prophanation then, to ſpeak properly, is not in the Supper, but in the Receiver; and this latter, not we, nor their Elders, can alwaies tell how to prevent.

That Sentence of our Saviour, Nolite dare ſanotum Cani­bus,Math. 7.6. Give not that which is holy to Dogs, neither caſt your Pearls before Swine. many of them take as a Precept pro­hibiting this Sacrament to the prophane and ignorant: but they miſtake the ſenſe there intended, which our Saviour un­derſtood of Admonition or Reproof, as appears by the words foregoing, and the reaſons following (leſt they turn again and tear you) which never happened, never was offered to the Diſpenſers of this Sacrament from the prophaneſt Wretches that ever receiv'd it. And though we ought not to caſt away holy things upon them that regard them not, Yet here is no pretence for them which peremptorily deny the holy Euchariſt to all, becauſe they ſuppoſe ſome ſuch are in their Congregations. Math. 13.45.46.The Goſpel is an holy thing, a Pearl in the Parable, and muſt not we caſt that among ſuch as they count Dogs and Swine? beaſtly livers that regard it not? Surely the Apoſtles were not ſo ſcrupulous; they preached Chriſt crucified,1 Cor. 1.23 though to the Jews a ſtumbling-block, and to the Gentiles fooliſhneſs. If we ſhould ſtand upon theſe tearms, and not preach the Goſpel, becauſe holy, till we come into a Congregation wholly ſanctified and pure, we muſt preach no more on Earth to convert and win Souls to Heaven.

But enough to this firſt Reaſon,The ſe­cond Rea­ſon an­ſwered. which reſpects the purity of the Sacrament. The ſecond is for the ſafety of the Mi­niſter that gives it, That he be not guilty of the unworthy Receivers ſin, nor acceſſary to their damnation, they muſt firſt eſtabliſh their Diſcipline.

And the Miniſters might have thought themſelves be­holding31 to them for the care they pretend of their Souls ſafety in giving the Sacrament, if they had not ſhewed ſo little pity on their Souls, in preſſing them againſt Con­ſcience to take their Covenant. But they need not thank them for this favour; for the damnation that is indangered (St. Paul ſaies) is not to the Giver, but to the Receiver;1 Cor. 11.29. He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, judgement or damnation to himſelf, not to the Miniſter.

Nor is the ſin his that gives it to him that unworthily takes it: He does but his duty which Chriſt commanded;Luk. 22.19 and that is not ſin in him, but in the Receiver which does not his duty in due preparation. Now if others ſinning follow accidentally through their own default upon the per­forming of any duty which Chriſts commands me, I am not in fault, nor any waies acceſſary to their ſin.

If it be replyed; A Miniſter that gives this Supper to an unworthy Receiver, cooperates to his taking it; for how can a Man cooperate more to the taking of a thing, than by giving it? Then we ſay he cooperates in the action, but not to the obliquity of the action. Nor is his giving a cauſe of his unworthineſs in receiving, but of his receiving onely; which is the determination of the Schoolman upon that Que­ſtion;In 3. part. Tho. diſp. 18. ſec. 2. It may ſo fall out (ſaith Suarez) that a Miniſter cannot deny the Sacrament to an unworthy Communicant, for fear of giving offence; Et tunc quamvis ille det, non co­operatur iniquae receptioni, ut iniqua eſt, ſed ſolum ut receptio Sacramenti eſt; He hath no hand by his giving, in the Peoples receiving as it is ſinfull, but as it is a reception onely of the Sacrament. And again,Diſp. 67. ſec. 4. Actio dandi non eſt mala ex parte dantis, & intentio bona, quamvis ex parte recipientis receptio ſit mala; The Miniſters action of giving is good, as is his intention, although the Receivers be naught in his unſancti­fied reception. His ſin then that receiveth, cannot be im­puted to the Miniſter that giveth, ſo long as his unworthineſs in receiving doth not depend upon his Miniſterial action of giving. There is then no cooperation of ſin in the Miniſter, but only a permiſſion; of which, when he hath done what he can for prevention, he is clear from the Blood of their Souls which eat and drink Damnation to themſelves. So that for32 this cauſe of the Miniſters there is no ſuch abſolute neceſſity of a total forbearance of the holy Ordinance, for want of Elders to exclude unprepared Receivers.

No, Nor 3ly. for the cauſe of Communicants, leſt ſome ignorant, or unprepared, ſhould participate to the offence of others, and the prejudice of their own Souls. Indeed it were good if all ſuch could be diſcerned and debarred. But where there is no power to do that, the Miniſter muſt not neglect his duty to do this which Chriſt commandeth, for want of that Diſcipline. Luk. 22.19.And yet, if that they ſo much ſtand upon, were ſtated, Hypocrites would communicate among true Be­lievers. Chriſt's Fold here on Earth conſiſts of Goats and Sheep, his Barn contains Wheat and Chaff, which will not be ſevered till the winnowing, and ſeparating the Goats from the Sheep at the Day of Judgement; the Bad will be mingled with the Good, the Reprobate with the Elect, when they have done all they can. And can the Diſpenſers of the Sa­crament then argue from hence a neceſſity of a continual ſuſpenſion of the Sacrament? Note.No ſure; a total omiſſion of a Duty by Chriſt commanded, cannot be warranted by the contingency of an Offence that may cauſleſly be apprehen­ded. 1 Cor. 8.13.St. Paul ſaies indeed, he would not cat while the World ſtandeth, rather than offend his Brother: but he meant it not of an Offence cauſleſly taken, but of giving him the occaſion of ſinning. But if any will take offence if I feed my Body with Nutriment, or my Soul with Sacrament, I may not for this ſtarve either, that I be not acceſſary to my own death and famiſhment.

Nor may the Paſtor forbear to feed his Flock and ſtarve the Souls under his charge, for ſome of their ſakes that ſhould not eat. The good Steward doth not contrary to his Lords will, deny the houſhold their proviſion, for fear ſom undeſerving ſervants ſhould have amongſt the reſt their por­tion. Nor did the Jewiſh ſhephards ſtarve their ſheep for fear the goats ſhould commune in their paſture. In point of Charity it were better to give alms to ten Counterfeits, than to ſuffer one member of Chriſt to periſh for want of food and rayment, and in execution of our. Miniſtery we were better ſuffer ſome hypocrites to eat at Chriſts ſupper, than for their ſakes ſtarve the ſouls of our flocks al-toge­ther.

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A Miniſter ought to have a care what he can, that the profain and ignorant eat not of this Sacrament to their ſouls prejudice, but he can do no more than admoniſh them of the danger and inſtruct them in the duty of preparation. He muſt exclude none of himſelf,Matth. 18.17. 1 Cor. 5. 2 Cor. 2, 6. he hath no ſuch abſolute power; That belongs to a court of Judicature, by the rule of Chriſt and his Apoſtles, and the pattern of the Primitive Church. So that though a perſon be known to be culpable to the Miniſter, or openly detected of a crime to the Con­gregation, he is not to be excluded by the Miniſter alone, but muſt firſt be ſentenced by the judges Eccleſiaſticall: who ought proceed no otherwiſe againſt him, but ſecundum al­legata & probata: and not cenſure him but upon good proof of others, or his own confeſſion. Auguſt. l. 4 de medi. pen. Aquin. p. 3. Queſt. 80.Nos à Communione quempiam prohibere non poſſumus niſi ſponte confeſſum (ſay Auguſtin and Aquin. both) aut in aliquo judicio Eccleſi­aſtico vel ſaeculari convictam. We can prohibit none the Com­munion unleſs upon his own confeſſion, or elſe in open Court up­pon manifeſt conviction.

If the profain and ignorant then, preſs into the Lords pre­ſence at this feaſt it is at their own perrill, ſee they to it,Oeat. 6. we muſt not diſobey our Maſters Command. Do this in remembrance of me;Luk. 22.19. Nor ſtarve the ſouls of our flock to keep them back, that by their own default and folly turn the bread of life into their own bane. Chriſt did it not to the reſt of the Diſciples for Judas his ſake, who after he had eaten fell preſently into deſtruction of body and ſoul. If there come in a man to this marriage feaſt without his wedding gar­ment. They are not the ſervants that wait, but the King himſelf that watches over all; that takes an order with him for his rudeneſs, he checks him and condemns him for it to infernall impriſonment. Take him away (ſayes he) bind him hand and foot and caſt him into utter darkneſs. Matth. 22.13.

And ſo neither on the Sacraments part, nor yet the Gi­vers nor the Receivers can any juſt plea be taken for this long ſtay and ſuſpenſion the presbyters make of the Euchariſt for want of Elders to order their Communicants.

A Government which I believe they may wait for long enough and never ſee it, now ſet up on our Engliſh ſoyl. Note.It is worth the Obſervation how the foundation of this new34 Church-frame hath been thrice layd on Engliſh ground. Firſt in Queen Elizabeths raign when this Diſciplin was ſuffered to take ſome footing. In the beginning of King Jameſes, and now in the latter end of King Charls, when there was a power ſufficient to rear it and uphold it, but all with as little Succeſs in this Iland, as had that building of the temple at Jeruſalem, which the Jews ſo often attempted to rear a third time, up­on the ground, where it formerly ſtood, at the Inſtigation of apoſtate Julian, who would have it done in oppoſition to thoſe words of our Saviour. Just Mart. 2 Apo. adveſ. Ju­lian.That ſaid, one ſtone ſhould not be left there upon another that ſhould not be caſt down: For theſe men by the tempeſts of troubles and Wars in our times have been ſcattered and their work caſt down, as the Jews and their work was then by thunder and lightning and tem­peſts from Heaven.

'Tis never like now to be eſtabliſhed in this State. 'Tis too ſtrict to ſtand with our looſneſs and liberty, too ſharp a bridle to curb in all ſorts of Sectaries, that would have the reigns of Religion laid in their necks, to run if they pleaſe to the Devill. I would to God theſe reverend Presbyters would ſeriouſly think of theſe things, and ſtand no longer, now they are paſt all hopes in the expectation of that, while they ſuffer the ſouls under their charge to pine for want of this. Chriſt ſaid,Luk. 22.19. Hoc agite, do this in remembrance of me, but never bid them ſtay for that, till that be eſtabliſhed.

We may all without that Diſcipline ſupply our places, diſ­charge our conſciences, do God good ſervice, and ſave ſouls if we feed the flock of Chriſt whereof the holy Ghoſt hath made us Overſeers; but if we ſuffer them to ſtarve for want of this bread of life, what account ſhall we Stewards of the houſhold of God give? Or what anſwer ſhall we make to our Maſter at the laſt day, that for neglecting to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirſty will denounce the ſen­tence of Condemnation.

Our dear Saviour recommended this care with which I conclude,Matth. 25. at this time and gave it the laſt thing in charge be­fore he left the world; when he ſo conjured Peter, and in him every one of us Paſtors, by his love to feed his flock thrice iterating it for a ſureneſs. Simon ſon of Jonah loveſt35 thou me? Yea Lord, ſayes he, thou knoweſt that I love thee,Joh. 21.15.16.1. paſce agnos meos, then feed my lambs. Again Chriſt ſayes, Si­mon loveſt thou me? Yea Lord, fayes Peter, thou knoweſt that I love thee. Then Paſce oves meas, feed my ſheep: Chriſt ſaid to him the third time, Simon loveſt thou me? Yea Lord, ſayes Pe­ter, thou knoweſt all things, thou knoweſt that I love thee, then, ſayes he, feed my ſheep. Nothing but feed, feed, feed, three times over; feed my lambs, feed my ſheep, feed my flock, and that for the love of him. And now ſhall the Apo­ſtles Succeſſors under a pretence of Reformation, teach one­ly and not feed? Underſtand all theſe paſce's of feeding (Ore) with the Doctrin of the mouth, none of them (opere) with the example of the works, or if that None re Sacramenti with the Sacrament of Chriſts body and blood which is the onely proper feeding indeed.

Such Paſtors are Miniſters of Gods word onely and not of the Sacrament at leaſt not of the ſupper of the Lord. They have forgotten one part of their function theſe twelve years together whereby they ſtarve the ſouls, they have taken in Charge. The Lord amend it, that it be not laid to their charge in the day of judgment.

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THE THIRD SERMON.

IN my laſt I made known the good pleaſure of God the King, to have the marriage feaſt of his ſon or the Sacra­ment of his body and bloud duly made ready for his people, according to the practiſe of the Primitive Church, in the pureſt times. After which I made my addreſs to thoſe Mi­niſters, that neglect or refuſe to make ready this feaſt, and anſwered their plea on their peoples behalf. Now I ſhall have the opportunity (my beloved in Chriſt) to make my appli­cation to you.

You have heard what the readineſs of the wedding re­quires at the Miniſters hands. 22Uſe to the Communi­cants.Now more briefly ſay what will be expected from thence, of you the Communicants. And that is a readineſs alſo in you that are called to come to the feaſt. The King ſaid unto his ſervants, Tell them that are bidden. I have prepared my dinner and all things are ready, come to the marriage. ver. 4.A readineſs, there muſt be of mind to accept his kindneſs, without running another way to the farm on Merchandice: And more then that too. There muſt be a Dreſſing and making of your ſelves ready, anſwerable to the ſolemnity of the wedding. The King overlooks the gueſts, when they are come in, and finding one there without his wedding Garment, checks him for it. How cameſt thou in hither not having made thy ſelf ready,11. with thy wedding Garment;12. Nay more then checks, condemns him to be mana­cled and fettered,13. and ſo caſt into utter darkneſs, where ſhall be weeping and gnaſhing of teeth. The heavieſt cenſure that can be pronounced; to be excommunicated, and caſt out into that horrid place of helliſh torments. No porticipation, no pre­ſentation ought to be at this feaſt, without due and fitting preparation. Gen. 41.14.Joſeph changed his garments, when he came out of priſon, to appear before Pharoah King of Egypt; put of his ſorded habit and put on ſweeter. So muſt they do that appear at this banket, before the King of Glory. They muſt deponere & aponere, put off and put on, put off the forded ha­bits of their ſins, and put on a reſolution of reformation of life,Epheſ. 4: 22.24. or as St. Paul hath it, put off the Old man with the de­ceiveable luſts, and by faith put on the new man Chriſt Jeſus,37 which is after God created in righteouſneſs and holineſs:Coloſ. 3.12. Put off all theſe (ſayes he) anger, wrath, malice,13: and filthy Commu­nication out of your mouths,14. and put on as the Elect of God the bowels of mercy, tenderneſs, humbleneſs of mind, meekneſs, long ſuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, but above all things put on Charity which is the bond of per­fection. Of which vertues and graces, the wedding Gar­ment of Sanctification is woven and wrought, though ſome frame it of Charity, and ſome of faith onely, yet the moſt make it the ornament of the ſpirits, vertues and graces in the converſation without, joined with a good conſcience cleanſed from ſin, within.

When God was to come down uppon mount Sinai,Exod. 19. to give the Law he commanded Moſes to ſanctifie the people, two dayes before and charge them to waſh their cloaths, and to be ready on the third day. So when the Lord comes to make us a feaſt of ſat things and refined Wine in mount Sion, his Evangelicall Church: They that ſet in Moſes chair are to teach the people, to ſanctifie themſelves by prayer and examination, and charge them to waſh themſelves by tears of repentance, and contrition, and ſo be ready againſt the time, which if they do accordingly, they ſhall not be Shent for coming without their wedding garment.

As gueſts, thus muſt we all fit and prepare our ſelves, and not only ſo; but more preciſely than ordinary gueſts, Every ſoul is here at this wedding to preſent it ſelf, as a Bride rea­dy trimmed to meet with her Bridgroom, decked with the coſtly ornaments of Chriſts active and paſſive merits which he hath given it, and with thoſe pretious Jewels of the ſpi­rits, giſts and graces: In a word adorned we muſt be with the righteouſneſs of Juſtification and Sanctification.

But without theſe how diſguiſed and disfigured do people appear in Gods ſight, when they come before him with ulce­rous ſores uppon their conſciences, and in the uncleanly raggs of their own unrighteouſneſs. And if they ſhall come as men go now adayes, with the halting feet of Newtrality, eyes blinded through errors and ignorauce, ears dear to Gods truth, tongues dumb in his prayſes, with the wry-neck of averſneſs, black-mouths through blaſphemy, blew-teeth of envy, hands full of bloud and bribery. They muſt look for38 no better welcome than the five fooliſh Vergins, to whom the Bridegroom ſaid. Depart from me ye workers of Iniquity, I know you not; Or the gueſt here that wanted his wedding garment whom the King commanded, to be bound in chains and caſt into utter darkneſs, where is weeping and gnaſhing of teeth.

But I would be loath to tire out your Attenſion with a matter of ſuch ordinary Obſervation; you are not unac­quainted with the danger of unworthy Receiving, which there is no way to prevent but by preparation before you come, not by Renegation when you are called. They that do ſo and abſent themſelves to prevent the danger of unworthineſs, in Receiving fall into another as bad, and incur the Kings cenſure, of unworthineſs for Refuſing; who ſaid unto his Servants the wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. Which leads to the third partition of the text, where the King ſits in Judicature upon the Recuſants. Of whom there is,The third Partition. Obſervati­on how dangerous it is to re­fuſe the grace offe­red in the word preached. Zach. 7. Querela & Cenſura. The Kings Complaint and his Cenſure.

His complaint is, that they were biden, intimating that they came not, or elſe why ſhould he complain that they were biden, when God ſends to call us he looks we ſhould come, is grieved if we come not. The ſon of God ſighed that the tender of his Grace was not accepted: Oh Jeruſalem, Jeruſalem that killeſt and ſtoneſt the Prophets, how oft would I have gathered thee as an hen doth her chickens, under her wings and they would not come, is angred and offended at Recuſancy. 11.12.They refuſed to harken pulled away the ſhoulder and ſtopped their eares, that they might not hear (and it follows) Therefore came great wrath from the Lord of hosts,13. who ſcattered them with a wherlwind among the nations:Numb. 16.12. Yea ſo provoked when murmurring and inſurrection againſt his Meſſemgers is joyned with it,14. that wrath comes out from the Lord for it againſt Corah and his confederats that ſaid we will not come up,40. which conſumed part of them with ſtrange, fire that came out from the Lord, and the reſt the earth ſwal owed up alive for an example to all ſeditious Se­paratiſts. And though in our dayes it be free for any ſo long as there is no penalty to mock Gods meſſengers,Cron. 2.36.16. deſpiſe his word, and abuſe his Prophets, yet for this the wrath of the39 Lord aroſe againſt his people; Iſrael till there was no re­medy, but a ruine of their nation. To reſuſe the grace and abuſe the means, and not come when called is dangerous though counted among us, but a thing indifferent God give you all the underſtanding to conſider it.

But that I aime at chifly at this time,The danger of refuſing the Sacra­ment. Sam. 1.20. is to ſhew the dan­ger of denying grace offered in the Sacrament, God expects they ſhould come that are bidden to it. You ſee that in the Text, he miſſes them that abſent themſelves from it, and makes their empty ſeats as Saul did Davids at the feaſt. And as he put the Queſtion here; Quomodo huc intraſti? how cameſt thou in hither, to him that came unready without his wed­ding Garment. So will he inquire, for him that abſents him­ſelf from his preſence there, as he did for Adam,Gen. 3.9. for that ſault in the garden when he ſaid. Adam ubi es? Adam where art thou? God takes notice of mens abſence at this feaſt. Nor is that all the prejudice but a further danger, for if we look into the text we ſhall find they were but dead men, that denyed and came not when they were bidden. They made light of it,v. 5.6. and went one to his Farm another to his Merchandize, and evilly intreated the ſervants that were ſent (ſuch uſage as many of us have found at Recuſants hands) But when the king heard of it, he was wroth and ſent forth his men of war, and ſlew thoſe murderers, and burnt up their City; whereby appears Gods anger and their danger, who either out of neglect or contempt come not when they are called to that Sacrament.

Judge in your ſelves brethren, If a King (as in the text) or great ſtates-man ſhall prepare a coſtly feaſt for his poor neighbours, ſend out his ſervants that wait on his perſon firſt to invite, then again to call them at the hour, and they ſlight him and his cheer, will it not be taken as an Indig­nity to him and a juſt cauſe of indignation againſt them? So is it when you are bidden to the Supper of the Lord, if ye accept not the Grace, there is indignity done to that and indignation to be feared againſt you:ver. 7. Nay more than In­dignation. The men that made light on't and went another way, were put to fire and ſword for it, and that was Execu­tion. And the fathers for this feared more than that too, more than a temporall death and deſtruction, even eternall40 death and damnation;Joh. 6.53. for they underſtanding, the ſaying of our Saviour (Except ye eat the fleſh of the Son of man and drink his bloud, ye have no life in you) not ſimply of a ſpi­rituall eating and drinking but (which is more ſafe to do) of a Sacramentall alſo, for it is a figurative ſpeech ſayes St. Auguſtin, commanding in paſſione Pomini communicandam & mente ſuaviter recondendum:Lib. 3. de doct. Chri­ſtiana. to communicate in the Lords paſ­ſion and to lay up in our memories, how Christs fleſh was Cru­cified for our ſakes. And therefore held they it neceſſary for all to takes it Sacramentally uppon pain of death and dam­nation which to prevent,Cypre de lapſis. They gave it for a ſureneſs to ſuck­ing children and infants.

And indeed what man that is wiſe unto Salvation, will hazzard his ſoul on his ſpirituall eating by ſaith onely, and from time to time neglect to eat Sacramentally with the mouth alſo, which is a fruit of that faith that muſt ſave and a means to increaſe it, and without which it can hardly be, counted any other but a dead faith: for faith without the work is but dead Jam. 2.26. But a lively faith will make this ef­fectuall application to thy ſoul, to bring thee hither and ſay, (when the Miniſter gives warning to prepare for a Commu­nion) he is the ſervant of the great King, ſent to invite the gueſts to the marriage feaſt of his Son, ſhall I not make rea­dy and go? and at the time of adminiſtration, ſay Chriſts fleſh and bloud, with all the benefits of his Paſſion are now offered under the Elements, of bread and wine, ſhall I not taſte and take? the copy of my pardon is there to be renew­ed ſigned, and ſealed to my ſoul and conſcience, ſhall I not accept it? The earneſt of Salvation is there given and ſhall I refuſe it? If I do I may not have the like opportunity again, and ſo reſolve with thy ſelf to come when thou art bidden, that the King complain not of thee among the reſt, which for none appearance are cenſured not worthy. The recu­ſants plea for abſence anſwered. Luk. 14.18.

But before we come to that to the Cenſure; It is fit we hear the Recuſants plea or give them leave to ſpeak for themſelves St. Luke ſayes, They all with one conſent began to make Excuſes, to the Servant that invited them, one ſaid I have bought a Farm and goe to ſee it,19. I pray thee have me ex­cuſed:20. another I have bought five yoak of Oxen and I goe to prove them,The excuſes of them in the not. I pray thee have me excuſed: a third I have41 married a Wife, and cannot come. Sr. Matthew in ſhort ſales, They made light on't, and went their way, one to his Farm,Vërſ. . another to his Merchandize. Bad excuſes all, and not ſatisfactory. For ſhall the marrying of a carnal Wife ſtay thee from the wedding of thy Soul to Chriſt? Shall the Conjugal Society in Houſe or Family be preferred before the comfortable communion with the Bridegroom of thy Soul in the Sacrament? Or ſhall the Country­farm be prized above the Kingdome of Heaven? And a company of Oxen, Horſes, and Swine, be more deſired than the communi­on of the Saints and Angels? God calls thee to come to him then, Et poſt ponitur Deus Bovibus, qui te aequavit Angelis? And ſhall God be ſerved after the Oxen and Beaſts, that hath made thee equal with the Angels? Or will your Merchandize anſwer for your abſence? and your pennyworths of Earthly Gain countervail the loſs of Heavenly Grace? Your buying bodily proviſion excuſe the neglect of thy Souls nouriſhment? Your gathering up Droſs and Dung (as St. Paul terms the riches of the World) ſatisfie for your loſs of Chriſt? or what ſhall it ad­vantage a Man to win the World by a Bargain, and loſe his own Soul by barring that of the means of his Salvation?

But ſo long as all theſe buying and ſelling, farming and wiving, may be done at other times, the ſix daies God allowes for them, the plea will not hold in his Court to excuſe their abſence, who requires their preſence at his Feaſt on another day and time ſet apart