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ther this be prefbyterial, or prelatical, it cannot be brought to the scanning, until I have faid what is meet to fome who do not think it for the ease of their inconfequent opinions, to grant that church-difcipline is platformed in the Bible, but that it is left to the difcretion of men. To this conceit of theirs I answer, that it is both unfound and untrue; for there is not that thing in the world of more grave and urgent importance throughout the whole life of man, than is difcipline. What need I inftance? He that hath read with judgment, of nations and commonwealths, of cities and camps, of peace and war, fea and land, will readily agree that the flourishing and decaying of all civil focieties, all the moments and turnings of human occafions, are moved to and fro as upon the axle of difcipline. So that whatsoever power or fway in mortal things weaker men have attributed to fortune, I durft with more confidence (the honour of divine providence ever faved) ascribe either to the vigour or the flacknefs of difcipline. Nor is there any fociable perfection in this life, civil or facred, that can be above difcipline; but she is that which with her mufical cords preferves and holds all the parts thereof together. Hence in those perfect armies of Cyrus in Xenophon, and Scipio in the Roman ftories, the excellence of military fkill was efteemed, not by the not needing, but by the readieft fubmitting to the edicts of their commander. And certainly difcipline is not only the removal of diforder; but if any vifible shape can be given to divine things, the very vifible fhape and image of virtue, whereby fhe is not only feen in the regular geftures and motions of her heavenly paces as she walks, but also makes the harmony of her voice audible to mortal ears. Yea, the angels themfelves, in whom no diforder is feared, as the apoftle that faw them in his rapture describes, are diftinguished and quaternioned into their celeftial princedoms and fatrapies, according as God himself has writ his imperial decrees through the great provinces of Heaven. The flate also of the bleffed in Paradife, though never fo perfect, is not therefore left without difcipline, whofe golden furveying reed marks out and measures every quarter and circuit of New Jerufalem. Yet VOL. I. G


is it not to be conceived, that thofe eternal effluences of fanctity and love in the glorified faints fhould by this means be confined and cloyed with repetition of that which is prescribed, but that our happinefs may orb itself into a thousand vagancies of glory and delight, and with a kind of eccentrical equation be, as it were, an invariable planet of joy and felicity; how much lefs can we believe that God would leave his frail and feeble, though not lefs beloved church here below, to the perpetual ftumble of conjecture and disturbance in this our dark voyage, without the card and compats of difcipline? Which is fo hard to be of man's making, that we may see even in the guidance of a civil ftate to worldly happiness, it is not for every learned, or every wife man, though many of them confult in common, to invent or frame a difcipline: but if it be at all the work of man, it must be of fuch a one as is a true knower of himself, and in whom contemplation and practice, wit, prudence, fortitude, and eloquence, must be rarely met, both to comprehend the hidden causes of things, and span in his thoughts all the various effects, that paffion or complexion can work in man's nature; and hereto muft his hand be at defiance with gain, and his heart in all virtues heroic; fo far is it from the ken of these wretched projectors of ours, that befcrawl their pamphlets every day with new forms of government for our church. And therefore all the ancient lawgivers were either truly inspired, as Mofes, or were fuch men as with authority enough might give it out to be so, as Minos, Lycurgus, Numa, because they wifely forethought that men would never quietly fubmit to such a difcipline as had not more of God's hand in it than man's. To come within the narrowness of household government, obfervation will fhow us many deep counfellors of ftate and judges to demean themfelves incorruptly in the settled course of affairs, and many worthy preachers upright in their lives, powerful in their audience: but look upon either of thefe men where they are left to their own difciplining at home, and you fhall foon perceive, for all their fingle knowledge and uprightnefs, how deficient they are in the regulating of their own family; not only

in what may concern the virtuous and decent compofure of their minds in their feveral places, but that which is of a lower and easier performance, the right poffeffing of the outward veffel, their body, in health or fickness, rest or labour, diet or abftinence, whereby to render it more pliant to the foul, and useful to the commonwealth: which if men were but as good to difcipline themfelves, as fome are to tutor their horfes and hawks, it could not be fo grofs in most households. If then it appear fo hard, and fo little known how to govern a houfe well, which is thought of fo eafy difcharge, and for every man's undertaking; what fkill of man, what wisdom, what parts can be fufficient to give laws and ordinances to the elect household of God? If we could imagine that he had left it at random without his provident and gracious ordering, who is he fo arrogant, fo prefumptuous, that durft difpofe and guide the living ark of the Holy Ghoft, though he should find it wandering in the field of Bethfhemesh, without the confcious warrant of fome high calling? But no profane infolence can parallel that which our prelates dare avouch, to drive outrageoufly, and shatter the holy ark of the church, not borne upon their shoulders with pains and labour in the word, but drawn with rude oxen their officials, and their own brute inventions. Let them make fhows of reforming while they will, fo long as the church is mounted upon the prelatical cart, and not as it ought, between the hands of the minifters, it will but shake and totter; and he that sets to his hand, though with a good intent to hinder the fhogging of it, in this unlawful waggonry wherein it rides, let him beware it be not fatal to him as it was to Uzza. Certainly if God be the father of his family the church, wherein could he exprefs that name more, than in training it up under his own allwife and dear economy, not turning it loose to the havoc of strangers and wolves, that would ask no better plea than this, to do in the church of Chrift whatever humour, faction, policy, or licentious will would prompt them to? Again, if Chrift be the Church's husband, expecting her to be prefented before him a pure unfpotted virgin; in what could he fhow his tender love to her more, than in prescribing his own

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ways, which he best knew would be to the improvement of her health and beauty, with much greater care doubtlefs, than the Perfian king could appoint for his queen Efther thofe maiden dietings and fet prefcriptions of baths and odours, which may render her at last more amiable to his eye? For of any age or fex, moft unfitly may a virgin be left to an uncertain and arbitrary education. Yea, though the be well inftructed, yet is fhe ftill under a more strait tuition, efpecially if betrothed. In like man. ner the church bearing the fame refemblance, it were not reason to think the fhould be left deftitute of that care, which is as neceffary and proper to her as inftruction. For public preaching indeed is the gift of the Spirit, working as beft feems to his fecret will; but difcipline is the practic work of preaching directed and applied, as is most requifite, to particular duty; without which it were all one to the benefit of fouls, as it would be to the cure of bodies, if all the phyficians in London fhould get into the several pulpits of the city, and affembling all the diseased in every parish, should begin a learned lecture of pleurifies, palfies, lethargies, to which perhaps none there prefent were inclined; and fo, without fo much as feeling one pulfe, or giving the leaft order to any skilful apothecary, fhould difmifs them from time to time, fome groaning, fome languishing, fome expiring, with this only charge, to look well to themselves, and do as they hear. Of what excellence and neceffity then church-difcipline is, how beyond the faculty of man to frame, and how dangerous to be left to man's invention, who would be every foot turning it to finifter ends; how properly alfo it is the work of God as father, and of Chrift as husband, of the church, we have by thus much heard.


That church-government is fet down in holy fcripture, and that to fay otherwife is untrue.

As therefore it is unfound to fay, that God hath not appointed any fet government in his church, fo is it untrue. Of the time of the law there can be no doubt; for to let pass the first inftitution of priefts and Levites, which is


too clear to be infifted upon, when the temple came to be built, which in plain judgment could breed no effential change, either in religion, or in the priestly government; yet God, to fhow how little he could endure that men should be tampering and contriving in his worship, though in things of lefs regard, gave to David for Solomon, not only a pattern and model of the temple, but a direction for the courses of the priests and Levites, and for all the work of their fervice. At the return from the captivity, things were only reftored after the ordinance of Mofes and David; or if the leaft alteration be to be found, they had with them infpired men, prophets; and it were not sober to say they did aught of moment without divine intimation. In the prophecy of Ezekiel, from the 40th chapter onward, after the deftruction of the temple, God, by his prophet feeking to wean the hearts of the Jews from their old law, to expect a new and more perfect reformation under Chrift, fets out before their eyes the ftately fabric and conftitution of his church, with all the ecclefiaftical functions appertaining: indeed the defcription is as forted beft to the apprehenfion of those times, typical and fhadowy, but in fuch manner as never yet came to pass, nor ever muft literally, unless we mean to annihilate the gofpel. But fo exquifite and lively the defcription is in pourtraying the new ftate of the church, and efpecially in those points where government seems to be most active, that both Jews and Gentiles might have good caufe to be affured, that God, whenever he meant to reform his church, never intended to leave the government thereof, delineated here in such curious architecture, to be patched afterwards, and varnished over with the devices and embellifhings of man's imagination. Did God take fuch delight in meafuring out the pillars, arches, and doors of a material temple? Was he fo punctual and circumfpect in lavers, altars, and facrifices foon after to be abrogated, left any of these should have been made contrary to his mind? Is not a far more perfect work, more agreeable to his perfections in the most perfect ftate of the church militant, the new alliance of God to man? Should not he rather now by his own prefcribed difcipline have caft his line and level upon the G 3 foul

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