Images de page
PDF
ePub

pope summam rei Christianæ, “the very sum of the whole business of a Christian :” and Malvenda (De Antichristo) saith, he studied that one point twelve years. They count it a point most worthy to be studied ; but they would keep the world in darkness and ignorance ; lest, if their impostures should be detected, they would be abhorred; and their whole religion being found to be a mere delusion, it would be an execration. And that will come to pass by the discovery of further light of the gospel,-by which the prodigious enormities of that church, and the pudenda of the whore, will be made manifest to all the world, that, I say, will come to pass which is prophesied of in Rev. xvii. 16 : “ The ten horns shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” They shall cart her, as the mother of abominations, as a common strumpet, throughout Christendom.

INFERENCE VI. If the Papacy, the hierarchy of Rome, of which the pope is the head, be such as hath been described by Paul; then there can be no peace with Rome, no communion with Rome.- “ How can there be peace, ,” said Jehu to Joram, “ so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many ?” (2 Kings ix. 22.) What peace can there be with that church which is “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth ?” (Rev. xvii. 5.) What peace can there be with that body politic which is the greatest enemy of Jesus Christ earth? What peace can there be between the followers of the beast, (Rev. xiii. 3, 4, 15—17,) and us, adorers and admirers and the followers of the Lamb ? (Rev. xiv. 1-4.) They are flatly opposite the one to the other : the one having the mark of the beast in their right hand and foreheads ; the other, the name of the Father and of the Lamb (so some copies have it) written in their foreheads ; who bid public and open defiance to each other : so that we may say, (as it is, 2 Cor. vi. 16,) “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols ?” And,

" What communion hath light with darkness, Christ with Belial," (verses 14, 15,) Christians with Antichristians, truth with falsehood, the church of Rome with the Protestant churches together? Bishop IIall, in his book, “No Peace with Rome," saith, “Sooner may God create a new Rome, than reform the old.” There was a reconciliation attempted by the emperors Ferdinand and Maximilian ; and Cassander, by their appointment, drew a project, in which he showed his judgment; but without success. (Consultatio CASSANDRI.) It is said that, at a meeting at Ragenspurgh, there was an agreement made touching free-will, original sin, justification, faith, merits, dispensations, the Mass, &c. ; but this held not.*

INFERENCE vii. If these things be so, concerning the Papacy, as hath been said ; then there is matter of admiration and gratitude to all such whom God hath delivered from compliance with, or conformity to, or communion with, that church of which the pope, who is the Man of

upon

Acta Colloq. Ratisbon. Anno 1541; LINDANUS De Quereld Pacis, in prafat. The chief factors of the church of Rome are bitterly set against all reconciliation. See BELLARMINE, De Gratiá et libero Arbitrio. He saith, that we embrace this opinion so much the more willingly by how much it displeaseth our advevsaries, and especially Calvin. And MALDONATUS (in Johan. vi.) was so much abhorring from the religion of the Protestants maintained by Calvin, that he saith that, though what he held was the same opinion with Austin and others of the fathers, yet he rejected it because it was held by Calvin.

Sin, the Son of Perdition, is the head.—“Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders ; ” (verse 9 ;) whose members are under his powerful seduction, and the judicial tradition of God to believe a lie to their own eternal damnation. (Verses 10—12.) Their condition must needs be most dangerous, who are members of that church : and therefore it is the greater mercy to be saved from that seduction which thousands are under, “whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life ; ” (Rev. xii. 8; xvii. 8 ;) they are under the black notes of reprobation. To be saved from being of their communion who worship the beast or his image, and to be of that company of the hundred and forty-four thousand who are virgins, and follow the Lamb wherever he goes, is worthy of eternal praises. When we find such as are under the seduction of the Man of Sin, the false prophet, and the whore, to be under the most fearful comminations from God; how that they drink of the wrath of God, and [are tormented] in the presence of the Lord and his holy angels, for ever and ever ; (Rev. xiv. 9—11;) is it not matter of very great admiration and praises, that we should be saved from their sin, and so delivered from their plagues ?

INFERENCE vi. If the church of Rome, of which the pope is the head, be such a body, 80 corrupt and abominable, as hath been showed ; then it is dangerous and pernicious to retain any relic of the Man of Sin, that false, erroneous, idolatrous church, in doctrine, worship, or government.—Which they have pretended to be according to the word of God ; but have “ wrested the scriptures unto their own destruction,” as 2 Peter ii. 16. It is dangerous to retain such customs and usages in the church whereby we may symbolize with Rome. How fatal several things have been to the public peace of the church which have been derived from Antichrist, is too well known, from the divisions, contentions, and persecutions which have continued to this day. By these very means the Papacy, together with their religion, have had a party, and kept up an interest, among the Protestant churches, and also a favourable respect among many, who have had a secret affection for the pope and his religion. Such will not have it that the pope is Antichrist ; and they will needs have it that the church of Rome is a true church, and that she is the mother-church, and that we ought to return to our mother, with such-like. What was the cause that “ the Book of Articles” of the church of Ireland was called-in, but because they declare the pope to be Antichrist, and the church of Rome to be no true church, and that the Lord's day was wholly to be sanctified ? So Montague, in his Appello ad Cæsarem, said, “The pope, or bishop of Rome, personally is not the Antichrist ; nor yet the bishops of Rome successively.” Dr. Heylin, in his “ Answer to Burton,” maintaineth that the pope is not Antichrist.

Christopher Dove and Robert Shelford were of the same mind.

INFERENCE IX. Hence it follows that the Protestant churches are unjustly charged with schism in departing from Rome.—The Papists charge us with schism, because we depart from them, and will not hold communion with them; though there was the most just cause of this departure from them,

1. In regard [that] they are heretical in their doctrine, and obstinately persist in it, against all convictions to the contrary.—For there have been attempts made to have healed Babylon, but she would not be healed; therefore “forsake her.” (Jer. li. 8, 9.) “ A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject.” (Titus ii. 10.)

2. When a church becomes idolatrous in her worship, (as 2 Cor. vi. 16,) then it is a duty to depart from them that depart from the truth. (Verse 17.)—Upon Jeroboam's defection, and the people's with him, from the true worship of God, there was a departure from them by such as “set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel.” (2 Chron. xi. 16.) The church of Rome became most corrupt and abominable in her worship; else she had not been set out by the whore riding the beast. (Rev. xvii. 3.)

3. When a church becomes bloody and tyrannical and persecuting her members to the death, then there is just cause of departing from them.Look on the church of Rome, set forth by the first and second beast, (Rev. xiii. 1, 2, 11, &c.,) both which make up one Antichrist ; see how cruel and bloody that church is. So, where it is set out by the whore, “drunken with the blood of saints,” (Rev. xvii. 5, 6,) there is signified a just cause of departure from her.

4. When a church groweth wholly corrupt and debauched in her morals, rery vicious and scandalous in the lives of governors and members ; then depart.-In 2 Tim. iii. 1-5, there nineteen abominations (or thereabout) [are] spoken of, of which many should be guilty : “From such turn away,” though they “had a form of godliness," since they did “ deny the power of it.” I will make no apology that I have put your patience so much to it, but this,—that the Man of Sin, with whom I have had to do, is the most unruly beast that ever was, and hath put the whole world into a disorder and confusion. And though I have exercised your patience while I have been preaching on this beast, yet I wish and pray that your patience may not be put to it by this beast : (as Rev. xii. 7:) but if it should please God to let loose this beast upon you, my prayer is, that it may be said of you, as it was of them, “Behold the faith and patience of the saints.” (Verse 10.)

SERMON VIII. (XIV.)

BY THE REV. PETER VINKE, B.D.

SOMETIME FELLOW OF PEMBROKE HALL, CAMBRIDGE.

THE PROTESTANTS DID UPON JUST GROUNDS SEPARATE FROM THE CHURCH OF

ROME,

PROTESTANTS SEPARATED FOR CHRIST'S NAME'S SAKE.

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you,

and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's suke.—Luke vi. 22.

66

One of the main designs of the doctrine of the gospel is to unite men one to another, and to tie them together with the strongest bonds and ligaments imaginable. To this purpose it does not only forbid the doing of any wrong unto others, but it prescribes rules for the curbing of our passions when provoked by them. Nay, it peremptorily enjoins, under the severest penalties, that we should forgive the offences done against us, and love the persons of them that do them. (Matt. vi. 15; xviii. 35; James ii. 13.) And, that we might think it our greatest concern thus to do, it combines and gathers all who have any hope toward God into “one body," which is called “the church,” who are jointly to profess one faith," and to perform one worship, and to serve

one Lord ;” (Eph. iv. 4, 5;) the ligaments whereby this body is united and tied together being the sacraments ; for this end also appointed by Christ; who, being the “Lord of all,” (Acts x. 36,) is yet pleased more especially to relate to this body, as its Head, for direction and government, and to influence it by his Spirit for life and motion. Now it being full as monstrous for one head to have two bodies, as for one body to have two heads, so far forth as any have hoped for salvation by Christ, they have also pretended to belong to that “one body,” of which he is the Head and Saviour.

In these pretensions the church of Rome comes not behind any; but, with as much passion, and as little reason, as they of old, whom the prophet speaks of, they cry out too, “The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these!” (Jer. vii. 4.) Nay, so unreasonable are they in arrogating to themselves the privilege of this body, that they challenge (as the Donatists before them) to be the whole, and not a part of it; confounding, for to serve this their purpose, things so discrepant as the Catholic and Romish church, that is, the universal and a particular church : and at last the church and the pope too are, with them, but one and the same, all others being but ciphers and mere insignificants to him.

And this I account none of the least reasons to suspect that they have no part nor share in what they so much pretend unto; for it is too, too apparent that they have not that mind and spirit that was in Christ. Now it is not continuity, but animation, that makes the several parts to become one body; and as the same soul that acts in the head acts in every individual member belonging to it, so the same Spirit which was in Christ is also in all that, as living members, belong unto him. But, alas! where is that meekness and gentleness, that love and charity, which our blessed Saviour so much expressed himself, so earnestly recommended unto his disciples, nay, which he made the test of their really being his ? (John xiii. 35.) Though the church of Rome yet retains the calling of Christ, “Lord, Lord,” it is evident [that] in this they do not his will. (Luke vi. 46.) They still cry “ Hosanna” to him, and yet really crucify him, at least in his members. They are not the followers of the humble Jesus, but of the proud Pharisees, from whom our Saviour foretells that his disciples should suffer ; but such sufferings as were as little to be declined, as they were hardly to be avoided, being the high-way, though a rough one, to bliss and happiness : “ Blessed are ye, when men sijall hate you."

In which words are remarkable,

1. Suffering foretold ; in which the sufferers also are described, which is the subject in the verse ; namely, such as men shall “ hate,” and “separate,” and “reproach,” &c.

2. Their state or condition declared, or encouragement proposed unto such (which makes the predicate) : "Blessed are ye,” &c.

In the former there are three things considerable :

(1.) What it is that Christ's disciples and followers shall suffer : they shall be hated, separated, reproached, and have their names cast out.

(2.) For what cause they shall suffer thus : “For the Son of man's sake.(3.) From whom it is that they suffer : from men:

“ When men shall hate you," &c.

(1.) FROM Whom Christ's DISCIPLES SUFFER. I shall begin with the latter, as being first in the words of the text, and intend to pass it over with some little reflection at present upon it.

Men” here are not considered as in honour, by reason of the image of God, and their conformity unto God; for so they continued not : but “men” is terminus diminuens, [“ a term of diminution,"] a term synonymous with “world,” which our Saviour speaks of elsewhere; denoting such as are put in contradistinction unto them that are chosen out of the

It reflects their fall and degeneracy upon them. Nay, they whom Christ's disciples suffer most by, are commonly such as make profession of fearing and serving God too; unto whom light indeed is come, but they love darkness, (John iii. 19,) and so they become bruised with a double fall: this, by their choice and practice, being superadded to that of their nature ; and, whatsoever they pretend to the contrary, as St. Jude speaks of them, they are “twice dead.” (Jude 12.) There is no enmity like that of brothers; our Saviour himself suffered from none so much as from his friend and disciple Judas ; and his followers

Homines, id est, impii inimici doctrinæ meæ.-Lucas Brugensis. “Men,' that is, the impious enemies of my doctrine.'”-EDIT.

« PrécédentContinuer »