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crisy, and to draw near to God with their lips when their hearts are far from him, and are gratified in their self-deceit, whilst parrot-like they speak the words which they regard not, and their tongues do overgo their hearts; but even better men are greatly tempted to dead remisness: I mean both the speakers and the hearers; for, (1.) It is natural to man's mind to have a slothful weariness as well as his body; and to do no more than he findeth a necessity of doing; and though God's presence alone should suffice to engage all the powers of our souls, yet sad experience telleth us, that God's eye and man's together will domore with almost all men, than one alone. And therefore no men's thoughts are so accurately governed as their words. Therefore when a minister knoweth beforehand that, as to man's approbation, he hath no more to do but to read that which he seeth before him, he is apt to let his thoughts fly abroad, and his affections lie down, because no man taketh account of these; but in extemporate diversified prayer, a man cannot do it without an excitation of his understanding to think (to the utmost) what to say; and an excitation of his affections, to speak with life, or else the hearers will perceive his coldness. And though all this may be counterfeit and hypocritically affected, yet it is a great help to seriousness and sincerity to have the faculties all awake; and it is a great help to awaken them to be under such a constant necessity even from man. As those that are apt to sleep at prayer, will do it less when they know men observe them, than at another time. (2.) And both to speakers and hearers, human frailty maketh it hard to be equally affected with the same thing spoken a hundred times, as we are at first when it is new, and when it is clothed in comely variety of expressions. As the same book affecteth us not at the twentieth reading as it did at the first. Say not, it is a dishonourable weakness to be thus carried by the novelty of things or words; for though that be true, it is a dishonour common to all mankind, and a disease which is your own, and which God alloweth us all lawful means to cure, and to correct the unhappy effects while it is uncured. 12. Lastly, set forms serve unworthy men to hide their unworthiness by, and to be the matter of a controversy in which they may vent their envy against them that are more able and holy than themselves. III. Having now truly shewed you the commodities and incommodities of both the ways, for the other question, 'Which of them is the best V I must give you but some rules to answer it yourselves. 1. That is best which hath most and greatest commodities, and fewest and least discommodities. 2. For neither of them is forbidden, in itself considered, nor evil, but by accident. 3. One may have more commodities and the other more discommodities in one country and age than in another; and with some persons than with others. 4. Sober Christians should be very backward in such cases to quarrel with the churches where they live or come, but humbly submit to them in lawful things, though they think them inconvenient; because it is not they that are the governors and judges. 5. The commands of authority and the concord of the churches may weigh down many lighter accidents. 6. I crave leave to profess that my own judgment is, that somewhat of both ways joined together will best obviate the incommodities of both. To have so much wholesome, methodical, unquestionable forms as near as may be in Scripture phrase, as is necessary to avoid the inconvenience of a total exclusion of forms, and to the attainment of their desirable ends; and to have so much withal of freedom in prayer, as is necessary to its ends, and to avoid the deadness, formality, and other incommodities of forms alone. Though by this opinion I cross the conceits of prejudiced men on both extremes, I think I cross not the judgment of the Church of England, which alloweth free prayers in the pulpit, and at the visitation of the sick; and I cross not the opinion of any ancient church that ever I read of, nor of the fathers and pastors whose works are come to our hands; nor yet of Luther, Melancthon, Bucer, Zuinglius, Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, and the rest of our famous reformers; nor yet of the famous nonconformists of England, Cartwright, Hildersham, Greenham, Perkins, Bain, Amesius, &c. and I less fear erring in all this company, than with those on either of the extremes'.
Quest, Lxxix. Is it lawful to forbear the preaching of some truths, upon man's prohibition, that I may have liberty to preach the rest; yea, and to promise beforehand to forbear them? Or to do it for the church's peace?Answ. 1. Some truths are of so great moment and necessity, that without them you cannot preach the Gospel in a saving sort. These you may not forbear nor promise to forbear. 2. Some truths are such as God at that time doth call men eminently to publish and receive (as against some heresy when it is at the very height, or the church in greatest danger of it; or concerning some duty which God then specially calleth men to perform, fas the duty of loyaltyjust in the time of a perilous rebellion, &c.). Such preaching being a duty, must not be forborne, when it cannot be performed upon lawful terms. 3. But some truths are controverted among good men; and some are of a lower nature and usefulness: and concerning these I further say, (1.) That you may not renounce them or deny them, nor subscribe to the smallest untruth for liberty to preach the greatest truth. (2.) But you may for the time that the church's benefit requireth it, both forbear to preach them, and promise to forbear, both for the church's peace, and for that liberty to preach the Gospel, which you cannot otherwise obtain. The reasons are:1. Because it is not a duty to preach them at that time; for no duty is a duty at all times: affirmative precepts bind not' ad semper,' because man cannot always do them. 2. It is a sin to prefer a lesser truth or good before a greater. You cannot speak all things at once. When you have all done, some, yea, a thousand must be by you omitted. Therefore the less should be omitted rather than the greater. 3. You have your office to the church's edification. falsehood of SutlifFs suspicion that he was acquainted with Hacket's project, he answereth his charge, as if he were against forms of prayer, that all the years that he lived at Middleburg and Antwerp he constantly used the same form before sermon, and mostly after sermon, and also did read prayers in the church; and that since he seldom concluded but with the Lord's prayer.
Preaching is made for man, and not man for preaching. But the church's edification requireth you rather to preach the Gospel, than that opinion or point which you are required to forbear. Without this the hearers may be saved, but not without the Gospel.
And what a man may do and must do, he may on good occasion promise to do.
He that thinketh diocesans, or liturgies, or ceremonies unlawful, and yet cannot have leave to preach the Gospel (in time of need) unless he will forbear, and promise to forbear to preach them, may and ought so to do and promise, rather than not to preach the Gospel.
Object. ' But if men imprison or hinder me from preaching, that is their fault; but if I voluntarily forbear any duty, it is my own fault.'
Answ. 1. It is to forbear a sin, and not a duty at that time; it is no more a duty than reading, or singing, or praying at sermon time. 2. When you are in prison, or know in all probability you shall be there, though by other, men's fault, it is your own fault if you will deny a lawful means to avoid it; for your not preaching the Gospel is then your own sin, as well as other men's; and their's excuseth not your's.
Quest, Lxxx. Mayor must a minister silenced, or forbid to preach the Gospel, go on still to preach it, against the'law?
Answ. Distinguish between, 1. Just silencing, and unjust. 2. Necessary preaching, and unnecessary.
1. Some men are justly forbidden to preach the Gospel, as, 1. Those that are utterly unable, and do worse than nothing when they do it. 2. Those that are heretics and subvert the essentials of Christianity or godliness. 3. Those that are so impious and malignant, that they turn all against the practice of that religion which they profess; in a word, all that do (directly) more hurt than good.
2. In some places there are so many able preachers, that some tolerable men may be spared, if not accounted supernumeraries; and the church will not suffer by their silence. But in other countries either the preachers are so few, or so bad, or the people so very ignorant, and hardened, and ungodly, or so great a number that are in deep necessity, that the need of preaching is undeniable. And so I conclude, 1. That he that is justly silenced, and is unfit to preach, is bound to forbear. 2. He that is silenced by just power, though unjustly, in a country that needeth not his preaching, must forbear there, and if he can, must go into another country, where he may be more serviceable. 3. Magistrates may not ecclesiastically ordain ministers or degrade them; but only either give them liberty, or deny it them as there is cause. 4. Magistrates are not the fountain of the ministerial office, as the sovereign is of all the civil power of inferior magistrates; but both offices are immediately from God. 5. Magistrates have not power from God to forbid men to preach in all cases, nor as they please; but justly only and according to God's laws.
6. Men are not made ministers of Christ only ' pro tempore ' or on trial, to go off again if they dislike it; but are absolutely dedicated to God, and take their lot for better and for worse; which maketh the Romanists say, that ordination is a sacrament (and so it may be aptly called); and that we receive an indelible character, that is, an obligation during life, unless God himself disable us. 7. As we are more nearly devoted and related to God than church-lands, goods, and temples are, so the sacrilege of alienating a consecrated person unjustly, is greater and more unquestionable than the sacrilege of alienating consecrated houses, lands, or things. And therefore no minister may sacrilegiously alienate himself from God and his undertaken office and work. 8. We must do any lawful thing to procure the magistrate's licence to preach in his dominions. 9. All men silenced or forbidden by magistrates to preach, are not thereby obliged or warranted to forbear. For, 1. The apostles expressly determine it, " Whether it be better to hearken to God rather than to you, judge ye." 2. Christ oft foretold his servants, that they must preach against the will of rulers, and suffer by them. 3. The apostles and ordinary ministers also for 300 years after Christ did generally preach against the magistrate's will, throughout the