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upon a natural
sinned, and never repented. Christ does not say in our text, Follow me, for I will prefer you; he will not have that the reason, the cause. If I would not serve God, except I might be saved for serving him, I shall not be saved though I serve him; my first end in serving God, must not be myself, but he and his glory. It is but an addition from his own goodness, et faciam, follow me, and I will do this; but yet it is as certain, and infallible as a debt, or as an effect
propositions in nature are not so certain ; the earth is at such a time just between the sun, and the moon, therefore the moon must be eclipsed, the moon is at such time just between the earth and the sun, therefore the sun must be eclipsed; for upon the sun, and those other bodies, God can, and hath sometimes wrought miraculously, and changed the natural courses of them; (the sun stood still in Joshua, and there was an unnatural eclipse at the death of Christ) but God cannot by any miracle so work upon himself, as to make himself not himself, unmerciful, or unjust ; and out of his mercy he makes this promise, (Do this, and thus it shall be with you) and then, of his justice he performs that promise, which was made merely, and only out of mercy, if we do it, (though not because we do it) we shall have eternal life.
Therefore did Andrew, and Peter faithfully believe, such a net should be put into their hands. Christ had vouchsafed to fish for them, and caught them with that net, and they believed that he that made them fishers of men, would also enable them to catch others with that net. And that is truly the comfort that refreshes us in all our lucubrations, and night-studies, through the course of our lives, that that God that sets us to sea, will prosper our voyage, that whether he fix us upon our own, or sends us to other congregations, he will open the hearts of those congregations to us, and bless our labours to them. For as St. Paul's ræ si non, lies upon us wheresoever we are, (woe be unto us if we do not preach) so, (as St. Paul says too) we were of all men the most miserable, if we preached without hope of doing good. With this net St. Peter caught three thousand souls in one day, at one sermon), and five thousand in another. With this net St. Paul fished all the Mediterranean Sea, and caused the gospel of Christ Jesus to abound from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum. This is the net, with which if ye be willing to be caught, that is, to lay down all your hopes and affiances in the gracious promises of his gospel, then you are fishes reserved for that great marriagefeast, which is the kingdom of heaven ; where, whosoever is a dish, is a guest too; whosoever is served in at the table, sits at the table; whosoever is caught by this net, is called to this feast; and there your souls shall be satisfied as with marrow, and with fatness, in an infallible assurance, of an everlasting and undeterminable term, in inexpressible joy and glory. Amen.
61 Acts ii. 41.
69 Acts iv. 4.
PREACHED TO THE KING IN MY ORDINARY WAITING AT
WHITEHALL, 18th APRIL, 1626.
JOHN xiv. 2.
Father's house are many mansions ; if it were not so,
I would have told you.
There are occasions of controversies of all kinds in this one verse ; and one is, whether this be one verse or no; for as there are doctrinal controversies, out of the sense and interpretation of the words, so are there grammatical differences about the distinction, and interpunction of them : some translations differing therein from the original, (as the original copies are distinguished, and interpuncted now) and some differing from one another. The first translation that was, that into Syriac, as it is expressed by Tremellius, renders these words absolutely, precisely, as our two translations do; and, as our two translations do, applies the second clause and proposition, Si quo minus, If it were not so, I would hare told you, as in affirmation, and confirmation of the former, In domo patris, in my father's house there are many mansions, for, if it were not so, I would have told you. But then, as
63 Rom. xv. 19.
both our translations do, the Syriac also admits into this verse a third clause and proposition, Vado parare, I go to prepare you a place. Now Beza doth not so; Piscator doth not so; they determine this verse in those two propositions which constitute our text, In my father's house, &c., and then they let fall the third proposition, as an inducement, and inchoation of the next verse, I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come again. Divers others do otherwise, and diversely ; for some do assume (as we, and the Syriac do) all three propositions into the verse, but then they do not (as we, and the Syriac do) make the second a proof of the first, In my father's house are many mansions, for, if it were not so, I would have told you, but they refer the second to the third proposition, if it were not so, I would have told you, for, I go to prepare you a place, and being to go from you, would leave you ignorant of nothing. But we find no reason to depart from that distinction and interpunction of these words, which our own church exhibits to us, and therefore we shall pursue them so; and so determine, though not the verse, (for into the verse, we admit all three propositions) yet the whole purpose and intention of our Saviour, in those two propositions, which accomplish our text, In my father's house, &c.
This interpunction then offers and constitutes our two parts. First, a particular doctrine, which Christ infuses into his disciples, In domo Patris, in my Father's house are many mansions; and then a general rule and scale, by which we are to measure, and weigh all doctrines, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would hare told you. In the order of nature, the latter part falls first into consideration, the rule of all doctrines; which in this place is, the word of God in the mouth of Christ, digested into the Scriptures; in which we shall have just, more than just, necessary occasion to note both their distempers, both theirs, that think, that there are other things to be believed, than are in the Scriptures, and theirs that think, that there are some things in the Scriptures, which are not to be believed: for when our Saviour says, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would have told you, he intends both this proposition, I have told you all that is necessary to be believed ; and this also, all that I have told you, is necessary to be believed, so as I have told it you. So that this
excludes both that imaginary insufficiency of the Scriptures, which some have ventured to aver, (for God shall never call Christian to account for anything not notified in the Scriptures) and it excludes also those imaginary dolos bonos, and fraudes pias, which some have adventured to aver to, that God should use holy illusions, holy deceits, holy frauds, and circumventions in his Scriptures, and not intend in them, that which he pretends by them ; this is his rule, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would have told you, if I have not told you so, it is not so, and if I have, it is so as I have told you: and in these two branches we shall determine the first part, the rule of doctrines, the Scripture.
The second part, which is the particular doctrine which Christ administers to his disciples here, will also derive and cleave itself into two branches; for first we shall inquire, whether this proposition in our text, In my Father's house are many mansions, give any ground, or assistance, or countenance to that pious opinion, of a disparity, and difference of degrees of glory in the saints in heaven : and then, if we find the words of this text to conduce nothing to that doctrine, we shall consider the right use of the true, and natural, the native and genuine, the direct, and literal, and uncontrovertible sense of the words; because in them, Christ doth not say, that in his Father's house there are divers mansions, divers for seat, or lights, or fashion, or furniture, but only that there are many, and in that notion, the plurality, the multiplicity, lies the consolation.
First then, for the first branch of our first part, the general rule of doctrines, our Saviour Christ in these words involves an argument, that he hath told them all that was necessary; he hath, because the Scripture hath, for all the Scriptures which were written before Christ, and after Christ, were written by one and the same spirit, his spirit. It might then make a good problem, why they of the Roman church, not affording to the Scriptures that dignity which belongs to them, are yet so vehement, and made so hard shift, to bring the books of other authors into the rank, and nature, and dignity of being Scriptures : what matter is it, whether their Maccabees, or their Tobies be Scripture or no? what get their Maccabees, or their Tobies by being Scripture, if the Scripture be not full enough, or not plain enough, to bring me to salvation? But since their intention and purpose, their aim, and their end is, to undervalue the Scriptures, that thereby they may overvalue their own traditions, their way to that end may be to put the name of Scriptures upon books of a lower value, that so the unworthiness of those additional books, may cast a diminution upon the canonical books themselves, when they are made all one: as in some foreign states we have seen, that when the prince had a purpose to erect some new order of honour, he would disgrace the old orders, by conferring and bestowing them upon unworthy and incapable persons.
But why do we charge the Roman church with this undervaluing of the Scriptures, when as they pretend, (and that cannot well be denied them) that they ascribe to all the books of Scripture this dignity, that all that is in them is true. It is true; they do so; but this may be true of other authors also, and yet those authors remain profane and secular authors. All may be true that Livy says, and all that our chronicles say, may be true; and yet neither our chronicles, nor Livy' become Gospel : for so much they themselves will confess and acknowledge, that all that our church says is true, that our church affirms no error; and yet our church must be a heretical church, if any church at all, for all that. Indeed it is but a faint, but an illusory evidence or witness, that pretends to clear a point, if, though it speak nothing but truth, yet it does not speak all the truth. The Scriptures are our evidence for life or death ; Search the Scriptures, says Christ, for in them ye think ye hare eternal life'. Where, ye think so, is not, ye think so, but mistake the matter, but ye think so, is ye think so upon a well-grounded and rectified faith and
Now if this evidence, the Scripture, shall acquit me in one article, in my belief in God, (for I do find in the Scripture, as much as they require of me to believe, of the Father Son, and Holy Ghost) and then this evidence, the Scripture, shall condemn me in another article, the Catholic church, (for I do not find so much in the Scripture, as they require me to believe of their Catholic church) if the Scripture be sufficient to save me in one, and not in the rest, this is not only a defective, but an
In the folio edition it stands, “and yet our chronicles, nor Livy." 2 John v. 39.