Page images

cency is necessary,that some such there fhould be.

But in the next place there is an Objection, supposed to be of much greater force, and that is this ; That the Ceremonies are significant : And here I must needs confess, that if they could have alledged, that the Ceremonies had been insignificant, the Objection had been much more worthy of having some notice taken of it; because that the very nature and whole use of Ceremonies doth consist in being significant. And in this I appeal to all Mankind, whether in any one Action Sacred or Civil, any one Ceremony was ever instituted, unless it were in order to the signifying, denoting or expressing something by it. Nor is this all ; for the Church hath taken care not only to vindicate the Innocency, but withal to declare the usefulness of the sige nificancy of her Ceremonies in the fore mentioned Preface ; That they are neither dark nor dumb Ceremonies, but are so set forth that every man may understand what they mean and to


what use they do serve : so that it is not like that in time to come they should be abused.

And after all this, methinks, our Brethren of the Presbytery should for their own sakes have had a great care of making use of this Objection, as being themselves as liable to it as any other Persons. The Authors of the Admonition to the Parliament in Queen Elizabeths days, Part 2. have recommended Sitting at the Sacrament, upon this very superstitious score of Significancy (as in our Cafe they always call it) in these words : As in the Old Testament eating the Parchal Lamb standing, signified a readi. nes to paß ; even so in the receiving it now siiting, after the example of Christ, we signifie Rest, that is, a full finishing thorough Christ of all the Ceremonial Law, and a perfect Work of Redemption wrought, that giveth rest for ever.

And in our own dayes, in that which by them was looked upon as a considerable Act of Divine Worship and Religious Adoration, the entring into a Publick Solemn National Covenant with Almighty God, as they phrase it: The doing of this was prefcribed with several Ceremonies uncommanded in Scripture, and by themselves intended to be very ligni. ficant; as is to be found by every one who pleaseth to look in theOrdinance of Febr. 2. 1643. Inthis Case without referring us to any Book, Chapter, or Verse; they thought it sufficient to say, That it is ordered and ordained by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, that the said Covenant be folemnly taken in all places, and for the better and more orderly taking ihereof, that these Directions ensuing are appointed and enjoyned to be ftri&tly fóllowed : Of which Directions the thirteenth is this, the manner of taking it to be thus; The Minister 10 read the whole Covenant diftin&tly and audibly in the Pulpit , and during the time of reading thereof the whole Congregation to be uncovered (which by the way is a much greater shew of Reverence than they have taken care for, either at the reading of the Ten Commandements, or our Saviour's


Sermon upon the Mount) and at the end of reading thereof all to take it standing, lifting up their Right Hand bare. Now I think that it is highly requisite for these men to conlider with themselves, whether every one of all their own Pleas of the Purity and Simplicity of the Gospel way of Worship without the mixture of humane Inventions, and their bold surmises of invading the Throne of Christ by determining those things which Christ hath left free, have any the least force against the Ceremonies of the Church, which they have not against this prescribed Formality of their own, in taking the Covenant.

But after all which is possible to be said in order to the clearing of the miltakes about the Ceremonięs, there is an Objection which is supposed not to be capable of any answer to be made unto it; and that is this, That be they what they will in themselves, good men are offended at them, they grieve thousands of the Godly Brethren, and though we should grant such men to be mistaken, yet we must


not offend our weak Brethren.

The Case of Scandal hath been so often and so clearly stated, that I Ihall say the less upon it ; and therefore, instead of the Argument, I lhall rather choose to say something to the Persons who use it. In the first place I shall readily grant , that if aby Persons are really offended at the use of the Ceremonies, in their own way of underítanding that word, they must needs be very weak Brethren, and I shall only ask them the old Question , How long they will be weak. And I shall profess my self to have no very honourable Opinion of the means of Knowledge, the Opportunities of choyce Attainments which are to be had in the Conventicles : If so be that those, who are such weak Brethren as not to be got above fuch filly Scruples, are looked upon to be sufficiently gifted to be Publick Teachers amongst them.

In the next place I shall ask, who taught the People to be offended at a few harmless Ceremonies ? Who raised all their caulless Scruples, in


« PreviousContinue »