« ForrigeFortsæt »
too well fulfilling that of the Psalmist; They speak not peace, but they devise deceitful matters against then that are quiet in the land; Psalm xxxv. 20. A man, in this case, is like the shepherd, that would part the fray hetwixt his two rams: they both met together upon his bones, and send him halting out of the field. The God of Peace, in his good time, remedy these distempers; but, in the mean time, let us comfort ourselves in the conscience of our happy endeavours with that of St. James, The fruits of righteousness are sown in peace, of them that make peace; James iii. 18.
And thus much for our duty, in seconding and imitating this act of God, in making this cessation of wars; by withdrawing the fuel of contention; by giving seasonable counsels of peace; by opposing known make-baits; by cherishing the peaceable minded.
3. We descend to our third use proper for this day, which is THE CHALLENGE OF OUR THANKFULNESS. And, surely, wheresoever God vouchsafes to bestow this mercy, That he causes wars to cease unto any nation, he looks for no less; and we shall be foully ungrateful, if we disappoint him. Whereto we shall the better be excited, if we shall consider, first, the miseries of war; and, then, the benefits and comforts of peace.
(1.) The Miseries of War may be talked of; but can never be thoroughly conceived by any, but those, that have felt them. I could tell you of sieging and famishing; sacking, and spoiling, and killing, and ravishing, and burning; of weltering in blood; and a thousand such tragical calamities of war: but I would rather the Spirit of God should describe them, in his own expressions; These sword without and terror within shall destroy; both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of grey
hairs; Deut. xxxii. 25. And Isaiah; Every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning, and with fuel of fire ; Isa. ix, 5. Not to press those passionate descriptions of Isaiah and Nahum; that one of the prophet Azariah, the son of Obed, shall shut up all; 2 Chron. xv. 5, 6. In those times there was no peace to them that went out, nor to him that came in; but great ve.rations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries; and nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city, for God did ver them with all adversity. Mark but the foot of this report. Upon the mention of war, straight it follows, God did vex them with all adversity: surely, there is no adversity incident unto a creature, which doth not inevitably attend a war: and, as all wars are thus woeful and hideous, so much more the intestine and domestical; those, that are raised out of our own bowels: these are, beyond all conceit, dreadful and horrible. As, therefore, we do, in our ordinary prayers, put all these together, which are the effects and concomitants of war, “ From plague, pestilence, and famine; from battle, and murder, and from sudden death; Good Lord, deliver us:" so, good reason have we, to put them into the tenor of our hearty thanksgiving, that God hath graciously delivered us from the fury of all these, in that he caused wars to cease to the ends of our earth.
(2.) As for the Benefits of Peace, if we were not cloyed with them by their long continuance, we could not but be heartily sensible of them; and know, that all the comforts we enjoy, either for earth or for heaven, we owe to this unspeakable blessing of peace. Whereto if we add the late accession of further strength, by the union of our warlike neighbours, and the force of a strong and inviolable league for the perpetuation of our peace and unity, there will need no further incitements to a celebration of this day, and to our hearty thankfulness unto the God of Peace; who, while he hath made woeful desolations in all the earth besides, yet hath caused wars to cease unto our ultima the ends of our earth; and hath broken the bow and cut the spear in sunder. Oh, then, praise the Lord, ( Jerusalem ; praise thy God, o Sion: for he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates, and blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace within thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat; Psalm cxlvii. 12, 13, 14. To that good God of all glory, peace, and comfort; Father, Son, Holy Ghost, One Infinite God, in Three most glorious Persons, be given all praise, honour, and glory, as is due from heaven and earth, from angels and men, from this time forth and for evermore. Amen.
THE WOMEN'S VAIL:
OR A DISCOURSE CONCERNING THE NECESSITY, OR EXPEDIENCE, or
THE CLOSE-COVERING OF THE HEADS OF WOMEN.
INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN
PREACHED IN THE CATHEDRAL AT EXETER, UPON I COR. XI. 10.
OCCASIONED BY AN OFFENCE UNJUSTLY TAKEN AT A MODEST DRESS.
I CORINTHIANS xi. 10.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because
of the Angels, As the Sacred Councils of the Church had wont to have their opes, and datážeis; “ substantial canons,” and “ ritual constitutions ;' so hath our blessed Apostle : as in all his Epistles, so in this; and as in other parts of it, so in this chapter, Here are main Canons for the essence of God's service, in the matter of the Eucharist : here are Rules of order, for the outward fashion of praying and prophesying. These may be as variable, as the other are constant : it is no more possible, to fit all Churches and Countries with one forin, than to fit all bodies with one suit, or all limbs with one size,
Neither can I, with learned Beza and Cappellus, think, that prophesying here is taken for the hearing of prophecies. These things were extraordinarily done, till they were restrained.
In those primitive times, there were some women extraordina. rily gifted by God's Spirit, who took upon them to preach and pray publicly; which, afterwards, St. Paul forhad to his Timothy; i Tim. ii. 12. They, exercising these manly functions, presumed to take upon them manly fashions : whereas, therefore, bare-headedness was in Corinth, as also in all Greece and Rome, a token of honour and superiority, and covering the head a token of subjection; these forward women usurp upon the fashions of their husbands, and will have their faces seen as well as their voices heard: as the Jesuitesses of late time dared both to attempt and practise, till the late restraint of Pope Urban curbed and suppressed them. Our holy Apostle, who was zealously careful to reform even solecisms in the outward deportment of God's service, controls this absurd disorder; and, as the great master of holy ceremonies, enjoins a modest vail to the women, when they will show themselves
in these acts of public devotion : For this cause the women ought to have power on their head, because of the angels.
Wherein yourselves, without me, observe Two remarkable heads of our discourse : 1. An APOSTOLICAL CANON : 2. The Carriace or GROUNDS OF IT. The Canon is fully and home-charged; The women ought to have power on their head. The Grounds are double : one precedent, For this cause ; the other subsequent, Because of the angels, which, in the Vulgate, and in St. Ambrose, is brought in by a copulative, ét or etiam propter Angelos.
1. From the CANON itself in the generality, you would, of yourselves, in my silence, easily infer, That spiritual superiors must take care not only of the substantial parts of God's worship, but of the circumstantial appendances of it.
What is a merer ceremony, than our clothes what can seem of less consequence, than a vail left off or put on the head may be as good, and as full of holy thoughts, bare or covered: what is that, you would think, to the heart of our devotion? Yet, the Chosen Vessel fears not to seem too scrupulous, in laying weighty charges upon us in so small, and, as we might imagine, unimporting a business. Certainly, my Beloved, though the King's daughter be all glorious within, and there lies her chief beauty ; yet her clothing is of wrought gold too. And if, in the Tabernacle, God's first dwellingplace upon earth, it pleased him to give order for the principal stuff of the vails, and curtains, and frame ; for the matter and form of the ark, and altars, and tables of the face-bread : yet he thought good, not to neglect the punctual directions for the taches, snuffers, snuff-dishes, besoms, and the meanest requisites of th:c sacred fabric. Justice and judgment, which are the main businesses of the Law, must be chiefly regarded; but yet, even the tithing of mint, and anise, and cummin may not be neglected. Had not Simon the Pharisee meant a hearty welcome to our Saviour, he had never undergone the envy of inviting him to his house : but yet, our Saviour finds him short of his due compliments; of the hospital kiss of washing, and anointing. Let no man say, "What matter is to be made of stuffs, or colours, or postures ? God is a spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and truth: these bodily observations are nothing to that Spiritual and Infinite Essence.” What Corinthian gossip might not have said so to our Apostle? Yet he sees the respect of these circumstances so necessary, that the neglect of them may, yea will, mar the substance : and, surely, in all experience, were it not for ceremonies, what would become of state, government, conversation, religion? And yet, of these there is great difference : some ceremonies are no less than substance to others : and, beside the latitude of their nature, they have one aspect as they look toward an imposing authority, and another as they look toward an arbitrary use. It is one thing, what men take up out of will or custom; another thing, what they conform to out of duty and obedience: so as what our superiors, to whom we must leave to see further than ourselves, think fit to enjoin us, out of their estimation of decency and order, is not now
left to the freedom of our election. It is for them to judge: it is for us to obey. Neither have we the like reason to censure them, for imposing things indifferent, which are found by them to conduce unto holy ends; that they have to censure us, for not observing them: herein they are wise and just, while we are conceitedly refractory. I know how little I need to press this to a people, where I can find nothing but an universal conformity: only this touch was needful, if but to second and revive those late meet and expedient orders, which we lately commended to your careful and Christian observation.
This from the general and confused view of this apostolical charge. Cast your eyes now upon the particular injunction; The womun ought to have power on her head. "What is this power, but a signification of her husband's power over her? for it is worth observing, that the Hebrew word, which signifies a vail, 7'77, signifies also power, čecíc; being derived from a root of that sense : so as the meaning plainly is, The woman ought to wear that on her head, which may import and testify, that she is under her husband's power; which is, as the Valentinians read it not amiss in Irenæus, nánurue, "a vail,” or “ covering:
Here, therefore, ye have an evident metonymy: the thing signified, which is the husband's power, is put for that, which siguities it, which is the woman's vail: so as this proposition then lies open to a double consideration; the one, in reference to the thing signified, which is the husband's power over the wife; the other, in reference to the sign implying it, which is the wife's vail or covering of the head : of both briefly.
1. The first, that the HUSBAND HATH POWER OVER THE WIFE, is so clear, both in nature and reason, that I shall willingly save the labour of a proof. It is enough, that, by her Creator, she was made for a helper; and a helper doth necessarily argue a principal: it is enough, for matter of institution, that he, who gave her a will, appointed it should be subject to the will of her husband; which, how deep an impression it took in very Heathens, appears clearly enough in the Persian sages' censure of Vashti; Esther i.
And, that it may appear the liberty of the Gospel doth no whit alter the case, how do the blessed Apostles St. Paul and St. Peter redouble the charge of wives be subject to your husbands ; Col. iii. 13. 1 Peter iii. i. And, indeed, how is the husband the head, if he be not both more eminent, and furnished with the faculty of directing the whole body ? A virtuous woman, saith Solomon, is the crown, or diadem, of her husband ; Prov. xii. 4. Lo, she is the crown, for the ornament of his head; but, if she be virtuous, she doth not affect to be the head : and, if the crown be set upon the head, as the husband may give honour to the weaker vessel, yet it is a pitiful head, that is not better than the crown that adorns it. But why urge I this ? None, but some mamish monsters, can question it; and if there be any such, that would fain read the words amiss, that the wife hath power over her head, they are more worthy to be punished by the whip of authority, than by their neighbours