Baxter - BR161 B28 1680

their councils abridged. at their pleafure. HadConflantine "faln, the Chriftians had much fainwith him, and had the Chriftians been weakned he had been weakened : They were become his ftrength. And he forefawnot the evils that afterwards would follow.Some mutt govern,and there were then no wifer nor better men than the Bithops and Paftorsof the Churches. And their intereft in the Chriftian people (that chofe them) was greatelt : Asnowall differingpar- ties ofChriftians among us (Papifts, Presbyterians , lndependents, Ana- baptiffs) would delire nothing as more conducing to theirends, than that theKing would put the greateft Power (efpecially of Religion) into the hands of thofe Teachers whom they efteem and follow;. even fo was it with the Chriftians in the days of Conllantine : And hereupon Laws were made, that none fhould compel Chriftians to anfwer in any.Courtof Ju- ltice, faving before their own Bithops, and fo Bithops weremade almofb the ColeGovernours of the Chriftians. §. 37. By this means it is nowonder if multitudes ofwicked men fiock'd into the Church and defiledand difhonoured it För the Murderer that was tobe hanged ifhe were noChriftian, was but to be kept from the Sacra-- ment if he were a Chriftian, and do fomecorifefling penance which was littleto hanging or otherdeath; And foproportionably of other Crimes... BadChriftians by this device were multiplyed. The Emperour alfobeing, aChriftian, worldly men are moftlyof theReligionof the Princeor high- eft powers. S. 38= And no man that can gather an effect from: an effeffual caufe-. could doubt, if neither N tianzen, or any Hiftorian had told it him, but that proud and worldly men would ftrive then to be Bithops, and ufe all poffiblediligence to obtain fo great preferment: Who of them is it that would not have Command and Honour and Wealth, if he can get it? While the great invitation to the facredMiniftrywas the winningandedify ingof Souls, thofe that molt valued Souls, defired it (yet'dcfired"it tobe- kept from fuch Poverty and Perfecution as expofed them to hinderance and contempt). But when Riches, Reputation and Dominion were the Baits, who-knoweth not what fort of Appetites would be the keeneft ? Chrift teileth us, how hardly Rich men are good- and come to Heaven. Therefore when Bithops muffbe all Great andRich, either Chrift muff be . deceived, or it muff be ashard for them to he honeft Chriftians as for ao Camel to go through the Needles eye. And thus, Yenenmm fssnditur int Ecclefiam. 4. 39. The World being thus brought into= the Church - without the cure of the worldly mind,and the Guidesbeing foft rongly tempted tobethe ve- ry worff,_no°wonder ifthe Worldly Spirit now toomuchrule theChurch,' and if thofe that are yetof the fame Spirit,.. approve,.plead, and ftrive for what they love anddëfpife the bufinefs of the Crofs, andChriffian Humi lity, and Simplicity to this day : And if Bithopshave done muchof their work accordingly, ever lince Conflgntine (and' much before) it bath been the Devils Work .to. carry on his _War age nff. Chrift :and. Piety, under-^ Cli'sáft's Y5