« ZurückWeiter »
and justice; let Malice itself say ; let even Rebellion itself witness. Now, if he be the sun, you Great Ones are our stars. As you res ceive your light from him, the light of your honour and good example; so, whilst you keep the one of them to yourselves, so you must communicate the other to your inferiors. And if, in presence, his light dim or extinguish yours; yet the world affords you darkness enough abroad, to shine in. Oh shine you clearly in the dark night of this evil world, that the beholders may see and magnify your brightness: and may say of one; “ There is a Mars of truly heroical courage:” “ There is the Mercury of sound wisdom and learning :”.
;" * There, the Jupiter of exemplary honour and magnificence: “There, the Phosphorus of piety, and antelucan devotion :” and may be accordingly sensible of beneficial influences to your country. Far be it from any of you, to be a fatal Syrius or Dog-star; which, when he rises, yields perhaps a little needless light, but withal burns up the earth, and inflames the air, and puts the world in a miserable combustion. Far be it from you, to be dismal and direful comets, that portend nothing but horror and death to the earth : or, if your light be of a lower accension, far, far be it from you, to be any of those ignes fatui, that do at once affright and seduce the poor traveller, and carry him by lewd guidance into a ditch. Such, such, alas there are ! Give me leave to complain (where can I do it better than at a Court, the professed Academy of Honour ?) that a strange kind of loose debauchedness hath possessed too many of the young gallants of our time; (I fear I may take in both sexes ;) with whom modesty, civility, temperance, sobriety are quite out of fashion, as if they had been suits of their grandsires' wardrobe. As for piety and godliness, they are so laid by, as if they were the cast rags of a despised frippery. He is no brave spirit with too many, that bids not defiance to good orders; that revels not without care, spends not without measure, talks not without grace, lives not without God. Woe is me! is this the fruit of so long and clear a light of the Gospel? Is this to have fellowship with the divine light ? Now the God of Heaven be merciful to that wild and atheous licentiousness, wherewith the world is so miserably over-run; and strike our hearts with a true sense of our grievous provocations of his name; that our serious humiliations may fore-lay his too-well-deserved judgments! In the mean time, if there should be any one such amongst you, that hear me this day, as commonly they will be sure to be farthest off from good counsel, let wise Solomon school him for me: Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; und let thy heart cheer thee up in the days of thy youth ; and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee to judgment. And, let me add this, if he be not for the light, he shall be for the fire: for the same Spirit of God, which tells him here that God is Light, tells him elsewhere, which he shall once feel though he will not believe, that our God is a consuming fire.
Now, in the second place, for Us of the Holy Tribe, we are stars too: and if not Stars, Rev. i. 16; yet Candles, Matt. v. 15: however; Lights we must be; and that, both in life and doctrine. If the First; there are stars of several magnitudes : some, goodly and great ones, that move in orbs of their own; others, small and scarce visible in the galaxy of the Church : but all are stars, and no star is without some light. If but the Second; there are large tapers and rush-candles: one gives a greater light than the other, but all give some. Never let them go for either stars or candles, that neither have nor give light. And, woe is me! if the Light, that is in us, be darkness; how great, how dangerous is that darkness! Blessed be God, we have a learned, able, and Aourishing Clergy, as ever this Church had; or, I think I may boldly say, any other, since the Gospel looked forth into the world. There have not been clearer lamps in God's Sanctuary, since their first lighting, than our days have seen. Yet, why should we stick to confess that, which can neither be concealed nor denied, that there are some amongst so many, whose wick is too much for their oil; yea, rather, whose snuff is more than their light: I mean, whose offensive lives shame their holy doctrines, and reproach the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These, as we lament, so we desire to have topped by just censures. But hear you, my Worthy Brethren: do not you, where you see a thief in the candle, call presently for an extinguisher: for personal faults, do not you condemna holy calling. Oh, be you wisely charitable ; and let us be exemplarily holy.
Lastly, for you Christian Hearers: think not, that this light may be put off to public and eminent persons only. Each of you must shine too, at the least tanquam faces, Phil. ii. 15. If they be as cities up a hill, the meanest of you must be as cottages in a valley; though not high-built, yet wind-tight and water-tight. If they be beacons, you must be lanterns. Every one must, both have a light of his own, and impart it to others. It is not a charge appropriated to public teachers, that the Apostle gives to his Hebrews, E.xhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; Heb. ii. 13. Even the privatest person may shine forth in good counsel. He, that is most obscure, may and must do good works in his place, and improve his graces to others' good. These, these, my Beloved, are the Light, which we must both have and give. Not to have, were to have no fellowship with God : to have and not to give it, were to engross and monopolize grace; which God cannot abide. Hath any of you Knowledge ? let him communicate it, and light others' candle at his. Hath any man worldly Riches ? let him not be Condus, but Promus; To do good and distribute, forget not. Hath any man Zeal? Zeal, I say, not fury, not frenzy: let him not glow only, but shine : let him say, with Jehu, Come, see my Zeal for the Lord. Hath any man true Piety and Devotion ? let him, like a flaming brand, enkindle the next. Thus, thus shall we approve ourselves the sons of that Infinite and Communicative Light. Thus shall we so have fellowship with the God, who is Light ; that, shining like him and from him here in grace, we may shine with him hereafter above in everlasting glory : which the same God grant to us, for the sake of the Son of his Love, Jesus Christ the Righteous : To whom, with Thee, O God the Father, and Thy Blessed Spirit, One Infinite and Incomprehensible Lord, be given all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
THE MISCHIEF OF FACTION, AND THE
REMEDY OF IT.
LAID FORTH IN A SERMON BEFORE HIS MAJESTY, IN THE COURT-YARD
AT WHITEHALL, ON THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT, 1641.
BY JOSEPH EXON.
PSALM )x. 2. Thou hast made the carth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the
breaches thereof, for it shaketh. My Text is a complaint; and a suit: a complaint of an evil; and a suit for a remedy: an evil deplored; and an implored redress.
The evil complained of is double: the concussion or unsettlement of the state of Israel; and the division of it. For, it hath been the manner of the prophets, when they would speak high, to express spiritual things by the height of natural allusions; fetched from those great bodies of heaven, sea, earth; the most conspicuous and noted pieces of God's Almighty Workmanship.
It were to no purpose to exemplify, where the instances are numberless. Open your Bibles where you will, in all the Sapiential or Prophetical books, your eyes cannot look beside them,
And thus it is here. I suppose no man can be so weak, as to think David intends here a philosophical history of earthquakes; although these dreadful events, in their due times and places, are worthy of no less than a prophet's, either notice or admiration, But here, it is not in his way. It is an analogical, moral, or political earthquake, that David here speaks of: and so our usual and ancient Psalter Translation takes it well; while, for yox, the Earth, it reads the Land, by a just synecdoche; and, for inaking the Earth to tremble, reads moving the Land; and, for broken, reads divided; and, for breaches, sores: so as, by comparing of both translations, the Earth is the Land; the tremblings are the violent motions of it, whether by way of action or passion; the divisions thereof are breaches; and those breaches, sores; which the hand of God both makes and heals.
Shortly, then, here is, first, An EARTHQUAKE, such as it is; secondly, The effects of that Earthquake; breaches, or sores: thirdly, The AUTHOR of both; Thou hast made the Earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: fourthly, The REMEDY of both: with the Author of it; Heal thou the sores, or breaches; and, lastly, the Motive of the remedy; for it shaketh.
The Text falls into these parts so naturally, that there is none of you, who hear me this day, but were able to divide it for nie: which I shall desire to follow, with all perspicuous brevity, and profitable enforcement.
I. And, first; hear and consider, that the motions of the distem, pers or public calamities of states, are EARTHQUAKES; either, or both: for this earthquake is either out of a fear or sense of judgment, or out of the strife of contrary affections; the one we may call a Passive, the other an Active earthquake.
1. Earthquakes, we know, are strange and unnatural things. There is no part of all God's great creation save the earth, that is ordained for rest and stability. The waters are in perpetual agitation of flux and refluxes: even when no wind stirs, they have their neap and spring tides. The air cannot stand still, while the heavens whirl about. The heavens, or any part of them, never stood still, but once, since they were made. But the earth was made for fixedness and stability. Hence ye find so oft mention of the foundations of the earth; and the stile of it is, nescia moveri, The earth that cannot be moved; and, that stands fast for ever. And, therefore, for the earth to move, it is no less prodigy, than for the heavens to stand still.
Neither is it more rare, than formidable. If we should see the heavens stand still but one hour, we should, as we well might, espect a dissolution of all things: neither hath it less horror in it, to feel the earth stagger under us. Whose hair doth not start up at this trepidation ? And, the more a man knows, the more is his astonishment. He hangeth the earth upon nothing; saith Job; xxvi. 7. For a man to feel the earth, that hangs upon nothing, but as some vast ball in the midst of a thin yielding air, totter under him; how can his soul choose, but be possessed with a secret fright and confusion? Methinks, I tremble but to think of such a trembling.
Such are the distempers and public calamities of states, though even of particular kingdoms: but, so much more as they are more universal, they are both unnatural and dreadful. They are politicly unnatural: for, as the end of all motion is rest, so the end of all civil and spiritual agitations is peace and settledness. The very name of a State implies so much: which is, we know, a stando ; from standing, and not from moving. The man riding upon the red horse which stood among the myrtle trees; Zech. i. 11. describes the condition of a peaceful government: Behold, all the earth sitteth siill, and is at rest. And Micah, They shall sit still every man under his vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid ; Micah iv. 4. Particular men's affairs are like the clouds: public government is as the earth. The clouds are always in motion: it were strange for any of them to stand still in one point of the air; so it were to see pri