« ZurückWeiter »
vast gorges, and insatiable. Our Saviour cried out against the Scribes and Pharisees, yet they devoured but widows' houses, poor low cottages: but these gulphs of men, whole Churches; and yet the sepulchres of their throats are open for more. I can tell them of a mouth that is wider than theirs, and that is the prophet's Os Inferni: Therefore Hell hath enlarged itself; and hath opened his mouth, without measure; and their glory, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth in it, shall descend into it; Isaiah v. 14. In the mean time, Oh, that our Sampson would pull this honey of the Church out of the jaws of these lions; or, if the cunning converances of sacrilege have made that impossible, since it lies not now entire in the combs, but is let down and digested by these raveners, let him whose glory it is, not to be Pater Patria only, but Pater Ecclesia, provide that those few pots we have, may still seeth; and, that if nothing will be added, nothing can be recovered, yet nothing may be purloined from the altars of God. .
2. But these outward offerings were but the types of the Inward.' What cares God for the blood or flesh of bullocks, rams, goats? Non delectaris sacrificio ut dem, holocaustum non vis, saith David: what then? The sacrifice of God is a contrite spirit, a broken heart, Our humiliation is sacrificium penitentie; our new obedience is sacrificium justitia ; our thankful commemorations are sacrificium laudis. These are the oblations, which, as they shall be frequent under the Gospel, so most Fragrant unto God; and this is that last, and perhaps most proper sense, wherein the fiesh-pots of the sacrifices erunt sicut aromata, shall be as perfuines in the bowls of incense. A lively sacrifice is well matched with holy and acceptable. When Noah sacrificed to God after the Deluge, it is said God smelt a savour of rest; alluding to his name: but now, the sacrifices we offer are ooperi kuwdíes, a savour of sweetness; so that, the same savour that Christ's oblation had; Eph. v. 2. the same have our offerings; Phil. iv. 18. God's children, out of the conscience of their own weaknesses, are easily discouraged in the valuation of their own obedience: as, therefore, they can say of their persons, with Mephibosheth, What is thy servani? so of their services, as Philip said of the five loaves and two fishes, aand THŪTA TÍ éçiv, Alas, what are these? But they and their offerings cannot be so base to themselves, as they are precious to God.
There is no sense, that gives so lively a refreshing to the spirits, as that of smelling: no smell can yield so true and feeling delight to the sense, as the offerings of our penitence, obedience, praise, send up into the nostrils of the Almighty. Hence, as the Church can say of Christ, He is as a bundle of myrrh lying between her breasts; so he again of her in that heavenly Epithalamion, Thy plants are as an orchard of pomegranates, with sweet fruits, as cypress, spikenard, saffron, calamus, and cinnamon, with all the trees of incense, myrrh, and aloes, with all the chief spices; Cant. iv. 13, 14. Let this, therefore, comfort us against our imperfections: If we be pots of the Lord's house, those faint streams, that we send up, shall be as sweet, as the best incense of the bowls of the altar; and God says to us, as to Cornelius, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up ;Acts x. 4. And how are hey come up? Like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and incense, and with all the chief spices; Cant. ni. 6. I say, if we be pots of the Lord's house; for if we be Egyptian flesh-pots, that reek of the strong-smelling onions and garlick of our own corruptions; if we be Ezekiel's bloody pots, whose scum or (as the Vulgate) whose rust is in them, Ezek. xxiv. 6; if we boil with lust, if with revenge, if with ambition; I can say no other of us, than the sons of the prophets said of theirs, Mors in olli, Death is in the pot; a double death, of bouly and soul. It is a true speech of Origen, Peccatum est putidi odoris: no carrion is so noisome.
Alas, what savours are sent up to God from those, that would seem not only pots of the temple, but bowls of the altar! How unsavoury is the pride, profaneness, riotousvess, oppression, beastliness of our times! It were happy if the Court were free: and, as it receives more sweet influences of favour, than all other places; so, that it returned back more fragrant obedience: that, as it is said of Mary's spikenard, wherewith she anointed Christ, that the whole house was filled with the savour of the ointinent; John xii. 3; so the whole world might be full of the pleasant perfumes of virtuous example, that might arise from hence. But, alas, the painted faces, and mannishness, and monstrous disguisedness, of the one sex; the factious hollowness, prodigal garishness, wanton pampering, excess in our respect to ourselves, defects in our respects to God, in the other; argue too well, that too many of us savour more like the golden sockets of the holy lights, than the bowls of the altar.
God cannot abide these ill scents. The five cities of the plains sent up such poisonous vapours to God, that he sent them down brimstone again with their fire. That, which hell is described by, is sent down from heaven; because that such hellish exhalations ascend from them, to heaven. How should the sins of Sodoin not expect the judgments of Sodom! Well might the Jews fear, because they would not be serviceable caldrops unto God, that therefore they should be the flesh, and their city the caldron; Ezek. xi. 3. Weli may we fear it, who have had so sensible proofs, as of the favours, so of the judgments of God: and happy shall it be for us, if we can so fear, that our fear may prevent evils. Let these pots of ours therefore send up sweet fumes of contrition, righteousness, thanksgiving, into the nostrils of God; and the smoke of his displeasure, wherewith coals of eternal fire are kindled against his enemies, shall not come forth of his nostrils against us. He shall smell a savour of rest froin us; we a sarour of peace and life from him: which God for his mercy's sake, and for his Son Christ's sake, vouchsafe to grant us: To whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, one glorious God, be given all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
A FAREWELL SERMON;
PREACHED TO THE FAMILY OF PRINCE HENRY, UPON THE DAY OF
THEIR DISSOLUTION AT ST. JAMES'S, ON NEW YEAR'S-DAY, 1613.
REV. xxi. 3, 4. And I heard a great rvice from hearen, saying, Behold the Taber
nacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be their God with them. And God shull wipe away all tears from their cyes; and there shall
be no more dealh, neither sorroze', nor crying, neither shall there be
any more pain, for the first things are passed. And he, that sat upon the throne, said; Behold, I make all things neu. It is
is no wonder, if this place, as it is, for the present, the wellhead of sorrow to all Christendom, have sent forth abundance of waters of tears. And, perhaps, you may expect, that, as the trumpets of our late heavy funeral-solemnity sounded basest and dulefulest, at the last; so my speech, being the last public breath of this sad dissolving Family, should be most passionately sorrowful. And surely I could easily obtain of myself, out of the bitterness of my soul, to spend myself in lamentations; and to break up this assembly, in the violent expressions of that grief, wherewith our hearts are already broken: but I well consider, that we shall carry sorrow enough home with us, in my silence; and that it is both more hard and more necessary for us, to be led forth to the waters of comfort. And, because our occasions of grief are such, as no earthly tongue can relieve us, nor no earthly object, a voice froin heaven shall do it; and a voice leading us from earth to heaven, And I heard a voice from hearen, &c.
This day is a day of note for three famous periods. First, it is the day of the dissipation of this Royal Family: then, the last day of our public and joint mourning: lastly, the day of the alteration and renewing of our state, and course of life, with the new-year." All these meet in this Text with their cordials and divine remedies: our dissipation and dissolution in these words, Behold the Tabernade of God is with men; our mourning, God shall wipe away all tears, &c.; our change of estate, Behold, I will make all things neu. I must crave leave to glide through all of these with much speed; VOL. V.
and, for the better convenience of our discourse, through the first, last.
My speech therefore shall, as it were, climb up these six stairs of doctrine.
1. That here our eyes are full of TEARS: how else should they be wiped away? how all, unless many?
II. That these Tears are from SORROW; and this Sorrow from DEATH, and TOIL; out of the connexion of all these.
III. That God will once FREE us, both from Tears which are the Effect of Sorrow; and from Toil and Death, which are the Causes of it.
IV. That this our Freedom must be upon a CHANGE; for that the first things are passed.
V. That this Chuge shall be in our RENOVATION: Behold, I make all things new.
VI. That this Renovation and happy Change shall be in our PERPETUAL FRUITION OF THE INSEPARABLE PRESENCE OF GOD, whose Tabernacle shall be with men.
I. As those grounds that lie low are commonly moorish, this base part of the world wherein we live, is the vale of TEARS; Psalm Jxssiv. 6. That true Bochim, as the Israelites called their mourning-place, Judges ii. 5. We begin our life with tears; and there. fore our lawyers define life, by weeping. If a child were heard cry; it is a lawful proof of his living; eise, if he be dead, we say he is still-born: ard, at our parting, God finds tears, in our eyes, which he shall wipe off. So we find it always, not only, 7135 ny, a time of weeping, but, 70, of solemn mourning, as Solomon puts them together; Eccl. iii
. 4. Except we be in that case, that David and his people were in; 1 Sam. XXX. 4. (and Jeremiah says the same, in his Lamentations, of the Jews; Lam. ii. 11,) that they wept, till they could weep no more. Here are tears at our devotion; the altar covered with tears; Mal. ii. 13 : tears in the bed; David watered his couch with tears; Psal. vi. 6: tears to wash with; as Mary's: tears to eat ; Psalın xlii. 3: tears to drink; Psalm 1xxx. 5: yea, drunkenness with tears; Isaiah xvi. 9.
This is our destiny as we are men, but more as we are Christians, To sow in tears; and God loves these wet seed-times: they are seasonable for us here below. Those men therefore are mistaken, that think to go to heaven with dry eyes, and hope to leap immediately out of the pleasures of earth, into the paradise of God; insulting over the drooping estate of God's distressed ones. As Jerome and Bede say of Peter, that he could not weep while he was in the high priest's walls; so these men cannot weep where they have offended. But let them know, that they must have a time of tears; and, if they do not begin with tears, they shall end with them; Woc be to them that laugh, for they shall weep: and if they will not weep, and shake their heads here, they shall weep and wail, and gnash their teeth hereafter. Here must be tears, and that good store.
II. All tears; as rivers are called the tears of the sea; D' 123, Job xxxviii. 16: só must our tears be the rivers of our eyes; Psalın cxix. 136. and our eyes fountains; Jer. ix. 1. Here must be tears of penitence, tears of compassion, and will be tears of SORROW: well are those two met therefore; Tears and Sorrow: for though some shed tears for spite, others for joy, as Cyprian's Martyrs, Gaudium pectoris lachrymis e.rprimentes; (Greg. Nis. Orat.) yet commonly tears are the juice of a mind pressed with grief. And as well do tears, and crying, and sorrow acconpany DEATH; either in the supposition, or the denial. For as worldly sorrow, (even in this sense) causeth death, by drying the bones and consuming the body; so death ever lightly, is a just cause of sorrow; sorrow to nature in ourselves, sorrow to ours. · And, as death is the terriblest thing, so is it the saddest thing, that befals a man. Nature could say in the poet,' Quis matrem in funere nati flere relat? yea, Gud himself allowed his holy priests, to pollute themselves in mourning, for their nearest dead friends; except the high priest, which was forbidden it in figure; Lev. xxi: and the Apostle, while he forbids the Thessalonians to mourn, as without hope, doth in a sort command their tears, but bar their ininoderation. It was not without a special reference to a judgment, that God says to Ezekiel, Son of Man, Behold I will take from thee the pleasure of thy life with a plague, yet shalt thou neither mourn nor ucep, neither shall ihy tears run down"; Ezek, xxiv. 16.
So fit did the Jews hold tears for funerals, that they hired mourners; which, with incomposed gestures, ran up and down the streets; Eccl. xii. 5: who did also cut and lance themselves, that they might mourn in earnest; Jer. xvi. 6. That good natured Patriarch, Isaac, moumed three years for his mother; as the Chinese do at this day for their friends. Jacob mourned two-and-twenty years for Joseph; and there want not some, which have thought Adam and Eve mourned a hundred years for Abel: but, who know's not the wailing of Abel-mitzrain for Joseph; of the valley of Megiddon for Josiah? And if ever any corpse deserved to swim in tears, if ever any loss could command lamentation; then this of ours, yea of this whole island, yea of the whole Church of God, yea of the whole world, justly calls for it, and truly hath it.
O Henry, our sweet prince, our sweet prince Henry, the se-. cond glory of our nation, ornament of mankind, hope of posterity, and life of our life, how do all hearts bleed, and eyes worthily gush out, for thy loss! A loss, that we had neither grace to fear, nor have capacity to conceive. Shall I praise him to you, who are therefore now miserable, because you did know him so well? I forbear it, though to my pain. If I did not spare you, I could not so swiftly pass over the name and the virtues of that glorious Saint, our dear Master; or the aggravation of that loss, whereof too sensible: my true comiseration shall command me silence: yet I could not but touch our sore, with this light hand, though yet raw and bleeding. Death, especially such a death, must have