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is said here, and upon every irreverence in this place, and in this action; confess, that though he be the God of your salvation, and do answer you, yet, By terrible things doth the God of your salvation answer you. And confess it also, as in manners, and in prayers, and in preaching, so in the holy and blessed sacrament.
This sacrament of the body and blood of our Saviour, Luther calls safely, renerabile et adorabile; for certainly, whatsoever that is which we see, that which we receive is to be adored; for we receive Christ. He is Res Sacramenti, The form, the essence, the substance, the soul of the sacrament; and Sacramentum sine re sacramenti, mors est', To take the body, and not the soul, the bread, and not Christ, is death. But he that feels Christ, in the receiving of the sacrament, and will not bend his knee, would scarce bend his knee, if he saw him. The first of that royal family, which thinks itself the greatest in Christendom at this day, the house of Austrich, had the first marks of their greatness, the empire, brought into that house, for a particular reverence done to the holy and blessed sacramento, What the bread and wine is, or what becomes of it, Damascen thinks impertinent to be inquired. He thinks he hath said enough ; (and so may we do) Migrat in substantiam animæ; There is the true transubstantiation, that when I have received it worthily, it becomes my very soul; that is, my soul grows up into a better state, and habitude by it, and I have the more soul for it, the more sanctified, the more deified soul by that sacrament.
Now this sacrament, which as it is ministered to us, is but a sacrament, but as it is offered to God, is a sacrifice too, is a fearful, a terrible thing. If the sacrifices of the law, the blood of goats and rams, were so, how fearful, how terrible, how reverential a thing is the blood of this immaculate Lamb, the Son of God? And though God do so abound in goodness towards us, Ut possint injuriata sacramenta prodesse reversis, (as St. Cyprian excellently expresses it) That that sacrament which we have injured and abused, received unworthily, or irreverently, at one time, may yet benefit us, and be the savour and seal of life unto us, at another, yet when you hear that terrible thunder break upon you,
80 Alvarez de Auxil, Epist. ad Phil. iii.
That the unworthy receiver eats and drinks his own damnatione, that he makes Christ Jesus, who is the propitiation of all the world, his damnation; and then, that not to have come to a severe examination of the conscience before, and to a sincere detestation of the sin, and to a formed, and fixed, and deliberate, and determinate resolution against that sin, at the receiving of the sacrament, (which, alas, how few do! Is there one that does it? There is scarce one that this makes a man an unworthy receiver of the sacrament, that thus we make a mock of the Son of God, thus we tread the blood of the covenant under foot, and despite the spirit of graces; and that for this, at the last day, we shall be ranked with Judas, and not only with Judas, as a negligent despiser, but with Judas, as an actual betrayer of the blood of Christ Jesus. Consider well, with what fearful conditions even this seal of your reconciliation is accompanied, and though you may not doubt, but that God, the God of your saltation does answer you, yet you must confess too, that it is by terrible things, that he does it. And, as it is so in matter of manners, and so in our prayers, and so in our preaching, and so in the sacrament, so is it also at the hour of our death, which is as far as we can pursue this meditation, (for, after death we can ask nothing at God's hands, and therefore God makes us no answer) and therefore with that conclusion of all, we shall conclude all, That by terrible things, the God of our salvation answers us, at the hour of our death.
Though death be but a sleep, yet it is a sleep that an earthquake cannot wake; and yet there is a trumpet that will, when that hand of God, that gathered dust to make these bodies, shall crumble these bodies into dust again, when that soul that evaporated itself in unnecessary disputations in this world, shall make such fearful and distempered conclusions, as to see God only by absence, (never to see him face to face) and to know God only by ignorance, (never to know him sicuti est, as he is) (for he is all mercy) and to possess immortality, and impossibility of dying only in a continual dying; when, as a cabinet whose key were lost, must be broken up, and torn in pieces, before the jewel that was laid up in it can be taken out; so thy body, (the cabinet of thy soul) must be shaked and shivered by violent sickness, before that soul can go out, and when it is thus gone out, must answer for all the imperfections of that body, which body polluted it, and yet, though this soul be such a loser by that body, it is not perfectly well, nor fully satisfied, till it be re-united to that body again ; when thou rememberest, (and, oh, never forget it) that Christ himself was heavy in his soul unto death, that Christ himself came to a Si possibile, If it be possible, let this cup pass; that he came to a quare dereliquisti, a bitter sense of God's dereliction, and forsaking of him, when thou considerest all this, compose thyself for death, but think it not a light matter to die. Death made the lion of Judah to roar; and do not thou think, that that which we call going away like a lamb, doth more testify a conformity with Christ, than a strong sense, and bitter agony, and colluctation with death, doth. Christ gave us the rule, in the example; he taught us what we should do, by his doing it; and he pre-admitted a fearful apprehension of death. A lamb is a hieroglyphic of patience, but not of stupidity. And death was Christ's Consummatum est, All ended in death; yet he had sense of death; how much more doth a sad sense of our transmigration belong to us, to whom death is no consummatum est, but an in principio; our account, and our everlasting state begins but then.
B! I Cor. xi. 27, 29.
89 Heb. x. 29.
Apud te propitiatio, ut timearis; in this knot we tie up all; With thee there is mercy, that thou mightest be feared83. There is a holy fear, that does not only consist with an assurance of mercy, but induces, constitutes that assurance. Pacor operantibus iniquitatem, says Solomono; Pavor, horror, and servile fear, jealousy, and suspicion of God, diffidence, and distrust in his mercy, and a bosom-prophecy of self-destruction ; destruction itself, (so we translate it) be upon the workers of iniquity; Paror operantibus iniquitatem; and yet says that wise king, Beatus qui semper Pacidus ; Blessed is that man that always fearg8s; who, though he always hope, and believe the good that God will show him, yet also fears the evils, that God might justly multiply upon him; blessed is he that looks upon God with assurance, but upon him
83 Psalm cxxx. 4.
84 Prov. xxi. 15.
B5 Prov. xxviii. 14.
self with fear. For, though God have given us light, by which we may see him, even in nature, (for, He is the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea) though God have given us a clearer light in the law, and experience of his providence upon his people throughout the Old Testament, though God have abundantly, infinitely multiplied these lights and these helps to us in the Christian church, where he is the God of salvation, yet, as he answers us by terrible things, (in that first acceptation of the words which I proposed to you) that is, gives us assurances, by miraculous testimonies in our behalf, that he will answer our patient expectation, by terrible judgments and revenges upon our enemies, In his righteousness, that is, in his faithfulness, according to his promises, and according to his performances of those promises, to his former people ; so in the words, considered the other way, in his holiness, that is, in his ways of imprinting holiness in us, he answers us by terrible things, in all those particulars, which we have presented unto you; by infusing faith ; but with that terrible addition, damnabitur, he that believeth not, shall be damned; he answers us, by composing our manners, and rectifying our life and conversation ; but with terrible additions of censures, and excommunications, and tearings off from his own body, which is a death to us, and a wound to him; he answers us by enabling us to speak to him in prayer;
but with terrible additions, for the matter, for the manner, for the measure of our prayer, which being neglected, our very prayer is turned to sin. He answers us in preaching; bụt with that terrible commination, that even his word may be the savour of death unto death. He answers us in the sacrament; but with that terrible perplexity and distraction, that he that seems to be a John, or a Peter, a loving, or a beloved disciple, may be a Judas, and he that seems to have received the seal of his reconciliation, may have eaten and drunk his own damnation. And he answers us at the hour of death ; but with this terrible obligation, that even then I make sure my salvation with fear and trembling. That so we imagine not a God of wax, whom we can melt, and mould, when, and how we will; that we make not the church a market, that an over-homeliness and familiarity with God in the acts of religion, bring us not to an irreverence, nor indifferency of places; but that, as the militant church is the porch of the triumphant, so our reverence here may have some proportion to that reverence which is exhibited there, where the elders cast their crowns before the throne, and continue in that holy and reverend acclamation, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power 86; for, (as we may add from this text) By terrible things, O God of our salcation, doest thou answer us in righteousness.
THE FIFTH OF MY PREBEND SERMONS UPON MY FIVE PSALMS.
PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S.
PSALM Lxvi. 3. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! Through the greatness of
thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.
It is well said, (so well, as that more than one of the fathers seemed to have delighted themselves in having said it) titulus clavis, the title of the Psalm, is the key of the Psalm; the title opens the whole Psalm. The church of Rome will needs keep the key of heaven, and the key to that key, the Scriptures, wrapped up in that translation, which in no case must be departed from. There, the key of this Psalm, (the title thereof) hath one bar wrested, that is, made otherwise, than he that made the key, (the Holy Ghost) intended it; and another bar inserted, that is, one clause added, which the Holy Ghost added not. Where we read, in the title, victori, to the chief musician, they read, in finem, a Psalm directed upon the end. I think, they mean upon the latter times, because it is in a great part, a prophetical Psalm of the calling of the Gentiles. But after this change, they also add resurrectionis, a Psalm concerning the resurrection; and that is not in the Hebrew, nor anything in the
86 Revel. iv, 11.