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preacher; but I had it therefore, because thy spirit prepared me by prayer before ; and I have it therefore, that is, to that end, that I might return faithfully to prayers again. As he is the God of our salvation, (that is, as he works in the Christian church) he answers us : if we ask by prayer, he applies the sermons; and, he answers by terrible things, in righteousness.
These two words, (terribilia per justitiam) by terrible things in righteousness, are ordinarily by our expositors taken to intimate a confidence, that God imprints by the ordinance of his church, that by this right use of prayer and preaching, they shall always be delivered from their enemies, or from what
be most terrible unto them. In which exposition, righteousness signifies faithfulness, and terrible things signify miraculous deliverances from, and terrible judgments upon his and our enemies. Therefore is God called Deus fidelis, the faithful God"'; for that faithfulness implies a covenant, made before, (and there entered his mercy, that he would make that covenant) and it implies also the assurance of the performance thereof, for there enters his faithfulness. So he is called, Fidelis Creator (we commit our souls to God, as to a faithful Creator“) He had an eternal gracious purpose upon us, to create us, and he hath faithfully accomplished it. So, Fidelis quia vocavit, He is faithful in haring called us“; that he had decreed, and that he hath done. So Christ is called, Fidelis pontifex, a merciful and a faithful high priest“; merciful in offering himself for us, faithful in applying himself to us. So God's whole word is called so often, so very often Testimonium fidele, a faithful witness“, an evidence that cannot deceive, nor mislead us. Therefore we may be sure, that whatsoever God hath promised to his church, (and whatsoever God hath done upon the enemies of his church heretofore, those very performances to them, are promises to us, of the like succours in the like distresses) he will perform, re-perform, multiply performances thereof upon us. Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth"; that is, whatsoever thou didst decree, was done even then, in the infallibility of that decree ; and when that decree came to be executed, and actually done, in that very execution of that former decree was enwrapped a new decree, that the same should be done over and over again for us, when soever we needed it. So that then, casting up our account, from the destruction of Babel, by all the plagues of Egypt, through the depopulation of Canaan, and the massacre in Sennacherib's army, to the swallowing of the invincible navy upon our seas, and the bringing to light that infernal, that subterranean treason in our land, we may argue, and assume, that the God of our salvation will answer us by terrible things, by multiplying of miracles, and ministering supplies, to the confusion of his, and our enemies, for, by terrible things in righteousness, will the God of our salvation answer us.
89 Deut. vii. 9.
49 Heb. i. 17.
40 1 Peter iv, 19.
49 Psalm xix. 8.
11 Thes. v. 24. 44 Isaiah xxv. 1.
So then, his judgments are these terribilia, terrible, fearful things; and he is faithful in his covenant, and by terrible judgments he will answer, that is, satisfy our expectation. And that is a convenient sense of these words. But, the word, which we translate righteousness here, is Tzadok, and tzadok is not faithfulness, but holiness; and these terrible things are reverend things ; and so Tremellius translates it, and well. Per res reverendas, by reverend things, things to which there belongs a reverence, thou shalt answer us. And thus, the sense of this place will be, that the God of our salvation, (that is, God working in the Christian church) calls us to holiness, to righteousness, by terrible things ; not terrible, in the way and nature of revenge ; but terrible, that is, stupendious, reverend, mysterious: that so we should not make religion too homely a thing, but come always to all acts, and exercises of religion, with reverence, with fear, and trembling, and make a difference, between religious, and civil actions.
In the frame and constitution of all religions, these materials, these elements have ever entered ; some words of a remote signification, not vulgarly understood, some actions of a kind of halfhorror and amazement, some places of reservation and retiredness, and appropriation to some sacred persons, and inaccessible to all others. Not to speak of the services, and sacrifices of the Gentiles, and those self-manglings and lacerations of the priests of Isis, and of the priests of Baal, (faintly counterfeited in the scourgings and flagellations in the Roman church) in that very discipline which was delivered from God, by Moses, the service was full of mystery, and horror, and reservation, by terrible
things, (sacrifices of blood in manifold effusions) God answered them, then. So the matter of doctrine was delivered mysteriously, and with much reservation, and in-intelligibleness, as Tertullian speaks. The joy and glory of heaven was not easily understood by their temporal abundancies of milk, and honey, and oil, and wine ; and yet, in these (and scarce any other way) was heaven presented, and notified to that people by Moses. Christ, a Messias, a Saviour of the world, by shedding his blood for it, was not easily discerned in their types and sacrifices; and yet so, and scarce any
other way was Christ revealed unto them. I hare multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets“. They were visions, they were similitudes, not plain and evident things, obvious to every understanding, that God led his people by. And there was an order of doctors amongst the Jews that professed that way, to teach the people by parables and dark sayings“; and these were the powerfullest teachers amongst them, for they had their very name (Mosselim) from power and dominion; they had a power, a dominion over the affections of their disciples, because teaching them by an obscure way, they created an admiration, and a reverence in their hearers, and laid a necessity upon them, of returning again to them, for the interpretation and signification of those dark parables. Many think that Moses cites these obscure doctors, these Mosselim, in that place, in the Book of Numbers“), when he
says, Wherefore they that speak in proverbs, say thus, and thus, and so he proceeds in a way and words, as hard to be understood, as any place in all his books. David professes this of himself often; I will open dark sayings upon my harp", and I will open my mouth in a parable". And this was the way of Solomon ; for that very word is the title of his Book of Proverbs. And in this way of teaching, our Saviour abounded, and excelled ; for when it is said, He taught them as one having authoritys, and when it is said, They were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with powers, they refer that to this manner of teaching, that he astonished them with these reserved and dark sayings, and by the subsequent interpretation thereof, gained a reverend estimation amongst them, that he only could lead them to a desire to know, (that dark way increased their desire) and then he only satisfies them with the knowledge of those things which concerned their salvation. For these parables, and comparisons of a remote signification, were called by the Jews, potestates, powers, powerful insinuations, as, amongst the Grecians, the same things were called axiomata, dignities; and of Christ it is said, Without a parable spake he not52.
45 Hos. xi. 10.
46 Sandæi Symbolica fol. 108.
49 Psalm Lxxviii. 2.
47 Num. xxi. 27.
So that God in the Old, and Christ in the New Testament, hath conditioned his doctrine, and his religion, (that is, his outward worship) so, as that evermore there should be preserved a majesty, and a reverential fear, and an awful discrimination of divine things from civil, and evermore something reserved to be inquired after, and laid up in the mouth of the priest, that the people might acknowledge an obligation from him, in the exposition and application thereof. Nay, this way of answering us by terrible things, (that is, by things that imprint a holy horror, and a religious reverence) is much more in the Christian church, than it can have been in any other religion; because, if we consider the Jews, (which is the only religion, that can enter into any comparison with the Christian, in this kind) yet, we look more directly and more immediately upon God in Christ, than they could, who saw him but by way of prophecy, a future thing that should be done after; we look upon God, in history, in matter of fact, upon things done, and set before our eyes; and so that majesty, and that holy amazement, is more to us than ever it was to any other religion, because we have a nearer approximation, and vicinity to God in Christ, than any others had, in any representations of their gods; and it is a more dazzling thing to look upon the sun, in a direct, than in an oblique or side line. And therefore the love of God, which is so often proposed unto us, is as often seasoned with the fear of God; nay, all our religious affections are reduced to that one, to a reverential fear; if he be a master, he calls for fear", and, if he be a father, he calls for honour; and honour implies a reverential fear. And that is the art that David professes to teach, Artem timendi, Come ye children, and hearken unto me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord”. That you think not divinity an occupation, nor churchservice a recreation; but still remember, that the God of our salvation (God working in the Christian church) will answer you; but yet, by terrible things; that is, by not being over-fellowly with God, nor over-homely with places, and acts of religion ; which it may be an advancement to your devotion and edification to consider, in some particulars in the Christian church.
52 Matt. xiii. 34.
53 Mal. i. 6.
And first, consider we it, in our manners, and conversation. Christ says, Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends". But, howsoever Christ called him friend, that was come to the feast without the wedding garment, he cast him outs, because he made no difference of that place from another. First then, remember by what terrible things God answers thee in the Christian church, when he comes to that round and peremptory issue, Qui non crediderit, damnabitur)), he that believes not every article of the Christian faith, and with so steadfast a belief, as that he would die for it, damnabitur, (no modification, no mollification, no going less) he shall be damned. Consider to the nature of excommunication, That it tears a man from the body of Christ Jesus ; that that man withers that is torn off, and Christ himself is wounded in it. Consider the insupportable penances that were laid upon sinners, by those penitential canons, that went through the church in those primitive times; when for many sins which we pass through now, without so much as taking knowledge that they are sins, men were not admitted to the communion all their lives, no, nor easily upon their death-beds. Consider how dangerously an abuse of that great doctrine of predestination may bring thee to think, that God is bound to thee, and thou not bound to him, that thou mayest renounce him, and he must embrace thee, and so make thee too familiar with God, and too homely with religion, upon presumption of a decree. Consider that when thou preparest any unclean action, in any sinful nakedness, God is not only present with thee, in that room then, but then tells thee, that at the day of judgment thou must stand in his presence, and in the presence of all the world, not only naked,
54 Psalm xxxiv. 11.
56 Matt. xxii. 12, 13.
55 John xv. 15. 57 Mark xvi. 16.