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non mariti consolatricem, He left Job a helper, but a helper for his own ends, but for her husband a miserable comforter. Caro conjux, says the same father in another place, this flesh, this sensual part of ours, is our wife : and when these temporal things by any occasion are taken from us, that wife, that flesh, that sensuality is left to murmur and repine at God's corrections, and that is all the benefit we have by that wife, and all the portion we have with that wife.

Though therefore St. Hierome, who understood the original language, the best of his time, in his translation of the Psalms, do give the true, the right sense of this place, yet in his own commentaries upon the Psalms, he takes this first sense, and beats upon that doctrine, that it is but a popular error, a general mistaking, to make worldly blessings any degree of happiness : he saw so good use of that doctrine, as that he would not see the right interpretation of the words: he saw well enough, that according to the letter of the text, temporal things were blessings, yet because they were but left-handed blessings, remembering the story in the Book of Judges, of seven hundred left-handed Benjamites', that would sling stones at a hair's breadth, and were better mark-men than the right-handed, and considering the left-handed men of this world, those who pursue temporal blessings only, went with most earnestness, and best success to their works, to correct that general distemper, that general vehemence upon temporal things, St. Hierome, and so many of the fathers as accompany him in that interpretation, were content to embrace that sense, which is not truly the literal sense of this place, that it should be only beatum dixerint, and not beatus populus, a popular error, and not a truth, that any man, for any people, were blessed in temporal things; and so we have done with the first sense of these words, and the reason why so many follow it.

We are come now to the second interpretation : where there is not beatitudo falsa and vera, for both are true, but there is dextra and sinistra, a right-handed and left-handed blessedness ; there is inchoatira and perfectica, there is an introductory, and a consummatory blessedness : and in the first of these, in the lefthanded, in the less perfect blessedness, we must consider three

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things. First, beatitudinem ipsam, that there is a blessedness proposed : and secondly, in quibus, in what that blessedness is placed in this text, quibus sic, blessed are they that are so, that is, so, as is mentioned in the three former verses: and thirdly, another in quibus, not in what things, but in what persons this first blessedness is placed, beatus populus, it is when all the people, the whole body, and not some ranks of men, nor some particular men in those ranks, but when all the people participate of these blessings.

Now first, for this first blessedness, as no philosophers could ever tell us amongst the Gentiles, what true blessedness was, so no grammarian amongst the Jews, amongst the Hebrews, could ever tell us, what the right signification of this word is, in which David expresses blessedness here; whether asherei, which is the word, be a plural noun, and signify beatitudines, blessednesses in the plural, and intimate thus much, that blessedness consists not in any one thing, but in a harmony and consent of many; or whether this asherei be an adverb, and signify beate, and so be an acclamation, 0 how happily, how blessedly are such men provided for that are so; they cannot tell. Whatsoever it be, it is the very first word, with which David begins his Book of Psalms; beatus vir: as the last word of that book is, laudate Dominum; to shew, that all that passes between God and man, from first to last, is blessings from God to man, and praises from man to God; and that the first degree of blessedness is, to find the print of the hand of God, even in his temporal blessedness, and to praise and glorify him for them, in the right use of them.

A man that hath no land to hold by it, nor title to recover by it, is never the better, for finding, or buying, or having a fair piece of evidence, a fair instrument, fairly written, duly sealed, authentically testified ; a man that hath not the grace of God, and spiritual blessings too, is never the nearer happiness, for all his abundances of temporal blessedness. Evidences are evidences to them who have title. Temporal blessings are evidences to them, who have a testimony of God's spiritual blessings in the temporal. Otherwise as in his hands, who hath no title, it is a suspicious thing to find evidences, and he will be thought to have embezzled and purloined them, he will be thought to have forged

and counterfeited them, and he will be called to an account for them, how he came to them, and what he meant to do with them : so to them who have temporal blessings without spiritual, they are but useless blessings, they are but counterfeit blessings, they shall not purchase a minute's peace of conscience here, nor a minute's refreshing to the soul hereafter; and there must be a heavy account made for them, both how they were got, and how they were employed.

But when a man hath a good title to heaven, then these are good evidences : for, Godliness hath a promise of the life to come, and of the life that now iso; and if we spend anything in maintenance of that title, give, or lose anything for his glory and making sure this salvation, We shall inherit ererlasting life', says the best surety in the world; but we shall not stay so long for our bill of change*, we shall have a hundredfold in this life. St. Augustine seems loath to take Christ at that large word, he seems to think it too great usury, to take a hundredfold for that which we have laid out for Christ: and therefore he reads that place, Accipiet septies tatum, He shall receive seven times as much, in this life. But in both the evangelists, Matthew and Mark, the overflowing bounty and retribution of God is so expressed, centuplum accipiet. God repaired Job so, as he had been impaired; God recompensed him in specie, in the same kind as he had been damnified. And Christ testifies of himself, that his coming to us is not only, Ut vitam habeatis, sed habeatis abundantius; More abundantly; that is, as divers of the fathers interpret it, that you might have eternal life sealed to you, in the prosperity and abundancies of this lite. I am the door, says Christ, in the same chapter 8: we must not think to fly over walls, by sudden and undeserved preferments, nor to sap and undermine, and supplant others; we must enter at that door, by fair and Christian means: and then, By me if any man enter, says Christ there, he shall be saved; there is a rich and blessed inheritance; but before he come to that salvation, IIe shall go in and out, and find pasture, says that text. Now, in heaven there is no going in and out; but in his way to heaven, in this life, he shall find his interest in the next, conveyed and sealed to him in temporal blessings here.

61 Tim. iv, 8. * Folio edition, “ charge."

7 Matt. xix. 29.

8 John ix. 10.

If Plato found and acknowledged a happiness in that, quod natus homo, that he was born a man, and not a beast, (Lactantius adds in Plato's behalf, when he cites that place out of him, quod natus vir, that he was born a man, and not a woman) if he found a farther happiness, quod Græcus, that he was born a Grecian, and not a barbarian ; quod Atheniensis, that he was born in the town which was the receptacle, and dwelling of all wisdom; and quod tempore Socratis, and that he was born in Socrates' time, that so he might have a good example, as well as a good rule for his life: as all we owe to God an acknowledgement of blessedness, that we are born in a Christian church, in a reformed church, in a monarchy, in a monarchy composed of monarchies, and in the time of such a monarch, as is a peacemaker, and a peace-preserver both at home and abroad; so let all them who are born of nobility, or borne up to nobility upon the two fair wings of merit and of favour, all that are born to riches, and born up and born out by their riches, all whom their industry, and wisdom, and usefulness to the state, hath or may any way prefer, take heed of separating the author and the means; of separating God and the king, in the ways of favour ; of separating God and their riches, in the ways of purchase ; of separating God and their wisdom, in the ways of preferment; but let them always discern, and always acknowledge, the hand of God, the author, in directing and prospering the hand of his instrument in all these temporal things, and then, these temporal things are truly blessings unto them, and they are truly blessed in them.

This was our first consideration, our first branch in this part, that temporal things were seals and testimonies of blessedness; the second is, to what particular evidence this seal is annexed in this text, upon what things this blessedness is placed here; which are all involved in this one little particle, this monosyllable so, blessed are they that are so; that is, so, as a prayer is made in the three former verses, that they might be. Now as the maledictions which were threatened to David, were presented to him by the prophet in three forms, of war, of famine, of pestilence; so

these blessings which are comprised in those three verses, may well be reduced to three things contrary to those three maledictions; to the blessing of peace, contrary to David's war, that there may be no invasion; to the blessing of plenty, contrary to David's famine, that' our barns may abound with all sorts of corn; to the blessing of health, contrary to David's destroying sickness, that our sons may grow up as plants in their youth.

For the first temporal blessing of peace, we may consider the loveliness, the amiableness of that, if we look upon the horror and ghastliness of war: either in effigy, in that picture of war, which is drawn in every leaf of our own chronicles, in the blood of so many princes, and noble families, or if we look upon war itself, at that distance where it cannot hurt us, as God had formerly kindled it amongst our neighbours, and as he hath transferred it now to remoter nations, whilst we enjoy yet a Goshen in the midst of all those Egypts. In all cities, disorderly and facinorous men, covet to draw themselves into the skirts and suburbs of those cities, that so they may be the nearer the spoil, which they make upon passengers. In all kingdoms that border upon other kingdoms, and in islands which have no other border but the sea, particular men, who by dwelling in those skirts and borders, may make their profit of spoil, delight in hostility, and have an adverseness and detestation of peace: but it is not so within: they who till the earth, and breed up cattle, and employ their industry upon God's creatures, according to God's ordinance, feel the benefit and apprehend the sweetness, and pray for the continuance of peace.

This is the blessing, in which God so very often expresses his gracious purpose upon his people, that he would give them peace; and peace with plenty; O that my people had hearkened unto me! says God, I would soon have humbled their enemies, (there is their peace) and I would hace fed them with the fat of wheat, and with the honey out of the rock', and there is their plenty. Persons who are preferred for service in the war, prove often suspicious to the prince. Joab's confidence in his own merit and service, made him insolent towards the king, and the king jealous of him. But no man was more suddenly nor more safely preferred than Joseph,

Psalm Lxxxi. 13, and ult.

VOL, III.

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