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pline of another; when we see all that comes, to come from God, and are content with that, then omnia co-operantur, every piece serves to the making up this pale, and his mercy compasses us about.
This is the root of our three branches, the foundation of our three stories; the bag of our three sums, in this portion, mercy, compassing mercy; and then the branches themselves, the rooms, the sums are but these three words, expressing, and exalting one affection, Be glad, rejoice, and shout for joy; which joy, is first an inward love of the law of God, Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever, for they are the joy of my heart“ It is not dant, but sunt, not that they bring joy, but that they are joy; there is no other joy but the delight in the law of the Lord: for all other joy, the wise king said, Of laughter, thou art mad, and of joy, what is this that thou dost“? True joy is the earnest which we have of heaven, it is the treasure of the soul, and therefore should be laid in a safe place, and nothing in this world is safe to place it in: and therefore with the spouse we say, We will be glad in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine 43 Let others seek their joy in wine, in society, in conversation, in music; for me, Thou hast put gladness into my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
Rejoice therefore in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoices: Again, that is, rejoice in the second manner of expressing it, by external declarations. Go cheerfully, and joyfully forward, in the works of your callings. Rejoice in the blessings of God without murmuring, or comparing with others. And establish thy joy so, in an honest, and religious manner of getting, that thy joy may descend to thine heir, as well as thy land. No land is so well fenced, no house so well furnished, as that, which hath this joy, this testimony of being well gotten. For, This thou knowest of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment “.
And then the last degree is louder than this, Jubilate, Shout for joy; declare thy joy in the ears of other men. As the angels said to the shepherds, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people, so be thou a cheerful occasion of glorifying God by thy joy. Declare his loving kindness unto the sons of men ; tell them what he hath done for thy soul, thy body, thy state. Say, With this staff came I orer Jordan: be content to tell whose son thou wast, and how small thy beginning. Smother not God's blessings, by making thyself poor, when he who is truly poor, begs of thee, for that God's sake, who gave thee all that thou hast. Hold up a holy cheerfulness in thy heart; go on in a cheerful conversation ; and let the world see, that all this grows out of a peace, betwixt God and thee, testified in the blessings of this world; and then thou art that person, and then thou hast that portion, which grows out of this root, in this text, mercy shall compass him about that trusteth in the Lord.
41 Psalm cxix. 11).
41 Phil, iv. 4.
42 Eccles. ii. 2.
43 Cant. i. 4. 45 Job xx. 4, 5.
PREACHED UPON THE PENITENTIAL PSALMS.
PSALM Li. 7.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean ; wash me, and I shall be whiter
In the records of the growth, and propagation of the Christian church, the ecclesiastical story, we have a relation of one Pambo, an unlearned, but devout, and humble hermit, who being informed of another man, more learned than himself, that professed the understanding, and teaching of the Book of Psalms, sought him out, and applied himself to him, to be his disciple. And taking his first lesson casually, at the first verse of the thirtyninth Psalm, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue, he went away with that lesson, with a promise to return again when he was perfect in that. And when he discontinued so long, that his master, sometimes occasionally lighting upon him, accused him of this slackness, for almost twenty years together he made several excuses, but at last professed, that at
the end of those twenty years, he was not yet perfect in his first lesson, in that one verse, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. Now, that which made this lesson hard unto him, was, that it employed all his diligence, and his watchfulness upon future things; to examine and debate all his actions, and all his words; for, else he did not take heed to his ways; at least, not so, as that he would not sin with his tongue. But if he had begun with this lesson, with this Psalm, which is but a calling to our memory that which is past, the sinful employment of that time, which is gone, and shall not return, the sinful heats of our youth, which, since we wanted remorseful tears to quench them, even the sin itself, and the excess thereof hath overcome, and allayed in us, sinful omissions, sinful actions, and habits, and all those transitory passages, in which the apostle shows us, our prodigality, our unthriftiness, our ill bargain, when he asks us that question of confusion, What fruit had you then in those things, whereof ye are now ashamed'? If he had begun his first lesson at this, with the presenting of all his passed sins, in the sight of the Father, and in the mediation and merit of the Son, he would have been sooner perfect in that lesson, and would have found himself, even by laying open his disease, so purged with hyssop as that he should have been clean, and so washed, as that he should have been whiter than snor. For, repentance of sins past is nothing but an audit, a casting up of our accounts, a consideration, a survey, how it stands between God and our soul. And yet, as many men run out of plentiful estates, only because they are loath to see a list of their debts, to take knowledge how much they are behind hand, or to contract their expenses : so we run out of a whole and rich inheritance, the kingdom of heaven, we profuse and pour out even our own soul, rather than we will cast our eye upon that which is past, rather than we will present a list of our spiritual debts to God, or discover our disease to that physician, who only can purge us with hyssop, that we may be clean, and wash us, that we may be whiter than snow.
In the words we shall consider the person, and the action, who petitions, and what he asks. Both are twofold; for, the persons are two, the physician and the patient, God and David, do thou
Rom. vi. 21.
purge me, do thou wash me; and the action is twofold, purgabis, do thou purge me, and lavabis, do thou wash me. In which last part, and in the first branch thereof, we shall see first, the action itself, purgabis, thou shalt purge me, and what that imports; and then the means, purgabis hyssopo, thou shalt purge me with hyssop, what that implies; and then the effect, mundabor, I shall be made clean, and what that comprehends. And in the other branch of that second part, lavabis, thou shalt wash me, we shall also look upon the action on God's part, lacabis, thou shalt wash me, and the effect on our part, dealbabor, I shall be white, and the degree, the extent, the exhaltation of that emundation, that dealbation, that cleansing, supra nicem, I shall be whiter than snor. And then we shall conclude all with that consideration, that though in the first part, we find two persons in action; for God works, but man prays that God would work, yet in the other part, the work itself; though the work be divers, a purging, and then a washing of the soul, the whole work is God's alone: David doth not say, no man can say, Do thou purge me, and then, I will wash myself; nor do thou make the medicine, and I will bring the hyssop ; nor do thou but wash me, begin the work, and I will go forward with it, and perfect it, and make myself whiter than snow; but the entire work is his, who only can infuse the desire, and only accomplish that desire, who only gives the will, and the ability to second, and execute that will, he, he purges me, or I am still a vessel of peccant humours; his, his is the hyssop, or there is mors in olla, death in the cup; he, he washes me, or I am still in my blood ; he, he exalts that cleanness, which is, his washing hath indued, or I return again to that red earth, which I brought out of Adam's bowels; therefore do thou purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; do thou wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
First then, for our first part, we consider the persons. Of these God is the first; Esay spoke boldly, saith the apostle, when he said, God is found by them that seek him not?; but still we continue in that humble boldness, to say, God is best found, when we seek him, and observe him in his operation upon us. God gives audiences, and admits accesses in his solemn and public and out-rooms, in his ordinances; in his cabinet, in his bedchamber, in his unrevealed purposes, we must not press upon him. It was ill taken in the Roman state, when men inquired in arcana imperii, the secrets of state, by what ways and means, public businesses were carried : private men were to rest in the general effects, peace, and protection, and justice, and the like, and to inquire no more; but to inquire in arcana domus, what was done in the bed-chamber, was criminal, capital, inexcusable. We must abstain from inquiring de modo, how such or such things are done in many points, in which it is necessary to us to know that such things are done : as the manner of Christ's presence in the sacrament, and the manner of Christ's descent into hell, for these are arcana imperii, secrets of state, for the manner is secret, though the thing be evident in the Scriptures. But the entering into God's unrevealed, and bosom purposes, are arcana domus, a man is as far from a possibility of attaining the knowledge, as from an excuse for offering at it. That curiosity will bring a man to that blasphemy of Alfonsus king of Castile, the great astronomer, who said, that if he had been of God's counsel in the creation of the world, he could have directed him to have done many things better than he did. They that look too far into God's unrevealed purposes, are seldom content with that that they think God hath done; but stray either into an uncharitable condemning of other men, or into a jealous, a suspicious, a desperate condemning of themselves. Here, in this first branch of this first part, we seek God, and because we seek him, where he hath promised to be, we are sure to find him; because we join with David, in an humble confession of our sins, the Lord joins us with David, in a fruition of himself. And more of that first person, God himself, we say not, but pass to the other, to the petitioner, to the penitent, to the patient, to David himself.
2 Rom. x, 20.
His example is so comprehensive, so general, that as a wellmade, and well-placed picture in a gallery looks upon all that stand in several places of the gallery, in several lines in several angles, so doth David's history concern and embrace all.
For his person includes all states, between a shepherd and a king, and his sin includes all sin, between first omissions, and complica