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rectifying of his blood, by the application of better blood, had David relation in this place.

All the sacrifices of expiation of sin, in the old law, were done by blood, and that blood was sprinkled upon the people, by an instrument made of a certain plant, which because the word in Hebrew is ezob, for the nearness of the sound, and for the indifferency of the matter, (for it imports us nothing to know, of what plant that aspergillum, that blood-sprinkler was made) the interpreters have ever used in all languages to call this word hyssop. And though we know no proper word for hyssop in Hebrew, (for when they find not a word in the Bible, the Hebrew rabbins will acknowledge no Hebrew word for anything) yet the other languages deduced from the Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic, have clearly another word for hyssop, zuf; and the Hebrew rabbins think this word of our text, ezob, to signify any of three or four plants, rather than our hyssop. But be the plant what it will, the form and the use of that blood-sprinkler is manifest. In the institution of the passover, Take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in blood". In the cleansing of the leper, there was to be the blood of a sparrow, and then cedar-wood, and scarlet lace": and about that cedar-stick, they bound this hyssop with this lace, and so made this instrument to sprinkle blood. And so the name of the hyssop, because it did the principal office, was after given to the whole instrument; all the sprinkler was called an hyssop; as we see when they reached up a sponge of vinegar to Christ upon the Cross, They put it, says the text, upon hyssop", that is, upon an hyssop; not upon an hyssop-stalk, (as the old translation had it) for no hyssop hath such a stalk, but they called such sticks of cedar, as ordinarily served for the sprinkling of blood, hyssops. And whether this were such a cedar-stick, or some other such thing, fit to reach sponge to Christ, we cannot say. For St. Matthew calls that, that St. John calls an hyssop, a reed".

This then was David's petition here ; first, that he might have the blood of Christ Jesus applied and sprinkled upon him; David thought of no election, he looked for no sanctification, but in the

up that

10 Exod. xii. 22.

19 John xix, 29.

il Levit. xiv. 13 Matt. xxvii, 48,

blood of Christ Jesus. And then he desired this blood to be applied to him, by that hyssop, by that blood-sprinkler, which was ordained by God, for the use of the church. Home infusions, and inward inspirations of grace, are powerful seals of God's love; but all this is but the privy seal, David desired to bring it to the great seal, the public ordinance of the church. In a case of necessity God gave his children manna and quails; in cases of necessity God allows sermons, and sacraments at home; but as soon as ever they came to the land of promise, the same day both manna and quails ceased": God hath given us a free and public passage of his word, and sacraments, the diet and the ordinary food of our souls, and he purges us with that hyssop, with the application of his promises, with the absolution of our sins, with a redintegration into his mystical body, by the seals of reconciliation. And this reconciliation to God, by the blood of Christ, applied in the ordinances of the church, is that which David begs for his cleansing, and is the last circumstance of this branch, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.

This cleansing then implies that, which we commonly call the enwrapping in the covenant, the breeding in the visible church, when God takes a nation out of the common, and incloses it, empales it for his more peculiar use, when God withdraws us from the impossibility under which the Gentiles starve, who hear not Christ preached, to live within the sound of his voice, and within the reach of our spiritual food, the word and sacraments. It is that state, which the Holy Ghost so elegantly expresses and enlarges, that God found Jerusalem, Her father an Amorite, and her mother an Hittite's, none of the seed of the faithful in her; that he found her in Canaan, not so much as in a place of true profession; that he found her in her blood, and her navel uncut, still incorporated in her former stock; and, The time was a time of love, says God, and I covered thy nakedness, and sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine. Will you say, this could not be the subject of David's petition, this could not be the cleansing that he begged at God's hand, to be brought into that covenant, to be a member of that church? for he was in possession of that before. Beloved, how many are born in this covenant, and baptized, and catechised in it, and yet fall away? How many have taught, and wrought, and thought in their own conscience that they did well, in defence of the covenant, and yet fell away? And from how many places, which gave light to others, hath God removed the candlestick, and left themselves in darkness? Though David say, A day in thy courts is better than a thousand", (than a thousand anywhere else) yet he expresses his desire, That he might continue in that happiness all the days of his life; it is as fearful a thing to be removed from the means of salvation, as never to have had them.

14 Josh. v. 12.

15 Ezek, xvi. 45.

This then is cleansing, to be continued in the distance, and working of the means of cleansing, that he may always grow under the dew, and breathe in the air of God's grace exhibited in this ordinance. Amongst the Jews there were many uncleannesses, which did not amount to sin: they reckon in the ceremonial law, at least fifty kinds of uncleannesses, from which ir they neglected to cleanse themselves, by those ceremonies which were appropriated to them, then those uncleannesses became sins, and they were put to their sacrifices, before they could be discharged of them. Many levities, many omissions, many acts of infirmity might be prevented by consideration before, or cleansed by consideration now, if we did truly value the present grace, that is always offered us in these the ordinances of God. What sin can I be guilty of, that is without example of mercy, in that Gospel which is preached to me here? But if you will not accept it, when God offers it, you can never have it so good cheap, because hereafter you shall have this present sin, of refusing that offer of grace, added to your burden. Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged any more, till I hate caused my fury to light upon thee"?. But shall we be purged then? Then, when his fury in any calamity hath lighted upon us? Is not this donec, this until, such a donec, as donec faciam, till I make thine enemies thy footstool: such a donec as the donec peperit, she was a virgin, till she brought forth her first son? Is it not an everlasting donec? That we shall not be purged till God's judgments fall upon us, nor then neither : physic may

16 Psalm Lxxxiv. 10. VOL. III.

17 Ezek. xxiv. 13.

H

be ministered too late to work, and judgments may fall too late, to supple or entender the soul: for as we may die with that physic in our stomach, so may we be carried to the last judgment, with that former judgment upon our shoulders. And therefore our later translation hath expressed it more fully, not that that fury shall light, but shall rest upon us.

This cleansing therefore, is that disposition, which God by his grace, infuses into us, that we stand in the congregation, and communion of saints, capable of those mercies, which God hath by his ordinance, annexed to these meetings ; that we may so feel at all times when we come hither, such a working of his hyssop, such a benefit of his ordinance, as that we believe all our former sins to be so forgiven, as that if God should translate us now, this minute, to another life, this dosis of this purging hyssop, received now, had so wrought, as that we should be assuredly translated into the kingdom of heaven. This cleansing applies to us those words of our Saviour, My son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee; but yet there is a farther degree of cleanness expressed in Christ's following words, Go, and sin no more; and that grace against relapses, the gift of sanctification, and perseverance, is that that David asks in his other petition, Lara me, Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Here we proposed first the action, Lara, Wash me. This is more than a sprinkling, a total, and entire washing; more than being an ordinary partaker of the outward means, the word, and sacraments; more than a temporary feeling of the benefit thereof in a present sense ; for it is a building up of habits of religious actions, visible to others, and it is a holy and firm confidence created in us by the Spirit of God, that we shall keep that building in reparation, and go forward with it to our lives' end. It is a washing like Naaman's in Jordan, to be iterated seven times, seventy-seven times, daily, hourly, all our life; a washing, begun in baptism, pursued in sweat, in the industry of a lawful calling, continued in tears, for our deficiencies in the works of our calling, and perchance to be consummated in blood, at our deaths. Not such a washing, as the washes have, which are those sands that are overflowed with the sea at every tide, and then lie dry, but such a washing as the bottom of the sea hath, that is always equally wet. It is not a stillicidium, a spout, a shower, a bucket poured out upon us, when we come to church, a Sabbath sanctification, and no more, but a water that enters into every office of our house, and washes every action proceeding from every faculty of the soul. And this is the washing, a continual succession of grace, working effectually to present habits of religious acts, and constituting a holy purpose of persevering in them that induces the whiteness, the candour, the dealbation that David begs here, Lara et dealbabor.

The purging with hyssop, which we spoke of before, which is the benefit which we have by being bred in a true church, delivers us from that redness, which is in the earth of which we are made, from that guiltiness, which is by our natural derivation from our parents imprinted in us; baptism doth much upon that; but that that is not red, is not therefore white. But this is our case : our first colour was white; God made man righteous. Our redness is from Adam, and the more that redness is washed off's, the more we return to our first whiteness; and this which is petitioned here, is a washing of such perfection, as cleanses us ab omni inquinamento, from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Those inquinamenta, which are ordinary, are first in the flesh, concupiscence and carnality, and those other, of which the apostle says, The works of the flesh are manifesti"; and in the spirit, they are murmuring, diffidence in God, and such others. But besides these, as an over-diligent cleansing of the body, and additional beauty of the body, is inquinamentum carnis, one of St. Paul's filthinesses upon the flesh, so an over-purifying of the spirit, in an uncharitable undervaluing of other men, and in a schismatical departing from the unity of the church, is inquinamentum spiritus: false beauties are a foulness of the body, false purity is a foulness of the spirit. But the washing, that we seek, cleanses us ab omni inquinamento, from all foulness of flesh and spirit. All waters will not cleanse us, nor all fires dry us, so may be clean, smoky fires will not do that. I will pour clean tater upon you, and you shall be cleane.

The sun produces sweat upon us, and it dries us too: zeal cleanses us; but it must

as we

18 2 Cor, vii. 1.

19 Gal, v. 19.

20 Ezek. xxxvi. 25.

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