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of that state. A state but of one day, because no night shall overtake, or determine it, but such a day, as is not of a thousand years, which is the longest measure in the Scriptures, but of a thousand millions of millions of generations: Qui nec præceditur hesterno, nec excluditur crastino", A day that hath no pridie, nor postridie, yesterday doth not usher it in, nor to-morrow shall not drive it out. Methusalem, with all his hundreds of years, was but a mushroom of a night's growth, to this day, and all the four monarchies, with all their thousands of years, and all the powerful kings, and all the beautiful queens of this world, were but as a bed of flowers, some gathered at six, some at seven, some at eight, all in one morning, in respect of this day. In all the two thousand years of nature, before the law given by Moses, and the two thousand years of law, before the Gospel given by Christ, and the two thousand of grace, which are running now, (of which last hour we have heard three quarters strike, more than fifteen hundred of this last two thousand spent) in all this six thousand, and in all those, which God may be pleased to add, in domo patris, in this house of his Father's, there was never heard quarter clock to strike, never seen minute glass to turn. No time less than itself would serve to express this time, which is intended in this word mansions; which is also exalted with another beam, that they are Multa, In my Father's house there are many mansions.
In this circumstance, an essential, a substantial circumstance, we would consider the joy of our society, and conversation in heaven, since society and conversation is one great element and ingredient into the joy, which we have in this world. We shall have an association with Christ himself; for where he is, it is his promise, that we also shall be. We shall have an association with the angels, and such a one, as we shall be such as they. We shall have an association with the saints, and not only so, to be such as they, but to be they: and with all who come from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South, and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven". Where we shall be so far from being enemies to one another, as that we shall not be strangers to one another:
82 Matt. viii. 11.
and so far from envying one another, as that all that every one hath, shall be every other's possession: where all souls shall be so entirely knit together, as if all were but one soul, and God so entirely knit to every soul, as if there were as many Gods as souls.
Be comforted then, says Christ to them, for this, which is a house, and not a ship, not subject to storms by the way, nor wrecks in the end, My Father's house, not a stranger's, in whom I had no interest, a house of mansions, a dwelling, not a sojourning, and of many mansions, not an abridgment, a model of a house, not a monastery of many cells, but an extension of many houses, into the city of the living God, This house shall be yours, though I depart from you. Christ is nearer us, when we behold him with the eyes of faith in heaven, than when we seek him in a piece of bread, or in a sacramental box here. Drive him not away from thee, by wrangling and disputing how he is present with thee; unnecessary doubts of his presence may induce fearful assurances of his absence: the best determination of the real presence is to be sure, that thou be really present with him, by an ascending faith: make sure thine own real presence, and doubt not of his: thou art not the farther from him, by his being gone thither before thee.
No, nor though Peter be gone thither before thee neither, which was the other point, in which the apostles needed consolation; they were troubled that Christ would go, and none of them, and troubled that Peter might go, and none but he. What men soever God take into heaven before thee, though thy father that should give thee thy education, though thy pastor that should give thee thy instruction, though these men may be such in the state, and such in the church, as thou mayest think the church and state cannot subsist without them, discourage not thyself, neither admit a jealousy or suspicion of the providence and good purpose of God; for, as God hath his panier full of manna, and of quails, and can pour out to-morrow, though he have poured them out plentifully upon his friends before; so God hath his quiver full of arrows, and can shoot as powerfully, as heretofore, upon his enemies. I forbid thee not St. Paul's wish, cupio dissolvi, to desire to be dissolved, therefore, that thou mayest be with
Christ; I forbid thee not David's sigh, Hei mihi, Woe is me that I must dwell so long with them that love not peace! I only enjoin thee thy Saviour's Veruntamen, Yet not mine, but thy will, O Father, be done; that all thy wishes may have relation to his purposes, and all thy prayers may be inanimated with that, Lord manifest thy will unto me, and conform my will unto thine. So shalt thou not be affrighted, as though God aimed at thee, when he shoots about the mark, and thou seest a thousand fall at thy right hand, and ten thousand at thy left; nor discouraged as though God had left out thee, when thou seest him take others into garrison, and leave thee in the field, assume others to triumph, and leave thee in the battle still. For as Christ Jesus would have come down from heaven, to have died for thee, though there had been no soul to have been saved but thine; so is he gone up to heaven, to prepare a place for thee, though all the souls in this world were to be saved as well as thine. Trouble not thyself with dignity, and priority, and precedency in heaven, for consolation and devotion consist not in that, and thou wilt be the less troubled with dignity, and priority, and precedency in this world, for rest and quietness consist not in that.
PREACHED At whitehalL, APRIL 30, 1620.
PSALM CXLIV. 15.
[Being the First Psalm for the Day.]
Blessed are the people that be so; yea blessed are the people, whose God is the Lord.
THE first part of this text hath relation to temporal blessings, Blessed is the people that be so: the second part to spiritual, Yea blessed is the people, whose God is the Lord. His left hand is under my head, saith the spouse'; that sustains me from falling
1 Cant. ii. 6.
into murmuring, or diffidence of his Providence, because out of his left hand he hath given me a competency of his temporal blessings; But his right hand doth embrace me, saith the spouse there; his spiritual blessings fill me, possess me, so that no rebellious fire breaks out within me, no outward temptation breaks in upon me. So also says Solomon again, In her left hand is riches and glory, (temporal blessings) and in her right hand length of days, all that accomplishes and fulfils the eternal joys of the saints of heaven. The person to whom Solomon attributes this right and left hand is Wisdom; and a wise man may reach out his right and left hand, to receive the blessings of both sorts. And the person whom Solomon represents by Wisdom there, is Christ himself. So that not only a worldly wiseman, but a Christian wiseman may reach out both hands, to both kinds of blessings, right and left, spiritual and temporal. And therefore, Interrogo vos, filios regni cœlorum, saith St. Augustine, Let me ask you, who are sons and heirs of the kingdom of heaven, Progeniem resurrectionis in æternum, You that are the offspring of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, and have your resurrection in his, Membra Christi, templa Spiritus Sancti, You that are the very body of Christ, you that are the very temples of the Holy Ghost, Interrogo ros, Let me ask you, for all your great reversion hereafter, for all that present possession which you have of it, in an apprehensive faith, and in a holy conversation in this life, for all that blessedness, Non est ista felicitas? Is there not a blessedness in enjoying God's temporal blessings here too? Sit licet, sed sinistra, saith that father; it is certainly a blessedness, but a lefthanded blessedness, a weaker, a more imperfect blessedness, than spiritual blessings are.
As then there is dextra, and sinistra beatitudo, a right-handed, and a left-handed blessedness in the text: so there is dextra, and sinistra interpretatio, a right and a left exposition of the text. And as both these blessednesses, temporal and spiritual, are seals and testimonies of God's love, though not both of equal strength, and equal evidence; so both the interpretations of these words are useful for our edification, though they be not both of equal authority. That which we call sinistram interpretationem, is
2 Prov. iii. 16.
that sense of these words, which arises from the first translators of the Bible, the Septuagint, and those fathers which followed them; which, though it be not an ill way, is not the best, because it is not according to the letter; and then, that which we call dextram interpretationem, is that sense which arises preg nantly, and evidently, liquidly, and manifestly out of the original text itself.
The authors and followers of the first sense read not these words as we do, Beatus populus, That people is blessed, but Beatum dixerunt populum, That people was esteemed blessed; and so they refer this and all the temporal blessings mentioned in the three former verses to a popular error, to a general mistaking, to the opinions, and words of wicked and worldly men, that only they desire these temporal things, only they taste a sweetness, and apprehend a blessedness in them; whereas they who have truly their conversation in heaven, are swallowed up with the contemplation of that blessedness, without any reflection upon earth or earthly things. But the author of the second sense, which is God himself, and his direct word, presents it thus, Beatus populus, That people is truly blessed, there is a true blessedness in temporal things; but yet, this is but sinistra beatitudo, a less perfect blessedness; for the followers of both interpretations, and all translators, and all expositors meet in this, that the perfect, the accomplishing, the consummatory blessedness is only in this, That our God be the Lord.
First then, to make our best use of the first sense, that temporal things conduce not at all to blessedness, St. Cyprian's wonder is just, Deum nobis solis contentum esse, nobis non sufficere Deum; That God should think man enough for him, and man should not be satisfied with God; that God should be content with Fili da mihi cor, My Son give me thy heart, and man should not be content with Pater da mihi Spiritum, My God, my Father, grant me thy Spirit, but must have temporal additious too. Non est castum cor, saith St. Augustine, si Deum ad mercedem colit; as he saith in another place, Non est casta uror, qua amat quia dives, She is never the honester woman, nor the lovinger wife, that loves her husband in contemplation of her future jointure, or in fruition of her present abundancies; so he