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against it". The Gentiles, the philosophers that were without the church, found a party, traitors, conspirators within, the heretics; and all these led and maintained by potent princes that persecuted the church; the gates of hell were all opened, and issued all her forces, but non prævaluerunt, they never prevailed. The Arians were sometimes more than the true Christians in all the world : the Martyrians, a sect that affected the name of martyrdom, could name more martyrs than the true church could, but evanuerunt, yet they vanished: the emperors of Rome persecuted the bishops of Rome to death, yet when we look upon the reckoning, the emperors died faster than bishops. Thou hast compassed me, says the primitive church, and so says the reformed too.
Princes that hated one another have joined in leagues against the religion, princes that needed their subjects, have spent their subjects by thousands, in massacres, to extinguish the religion ; personal assassinates, clandestine plots by poison, by fire, by water, have been multiplied against princes that favour the religion ; inquisitions, confiscations, banishments, dishonours have overflown them that profess the true religion ; and yet the Lord compassing his church, she enjoys a holy certainty, arising out of these testimonies of his care, that she shall never be forsaken. And this may every good soul have too.
God comes to us without any purpose of departing from us again ; for the spirit of life that God breathed into man, that departs from man in death; but when God had assumed the nature of man, the Godhead never parted from that nature; no, not in death; when Christ lay dead in the grave, the Godhead remained united to that body and that soul, which were disunited in themselves; God was so united to man, as that he was with man, when man was not man, in the state of death. So when the spirit of God hath invested, compassed thy soul, and made it his by those testimonies, that spirit establishes it in a kind of assurance that he will never leave it.
Old Rome had (as every city amongst the heathen had) certain gods which they called their tutelar gods, gods that were affected to the preservation of that place ; but they durst never call upon those gods, by their proper names, for fear of losing them ; lest if their names should be
39 Matt. xvi, 18.
known by their enemies, their enemies should win away their gods from them, by bestowing more cost, or more devotion towards them than they themselves used. So also it is said of them, that when they had brought to Rome a foreign god, which they had taken in a conquered place, Victory, they cut the wings of their new god Victory, lest he should fly from them again. This was a misery, that they were not sure of their gods when they had them. We are; if he once come to us,
he never goes out of any variableness in himself, but in us only; that promise reaches to the whole church, and to every particular soul, Thy teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but thine eye shall see thy teachers “', which in the original (as is appliable to our present purpose, noted by Rabbi Moses) is, Non erunt doctores tui alati, Thy teachers shall have no wings, they shall never fly from thee, and so the great translation reads it, non acolabunt. As their great god, Victory, could not fly from Rome, so after this victory which God hath given his church in the Reformation, none of her teachers should fly to, or towards Rome. Every way that God comes to us, he comes with a purpose to stay, and would imprint in us an assurance that he doth so, and that impression is this compassing of thy soul, with songs of deliverance, in the signification and use of which word, we shall in one word conclude all.
God hath given us this certitude, this fair assurance of his perpetual residence with us, in a word of a double signification ; the word is ranan, which signifies joy, exultation, singing; but it hath another sense too. Arise, cry out in the night“. And, attend unto my cry", which are voices far from singing. This God means therein, that though he give us that comfort to sit and sing of our deliverance, yet he would not have us fall asleep with that music, but as when we contemplate his everlasting goodness, we celebrate that with a constant joy, so when we look upon our own weakness and unworthiness, we cry out, Wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from this body of death? For though we have the spirit of life in us, we have a body of death upon us. How loving soever my soul be, it will not stay in a diseased body; how loving soever the spirit of life be, it will not stay in a diseased soul. My soul is loath to go from my body, but sickness and pain will drive it out; so will sin, the spirit of life from my soul. God compasses us with songs of deliverance, we are sure he would not leave us; but he compasses us with cries too, we are afraid, we are sure, that we may drive him from us. Pray we therefore our Lord of everlasting goodness, that he will be our hiding-place, that he will protect us from temptations incident to our several callings, that he will preserve us from troubles, preserve us from them, or preserve us in them, preserve us, that they come not, or preserve us that they overcome not; and that he will compass us, so as no enemy find overture unto us, and compass us with songs, with a joyful sense of our perseverance, but yet with cries too, with a solicitous fear, that that multiplicity and heinousness of our sins may weary even the incessant and indefatigable Spirit of comfort himself, and chase him from us.
40 Isaialı xxx. 20.
1 Lament, ii. 11.
49 Psalm xvii. 1.
PREACHED UPON THE PENITENTIAL PSALMS.
Psalm xxxii, 8.
I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go, I will guide
thee with mine eye.
This verse, more than any other in the Psalm, answers the title of the Psalm. The title is, David's Instruction; and here in the text it is said, I will instruct thee, and teach thee, in the way thou shalt go. There are eleven Psalms that have that title, Psalms of Instruction; the whole book is Sepher Tehillim, The Book of Praises; and it is a good way of praising God, to receive instruction, instruction how to praise him. Therefore doth the Holy Ghost return so often to this catechistical way, instruction, institution, as to propose so many Psalms, expressly under that title purposely to that use. In one of those, the manner how instruc
tion should be given, is expressed also; it must be in a loving manner, for the title is Canticum Amorum', A Song of Love for Instruction. For Absque prudentia, et benevolentia, non sunt perfecta consilia”: True instruction is a making love to the congregation, and to every soul in it; but it is but to the soul. And so when St. Paul said, He was mad for their sakes, Insanirit amatoriam insaniam, says Theophylact, St. Paul was mad for love of them, to whom he writ his holy love letters, his epistles. And thereupon do the Rabbins call this Psalm, Leb David, cor Davidis, The opening and pouring out of David's heart to them, whom he instructs. We have no way into your hearts, but by sending our hearts. The poet's counsel is, Ut ameris, ama, If thou wouldst be truly loved, do thou love truly; the Holy Ghost's precept upon us is, Ut credaris, crede, That if we would have you believe, we believe ourselves. It is not to our eloquence that God promises a blessing, but to our sincerity, not to our tongue, but to our heart: all our hope of bringing you to love God, is in a loving and hearty manner to propose God's love to you. The height of the spouse's love to Christ, came but to that, I am sick of love3: the love of Christ went farther, to die for love. Love is as strong as death; but nothing else is as strong as either; and both, love and death, met in Christ. How strong and powerful upon you then should that instruction be, that comes to you from both these, the love and death of Christ Jesus? and such an instruction doth this text exhibit, I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way in which thou shalt go, I will guide thee with mine eye. God so loved the world, as that he sent his Son to die; the Son being dead so loved the world, as that he returned to world again ; and being ascended, sent the Holy Ghost to establish a church, and in that church, usque ad consummationem, till the end of the world, shall that Holy Spirit execute this catechistical office, He shall instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go, he shall guide thee with his eye.
Though then some later expositors have doubted of the person, who doth this office, to instruct, who this I in our text is, because the Hebrew word Le David, is as well Davidis, as Davidi, An instruction from David, as an instruction to David, and so the catechist may seem to be David, and no more; yet since this criticism upon the word, Le David, argues but a possibility that it may, and not a necessity that it must be so, we accompany St. Hierome, and indeed the whole body of the fathers, in accepting this instruction from God himself, it is no other than God himself that says, I will instruct thee, &c. No other than God himself can undertake so much as is promised in this text. For here is first, a rectifying of the understanding, I will instruct thee, and in the original there is somewhat more than our translation reaches to; it is there, Intelligere faciam te, I will make thee understand. Man can instruct, God only can make us understand. And then it is Faciam te, I will make thee, thee understand; the work is the Lord's, the understanding is the man's : for God does not work in man, as the devil did in idols, and in pythonissis, and in centriloquis, in possessed persons, who had no voluntary concurrence with the action of the devil, but were merely passive; God works so in man, as that he makes man work too, faciam te, I will make thee understand ; that that shall be done shall be done by me, but in thee; the power that rectifies the act is God's, the act is man's; Faciam te, says God, I will make thee, thee, every particular person, (for that arises out of this singular and distribute word, Thee, which threatens no exception, no exclusion) I will make every person, to whom I present instruction, capable of that instruction, and if he receive it not, it is only his, and not my fault. And so this first part is an instruction de credendis, of such things, as by God's rectifying of our understanding, we are bound to believe. And then in a second part, there follows a more particular instructing, Docebo, I will teach thee, and that in via, in the way; it is not only de via, to teach thee, which is the way, that thou mayest find it, but in via, how to keep the way, when thou art in it; he will teach thee, not only ut gradiaris, that thou mayst walk in it, and not sleep, but quomodo gradieris, how thou mayst walk in it, and not stray; and so this second part is an institution de agendis, of those things, which, thine understanding being formerly rectified, and deduced into a belief, thou art bound to do. And then in the last words of the text, I will guide thee with mine eye, there is a
1 Psalm xly. Title.
3 Cant. ii. 5.