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and froward, and sinister, and oblique men, men incapable of his retributions, but only of persons disposed, ordained, prepared for them.
And, in the qualification of these persons, he proposes first a rectitude, a directness, an uprightness; declinations downward, deviations upon the wrong hand, squint-eyed, men, splay-footed men, left-handed men, (in a spiritual sense) he meddles not withal. They must be direct, and upright; and then, Upright in heart; for to be good to ill ends, (as in many cases a man may be) God accepts not, regards not. But let him be a person thus qualified, upright; upright because he loves uprightness, Upright in heart; and then he is infallibly embraced, and enwrapped in that general rule, and proposition, that admits no exception, Omnes recti corde, all the upright in heart shall be partakers of this retribution: and in these branches we shall determine our first part; first, that God proposes to himself persons; persons thus and thus qualified; he begins at them. Secondly, that God had rather dwell himself, and propose to us the consideration of good persons, than bad, of his mercies, than his judgments, for he mentions no other here, but persons capable of his retributions; and then, the goodness that God considers, is rectitude, and rectitude in the root, in the heart; and from that root grows that spreading universality, that infallibility, omnes, all such are sure of the reward.
And then, in our second part, in the reward itself, though it be delivered here in the whole bar, in the ingot, in the wedge, in bullion, in one single word, gloriabuntur, laudabuntur, They shall glory, yet it admits this mintage, and coining, and issuing in lesser pieces, that first we consider the thing itself, the metal in which God rewards us, glory, praise; and then, since God's promise is fastened upon that, (we shall be praised) as we may lawfully seek the praise of good men, so must we also willingly afford praise to good men, and to good actions. And then, since we find this retribution fixed in the future, (we shall be praised, we shall be in glory) there arises this consolation, that though we have it not yet, yet we shall have it, though we be in dishonour, and contempt, and under a cloud, of which we see no end ourselves, yet there is a determined future in God, which shall be
made present, we shall overcome this contempt, and gloriabimur, and laudabimur, we shall glory, we shall be celebrated; in which future, the consolation is thus much farther exalted, that it is an everlasting future; the glory, and praise, the approbation, and acclamation, which we shall receive from good men, here, shall flow out and continue, to the Hosannas in heaven, in the mouth of saints, and angels, and to the Euge bone serce, Well done, good and faithful servant', in the mouth of God himself.
First then, God proposes to himself, (in his rewards and retributions) persons; persons disposed and qualified. Not disposed by nature, without use of grace; that is flat and full Pelagianism; not disposed by preventing grace, without use of subsequent grace, by antecedent and anticipant, without concomitant and auxiliant grace; that is semi-Pelagianism. But persons obsequious to his grace, when it comes, and persons industrious and ambitious of more and more grace, and husbanding his grace well all the way, such persons God proposes to himself. God does not only read his own works, nor is he only delighted with that which he hath writ himself, with his own eternal decrees in heaven, but he loves also to read our books too, our histories which we compose in our lives and actions, and as his delight is to be with the sons of men', so his study is in this library, to know what we do. St. Paul says, That God made him a minister of the Gospel, to preach to the Gentiles, to the intent that the angels might know the manifold wisdom of God by the church; that is, by that that was done in the church. The angels saw God; did they not see these things in God? No; for, These things were hid in God, says the apostle there; and the angels see no more in God, than God reveals unto them; and these things of the church, God reserved to a future, and to an experimental knowledge, to be known then when they were done in the church. So there are decrees in God, but they are hid in God; to this purpose and intendment, and in this sense, hid from God himself, that God accepts or condemns man secundum allegata et probata, according to the evidence that arises from us, and not according to those records that are hid in himself. Our actions and his
1 Matt. xxv. 21.
2 Prov. viii. 31.
3 Ephes. iii. 7.
records agree; we do those things which he hath decreed; but only our doing them, and not his decreeing them, hath the nature of evidence. God does not reward, nor condemn out of his decrees, but out of our actions. God sent down his commissioners the angels to Sodom, to inquire, and to inform him how things went. God goes down himself to inquire, and inform himself, how it stood with Adam and Eve'. Not that God was ever ignorant of anything concerning us, but that God would prevent that dangerous imagination in every man, that God should first mean to destroy him, and then to make him, that he might destroy him, without having any evidence against him. For God made man ad imaginem suam, To his own image. If he had made him under an inevitable, and irresistible necessity of damnation, he had made him ad imaginem diabolicam, To the image of the devil, and not to his own. God goes not out as a fowler, that for his pleasure and recreation, or for his commodity, or commendation, would kill, and therefore seeks out game that he may kill it; it is not God that seeks whom he may decour: but God sees the vulture tearing his chickens, or other birds picking his corn, or pecking his fruit, and then when they are in that mischievous action, God takes his bow and shoots them for that. When God condemns a man, he proposes not that man to himself, as he meant to make him, and as he did make him, but as by his sins he hath made himself. At the first creation, God looked upon nothing; there was nothing; but ever since there have been creatures, God hath looked upon the creature: and as Adam gave every creature the name, according as he saw the nature thereof to be; so God gives every man reward or punishment, the name of a saint or a devil, in his purpose, as he sees him a good or a bad user of his graces. When I shall come to the sight of the book of life, and the records of heaven, amongst the reprobate, I shall never see the name of Cain alone, but Cain with his addition, Cain that killed his brother; nor Judas's name alone; but Judas with his addition, Judas that betrayed his Master. God does not begin with a morte moriendum, some body must die, and therefore I will make some body to kill; but God
4 Gen. xviii. 17.
Gen. iii. 9.
61 Pet. v. 8.
came to a morte morieris, yet thou art alive, and mayest live, but if thou wilt rebel, thou must die. God did not call up fevers, and pestilence, and consumptions, and fire, and famine, and war 7, and then make man, that he might throw him into their mouths, but when man threw down himself, God let him fall into their mouths. Had I never sinned in wantonness, I should never have had consumption; nor fever, if I had not sinned in riot; nor death, if I had not transgressed against the Lord of life. If God be pleased to look upon me, at the last day, as I am renewed in Christ, I am safe. But if God should look upon me, (as he made me) in Adam, I could not be unacceptable in his sight, except he looked farther, and saw me in mine own, or in Adam's sin. I would never wish myself better, than God wished me at first; no, nor than God wishes me now, as manifold a sinner as he sees me now, if yet I would conform my will to his. God looks upon persons; persons so conditioned as they were, which was our first branch, in this first part; and our second is, That he delights to propose to himself persons that are capable of his rewards; for he mentions no others in this place, All that are upright in heart.
The first thing that Moses names to have been made, was heaven, In the beginning God made heaven and earth. And infinite millions of generations before this heaven was made, there was a heaven, an eternal emanation of beams of glory, from the presence of God. But Moses tells us of no hell made at the creation; and before the creation, such a hell, as there was a heaven, there could not be; for the presence of God made heaven; and God was equally present everywhere. And they who have multiplied hells unto us, and made more hells than God hath made, more by their two limboes, (one for fathers, another for children) and one purgatory, have yet made their new hells more of the nature of heaven than of hell. For in one of their limboes, (that of the fathers) and in their purgatory, there is in them who are there an infallible assurance of heaven; they that are there, are infallibly assured to come to heaven; and an assurance of salvation will hardly consist with hell; he that is sure to come to heaven, can hardly be said to be in hell.
7 Levit. xxvi. 16.
God was loath and late in making places of torment; he is loath to speak of judgments, or of those that extort judgments from him. How plentifully, how abundantly is the word Beatus, Blessed, multiplied in the Book of Psalms! Blessed, and blessed in every Psalm, in every verse; the book seems to be made out of that word, blessed, and the foundation raised upon that word, blessed, for it is the first word of the book. But in all the book, there is not one va, not one woe, so denounced; not one woe upon any soul, in that book. And when this cae, this woe is denounced in some other of the prophets, it is very often cox dolentis, and not increpantis, that va, that woe, is a voice of compassion in him that speaks it, and not of destruction to them to whom it is spoken. God, in the person of Jeremiah, weeps in contemplation of the calamities threatened, Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people. It is God that was their father, and it is God, their God that slew them; but yet, that God, their father weeps over the slaughter. So in the person of Esay', God weeps again, I will bewail thee with weeping, and I will water thee with tears. And without putting on the person of any man, God himself avows his sighing, when he comes to name judgments, Heu, vindicabor, Alas, I will revenge me of mine enemies1o; and he sighs, when he comes but to name their sins, Heu abominationes, Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel". As though God had contracted an irregularity, by having to do in a cause of blood, he sighs, he weeps when he must draw blood from them. God delights to institute his discourses, and to take, and to make his examples, from men that stand in state of grace, and are capable of his mercies, and his retributions, as here in this text, he names only those, who are Recti corde, The upright in heart, they shall be considered, rewarded.
The disposition that God proposes here in those persons, whom he considers, is rectitude, uprightness, and directness. God hath given man that form in nature, much more in grace, that he should be upright, and look up, and contemplate heaven, and God
Jerem. ix. 1.
10 Isaiah i. 24.
? Isaiah xvi. 9.
11 Ezek. xvi. 11.