« PrécédentContinuer »
would have peace in nur estate, peace in our land, peace in our Church, peace in our souls; pray for it. And if ever we will pray for it, pray here, in God's house; for in this place will I give peace. In vain shall we look for it elsewhere, if we ask it not here. It is true, we are bidden every where to lift up pure hands to God; but they cannot be pure, that are profane; and they cannot be but profane, that contemn the holy ordinances of God. He said well, In templo ris orare? in te ora : for, know you not, that your bodies are the Temples of the Living God? but, let me as truly return it; In te ris orare? in Templo ora, “Wouldest thou pray with eilect at home? pray at Church;" else thy devotion is but the sacrifice of fools: for He hath said it, who hath good reason to appoint the circumstances of his own beneficence, In this place will I give peace. Will ye then see the reason, why there is so much empty cask in the cellar of God? Therefore are men void of
because they are void of devotion. They seek not God, where he may be found; and, therefore, it is just with God, not to be found of them, where they pretend to seek him: for, In hoc loco, In this place will I give peace. Gerson distinguishes well, in his Sermon De Angelis, that there is Duplex Calum, "A double Heaven," Gloriæ et Ecclesiæ ; of “ Glory" above, of the “ Church” below. The Church is the heaven on earth; where God is seen, heard, spoken unto: where are his saints, whose assemblies are here: where are his angels; Let the woman have power on her head, because of the Angels; 1 Cor. xi. 10. As the Jews then, whilst the Church of God was National, were wont, according to commandi, to look towards the Temple, if they could not come to it, in their devotions: so, now that the Church is Catholic, or Universal, and every of our Churches is equally God's House, uupiany'; we shall gladly, with Peter and John, go up to this Temple to pray. How can we look for a better encouragement, than God gives us here; In this place will I give peace?
In the latter, as it is Auditorium; so, I create the fruit of the lips to be peace, saith God. Naturally, we are all, even those that applaud themselves in the best opinion of their harmless and fair disposition, enemies to God: enemies, both actively and passively. Actively, 9805uyes, God-haters; Rom. i. 30. Passively, Filiire, The sons of displeasure. We fell out in Adam, throngh our own wilful apostacy and disobedience; and we still stand out, in the maintenance of our inward corruption. There is no way to peace, but by reconciliation: there is no way to reconciliation, but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Evangelium Pacis: there is no proper element for the Gospel of God, but the House of God; Locus iste, In this place will 1 give peace.
It is not, I know, for every heart to apprehend, either the want of this peace, or the misery of this want.
This is one of those happinesses, which is most bragged of, where it is least had. The sensual Securitan pleases himself in the conceit of his own peace. All is well at home: he quarrels not with himself; for he denies himself nothing: God quarrels not with him:
here are no checks of a chiding conscience; no frowns of an angry judge; nothing but Pulchritudo Pacis, as the Prophet speaks, Alas, my Beloved, call not this peace: call it stupidity: Even hell itself is not a kingdom divided in itself. There is no blessing, which is not also counterfeited, Pacem verain dabo, is the stile of the Prophets; Jer. xiv. 13. This were a needless epithet, if there were not a false peace. Such is this of carnal hearts. That word of eternal truth must stand; There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. Have you seen a sore suddenly filled up
with unsound flesh, and fairly skinned over, without all offence to the eye; which, ere long, will break out again, and bewray a secret and so muchmore-hardly-cured corruption ? such is a wicked man's peace, Have seen a slave sit quietly in the galley; not struggling with his chain; not repining at his oar? Necessitas, fortiter; consuetudo, facilè : “ Necessity hath taught him to bear it strongly; custom, easily." Have you heard a dying man profess, that he felt no pain? such is a wicked man's peace, of which he shall once say, though now all seem smooth and plausible; In pace amaritudo mea amarissima; In peace I had great bitterness; Isaiah xxxviii. 17.
Neither is the want of this peace less perceived, than the misery of this want. Men see no difference in the face of heaven, what, soever they do: their blasphemies and prayers find the same entertainment: therefore, the careless man resolves, “I shall have peace, though I follow the ways of mine own heart.” Oh the miser, able sottishness of wilful sinners! Sin lies, like a sleeping Bandog, at the door of their heart: they look upon him, as if he would never wake; or, as if, though he should, yet he were so clogged and chained and muzzled, that there can be no danger of his hurt. Let God but rouse him up a little, he shall bay them to despair : he shall fly upon them, and pull out their throats. Then shall their troubled heart project terrible things; and they shall feel what it is, to live in the anger of a God. They shall see the Almighty putting himself into the fearful forms of vengeance. Who can stand before his indignation ? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire; and the rocks are thrown down before him; Nahum i. 6,
And if his very love have drawn blood of his dear ones; Tcrrores Domini militant contra mne, saith holy Job; The terrors of the Lord are set in array against mé; Job vi. 4: and he, that bore the chastisements of our peace, the Son of his Love, could say. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Oh, what shall be the judg. ments of his wrath? If this be the rod of children, Oh, what shall be the scorpions for his enemies? They shall see that gulph of fire, ready to receive them into everlasting burnings. They shall see the devils, their incessant tormentors, ready to seize upon their guilty souls. Then, Oh then, shall they know, too late, what a happiness it is, that God here promises, Dabo pacem.
Would we then avoid the unspeakable horror of this woeful condition? Would we find the bed of our sickness and death, com
forted with the sweet testimony of a heavenly peace betwist God and our souls? see whence we must fetch it; In this place will I give peace. If ever we have it, we must have it from the blessed ordinances of God, his Word and Sacraments, which this place can afford us. In vain shall ye seek for this, Dear Christians, in a licentious tavern, in a rich counting-house, in chambers of dalliance, in full tables, in pompous courts; no, not in thrones of earthly majesty. Alas, many of these are the make-bates betwixt heaven
Most of them can mar, none of them can make our peace. It is only the despised Ministry of the Gospel; the Word of Reconcillation, as it is called, 2 Cor. v. 19; which sounds in God's House, that can do it. As ye love your souls therefore, as you would find peace at the last, and would look with a comfortable assurance in the face of death and judgment; as ye would see a gracious Mercy-Seat, in the dreadful Tribunal of God, at the day of our last appearance: frequent the house of God; attend reverently and conscionably upon the sacred institutions of God; yield yourselves over to be wrought upon by the powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh, be not you wanting unto God; he will not be wanting unto you: but will make good this promise of his unfailable grace, In this place will I give peace.
III. It is a great word, that is here spoken; Dabo pacem : and therefore it is undertaken by an omnipotent AGENT; I will give peace. If all the angels of heaven should have said so, we should soon have replied, as Korah and his company did to Moses and Aaron, Ye take too much upon you; Num. xvi. 3. This work is not for any finite power. The stile of peace, is The Peace of God: the stile of God, the Mediator betwixt God and man, is, The Prince of Peace. He is the true Solomon; the other was but typical. It is he only, that, when the disciples were tossed with contrary winds and threatening billows, could command the winds and waves to a calm. It is he only, that, when his Church is tossed with the winds and waves of raging and impetuous enmity, can give outward peace. It is he only, that, when the distressed soul is tossed with the winds and waves of strong temptation, of weak diffidence, can give inward peace. Justly, therefore, doth he challenge this act as his own; I will give peace,
We use to say, “ It is best treating of peace, with a sword in our hand.”
Those, who have the advantage of the war, may command peace: underlings must stoop to such conditions, as the victor will yield. To shew us, therefore, how easily he can give peace, God stiles himself the God of Hosts: a title, wherein he takes no small delight; referring, not to the being of the creature, but to their marshalling; not to their natural estate, but their military: neither would God be looked at in it, as a Creator, but as a General. In but two of the prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, no less than a hundred and thirty times hath he this stile given him. Every thing, as it hath an existence from the Maker, so an order from the Governor: and that order is no other than warlike; wherein it doth militare Deo, “ serve under the colours of the Almighty."
All creatures are both mustered, and trained, and placed in garrison; and brought forth into the field, in the service of their Creator. They are all exercitus pugnalorum.
If ye look into Heaven, there is a company of heavenly soldiers; Luke ii. 13. Neither was there only in the construction of idolaters universa militia cæli, to which they burnt incense: but Moses himself; Thus the Heaven and Earth were finished, and all the Host of them; Gen. ii. 1.
If ye look to the Earth, not men only, whom reason hath fitted for such designs, but even the brute, yea, the basest and indociblest of the brute creatures are ranged into arrays: even the very Locusts, though they have no leader, yet Egrediuntur per turias, They go forth by bands; Prov. xxx. 27. And, if ye look into Egypt, where for the time was Sedes belli, you shall find a band of Frogs, that were appointed to march into the very bed chamber, the bed, the ovens, the dishes of Pharaoh; you shall find a host of Lice, of Flies, of Caterpillers, sent against those Egyptian Tyrants. Elsewhere, ye shall find troops of Palmerworms, of Locusts, of Cankerworms, of Caterpillers, to set upon Israel; Joel i. 4. Shortly, where he means to preserve, the fiery Chariots and Horsemen of heaven shall compass Dothan: where he means to destroy, the most despicable of his creatures shall be armed, to the ruin of the proudest. Doth Goliath stalk forth to the defiance of the God of Israel ? a pebble out of the brook shall strew him on the ground. Doth a Herod hear his flatterers gladly say, Nec vor hominem sonat? stay but a while, God sets his vermin upon
him; all the king's guard cannot master those Lice. He hath Hornets for the Hivites and Canaanites; Exod. xxiii, 28: Mice for the Philistines; 1 Sam. vi: Rats for the Covetous Prelate: a Fly for Pope Adrian: a world of creatures for either defensive or offensive services.
Quare fremuerunt Gentes? Why do the Heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The Kings of the Earth sei themselves, and the Rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed: presumptuous dust and ashes, that dare rise up against the God of Hosts! If a silly ant out of a mole-hill should march forth, and proffer to wrestle a fall with a giant, there were some proportion in this challenge: there is none of a finite power to an iufinite. Should all the powers of hell band themselves with those on earth, Quas restitit? Who hath resisted his will? What power have they of being, of motion; but from him, whom they oppose ? How easily can he blow upon their enterprises! How easily can he command these to the dust, those to their chains! Be confounded therefore, O Vain Men, whose breath is in your nostrils, (and that not your own neither,) when ye think of the Power and Majesty of the God of Hosts.
And why are we dismayed with the rumours or fears of the strongest oppositions? Gebal, and Ammon, and Amelek, the Philistines, with them that dwell at Tyre? Ashur also is joined to the incestuous children of Lot: ONYÓTÇE, O thou of little faith, why fearest thou? The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge; Psalm xlvi. 7, 11. Come, all ye bands of wickedness, and conspire against the Sceptre of the Kingdom (that is, the Gospel) of Jesus Christ. He hath his Armageddon. He hath a feast for the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field, whom he hath invited to the flesh of captains, and the flesh of kings; Lev. xix. 18, I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Dominus suscepit; The Lord hath sustained me; and he is the Lord of Hosts.
Yea, why are we appalled, when we see the measures of the sons of Anak; the spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places? If we look at their numbers; they are Legions: if to their strength; they are Principalities and Powers: if to their nature; they are Spirits that rule in the air. We are men, flesh and blood, single, weak, sinful. Whatever we are, our God is in heaven, and doth whatsoever he will. He is the Lord of Hosts. Though cowards in ourselves, yet in him we are more than conquerors. He who is more than all power, than all truth, hath said it; The gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church. Thanks be to God, which giveth us victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lastly, he is the Lord of Hosts: his undertakings are infallible, Hath he said, that the glory of the Evangelical Church shall exceed the Legal? Hath he said, that, In this place he will give peace? How can the Church fail of glory, or the soul of peace? His word can be no more defective, than himself impotent. * Trust God with his own causes; trust him with thyself: do that he bids; espect what he promises: haunt this House of his; wait on his ordinances. The Lord of Hosts shall give thee that peace, which passeth all understanding; and with peace, Glory, in that upper House of his, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
To the possession whereof, that God, who hath ordained us, in his good time mercifully bring us.
And now, O Lord God of Hosts, make good thy promises to this House of thine. Whensoever any Suppliant shall in this place offer up his prayers unto thee, hear thou in heaven, thy dwellingplace; and when thou hearest, have mercy. What Word soever of thine shall sound out of this place, let it be the savour of life unto life to every hearer. What Sacrament soever of thine in this place shall be administered, let it be effectual to the salvation of every receiver
Thou, that art the God of Glory and Peace, give peace and glory to thy servants, for thy mercy's sake, for thy Son's sake, even the Son of thy Love, Jesus Christ the Just. To whom, with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, One Infinite God, be given all praise, honour, and thanksgiving, now and for ever,