« PrécédentContinuer »
I give by so deep a censure of our own profession. Alas! these sins know no difference of religions. Would God they themselves were not rather more deep in these foul enormities ! We extenuate not our guilt : whatever we sin, we condemn it as mortal: they palliate wickedness, with the fair pretence of veniality. Shortly; They accuse us; we, them; God, both.
But where am I? How easy is it for a man to lose himself in the sins of the time! It is not for me, to have my habitation in these black tents : let me pass through them running. Where can a man cast his eye, not to see that which may vex his soul ?
Here, bribery and corruption in the seats of judicature; there, perjuries at the bar: here, partiality and unjust connivancy in magistrates; there, disorder in those that should be teachers : here, sacrilege in patrons; there, simoniacal contracts in unconscionable Levites : here, bloody oaths and execrations; there, scurril
rofaneness: here, cozening in bargains; there, breaking of promises : here, perfidious underminings; there, flattering supparasitations: here, pride in both sexes, but especially the weaker ; there, luxury and wantonness : here, contempt of God's messengers; there, neglect of his ordinances, and violation of his days. The time and my breath would sooner fail me, than this woe. ful bead-roll of wickedness.
3. Yet, alas! were these the sins of ignorance, of infirmity, they might be more worthy of pity than hatred. But oh, the high hand of our presumptuous offences ! We draw iniquity, with the strings of vanity, up to the head, up to the ear; and shoot up these hateful shafts against heaven. Did we sit in darkness and the shadow of death, as too many Pagan and Popish regions do, these works of darkness would be less intolerable: but, now that the beams of the glorious Gospel have shined thus long, thus bright in our faces, Oh me, what can we plead against our own confusion? 0 Lord, where shall we appear, when thy very mercies aggravate our sins and thy JUDGMENTS ?
How shouldest thou expect fruit from a vineyard so chosen, so husbanded ? and woe worth our wretchedness, that have thus repayed thee. Be confounded in thyself, O my Soul, be confounded, to see these deplored retributions. Are these grapes for a God? Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unjust? Hath he for this made us the mirror of his mercies to all the world, that we should so shamefully turn his graces into wantonness? Are these the fruits of his Choice, his Fencing, his Reforming, his Planting, his Watchtower, his Winepress ? O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenants and mercies to them that love thee; we have sinned and committed iniquity, and have rebelled by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments. O Lord, righteousness belongeth to thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day. We know, we acknowledge, how just it may be with thee, to pull up our hedges, to break down our wall, to root up our vine, to destroy and depopulate our nation, to make us the scorn and proverb of all generations. But, О our God, Let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy Jerusalemn, thy holy
Inoun'ain. O Lord hear, O Lord forgive, O Lord hearken and do. Defer not for thine own sake, () our God : for thy city and thy people are called by thy Name ; Dan. ix. 16, 19.
But, alas ! what speak I of not deferring to a God of Mercy; who is more forward to give, than we to crave; and more loth to strike, than we to smart; and, when he must strike, complains, Why will ye die, 0 house of Israel ? Let me rather turn this speech to ourselves. The delay is ours. Yet, it is not too late, either for our return or his mercies. The decree is not, to us, gone forth, till it be executed. As yet, our hedge stands, our wall is firm, our vine grows. These sharp monitions, these touches of Judgment have been for our warning, not for our ruin. Who knows if he will not return, and yet leave a blessing behind him? Oh, that we could turn unto him with all our heart, with fasting, and with weeping, and with enourning! Oh, that we could truly and effectually abandon all those abominable sins, that have stirred up the anger of our God against us; and, in this our day, this day of our solemn Humiliation, renew the vows of our holy and conscionable obedience! Lord God, it must be thou only, that must do it. Oh, strike thou our flinty hearts with a sound remorse, and melt them into tears of penitence for all our sins. Convert us unto thee, and we shall be converted. Lord, hear our prayers; and regard our tears; and reform our lives; and remove thy plagues ; and renew thy loving countenance; and continue and add to thine old mercies. Lord, affect us with thy favours; humble us for our sins ; terrify us with thy judgments : that so thou mayest hold on thy favours, and forgive our sins, and remove thy judgments ; even for the Son of thy Love, Jesus Christ the Righteous : To whom, &
Since it seemed good to that Great Court to call this poor Sermon, amongst others of greater worth, into the public light; I have thus submitted to their pleasure. And now, for that they pleased to bid so high a rate as their command for that mean piece; I do willingly give this my other statue into the bargain.
This work preceded, some little, in time, that, which it now follows in place; not without good reason. Authority sends forth that ; this Will; and my Will hath learned ever to give place to Authority. Besides my desire to save the labour of transcriptions, I found it not unfit the world should see what preparative was given for so stirring a potion : neither can there be so much need in these languishing times of any discourse, as that, which serves to quicken our mortification; wherein 1 so much rejoice to have so happily met with those Reverend Bishops, who led the way, and followed me, in this Holy Service. The God of Heaven make all our endeavours effer. tual to the saving of the souls of his people! Amen.
THE CHRISTIAN'S CRUCIFIXION WITH CHRIST.
A SERMON PREACHED TO HIS MAJESTY,
ON THE SUNDAY BEFORE THE FAST, BEING MARCH 30, 1628, AT WHITE
HALL: IN WAY OF PREPARATION FOR THAT HOLY EXERCISE.
BY THE BISHOP OF EXETER.
GALATIANS ii. 20.
but Christ liveth in me. He, that was once tossed in the confluence of two seas ; Acts xxvii. 41: was once no less straitened in his resolutions betwixt life and death; Phil. i. 23. Neither doth my Text argue him in any other case here. As there, he knew not whether he should choose; so here, he knew not whether he had. I am crucified; there he is dead: yet I live; there he is alive again: yet not I; there he lives not: but Christ in me; there he more than lives.
This holy correction makes my Text full of wonders; full of sacred riddles. 1. The living God is dead upon the Cross; Christ crucified. 2. St. Paul, who died by the sword, dies on the Cross. 3. St. Paul, who was not Paul till after Christ's death, is yet cructfied with Christ. 4. St. Paul, thus crucified, yet lives. 5. St. Paul lives not himself, while he lives. 6. Christ, who is crucified, lives in Paul, who was crucified with him.
See then here, both a Lent and an Easter: a Lent of Mortification, I am crucified with Christ; an Easter of Resurrection and Life, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. The Lent of my Text will be sufficient, as proper, for this sea
Wherein my speech shall pass through three long stages of discourse: CHRIST CRUCIFIED: ST. PAUL CRUCIFIED: ST. PAUL CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. In all which, your Honourable and Christian patience shall as much shorten my way, as my care shall shorten the way to your patience.
I. CHRIST'S CROSS is the first lesson of our infancy; worthy to be our last, and all. The great Doctor of the Gentiles affected not to fly any higher pitch. Grande crucis Sacramentum ; as Ambrose. This is the greatest wonder, that ever earth or heaven
yielded. God incarnate was méya uusvg.ov; 1 l'im. iii. 16 : but God suffering and dying was so much more, as death is more penal than birth. The Godhead of Man and the Blood of God are two such miracles, as the angels of heaven can never enough look into; never admire enough.
Ruffin tells us, that, among the sacred characters of the Egyptians, the Cross was anciently one, which was said to signify eternal life: hence their learneder sort were converted to and confirmed in the Faith. Surely we know, that, in God's hieroglyphics, eternal life is both represented and exhibited to us by the Cross. That the Cross of Christ was made of the Tree of Life, a slip whereof the angels gave to Adam's son out of Paradise, is but a Jewish legend : Galatine may believe it; not we: but, that it is made the Tree of Life to all believers, we are sure. This is the only scale of heaven: never man ascended thither, but by it.
By this Christ himsef climbed up to his own glory. Domimus regnavit à ligno; as Tertullian translates that of the psalm. Father, glorify thy namne; that is, saith he, Duc me ad crucem, “Lift me up to the tree," not of my shame, but of my triumph. Behold, we preach Christ crucified, saith St. Paul, to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Greeks foolishness; but to them which are called, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God; 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. Foolish men! that stumble at power, and deride wisdom.
Upbraid us now, ye Fond Jews and Pagans, with a Crucifed Saviour. It is our glory, it is our bappiness, which ye make our reproach. Had not our Saviour died, he could have been no Saviour for us: had not our Saviour died, we could not have lived. See now the flag of our Dear Redeemer, this Cross, shining eminently in loco pudoris, in our foreheads; and, if we had any place more high, more conspicuous, more honourable, there we would advance it. O Blessed Jesu, when thou art thus lifted up on thy Cross, thou drawest all hearts unto thee: there, thou leadest captivity captive, and givest gifts unto men.
Ye are deceived, 0 ye Blind Jews and Painims; ye are deceived: it is not a gibbet, it is a throne of honour to which our Sa. viour is raised; a throne of such honour, as to which heaven and earch and hell do and must vail. The sun hides his awful head; the earth trembles; the rocks rend; the graves open; and all the frame of nature doth homage to their Lord in this secret, but divine pomp of crucifixion. And, while ye think his feet and bands despicably fixed, behold he is powerfully trampling upon Hell arid Death; and setting up trophies of his most glorious victory, and scattering everlasting crowns and sceptres unto all believers.
O Saviour, I do rather more adore thee on the Calvary of thy Passion, than on the Tabor of thy Transfiguration, or the Olivet of thine Ascension: and cannot so effectuously bless thee, for Pater, clarifica, Father, glorify me; as for, My God, my God, why hast thoni forsaken me? since it is no news for God to be great and glo rious; but for the Eternal and Ever-living God to be abased, to be abased unto death, to the death of the Cross, is that, which could