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not but amaze the angels and confound devils; and, so much more magnifies thine infinite mercy, by how much an infinite person would become more ignominious.
All Hosannas of men, all Hallelujahs of saints and angels, come short of this Majestic Humiliation. Blessing, honour, glory and power be unto him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever; Rev. v. 13.
And ye, Honourable and Beloved, as ever ye hope to make music in heaven, learn to tune your harps to the note and ditty of these heavenly elders. Rejoice in this, and rejoice in nothing but this Cross: not in your transitory honours, titles, treasures, which will at the last leave you inconsolately sorrowful; but in this Cross of Christ, whereby the world is crucified to you, and you to the world. Oh, clip and embrace this precious Cross with both your arms; and say, with that blessed martyr, Amor meus crucifixus est, “My love is crucified."
Those, that have searched into the monuments of Jerusalem, write, that our Saviour was crucified with his face to the west: which, howsoever spitefully meant of the Jews, as not allowing him worthy to look on the Holy City and Temple, yet was not without a mystery, Oculi ejus super Gentes respiciunt, His eyes look to the Gentiles, &c. saith the Psalmist. As Christ therefore on his Cross looked towards us sinners of the Gentiles; so let us look up to him. Let our eyes be lift up to this Brazen Serpent, for the cure of the deadly stings of that old serpent.
See him, () all ye Beholders, see him, hanging upon the tree of shame, of curse, to rescue you from curse and confusion, and to feoff you in everlasting blessedness. See him, stretching out his arms, to receive and embrace you; hanging down his head, to take view of your misery; opening his precious side, to receive you in. to his bosom; opening his very heart, to take you in thither; pour. ing out thence water, to wash you, and blood, to redeem you. O all
ye Nazarites that pass by, out of this dead lion seek and find the true honey of unspeakable and endless comfort.
And ye, great Masters of Israel, whose lips profess to preserve knowledge, leave all curious and needless disquisitions; and, with that divine and ecstatical Doctor of the Gentiles, care only to know, to preach, Christ and him crucified,
II. But this, though the sum of the Gospel, is not the main drift of my Text, I may not dwell in it, though I am loth to part withi So sweet a meditation.
From Christ crucified, turn your eyes to PAUL CRUCIFIED. You have read him dying by the sword: hear him dying by the Cross; and see his moral, spiritual, living crucifixion.
Our Apostle is two men, Saul and Paul; the old man, and the new: in respect of the old man, he is crucified, and dead to the law of sin, so as that sin is dead in him; neither is it otherwise with every regenerate.
Sin hath a body, as well as the man hath; Who shall deliver iné from this body of death? Rom. vii. 24 : a body, that hath limbs and
parts; Mortify your earthly members, saith our Apostle, Col. iii. 5. not the limbs of our human body, which are made of earth, so should we be hostes natura, as Bernard; but the sinful limbs, that are made of corruption, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, &c. The head of sin is wicked devices; the heart of sin, wicked desires; the hands and feet of sin, wicked executions; the tongue of sin, wicked words; the eyes of sin, lustful apprehensions; the forehead of sin, impudent profession of evil; the back of sin, a strong supportation and maintenance of evil: all this body of sin is not only put to death, but to shame too; so as it is dead with disgrace; I am crucified. St. Paul speaks not this singularly of himself, but in the person of the Renewed: sin doth not, cannot live a vital and vigorous life in the Regenerate. Wherefore then, say you, was the Apostle's complaint, tahetapa éyw, &c. Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death? Mark, I beseech you: it was the body of sin, not the life of sin; a body of death, not the life of that body: or, if this body had yet some life, it was such a life as is left in the limbs when the head is struck off; some dying quiverings, rather as the remainders of a life that was, than any act of a life that is; or, if a further life, such a one as in swoons and fits of epilepsy, which yields breath, but not sense; or, if some kind of sense, yet no motion; or, if it have some kind of motion in us, yet no manner of dominion over us. motion, sense, relics of life are in a fully-crucified man? Such a
and down with the wind, but cannot move out of any internal principle.
Sin and Grace cannot more stand together in their strength, than life and death. In remiss degrees all contraries may be lodged together under one roof. St. Paul swears, that he dies daily; yet, he lives: so, the best man sins hourly, even while he obeys; but the powerful and over-ruling sway of sin is incompatible with the truth of Regeneration. Every Esau would be carrying away a blessing: no man is willing to sit out. Ye shall have strong drinkers, as Isaiah calls them; Isaiah v. 22: neighing stallions of lust, as Jeremiah calls them; Jer. v. 8; mighty hunters in oppression, as Nimrod; Gen. x. 9: rotten talkers; Eph. iv. 29: which yet will be challenging as deep a share in grace, as the conscionablest. Alas, how many millions do miserably delude themselves, with a mere pretence of Christianity! Aliter vivunt, aliter loquuntur; as he said of the philosophers. Vain Hypocrites! they must know, that every Chris tian is a crucified man. How are they dead to their sins, that walk in their sins? How are their sins dead in them, in whom they stir, reign, flourish? Who doth not smile, to hear of a dead man that walks Who derides not the solecism of that actor, which expressed himself fully dead by saying so? What a mockery is this ? eyes full of lust, itching ears, scurrilous tongues, bloody hands, hearts full of wickedness; and yet dead? Deceive not your souls, Dear Christians, if ye love them. This false death is the way to the true, eternal, incomprehensibly-woeful death of body and soul. If ye will needs do so, walk on, ye falsely-dead, in the ways of your old
sins: be sure these paths shall lead you down to the chambers of everlasting death. If this be the hanging up of your corruptions, fear to hang in hell. Away with this hateful simulation : God is not mocked. Ye must either kill, or die. Kill your sins, or else they will be sure to kill your souls: apprehend, arraign, condemn them; fasten them to the tree of shame; and, if they be not dead already, break their legs and arms, disable them to all offensive actions as was done to the thieves in the Gospel; so shall you say, with our blessed Apostle, I am crucified.
Neither is it thus, only in matter of notorious crime and gross wickedness; but thus it must be, in the universal carriage of our lives, and the whole habitual frame of our dispositions: in both these we are, we must be, crucified.
Be not deceived, my Brethren: it is a sad and austere thing to be a Christian. This work is not frolic, jovial, plausible: there is a certain thing, called true Mortification, required to this business; and whoever heard, but there was pain in death? but, among all deaths, in crucifying? What a torture must there needs be, in this act of violence! what a distention of the body; whose weight is rack enough to itself! what straining of the joints! what nailing of hands and feet! Never make account to be Christians, without the hard tasks of Penitence. It will cost you tears, sighs, watchings, seif-restraints, self-strugglings, self-denials.
This word is not more harsh than true. Ye Delicate Hypocrites, what do you talk of Christian profession, when ye will not abate a dish from your belly; nor spare an hour's sleep from your eyes; nor cast of an offensive rag from your backs, for your God? In vain shall the vassals of appetite challenge to be the servants of God.
Were it, that the kingdom of God did consist in eating avd drinking, in pampering and surfeits, in chambering and wantonness, in pranking and vanity, in talk and ostentation ; () God, how rich shouldst thou be of subjects, of Saints! But, if it require abstinence, humiliation, coutrition of heart, subjugation of our flesh, renunciation of our wills, serious impositions of laboursome devotions; O Lord, what is become of true Christianity ? where shall we seek for a crucified man? Look to our tables: there ye shall find excess and riot. Look to our backs: there
proud disguises. Look to our conversations; there ye shall find scurril and obscene jollity.
This liberty, yea this licentiousness, is that, which opens the mouths of our adversaries to the censure of our real impiety. That slander, which Julian could cast upon Constantine, that iguQy led him to dowría, “ delicacy” to “ intemperance,” the very same do they cast upon us. They tell us of their strict Lents, frequent fastings, canonical hours, sharp penances, their bashful shrifts, their painful scourgings, their solitary cells, their woolward and barefoot walks, their hard and tedious pilgrimages; while we, they say, deny nothing to back or belly, fare full, lie soft, sit warni, and make a wanton of the flesh, while we profess to tend the spirit.
Brethren, hear á little the words of exhortation. The brags of their penal will-worship shall no whit niove us. All this is blown àway, with a Quis requisivit? Baal's priests did more than they ; yet were never the holier. But, for ourselves, in the fear of God see that we do not justify their crimination. While they are in one extreme, placing all religion in the outside, in Touch not, taste not, handle not; let us not be in the other, not regarding the external acts of due humiliation.
It is true, that it is more easy to afflict the body, than to humble the soul: a dram of remorse is more than an ounce of pain. O God, if whippings and hair-cloths and watchings would satisfy thy displeasure, who would not sacrifice the blood of this vassal (his body), to expiate the sin of his soul? who would not scrub his skin, to ease his conscience? who would not freeze upon a hurdle, that he might not fry in hell? who would not hold his eyes open, to avoid an eternal unrest and torment? But such sacrifices and oblations, () God, thou desirest not. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Yet, it is as true, that it it more easy to counterfeit mortification of spirit, than humiliation of body: there is pain in the one; none, in the other, He, that cares not therefore to pull down his body, will much less care to humble his soul; and he, that spares not to act meet and due penalties upon the flesh, gives more colour of the soul's humiliation.
Dear Christians, it is not for us, to stand upon niggardly terms with our Maker: he will have both: he, that made both, will have us crucified in both. The old man doth not lie in a limb or faculty; but is diffused through the whole extent of body and soul, and must be crucified in all that it is. "Ttwriá?w, saith the Chosen Vessel, I beat down my body; my body, as well as my spirit
. Give me leave, ye Courtiers and Citizens. "Lent is wont to be a penitential time: if ye have soundly and effectually shriven yourselves to your God, let me enjoin you a wholesome and saving penance for the whole year, for your whole life. Ye must curb your appetites; ye must fast; ye must stint yourselves to your painful devotions; ye must give peremptory denials to your own wills; ye must put your knife to your throat, in Solomon's sense. Think not, that ye can climb up to heaven with full paunches; teeking ever of Indian smoke, and the surfeits of your gluttonous crammings and quaffings.
O easy and pleasant way to glory! from our bed to our glass, from our glass to our board, from our dinner to our pipe, from our pipe to a visit, from a visit to a supper, from a supper to a play, from a play to a banquet, from a banquet to our bed! Oh, remember the quarrel against damned Dives: He fared sumptuously every day: he made neither Lents nor Embers: alev topty', as he said, “every day was gaudy and festival;” in rich suits, in dainty morsels and full draughts; Intus mulso, foris oleo, “ Wine within, oil without,” as he said: now, all the world for a drop, and it is too little. Ve saturis, Woe to the full, saith our Saviour: but even
nature itself could abominate bis de die saturum, one that is full twice a day.”
One of the sins of our Sodom is fulness of bread. What is the remedy? It is an old word, that “ Hunger cures the diseases of gluttony.' Oh, that my words could prevail so far with you, Honourable and Beloved Christians, as to bring austere abstinence and sober moderation into fashion. The Court and City have led the way to excess: your example shall prescribe, yea administer the remedy. The heathen man could say, “ He is not worthy of the name of a man, that would be a whole day in pleasure;" (Cic. de Fin.) what, and we always? In fasting often, saith St. Paul; what, and we never? I fast twice a week, saith the Pharisee; and we Christians, when? I speak not of Popish mock-fasts ; in change, not in forbearance; in change of coarser cates of the land for the curious dainties of the water, of the flesh of beasts for the flesh of fish, of untoothsome morsels for sorbitiunculæ delicate, as Jerome calls them. Let me never feast, if this be fasting. I speak of a true and serious maceration of our bodies, by an absolute and total refraining from sustenance: which, howsoever in itself it be not an act pleasing unto God, (for well may I invert St. Paul, neither if we eat not are we the better, neither if we eat are we the worse; 1 Cor. yiii. 8.) yet in the effect it is: singulare Sanctitatis aratrum ; as that Father terms it. The plough bears no corn, but it makes way for it : it opens the soil; it tears up the briars; and turns up the fur.
Thus doth holy abstinence: it chastises the flesh; it lightens -- the spirit; it disheartens our vicious dispositions; it quickens our devotion.
Away with all factious combinations. Every man is master of his own maw. Fast at home, and spare not: leave public exercises of this kind to the command of sovereign powers. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, saith Joel, ii. 15. Surely this trumpet is for none but royal breath.
And now, that what I meant for a suit may be turned to a just gratulation, how do we bless the God of Heaven, that hath put it into the heart of his Anointed to set this sacred trumpet to his lips ! Never was it, never can it be, more seasonable than now: now, that we are fallen into a war of religion; now, that our friends and allies groan either under miscarriage or danger; now, that our distressed neighbours implore our help in tears and blood; now, that our God hath humbled us with manifold losses; now, that we are threatened with so potent enemies; now, that all Christendom is embroiled with so miserable and perilous distempers; oh, now it hath seasonably pleased your Majesty, to blow the trumpet in Zion, to sanctify a fast, to call a solemn assembly. The miraculous success, that God gave to your Majesty and your Kingdom in this holy exercise, may well encourage a happy iteration. How did the public breath of our fasting-prayers cleanse the air before them! How did that noisome pestilence vanish suddenly away, as that which could not stand before our powerful humiliations! If we be not straitened in our own bowels, the hand of our God is not shortened,