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breed such perfection in the end, that all our talk shall be gracious, all our words well seasoned, all our speech and communication become such as that whereof the wise man speaketh in the book of Ecclesiasticus, saying, "The talk Ecclus. xxvii. [11.] of him that feareth God is all wisdom."

James i. [4.]

16. With these things if we join that perfection also In suffering, which St James mentioneth: "Let patience have her perfect work," we shall then fully answer our apostle's exhortation, we shall be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." "Now [1 Pet. v.10.] the God of all grace which hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus make you perfect, confirm, strengthen and stablish you."

tation to

be of good

Acts xxvi.

17. Our apostle very fitly, having exhorted us to be An exhorperfect, addeth in the next place, Consolationem habete: "Be rejoice and of good comfort." For as many as seek to be perfect shall comfort. find many grievous hinderances to stay them in their course: necessary therefore it is that in this respect they should be comforted. There is no one part or degree of perfection wherein the righteous and godly do not find many great occasions offered, quite to discourage and daunt their hearts. St Paul was perfect and ripe in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; and it was objected against him as a token of extreme fury, Multæ literæ te ad insaniam redigunt: [24.] "Much learning makes thee mad." Abraham, for the great perfection of his faith, is called the father of them that believe: but how sore were those assaults that withstood his hope and assurance in the promise! The godliness of Job was so absolute and perfect, that God himself doth as it were make a vaunt of him unto Satan: "Hast [Job i. 8.] thou not considered my servant Job, how none is like him in the earth, an upright and just man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil?" Yet how near was he brought to the gulf of destruction, both of body and soul! The love, wherewith the holy apostle embraced the church of Corinth, was so strong and perfect, that he wished even to be be- 2 Cor. xii. [15.] stowed and spent for their souls: but what a discouragement was this unto him, that the more he did love, the less he was loved! Touching the prophet Jeremy, whether we consider his dealings, his speakings, or his sufferings, we see there was great integrity in all; but his wrestlings and strivings with the wicked were so irksome and tedious

An exhortation to

peace and unity.

unto him, that he seemed sometimes more than half resolved to give over all, as if it were but bootless to strive longer. All which notwithstanding, we are here exhorted to be of good comfort, forasmuch as, although our hinderances be great, yet sure we are safely to pass through them: they cannot dam up the way between us and the kingdom of heaven. Through this strait way our brethren have passed before us; and we need not fear to follow after. Christ himself hath gone before by a far harder passage than his meaning is to lead any of us by. Think it therefore no strange thing for the perfect to suffer be not discomforted


1 Pet. v. [9.] or dismayed at it, "knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren which are in the world." If we patiently suffer with him and them, we shall gloriously be crowned with him and them. It is true that the godly, the just, and perfect, have fierce adversaries, mighty enemies, the devil with his lost and forsaken train, the world full of baits and allurements unto evil, the flesh ever ready and John xvi. greedy to take them. "But have confidence (saith our Saviour), I have overcome." Although ye travail and be heavy laden for a while, yet comfort yourselves, knowing that your anguishes, griefs, and molestations shall have an end, your tears shall be wiped away and dried up; but the joy which shall be given you is everlasting. The seed of tears which ye sow now is nothing to that harvest of joy which hereafter shall be reaped. Again, whatsoever doth befall us here, it cometh not unto us by hap or chance; but all is disposed by the will and providence of Almighty God: when we are chastised, we are chastised of the Lord: it is of mere love and perfect righteousness that we are corrected: it is not for our harm, but to our good, either for the trial of our faith, or for the reformation of our life. So that the man which feareth God, which walketh uprightly in his sight, having the testimony of a good conscience, cannot want matter of consolation: he hath wherefore in the Lord to rejoice always: God hath given enough for his continual comfort. "For that which resteth" therefore, brethren, lift up your heads and "be comforted."

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18. Finally, to come to the last branch of this present exhortation, "be of one mind, live in peace." These


cxxxiii. [1.]

fruits of unity and peace are not gathered, but where in-
tegrity and comfort have taken root. One temple was
builded for the people of God, one law written by the fin-
ger of God, that the church of God might in all things be
The bond of unity is verity: neither can they be truly
one, which are not one in truth. And therefore, although
an angel should come from heaven with all shew of learn-
ing, and all appearance of unspotted and undefiled purity,
teaching things contrary to that one truth which you have
received, reach him no hand, salute him not in token of
consent unity with him is enmity with God. But if all
be builded upon the settled foundation of God's truth, if
all be members of one body, servants to one master, sol-
diers fighting under one banner, children of one and the
same father; then is the name of unity and peace amiable.
"Behold," saith the prophet, "how good and how sweet Psal.
a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in one." It
is good like the dew which watereth the hills, sweet like
that oil which was poured upon the head of the high priest.
Oil is pleasant, and dew profitable: the one giveth a most
fragrant smell, the other maketh the ground fruitful: but
the goodness and sweetness of unity, of peace, no tongue is
able sufficiently to express. If this oil and dew of peace,
unity, and concord shall be poured, as upon Hermon and
Aaron, so likewise upon the tops of our mountains, upon
the heads of our guides, upon our magistrates, and upon
our ministers, and shall thence distil to the lower parts,
as it were to the valleys that lie under the one, and to the
skirts of the other's garments, the fruit that shall thereby
grow unto us, and the pleasure which all beholders shall
conceive of it, is unspeakable. Wherefore, with St Paul,
"I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus 1 Cor. i. [10.]
Christ, that you all speak one thing, and that there be no
dissentions among you, but be ye knit together in one mind.
and in one judgment." And, as it is said that the last
lesson which St John the evangelist gave to his disciples
was, Filioli, diligite vos invicem: "my little children, love one
another;" so, my dear brethren, receive you also this last
lesson at my hands: "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be
of one mind, live in peace."

19. And then I dare conclude and promise with St made to
The promise

do as they have been hitherto exhorted.

them which Paul, "the God of love and peace shall abide with you." That God which hath so much commended peace unto us, that God who is so much delighted in love, that God which is the author of love and peace, that God which is peace and love itself, he will be with you; a sure tower for your defence, against whose power no power is able to stand; a present help in all necessities; a loving Father which cannot forget you; a merciful God; a faithful Schoolmaster; a good Shepherd. He will feed you with the food of life he will augment and increase your faith, confirm and stablish you in all truth: his love to the end shall continue with you: his peace he will give you, and leave among you: he will stand always at your right hand, maintain your lot, lead you through this vale of tears, and conduct you safely to the land of promise: he will pull from your shoulders this miserable coat of your corruption, and clothe you with the robes of immortality: he will change this vile body, and make it like the glorious body of Jesus Christ. All this that God, which cannot lie, hath promised all this that omnipotent, mighty, and merciful God will perform even to all such as labour to become perfect, as joy in the Holy Ghost, as have comfort in Christ, as consent in true religion, and live in peace and brotherly concord. To that God immortal, invisible, and only wise, be all honour, glory, and praise, now and ever. Amen.

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