PREACHED ON CANDLEMAS DAY.
Romans xii. 20.
Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for, in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
It falls out, I know not how, but, I take it, from the instinct of the Holy Ghost, and from the prophetical spirit residing in the Church of God, that those Scriptures which are appointed to be read in the church, all these days, (for I take no other this term) do evermore afford, and offer us, texts that direct us to patience, as though these times had especial need of those instructions.
And truly so they have; for though God have so far spared us as yet, as to give us no exercise of patience in any afflictions, inflicted upon ourselves, yet, as the heart aches if the head do, nay, if the foot ache, the heart aches too; so all that profess the name of Christ Jesus aright, making up but one body, we are but dead members of that body, if we be not affected with the distempers of the most remote parts thereof. That man says but faintly, that he is heart-whole, that is macerated with the gout, or lacerated with the stone; it is not a heart, but a stone grown into that form, that feels no pain, till the pain seize the very substance thereof. How much and how often St. Paul delights himself with that sociable syllable, aw, con, conregnare1, and convificare, and coiisedere*, of reigning together, and living, and quickening together: as much also doth God delight in it from us, when we express it in a conformity, and compunction, and compassion, and condolency, and (as it is but a little before the text) in weeping with them that weep. Our patience therefore being actually exercised in the miseries of our brethren round about us, and probably threatened in the aims and plots of our adversaries upon us, though I hunt not after them, yet I decline not such texts, as may direct our thoughts upon duties of that kind.
This text does so; for the circle of this epistle of St. Paul, this precious ring, being made of that golden doctrine, that justification is by faith, and being enamelled with that beautiful doctrine of good works too, in which enamelled ring, as a precious stone in the midst thereof, there is set, the glorious doctrine of our election, by God's eternal predestination, our text falls in that part, which concerns obedience, holy life, good works; which, when both the doctrines, that of justification by faith, and that of predestination have suffered controversy, hath been by all sides embraced, and accepted; that there is no faith, which the angels in heaven, or the church upon earth, or our own consciences can take knowledge of, without good works. Of which good works, and the degrees of obedience, of patience, it is a great one, and a hard one that is enjoined in this text; for whereas St. Augustine observes six degrees, six steps in our behaviour towards our enemies, whereof the first is nolle Iwdere, to be loath to hurt any man
1 2 Tim. iL 12. • Eph. ii. 1, 6.
by way of provocation, not to begin; and a second, nolle amplius quam Iwsus Iwdere, that if another provoke him, yet what power soever he have, he would return no more upon his enemy, than his enemy had cast upon him, he would not exceed in his revenge; and a third, velle minus, not to do so much as he suffered, but iu a less proportion, only to show some sense of the injury; and then another is, nolle Iwdere licet Iwsus, to return no revenge at all, though he have been provoked by an injury; and a higher than that, paratum se exhibere ut amplius Iwdatur, to turn the other cheek, when he is smitten, and open himself to further injuries; that which is in this text, is the sixth step, and the highest of all, Iwdenti benefacere, to do good to him, of whom we have received evil, If thine enemy hunger, to feed him, if he thirst, to give him drink.
The text is a building of stone, and that bound in with bars of iron: fundamental doctrine, in point of manners, in itself, and yet buttressed, and established with reasons too, therefore, and for; therefore feed thine enemy; for, in so doing, thou shalt heap coals. This therefore, confirms the precedent doctrine, and this for, confirms that confirmation.
But all the words of God are yea, and amen, and therefore we need not insist upon reasons, to ratify or establish them. Our parts shall be but two; mandatum, and emolumentum, first the commandment, (for we dare not call it by so indifferent a name, as an evangelical counsel, that we may choose whether we will do or no; it is a commandment, do good to thine enemy) and secondly, the benefit that we receive by that benefit, we heap coals upon his head. Each part will have divers branches; for, in the commandment, we shall first look upon the person, to which God directs us, inimicus, though he be an enemy, and inimicus tuus, though he be thine enemy; but yet it is but tuus, thine enemy; it is not simply inimicus homo, the devil, nor inimicus vester, a spreading enemy, an enemy to the state, nor inimicus Dei, an enemy to religion; and from the person, we shall pass to the duty, ciba, and da aquam, feed, and give drink, in which, all kinds of reliefs are implied; but that it is, si esurierit, if he be hungry; there is no wanton nor superfluous pampering of our enemy required, but so much as may preserve the man, and not nourish the enmity. In these considerations we shall determine our first part; and our second in these; first, that God takes nothing from us, without recompense; nothing for nothing; he seals his commandment with a powerful reason, promise of reward; and then, the reward specified here, arises from the enemy himself; and that reward is, that thou shalt cast coals of fire upon his head; and congeres, accumulates, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon him.
It is not ill said by a jesuit3, of these words, Sententia magi* evangelica, qudm Mosaica; this text, that enjoins benefits upon our enemies, is fitter for the gospel, than for the law, fitter for the New, than for the Old Testament; and yet it is tam Mosaica, quant evangelica, to show that it is universal, catholic, moral doctrine, appertaining to Jew, and Christian, and all, this text is in the Old Testament, as well as in the New. In the mouth of two witnesses in this truth established, in the mouth of a prophet, and in the mouth of an apostle, Solomon had said it before4, and St. Paul says it here, If thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst, &c.
Your Senecas and your Plutarchs have taught you an art, how to make profit of enemies, because as flatterers dilate a man, ahd make him live the more negligently, because he is sure of good interpretations of his worst actions; so a man's enemies contract him, and shut him up, and make him live the more watchfully, because he is sure to be calumniated even in his best actions: but this is a lesson above Seneca, and Plutarch, reserved for Solomon, and St. Paul, to make profit by conferring and placing benefits upon enemies: and that is our first branch, though he be an enemy.
St. Augustine cites, and approves that saying of the moral philosopher, Omnes odit, qui malos odit, He that hates ill men, hates all men, for if a man will love none but honest men, where shall he find any exercise, any object of his love? So if a man will hold friendship with none, nor do offices of society to none, but to goodnatured, and gentle, and supple, and sociable men, he shall leave very necessary businesses undone. The frowardest and perversest man may be good ad hoc for such or such a particular use. By good company and good usage, that is, by being mingled with
'Peltanus 4 Prov. xxv. 21.
other simples, and ingredients, the very flesh of a viper is made an antidote: a viper loses not his place in physic, because he is poison; a magistrate ceases not to be a magistrate, because he is an ill man; much less does a man cease to be a man, and so to have a title to those duties, which are rooted in nature, because he is of an ill disposition. God makes his sun to shine upon the good, and upon the bad, and sendeth rain upon the just, and upon the unjust*. God hath made of one blood all mankind: how unkindly then, how unmanly is it to draw blood? We come too soon to the name of enemy, and we carry it too far: plaintiff and defendant in a matter of trespass, must be enemies: disputers in a problematical matter of controversy, that concerns not foundations, must be enemies; and then all enmity must imply an irreconcilableness, once enemies may never be friends again; we come too soon to the name, and wo stand too long upon tho thing; for there are offices and duties even to an enemy; and that, though an enemy in as high a degree, as the word imports here, osor, a hater, and osor tuns, such an enemy as hates thee, which is our next branch.
We use to say, that those benefits are longest remembered, which are public, and common; and those injuries, wbich are private, and personal: but truly in both, the private, and personal makes the greatest impression. For, if a man have benefited the public, with a college, with an hospital, with any perpetual endowment, yet he that comes after to receive the benefit of any such place, for the most part determines his thankfulness upon that person, who brought him thither, and reflects little upon the founder, or those that are descended from him. And so it is in injuries, and violences too, we hate men more for personal, than for national injuries; more, if he have taken my ship, than if he have attempted my country. We should be more sensible of the public, but because private and personal things do affect us most, the commandment here goes to the particular; though he bo thine enemy, and hate thee. If you love them that love you, and lend to them that pay you, what thanks have you3? Truly not much; Publicans do the same, says St. Matthew; Sinners do the same, says St. Luke: but love you your enemies; for, in the same
5 Matt. v. 45. • Luke vi. 34.
place, where Christ puts all those cases, if a man have been angry with his brother, if a man have said Racha to his brother, if he have called his brother fool, he ends all with that, agree with thine adversary1; though he be thine adversary, yet he is thy brother. If he have damnified thee, calumniated thee, pardon him. If he have done that to another, thou hast no power to pardon him; herein only thou hast exercise of greatness and goodness too, if he be thine enemy, thou and thou only canst pardon him; and herein only thou hast a supremacy, and a prerogative to show.
So far then, the text goes literally, do good to any enemy; to thine enemy -, and literally, no further: it does not say to a state, Si inimicus vester, It does not bind us to favour, or further a public enemy; it does not bind the magistrate to favour thieves and murderers at land, -nor pirates at sea, who are truly inimici nostri, our enemies even as we are men, enemies to mankind. It does not bind societies and corporations ecclesiastical or civil, to sink under such enemies, as would dissolve them or impair them in their privileges; for such are not only inimici vestri, but vestrorum, enemies of you, and yours, of those that succeed you: and all men are bound to transfer their jurisdictions and privileges, in the same integrity, in which they received them, without any prevarication. In such cases it is true, that corporations have no souls, that is, they are not bound to such a tenderness of conscience; for there are divers laws in this doctrine of patience, that bind particular men, that do not bind states and societies, under those penalties.
Much less does the commandment bind us to the inimicus homo, which is the devil, to farther him, by fuelling and advancing his temptations, by high diet, wanton company, or licentious discourse; and so, upon pretence of maintaining our health, or our cheerfulness, invite occasions of sin. St. Hierome tells us of one sense, in which we should favour that enemy, the devil, and that in this text, we are commanded to do so: Benevolus est erga diabolum, says he, He is the devil's best friend, that resists him; for by our yielding to the devil's temptations, we submit him to greater torments, than, if he missed of his purpose upon us, he
7 Matt. v. 22.
should suffer. But between this enemy and us, God himself hath set such an enmity, that, as no man may separate those whom God hath joined*, so no man may join those whom God hath separated; God created not this enmity in the devil; he began it in himself; but God created an enmity in us, against him; and, upon no collateral conditions, may we be reconciled to him, in admitting any of his superstitions.
It is not then inimicus vester, the common enemy, the enemy of the state; less, inimicus homo, the spiritual enemy of mankind, the devil; least of all, inimicus Dei, they who oppose God, (so, as God can be opposed) in his servants who profess his truth. David durst not have put himself upon that issue with God, (Do not I hate them, that hatt thee*) if he had been subject to that increpation, which the prophet Jehu laid upon Jehoshaphat, Shouldtt thou help the ungodly, and love them, that hate the Lord1*? But David had the testimony of his conscience, that he hated them, with a perfect hatred: which, though it may admit that interpretation, that it is de perfectione virtutis, that his perfect hatred, was a hatred becoming a perfect man, a charitable hatred; yet it is de perfectione intentionis", a perfect hatred is a vehement hatred, and so the Chaldee paraphrase expresses it, odio consummato, a hatred to which nothing can be added; odio religioso, with a religious hatred; not only that religion may consist with it, but that religion ^cannot subsist without it; a hatred that gives the tincture, and the stamp to religion itself. The imputation that lies upon them, who do not hate those that hate God, is sufficiently expressed in St. Gregory; he saw how little temporizers and worldly men were moved with the word impiety, and ungodliness, and therefore he waves that; he saw they preferred the estimation of wisdom before and above piety, and therefore he says not impium est, but Stultum est, si illis placere quarrimus, quos non placere Domino scimus: It is a foolish thing, to endeavour to be acceptable to them, who in our own knowledge do not endeavour to be acceptable to God.
But yet, beloved, even in those enemies, that thus hate God, Solomon's rule hath place, There is a time to hate, and a time to
* Gen. iii. 15. * Psalin cxxxix. 21. 10 2 Chron. xix. 2.
love'*. Though the person be the same, the affection may vary. As St. Cyprian says, (if that book" be not rather Origen's, than Cyprian's, for it is attributed to both) Ama faminos inter sacra solennia, Love a woman at church, (that is, love her coming to church, though, as St. Augustine in his time did, we in our times may complain of wanton meetings there) but odio habe in communione privata, hate, that is, forbear women in private conversation; so for those that hate God in the truth of his Gospel, and content themselves with an idolatrous religion, we love them at church, we would be glad to see them here, and though they come not hither, we love them so far, as that we pray for them; and we love them in our studies so far, as we may rectify them by our labours; but we hate them in our convocations, where we oppose canons against their doctrines, and we hate them in our consultations, where we make laws to defend us from their malice, and we hate them in our bed-chambers, where they make children idolaters, and perchance make the children themselves. We acknowledge with St. Augustine, Perfectio odii est in charitate, The perfect hatred consists with charity, cum nec propter vitia homines oderimus, nec vitia propter homines amemus; when the greatness of the men brings us not to love their religion, nor the illness of their religion, to hate the men. Mcses, in that place, is St. Augustine's example, whom he proposes, orabat et occidebat, he prayed for the idolaters, and he slew them; he hated, says he, Iniquitatem, quam puniebat, That sin which he punished, and he loved humanitatem, pro qua orabat, that nature, as they were men, for whom he prayed: for, that, says he, is Perfectum odium, quod facti sunt diligere, quod fecerunt, odiisse, To love them as they are creatures, to hate them as they are traitors. Thus much love is due to any enemy, that if God be pleased to advance him, De ejus profectu noa dejiciamur, says St. Gregory, His advancement do not deject us, to a murmuring against God, or to a diffidence in God; and that when God, in his time, shall cast him down again, congaudeamu s jtistitiw judicis, condoleamus miseriw pereuntis, we*may both congratulate the justice of God, and yet condole the misery of that person, upon whom that judgment is justly fallen: for, though inimietis
"Eccles. iii. 8. 18 De singularit, cleric
vester, the enemy that maligns the state, and inimicus Dei, the enemy that opposes our religion, be not so far within this text, as that we are bound to feed them, or to do them good; yet there are scarce any enemies, with whom we may not live peaceably, and to whom we may not wish charitably.
We have done with all, which was intended and proposed of the person; we come to the duty expressed in this text, ciba, feed him, and give him drink. Here, there might be use in noting the largeness, the fulness, the abundanco of the Gospel, above the law: not only in that the blessings of God are presented in the Old Testament, in the name of milk and honey, and oil, and wine, (all temporal things) and in the New Testament, in the name of joy, and glory, (things, in a manner spiritual,) but that also, in the Old Testament, the best things are limited, and measured unto them; a gomer of manna, and no more, for the best man, whereas for the joy of the Gospel, we shall enter in gaudium Domini, into our Master's joy1*, and be mado partakers with Christ Jesus, of that jog, for which he endured the cross"; and here, in this world, Gaudium meum erit, says Christ, My jog shall be in you"; in what measure? Implebitur, says he, Your joy shall be full; how long? for ever; Nemo tollet, Your joy shall no man take from you". And such as the joy is, such is the glory too: how precious? Divitiw gloriw, The riches of the glory of his inheritance"; how much? Pondus gloriw, A weight of glory"; how long? Immarcescibilis corona, A crown of glory, that never fadethia: we might, I say, take occasion of making this comparison between the Old, and the New Testament, out of this text, because this charity, enjoined here, in this text, to our enemy, in that place, from whence this text is taken, in the Proverbs, is but lachem, and maiim, bread and water; but hero, in St. Paul, it is in words of better signification, feed him, give him drink. But indeed, the words, at the narrowest, (as it is but bread and water) signify whatsoever is necessary for the relief of him, that stands in need. And if we be enjoined so much to our enemy, how inexcusable are those datores cyminibiles (as the
"Matt. xxv. 21. "Hell. xii. 2. "uJoUn xv. 11.
» John xvi. 22. 1* Eph. i. 18.
10 2 Cor. iv. 17. i0 1 Peter v. 4.
canonists call them) that give mint, and cumin for alms, a root that their hogs will not, a broth that their dogs will not eat. Remember in thy charity, the times, and the proportions of thy Saviour; after his death, in the wound in his side, he poured out water, and blood, which represented both sacraments, and so was a bountiful dole: provide in thy life, to do good after thy death, and it shall be welcome, even in the eyes of God, then: but remember too, that this dole at his death, was not the first alms that he gave; his water was his white money, and his blood was his gold, and he poured out both together in his agony, and severally in his weeping, and being scourged for thee. What proportion of relief is due to him, that is thy brother in nature, thy brother in nation, thy brother in religion, if meat and drink, and in that, whatsoever is necessary to his sustentation, be due to thine enemy?
But all this bountiful charity, is Si esurierit, si sitit, If he be hungry, if he be thirsty. To the king, who bears the care and the charge of the public, we are bound to give, antequam eswriat, antequam sitiat, before he be overtaken with dangerous, and dishonourable, and less remediable necessities: not only substantial wants, upon which our safety depends, but circumstantial and ceremonial wants, upon which his dignity, and majesty depends, are always to be, not only supplied, but prevented. But our enemy must be in hunger, and thirst, that is, reduced to the state, as he may not become our enemy again, by that which we give, before we are bound, by this text, to give anything. No doubt but the church of Rome hungers still for the money of this land, upon which they fed so luxuriantly heretofore: and no doubt but those men, whom they shall at any time animate, will thirst for the blood of this land, which they have sought before; but this is not the hunger, and the thirst of the 'enemy, which we must feed: the commandment goes not so far, as to feed that enemy, that may thereby be a more powerful enemy; but yet, thus far, truly, it does go, deny no office of civility, of peace, of commerce, of charity to any, only therefore, because he hath been heretofore an enemy.
There remains nothing of those two branches, which constitute our first part, the person, that is, an enemy reduced to a better disposition; and the duty, that is, to relieve him, with things necessary for that state: and for the second part, we must stop upon those steps laid down at first, of which the first was, That God takes nothing for nothing, he gives a reward. When God took that great proportion of sheep and oxen out of his subjects' goods in the state of Israel, for sacrifice, that proportion which would have kept divers kings' houses, and would have victualled divers navies, perchance no man could say, I have this, or this benefit, for this, or this sacrifice; but yet could any man say, God hath taken a sacrifice for nothing? Where we have peace, and justice, and protection, can any man say, he gives any thing for nothing? When God says, If I were hungry, I would not tell thee", that's not intended, which Tertullian says, Scriptum est, Deus non esuriet nec sitiet, It is written, God shall neither hunger nor thirst, (for, first, Tertullian's memory failed him, there is no such sentence in all the Scripture, as he cites there; and then God does hunger and thirst, in this sense, in the members of his mystical body,) neither is that only intended in that place of the Psalm (though Cassiodore take it so) that if God in his poor saints, were hungry, he could provide them, without telling thee; but it is, If I were hungry, I need not tell thee; for The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof and they that dwell therein". God does not always bind himself to declare his hunger, his thirst, his pressing occasions, to use the goods of his subjects, but as the Lord gives, so the Lord takes, where and when he will: but yet, as God transfuses a measure of this right and power of taking, into them, of whom he hath said, you are God's, so he transfuses his goodness too, which is in himself, that he takes nothing for nothing; he promises here a reward, and a reward arising from the enemy, which puts a greater encouragement upon us, to do it; super caput ejus, In so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on h is head.
God is the Lord of hosts, and in this text, he makes the seat of the war in the enemy's country, and enriches his servants ex manubiis, out of the spoil of the enemy; In caput ejus, It shall fall upon his head. Though all men that go to the war, go not
"Psalm L. 12. ** Psalm xxiv. 1.
VOL. III. I
upon those just reasons deliberated before in themselves, which are, the defence of a just cause, the obedience to a lawful commandment, yet of those that do go without those conscientious deliberations, none goes therefore, because he may have room in an hospital, or relief by a pension, when he comes home lame, but because he may get something, by going into a fat country, and against a rich enemy; though honour may seem to feed upon blows, and dangers, men go cheerfully against an enemy, from whom something is to be got; for profit is a good salve to knocks, a good cerecloth to bruises, and a good balsamum to wounds. God therefore here raises the reward out of the enemy, feed him, and thou shalt gain by it. But yet the profit that God promises by the enemy here, is rather that we shall gain a soul, than any temporal gain; rather that we shall make that enemy a better man, than that we shall make him a weaker enemy: God respects his spiritual good, as we shall see in that phrase, which is our last branch, CongeYes carbones, Thou shalt heap coal s of fire on his head.
It ifl true that St. Chrysostom (and not he alone) takes this phrase to imply a revenge: that God's judgments shall be the more vehement upon such ungrateful persons, et terrebuntur beneficiis, the good turns that thou hast done to them, shall be a scourge and a terror to their consciences. This sense is not inconvenient; but it is too narrow: the Holy Ghost hath taken so large a metaphor, as implies more than that. It implies the divers offices, and effects of fire; all this; that if he have any gold, any pure metal in him, this fire of this kindness, will purge out the dross, and there is a friend made. If he be nothing but straw and stubble, combustible still, still ready to take fire against thee, this fire which God's breath shall blow, will consume him, and burn him out, and there is an enemy marred: if he have any tenderness any way, this fire will mollify him towards thee; Nimis durus animus, says St. Augustine, He is a very hard-hearted man, qui si ultro dilectionem uon vult impendere, etiam nolit rependere, who, though ho will not requite thy love, yet will not acknowledge it. If he bo wax, he melts with this fire; and if he be clay, he hardens with it, and then thou wilt arm thyself against that
pellet. Thus much good, God intends to the enemy, in this phrase, that it is, Pia vindicta si resipiscant", We have taken a blessed revenge upon our enemies, if our charitable applying of ourselves to them, may bring them to apply themselves to God, and to glorify him: Si benefaciendo cicuremus, says St. Hierome, If we can tame a wild beast by sitting up with him, and reduce an enemy by offices of friendship, it is well. So much good God intends him in this phrase, and so much good he intends us, that, si non incendant, if these coals do not purge him, si non injiciant pudorem, if they do not kindle a shame in him, to have offended one that hath deserved so well, yet this fire gives thee light to see him clearly, and to run away from him, and to assure thee, that he, whom so many benefits cannot reconcile, is irreconcilable".