PREACHED AT WHITEHALL, MARCH 8, 1621.
1 Cor. xv. 26.
The last Enemy that shall be destroyed, is Death.
This is a text of the resurrection, and it is not Easter yet; but it is Easter eve; all Lent is but the vigil, the eve of Easter: to so long a festival as never shall end, the resurrection, we may well begin the eve betimes. Forty years long was God grieved for that generation which he loved; let us be content to humble ourselves forty days, to be fitter for that glory which we expect. In the Book of God there are many songs; there is but one Lamentation: and that one Song of Solomon, nay some one of David's hundred and fifty Psalms, is longer than the whole book of Lamentations. Make way to an everlasting Easter by a short Lent, to an undeterminable glory, by a temporary humiliation. You must weep these tears, tears of contrition, tears of mortification, before God will wipe all tears from your eyes; you must die this death, this death of the righteous, the death to sin, before this last enemy, death, shall be destroyed in you, arid you made partakers of everlasting life in soul and body too.
Our division shall be but a short, and our whole exercise but a larger paraphrase upon the words. The words imply first, that the kingdom of Christ, which must be perfected, must be accomplished, because all things must be subdued unto him, is not yet perfected, not accomplished yet. Why l what lacks it? It lacks the bodies of men, which yet lie under the dominion of another. When we shall also see by that metaphor which the Holy Ghost chooseth to express that in, which is that there is hostis, and so militia, an enemy, and a war, and therefore that kingdom is not perfected, that he places perfect happiness, and perfect glory, in perfect peace. But then how far is any state consisting of many men, how far the state, and condition of any one man in particular, from this perfect peace I How truly a warfare is this life, if the kingdom of heaven itself have not this peace in perfection? And it hath it not, because there is an enemy: though that enemy shall not overthrow it, yet because it plots, and works, and machinates, and would overthrow it, this is a defect in that peace.
Who then is this enemy I An enemy that may thus far think himself equal to God, that as no man ever saw God, and lived; so no man ever saw this enemy and lived, for it is death; and in this may think himself in number superior to God, that many men live who shall never see God; but Quis homo, is David's question, which was never answered, Is there any man that lines, and shall not see death? An enemy that is so well victualled against man, as that he cannot want as long as there are men, for he feeds upon man himself. And so well armed against man, as that he cannot want munition, while there are men, for he fights with our weapons, our own faculties, nay our calamities, yea our own pleasures are our death. And therefore he is, saith the text, The last enemy.
We have other enemies; Satan about us, sin within us; but the power of both those, this enemy shall destroy; but when they are destroyed, he shall retain a hostile, and triumphant dominion over us. But Usque quo Domine? How long O Lord I for ever? No; we see this enemy all the way, and all the way we feel him; but we shall see him destroyed; but how I or when? At, and by the resurrection of our bodies: for as upon my expiration, my transmigration from hence, as soon as my soul enters into heaven, 1 shall be able to say to the angels, I am of the same stuff as you, spirit, and spirit, and therefore let me stand with you, and look upon the face of your God, and my God; so at the resurrection of this body, I shall be able to say to the angel of the great council, the Son of God, Christ Jesus himself, I am of the same stuff as you, body and body, flesh and flesh, and therefore let me sit down with you, at the right hand of the Father in an everlasting security from this last enemy, who is now destroyed, death. And in these seven steps we shall pass apace, and yet clearly, through this paraphrase.
We begin with this; that the kingdom of heaven hath not all that it must have to consummate perfection, till it have bodies too. In those infinite millions of millions of generations, in which the holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity enjoyed themselves, one another, and no more, they thought not their glory so perfect, but that it might receive an addition from creatures; and therefore they made a world, a material world, a corporeal world, they would have bodies. In that noble part of that world which Moses calls the firmament, that great expansion from God's chair to his footstool, from heaven to earth, there was a defect, which God did not supply that day, nor the next, but the fourth day he did; for that day he made those bodies, those great, and lightsome bodies, the sun, and moon, and stars, and placed them in the firmament. So also the heaven of heavens, the presence chamber of God himself, expects the presence of our bodies.
No state upon earth, can subsist without those bodies, men of their own. For men that are supplied from others, may either in necessity, or in indignation, be withdrawn, and so that state which stood upon foreign legs, sinks. Let the head be gold, and the arms silver, and the belly brass, if the feet be clay1, men that may slip, and moulder away, all is but an image, all is but a dream of an image: for foreign helps are rather crutches than legs. There must be bodies, men, and able bodies, able men; men that eat the good things of the land, their own figs and olives; men not macerated with extortions: they are glorified bodies that make up the kingdom of heaven; bodies that partake of the good of the state, that make up the state. Bodies, able bodies, and lastly, bodies inanimated with one soul: one vegetative soul; all must be sensible and compassionate of one another's misery; and especially the immortal soul, one supreme soul, one religion. For as God hath made us under good princes, a great example of all that, abundance of men, men that live like men, men united in one religion, so we need not go far for an example of a slippery, and uncertain being, where they must stand upon others men's men, and must overload all men with exactions, and distortions, and convulsions, and earthquakes in the multiplicity of religions.
The kingdom of heaven must have bodies; kingdoms of the earth must have them; and if upon the earth thou beest in the way to heaven, thou must have a body too, a body of thine own.
1 Dan. ii. 32.
a body in thy possession: for thy body hath thee, and not thou it, if thy body tyrannize over thee. If thou canst not withdraw thine eye from an object of temptation, or withhold thy hand from subscribing against thy conscience, nor turn thine ear from a popular and seditious libel, what hast thou towards a man I thou hast no soul, nay thou hast no body: there is a body, but thou hast it not, it is not thine, it is not in thy power. Thy body will rebel against thee even in a sin: it will not perform a sin, when, and where thou wouldest have it. Much more will it rebel against any good work, till thou have imprinted the marks of the Lord Jesus*, which were but exemplar in him, but are essential, and necessary to thee, abstinencies, and such discreet disciplines, and mortifications, as may subdue that body to thee, and make it thine: for till then it is but thine enemy, and maintains a war against thee; and war, and enemy is the metaphor which the Holy Ghost hath taken here to express a want, a kind of imperfectness even in heaven itself. As peace is of all goodness, so war is an emblem, a hieroglyphic, of all misery; and that is our second step in this paraphrase.
If the feet of them that preach peace be beautiful, (and, 0 how beautiful are the feet of them that preach peace? The prophet Isaiah asks the question, Lii. 7.; and the prophet Nahum asks it, i. 15. and the apostle St. Paul asks it, Rom. x. 15. they all ask it, but none answers it) who shall answer us, if we ask, How beautiful is his face, who is the author of this peace, when we shall see that in the glory of heaven, the centre of all true peace? It was the inheritance of Christ Jesus upon the earth, he had it at his birth, he brought it with him, Glory be to God on high, peace upon earth*. It was his purchase upon earth, He made peace (indeed he bought peace) through the blood of his cross*. It was his testament, when he went from earth: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you6. Divide with him in that blessed inheritance, partake with him in that blessed purchase, enrich thyself with that blessed legacy, his peace.
Let the whole world be in thy consideration as one house; and then consider in that, in the peaceful harmony of creatures, in the peaceful succession, and connexion of causes, and effects, the
* Gal. vi. 17. 8 Luke ii. 14. 4 Colos. i. 20. 5 John xiv. 27.
peace of nature. Let this kingdom, where God hath blessed thee with a being, be the gallery, the best room of that house, and consider in the two walls of that gallery, the church and the state, the peace of a royal, and a religious wisdom; let thine own family be a cabinet in this gallery, and find in all the boxes thereof, in the several duties of wife, and children, and servants, the peace of virtue, and of the father and mother of all virtues, active discretion, passive obedience; and then lastly, let thine own bosom be the secret box, and reserve in this cabinet, and then the best jewel in the best cabinet, and that in the best gallery of the best house that can be had, peace with the creature, peace in the church, peace in the state, peace in thy house, peace in thy heart, is a fair model, and a lovely design even of the heavenly Jerusalem which is visio pacis, where there is no object but peace.
And therefore the Holy Ghost, to intimate to us that happy perfectness, which we shall have at last, and not till then, chooses the metaphor of an enemy, an enmity, to avert us from looking for true peace from anything that presents itself in the way. Neither truly could the Holy Ghost imprint more horror by any word, than that which intimates war, as the word enemy does. It is but a little way that the poet hath got in the description of war, Jam seges est, that now that place is ploughed, where the great city stood: for it is not so great a depopulation to translate a city from merchants to husbandmen, from shops to ploughs, as it is from many husbandmen to one shepherd, and yet that hath been often done. And all that, at most, is but a depopulation, it is not a devastation, that Troy was ploughed. But, when the prophet Isaiah comes to the devastation, to the extermination of a war, he expresses it first thus; Where there were a thousand vineyards at a cheap rate, all the land become briars and thorns": that is much; but there is more, the earth shall be removed out of her place; that land, that nation, shall no more be called that nation, nor that land1: but, yet more than that too; not only, not that people, but no other shall ever inhabit it. It shall never be inhabited from generation to generation, neither shall shepherds be there; not only no merchant, nor husbandmen, but no depopu
* Isaiah vii. 23.. . 7 Isaiah xiii. 13.
later; none but owls and ostriches, and satyrs', indeed God knows what, ochim, and ziim, words which truly we cannot translate.
In a word, the horror of war is best discerned in the company he keeps, in his associates. And when the prophet Gad brought war into the presence of David, there came with him famine and pestilence". And when famine entered, we see the effects; it brought mothers to eat their children of a span long; that is, as some expositors take it, to take medicines to procure abortions, to cast their children, that they might have children to eat. And when war's other companion, the pestilence entered, we see the effects of that too: In less than half the time that it was threatened for, it devoured three score and ten thousand of David's men; and yet for all the vehemence, the violence, the impetuousness of this pestilence, David chose this pestilence rather than a war. Militia and malitia, are words of so near a sound, as that the vulgate edition takes them as one. For where the prophet speaking of the miseries that Jerusalem had suffered, says, Finita militia ejus1", Let her warfare be an end, they read, Finita malitia ejus, Let her misery be at an end ; war and misery is all one thing. But is there any of this in heaven? Even the saints in heaven lack something of the consummation of their happiness, quia hostis, because they have an enemy. And that is our third and next step.
Michael and his angels fought against the devil and his angels; though that war ended in victory, yet (taking that war, as divers expositors do, for the fall of angels) that kingdom lost so many inhabitants, as that all the souls of all that shall be saved, shall but fill up the places of them that fell, and so make that kingdom but as well as it was before that war: so ill effects accompany even the most victorious war. There is no war in heaven, yet all is not well, because there is an enemy; for that enemy would kindle a war again, but that he remembers how ill he sped last time he did so. It is not an enemy that invades neither, but only detains; he detains the bodies of the saints which are in heaven, and therefore is an enemy to the kingdom of Christ; he that detains the souls of men in superstition, he that detains the
'Isaiah xiii. 19. 9 2 Sam. xsiv. 13. "Isaiah si. 2.
hearts and allegiance of subjects in an hesitation, a vacillation, an irresolution where they shall fix them, whether upon their sovereign, or a foreign power, he is in the notion, and acceptation of enemy in this text; an enemy, though no hostile act be done. It is not a war, it is but an enemy; not an invading, but a detaining enemy; and then this enemy is but one enemy, and yet he troubles, and retards the consummation of that kingdom.
Antichrist alone is enemy enough; but never carry this consideration beyond thyself. As long as there remains in thee one sin, or the sinful gain of that one sin, so long there is one enemy, and where there is one enemy, there is no peace. Gardeners that husband their ground to the best advantage, sow all their seeds in such order, one under another, that their garden is always full of that which is then in season. If thou sin with that providence, with that seasonableness, that all thy spring, thy youth, be spent in wantonness, all thy summer, thy middleage, in ambition, and the ways of preferment, and thy autumn, thy winter, in indevotion and covetousness, though thou have no farther taste of licentiousness in thy middle-age, thou hast thy satiety in that sin, nor of ambition in thy last years, thou hast accumulated titles of honour, yet all the way thou hast had one enemy, and therefore never any perfect peace. But who is this one enemy in this text? As long as we put it oft', and as loath as we are to look this enemy in the face, yet we must, though it be death. And this is the fourth and next step in this paraphrase.
Surge et descends in domum figuli, says the prophet Jeremy, that is, say the expositors, to the consideration of thy mortality. It is Surge, descende, Arise and go down11: a descent with an ancension: our grave is upward, and our heart is upon Jacob's ladder, in the way, and nearer to heaven. Our daily funerals are some emblems of that; for though we be laid down in the earth after, yet we are lifted up upon men's shoulders before. We rise in the descent to death, and so we do in the descent to the contemplation of it. In all the potter's house, is there one vessel made of better stuff than clay? There is his matter. And
11 Jer. xviii.2.
of all forms, a circle is the perfectest, and art thou loath to make up that circle, with returning to the earth again?
Thou must, though thou be loath. Fortasse, says St. Augustine, that word of contingency, of casualty, perchance, In omnibus ferme rebus, prwterquam in morte locum habet: It hath room in all human actions excepting death. He makes his example thus: such a man is married; where he would, or at least where he must, where his parents, or his guardian will have him; shall he have children? Fortasse, says he, they are a young couple, perchance they shall: and shall those children be sons? Fortasse, they are of a strong constitution, perchance they shall: and shall those sons live to be men? Fortasse, they are from healthy parents, perchance they shall: and when they have lived to be men, shall they be good men? such as good men may be glad they may live? Fortasse, still; they are of virtuous parents, it may be they shall: but when they are come to that morientur, shall those good men die? Here, says that father, the fortasse vanishes; here it is omnino certe, sine dubitatione; infallibly, inevitably, irrecoverably they must die. Doth not man die even in his birth? The breaking of prison is death, and what is our birth, but a breaking of prison? As soon as we were clothed by God, our very apparel was an emblem of death. In the skins of dead beasts, he covered the skins of dying men. As soon as God set us on work, our very occupation was an emblem of death; it was to dig the earth; not to dig pitfalls for other men, but graves for ourselves. Hath any man here forgot to-day, that yesterday is dead? and the bell tolls for to-day, and will ring out anon; and for as much of every one of us, as appertains to this day. Quotidie morimur, et tamen nos esse wternos putamus, says St. Hierome; We die every day, and we die all the day long; and because we are not absolutely dead, we call that an eternity, an eternity of dying: and is there comfort in that state? why, that is the state of hell itself, eternal dying, and not dead.
But for this there is enough said, by the moral man; (that we may respite divine proofs, for divine points anon, for our several resurrections) for this death is merely natural, and it is enough that the moral man says, Mors lex, tributum, officium mortalium1*.
First it is lex, you were born under that law, upon that condition, to die: so it is a rebellious thing not to be content to die, it opposes the law. Then it is tributum, an imposition which nature the queen of this world lays upon us, and which she will take, when and where she list; here a young man, there an old man, here a [happy, there a miserable man; and so it is a seditious thing not to be content to die, it opposes the prerogative. And lastly, it is officium, men are to have their turns, to take their time, and then to give way by death to successors; and so it is incivile, inqfficiosum, not to be content to die, it opposes the frame and form of government. It comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes. The ashes of an oak in the chimney, are no epitaph of that oak, to tell me how high or how large that was; it tells me not what flocks it sheltered while it stood, nor what men it hurt when it fell. The dust of great persons' graves is speechless too, it says nothing, it distinguishes nothing: as soon the dust of a wretch whom thou wouldest not, as of a prince whom thou couldest not look upon, will trouble thine eyes, if the wind blow it thither; and when a whirl-wind hath blown the dust of the churchyard into the church, and the man sweeps out the dust of the church into the churchyard, who will undertake to sift those dusts again, and to pronounce, This is the patrician, this is the noble flour, and this the yeomanly, this the plebeian bran. So is the death of Jezebel (Jezebel was a queen) expressed; They "shall not say, this is Jezebel; not only not wonder that it is, nor pity that it should be, but they shall not say, they shall not know, this is Jezebel. It comes to all, to all alike; but not alike welcome to all. To die too willingly, out of impatience to wish, or out of violence to hasten death, or to die too unwillingly, to murmur at God's purpose revealed by age, or by sickness, are equal distempers; and to harbour a disobedient loathness all the way, or to entertain it at last, argues but an irreligious ignorance; an ignorance that death is in nature but expiratio, a breathing out; and we do that every minute; an ignorance that God himself took a day to rest in, and a good man's grave is his sabbath; an ignorance that Abel the best of those whom we can compare with him, was the first that died. Howsoever, whensoever, all times are God's Vol. I. R
times: Vocantur boni ne diutius vexentur a noxiis, mali ne diutius bonos persequantiirTM, God calls the good to take them from their dangers, and God takes the bad to take them from their triumph. And therefore neither grudge that thou goest, nor that worse stay, for God can make his profit of both; Aut ideo vivit ut corrigatur, aut ideo ut per ilium bonus exerceatur; God reprieves him to mend him, or to make another better by his exercise; and not to exult in the misery of another, but to glorify God in the ways of his justice, let him know, Quantumcunque sero, subito ex hoc vita tollitur, qui finem prwvidere nescivit1*: How long soever he live, how long soever he lie sick, that man dies a sudden death, who never thought of it. If we consider death in St. Paul's saying, It is decreed that all men must die, there death is indifferent; if we consider it in his saying, That it is an advantage to die, there death is good; and so much the vulgate edition seems to intimate, when (Deut. xxx. 19.) whereas we read, I have set before you life and death, that reads it, Vitam et bonum, Life, and that which is good. If then death be at the worst indifferent, and to the good, good, how is it hostis, an enemy to the kingdom of Christ? for that also is the fifth and next step in this paraphrase.
First God did not make death, says the wise man, and therefore St. Augustine makes a reasonable prayer to God, Nepermittas Domine quod non fecisti, dominari Creaturw quam fecistiTM; Suffer not 0 Lord, death, whom thou didst not make, to have dominion over me whom thou didst. Whence then came death I The same wise man hath showed us the father. Through envy of the devil, came death into the world16; and a wiser than he, the Holy Ghost himself hath showed us the mother, By sin, came death into the world'11. But .yet if God have naturalized death, taken death into the number of his servants, and made death his commissioner to punish sin, and he do but that, how is death an enemy? First, he was an enemy in invading Christ, who was not in his commission, because he had no sin; and still he is an enemy, because still he adheres to the enemy. Death hangs upon the edge of every persecutor's sword; and upon the sting of every
13 Augustine. "Gregorius. 15 Sap. i. 13. 10 Sap. ii. ult.
17 Rom. v. 12.
calumniator's, and accuser's tongue. In the bull of Phalaris, in the bulls of Basan, in the bulls of Babylon, the shrewdest bulls of all, in temporal, in spiritual persecutions, ever since God put an enmity between man and the serpent, from the time of Cain who began in a murder, to the time of antichrist, who proceeds in massacres, death hath adhered to the enemy, and so is an enemy.
Death hath a commission, The reward of sin is death, but where God gives a supersedeas, upon that commission, As I live, saith the Lord, I would have no sinner die, not die the second death, yet death proceeds to that execution: and whereas the enemy whom he adheres to, the serpent himself, hath power but upon the heel, the lower, the mortal part, the body of man, Death is come up into our windows13, saith the prophet, into our best lights, our understandings, and benights us there, either with ignorance before sin, or with senselessness hereafter: and a sheriff that should burn him, who were condemned to be hanged, were a murderer, though that man must have died: to come in by the door, by the way of sickness upon the body, is, but to come in at the window by the way of sin, is not death's commission; God opens not that window.
So then he is an enemy, for they that adhere to the enemy are enemies: and adhering is not only a present subministration of supply to the enemy (for that death doth not) but it is also a disposition to assist the enemy, then when he shall be strong enough to make benefit of that assistance. And so death adheres; when sin and Satan have weakened body and mind, death enters upon both. And in that respect he is the last enemy, and that is our sixth and next step in this paraphrase.
Death is the last, and in that respect the worst enemy. In an enemy, that appears at first, when we are or may be provided against him, there is some of that, which we call honour: but in the enemy that reserves himself unto the last, and attends our weak estate, there is more danger. Keep it, where I intend it, in that which is my sphere, the conscience: if mine enemy meet me betimes in my youth, in an object of temptation, (so Joseph's enemy met him in Potiphar's wife) yet if I do not adhere to this
10 Jer. ix. 21.
enemy, dwell upon a delightful meditation of that sin, if I do not fuel, and foment that sin, assist and encourage that sin, by high diet, wanton discourse, other provocation, I shall have reason on my side, and I shall have grace on my side, and I shall have the history of a thousand that have perished by that sin, on my side; even spitals will give me soldiers to fight for me, by their miserable example against that sin; nay perchance sometimes the virtue of that woman, whom I solicit, will assist me. But when I lie under the hands of that enemy, that hath reserved himself to the last, to my last bed, then when I shall be able to stir no limb in any other measure than a fever or palsy shall shake them, when everlasting darkness shall have an inchoation in the present dimness of mine eyes, and the everlasting gnashing in the present chattering of my teeth, and the everlasting worm in the present gnawing of the agonies of my body, and anguishes of my mind; when the last enemy shall watch my remediless body, and my disconsolate soul there, there, where not the physician, in his way, perchance not the priest in his, shall be able to give any assistance, and when he hath sported himself with my misery upon that stage, my deathbed, shall shift the scene, and throw me from that bed, into the grave, and there triumph over me, God knows how many generations, till the Redeemer, my Redeemer, the Redeemer of all me, body, as well as soul, come again; as death is the enemy which watches me, at my last weakness, and shall hold me, when I shall be no more, till that angel come, Who shall say, and swear that time shall be no more, in that consideration, in that apprehension, he is the powerfulest, the fearfulest enemy; and yet even there this enemy shall be destroyed, which is our seventh and last step in this paraphrase.
This destruction, this abolition of this last enemy, is by the resurrection; for the text is part of an argument for the resurrection. And truly it is a fair intimation, and testimony of an everlasting end in that state of the resurrection (that no time shall end it) that we have it presented to us in all the parts of time; in the past, in the present, and in the future. We had a resurrection in prophecy; we have a resurrection in the present working of God's spirit; we shall have a resurrection in the final consummation. The prophet speaks in the future, He will swallow up death in victory1*, there it is abolebit: all the evangelists speak historically, of matter of fact, in them it is abolevit. And here in this apostle, it is in the present, aboletur, now he is destroyed. And this exhibits unto us a threefold occasion of advancing our devotion, in considering a threefold resurrection; first, a resurrection from dejections and calamities in this world, a temporary resurrection; secondly, a resurrection from sin, a spiritual resurrection; and then a resurrection from the grave, a final resurrection.
When the prophets speak of a resurrection in the Old Testament, for the most part their principal intention is upon a temporal restitution from calamities that oppressed them then. Neither doth Calvin carry those emphatical words, which are so often cited for a proof of the last resurrection: That he knows his Redeemer lives, that he knows he shall stand the last man upon earth, that though his body be destroyed, yet in his flesh and with Ms eyes he shall see Godia, to any higher sense than so, that how low soever he be brought, to what desperate state soever he bo reduced in the eyes of the world, yet he assures himself of a resurrection, a reparation, a restitution to his former bodily health, and worldly fortune which he had before. And such a resurrection we all know Job had.
In that famous, and most considerable prophetical vision which God exhibited to Ezekiel, where God set the prophet in a valley of very many, and very dry bones, and invites the several joints to knit again, ties them with their old sinews, and ligaments, clothes them in their old flesh, wraps them in their old skin, and calls life into them again, God's principal intention in that vision was thereby to give them an assurance of a resurrection from their present calamity, not but that there is also good evidence of the last resurrection in that vision too; thus far God argues with them, a re nota; from that which they knew before, the final resurrection, he assures them that which they knew not till then, a present resurrection from those pressures: remember by this vision that which you all know already, that at last I shall reunite the dead, and dry bones of all men in a general resurrec
tion: and then if you remember, if you consider, if you look upon that, can you doubt, but that I who can do that, can also recollect you, from your present desperation, and give you a "resurrection to your former temporal happiness? And this truly arises pregnantly, necessarily out of the prophet's answer; God asks him there, Son of man, can these bones live? and ho answers, 0 Lord God thou knowest. The prophet answers according to God's intention in the question. If that had been for their living in the last resurrection, Ezekiel would have answered God as Martha answered Christ, when ho said, Thy brother Lazarus shall rise again; viz. / know that he shall rise again at the resurrection at the last day81; but when the question was, whether men so macerated, so scattered in this world, could have a resurrection to their former temporal happiness here, that puts the prophet to his Domine tu nosti, It is in thy breast to propose it, it is in thy hand to execute it, whether thou do it, or do it not, thy name be glorified; it falls not within our conjecture, which way it shall please thee to take for this resurrection, Domine tu nosti, Thou, Lord, and thou only knowest; which is also the sense of those words, Others were tortured, and accepted not a deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection**: A present deliverance had been a resurrection, but to be the more sure of a better hereafter, they less respected that; according to that of our Saviour, He that finds his life, shall lose it33; Ho that fixeth himself too earnestly upon this resurrection, shall lose a better.
This is then the prophetical resurrection for the future, but a future in this world; that if rulers take counsel against the Lord, the Lord shall have their counsel in derision84; if they take arms against the Lord, the Lord shall break their bows, and cut their spears in sunder; if they hiss, and gnash their teeth, and say, We have swallowed him up; if we be made their by-word, their parable, their proverb, their libel, the theme and burden of their songs, as Job complains, yet whatsoever fall upon me, damage, distress, scorn, or the last enemy, death itself, that death which we consider here, death of possessions, death of estimation, death of health, death of contentment, yet it shall be
81 John xi, 24, 88 Heb. xi. 35. 23 Matt. x. 39. i4 Psalm ii. 4.
estroyed in a resurrection, in the return of the light of God's countenance upon me even in this world. And this is the first resurrection.
But this first resurrection, which is but from temporal calamities, doth so little concern a true and established Christian, whether it come or no, (for still Job's basis is his basis, and his centre, though he kill me, kill me, kill me, in all these several deaths, and give me no resurrection in this world, yet I will trust in him) as that, as though this first resurrection were no resurrection, not to be numbered among the resurrections, St. John calls that which we call the second, which is from sin, the first resurrection: Blessed and holy is he, who hath part in the first resurrection": and this resurrection, Christ implies, when he says, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear it shall live*": that is, by the voice of the word of life, the gospel of repentance, they shall have a spiritual resurrection to a new life.
St. Austin and Lactantius both were so hard in believing the roundness of the earth, that they thought that those homines pensiles, as they call them, those men that hang upon the other cheek of the face of the earth, those antipodes, whose feet are directly against ours, must necessarily fall from the earth, if the earth be round. But whither should they fall? If they fall, they must fall upwards, for heaven is above them too, as it is to us. So if the spiritual antipodes of this world, the sons of God, that walk with feet opposed in ways contrary to the sons of men, shall be said to fall, when they fall to repentance, to mortification, to a religious negligence, and contempt of the pleasures of this life, truly their fall is upwards, they fall towards heaven. God gives breath unto the people upon the earth*1, says the prophet, Et spiritum his, qui calcant Mam. Our translation carries that no farther, but that God gives breath to people upon the earth, and spirit to them that walk thereon; but Irenaeus makes a useful difference between afflatus and spiritus, that God gives breath to all upon earth, but his spirit only to them, who tread in a religious scorn upon earthly things.
"Apoc. xx. 6. 86 John v. 25. "Isaiah Xlv. S.
Is it not a strange phrase of the apostle, Mortify your members; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affections**? He does not say, mortify your members against those sins, but he calls those very sins, the members of our bodies, as though we were elemented and compacted of nothing but sin, till we come to this resurrection, this mortification, which is indeed our vivification; Till we bear in our body, the dying of our Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our body". God may give the other resurrection from worldly misery, and not give this. A widow may be rescued from the sorrow and solitariness of that state, by having a plentiful fortune; there she hath one resurrection; but The widow that Ivceih in pleasure, is dead while she lives30; she hath no second resurrection; and so in that sense, even this chapel may be a churchyard, men may stand, and sit, and kneel, and yet be dead; and any chamber alone may be a Golgotha, a place of dead men's bones, of men not come to this resurrection, which is the renunciation of their beloved sin.
It was inhumanly said by Vitellius, upon the death of Otho, when he walked in the field of carcasses, where the battle was fought; O how sweet a perfume is a dead enemy! But it is a divine saying to thy soul, O what a savour of life unto life is the death of a beloved sin! What an angelical comfort was that to Joseph and Mary in Egypt, after the death of Herod, Arise, for they are dead that sought the child's life31! And even that comfort is multiplied upon thy soul, when the Spirit of God says to thee, Arise, come to this resurrection: for that Herod, that sin, that sought the life, the everlasting life of this child, the child of God, thy soul, is dead, dead by repentance, dead by mortification. The highest cruelty that story relates, or poets imagine, is when a persecutor will not afford a miserable man death, not be so merciful to him as to take his life. Thou hast made thy sin, thy soul, thy life; inanimated all thy actions, all thy purposes with that sin. Miserere animw tuw, be so merciful to thyself, as to take away that life by mortification, by repentance, and thou art come to this resurrection: and though a man may have the former resurrection, and not this, peace in his fortune, and yet not peace in his conscience, yet whosoever hath this second, hath
88 Col. iii. 5, 89 2 Cor. iv. 10. 30 1 Tim. v. 6. 31 Matt. ii. 20.
an infallible seal of the third resurrection too, to a fulness of glory in body, as well as in soul. For Spiritus maturam efficit carnem, et capacem incorruptelw3*; This resurrection by the spirit, mellows the body of man, and makes that capable of everlasting glory, which is the last weapon, by which the last enemy death, shall be destroyed.
Upon that pious ground, that all Scriptures were written for us, as we are Christians, that all Scriptures conduce to the proof of Christ, and of the Christian state, it is the ordinary manner of the fathers to make all that David speaks historically of himself, and all that the prophet speaks futurely of the Jews, if those places may be referred to Christ, to refer them to Christ primarily, and but by reflection, and in a second consideration upon David, or upon the Jews. Thereupon do the fathers (truly I think more generally, more unanimously than in any other place of Scripture) take that place of Ezekiel which we spake of before, to be primarily intended of the last resurrection, and but secondarily of the Jews' restitution. But Gasper Sanctius, a learned Jesuit, (that is not so rare, but an ingenuous Jesuit too) though he be bound by the Council of Trent, to interpret Scriptures according to the fathers, yet here he acknowledges the whole truth, that God's purpose was to prove, by that which they did know, which was the general resurrection, that which they knew not, their temporal restitution. Tertullian is vehement at first, but after, more supple. Allegoricw Scripturw, says he, resurrectionem subradiant aliw, aliw determinant: Some figurative places of Scripture do intimate a resurrection, and some manifest it; and of those manifest places he takes this vision of Ezekiel to be one. But he comes after to this, Sit et corporum, et rerum, et mea nihil interest; Let it signify a temporal resurrection, so it may signify the general resurrection of our bodies too, says he, and I am well satisfied; and then the truth satisfies him, for it doth signify both. It is true that Tertullian says, De vacuo similitudo non competit; If the vision be but a comparison, if there were no such thing as a resurrection, the comparison did not hold. De nullo parabola non convenit, says he, and truly; If there were no resurrection to which that parable might have rela
tion, it were no parable. All that is true; but there was a resurrection always known to them, always believed by them, and that made their present resurrection from that calamity, the more easy, the more intelligible, the more credible, the more discernible to them.
Let therefore God's method be thy method; fix thyself firmly upon that belief of the general resurrection, and thou wilt never doubt of either of the particular resurrections, either from sin, by God's grace, or from worldly calamities, by God's power. For that last resurrection is the ground of all. By that, says Irenaeus, this last enemy, death, is truly destroyed, because his last spoil, the body, is taken out of his hands. The same body; (as the same father notes) Christ did not fetch another sheep to the flock, in tho place of that which was lost, but the same sheep: God shall not give me another, a better body at the resurrection, but the same body made better; for Si non haberet caro salmri, neutiquam verbum Dei caro factum fuisset, If the flesh of man were not to be saved, the anchor of salvation would never have taken the flesh of man upon him.
The punishment that God laid upon Adam, In sweat, and in sorrow 'shalt thou eat thy bread33, is but till man return to dust: but when man is returned to dust, God returns to the remembrance of that promise, Awake and sing ye that dwell in the dust3*. A mercy already exhibited to us, in the person of our Saviour Christ Jesus, in whom, Per primitias benedixit campo, (says St. Chrysostom) as God by taking a handful for the first fruits, gave a blessing to the whole field, so he hath sealed the bodies of all mankind to his glory, by pre-assuming the body of Christ to that glory. For by that there is now Commercium inter Cwlum et terram3S; there is a trade driven, and a staple established between heaven and earth; Ibi caro nostra, hic Spiritus ejus; Thither have we sent our flesh, and hither hath he sent his Spirit.
This is the last abolition of this enemy, Death; for after this, the bodies of the saints he cannot touch, the bodies of the damned he cannot kill, and if he could, he were not therein their enemy, but their friend. This is that blessed and glorious state, of
33 Gen. iii. 17. 34 Isaiah xxvi. 19. 35 Bernard.
which, when all tho apostles met to make the Creed, they could say no more, but Credo resurrectionem, I believe the resurrection of the body; and when those two reverend fathers to whom it belongs, shall come to spoak of it upon the day proper for it in this place, and if all the bishops that ever met in councils should meet them here, they could but second the apostle's credo, with their anathema, we believe, and woe be unto them that do not believe, the resurrection of tho body; but in going about to express it, the lips of an angel would be uncircumcised lips, and the tonguo of an archangel would stammer. I offer not therefore at it: but in respect of, and with relation to that blessed state, according to the doctrine, and practice of our church, we do pray for the dead; for the militant church upon earth, and the triumphant church in heaven, and the whole Catholic church in heaven, and earth ; we do pray that God will be pleased to hasten that kingdom, that we with all others departed in tho true faith of his holy name, may have this perfect consummation, both of body and soul, in his everlasting glory, Amen.