lPREACHED AT WHITEHALL, THE FIRST FRIDAY IN LENT, 1C22.
John xi. 35.
I Am now but upon the compassion of Christ. There is much difference between his compassion and his passion, as much as between the men that are to handle them here. But Lacryma passionis Christi est vicaria1: a great personage may speak of his passion, of his blood; my vicarage is to speak of his compassion and his tears. Let me chafe the wax, and melt your souls in a bath of his tears now, let him set to the great seal of his effectual passion, in his blood, then. It is a common place, I know, to speak of tears: I would you knew as well, it were a common
practice to shed them. Though it be not so, yet bring St. Bernard's patience, Libenter audiam, qui non sibi plausum, sed mihi planctum moveat; Be willing to hear him, that seeks not your acclamation to himself, but your humiliation to his and your God; not to make you praise with them that praise, but to make you weep with them that weep, And Jesus wept.
The Masorites (the Masorites are the critics upon the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament) cannot tell us, who divided the chapters of the Old Testament into verses; neither can any other tell us, who did it in the New Testament. Whoever did it seems to have stopped in an amazement in this text, and by making an entire verse of these two words, Jesus wept, and no more, to intimate that there needs no more for the exalting of our devotion to a competent height, than to consider how, and where, and when, and why Jesus wept. There is not a shorter verse in the Bible, nor a larger text. There is another as short; Semper gaudete, Rejoice evermore*, and of that holy joy, I may have leave to speak here hereafter, more seasonably, in a more festival time, by my ordinary service. This is the season of general compunction, of general mortification, and no man privileged, for Jesus wept.
In that letter which Lentulus is said to have written to the senate of Rome, in which he gives some characters of Christ, he says, that Christ was never seen to laugh, but to weep often. Now in what number he limits his often, or upon what testimony he grounds his number, we know not. We take knowledge that he wept thrice. He wept here, when he mourned with them that mourned for Lazarus; he wept again, when he drew near to Jerusalem, and looked upon that city; and he wept a third time, in his passion. There is but one evangelist, but this, St. John, that tells us of these first tears, the rest say nothing of them; there is but one evangelist, St. Luke3, that tells us of his second tears, the rest speak not of those; there is no evangelist, but there is an apostle that tells us of his third tears, St. Paul says, That in the days of his flesh, he offered up prayers with strong cries, and tears*; and those tears, expositors of all sides refer to his passion, though some to his agony in the garden, some to his passion on the cross; and these in my opinion most fitly; be
'1 1 Thess. v. 16. 3 Luke xix. 41. * Heb. v. 7.
cause those words of St. Paul belong to the declaration of the priesthood, and of the sacrifice of Christ; and for that function of his, the cross was the altar; and therefore to the cross we fix those third tears. The first were humane tears, the second were prophetical, the third were pontifical, appertaining to the sacrifice. The first were shed in a condolency of a human and natural calamity fallen upon one family; Lazarus was dead: the second were shed in contemplation of future calamities upon a nation; Jerusalem was to be destroyed: the third, in contemplation of sin, and the everlasting punishments due to sin, and to such sinners as would make no benefit of that sacrifice, which he offered in offering himself. His friend was dead, and then Jesus wept; he justified natural affections, and such offices of piety: Jerusalem was to be destroyed, and then Jesus wept; he commiserated public and national calamities, though a private person: his very giving of himself for sin, was to become to a great many ineffectual; and then Jesus wept; he declared how indelible the natural stain of sin is, that not such sweat as his, such tears, such blood as his could absolutely wash it out of man's nature. The tears of the text are as a spring, a well, belonging to one household, the sisters of Lazarus: the tears over Jerusalem, are as a river, belonging to a whole country; the tears upon the cross, are as the sea, belonging to all the world; and though literally there fall no more into our text, than the spring, yet because the spring flows into the river, and the river into the sea, and that wheresoever we find that Jesus wept, we find our text, (for our text is but that, Jesus wept) therefore by the leave and light of his blessed Spirit, we shall look upon those lovely, those heavenly eyes, through this glass of his own tears, in all these three lines, as he wept here over Lazarus, as he wept there over Jerusalem, as he wept upon the cross over all of us. For so often Jesus wept.
First then, Jesus wept humanitus, he took a necessary occasion to show that he was true man. He was now in hand with the greatest miracle that ever he did, the raising of Lazarus, so long dead. Could we but do so in our spiritual raising, what a blessed harvest were that? What a comfort to find one man here today, raised from his spiritual death, this day twelvemonth I Christ did it every year, and every year he improved his miracle. In the first year, he raised the governor's daughter5; she was newly dead, and as yet in the house. In the beginning of sin, and whilst in the house, in the house of God, in the church, in a glad obedience to God's ordinances and institutions there, for the reparation and resuscitation of dead souls, the work is not so hard. In his second year, Christ raised the widow's son"; and him he found without, ready to be buried. In a man grown cold and stiff in sin, impenetrable, inflexible by denouncing the judgments of God, almost buried in a stupidity, and insensibleness of his being dead, there is more difficulty. But in his third year, Christ raised this Lazarus; he had been long dead, and buried, and in probability, putrified after four days.
This miracle Christ meant to make a pregnant proof of the resurrection, which was his principal intention therein. For the greatest arguments against the resurrection being for the most part of this kind, when a fish eats a man, and another man eats that fish, or when one man eats another, how shall both these men rise again? When a body is resolved in the grave to the first principles, or is passed into other substances, the case is somewhat near the game; and therefore Christ would work upon a body near that state, a body putrified. And truly, in our spiritual raising of the dead, to raise a sinner putrified in his own earth, resolved in his own dung, especially that hath passed many transformations, from shape to shape, from sin to sin, (he hath been a salamander and lived in the fire, in the fire successively, in the fire of lust in his youth, and in his age in the fire of ambition; and then he hath been a serpent, a fish, and lived in the waters, in the water successively, in the troubled water of sedition in his youth, and in his age in the cold waters of indevotion) how shall we raise this salamander and this serpent, when this serpent and this salamander is all one person, and must have contrary music to charm him, contrary physic to cure him? To raise a man resolved into divers substances, scattered into divers forms of several sins, is the greatest work. And therefore this miracle (which implied that) St. Basil calls Miraculum in miraculo, A pregnant, a double miracle. For here is mortuns redivhus,
a dead man lives; that had been done before; but Alligatits ambulat, says Basil; He that is fettered, and manacled, and tied with many difficulties, he walks.
And therefore as this miracle raised him most estimation, so (for they ever accompany one another) it raised him most envy: envy that extended beyond him, to Lazarus himself, who had done nothing; and yet, The chief priests consulted how they might put Lazarus to death, because by reason of him, many believed ia Jesus1. A disease, a distemper, a danger which no time shall ever be free from; that wheresoever there is a coldness, a disaffection to God's cause, those who are any way occasionally instruments of God's glory, shall find cold affections. If they killed Lazarus, had not Christ done enough to let them see that he could raise him again I For Cwca saivitia, si aliud videtur mortuut, aliud occisus; It was a blind malice, if they thought, that Christ could raise a man naturally dead, and could not if he were violently killed". This then being his greatest miracle, preparing the hardest article of the Creed, the resurrection of the body, as the miracle itself declared sufficiently his divinity, that nature, Bo in this declaration that he was God, he would declare that he was man too, and therefore Jesus wept.
He wept as man doth weep, and he wept as a man may weep; for these tears were Testes naturw, non indices diffidentiw*, They declared him to be true man, but no distrustful, no inordinate man. In Job there is a question asked of God, Hast thou eyes of flesh, and doest thou see, as man sees1" I Let this question be directed to God manifested in Christ, and Christ will weep out an answer to that question, I have eyes of flesh, and I do weop as man weeps. Not as sinful man, not as a man, that had let fall his bridle, by which he should turn his horse: not as a man that were cast from the rudder, by which he should steer his ship: not as a man that had lost his interest and power in his affections, and passions; Christ wept not so. Christ might go farther that way, than any other man: Christ might ungirt himself, and give more scope and liberty to his passions, than any other man: both because he had no original sin within to drive him, no inor
dinate love without to draw him, when his affections were moved; which all other men have.
God says to the Jews, That they had wept in his ears11; God had heard them weep: but for what, and how I they wept for flesh. There was a tincture, there was a deep dye of murmuring in their tears. Christ goes as far in the passion, in his agony, and he comes to a passionate deprecation, in his tristis anima, and in the si possibile, and in the transeat calix. But as all these passions were sanctified in the root, from which no bitter leaf, no crooked twig could spring, so they were instantly washed with his veruntamen, a present and a full submitting of all to God's pleasure, Yet not my will, 0 Father, but thine be done. It will not be safe for any man to come so near an excess of passions, as he may find some good men in the Scriptures to have done: that because he hears Moses say to God, Blot my name out of the book of life, therefore he may say, God damn me, or I renounce God. It is not safe for a man to expose himself to a temptation, because he hath seen another pass through it. Every man may know his own bias, and to what sin that diverts him: the beauty of the person, the opportunity of the place, the importunity of the party, being his mistress, could not shake Josephs constancy. There is one such example, of one that resisted a strong temptation: but then there are in one place, two men together, that sinned upon their own bodies, Her and Onan1*, then when no temptation was offered, nay when a remedy against temptation was ministered to them.
Some man may be chaster in the stews, than another in the church; and some man will sin more in his dreams, than another in his discourse. Every man must know how much water his own vessel draws, and not to think to sail over, wheresoever he hath seen another (he knows not with how much labour) shove over: no nor to adventure so far, as he may have reason to be confident in his own strength: for though he may be safe in himself, yet he may sin in another, if by his indiscreet, and improvident example, another be scandalized. Christ was always safe; He was led of the Spirit1": of what spirit? his own spirit: Led willingly into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. No other
11 Numb. xi. 18. u Gen. xLvi. 12. 13 Matt iv. 1.
man might do that; but he who was able to say to the sun, Siste sol, was able to say to Satan, Siste Lucifer. Christ in another place gave such scope to his affections, and to others' interpretations of his actions, that his friends and kinsfolks thought him mad, beside himself: but all this while, Christ had his own actions, and passions, and their interpretations in his own power: he could do what he would. Here in our text, Jesus was troubled, and he groaned; and vehemently, and often, his affections were stirred: but as in a clean glass, if water be stirred and troubled, though it may conceive a little light froth, yet it contracts no foulness in that clean glass, the affections of Christ were moved, but so: in that holy vessel they would contract no foulness, no declination towards inordinateness. But then every Christian is not a Christ; and therefore as he that would fast forty days, as Christ did, might starve; and he that would whip merchants out of the temple, as Christ did, might be knockt down in the temple; so he knowing his own inclinations, or but the general ill inclination of all mankind, as he is infected with original sin, that should converse so much with publicans and sinners, might participate of their sins. The rule is, we must avoid inordinateness of affections; but when we come to examples of that rule, ourselves, well understood by ourselves, must be our own examples; for it is not always good to go so far, as some good men have gone before.
Now though Christ were far from both, yet he came nearer to an excess of passion, than to an indolency, to a senselessness, to a privation of natural affections. Inordinateness of affections may sometimes make some men like some beasts; but indolency, absence, emptiness, privation of affections, makes any man at all times, like stones, like dirt. In nomssimis, saith St. Peter, in the last, that is, in the worst days, in the dregs, and lees, and tartar of sin, then shall come men, lovers of themselves; and that is ill enough in man; for that is an affection peculiar to God, to love himself. Non speciale vitium, sed radix omnium vitiorum, says the school in the mouth of Aquinas: Self-love cannot be called a distinct sin, but the root of all sins. It is true that Justin Martyr says, PMlosophandi finis est Deo assimilari, The end of Christian philosophy is to be wise like God; but not in this, t»
Vol. I. s
love ourselves; for the greatest sin that ever was, and that upon which even the blood of Christ Jesus hath not wrought, the sin of angels, was that, similis ero altissimo, to be like God. To love ourselves, to be satisfied in ourselves, to find an omni-sufficiency in ourselves, is an intrusion, an usurpation upon God: and even God himself, who had that omni-sufficiency in himself, conceived a conveniency for his glory, to draw a circumference about that centre, creatures about himself, and to shed forth lines of love upon all them, and not to love himself alone. Self-love in man sinks deep: but yet you see, the apostle in his order, casts the other sin lower, that is, into a worse place, to be without natural affections.
St. Augustine extends these natural affections, to religious affections, because they are natural to a supernatural man, to a regenerate man, who naturally loves those that are of the household of the faithful, that profess the same truth of religion: and not to be affected with their distresses, when religion itself is distressed in them, is impiety. He extends these affections to moral affections; the love of eminent and heroical virtues in any man: we ought to be affected with the fall of such men. And he extends them to civil affections, the love of friends; not to be moved in their behalf, is argument enough that we do not much love them.
For our case in the text, these men whom Jesus found weeping, and wept with them, were none of his kindred: they were neighbours, and Christ had had a conversation, and contracted a friendship in that family: He loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarusw, says the story: and he would let the world see that he loved them: for so the Jews argued that saw him weep, Behold how he loved them16; without outward declarations, who can conclude an inward love? to assure that, Jesus wept.
To an inordinateness of affections it never came; to a natural tenderness it did; and so far as to tears; and then who needs be ashamed of weeping? Look away far from Die, for I will weep bitterly, says Jerusalem in Esay. But look upon me, says Christ in the Lamentations, Behold and see if ever there were any sorrow, any tears like mine: not like his in value, but in the root as they
14 Ver. 5. 15 Ver. 36.
proceeded from natural affection, they were tears of imitation, and we may, we must weep tears like his tears. They scourged him, they crowned him, they nailed him, they pierced him, and then blood came; but he shed tears voluntarily, and without violence: the blood came from their ill, but the tears from his own good nature: the blood was drawn, the tears were given. We call it a childish thing to weep, and a womanish; and perchance we mean worse in that than in the childish; for therein we may mean falsehood to be mingled with weakness. Christ made it an argument of his being man, to weep, for though the lineaments of man's body, eyes and ears, hands and feet, be ascribed to God in the Scriptures, though the affections of man's mind be ascribed to him, (even sorrow, nay repentance itself, is attributed to God) I do not remember that ever God is said to have wept: it is for man. And when God shall come to that last act in the glorifying of man, when he promises, to wipe all tears from his eyes, what shall God have to do with that eye that never wept I
He wept out of a natural tenderness in general; and he wept now out of a particular occasion. What was that? Quia mortutts, because Lazarus was dead. We stride over many steps at once; waive many such considerable circumstances as these; Lazarus his friend was dead, therefore he wept, Lazarus, the staff and sustentation of that family was dead, he upon whom his sisters relied was dead, therefore he wept. But I stop only upon this one step, quia mortuus, that he was dead. Now a good man is not the worse for dying, that is true and capable of a good sense, because he is established in a better world: but yet when he is gone out of this world he is none of us, he is no longer a man. The stronger opinion in the school, is, that Christ himself, when he lay dead in the grave, was no man. Though the Godhead never departed from the carcass, (there was no divorce of that hypostatical union) yet because the human soul was departed from it, he was no man. Hugo de S. Victor, who thinks otherwise, that Christ was a man then, thinks so upon a weak ground: he thinks, that because the soul is the form of man, the soul is man; and that therefore the soul remaining, the man remains. But it is not the soul, but the union of the soul, that makes tho man. The master of the sentences, Peter Lombard, that thinks so too, that Christ was then a man, thinks so upon as weak a ground: he thinks that it is enough to constitute a man, that there be a soul and body, though that soul and body be not united; but still it is the union that makes the man: and therefore when he is disunited, dead, he is none of us, he is no man; and therefore we weep how well soever he be. Abraham was loath to let go his wife, though the king had her: a man hath a natural loathness to let go his friend, though God take him to him.
St. Augustine says, that he knew well enough, that his mother was in heaven; and St. Ambrose, that he knew well enough that his master Theodosius the emperor was in heaven, but because they saw not in what state they were, they thought that something might be asked at God's hands in their behalf; and so out of a humane and pious officiousness, in a devotion perchance indigested, unconcoted, and retaining yet some crudities, some irresolutions, they strayed into prayers for them after they were dead. Lazarus's sisters made no doubt of their brother's salvation; they believed his soul to be in a good estate: and for his body, they told Christ, Lord we know that he shall rise at the last day: and yet they wept.
Here in this world, we who stay lack those who are gone out of it: we know they shall never come to us; and when we shall go to them, whether we shall know them or no, we dispute. They who think that it conduces to the perfection of happiness in heaven, that we should know one another, think piously if they think we shall. For as, for the maintenance of public peace, states and churches may think diversly in points of religion that are not fundamental, and yet both be true and orthodoxal churches; so for the exaltation of private devotion in points that are not fundamental, divers men may think diversly, and both be equally good Christians. Whether we shall know them there, or no, is problematical and equal; that we shall not till then, is dogmatical and certain: therefore we weep. I know there are philosophers that will not let us weep, nor lament the death of any: and I know that in the Scriptures there are rules, and that there are instructions conveyed in that example, that David left mourning as soon as the child was dead; and I know that there are authors of a middle nature, above the philosophers, and below the Scriptures, the Apocryphal books, and I know it is said there, Comfort thyself, for thou shalt do him no good that is dead Et te ipsum pessimabis (as the vulgate reads it) Thou shalt make thyself worse and worse, in the worst degree. But yet all this is but of inordinate lamentation; for in the same place, the same wise man says, My son, let thy tears fall down over the dead; weep bitterly and make great moan, as he is worthy. When our Saviour Christ had uttered his consummatum est, all was finished, and their rage could do him no more harm, when he had uttered his In manus tuas, he had delivered and God had received his soul, yet how did the whole frame of nature mourn in eclipses, and tremble in earthquakes, and dissolve and shed in pieces in the opening of the temple, quia mortuus, because he was dead.
Truly, to see the hand of a great and mighty monarch, that hand that hath governed the civil sword, the sword of justice at home, and drawn and sheathed the foreign sword, the sword of war abroad, to see that hand lie dead, and not be able to nip or fillip away one of his own worms, (and then Quis homo, What man, though he be one of those men, of whom God hath said, Ye are gods, yet Quis homo, What man is there that lives, and shall not see death?) to see the brain of a great and religious counsellor (and God bless all from making, all from calling any great that is not religious) to see that brain that produced means to becalm gusts at council tables, storms in parliaments, tempests in popular commotions, to see that brain produce nothing but swarms of worms, and no proclamation to disperse them; to see a reverend prelate that hath resisted heretics and schismatics all his life, fall like one of them by death, and perchance be called one of them when he is dead; to recollect all, to see great men made no men, to be sure that they shall never come to us, not to be sure that we shall know them when we come to them; to see the lieutenants and images of God, kings; the sinews of the state, religious counsellors; the spirit of the church, zealous prelates; and then to see vulgar, ignorant, wicked, and facinorous men thrown all by one hand of death, into one cart, into one
16 Ecclus. xxxviii. 6.
common tide-boat, one hospital, one almshouse, one prison, the grave, in whose dust no man can say, this is the king, this is the slave, this is the bishop, this is the heretic, this is the counsellor, this is the fool; even this miserable equality of so unequal persons, by so foul a hand, is the subject of this lamentation, even quia mortuus, because Lazarus was dead, Jesus wept.
He wept even in that respect, quia mortuus, and he wept in this respect too, quia non adhibita media, because those means which in appearance might have saved his life, by his default were not used, for when he came to the house, one sister, Martha, says to him, Lord if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; and then the other sister, Mary, says so too, Lord if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died: they all cry out, that he who only, only by coming, might have saved his life, would not come. Our Saviour knew in himself that he abstained to better purpose, and to the farther glory of God: for when he heard of his death, he said to his disciples, / am glad for your sakes that I was not there. Christ had certain reserved purposes which conduced to a better establishing of their faith, and to a better advancing of God's kingdom, the working of that miracle. But yet because others were able to say to him, it was in you to have saved him, and he did not, even this quia non adhibita media, affected him; and Jesus wept.
He wept, Etsi quatriduanus, though they said unto him, He hath been four days dead, and stinks. Christ doth not say, there is no such matter, he doth not stink; but though he do, my friend shall not lack my help. Good friends, useful friends, though they may commit some errors, and though for some misbehaviours they may stink in our nostrils, must not be derelicted, abandoned to themselves. Many a son, many a good heir, finds an ill air from his father; his father's life stinks in the nostrils of all the world, and he hears every where exclamations upon his father's usury, and extortion, and oppression: yet it becomes him by a better life, and by all other means to rectify and redeem his father's fame. Quatriduanus est, is no plea for my negligence in my family; to say, My son, or my servant hath proceeded so far in ill courses, that now it is to no purpose to go about to reform him, because quatriduanus est. Quatriduanus est, is no plea in my pastoral charge, to say that seducers, and practicers, and persuaders, and solicitors for superstition, enter so boldly into every family, that now it is to no purpose to preach religious wariness, religious discretion, religious constancy. Quatriduanus est, is no plea for my usury, for my simony; to say, I do but as all the world doth, and hath used to do a long time. To preach there where reprehension of growing sin is acceptable, is to preach in season; where it is not acceptable, it is out of season; but yet we must preach in season, and out of season too. And when men are so refractory, as that they forbear to hear, or hear and resist our preaching, we must pray; and where they despise or forbid our praying, we must lament them, wo must weep: quatriduanus erat, Lazarus was far spent, yet Jesus wept.
He wept, etsi suscitandus; though he knew that Lazarus were to be restored, and raised to life again: for as he meant to declare a great good will to him at last, so he would utter some by the way; he would do a great miracle for him, as he was a mighty God; but he would weep for him too, as he was a good-natured man. Truly it is no very charitable disposition, if I give all at my death to others, if I keep all all my life to myself. For how many families have we seen shaked, ruined by this distemper, that though the father mean to alien nothing of the inheritance from the son at his death, yet because he affords him not a competent maintenance in his life, he submits his son to an encumbering of his fame with ignominious shif'tings, and an encumbering of the estate with irrecoverable debts. I may mean to feast a man plentifully at Christmas, and that man may starve before in Lent: great persons may think it in their power to give life to persons and actions by their benefits, when they will, and before that will be up and ready, both may become incapable of their benefits. Jesus would not give this family, whom he pretended to love, occasion of jealousy, of suspicion, that he neglected them; and therefore though he came not presently to that great work, which he intended at last, yet he left them not comfortless by the way, Jesus wept.
And so (that we may reserve some minutes for the rest) we end this part, applying to every man that blessed exclamation of St. Ambrose, Ad monumentum hoc digneris accedere Domine Jesu, Lord Jesus be pleased to come to this grave, to weep over this dead Lazarus, this soul in this body: and though I come not to a present rising, a present deliverance from the power of all sin, yet if I can feel the dew of thy tears upon me, if I can discern the eye of thy compassion bent towards me, I have comfort all the way, and that comfort will flow into an infallibility in the end.
And be this the end of this part, to which we are come by these steps. Jesus wept, that as he showed himself to be God, he might appear to be man too: he wept not inordinately; but he came nearer excess than indolency: he wept because he was dead; and because all means for life had not been used; he wept, though he were far spent; and he wept, though he meant to raise him again.
We pass now from his humane to his prophetical tears, from Jesus weeping in contemplation of a natural calamity fallen upon one family, Lazarus was dead, to his weeping in contemplation of a national calamity foreseen upon a whole people; Jerusalem was to be destroyed. His former tears had some of the spirit of prophecy in them; for therefore says Epiphanius, Christ wept there, because he foresaw how little use the Jews would make of that miracle, his humane tears were prophetical, and his prophetical tears are humane too, they rise from good affections to that people. And therefore the same author says, That because they thought it an uncomely thing for Christ to weep for any temporal -thing, some men have expunged and removed that verse out of St. Luke's Gospel, that Jesus when he saw that city, wept: but he is willing to be proposed, and to stand for ever for an example of weeping in contemplation of public calamities; therefore Jesus wept.
He wept first, inter acelamationes, in the midst of the congratulations and acclamations of the people, then when the whole multitude of his disciples cried out, Vivat rex, Blessed be the King, that comes in the name of the Lord11, Jesus wept. When Herod took to himself the name of the Lord, when he admitted that gross flattery, It is a God and not a man that speaks, it was no wonder that present occasion of lamentation fell upon him.
17 Luke xix. 38,
But in the best times, and under the best princes, (first, such is the natural mutability of all worldly things; and then [and that especially] such is the infiniteness, and enormousness of our rebellious sin) then is ever just occasion of fear of worse, and so of tears. Every man is but a sponge, and but a sponge filled with tears: and whether you lay your right hand or your left upon a full sponge, it will weep. Whether God lay his left hand, temporal calamities, or his right hand, temporal prosperity; even that temporal prosperity comes always accompanied with so much anxiety in ourselves, so much uncertainty in itself, and so much envy in others, as that that man who abounds most, that sponge shall weep.
Jesus wept, inter acclamationes, when all went well enough with him; to show the slipperiness of worldly happiness, and then he wept inter judicia; then when himself was in the act of denouncing judgments upon them, Jesus wept, to show with how ill a will he inflicted those judgments, and that themselves, and not he, had drawn those judgments upon them. How often do the prophets repeat that phrase, Onus visionis, O the burden of the judgments that I have seen upon this, and this people! It was a burden that pressed tears from the prophet Esay, / will neater thee with my tears, 0 HeshbonTM: when he must pronounce judgments upon her, he could not but weep over her. No prophet so tender as Christ, nor so compassionate; and therefore he never takes rod into his hand, but with tears in his eyes. Alas, did God lack a footstool, that he should make man only to tread and trample upon? Did God lack glory, and could have it no other way, but by creating man therefore, to afflict him temporally here, and eternally hereafter? whatsoever Christ weeps for in the way of his mercy, it is likely he was displeased with it in the way of his justice: if he weep for it, he had rather it were not so. If then those judgments upon Jerusalem were only from his own primary, and positive, and absolute decree, without any respect to their sins, could he be displeased with his own act, or weep and lament that which only himself had done? Would God ask that question of Israel, Quare moriemini domus Israel? Why will you die O house of Israel? if God lay open to that
18 Isaiah xvi. 9.
answer, We die therefore, because you have killed us; Jerusalem would not judge herself, therefore Christ judged her; Jerusalem would not weep for herself, and therefore Jesus wept; but in those tears of his, he showed, that he had rather her own tears had averted, and washed away those judgments.
He wept, cum appropinquavit, says the text there, When Jems came near the city and saw it, then he wept; not till then. If we will not come near the miseries of our brethren, if we will not see them, we will never weep over them, never be affected towards them. It was cum Me, not cum illi, when Christ himself, not when his disciples, his followers, who could do Jerusalem no good, took knowledge of it. It was not cum illi, nor it was not cum ilia, not when those judgments drew near; it is not said so; neither is there any time limited in the text, when those judgments were to fall upon Jerusalem; it is only said generally, indefinitely, these days shall come upon her. And yet Christ did not ease himself upon that, that those calamities were remote and far off, but though they were so, and not to fall till after his death, yet he lamented future calamities then, then Jesus wept. Many such little brooks as these fall into this river, the consideration of Christ's prophetical tears; but let it be enough to have sprinkled these drops out of the river; that Jesus, though a private person, wept in contemplation of public calamities; that he wept in the best times, foreseeing worse; that he wept in their miseries, because he was no author of them: that he wept not till he took their miseries into his consideration; and he did weep a good time, before those miseries fell upon them. There remain yet his third tears, his pontifical tears, which accompany his sacrifice; those tears we called the sea, but a sea which must now be bounded with a very little sand.
To sail apace through this sea; these tears, the tears of his cross, were expressed by that inestimable weight, the sins of all the world. If all the body were eye, argues the apostle in another place; why, here all the body was eye; every pore of his body made an eye by tears of blood, and every inch of his body made an eye by their bloody scourges. And if Christ's looking upon Peter, made Peter weep, shall not his looking upon us here, with tears in his eyes, such tears in such eyes, springs of tears, rivers of tears, seas of tears, make us weep too? Peter who wept under the weight of his particular sin, wept bitterly; how bitterly wept Christ under the weight of all the sins of all the world I In the first tears, Christ's humane tears (those wo called a spring) we fetched water at one house, we condoled a private calamity in another; Lazarus was dead. In his second tears, his prophetical tears, we went to the condoling of a whole nation; and those we called a river. In these third tears, his pontifical tears, tears for sin, for all sins (those we call a sea) here is mare liberum, a sea free and open to all; every man may sail home, home to himself, and lament his own sins there.
I am far from concluding all to be impenitent, that do not actually weep and shed tears; I know there are constitutions, complexions, that do not afford them. And yet the worst epithet which the best poet could fix upon Pluto himself, was to call him Illachrymabilis, a person that could not weep. But to weep for other things, and not to weep for sin, or if not to tears, yet not to come to that tenderness, to that melting, to that thawing, that resolving of the bowels which good souls feel; this is a sponge (I said before, every man is a sponge) this is a sponge dried up into a pumice stone; the lightness, the hollowness of a sponge is • there still, but (as the pumice is) dried in the iEtnas of lust, of ambition, of other flames in this world.
I have but three words to say of these tears of this weeping. What it is, what it is for, what it does; the nature, the use, the benefit of these tears, is all. And in the first, I forbear to insist upon St. Basil's metaphor, Lachrymw sudor animi male sani; Sin is my sickness, the blood of Christ Jesus is my bezoar" tears is the sweat that that produceth. I forbear Gregory Nyssen's metaphor too, Lachryma sanguis cordis defmeatus; Tears are our best blood, so agitated, so ventilated, so purified, so rarified into spirits, as that thereby I become idem spiritus, one spirit with my God. That is large enough, and embraces all, which St. Gregory says, That man weeps truly, that soul sheds true
19 A stone formerly in high repute as an antidote, brought from the East Indies, and said to be formed in an animal called pazan. Its formation is noiv supposed to be fabulous.—Johnson.
tears, that considers seriously, first, ubi fuit in innocentia, the blessed state which man was in, in his integrity at first, ubi fuit; and then considers, ubi est in tentationibus, the weak estate that man is in now, in the midst of temptations, where, if he had no more, himself were temptation too much, ubi est; and yet considers farther, ubi erit, in gehenna, the insupportable, and for all that, the inevitable, the irreparable, and for all that, undeterminable torments of hell, ubi erit; and lastly, ubi ruon erit, in cwlis, the inexpressible joy and glory which he loses in heaven, ubi non erit, where he shall never be. These four to consider seriously, where man was, where he is, where he shall be, where he shall never be, are four such rivers, as constitute a paradise. And as a ground may be a weeping ground, though it have no running river, no constant spring, no gathering of waters in it; so a soul that can pour out itself into these religious considerations, may be a weeping soul, though it have a dry eye: this weeping then is but a true sorrow, (that was our first) and then, what this true sorrow is given us for, and that is our next consideration.
As water is in nature a thing indifferent, it may give life, (so the first living things that were, were in the water) and it may destroy life, (so all things living upon the earth, were destroyed in the water) but yet though water may, though it have done good and bad, yet water does now one good office, which no ill quality that is in it can equal, it washes our souls in baptism; so though there be good tears and bad tears, tears that wash away sin, and tears that are sin, yet all tears have this degree of good in them, that they are all some kind of argument of good nature, of a tender heart; and the Holy Ghost loves to work in wax, and not in marble. I hope that is but merely poetical which the poet says, Discwnt lachrymare decenter; That some study to weep with a good grace; Quoque volunt plorant tempore, quoque modo, They make use and advantage of their tears, and weep when they will. But of those who weep not when they would, but when they would not, do half employ their tears upon that for which God hath given them that sacrifice, upon sin. God made the firmament, which he called heaven, after it had divided the waters: after we have distinguished our tears, natural from spiritual, worldly from heavenly, then there is a firmament established in us, then there is a heaven opened to us: and truly, to cast pearls before swine, will scarce be better resembled, than to shed tears (which resemble pearls) for worldly losses.
Are there examples of men passionately enamoured upon age? or if upon age, upon deformity? If there be examples of that, are they not examples of scorn too? do not all others laugh at their tears? and yet such is our passionate doting upon this world. Mundi facies, says St. Augustine, (and even St. Augustine himself hath scarce said anything more pathetically) Tanta rerum labe contrita, ut etiam speciam seductionis amiserit; The face of the whole world is so defaced, so wrinkled, so ruined, so deformed, as that man might be trusted with this world, and there is no jealousy, no suspicion that this world should be able to minister any occasion of temptation to man: Speciem seductionis amisit. And yet, Qui in seipso aruit, in nobis floret, says St. Gregory, as wittily as St. Augustine, (as it is easy to be witty, easy to extend an epigram to a satire, and a satire to an invective, in declaiming against this world) that world which finds itself truly in an autumn, in itself, finds itself in a spring, in our imaginations. Labenti hwremus, says that father: et cum labentem sistere non possumus, cum ipso labimur: The world passes away, and yet we cleave to it; and when we cannot stay it from passing away, we pass away with it.
To mourn passionately for the love of this world, which is decrepit, and upon the deathbed, or immoderately for the death of any that is passed out of this world, is not the right use of tears. That hath good use which Chrysologus notes, That when Christ was told of Lazarus' death, he said he was glad; when he came to raise him to life, then he wept: for though his disciples gained by it, (they were confirmed by a miracle) though the family gained by it, (they had their Lazarus again) yet Lazarus himself lost by it, by being re-imprisoned, re-committed, re-submitted to the manifold incommodities of this world. When our Saviour Christ forbad the women to weep for him, it was because there was nothing in him, for tears to work upon; no sin: Ordinem flendi docuit, says St. Bernard, Christ did not absolutely forbid tears, but regulate and order their tears, that they might weep in the right place; first for sin. David wept for Absolon; he might imagine, that he died in sin, he wept not for the child by Bathsheba, he could not suspect so much danger in that. Exitus aquarum, says David, Rivers of waters ran down from mine eyesTM, why t Quia illi, Because they, who are they J not other men, as it is ordinarily taken; but Quia illi, Because mine own eyes (so Hilary, and Ambrose, and Augustine take it) have not kept thy laws: As the calamities of others, so the sins of others may, but our own sins must be the object of our sorrow. Thou shalt offer to me, says God, the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquorsTM, as our translation hath it: the word in the original is Vedingnacha, lachrymarum, And of thy tears: thy first tears must be to God for sin: the second and third may be to nature and civility, and such secular offices. But Liquore ad lippitudinem apto quisquamne ad pedes lavandos abutetur? It is St. Chrysostom's exclamation and admiration, Will any wash his feet in water for sore eyes 2 Will any man embalm the carcass of the world, which he treads under foot, with those tears which should embalm his soul I Did Joseph of Arimathea bestow any of his perfumes (though he brought a superfluous quantity, a hundred pound weight for one body) yet did he bestow any upon the body of either of the thieves? Tears are true sorrow, that you heard before; true sorrow is for sin, that you have heard now; all that remains is how this sorrow works, what it does.
The fathers have infinitely delighted themselves in this descant, the blessed effect of holy tears. He amongst them that remembers us, that in the old law all sacrifices were washed, he means, that our best sacrifice, even prayer itself, receives an improvement, a dignity, by being washed in tears. He that remembers us, that if any room of our house be on fire, we run for water, means that in all temptations, we should have recourse to tears. He that tells us, that money being put into a bason, is seen at a farther distance, if there be water in the bason, then if it be empty, means also, that our most precious devotions receive an addition, a multiplication by holy tears. St. Bernard means all that they all mean in that, Cor lachrymas nesciens durum,impurum, A hard heart is a foul heart. Would you shut up the devil in
«° Psalm cxix. 136. 8l Exod. xxii. 19.
his own channel, his channel of brimstone, and make that worse? St. Hierome tells the way, Plus tua lachryma, fyc. Thy tears torment him more than the fires of hell; will you needs have holy water? truly, true tears are the holiest water. And for purgatory, it is liberally confessed by a jesuit, Non minus efficax, fyc*8. One tear will do thee as much good, as all the flames of purgatory. We have said more than once, that man is a sponge; and in Codice scripta, All our sins are written in God's book, says St. Chrysostom: if there I can fill my sponge with tears, and so wipe out all my sins out of that book, it is a blessed use of the sponge.
I might stand upon this, the manifold benefits of godly tears, long; so long, as till you wept, and wept for sin; and that might be very long. I contract all to this one, which is all: to how many blessednesses must these tears, this godly sorrow reach by the way, when as it reaches to the very extreme, to that which is opposed to it, to joy? for godly sorrow is joy. The words in Job are in the Vulgate, Dimitte me ut plane/am dolorem meum: Lord spare me awhile that I may lament my lamentable estate'13: and so ordinarily the expositors that follow that translation, make their use of them. But yet it is in the original, Lord spare me awhile, that I may take comfort: that which one calls lamenting, the other calls rejoicing: to conceive true sorrow and true joy, are things not only contiguous, but continual; they do not only touch and follow one another in a certain succession, joy assuredly after sorrow, but they consist together, they are all one, joy and sorrow. My tears have been my meat day and night3*, says David: not that he had no other meat, but that none relished so well. It is a grammatical note of a jesuit", (I do not tell you it is true; I have almost told you that it is not true, by telling you whose it is, but that it is but a grammatical note) that when it is said, Tempus cantus, The time of singing is come**, it might as well be rendered out of the Hebrew, Tempus plorationis, The time of weeping is come; and when it is said, Nomini tuo cantabo, Lord I will sing unto thy name", it might be as well rendered out of the Hebrew, Plorabo, I will weep, I
88 Mendoza in 1 Sam. 83 Job x. 20. 84 Psalm xLii. 3.
85 Mendoza. 86 Cant. u. 12. *> 2 Sam. xxii. 50
will sacrifice my tears unto thy name. So equal, so indifferent a thing is it, when we come to godly sorrow, whether we call it sorrow or joy, weeping or singing.
To end all, to weep for sin is not a damp of melancholy, to sigh for sin, is not a vapour of the spleen, but as Monica's confessor said still unto her, in the behalf of her son St. Augustine, Filius istarum lachrymarum, The son of these tears cannot perish; so wash thyself in these three examplar baths of Christ's tears, in his humane tears, and be tenderly affected with humane accidents, in his prophetical tears, and avert as much as in thee lieth, the calamities imminent upon others, but especially in his pontifical tears, tears for sin, and I am thy confessor, non ego, sed Dominus; not I, but the Spirit of God himself is thy confessor, and he absolves thee, filius istarum lachrymarum, the soul bathed in these tears cannot perish: for this is trina immersio, that threefold dipping which was used in the primitive church in baptism. And in this baptism, thou takest a new Christian name, thou who wast but a Christian, art now a regenerate Christian; and as Naaman the leper came cleaner out of Jordan, than he was before his leprosy, (for his flesh came as the flesh of a child) so there shall be better evidence in this baptism of thy repentance, than in thy first baptism; better in thyself, for then thou hadst no sense of thy own estate, in this thou hast: and thou shalt have better evidence from others too; for howsoever some others will dispute, whether all children which die after baptism, be certainly saved or no, it never fell into doubt or disputation, whether all that die truly repentant, be saved or no. Weep these tears truly, and God shall perform to thee, first that promise which he makes in Esay, The Lord shall wipe all tears from thy faceTM, all that are fallen by any occasion of calamity here, in the militant church; and he shall perform that promise which he makes in the Revelation, The Lord shall wipe all tears from thine eyesTM, that is, dry up the fountain of tears; remove all occasion of tears hereafter, in the triumphant church.
88 Isaiah 25. » Revel, vii. 17.