PREACHED AT WHITEHALL, MARCH*, 1619.
Amos v. 18.
Woe unto you, that desire the day of the Lord: what have ye to do with it? the day of the Lord is darkness and not light.
For the presenting of the woes and judgments of God, denounced by the prophets against Judah and Israel, and the extending and applying them to others, involved in the same sins as Judah and Israel were, Solomon seems to have given us somewhat a clear
17 Prov. xxviii. I.
direction: Reprove not a scomer lest he hate thee, rebuke a wise man and he will love thee1. But how if the wise man and this scomer be all in one man, all one person? If the wise man 01 this world be come to take St. Paul so literally as his word, as to think scornfully th&tpreachingis indeed but the foolishness of preaching, and that as the church is within the state, so preaching is a part of state government, flexible to the present occasions of time, appliable to the present dispositions of men? This fell upon this prophet in this prophecy, Amasias the priest of Bethel informed the king that Amos meddled with matters of state, and that the land was not able to bear his words, and to Amos himself he says, Eat thy bread in some other place, but prophecy here no more, for thk is the king^s chapel, and the king^s court; Amos replies, I was no prophet nor the son of a prophet, but in an other course, and the Lord took me and said unto me, Go and prophecy to my people*. Though we find no Amasiah, no mis-interpreting priest here, (we are far from that, because we are far from having a Jeroboam to our king as he had, easy to give ear, easy to give credit to false informations) yet every man that comes with God's message hither, brings a little Amasiah of his own, in his own bosom, a little whisperer in his own heart that tells him, this is the king's chapel, and it is the king^s court, and these woes and judgments, and the denouncers and proclaimers of them are not so acceptable here. But we must have our own Amos, as well as our Amasias, this answer to this suggestion, / was no prophet, and the Lord took me and bad me prophesy. What shall I do?
And besides, since the woe in this text is not St. John's woe, his iterated, his multiplied woe, Vw, vw, vw habitantibus terram", a woe of desolation upon the whole world (for God loves this world, as the work of his own hands, as the subject of his providence, as the scene of his glory, as the garden-plot that is watered by the blood of his Son:) since the woe in this text, is not Esay's woe, Vw genti peccatrici*, an increpation and commination upon our whole nation (for God hath not come so near to any nation, and dealt so well with any nation as with ours:) since the woe in this text is not Ezekiel's woe, Vw civitati sanguinum5, an impu
1 Prov. ix. 8. 8 Amos vii. 10. * Apoc. viii. 13. 4 Isaiah i. 4.
e Ezek. xxiv.6.
tation of injustice or oppression, and consequently of a malediction laid upon the whole city (for God hath carried his woes upon other cities, Vw Chorasin, vw Bethsaida; God hath laid his heavy hand of war and other calamities upon other cities, that this city might see herself and her calamities long before in that glass, and so avoid them :) since the woe in this text, is not the prophet's other woe, Va domui", not a woe upon any family (for when any man in his family comes to Joshua's protestation, As for me and my house we will serve the Lord1, the Lord comes to his protestation, / will show mercy to thee and thy house for a thousand generations*:) since the woe in this text, is not Esay's woe again, Va corona, (for, the same prophet tells us of what affection they are, that they are idolaters, persons inclined to an idolatrous and superstitious religion, and fret themselves, and curse the king and their God; we know that the prophet's Va corona in that place is Va corona superbia", and the crown and height of pride is in him, who hath set himself above all that is called God. Christian princes know that if their crowns were but so as they seem (all gold) they should be but so much the heavier for being all gold; but they are but crowns of thorns gilded, specious cares, glorious troubles, and therefore no subject of pride:) to contract this, since the woe in this text, is no state woe, nor church woe, for it is not Ezekiel's Va pastoribus insipientibusI0, which cannot feed their flock, nor Jeremy's Va pastoribus disperdentibus1', Woe unto those lazy shepherds, which do not feed their flock but suffer them to scatter: since the woe in this text is not a woe upon the whole world, nor upon the whole nation, nor upon the whole city, nor upon any whole family, nor upon any whole rank or calling of men, when I have asked with Solomon, Cuiva'3? To whom belongs this woe? I must answer with St. Paul, Va mihi", Woe unto me if I do not tell to whom it belongs. And therefore, since in spiritual things especially charity begins with itself, I shall transfer this va from myself, by laying it upon them, whom your own conscience shall find it to belong unto; Va desiderantibus diem Domini; Woe be unto them that desire the day of the Lord, Sfc.
6 Ezek. xLiv. 6. 7 Jos. xxiv. 15. 8 Isaiah xxviii. 1. * Isaiah viii. 11. 10 Ezek. jriii. 3. 11 Jer. xxiii. 1. 18 Prov. xxiii. 19, »s 1 Cor. ix. 16.
But yet if these words can be narrow in respect of persons, it is strange, for in respect of the sins that they are directed upon, they have a great compass, they reach from that high sin of presumption, and contempt, and deriding the day of the Lord, the judgments of God, and they pass through the sin of hypocrisy, when we make shift to make the world, and to make ourselves believe that we are in good case towards God, and would be glad that the day of the Lord, the day of judgment would come now; and then they come down to the deepest sin, the sin of desperation, of an unnatural valuing of this life, when overwhelmed with the burden of other sins, or with God's punishment for them; men grow to a murmuring weariness of this life, and to an impatient desire, and perchance to a practice of their own ends; in the first acceptation, the day of the Lord is the day of his judgments and afflictions in this life; in the second, the day of the Lord is the day of the general judgment; and in the third, the day of the Lord, is that crepusculum, that twilight between the two lives, or rather that meridies noctis, as the poet calls it, that noon of night, the hour of our death and transmigration out of this world. And if any desire any of these days of the Lord, out of any of these indispositions, out of presumption, out of hypocrisy, out of desperation, he falls within the compass of this text, and from him we cannot take off this desiderantibus.
First then the prophet directs himself most literally upon the first sin of presumption. They were come to say, that in truth whatsoever the prophet declaimed in the streets, there was no such thing as dies Domini, any purpose in God to bring such heavy judgments upon them; to the prophets themselves they were come to say, You yourselves live parched and macerated in a starved and penurious fortune, and therefore you cry out that all we must die of famine too, you yourselves have not a foot of land among all the tribes, and therefore you cry out that all the tribes must be carried into another land in captivity. That which you call the day of the Lord is come upon you, beggary, and nakedness, and hunger, contempt, and affliction, and imprisonment is come upon you, and therefore you will needs extend this day upon the whole state, but desideratuus, we would fain see any such thing come to pass, we would fain see God go about to do any such thing, as that the state should not be wise enough to prevent him. To see a prophet neglected, because he will not flatter, to see him despised below, because he is neglected above, to see him injured, insulted upon, and really damnified, because he is despised, all this is dies mundi, and not dies Domini, it is the ordinary course of the world, and no extraordinary day of the Lord, but that there should be such a stupor and consternation of mind and conscience as you talk of, and that that should be so expressed in the countenance, that They which had been purer than snow, whiter than milk, redder than rubies, smoother than sapphires1*, should not only be, as in other cases, pale with a sudden fear, but blacker in face than a coal, as the prophet says there, that they should not be able to set a good face upon their miseries, nor disguise them with a confident countenance, that there should be such a consternation of countenance and conscience, and then such an excommunication of church and state, as that the whole body of the children of Israel should be without king, without sacrifice, without ephod, without teraphim1", desideramus, we would fain see such a time, we would fain see such a God as were so much too hard for us.
They had seen such a God before, they had known that that God had formerly brought all the people upon the face of the earth so near to an annihilation, so near to a new creation, as to be but eight persons in the general flood, they had seen that God to have brought their own numerous, and multitudinous nation, their six hundred thousand men that came out of Egypt to that paucity, as but two of them are recorded to enter into the land of promise, and could they doubt what that God could do, or would do upon them I Or, as Jeremy saith, Could they belie the Lord, and say it is not he? neither shall evil come upon us, or shall we see sword andfamineTM? God expressed hisanger thrice upon this people, in their state, in their form of government in itself, first he expressed it in giving them a king, for though that be the best form of govenment in itself, yet for that people at that time, God saw it not to be the fittest, and so it was extorted from him, and he gave them their king in anger. Secondly, he expressed his anger in giving them two kings, in the desertion of the ten tribes,
14 Lam. iv. 7. 15 Hos. iii. 4. "Jer. xii.
and division of the two kingdoms. Thirdly, he expressed his anger in leaving them without any king after this captivity which was prophesied here.
Now of those six thousand years, which are vulgarly esteemed to be the age and term of this world, three thousand were passed before the division of the kingdom, and presently upon the division, they argued a divisibili ad corruptible, whatsoever may be broken and divided may come to nothing. It is the devil's way to come to destruction by breaking of unions. There was a contract between God and Job, because Job loved and feared him, and there the devil attempts to draw away the head from the union, God from Job, with that suggestion, Doth Job serve thee for nothing? Dost thou get anything by this union? or doth not Job serve himself upon thee I There was a natural, an essential, an eternal union between the Father and the Son in the Trinity, and the devil sought to break that. If he could break the union in the Godhead, he saw not why ho might not destroy the Godhead. The devil was logician good enough, Omne divisibile corruptibile, Whatsoever may be broken, may be annihilated. And the devil was papist good enough, Schisma aequipollet hwresi, Whosoever is a schismatic, departed from the obedience of the Roman church, is easily brought within compass of heresy too, because it is a matter of faith to affirm a necessity of such an obedience. And therefore the devil attempts to make that schism in the Trinity, with that, Sifilius Dei es,Make these stones bread, If thou beest the Son of God, cast thyself down from this pinnacle, that is, Do something of thyself, exceed thy commission, and never attend so punctually all thy directions from thy Father. In Job's case he would draw the head from the union; in Christ's case he would alienate the Son from the Father, because division is the forerunner (and alas, but a little way the forerunner) of destruction. And therefore as soon as that kingdom was come to a division between ten and two tribes, between a king of Judah, and a king of Israel, presently upon it, and in the compass of a very short time arose all those prophets that prophesied of a destruction; as soon as they saw a division, they foresaw a destruction. And therefore when God had showed before what he could do, and declared by his prophets then what he would do, Va desiderantibus, Woe unto them that say, Let him make speed and hasten his work, that we may see it17: that is, that are yet confident that no such thing shall fall upon us, and confident with a scorn, and fulfil that which the apostle saith, There shall come in the latter days scoffers, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning at the creationls. But God shall answer their scorn with scorn, as in Ezekiel, Son of man, What is that proverb which you have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision fails'"? that is, The prophets talk of great calamities, but we are safe enough, Tell them (says the Lord) I will make their proverb to cease, I will speak and it shall come to pass; in your days, 0 rebellious house, will I say the word, and perform it.
And therefore, Ut quid vobis? What should you pretend to desire that day I what can ye get by that day? Because you have made a covenant with death, and are at an agreement with hell, when that invadens flagellum, (as the prophet with an elegant horror, if they can consist, expresses it) When that overflowing scourge shall pass through, shall it not come to yous"? Why? who are you? have you thought of it beforehand, considered it, digested it, and resolved, that in the worst that can fall, your vocal constancy, and your human valour shall sustain you from all dejection of spirit? What judgment of God soever shall fall upon you, whensoever this dies Domini shall break out upon you, you have light in yourselves, and by that light you shall see light, and pass through all incommodities. Be not deceived, this day of the Lord is darkness and not light, the first blast, the first breath of his indignation blows out thy candle, extinguishes all thy wisdom, all thy counsels, all thy philosophical sentences, disorders thy Seneca, thy Plutarch, thy Tacitus, and all thy premeditations; for the sword of the Lord is a two-edged sword, it cuts bodily, and it cuts ghostly, it cuts temporally, and it cuts spiritually, it cuts off all worldly relief from others, and it cuts off all Christian patience, and good interpretation of God's correction in thine own heart.
Ut quid vobis? What can you get by that day I can you
"Isaiah v. 18. 18 2 Pet. Hi. 4, >6 Ezek. xii. 22. 80 Isaiah xx. 15.
imagine that though you have been benighted under your own obduration and security before, yet when this day of the Lord, the day of affliction shall come, afflictio dabit intellectum, the day will bring light of itself, the affliction will give understanding, and it will be time enough to see the danger and the remedy both at once, and to turn to God by that light, which that affliction shall give? Be not deceived, dies Domini tenebrw, this day of the Lord will be darkness and not light. God hath made two great lights for man, the sun, and the moon; God doth manifest himself two ways to man, by prosperity, and adversity; but if there were no sun, there would be no light in the moon neither; if there be no sense of God in thy greatness, in thy abundance, it is a dark time to seek him in the clouds of affliction, and heaviness of heart. Experience teacheth us, that if we be reading any book in the evening, if the twilight surprise us, and it grows dark, yet we can read longer in that book which we were in before, than if we took a new book of another subject into our hands: if we have been accustomed to the contemplation of God in the sunshine of prosperity, we shall see him better in the night of misery, than if we had began but then. If you seem to desire that day of the Lord, because you do not believe that that day will come, or because you believe that when that day comes, it will be time enough to rectify yourselves, then, Ut quid vobis? This day shall be good for nothing to either of you, for to both you it shall be darkness, and not light.
The days which God made for man were darkness, and then light, still the evening and the morning made up the day. The day which the Lord shall bring upon secure and carnal man, is darkness without light, judgments without any beams of mercy shining through them, such judgments, as if we will consider the vehemency of them, we shall find them expressed in such an extraordinary height, as scarce any where else in Jeremy, Men shall ask one of another if they be in labour, whether they travail with child. Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail? Alas, because that day is great, and none is like it". This is the unexpected and unconsidered strangeness of that day, if we consider the vehemency, and if we
consider the suddenness, the speed of bringing that day upon secure man. This is intimated very sufficiently in another story of the same prophet, that when he had said to the prophet Hananiah, That he should die within a yearTM, when God saith, his judgments shall come shortly, if then we consider the vehemency, or the nearness of the day of the Lord, the day of his visitation, we shall be glad to say with that prophet, As for me I have not desired that woful day thou knowest33, that is, I have neither doubted but that there shall be such a day, nor I have not put off my repentance to that day, for what can that do good to either of those dispositions, when to them it shall be darkness, and not light I
Now this woe of this prophet thus denounoed against contemptuous scorners of the day of the Lord, as that day signifies afflictions in this life, have had no subject to work upon this congregation (as by God's grace there is none of that distemper here) it is a piece of a sermon well lost; and God be blessed that it hath had no use, that nobody needed it. But as the woe is denounced in the second acceptation against hypocrites, so it is a chain-shot, and in every congregation takes whole ranks, and here dies Domini is the last day of judgment, and the desire in the text is not, as before, a denying that any such day should be, but it is an hypocritical pretence, that we have so well performed our duties, as that we should be glad if that day would come, and then the darkness of the text is everlasting condemnation.
For this day of the Lord then, the last day of judgment, consider only, or reflect only upon these three circumstances: first, there is Lex violata, A law given to thee and broken by thee. Secondly, there is Testis prolatus, Evidence produced against thee, and confessed by thee. And then there is Sententia lata, A judgment given against thee, and executed upon thee.
For the law first, when that law is to love God with all thy power, not to scatter thy love upon any other creature, when the law is not to do, not to covet any ill, wilt thou say this law doth not concern me, because it is impossible in itself, for this coveting, this first concupiscence is not in a man's own power? Why, this law was possible to man, when it was given to man, for it
was naturally imprinted in the heart of man, when man was in his state of innocency, and then it was possible, and the impossibility that is grown into it since, is by man's own fault. Man by breaking the law, hath made the law impossible, and himself inexcusable; wilt thou say with that man in the Gospel, Omnia hwe a juventute, I have kept all this law from my youth? From thy youth? remember thy youth well, and what law thou kept then, and thou wilt find it to be another law, Lex in membris, A law of the flesh warring against the law of the mind, nay, thou wilt find that thou didst never maintain a war against that law of the flesh, but wast glad that thou eamest to the obedience of that law so soon, and art sorry thou canst follow that law no longer.
This is the law, and wilt thou put this to trial? Wilt thou say who can prove it I Who comes in to give evidence against me I All those whom thy solicitations have overcome, and who have overcome thy solicitations, good and bad, friends and enemies, wives and mistresses, persons most incompatible, and contrary, here shall join together, and be of the jury. If St. Paul's case were so far thy case, as that thou wert in righteousness unblameable, no man, no woman able to testify against thee, yet when the records of all thoughts shall be laid open, and a retired and obscure man shall appear to have been as ambitious in his cloister, as a pretending man at the court, and a retired woman in her chamber, appear to be as licentious as a prostitute woman in the stews, when the heart shall be laid open, and this laid open too, that some sins of the heart are the greatest sins of all (as infidelity, the greatest sin of all, is rooted in the heart) and sin produced to action, is but a dilatation of that sin, and all dilatation is some degree of extenuation, (the body sometimes grows weary of acting some sin, but the heart never grows weary of contriving of sin.)
When this shall be that law, and this the evidence, what can be the sentence, but that, Ite maledicti, Go ye' cursed into everlasting fire, where it is not as in the form of our judgment here, you shall be carried to the place of execution, but ite, goe, our own consciences shall be our executioners, and precipitate us into that condemnation. It is not a captivity of Babylon for seventy years, (and yet seventy years is the time of man's life, and why might not so many years' punishment, expiate so many years' sinful pleasure ?) but it is seventy millions of millions of generations, for they shall live so long in hell, as God himself in heaven; it is not an imprisonment during the king's pleasure, but during the king's displeasure, whom nothing can please nor reconcile, after he shall have made up that account with his Son, and told him, These be all you died for, these be all you purchased, these be all whom I am bound to save for your sakes, for the rest, their portion is everlasting destruction.
Under this law, under this evidence, under this sentence, vw desiderantibus, woe to them that pretend to desire this day of the Lord, as though by their own outward righteousness, they could stand upright in this judgment. Woe to them that say, Let God come when he will, it shall go hard, but he shall find me at church, I hear three or four sermons a week; he shall find me in my discipline and mortification, I fast twice a week; he shall find me in my stewardship and dispensation, I give tithes of all that I possess. When Ezechias showed the ambassadors of Babylon all his treasure and his armour, the malediction of the prophet fell upon it, that all that treasure and armour which he had so gloriously showed, should be transported to them, to whom he had showed it, into Babylon. He that publishes his good works to the world, they are carried into the world, and that is his reward. Not that there is not a good use of letting our light shine before men too; for when St. Paul says, If I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ3*; and when he saith, / do please all men in all things: St. Austine found no difficulty in reconciling those two; Navem quwro, says he, sed et patriam, When I go to the haven to hire a ship, it is for the love I have to my country; When I declare my faith by my works to men, it is for the love I bear to the glory of God; but if I desire the Lord's day upon confidence in these works, Vw scirpo, as Job expresses it, Woe unto me poor rush, for (says he) the rush is green till the sun come ", that is, says Gregory upon that place, Donee divina districtio in judicio candeat, Till the fire of the judgment examine our works, they may have some verdure,
"Gal. i. 10. "Job viii. 16.
some colour, but we desiderantibus, woe unto them that put themselves unto that judgment for their work's sake.
For Ut quid vobis? To what end is it for you? If your hypocritical security could hold out to the last, if you could delude the world at the last gasp, if those that stand about you then could be brought to say, He went away like a lamb, alas the Lamb of God went not away so, the Lamb of God had his colluctations, disputations, expostulations, apprehensions of God's indignation upon him then: this security, call it by a worse name, stupidity, is not a lying down like a lamb, but a lying down like Issachar's ass between two burdens, for two greater burdens cannot be, than sin, and the senslessness of sin. Ut quid vobis? What will ye do at that day, which shall be darkness and not light? God dwells in luce inaccessibili", in such light as no man by the light of nature can comprehend here, but when that light of grace which was shed upon thee here, should have brought thee at last to that inaccessible light, then thou must be cast in tenebras exteriores81, into darkness, and darkness without the kingdom of Heaven. And if the darkness of this world, which was but a darkness of our making, could not comprehend the light, when Christ in his person, brought the light and offered repentance, certainly in that outward darkness of the next world, the darkness which God hath made for punishment, they shall see nothing, neither intramittendo, nor extramittendo, neither by receiving offer of grace from heaven, nor in the disposition to pray for grace in hell. For as at our inanimation in our mother's womb, our immortal soul when it comes, swallows up the other souls of vegetation, and of sense, which were in us before; so at this our regeneration in the next world, the light of glory shall swallow up the light of grace. To as many as shall be within, there will need no grace to supply defects, nor eschew dangers, because there we shall have neither defects nor dangers. There shall be no night, no need of candle, nor of sun, for the Lord shall give them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever". There shall be no such light of grace, as shall work repentance to them that are in the light of glory; neither could they that
M 1 Tim. vi. 16.
*i Matt. viii. 12.
Apoc. xxii. 5.
are in outward darkness, comprehend the light of grace, if it could flow out upon them. First, you did the works of darkness, says the apostle", and then that custom, that practice brought you to love darkness better than light80; and then as the prince of darkness delights to transform himself into an angel of light; so by your hypocrisy you pretend a light of grace, when you are darkness itself, and therefore, Ut quid vobis? What will you get by that day which is darkness and not light?
Now as this woe and commination of our prophet had one aim, to beat down their scorn which derided the judgments of God in this world, and a second aim to beat down their confidence, that thought themselves of themselves able to stand in God's judgments in the next world; so it hath a third mark better than these two, it hath an aim upon them in whom a weariness of this life, when God's corrections are upon them, or some other mistaking of their own estate and case, works an over-hasty and impatient desire of death, and in this sense and acceptation, the day of the Lord is the day of our death and transmigration out of this world, and the darkness is still everlasting darkness. Now for this we take our lesson in Job, Man's life is a warfare31; man might have lived at peace, he himself choose a rebellious war, and now Quod volens expetiit nolens portat"*, That war which he willingly embarked himself in at first, though it be against his will now, he must go through with. In Job we have our lesson, and in St. Paul we have our law, Take ye the whole armour of God, that ye may be able having done all to stand"3; that is, that having overcome one temptation, you may stand in battle against the next, for it is not adolescentia militia, but vita; that we should think to triumph if we had overcome the heat and intemperance of youth, but we must fight it out to our lives' end. And then we have the reward of this lesson, and of this law limited, No man is crowned, except he fight according to this law3*; that is, he perseveres to the end. And as we have our lesson in Job, our rule and reward in the apostle, who were both great commanders in the warfare; so we have our example in our great General, Christ Jesus, Who though his soul were heavy,
** Bom. xiii. 12. 30 John iii. 31 Job vii. 1. *" Gregory.
"Eph. vi. 3. 34 2 Tim. ii. 5.
and heavy unto death**, though he had a baptism to be baptized with, and he was straitened, and in pain till it were accomplished, and though he had power to lay down his soul, and take it up again3", and no man else could take it from him, yet he fought it out to the last hour, and till his hour came, he would not prevent it, nor lay down his soul. Vw desiderantibus, Woe unto them that desire any other end of God's correction, but what he hath ordained and appointed, for JJt quid vobis? What shall you get by choosing your own ways? Tenebrw et non hex; They shall pass out of this world, in this inward darkness of melancholy, and dejection of spirit, into the outward darkness, which is an everlasting exclusion from the Father of lights, and from the kingdom of joy; their case is well expressed in the next verse to our text, They shall fly from a lion, and a bear shall meet them, they shall lean on a wall, and a serpent shall bite them; they shall end this life by a miserable and hasty death, and out of that death shall grow an immortal life in torments, which no weariness, nor desire, nor practice can ever bring to an end.
And here in this acceptation of these words, this Vhb falls directly upon them who colouring and apparelling treason in martyrdom, expose their lives to the danger of the law, and embrace death; these of whom one of their own society saith37, that the Scevolaes, the Catoes, the Porciaes, the Cleopatraes of the old time, were nothing to the Jesuits, for saith he, they could die once, but they lacked courage ad multas mortes; perchance he means, that after those men were once in danger of the law, and forfeited their lives by one coming, they could come again and again, as often as the plentiful mercy of their king would send them away, Rapiunt mortem spontanea irruptione, says he to their glory, they are voluntary and violent pursuers of their own death, and as he expresses it, Crederes morbo adesos, You would think that the desire of death is a disease in them; a graver man than he38 mistakes their case and cause of death as much, you are (saith he, encouraging those of our nation to the pursuit of death) In sacris septis ad martyrium saginati, Fed up and fattened here for martyrdom, et sacramento sanguinem spospondistis, they have
84 Matt. xxvi. 38. 38 John x. 18. 37 Scribanius.
33 Baron. Martyrol. 29 December.
taken an oath that they will be hanged, but that he in whom (as his great pattern God himself) mercy is above all his works, out of his abundant sweetness makes them perjured when they have so sworn and vowed their own ruin. But those that send them, give not the lives of these men so freely, so cheaply as they pretend. But as in dry pumps, men pour in a little water, that they may pump up more; so they are content to drop in a little blood of imaginary, but traitorous martyrs, that by that at last they may draw up at last the royal blood of princes, and the loyal blood of subjects; vw desiderantibus, woe to them that are made thus ambitious of their own ruin, Ut quidvobis? Tenebrw et non lux, you are kept in darkness in this world, and sent into darkness from heaven into the next, and so your ambition, ad tnultas mortes, shall be satisfied, you die more than one death, morte moriemini, this death delivers you to another, from which you shall never be delivered.
We have now passed through "these three acceptations of these words, which have fallen into the contemplation, and meditation of the ancients in their expositions of this text; as this dark day of the Lord, signifies his judgments upon atheistical scorners in this world, as it signifies his last irrevocable, and irremediable judgments upon hypocritical relyers upon their own righteousness in the next world, and between both, as it signifies their uncomfortable passage out of this life, who bring their death inordinately upon themselves; and we shall shut up all with one signification more of the Lord's day, that, that is the Lord's day, of which the whole Lent is the vigil, and the eve. All this time of mortification, and our often meeting in this place to hear of our mortality, and our immortality, which are the two real texts, and subjects of all our sermons; all this time is the eve of the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That is the Lord's day, when all our mortification, and dejection of spirit, and humbling of our souls, shall be abundantly exalted in his resurrection, and when all our fasts and abstinence shall be abundantly recompensed in the participation of his body and his blood in the sacrament; God's chancery is always open, and his seal works always; at all times remission of sins may be sealed to a penitent soul in the sacrament. That clause which the chancellors had in
Vol. I. x
their patents under the Roman emperors, Ut prwrogativam gerat conscientice nostra, is in our commission too, for God hath put his conscience into his church, and whose sins are remitted there, are remitted in heaven at all times; but yet dies Domini, the Lord's resurrection is as the full term, a more general application of this seal of reconciliation: but Vw desiderantibus, Woe unto them that desire that day, only because they would have these days of preaching, and prayer, and fasting, and troublesome preparation past and gone. Vw desiderantibus, Woe unto them who desire that day, only, that by receiving the sacrament that day, they might delude the world, as though they were not of a contrary religion in their heart; Vw desiderantibus, Woe unto them who present themselves that day without such a preparation as becomes so fearful and mysterious an action, upon any carnal or collateral respects. Before that day of the Lord comes, comes the day of his crucifying; before you come to that day, if you come not to a crucifying of yourselves to the world, and the world to you, Ut quid vobis? What shall you get by that day? You shall profane that day, and the Author of it, as to make that day of Christ's triumph, the triumph of Satan, and to make even that body and blood of Christ Jesus, vehiculum Satana, his chariot to enter into you, as he did into Judas. That day of the Lord will be darkness and not light, and that darkness will be, that you shall not discern the Lord's body, you shall scatter all your thoughts upon wrangling and controversies, de modo, how the Lord's body can be there, and you shall not discern by the effects, nor in your own conscience, that the Lord's body is there at all. But you shall take it to be only an obedience to civil or ecclesiastical constitutions, or only a testimony of outward conformity, which should be signaculum et viaticum, a seal of pardon for past sins, and a provision of grace against future. But he that is well prepared for this, strips himself of all these vw desiderantibus, of all these comminations that belong to carnal desires, and he shall be as Daniel was, vir desideriorum, a man of chaste and heavenly desires only; he shall desire that day of the Lord, as that day signifies affliction here, with David, Bonum est mihi quod hwniliasti meTM, I am mended by my sickness, enriched by my poverty,
and strengthened by my weakness; and with St. Bernard desire, Irascaris mihi Domine, 0 Lord be angry with me, for if thou chidest me not, thou considerest me not, if I taste no bitterness, I have no physic; if thou correct me not, I am not thy son: and he shall desire that day of the Lord, as that day (signifies, the last judgment, with the desire of the martyrs under the altar, Usque quo Domine? How long, 0 Lord, ere thou execute judgment? And he shall desire this day of the Lord, as this day is the day of his own death, with St. Paul's desire, Cupio dissolvi, I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. And when this day of the Lord, as it is the day of the Lord's resurrection, shall come, his soul shall be satisfied as with marrow, and with fatness, in the body and blood of his Saviour, and in the participation of all his merits, as entirely, as if all that Christ Jesus hath said, and done, and suffered, had been said, and done, and suffered for his soul alone. Enlarge our days, 0 Lord, to that blessed day, prepare us before that day, seal to us at that day, ratify to us after that day, all the days of our life, an assurance in that kingdom, which thy Son our Saviour hath purchased for us, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood, to which glorious Son of God, &c.