PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S, IN THE EVENING, UPON
EASTER DAY, 1625.
John v. 28, 29.
Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which, all that are in the graves, shall hear his voice; and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
As the sun works diversely, according to the diverse disposition of the subject, (for the sun melts wax, and it hardens clay) so do the good actions of good men: upon good men they work a virtuous emulation, a noble and a holy desire to imitate, upon bad men they work a vicious, and impotent envy, a desire to
disgrace and calumniate. And the more the good is that is done, and the more it works upon good men, the more it disaffects the bad: for so the Pharisees express their rancour and malignity against Christ, in this Gospel, If we let him thus alone, all men will believe in him1; and that they foresaw would destroy them in * their reputation. And therefore they enlarged their malice, beyond Christ himself, to him, upon whom Christ had wrought a miracle, to Lazarus, They consulted to put him to death, because by reason of him, many believed in Jesus". Our text leads us to another example of this impotency in envious men; Christ, in this chapter, had, by his only word, cured a man that had been eight and thirty years infirm; and he had done this work upon the Sabbath. They envied the work in the substance, but they quarrel the circumstance; and they envy Christ, but they turn upon the man, who was more obnoxious to them; and they tell him, That it was not lawful for him to carry his bed that day3. He discharges himself upon Christ; I dispute not with you concerning the law; this satisfies me, He that made me whole, bade me take up my bed and walk*. Thereupon they put him to find out Jesus; and when he could not find Jesus, Jesus found him, and in his behalf offers himself to the Pharisees. Then they direct themselves upon him, and (as the Gospel says) They sought to slay him, because he had done this upon the Sabbath*: and, as the patient had discharged himself upon Christ, Christ discharges himself upon his Father; doth it displease you that I work upon the Sabbath? be angry with God, be angry with the Father, for the Father works when I work. And then this they take worse than his working of miracles, or his working upon the Sabbath, That he would say, that God was his Father; and therefore in the avering of that, that so important point, That God was his Father. Christ grows into a holy vehemence, and earnestness, and he repeats his usual oath, Verily, verily, three several times: first, ver. 19. That whatsoever the Father doth, He, the Son doth also, and then ver. 24. He that believeth on me, and him that sent me, hath life everlasting. And then again, ver. 25. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of
1 John xi. 48. 8 John xii. 10. 3 John v. 10.
4 Ver. 11. » Ver. 16.
the Son of God, and they that hear it shall live. At this, that the dead should live, they marvelled; but because he knew that they were men more affected with things concerning the body, than spiritual things, as in another story, when they wondered that he would pretend to forgive sins, because he knew, that they thought it a greater matter to bid that man that had the palsy, take up ^ his bed and walk, than to forgive him his sins, therefore he took that way which was hardest in their opinion, he did bid him take up his bed and walk; so here, when they wondered at his speaking of a spiritual resurrection, to hear him say, that at his preaching, the dead (that is, men spiritually dead in their sins) should rise again, to them who more respected the body, and did less believe a real resurrection of the body, than a figurative resurrection of the soul, he proceeds to that which was, in their apprehension, the more difficult, Marvel not at this, says he, here in our text; not at that spiritual resurrection by preaching, for the hour is coming, in the which, all that are in the graves, fyc. and so he establishes the resurrection of the body.
That then which Christ affirms and avows, is, That he is the Son of God; and that is the first thing, that ever was done in heaven, the eternal generation of the Son: that, by which, he proves this, to these men, is, that by him, there shall be a resurrection of the body; and that is the last thing, that shall be done in heaven, for, after that, there is nothing, but an even continuance in equal glory. Before that, says he, that is, before the resurrection of the body, there shall be another resurrection, a spiritual resurrection of the soul from sin; but that shall be, by ordinary means, by preaching, and sacraments, and it shall be accomplished every day; but fix not upon that, determine not your thoughts upon that, marvel not at that, make that no cause of extraordinary wonder, but make it ordinary to you, feel it, and find the effect thereof in your souls, as often as you hear, as often as you receive, and thereby provide for another resurrection, For, the hour is coming, in which, all that are in their graves, fyc.
Where we must necessarily make thus many steps, though but short ones. First, the dignity of the resurrection; marvel at nothing so much, as at this, nothing is so marvellous, so wonderful as this; and secondly, the approach of the resurrection, The hour is coming; and thirdly, the generality, All that are in the graves; and then the instrument of the resurrection, The voice of Christ, that shall be heard; and lastly, the diverse end of the resurrection, They shall come forth, they that have done good, #0. God hath a care of the body of man, that is first; and he defers it not, that is next; and he extends it to all, that is a third; and a fourth is, that he does that last, by him, by whom he did the first, the creation, and all between, the redemption, that is, by his Son, by Christ; and then the last is, that this is an everlasting separation and divorce of the good and the bad, the bad shall never be able to receive good from the good, nor to do harm to the good, after that.
First then, Christ says, Ne miremini, Marvel not at this, not at your spiritual resurrection, not that a sermon should work upon man, not that a sacrament should comfort a man, make it not "a miracle, nor an extraordinary thing, by hearing to come to repentance, and so to such a resurrection. For though St. Augustine say, That to convert a man from sin, is as great a miracle, as creation, yet St. Augustine speaks that of a man's first conversion, in which the man himself does nothing, but God all; then he is made of nothing; but after God hath renewed him, and proposed ordinary means in the church still to work upon him, he must not look for miraculous working, but make God's ordinary means, ordinary to him. This is Panis quotidianus, The daily bread which God gives you, as often as you meet here, according to his ordinances; Ne miremini, Stand not to wonder, as though you were not sure, but come to enjoy God's goodness, in his ordinary way here.
But it is, Ne miremini hoc, Wonder not at this; but yet there are things, which we may wonder at. Nil admirari, is but the philosopher's wisdom; he thinks it a weakness, to wonder at anything, that anything should be strange to him: but Christian philosophy that is rooted in humility, tells us, in the mouth of Clement of Alexandria, Principium veritatis est res admirari. The first step to faith, is to wonder, to stand, and consider with a holy admiration, the ways and proceedings of God with man: for admiration, wonder, stands as in the midst, between knowledge and faith, and hath an eye towards both. If I know a thing, or believe a thing, I do no longer wonder: but when I find that I have reason to stop upon the consideration of a thing, so, as that I see enough to induce admiration, to make me wonder, I come by that step, and God leads me by that hand, to a knowledge, if it be of a natural or civil thing, or to a faith, if it be of a supernatural, and spiritual thing.
And therefore be content to wonder at this, that God would have such a care to dignify, and to crown, and to associate to his own everlasting presence, the body of man. God himself is a Spirit, and heaven is his place; my soul is a spirit, and so proportioned to that place; that God, or angels, or our souls, which are all spirits, should be in" heaven, Ne miremini, Never wonder at that. But since we wonder, and justly, that some late philosophers have removed the whole earth from the centre, and carried it up, and placed it in one of the spheres of heaven, that this clod of earth, this body of ours should be carried up to the highest heavens, placed in the eye of God, set down at the right hand of God, Miremini hoc, Wonder at this; that God, all Spirit, served with spirits, associated to spirits, should have such an affection, such a love to this body, this earthly body, this deserves wonder. The Father was pleased to breathe into this body, at first, in the creation; the Son was pleased to assume this body himself, after, in the redemption; the Holy Ghost is pleased to consecrate this body, and make it his temple, by his sanctification; in that Faciamus hominem, Let us, all us, make man, that consultation of the whole Trinity in making man, is exercised even upon this lower part of man, the dignifying of his body. So far, as that amongst the ancient fathers, very many of them, are very various, and irresolved, which way to pronounce, and very many of them clear in the negative, in that point, that the soul of man comes riot to the presence of God, but remains in some out-places till the resurrection of the body: that observation, that consideration of the love of God, to the body of man, withdrew them into that error, that the soul itself should lack the glory of heaven, till the body were become capable of that glory too.
They therefore oppose God in his purpose of dignifying the body of man, first, who violate, and mangle this body, which is the organ in which God breathes; and they also which pollute and defile this body, in which Christ Jesus is apparelled; and they likewise who profane this body, which the Holy Ghost, as the high priest, inhabits, and consecrates.
Transgressors in the first kind, that put God's organ out of tune, that discompose, and tear the body of man with violence, are those inhuman persecutors, who with racks, and tortures, and prisons, and fires, and exquisite inquisitions, throw down the bodies of the true God's true servants, to the idolatrous worship of their imaginary gods; that torture men into hell, and carry them through the inquisition into damnation. St. Augustine moves a question, and institutes a disputation, and carries it somewhat problematical, whether torture be to be admitted at all, or no. That presents a fair probability, which he says against it: We presume, says he, that an innocent man should be able to hold his tongue in torture; That is no part of our purpose in torture, says he, that he that is innocent, should accuse himself, by confession, in torture. And, if an innocent man be able to do so, why should not we think, that a guilty man, who shall save his life, by holding his tongue in torture, should be able to do so? and then, where is the use of torture? Res fragilis, et periculosa quwstio, says that lawyer, who is esteemed the law, alone, Ulpian: It is a slippery trial, and uncertain, to convince by torture: for, many times, says St. Augustine again, Innocens luit pro incerto scelere certissimas pwnas; He that is yet but questioned, whether he be guilty or no, before that be known, is, without all question, miserably tortured. And whereas, many times, the passion of the judge, and the covetousness of the judge, and the ambition of the judge, are calamities heavy enough, upon a man, that is accused, in this case of torture, Ignorantia judicis est calamitas plerumque innocentis, says that father, For the most part, even the ignorance of the judge, is the greatest calamity of him that is accused: if the judge knew that he were innocent, he should suffer nothing; if he knew he were guilty, he should not suffer torture; but because the judge is ignorant, and knows nothing, therefore the prisoner must be racked, and tortured, and mangled, says that father.
There is a whole epistle in St. Hierome, full of heavenly meditation, and of curious expressions: it is his forty-ninth epistle, Ad innocentium: Where a young man tortured for suspicion of adultery with a certain woman, Ut compendio cruciatus vitaret, says he, For his ease, and to abridge his torment, and that he might thereby procure and compass a present death, confessed the adultery, though false: his confession was made evidence against the woman: and she makes that protestation, Tu testis Domini Jesu, Thou Lord Jesus be my witness, non ideo me negare velle, ne peream, sed ideo mentiri nolle, ne peccem: I do not deny the fact for fear of death, but I dare not belie myself, nor betray my innocence, for fear of sinning, and offending the God of truth; and, as it follows in that story, though no torture could draw any confession, any accusation from her, was condemned; and one executioner had three blows at her with a sword, and another four, and yet she could not be killed.
And therefore, because Btory abounds with examples of this kind, how uncertain a way of trial, and conviction, torture is, though St. Augustine would not say, that torture was unlawful, yet he says, It behoves every judge to make that prayer, Erue me Domine a necessitatibus meis, If there be some cases, in which the judge must necessarily proceed to torture; O Lord, deliver me, from having any such case brought before me.
But what use soever there may be for torture, for confession, in the inquisition they torture for a denial, for the denial of God, and for the renouncing of the truth of his Gospel: as men of great place, think it concerns their honour, to do above that which they suffer, to make their revenges, not only equal, but greater than their injuries; so the Roman church thinks it necessary to her greatness, to inflict more tortures now, than were inflicted upon her in the primitive church; as though it were a just revenge, for the tortures she received then, for being Christian, to torture better Christians than herself, for being so. In which tortures, the Inquisition hath found one way, to escape the general clamour of the world against them, which is to torture to that height, that few survive, or come abroad after, to publish, how they have been tortured. And these, first, oppose God's purpose, in the making, and preserving, and dignifying the body of man.
Transgressors herein, in the second kind, are they, that defile the garment of Christ Jesus, the body in which he hath vouchsafed to invest and enwrap himself, and so apparel a harlot in Christ's clothes, and make that body which is his, hers. That Christ should take my body, though defiled with fornication, and make it his, is strange; but that I, in fornication, should take Christ's body, and make it hers, is more. Know ye not, says the apostle, that your bodies are the members of Christ" ¥ And again, Know you not, that he that is joined to a harlot, is one body1? Some of the Roman emperors, made it treason, to carry a ring, that had their picture engraved in it, to any place in the house, of low office. What name can we give to that sin, to make the body of Christ, the body of a harlot? And yet, the apostle there, as taking knowledge, that we loved ourselves better than Christ, changes the edge of his argument, and argues thus, ver. 18, 'He that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body; if ye will be bold with Christ's body, yet favour your own i no man ever hated his own body; and yet, no outward enemy is able so to macerate our body, as our own licentiousness. Christ, who took all our bodily infirmities upon him, hunger, and thirst, and sweat, and cold, took no bodily deformities upon him, he took not a lame, a blind, a crooked body; and we, by our intemperance, and licentiousness, deform that body which is his, all these ways. The licentious man, most of any, studies bodily handsomeness, to be comely, and gracious, and acceptable, and yet, soonest of any, deforms, and destroys it, and makes that loathsome to all, which all his care was to make amiable: and so they oppose God's purpose of dignifying the body.
Transgressors in a third kind are they, that sacrilegiously prophane the temple of the Holy Ghost, by neglecting the respect and duties, belonging to the dead bodies of God's saints, in a decent and comely accompanying them to convenient funerals. Heirs and executors are oftentimes defective in these offices, and pretend better employments of that, which would be, (say they) vainly spent so. But remember you, of whom (in much such a
6 1 Cor. vi. 15. 1 Ver. 16.
case) that is said in St. John, This he said, not became he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bore that which was put therein*: these executors say, not because they intend pious uses, but because they bear, and bear away the bags. Generally, thy opinion must be no rule for other men's actions; neither in these cases of funerals, must thou call all too much, which is more than enough; that woman's ointment poured upon Christ's feet, that hundred pound weight of perfumes to embalm his one body, was more than enough, necessarily enough; yet it was not too much, for the dignity of that person, nor for the testimony of their zeal, who did it, in so abundant manner.
Now, as in all these three ways, men may oppose the purpose of God in dignifying the body, so in concurring with God's purpose for the dignifying thereof, a man may exceed, and go beyond God's purpose, in all three. God would not have the body torn, and mangled with tortures, in those cases; but then, he would not have it pampered with wanton delicacies, nor varnished with foreign complexion. It is ill, when it is not our own heart, that appears in our words; it is ill too, when it is not our own blood, that appears in our cheeks; it may do some ill offices of blood, it may tempt, but it gives over, when it should do a good office of blood, it cannot blush. If when they are filling the wrinkles, and graves of their face, they would remember, that there is . another grave, that calls for a filling with the whole body, so, even their pride would flow into a mortification. God would not have us put on a sad countenance, nor disfigure our face, not in our fastings, and other disciplines; God would not have us mar his work; nor God would not have us go about to do his last work, which he hath reserved to himself in heaven, here upon earth, that is, to glorify our bodies, with such additions here, as though we would need no glorification there.
So also in the second way of giving due respect to the body of man, a man may exceed God's purpose. God would not have the body corrupted and attenuated, shrunk and deformed with incontinency, and licentiousness; but God would not have that sparing of the body, to dishonour, or undervalue, or forbear mar*
8 John xii. 6.
riage, nor to frustrate that, which was one of God's purposes, in the institution of marriage, procreation of children. Marriage without possibility of children, lacks one half of God's purpose in the institution of marriage; for, the third reason of marriage, after the other two, (which two were, for a helper, and for children) which is, that marriage should be for a remedy, that third came in after; for at the time of the institution of marriage, man was not fallen into any inordinate concupiscences, and so, at that time, needed no remedy. Marriage without possibility of children, lacks one of God's two reasons for children; but marriage with a contract against children, or a practice against children, is not (says St. Augustine) a marriage, but a solemn, an avowed, a daily adultery. To choose to be ill in the sight of God, rather than to look ill, in the sight of men, is a perverse, and a poisonous physic. The sin of Er, and Onan, in married men; the sin of procured abortions, in married women, do, in many cases, equal, in some, exceed, the sin -of adultery; to rob a husband, or a wife, of a future child, may be in the wife, or husband, as great a sin, as to bring a supposititious, or a spurious child, into the father's inheritance. God would not have the comeliness, the handsomeness of the body defaced by incontinency, and intemperance, but he would not have the care of that comeliness, and handsomeness frustrate his purpose of children in marriage.
And as in those two, (God would not have the body tortured, nor mangled, God would not have the body deformed by licentiousness) so, in his third respect to man's body, God would not have the bodies of his dead saints neglected, God's purpose may be exceeded too. God's purpose therein is, that all men should be decently, and honourable persons, honourably buried; but his purpose herein is exceeded, when any rag of their skin, or chip of their bones, or lock of their hair, is kept for a relic, and made an uersal balm, and amulet, and antidote, against all temporal, and all spiritual diseases, and calamities, not only against the rage of a fever, but of hell itself. What their counterfeit relics may do, against their counterfeit hell, against their purgatory, I know not: that powerful, and precious, and only relic, which is given to us, against hell itself, is only the communion of the body,
and blood of Christ Jesus, left to us by him, and preserved for us in his church, though his body be removed out of our sight.
To end this, Miramini hoc, Marvel at this, at the wonderful love of God to the body of man, and thou wilt favour it so, as not to macerate thine own body, with uncommanded and inhuman flagellations, and whippings, nor afflict their bodies, who are in thy charge, with inordinate labour; thou wilt not dishonour this body, as it is Christ's body, nor deform it, as it is thine own, with intemperance, but thou wilt behave thyself towards it so, as towards one, whom it hath pleased the king to honour, with a resurrection, (which was our first) and not to defer that resurrection long, which is our next step, Venit hora, The hour is coming.
Non talem Deum tuum putes, qualis nec tu debes esse, is excellently said by St. Augustine: Never presume upon any other disposition in God, than such as thou findest in thine own heart, that thou art bound to have in thyself; for we find in our hearts a band of conformity, and assimilation to God, that is, to be as like God as we can. Therefore whatsover thou findest thyself bound to do to another, thou mayest expect at God's hand. Thou art bound to help up another that is fallen, therefore thou mayest assure thyself, that God will give thee a resurrection: so, thou findest in thy heart, that the soul of an alms, the soul of a benefit, that that gives it life, is the speedy, the present doing of it; therefore thou mayest be sure, that God will make speed to save thee, that he will not long defer this thy resurrection, hora venit. St. Augustine comparing the former resurrection, which is the spiritual resurrection of the soul, ver. 25, with this in the text, which is the resurrection of the body, observes, that there Christ says, Hora venit, et nunc est, The hour is coming, and now is; because in every private inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in every sermon, in every meeting of the congregation, the dead may hear, and live; nunc est, they may do it now. But that in this resurrection in the text, the resurrection of the body, it is not said, nunc est, that the hour is now; for the son of man who says it, (as he is the son of man) knows not when it shall be; but he says Hora venit, It is coming, and coming apace, and coming quickly, shortly.
VOL. I. 2 A
As soon as God had made man, he gave him his patent, Dominamini, Dominion over the creature; as soon as man was fallen, God gave him the promise of a Messiah; and of his second coming, himself says, Ecce, venio cito, Behold, J come speedily' Venit, He comes, he is upon the way; and Ecce, venU, Behold, he comes, he is within sight, you may see him in his forerunning tokens; and Ecce cito, as little way as he hath to go, he makes haste, and there is a Jesuit* that makes the haste so great, as that he says, Howsoever St. Augustine make use of that note, that it is not said in the text, Nunc est, That the hour of the resurrection is now, yet he does believe, that Christ did say so, though the .evangelist left it out. We need not say so; we do not; so much less liberty do we take in departing from the fathers, than the Roman authors do: but yet, so as St. John speaks, Hora novissima, This is the last time, (Now there are many antichrists, whereby we know that this is the last time1",') and so, as St. Peter speaks, Be not ignorant of this one thine/, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day": so as this Nunc may signify Ultimum statum, The last course of times, the time not of nature, nor of law, but of grace; so we admit that addition in this resurrection tQo, Hora venit, et nunc est, The hour is coming, and now is, because there are no other means to be hereafter instituted for the attaining of a happy resurrection, than those that now are established in the church, especially at a man's death, may we very properly say, Nunc est, Now is the resurrection come to him, not only because the last judgment is involved in the first, (for that judgment which passeth upon every man at his death, stands for ever without repeal, or appeal, or error) but because after the death of the body, there is no more to be done with the body, till the resurrection; for as we say of an arrow, that it is over shot, it is gone, it is beyond the mark, though it be not come to the mark yet, because there is no more to be done to it till it be; so we may say, that he that is come to death, is come to his resurrection, because he hath not another step to make, another foot to go, another minute to count, till he be at the resurrection.
The resurrection then, being the coronation of man, his death,
8 Maldon 10 1 Johnii. 18. 11 2 Pet. iii. 8.
and lying down in the grave, is his enthroning, his sitting down in that chair, where he is to receive that crown. As then the martyrs, under the altar, though in heaven, yet do cry out for the resurrection; so let us, in this miserable life, submit ourselves cheerfully to the hand of God, in death, since till that death we cannot have this resurrection, and the first thing that we shall do after this death, is to rise again. To the child that is now born, we may say, Hora venit, The day of his resurrection is coming; to him that is old, we may say, the hour is come; but to him that is dead, the minute is come, because to him there are no more minutes till it do come.
Miremini hoc, Marvel at this, at the descent of God's love, he loves the body of man, and Miremini hoc, Marvel at his speed, he makes haste to express this love, Hora venit, and then Miremini hoc, Marvel at the generality, it reaches to all, all that are in the grave; All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, &c. God hath made the body as a house for the soul, till he call her out, and he hath made the grave as a house for the body, till he call it up. The misery, and poor estate that Christ submitted himself unto for man, was not determined in that, That foxes had holes, but he no where to lay his head1*, while he lived; but he had no <rrave that he could claim, when he was dead. It is some discontinuance of the communion of saints, if I may not be buried with the saints of God. Every man that hath not divested humanity, hath a desire to have his bones lie at rest, and we cannot provide for that so well, any way, as to bury them in consecrated places, which are, in common intendment, safest from profane violences. Even that respect, that his bones might lie at rest, seems to have moved one prophet, to enjoin his sons, to bury him, in the sepulchre, where the other prophet was buried ". He knew that Josiah would burn the bones of all the other graves, upon the altar of Bethel, as was prophesied; and he presumed that he would spare the bones of that prophet, and so his bones should be safe, if they were mingled with the other. God expressed his love to Moses, in that particular, That he buried him14 ,• and to deliver, and remove him, from the violence of any that loved him not, and so might dishonour his memory,
14 Matt. viii. 20. 13 1 Kings xiii. 31. "Deut, xxxiv. 6.
and from the superstition of any that over-loved him, and so might over-honour his memory, God buried him in secret. In more than one place doth David complain, That there was none to bury God's saints,- and the dignity that is promised here in the text, is appropriated to them, who are in the graves, who are buried.
But then, was that general? Is it simply, plainly, literally of them, and them only, who are in graves, who are buried? Shall none enjoy a resurrection, that have not enjoyed a grave? Still I say, it is a comfort to a dying man, it is an honour to his memory, it is a discharge of a duty in his friends, it is a piece of the communion of saints, to have a consecrated grave: but the word here is, In monumentis, All that are in monuments; that is, in receptacles of bodies, of what kind soever they be: wheresoever the hand of God lays up a dead body, that place is the receptacle, so the monument, so the grave of that body. God keeps all the bones of the righteous, so that none of them are broken16: though they be trod to dust in our sight, they are entire in his, because he can bid them be whole again in an instant. Some nations burnt their dead, there the fire is the grave; some drowned their dead, there the sea is the grave; and some hung them up upon trees, and there the air is their grave: some nations eat their dead themselves, and some maintained dogs to eat the dead; and as they called those dogs, Canes Sepulchrales1", Sepulchral dogs, so those men were sepulchral men, those men and those dogs were graves. Death and hell shall deliver up their dead11, says St. John: that is, the whole state, and mansion of the dead, shall be emptied: the state of the dead is their grave, and upon all that are in this state, shall the testimony of God's love, to the body of man, fall; and that is the generality, All that are in the grave, &c.
Our next step is, the instrument, the means, by which, this, first so speedy, and then so general love of God, to man, to man in his lowest part, his body, is accomplished unto him; these, all these, all these that are in graves, in all these kind of graves, shall hear his voice, and that is the means. First, whose voice? That is expressed immediately before, The Son of man. In the
15 Psalm xxxiv. 20. 16 Herod. Strabo. 17 Rev. xx. 13.
other resurrection, in that of the dead soul, ver. 25, there it is said, The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. In this, which is the resurrection to judgment, it is The Son of man. The former resurrection (that of a sinner to repentance by preaching) is wrought by a plain, and ordinary means here in the church; where you do but hear a man in a pew, read prayers, and pronounce absolution, and a man in a pulpit preach a sermon, and a man at a table consecrate, and administer a sacrament; and because all this, though it be the power of life, and the means of your spiritual resurrection, is wrought by the ministry of man, who might be contemptible in your eye, therefore the whole work is referred to God, and not the Son of man, but the Son of God, is said to do it.
In this resurrection of the text, which is a resurrection to judgment, and to an account with God, that God whom we have displeased, exasperated, violated, wounded in the whole course of our life, lest we should be terrified, and dejected at the presence of that God, the whole work is referred to the Son of man, which hath himself formerly felt all our infirmities, and hath had as sad a soul at the approach of death, as bitter a cup in the form of death, as heavy a fear of God's forsaking him in the agony of death, as we can have: and for sin itself, I would not, I do not extenuate my sin, but let me have fallen, not seven times a day, but seventy-seven times a minute, yet what are my sins, to all those sins that were upon Christ? The sins of all men, and all women, and all children, the sins of all nations, all the East and West, and all the North and South, the sins of all times and ages, of nature, of law, of grace, the sins of all natures, sins of the body, and sins of the mind, the sins of all growth, and all extensions, thoughts, and words, and acts, and habits, and delight, and glory, and contempt, and the very sin of boasting, nay of our belieing ourselves in sin; all these sins, past, present, and future, were at once upon Christ, and in that depth of sin, mine are but a drop to his ocean; in that treasure of sin, mine are but single money, to his talent; all therefore, that I might come with a holy reverenee to his ordinance, in this place, though it be but in the ministry of man, that first resurrection is attributed to the Son of God, to give a dignity to that ministry of man, which otherwise might have been under-valued, that thereby we might have a consolation, and a cheerfulness towards it; it is he, that is, the Son of God, and the Son of man, Christ; which remembers us also, that all that belongs to the expressing of the law of God to man, must be received by us, who profess ourselves Christians, in, and by, and for, and through Christ.
We use to ascribe the creation to the Father, but the Father created by the Word, and his Word, is his Son, Christ; When he prepared the heavens, I was there, (says Christ of himself in the person of Wisdom) and when he appointed the foundations of the earth, then was I by him, as one brought up with him1"; it is not, as one brought in to him, or brought in by him, but with him; one as old, that is, as eternal, as much God as he. We use to ascribe sanctification to the Holy Ghost; but the Holy Ghost sanctifies in the church, and the church was purchased by the blood of Christ, and Christ remains Head of the church, usque in consummationem, till the end of the world. I look upon every blessing that God affords me, and I consider whether it be temporal, or spiritual; and that distinguishes the metal; the temporal is my silver, and the spiritual is my gold; but then I look again upon the inscription, Cujus imago, Whose image, whose inscription it bears, and whose name; and except I have it, in, and for, and by Christ Jesus, temporal, and spiritual things too, are but imaginary, but illusory shadows; for God conveys himself to us, no other way, but in Christ.
The benefit then in our text, the resurrection, is by him: but it is limited thus, it is by hearing him, They that are in their graves shall hear, fyc. So it is in the other resurrection too, the spiritual resurrection, ver. 25. There, they must hear him, that will live. In both resurrections, that in the church, now, by grace, and that in the grave hereafter, by power, it is said, They shall hear him. They shall, which seems to imply a necessity, though not a coaction; but that necessity, not of equal force, not equally irresistible in both: in the grave, They shall; though they be dead, and senseless as the dust, (for they are dust itself) though they bring no concurrence, no co-operation, They shall hear, that is, They shall not choose but hear. In the other resur
"Prov. viii 27.
rection, which is, in the church,' by grace, in God's ordinance. They shall hear too, that is, There shall be a voice uttered so, as that they may hear, if they will, but not whether they will or no, as in the other case, in the grave. Therefore when God expresses his gathering of his church, in this world, it is Sibilabo et congregabo, I will hiss, or chirp for them, and so gather them19: be whispers in the voice of the spirit, and he speaks a little louder, in the voice of a man; Let the man be a Boanerges, a son of thunder, never so powerful a speaker, yet no thunder is heard over all the world. But for the voice that shall be heard at the resurrection, He shall send his angels, with a great sound of a trumpet3''; a great sound, such as may be made by a trumpet, such as an angel, all his angels can make in a trumpet, and more than all that, The Lord himself shall descend from heaven", and that, with a shout, and with the voice of an archangel, that is, says St. Ambrose, of Christ himself, And in the trumpet of God, that is also, Christ himself.
So then, you have the person, Christ; the means, a voice, and the powerfulness of that voice, in the name of archangel, which is named but once more in all the Scriptures: and therefore, let no man, that hath an holy anhelation and panting after the resurrection, suspect that he shall sleep in the dust, for ever; for, this is a voice, that will be heard, he must rise. Let no man, who because he hath made his course of life like a beast, would therefore be content his state in death might be like a beast too, hope that he shall sleep in the dust, for ever, for this is a voice, that must be heard, And all that hear shall come forth, they that have done good, &c.
He shall come forth; even he that hath done ill, and would not, shall come forth. You may have seen moral men, you may have seen impious men, go in confidently enough: not affrighted with death, not terrified with a grave; but when you shall see them come forth again, you shall see them in another complexion. That man that died so, with that confidence, thought death his end; it ends his seventy years, but it begins his seventy millions of generations of torments, even to his body, and he never thought of that: indeed, Judioii, nisi qui vitao wternw prwdestinatus est,
19 Zecha. x. 8. 80 Matt, xxiv, 31. 81 1 Thes. ir. 16.
non potest reminisci, says St. Ambrose, No man can, no man dares think upon the last judgment, but he that can think upon it with comfort, he that is predestinated to eternal life. Even the best, are sometimes shaked with the consideration of the resurrection, because it is impossible to separate the consideration of the resurrection, from the consideration of the judgment; and the terrors of that may abate the joy of the other: Sive comedo, give bibo, says St. Hierome, Whether I eat, or drink, still methinks I hear this sound, Surgite mortui, et venite ad judicium, Arise you dead, and come to judgment: when it calls me up from death, I am glad when it calls me to judgment, that impairs my joy. Can I think that God will not take a strict account; or, can I be without fear, if I think he will? Non expavescere requisiturum est dicere, non requiret, is excellently said by St. Bernard, If I can put off all fear of that judgment, I have put off all imagination, that any such judgment shall be. But, when I begin this fear, in this life, here, I end this fear, in my death, and pass away cheerfully: but the wicked begin this fear, when the trumpet sounds to the resurrection, and then shall never end it; but, as a man condemned to be half hanged, and then quartered, hath a fearful addition in his quartering after, and yet had no ease in his hanging before; so they that have done ill, when they have had their hanging, when they have suffered in soul, the torments of hell, from the day of their death, to the day of judgment, shall come to that day with fear, as to an addition to that, which yet, was infinite before. And therefore the vulgate edition hath rendered this well, Procedent, They shall proceed, they shall go farther and farther in torment.
But this is not the object of our speculation, the subject of our meditation, now: we proposed this text, for the contemplation of God's love to man, and therefore we rather comfort ourselves with that branch, and refresh ourselves with the shadow of that, That they who have done good, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life. Alas, the others shall live as long as they; Lucifer is as immortal as Michael, and Judas as immortal as St. Peter: but Vita damnatorum, mors est**, That which we call immortality in the damned, is but a continual dying; howsoever it must be
called life, it hath all the qualities of death, saving the ease, and the end, which death hath, and damnation hath not. They must come forth; they that have done evil, must do so too: neither can stay in their house, their grave; for their house (though that house should be the sea) shall be burned down; all the world dissolved with fire. But then, they who have done evil, shall pass from that fire, into a farther heat, without light, they who have done good, into a farther light, without heat.
But fix upon the conditions, and perform them; they must have done good; to have known good, to have believed it, to have intended it, nay to have preached it to others, will not serve, they must have done good. They must be rooted in faith, and then bring forth fruit, and fruit in season; and then is the season of doing good, when another needs that good at thy hands. God gives the evening rain, but he gave the morning rain before; a good man gives at his death, but he gives in his lifetime too. To them belongs this resurrection of the body to life; upon which, since our text inclines us to marvel rather than to discourse, I will not venture to say with David, I will show all thy wondrous works*3, (an angel's tongue could not show them) but I will say with him, Remember the marvellous works he hath done and by that done, God will open your eyes, that you may behold the wondrous things that he will do: remember with thankfulness the several resurrections that he hath given you; from superstition and ignorance, in which you, in your fathers, lay dead; from sin, and a love of sin, in which you in the days of your youth, lay dead; from sadness, and dejection of spirit, in which you, in your worldly crosses, or spiritual temptations, lay dead; and assure yourself, that that God that loves to perfect his own works, when you shall lie dead in your graves, will give you that resurrection to life, which he hath promised to all them that do good, and will extend to all them, who having done evil, do yet truly repent the evil they have done.
83 PsaL ix. 2. "Psal. cv. 5; cxix. 18.