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Sermon XX

387

SERMON XX.
PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S, UPON EASTER DAY, 1627.

Heb. xi. 35.

Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting a deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

Mercy is God's right hand, with that God gives all; faith is man's right hand, with that man takes all. David, Psal. cxxxvi. opens, and enlarges this right hand of God, in pouring out his blessings, plentifully, abundantly, manifoldly there. And in this chapter, the apostle opens, and enlarges this right hand of man, by laying hold upon those mercies of God, plentifully, abundantly, manifoldly, by faith here. There, David pours down the mercies of God, in repeating, and re-repeating that phrase, For his mercy endureth for ever; and here, St. Paul carries up man to heaven, by repeating, and re-repeating the blessings which man hath attained by faith; By faith Abel sacrificed, by faith Enoch walked with God, by faith Noah built an ark, &c. And as in that Psalm, God's [mercies are expressed two ways, first in the good that God did for his servants, He remembered them in their low estate, for his mercy endureth for ever1: and then again, He redeemed them from their enemies, for his mercy endureth for ever3: and then also, in the evil, that he brought upon their enemies, He slew famous kings, for his mercy endureth for ever: and then, He gave their land for an heritage, for his mercy endureth for ever. So in this chapter, the apostle declares the benefits of faith two ways also: first, how faith enriches us, and accommodates us in the ways of prosperity, By faith Abraham went to a place which he received for an inheritance": and so, By faith Sarah received strength to conceive seed*: and then how faith sustains, and establishes us in the ways of adversity, By faith they stopped the mouths of lions, by faith they quenched the violence of fire, by faith they escaped the edge of the sword5, in the verse

Ver. 23. 8 Ver. 24. sVer,8. 4 Ver. 11. 8 Ver. 34.

immediately before the text. And in this verse, which is our text, the apostle hath collected both; the benefits which they received by faith, Women received their dead raised to life again, and then, the holy courage which was infused by faith, in their persecutions, Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might receive a better resurrection. And because both these have relation, evidently, pregnantly to the resurrection, (for their benefit was, that the women received their dead by a resurrection, and their courage in their persecution was, That they should receive a better resurrection) therefore the whole meditation is proper to this day, in which we celebrate all resurrections in the root, in the resurrection of the first fruits of the dead, our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.

Our parts are two: how plentifully God gives to the faithful, Women receive their dead raised to life again, and how patiently the faithful suffer God's corrections, Others were tortured not accepting, &c. Though they be both large considerations, (benefits by faith, patience in the faithful) yet we shall contain ourselves in those particulars which are expressed, or necessarily implied in the text itself. And so in the first place we shall see first, the extraordinary consolation in God's extraordinary mercies, in his miraculous deliverances, such as this, Women received their dead raised to life again, and secondly we shall see the examples, to which the apostle refers here, what women had had their dead restored to life again; and then, lastly, in that part, that this affection of joy, in having their dead restored to life again, being put in the weaker sex, in women only, we may argue conveniently from thence, that the strength of a true and just joy lies not in that, but that our virility, our holy manhood, our religious strength consists in a faithful assurance, that we have already a blessed communion with these saints of God, though they be dead, and we alive; and that we shall have hereafter a glorious association with them in the resurrection, though we never receive our dead raised to life again in this world. And in those three considerations, we shall determine that first part. And then, in the other, the patience of the faithful, Others were tortured, &c., we shall first look into the examples which {he apostle refers to; who they were that were thus tortured: and secondly, the height and exaltation of their patience, They would not accept a deliverance: and lastly, the ground upon which their anchor was cast, what established their patience, That they might obtain a better resurrection.

First then, for that blessedness, which we need not be afraid, nor abstain from calling the recompense, the reward, the retribution of the faithful, (for as we consider death to grow out of disobedience, and life out of obedience to the law; as properly as death is the wages of sin, life is the wages of righteousness) if I be asked, what it is wherein this recompense, this reward, this retribution consists, if I must be put to my special plea, I must say it is, in that of the apostle, Omnia cobperantur in bonum, that nothing can befall the faithful, that does not conduce to his good, and advance his happiness: for he shall not only find St. Paul's Mori lucrum, That he shall be the better for dying, if he must die; but he shall find St. Augustine's Utile cadere, He shall be the better for sinning, if he have sinned; so the better, as that by a repentance after that sin, he shall find himself established in a nearer, and safer distance with God, than he was in that security, which he had before that sin. But the title, and the plea of the faithful to this recompense, extends farther than so; it is not only, that nothing, how evil soever in the nature thereof, shall be evil to them; but that all that is good, is theirs; properly theirs, theirs peculiarly. There is no want to them that fear the Lord, says David; the young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord, shall not want any good thing".

The infidel hath no pretence upon the next world, none at all; no nor so clear a title to anything in this world, but that we dispute in the school, whether infidels have any true dominion, any true propriety in anything which they possess here; and whether there be not an inherent right in the Christians, to plant Christianity in any part of the dominions of the infidels, and consequently, to despoil them even of their possession, if they oppose such plantations, so established, and such propagations of the Christian religion. For though we may not begin at the dispossessing, and displanting of the native and natural inhabitant, (for so we proceed but as men against men, and upon such equal

* PsaL xxxiv. 9.

terms, we have no right to take any men's possessions from them) yet, when pursuing that right, which resides in the Christian, we have established such a plantation, if they supplant that, we may supplant them, say our schools, and our casuists; for, in that case, we proceed not as men against men; not by God's common law, which is equal to all men; that is, the law of nature; but we proceed by his higher law, by his prerogative, as Christians against infidels, and then, it is God that proceeds against them, by men, and not those men, of themselves, to serve their own ambitions, or their other secular ends. All things are yours, says the apostle7; by what right? You are Christ's, says he, And Christ is GooVs; thus is a title conveyed to us, all things are God's, God hath put all things under Christ's feet; and he under ours, as we are Christians. And then, as the general profession of Christ, entitles us to a general title of the world, (for the world belongs to the faithful; and Christians, as Christians, and no more, are Fideles, Faithful in respect of infidels) so those Christians that come to that more particular, more active, more operative faith, which the apostle speaks of in all this chapter, come also to a more particular reward, and recompense, and retribution at God's hands; God does not only give them the natural blessings of this world, to which they have an inherent right, as they are general Christians, but as they are thus faithful Christians, he gives them supernatural blessings, he enlarges himself even to miracles, in their behalf; which is a second consideration; first God opens himself in nature, and temporal blessings, to the general Christian, but to the faithful, in grace, exalted even to the height of miracle.

In this, we consider first, that there is nothing dearer to God than a miracle. There is nothing that God hath established in a constant course of nature, and which therefore is done every day, but would seem a miracle, and exercise our admiration, if it were done but once; nay, -the ordinary things in nature, would be greater miracles, than the extraordinary, which we admire most, if they were done but once; the standing still of the sun, for Joshua's use, was not, in itself, so wonderful a thing, as that so vast and immense a body as the sun, should run so many miles in

7 1 Cor. iii. 20.

a minute; the motion of the sun were a greater wonder than the standing still, if all were to begin again; and only the daily doing takes off the admiration. But then God having, as it were, concluded himself in a course of nature, and written down in the book of creatures, thus and thus all things shall be carried, though he glorify himself sometimes, in doing a miracle, yet there is in every miracle, a silent chiding of the world, and a tacit reprehension of them, who require, or who need miracles.

Therefore hath God reserved to himself the power of miracles, as a prerogative; for the devil does no miracles; the devil and his instruments, do but hasten nature, or hinder nature, antedate nature, or postdate nature, bring things sooner to pass, or retard them; and howsoever they pretend to oppose nature, yet still it is but upon nature, and but by natural means, that they work; only God shakes the whole frame of nature in pieces, and in a miracle, proceeds so, as if there were no creation yet accomplished, no course of nature yet established. Facit mirabilia magna solus, says David8; there are mirabilia parva, some lesser wonders, that the devil and his instruments, Pharaoh's sorcerers, can do; but when it*comes to mirabilia magna, great wonders, so great, as that they amount to the nature of a miracle, Facit solus, God, and God only does them. And amongst these, and amongst the greatest of these, is the raising of the dead, and therefore we make it a particular consideration, the extraordinary joy in that case, when Women received their dead raised to life again.

We know the dishonour, and the infamy that lay upon barrenness, among the Jews; how wives deplored, and lamented that. When God is pleased to take away that impediment of barrenness, and to give children, we know the misery, and desolation of orbity, when parents are deprived of those children, by death; and by the measure of that sorrow, which follows barrenness, or orbity, we may proportion that joy, which accompanies God's miraculous blessings, when Women receive their dead raised to life again. In all the secular, and profane writers in the world, in the whole body of story, you shall not find such an expressing of the misery of a famine, as that of the Holy Ghost in the

8 Psalm cxxxvi. 4.

Lamentations8; That women eat palmares filios; we translate it, Their children of a span long; that is, that they procured abortions and untimely births of those children, which were in their bodies, that they might have so much flesh to eat. As that is proposed for the greatest misery, that ever was, women to destroy their children so, so is this for the highest accumulation of joy, to have dead children brought to life again. When we hear St. Augustine in his confessions, lament so passionately the death of his son, and insist so affectionately, upon the pregnancy, and forwardness of that son; though that son if he had lived, must have lived a continual evidence, and monument of his sin, (for, for all his son, St. Augustine was no married man) yet what may we think, St. Augustine would have given, though it had been to have been cut out of his own life, to have had that son restored to life again I Measure it but by the joy, which we have, in recovering a sick child, from the hands, and jaws, and gates of death; measure it but by that delight which we have, when we see our garden recovered from the death of winter. Men's curiosities have carried them to unlawful desires of communication with the dead; as in Saul's case towards Samuel. But if with a good conscience, and without that horror, which is likely to accompany such a communication with the dead, a man might have the conversation of a friend, that had been dead, and had seen the other world; as Dives thought no preacher so powerful to work upon his brethren, as one sent from the dead, so certainly all the travellers in the world, if we could hear them all, all the libraries in the world, if we could read them all, could not tell us so much, as that friend, returned from the dead, which had seen the other world.

But waiving that consideration, because as we know not what kind of remembrance of this world God leaves us in the next, when he translates us thither, so neither do we know what kind of remembrance of that world God would leave in that man, whom he should re-translate into this, we fix only upon the examples intended in our text, who these joyful women were, that received their dead raised to life again, which is our second branch of this first part; for with those three considerations,

9 Lament. ii. 20,

which constituted our first branch, we have done, that God gives us this world, as we are general Christians; and, as we are faithful Christians, miracles; and, the greatest of miracles, the raising of the dead.

In the second branch, we have two considerations; first, what kind of women these were, and then, who they were; first, their qualities, and then, their persons. We have occasion to stop upon the first, because Aquinas in his exposition of this text, tells us, there are some expositors, who take this word, women, in this place, to be intended, not of mothers, but of wives; and then, because the apostle says here, that Women received their dead, that is, say they, Wives received their dead husbands, raised to life again, and received them, as husbands, that is, cohabited with them as husbands, therefore they conclude, says Aquinas, that death itself does not dissolve the band of marriage; and consequently, that all other marriages, all superinductions, even after death, are unlawful. Let me say but one word, of the word, and a word or two of the matter itself, and I shall pass to the other consideration, the womeo whom the apostle proposes for his examples.

The word, women, taken alone, signifies the whole sex, women in general; when it is contracted to a particular signification, in any author, it follows the circumstances, and the coherence of that place, in that author; and by those a man shall easily discern, of what kind of women that word is intended in that place. In this place, the apostle works upon his brethren, the Hebrews, by such examples, as were within their own knowledge, and their own stories, throughout all this chapter. And in those stories of theirs, we have no example, of any wife, that had her dead husband restored to her; but of mothers that had their children raised to life, we have. So that this word, women, must signify here, mothers, and not wives, as Aquinas's expositors misimagined.

And for the matter itself, that is, second or oftener-iterated marriages, the disapproving of them, entered very soon into some heretics, in the primitive church. For the eighth canon of that great Council of Nice, (which is one of the indubitable canons) forbids, by name, catharos, the Puritans of those times, to be received by the church, except they would be content to receive the sacrament with persons that had been twice married; which before they would not do. It entered soon into some heretics, and it entered soon, and went far, in some holy and reverent men, and some assemblies, that had, and had justly, the name, and form of councils. For in the council of Neo-Caesarea, which was before the Nicene Council, in the seventh canon, there are somewhat shrewd aspersions laid upon second marriages. And certainly, the Roman church cannot be denied, to come too near this disapproving of second marriages. For though they will not speak plain, (they love not that, because they get more by keeping things in suspense) yet plainly they forbid the benediction at second marriages. Valeat quantum valere potest; Let them do as well as they can, with their second marriage, Let them marry de bene esse, at all adventures; but they will afford no blessing to a second, as to a first marriage. And though they will not shut the church doors against all such, yet they will shut up all church functions against all such. No such person as hath married twice, or married once one that hath married twice, can be received to the dignity of orders, in their church.

And though some of the fathers pared somewhat too near the quick in this point, yet it was not as in the Roman church, to lay snares, and spread nets for gain, and profit, and to forbid only therefore, that they might have market for their dispensations; neither was it to fix, and appropriate sanctity, only in ecclesiastical persons, who only must not marry twice, but out of a tender sense, and earnest love to continency, and out of a holy indignation, that men tumbled and wallowed so licentiously, so promiscuously, so indifferently, so inconsiderately in all ways of incontinency, those blessed fathers admitted in themselves a superzealous, an over-vehement animosity in this point. But yet St. Jerome himself10, though he remember with a holy scorn, that when he was at Rome in the assistance of Pope Damasus (as his word is, cum jumrem) he saw a man that had buried twenty wives, marry a wife, that buried twenty-two husbands, yet for the matter, and in seriousness, he says plainly enough, Non damno bigamos, imonec trigamos, necsi dic i potest octogamos ",

10 Ep. ad Ageruchiam. 11 Apolog. ad Pammach.

I condemn no man for marrying two, or three, or if he have a mind to it, eight wives. And so also in his former epistle, Abjicimus de Ecclesia Digamos? absit; God forbid we should deny any church assistance to any, for twice marrying; but yet, says that blessed father, Monogamos ad continentiam provocamus; Let me have leave to persuade them who have been married, and are at liberty, to continency, now at last.

Those fathers departed not from the apostles Nubat in Domino, Let them marry in the Lord; but they would fain bring the Lord to the making of every marriage, and not only the world, and worldly respects. For the Lord himself, who honoured marriage, even with the first fruits of his miracles, yet persuades continency, He that is able to receive it, let him receive it18. The fault which those fathers did, and we may reprehend, is, that men do not try whether they be able to receive it or no; in all treaties of marriage, in all contracts for portion, and jointure, who ever ask their children, who ever ask themselves, whether they can live continently or no? Or what trial, what experiment can have been made of this, in cradle-marriages? Marriage was. given for a remedy; but not before any appearance of a danger. And given for physic, but not before any appearance of a disease. And do any parents lay up a medicine against the falling sickness, for their new-born children, because those children may have the falling sickness? The peace of neighbouring states, the uniting of great families for good ends, may present just occasions of departing from severe rules. I only intend, as I take most of those fathers to have done, to leave all persons to their Christian liberty, as the Lord hath done; and yet, as the Lord hath done too, to persuade them to consider themselves, and those who are theirs, how far they need the use of that liberty, and not to exceed that. And thus much Aquinas's expositors, who would needs understand the women in this text to be wives, have occasioned us to say in this point. In our order proposed, we pass now to the other consideration, who these women were whom the apostle makes his examples, for they are but two, and may soon be considered.

la Matt. xix. 12.

The first is the widow of Zareptha, in whose house Elias the prophet sojournedI3. She was a widow, and a poor widow, and might need the labour, or the providence of a husband in that respect: yet she solicits not, nor Elias endeavours not the raising of her dead husband to life again. A widow, that is, A widow indeed1*, (as the apostle speaks) may have in that state of such a widowhood, more assistances towards the next world, than she should have for this, by taking another husband. For, for that widow, Quw in tumulo mariti, sepeliit voluptatesTM, Who hath buried all her affections towards this world, in her husband's grave, the apostle in that place, ordains honour, Honour widows, that are widows indeed. And when he says honour, and speaks of poor widows, he speaks not of such honour as such poor souls are incapable of, but of that honour, which that word signifies ordinarily in the Scriptures, Qui non tam in salutationibus, quam in eleemosynis, says St. Chrysostom, which rather consists in alms, and relief, than in salutations, and reverences, or such respects. For so (as St. Jerome notes in particular) when we are commanded to honour our parents, it is intended we should relieve and maintain our parents, if they be decayed. And such honour the apostle persuades to be given, and such honour God will provide, that is, peace in the possession of their estate, if they have any estate; and relief from others, if they have none, for widows, that are widows indeed.

In which qualification of theirs, that they be widows indeed, we may well take in that addition which the apostle makes, That she have been the wife of one man1". For though we make not that an only, or an essential character of a widow indeed, to have had but one husband, yet we note, as Calvin doth, that the church received widows, in years, therefore, Quia timendum erat, ne ad novas nuptias aspirarent, Because the church feared that they would marry again. And certainly, if the church feared they would, the church had rather they would not. It is (as Calvin adds there) Pignus continentiw, et pudoris (though Calvin were no man to be suspected, to countenance the perverseness of the Roman church, in defaming, or undervaluing marriage, yet he

says so) it is a good pawn, and evidence of continency, to have rested in one husband.

The widow of Zareptha then, importunes not the prophet to restore her dead husband; she bears her widow's estate well enough; but for her dead son she doth importune him; in the agony and vehemence of a passion, she says, at her first encounter with the prophet, Quid mihi, et tibi? What have I to do with thee11? She doth almost renounce the means; in irregular passion, a disconsolate soul comes to say, what have I to do with prayers, with sermons, with sacraments, I see that God hath forsaken me: but yet she collects herself; What have I to do with thee, 0 thou man of God? When she confesses him to be the man of God, she doth not renounce him; when we consider the means, to be means ordained by God, we find comfort in them. Yet she cannot contain the bitterness of her passion; Art thou come unto me, to call my sin to remembrance, and to Mil my son? She implies thus much; shall my soul never be at peace? Shall no repentance from my heart, no absolution from thy mouth, make me sure that God hath forgiven and forgotten my sins? But when I have received all seals of reconciliation, will God still punish those sins which he pretends to have forgiven, and punish them with so high a hand, as the taking away of my only child? And we may see an exaltation of this woman's passion, not only in the loss, but in the recovery of her child too. For when she had received her child alive, she comes to that passionate acclamation, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth, is truth1"; as though, if this had not been done, she would not have believed that.

How then says our apostle in this text, that this woman received her dead son by faith, when she declares this inordinateness, this discomposedness, and fluctuation of passion? This question made St. Chrysostom refer this faith that the apostle speaks of, to the prophet that raised the child, and not; to the mother; for she seems to him to have had none. And so the Syriac translates this place, Reddiderunt, not Acceperunt; By faith, They, that is, the prophets, restored the dead, not By faith, They, that is, the mothers, received their dead.

"Ver. 18. 18 Ver. 14.

But God forbid that natural affections, even in an exaltation, and vehement expressing thereof, should be thought to destroy faith; God forbid that I should conclude an extermination of faith, in Moses' Dele me, Pardon this people, or blot my name out of thy book; or in St. Paul's Anathema pro fratribus, That he desired to be separated from Christ, rather than his brethren should; or in Job, or in Jeremy, or in Jonas, when they expostulate, and chide with God himself, out of a weariness of their lives; or in the Lord of Life himself, Christ Jesus, when he came to an Ut quid dereliquisti? To an apprehension that God had forsaken him upon the cross. God that could restore her cold child, could keep his child, her faith, alive in those hot embers of passion. So God did; but he did it thus; the child was taken from the mother's warm and soft bosom, and carried to the prophet's hard and cold bed.

Beloved, we die in our delicacies, and revive not, but in afflictions; in abundances, the blow of death meets us, and the breath of life, in misery, and tribulation. God puts himself to the cost of one of his greatest miracles, for her faith; he raises her child to life; and then, he makes up his own work; he continues with that child, and makes him a good man; there are men, whom even miracles will not improve; but this child (we will not dispute it, but accept it from St. Jerome, who relates it19) became a prophet. It was that very Jonas, whom God employed to Nineveh; in which service, he gave some signs whose son he was, and how much of his mother's passion he inherited in his vehement expostulations with God. Be this then our doctrinal instruction for this first example, the widow of Zareptha; first, that God thinks nothing too dear for his faithful children; not his great treasure, not his miracles; and then God preserves this faith of theirs, in contemplation of which only, he bestows this treasure, this miracle, in the midst of the storms of natural affections, and the tempest of distempered passions; and then lastly, that he proceeds, and goes on in his own goodness; here he makes a carcase a man, and then that man a prophet; every day he makes a dead soul, a soul again, and then that soul, a saint.

The other example in this point, is that Shunamite, whose dead

19 Proaem. in Ionam.

son Elijah restored to life. In the beginning of that chapter, you hear of another widow; A certain woman, of the wives of the sons of the prophets, cried unto Elijah, Thy servant my husband is dead10; and truly a widow of one of the sons of the prophets, a churchman's widow, was like enough, to be poor enough; and yet, the prophet doth not turn upon that way, either to restore her dead husband, or to provide her another husband; but only inquires how she was left; and finding her in poor estate, and in debt, provides her means to pay her debts, and to bring up her children, and to that purpose, procures a miracle from God, in the abundant increase of her oil; but he troubles not God for her old, or for a new husband. But our example, to which the apostle in our text refers himself, is not this widow in the beginning, but that mother, in the body of the chapter, who having, by Elijah's prayers, obtained a son of God, after she was past hope, and that son being dead in her lap, in her also, (as in the former example) we may consider, how passion and faith may consist together: she asks her husband leave, That she might run to the prophet"; her zeal, her passionate zeal hastened her, she would run, but not without her husband's leave.

As St. Jerome forbids a lady, to suffer her daughter to go to what churches she would, so may there be indiscretion at least, to suffer wives to go to what meetings (though holy convocations) they will; she does not harbour in her house, a person dangerous to the public state, or to her husband's private state, nor a person likely to solicit her chastity, though in a prophet's name; we may find women, that may have occasion of going to confession, for something that their confessors may have done to them. In this woman's case, there was no disguise; she would fain go, and run; but not without her husband's knowledge, and allowance.

Her husband asks her, Why she would go to the prophet, then, being neither Sabbath, nor new moon**? He acknowledges, that God is likelier to confer blessings upon Sabbaths, and new moons, upon some days, rather than other: that all days are not alike with God, then, when he, by his ordinance, hath put a difference between them. And he acknowledges too, that though the Sabbath be the principal of those days which God hath seposed for *0 2 Reg. 4. 81 Ver. 22. 8i Ver. 23.

his especial working, yet there are new moons too; there are other holydays, for holy convocations, and for his divine and public worship, besides the Sabbath. But this was neither Sabbath, nor new moon, neither Sunday, nor holyday; why would she go upon that day? Beloved, though for public meetings, in public places, the Sabbaths, and holydays be the proper days, yet for conference, and counsel, and other assistances from the prophets, and ministers of God, all times are seasonable, all days are Sabbaths.

She goes to the prophet; she presses with so much passion, and so much faith too, and so good success, (for she had her dead son restored unto her) that as from the other, so from this example arises this, That in a heart absolutely surrendered to God, vehement expostulation with God, and yet full submission to God, and a quiet acquiescence in God; a storm of affections in nature, and yet a settled calm, and a fast anchorage in grace, a suspicion, and a jealousy, and yet an assurance, and a confidence in God, may well consist together: in the same instant that Christ said, Si possible, he said, Veruntamen too; though he desired that that cup might pass, yet he desired not, that his desire should be satisfied. In the same instant that the martyrs under the altar say, Usque quo Domine, How long Lord before thou execute judgment? they see, that he does execute judgment every day, in their behalf. All jealousy in God, does not destroy our assurance in him; nor all diffidence, our confidence; nor all fear, our faith. These women had these natural weaknesses, that is, this strength of affections, and passions, and yet by this faith, these women received their dead, raised to life again.

But yet, (which is a last consideration, and our conclusion of this part) this being thus put only in women, in the weaker sex, that they desired, that they rejoiced in this resuscitation of the dead, may well intimate thus much unto us, that our virility, our holy manhood, our true and religious strength, consists in the assurance, that though death have divided us, and though we never receive our dead raised to life again in this world, yet we do live together already, in a holy communion of saints, and shall live together for ever, hereafter, in a glorious resurrection of bodies. Little know we, how little a way a soul hath to go to heaven, when it departs from the body; whether it must pass locally, through moon, and sun, and firmament, (and if all that must be done, all that may be done, in less time than I have proposed the doubt in) or whether that soul find new light in the same room, and be not carried into any other, but that the glory of heaven be diffused over all, I know not, I dispute not, I inquire not. Without disputing, or inquiring, I know, that when Christ says, That God is not the God of the dead, he says that to assure me, that those whom I call dead, are alive. And when the apostle tells me, That God is not ashamed to be called the God of the dead*3, he tells me that to assure me, That God's servants lose nothing by dying.

He was but a heathen84 that said, If God love a man, Juvenis tollitur, He takes him young out of this world; and they were but heathensthat observed that custom, To put on mourning when their sons were born, and to feast and triumph when they died. But thus much we may learn from these heathens, That if the dead, and we, be not upon one floor, nor under one story, yet we are under one roof. We think not a friend lost, because he is gone into another room, nor bec^ise he is gone into another land; and into another world, no man is gone; for that heaven, which God created, and this world, is all one world. If I had fixed a son in court, or married a daughter into a plentiful fortune, I were satisfied for that son and that daughter. Shall I not be so, when the King of Heaven hath taken that son to himself, and married himself to that daughter, for ever? I spend none of my faith, I exercise none of my hope, in this, that I shall have my dead raised to life again.

This is the faith that sustains me, when I lose by the death of others, or when I suffer by living in misery myself, That the dead, and we, are now all in one church, and at the resurrection, shall be all in one choir. But that is the resurrection which belongs to our other part; that resurrection which we have handled, though it were a resurrection from death, yet it was to death too; for those that were raised again, died again. But the resurrection which we are to speak of, is for ever; they that rise then, shall see death no more, for it is (says our text) A better resurrection.

43 Heb. xi. 16. ** Menander. "The Thracians.

VOL. I. 2D.

That which we did in the other part, in the last branch thereof, in this part we shall do in the first; first we shall consider the examples, from which the apostle deduceth this encouragement, and faithful constancy, upon those Hebrews, to whom he directs this epistle. Though, as he says in the beginning of the next chapter, he were compassed about with a cloud of witnesses, and so might have proposed examples from the authentic Scriptures, and the histories of the Bible, yet we accept that direction, which our translators have given us, in the marginal concordance of their translation, that the apostle, in this text, intends, and so refers to that story, which is 2 Maccabees vii. 7. To that story also doth Aquinas refer this place; but Aquinas may have had a mind to do that service to the Roman Church, to make the apostle cite an apocryphal story, though the apostle meant it not. It may be so in Aquinas; he might have such a mind, such a meaning. But surely Beza had no such meaning, Calvin had no such mind; and yet both Calvin, and Beza refer this text to that story. Though it be said, says Calvin, that Jeremy was stoned to death, and Esay sawed to death, Non dubito, quin Mas persecutions designet, qua; sub Antiocho, I doubt not, says he, but that the apostle intends those persecutions, which the Maccabees suffered under Antiochus.

So then, there may be good use made of an apocryphal book. It always was, and always will be impossible, for our adversaries of the Roman church, to establish that, which they have so long endeavoured, that is, to make the apocryphal books equal to the canonical. It is true, that before there was any occasion of jealousy, or suspicion, that there would be new articles of faith coined, and those new articles authorized, and countenanced out of the apocryphal books, the blessed fathers in the primitive church afforded honourable names, and made fair and noble mention of those books. So they have called them sacred; and more than that, divine; and more than that too, canonical books; and more than all that, by the general name of Scripture, and Holy Writ. But the Holy Ghost, who foresaw the danger, though those blessed fathers themselves did not, hath shed, and dropped, even in their writings, many evidences, to prove, in what sense they called those books by those names, and in what distance they always held them, from those books, which are purely, and positively, and to all purposes, and in all senses, sacred, and divine, and canonical, and simply scripture, and simply Holy Writ.

Of this there is no doubt in the fathers before St. Augustine: for they all proposed these books, as Canones morum, non Jidei, canonical, that is, regular, for applying our manners, and conversation to the articles of faith; but not canonical, for the establishing those articles; canonical for edification, but not for foundation. And even in the later Roman Church, we have a good author86 that gives us a good rule, Ne turberis novitie, Let no young student be troubled, when he hears these books, by some of the fathers, called canonical, for, they are so, says he, in their sense, Regulares ad wdificationem, good canons, good rules for matter of manners, and conversation. And this distinction, says that author, will serve to rectify, not only what the fathers before St. Augustine, (for they speak clearly enough) but what St. Augustine himself, and some councils have said of this matter. But yet, this difference gives no occasion to an elimination, to an extermination of these books, which we call apocryphal. And therefore, when in a late foreign synod87, that nation, where that synod was gathered, would needs dispute, whether the apocryphal books should not be utterly left out of the Bible; and, not affecting that, yet determined, that those books should be removed from their old place, where they had ever stood, that is, after the books of the Old Testament, Exteri se excusari petierunt, (say the acts of that synod88) those that came to that synod, from other places, desire to be excused, from assenting to the displacing of those apocryphal books. For, in that place, (as we see by Athanasius) they prescribe; for, though they be not canonical, says he, yet they are Ejusdem ceteris instrumenti libri, Books that belong to the Old Testament, that is, (at least) to the elucidation, and clearing of many places in the Old Testament. And that the ancient fathers thought these books worthy of their particular consideration, must necessarily be more than evident to him that reads St. Chrysostom's homily, or Leo's sermon upon this very

86 Cajetan. "The Synod of Dort, held in the year 1618.

88 Sessio 10.

part of that book of the Maccabees: to which the apostle refers in this text; that is, to that which the seven brethren there, suffered for a better resurrection. And if we take in the testimony of the Reformation, divers great and learned men, have interpreted these books, by their particular commentaries; Osiander hath done so, and done it, with a protestation, that divers great divines entreated him to do it. Conrad Pellicanus hath done so too; who, lest these books should seem to be undervalued, in the name of apocryphal, says, that it is fitter to call them libros ecclesicuticos, rather ecclesiastical, than apocryphal books. And of the first of these two books of the Maccabees, he says freely, Revera, Divini Spiritus instigatione, No doubt, but the Holy Ghost moved some holy man to write this book; because, says he, by it, many places of the prophets are the better understood, and without that book, (which is a great addition of dignity) Ecclesiastica eruditio perfecta non fuisset, The church had not been so well enabled, to give perfect instruction in the ecclesiastical story. Therefore he calls it Piissimum Catholicw ecclesiw institutum, A most holy institution of the Catholic church, that those books were read in the church; and, if that custom had been every where continued, Non tot errores increvissent, So many errors had not grown in the Reformed church, says that author. And to descend to practice, at this day we see, that in many churches of the Reformation, their preachers never forbear to preach upon texts taken out of the apocryphal books. We discern clearly, and as earnestly we detest the mischievous purposes of our adversaries, in magnifying these apocryphal books; it is not, principally, that they would have these books as good as Scriptures; but, because they would have Scriptures no better than these books; that so, when it should appear, that these books were weak books, and the Scriptures no better than they, their own traditions might be as good as either. But, as their impiety is inexcusable, that thus overvalue them, so is their singularity too, that depress these books too far; of which the apostle himself makes this use, not to establish articles of faith, but to establish the Hebrews in the articles of faith, by examples, deduced from this book. The example then, to which the apostle leads them, is that story of a mother, and her seven sons, which in one day suffered death, by exquisite torments, rather than break that law of their God, which the king pressed them to break, though but a ceremonial law. Now, as Leo says, in his sermon upon their day, (for the Christian church kept a day, in memory of the martyrdom of these seven Maccabees, though they were but Jews) Gravant audita, nisi suscipiantur imitanda; It is a pain to hear the good that others have done, except we have some desire to imitate them, in doing the like. The panegyric said well, Onerosum est, succedere bono principi; That king, that comes after a good predecessor, hath a shrewd burthen upon him; because all the world can compare him with the last king; and all the world will look, that he should be as good a king, as his immediate predecessor, whom they all remember, was. So Gravant audita, It will trouble you to hear, what these Maccabees, which St. Paul speaks of, suffered for the law of their God, but you are weary of it, and would be glad we would give over talking of them, except you have a desire to imitate them. And if you have that, you are glad to hear more and more of them; and, from this apostle here, you may. For he makes two uses of their example; first, that though they were tortured, they would not accept a deliverance, and then, that they put on that resolution, That they might obtain a better resurrection.

What they suffered, hath exercised all our grammarians, and all our philologers, and all our antiquaries, that have inquired into the racks, and tortures of those times. We translate it roundly, They were tortured. And St. Paul's word implies a torture of that kind, that their bodies were extended, and racked, as upon a drum, and then beaten with staves. What the torture, intended in that word, was, we know not. But in the story itself, to which he refers, in the Maccabees, you have all these divers tortures; cutting out of tongues, and cutting off of hands* and feet, and macerating in hot cauldrons, and pulling off the skin of their heads, with their hair; and yet they would not accept a deliverance. Was it offered them? expressly it was. The king promises", and swears to one of them, that he would make him rich, and happy, and his friend, and trust him with

i9 Ver. 24.

his affairs, if he would apply himself to his desires; and yet he would not accept this deliverance. This is that which St. Augustine says, Sunt qui patienter moriuntur, There may be many found, that die without any distemper, without any impatience, that suffer patiently enough; but then, Sunt qui patienter vivunt, et delectabiliter moriuntur; There are others, whose life exercises all their patience, so that it is a pain to them (though they endure it patiently) to live. But they could die, not only patiently, but cheerfully; they are not only content, if they must, but glad if they may die, when they may die so, as that thereby, They may obtain a better resurrection.

And this was the case of these martyrs, whom the apostle here proposes to the imitation of the Hebrews. They put all upon that issue, A better resurrection. So the second brother says to the king30, Thou, like a fury, takest us out of this life; but the King of the World, shall raise us up, who have died for his law, unto everlasting life. Here lay his hope; That that which died, that which could die, his body, should be raised again. So the third brother proceeded81; he held out his hands, and said, These I had from heaven; and, for his laws, I despise them; and from him, I hope to receive them again. There was his hope; a restitution of the same hands, in the resurrection. And so the fourth brother38; It is good, being put to death, by men, to look for hope, from God. Hope of what? to be raised up again by him; there was his hope. And he thought he could not speak more bitterly to that tyrant, than to tell him, As for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection unto life. And so the mother established herself too33; to her sons she says, I gave you not life in my womb, but doubtless the Creator that did, will, of his mercy, give you life again. The soul needed not life again, for the soul never died; the body that died, did; therefore her hope was in a resurrection. And to her youngest son she said34, Be worthy of thy brethren, take thy death, that I may receive thee again, in mercy, with thy brethren. All their establishment, all their expectation, all their issue was, That they might obtain a better resurrection.

30 Ver. 9. 81 Ver. 11. 38 Ver. 14. 33 Ver. 22.

34 Ver. 29.

Now what was this that they qualified and dignified by that addition, The better resurrection? Is it called better, in that it is better than this life, and determined in that comparison, i and degree of betterness, and no more? Is it better than those honours, and preferments which that king offered them, and determined in that comparison, and no more? Or better than other men shall have at the last day, (for all men shall have a resurrection) and determined in that? Or, as St. Chrysostom takes it, is it but a better resurrection than that in the former part of this text, where dead children are restored to their mothers alive again? Is it but a better resurrection in some of these senses? Surely better in a higher sense than any of these; it is a supereminent degree of glory, a larger measure of glory, than every man, who in a general happiness, is made partaker of the resurrection of the righteous, is made partaker of.

Beloved, there is nothing so little in heaven, as that we can express it; but if we could tell you the fulness of a soul thore, what that fulness is; the infiniteness of that glory there, how far that infiniteness goes; the eternity of that happiness there, how long that happiness lasts; if we could make you know all this, yet this better resurrection is a heaping even of that fulness, and an enlarging even of that infiniteness, and an extension even of that eternity of happiness; for all these, this fulness, this infiniteness, this eternity, are in all the resurrections of the righteous, and this is a better resurrection; we may almost say, it is something more than heaven; for all that have any resurrection to life, have all heaven; and something more than God; for, all that have any resurrection to life, have all God; and yet these shall have a better resurrection. Amorous soul, ambitious soul, covetous soul, voluptuous soul, what wouldst thou have in heaven? What doth thy holy amorousness, thy holy covetousness, thy holy ambition, and voluptuousness most carry thy desire upon? Call it what thou wilt; think it what thou canst; think it something that thou canst not think; and all this thou shalt have, if thou have any resurrection unto life; and yet there is a better resurrection. When I consider what I was in my parent's loins (a substance unworthy of a word, unworthy of a thought) when I consider what I am now, (a volume of diseases bound up together, a dry cinder, if I look for natural, for radical moisture, and yet a sponge, a bottle of overflowing rheumes, if I consider accidental; an aged child, a gray-headed infant, and but the ghost of mine own youth) when I consider what I shall be at last, by the hand of death, in my grave, (first, but putrefaction, and then, not so much as putrefaction, I shall not be able to send forth so much as an ill air, not any air at all, but shall be all insipid, tasteless, savourless dust; for a while, all worms, and after a while, not so much as worms, sordid, senseless, nameless dust) when I consider the past, and present, and future state of this body, in this world, I am able to conceive, able to express the worst that can befall it in nature, and the worst that can be inflicted upon it by man, or fortune; but the least degree of glory that God hath prepared for that body in heaven, I am not able to express, not able to conceive.

That man comes with a barleycorn in his hand, to measure the compass of the firmament, (and when will he have done that work, by that way?) he comes with a grain of dust in his scales, to weigh the whole body of the world, (and when will he have done that work, that way?) that bids his heart imagine, or his language declare, or his wit compare the least degree of the glory of any good man's resurrection; and yet, there is a better resurrection. A better resurrection reserved for them, and appropriated to them That fulfil the sufferings of Christ, in their flesh, by martyrdom, and so become witnesses to that conveyance which he hath sealed with his blood, by shedding their blood; and glorify him upon earth (as far as it is possible for man) by the same way that he hath glorified them in heaven; and are admitted to such a conformity with Christ, as that (if we may have leave to express it so) they have died for one another.

Neither is this martyrdom, and so this better resurrection, appropriated to a real, and actual, and absolute dying for Christ; but every suffering of ours, by which suffering he may be glorified, is a degree of martyrdom, and so a degree of improving, and bettering our resurrection. For as St. Jerome says, That chastity is a perpetual martyrdom, So, every war maintained by us, against our own desires, is a martyrdom too. In a word, to do good for God's glory, brings us to a good, but to suffer for his glory, brings us to a better resurrection; and, to suffer patiently, brings us to a good, but to suffer cheerfully, and more than that, thankfully, brings us to a better resurrection. If all the torments of all the afflicted men, from Abel, to that soul that groans in the inquisition, or that gasps upon his deathbed, at this minute, were upon one man at once, all that had no proportion to the least torment of hell; nay if all the torments which all the damned in hell have suffered, from Cain to this minute, were at once upon one soul, so, as that soul for all that, might know that those torments should have an end, though after a thousand millions of millions of generations, all that would have no proportion to any of the torments of hell;' because the extension of those torments, and their everlastingness, hath more of the nature of torment, and of the nature of hell in it, than the intenseness, and the vehemency thereof can have. So, if all the joys, of all the men that have had all their hearts' desires, were concentred in one heart, all that would not be as a spark in his chimney, to the general conflagration of the whole world, in respect of the least joy, that that soul is made partaker of, that departs from this world, immediately after a pardon received, and reconciliation sealed to him, for all his sins; no doubt but he shall have a good resurrection; but then, we cannot doubt neither, but that to him that hath been careful in all his ways, and yet crossed in all his ways, to him whose daily bread hath been affliction, and yet is satisfied as with marrow, and with fatness, with that bread of affliction, and not only contented in, but glad of that affliction, no doubt but to him is reserved a better resurrection; every resurrection is more than we can think, but this is more than that more. Almighty God inform us, and reveal unto us, what this better resurrection is, by possessing us of it; and make the hastening to it, one degree of addition to it. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly to the consummation of that kingdom which thou hast purchased for us, with inestimable price of thine incorruptible blood.— Amen.