PREACHED UPON EASTER DAY, 1629.
Job Iv. 18.
Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.
We celebrate this day, the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus, blessed for ever; and in his, all ours; all, that is, the resurrection of all persons; all, that is, the resurrection of all kinds, whether the resurrection from calamities in this world, Ezekiel's resurrection, where God says to him', Son of man, dost thou think, these scattered bones can live again? Or the resur
< 1 Ezek. viii. 6.
rection from sin, St. John's resurrection*, Blessed is he that hath his part in the first resurrection: or of the resurrection to glory, St. Paul's resurrection*, that is, more argued, and more particularly established, by that apostle, than by the rest. This resurrection to glory, is the consummation of all the others; therefore we look especially at this; and in this, our qualification in this state of glory, is thus expressed by our Saviour Christ himself, Erimus sicut angeli*, In the resurrection, we shall be as the angels. And that we might not flatter ourselves in a dream of a better estate, than the angels have, in this text we have an intimation, what their state and condition is, Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.
In our handling of these words, these shall be our two parts; of whom these words are spoken, and then of what; first, what is positively said, and then, what is consequently inferred; what proposed, and what concluded; what of the angels, and then what of us, who shall be like the angels.^ In the first, the persons of whom these words are spoken, because, though our interpreters vary in opinions, yet even from their various opinions, there arise good instructions, we shall rather problematically inquire, than dogmatically establish, first, whether these words were spoken of angels, or no; whether this word angel, in this text, be not (as it is in many other places of Scriptures, and in the nature of the world itself) communicable to other servants, and other messengers than those, whom ordinarily we intend, when we say angels; and then secondly, if the words be spoken of angels, then, whether of good or bad angels, of those which stand now, or those which fell at first; and again, if of those that stand, then what degree of perfection they have, and what that which we use to call their confirmation, is, how it accrues to them, and how it works in them, if even of them it be said, Bthold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly. In our second part, what was inferred upon these premises, what was concluded out of these propositions, what reflected upon us, by this assimilation of ours to the angels, because it is a matter of much weight, we shall first, in our entrance into that part, consider the weight of the testimony, in the person that gives it;
* Rev. xx. 5. 8 1 Cor. 15. 4 Luke xx. 3a.
for it is not Job himself that speaks these words; it is but one of his friends; but Eliphaz, but the Temanite, a Gentile, a stranger from the covenant and the church of God, and yet his words are part of the word of God. And then for the matter that is inferred, from our assimilation to the state of angels, will be fairly collected, that if those angels stand, but by the support of grace, and not by anything inseparably inhering in their nature, when we are at our best, in heaven, we shall do but so neither; much less whilst we are upon earth, have we in us any impossibility of falling, by anything already done for us; our standing is merely from the grace of God, and therefore let no man ascribe anything to himself; and Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall; for God hath done no more for the best of us, here nor hereafter, than for those angels, and of them we hear here, He put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.
First then, for our first disquisition, in our first part, de quibus, the persons of whom these words are spoken. Amongst all our expositors of this book of Job, (which are very many) and amongst all authors, ancient and modern, which have had occasion in their sermons and tractates to reflect upon this text, (which are many more, infinite) I have never observed more than one, that denies these words to be spoken of angels, or that there is any mention, any intention, any intimation of angels, in these words. And, (which is the greater wonder) this one single man, who thus departs from all, and prefers himself above all, is no Jesuit neither; it is but a Capuchin, but Bolduc upon this book of Job, and yet he adventures to say, That that person of whom it is said in this text, He put no trust in his servants, and he charged his angels with folly, is not God; and that they of whom it is said, He trusted not his servants, and his angels he charged with folly, are not angels; but that all that Eliphaz intended in all this passage of Job, was no more but this, that no great person must trust in any kind of greatness, particularly not in great retinues, and dependencies, of many servants, and powerful instruments, for that was Job's own case, and yet he lost them all. The doctrine truly is good; neither should I suddenly condemn his singularity, if it were well grounded. For, though in the exposition of Scriptures, singularity always carry a suspicion with it, singularity is indicium, (as we say in the law) some kind of evidence, it is semi-probatio, a kind of half-proof against that man, that holds an opinion, or induces an interpretation different from all other men; yet as these which we call indicia, in the law, work but so, as that they may bring a man to his oath, or, in some cases, to the rack, and to torture, but are not alone sufficient to condemn him; so if we find this singularity in any man, we take from thence just occasion to question and sift him, and his doctrine, the more narrowly, but not only upon that, presently to condemn him. For this was St. Augustine's case; St. Augustine induced new doctrines, in divers very important points, different from all that had written before him; but, upon due examination, for all his singularity, the church hath found reason to adhere to him, in those points, ever since his reasons prevailed. In our single Capuchin's case here in our text, it is not so.
And therefore here we must continue that complaint, which we are often put to make, of the iniquity of the Roman church to us; if the fathers seem to agree in any point, wherein we differ from them, they cry out, we depart from the fathers; if we adhere to the fathers, in any point, in which they differ from them, then they cry out, we forsake the church; still they press us with their Trent-canon, you must interpret Scriptures according to the unanimous consent of the fathers, and yet they suffer a single Capuchin of their own, to depart from the fathers, and sons, from the ancient and modern expositors in their own church, and, I may add, from the Holy Ghost too, from the evident purpose and meaning of the place, in more places, than any author, whom I have seen, and in this, more than in any other place, when he says, with such assurance, that in these words, He put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly, there is no mention, no intention of God, or angels, but it is only spoken of men, of the infidelity of servants, and of the insecurity of masters relying upon such dependencies.
We take this then, as all do, all, (for this single Capuchin makes no considerable exception, more than a mole-hill to the roundness of the earth) to be spoken of angels, which was our first problem and disquisition; and our second is, being spoken of angels, of what angels they are spoken, good or bad, of those that fell, or those that stood. Here we meet with the same rub as before, singularity. For, amongst all our expositors upon this book, I have not observed any other than Calvin, to interpret this place, of the good angels, of those that stand confirmed in grace. Not that Calvin is to be left alone, in that opinion, as though he were the only man, that thought that the good angels, considered in themselves, might be defective in the offices committed unto them by God; for, it is evident that Origen in divers of his homilies upon the book of Numbers, in his twentieth, and twenty-two, and four, and twenty-sixth, and in his thirteenth homily upon St. Luke, and as evident that St. Hierome himself upon the first verse of the sixth chapter of Micah, thought and taught, that those good angels whom God appoints for the tuition of certain men, and certain places, in this world, shall give an account at the day of judgment, of the execution of their office, whether the men committed to them, have not fallen sometimes by their fault, and their dereliction; for so does he (and not he only) understand that place, That we shall judge the angels*; as also, those words in the beginning of the Revelation, which St. John is commanded by Christ, to write to the angels of certain churches, that father, St. Hierome, interprets not only of figurative, and metaphorical angels, the bishops of those churches, but literally of the angels of heaven.
So then Calvin is free from any singularity in that, that the good angels considered in themselves, may be defective; but because he may be singular in interpreting this text, of good angels, (as for aught I have observed he is) this singularity of his, may be a just reason of suspending our assent, but not a just reason presently to condemn his exposition. The church must be as just to him, as it was to St. Augustine, that is, to examine his grounds. And truly, his ground is fair; his ground is firm. It is this, that though this seem to derogate from the honour of angels, that being confirmed, they should be subject to weakness, yet, says he, we must not pervert, nor force any place of Scripture, for the honour of the angels. For indeed, the perverting, and forcing of Scriptures, for the over-honouring of saints, hath induced a chain of heresies in the Roman church. And that
this is a forcing of Scripture, to understand this text of fallen angels, Calvin argues rationally, that those angels which are spoken of here, are called the servants of God; and devils are but his slaves, not his servants; they execute his will, but against their will; good angels are the servants of God; nor shall we easily find that title, The servant of God, applied to ill persons in the Scriptures. Therefore, (as he notes usefully) God doth not charge angels in this text, with rebellion, or obstination, or any heinous crime, but only with folly, weakness, infirmity, from which, in all degrees, none but God himself can be free. Though therefore there be no such necessity of accepting this exposition, as should produce that confident asseveration which he comes to, Dubium non est, It can admit no doubt, but this place must be thus understood, (for, by his favour, it may admit a doubt) yet neither is there any such newness in it, (because it is grounded upon truth, and all truth is ancient) but that it may very well be received; and therefore, as the sense that is most fit to advance his purpose that speaks it, (which is one principal thing to be considered in every place) as the sense that most conduces to Eliphaz's end, and to prove that which he intends to Job, without laying obligation upon any to think so, or imputation upon any that doth not think so, we accept this interpretation of these words; that they are spoken of angels, (which was our first) and of good angels, (which was our second disquisition) and now proceed to our third, what their confirmation is, and how it works, if for all that, God put no trust in those servants, but charged those angels with folly.
That Moses did speak nothing of the fall, or of the confirmation of angels, may justly seem a convenient reason to think, that he meant to speak nothing of the creation of angels neither. If Moses had intended to have told us of the creation of angels, he would have told us of their fall, and confirmation too; as having told us so particularly of the making of man, he tells us as particularly of the fall of man, and the restitution of man, by the promise of a Messiah in Paradise.
And therefore, that the angels are wrapped up in that word of Moses, The heavens, and that they were made when the heavens
Vol. I. 2 I
were made, or that they are wrapped up in that word of Moses, The light, and that they were made, when light was made, is all but conjectural, and cloudy: neither doth any article of that creed, which we call The apostles', direct us upon any consideration of angels. That they were created long before this world, all the Greek fathers of the Eastern church did constantly think; and in the Western church, amongst the Latin fathers, St. Jerome himself was so clear in it, as to say, Sex millia, nostri orbis, nondum implentur anni, Our world is not yet six thousand years old, Et quantas wternitates, quantas swculorum origines, says that father, What infinite revolutions of ages, what infinite eternities, did the powers, and principalities, and thrones, and angels of God, serve God in before? Theodoret that thinks not so, thinks it not against any article of faith, to think that it was so. Aquinas, that thinks not so, will not call it an error, to think so, out of a reverence to Athanasius, and Nazianzen, who did think so; for that is an indelible character, which St. Jerome hath imprinted upon those two fathers, that no man ever durst impute error to Athanasius, or Nazianzen. Therefore St. Augustine says moderately, and with that discreet and charitable temper which becomes every man, in matters that are not fundamental, JJt volet, unusquisque accipiat; I forbid no man, says he, either opinion, that the angels were made before the world, or with it; Bum non Deo cowternos, et de vera fwlicitate securos non ambigat; Only this I forbid him, that he do not believe the angels to be coeternal with God; for, if they were never made, but subsist of themselves, then they are God, if they be not creatures, they are creators; and then, this I forbid him too, says he, that he do not think the angels now in any danger of falling. So that St. Augustine makes this matter of faith, that the angels cannot fall; nor hath St. Augustine any adversary in that point; we only inquire how they acquired this infallibility, and assurance in their station. For, if they were made so long before this world, and fell when this world was made, since they that had stood so long, fell then, why may not they that stand yet, fall now? They are supported and established by a confirmation, says the school; and that is our present and ordinary answer; and it is enough; but how, or when was this confirmation sealed upon them, or how doth it work in them, if God do not yet trust these servants, but charge these angels with folly?
That the angels were created viatores, and not beati, in a possibility of everlasting blessedness, but not in actual possession of it, admits no doubt, because some of them did actually fall. Of whom St. Augustine says, Beatw vitw dulcedinem non gustaverunt, nec fastidiverunt acceptam; The angels had not already fed upon manna, and then were weary of that; Non ex eo quod acceperant, ceciderunt, sed ex eo, quod, si subdi Deo voluissent, accepissent, They fell not from that which they were come to, but from that, to which, if they had applied themselves to God, they should have come. So that then, they were not created in a state of blessedness, but in a way to it; and there was in them Pinguedo spiritus (as St. Jerome says elegantly") they were mere spirits; but if we compare them with God, there was a certain fleshliness, says he, a certain fatness, a slipperiness of falling into a worse state, for anything that was in their nature; and the nature of those that fell, and those that stood, is all one, neither is their nature that do stand, changed by the benefit of their confirmation. Hence is it, that the fathers are both so evident, and so concurrent in that assertion, that an angel is a spirit, Gratia, et non natura immortalitatem suscipiens1, that is, immortal, but immortal by additional grace, and not by nature. Take it in the eldest8; Irnmortalitas eorum ex aliena vokintatependet, They have an immortality, but dependent upon the will of another. And agreeably to them another9, Quia ortum habuerunt, occidere possunt, Because the angels were produced of nothing, they may be reduced to nothing; for, Solus Deus naturaliter immortalis, says that father, Only God is immortal in himself, and by nature. And bring it from the elder to later fathers, still we shall meet that which was said before by them, and St. Bernard says after, Non creati, sed facti immortales, They were not created at first, but made immortal after. Which St. Hierome carries even to a spiritual death, the death of sin; Licet non peccent, peccati tamen sunt capaces, says he; Though angels do not sin, if they were left to themselves, they might sin; as St. Ambrose expresses the
»In Oscam. 7 Damasc. 8 Just. Mart. 9 Cyrill Alex.
same thing elegantly, Non in prwjudicium trahas, You must not draw that into consequence, nor conclude so, Non moritur Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael non moritur, That the angel Gabriel doth not die, Raphael, Uriel doth not die, therefore an angel, and considered in his own nature, cannot die; for such an impossibility of dying, as in the soul of man, all agree to be in angels; for, We shall be like the angels, which cannot die, says Christ. But how this immortality, and infallibility accrues to them, and works in them, is still under our disquisition, since in these his servants God puts no trust, but charges these angels with folly.
We have in the ecclesiastical story, a story of Alamandurus10, a king of the Saracens, who having been converted, and baptized, and catechized in the true faith, was after attempted by some bishops in his court, of the Eutychian heresy. The Eutychian heresy was, that the divine nature in Christ, the Godhead, suffered as well as the human; and the good king, providing a packet of intelligence to be delivered him, or something to be whispered in his ear in the presence of those heretical bishops, upon reading thereof he told them, that he had received news, that Michael the archangel was dead; and when those bishops rejected that with a scorn, alas sir, Gabriel cannot die, angels cannot die, the king replied, if an angel cannot die, if an angel be impassible, why would you make me believe, that the Godhead itself, the divine nature suffered in Christ? So we see, that the piety of a religious king was able to maintain his holy station, even against the real practices of heretical court bishops. A pious and religious king should not easily be suspected of that levity, to hearken to impious and heretical motions, though there were good evidence, that that were practised upon him; much less, when the fears in himself, and in those which should practise upon him, are but imaginary, and proceed, (as by God's grace they do) rather out of zeal that it may not be so, than out of evidence that it is so. Zeal distempered, (and God knows, zeal is not always well tempered) will think an Alamandurus, a constant and impregnable king, easily shaked; and zeal distempered will think an Athanasius, a Nazianzen, an Eutychian bishop. Woe, when God's sword is in the devil's hand! Zeal is 10 An. Christi, 512.
God's sword; uncharitableness is the devil's. When God gave a flaming sword to the cherubims in Paradise, they make good that place, but that sword killed no body, wounded no body. God gives good men zeal; zeal to make good their station, zeal to conserve the integrity and the sincerity of religion, but this zeal should not wound, not defame any man. Faith comes by hearing, by hearing sermons, and God sends us many of them; charity goes out by hearing, by hearing rumours, and the devil sends many of them. God continue our faith, and restore our charity.
That angels are impassible, that they cannot sin, that they cannot die, all say; but that, if they were left to themselves, without the support of additional grace, they might do both; not only the ancient fathers, but, both the first school, from Damascene, and the middle school from Lombard, and the later school, (if we except only those authors that have writ since the Lateran Council, I mean the later Lateran Council, in our fathers' times, under Leo the tenth, in which council, it was first determined, that the soul of man, and consequently angels, was immortal by nature) do weigh down the scale on that side, that God does not so trust in those servants, nor so discharge them of all Weakness, but that they might fall, but for this support of grace, which is their confirmation. Now how is this conferred upon them?
In Christ certainly; in Christ the Father reconciled to himself all things in earth, and in heaven11. How? Not as a Redeemer; for those that fell, and thereby needed a redemption, never were, never shall be redeemed; but as a mediator, an intercessor in their behalf, that those that do stand, may stand for ever. For, therefore, says St. Augustine, Do the angels refuse sacrifice at our hands, Quia et ipsis nobiscum sacrificium norunt, Because they know that there is one sacrifice offered to God, for them, and for us too, that is Christ Jesus, a propitiation for them, and us; for us, by way of redemption; for them, by way of mediation, and intercession. In such a sense, as St. Augustine confesses that God had forgiven him the sins he never did, because, but for his grace, he should have done them, the angels are well said to have received reconciliation in Christ, because, but for his mediation, they might have fallen into God's displeasure. Upon
11 Colos. i. 12.
those words, that God showed Adam his judgments, Quce jndicia1*? says that Bishop Catharinus, What judgments did God show Adam? Judicia pessimorum spirituum, says he, The better to contain Adam in his duty, God declared to him, the judgment (that he had executed upon those disobedient angels. So that, as Adam, if he had made a right use of God's grace, had been immortal in his body, and yet not immortal then, by nature, as our bodies in the state of glory in the resurrection, shall be immortal, and yet not immortal then by nature; so no angel, after this confirmation, (that is, the mediation of Christ applied to him) shall fall: for, Quis Catholious ignorat, nullum novum diabolum ex bonis angelis futurum1"? Who can pretend to be a Catholic, and believe, that ever there shall be any new devil from amongst the good angels? and yet, by the way, many of the ancient fathers thought that those words, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men to be fair, and fell in love with them, were meant of good angels, who fell in love with those women, that were committed to their charge, and that they sinned in so doing, and that they never returned to heaven, but fell to the first fallen angels: so that those fathers have more than implied a possibility of falling into sin, and punishment for sin, in the good angels.
But this none says now; nor with any probability ever did. It is enough that they stand confirmed, confirmed by the grace of God in Christ Jesus; so that now, being in possession of the sight of God, and the light of glory, their understanding is perfectly illustrated, so that they can apprehend nothing erroneously, and therefore their will is perfectly rectified, so that they can desire nothing irregularly, and therefore they cannot sin, and therefore they cannot die; for all sin is from the perverseness of the will, and all disorder in the will from error in the understanding; in heaven they are, and we, by our assimilation to them, shall be free' from both, and impeccable, and impassible, by the continual grace of God; though if they, or we were left to ourselves, even there, God could put no trust in his servants, nor leave his angels uncharged with folly. And so we have done with the pieces, which constitute our first part, Be quibus, Of
la Ecclus. xxvii. 12. 13 Augustine.
whom these words are spoken; first, that they were spoken of angels, rejecting that single Capuchin, who only denies it; and then, of good angels, accepting Calvin's interpretation, because, though he be singular in applying this text to that doctrine, yet in the doctrine itself, he hath authority enough, and fair reasons for the text itself; and lastly, how that which we call confirmation in those angels accrues to them, and how it works in them. And so we pass to our second part, what is inferred upon these premises, what concluded upon these propositions, what by our assimilation to angels, reflects upon us.
And here, because the matter is of much consideration, we proposed first to be considered, the weight and validity of the testimony, in the person of him that gives it; for many times the credit of the testimony depends much upon the credit of the witness. And here, it is not Job himself, it is but Eliphaz, Eliphaz the Temanite, an alien, a stranger to the covenant, and church of God. But surely no greater a stranger, than those secular poets, whose sentences St. Paul cites not only in his Epistles, but in his Sermons too. Certainly not so great a stranger, as the devil, and yet in how many places of Scripture, are words spoken by the devil himself inserted into the Scriptures, and thereby, so far made the word of God, as that the word of God, the Bible, were not perfect nor intire to us, if we had not those words of those poets, those words of the devil himself in it? How can I doubt but that God can draw good out of ill, and make even some sin of mine, some occasion of my salvation, when the God of truth can make the word of the father of lies, his word? There is but one place in all this Book of Job cited in the New Testament; that is, He taketh the wise in their own craft1*; and those words are not spoken by Job himself, but by this very friend of Job, this Eliphaz, that speaks in our text; and yet they are cited15, in the phrase, and manner, in which holy Scripture is ordinarily cited, It is written, says the apostle there, and so the Holy Ghost, that spoke in St. Paul, hath canonized the words spoken by Eliphaz.
But besides the credit which these words have, a posteriori, that they are after inserted into the word of God, (which is
>4 Job v. 13. 15 1 Cor. iii. 19.
another manner of credit, and -authenticness, than that which the canonists speak of, that when any sentence of a father is cited, and inserted into a decretal epistle of a pope, or any part of the canon law, that sentence is thereby made authentical, and canonical) these words have their credit a priori,.for, before he spake them to Job, he received them in a vision from God. / had -a vision in the night, says he, and fear, and trembling came upon me, and a spirit stood before me, and I heard this voice1".
Neither is there any necessity, no nor reason, to charge Eliphaz with a false relation, or counterfeiting a revelation from God, which he had not had, as some expositors have done. For, howsoever in some argumentations, and applyings of things to Job's particular case, we may find some errors in Eliphaz, In modo probandi, In the manner of his proceeding, yet we shall not find him to proceed upon false grounds; and therefore, we believe Eliphaz to have received this that he says, from God, in a vision, and for the instruction of a man, more in God's favour than himself, of Job. Balaam had the reputation of a great wizard, and yet God made his ass wiser than he, and able to instruct and catechise him. Generally we are to receive our instructions from God's established ordinances, from his ordinary means afforded to us, in his church: and where those means, sufficient in themselves, are duly exhibited to us, we are not to hearken after revelations, nor to believe everything, that may have some such appearance, to be a revelation.
But yet, we are not so to conclude God in his law, as that he should have no prerogative, nor so to bind him up in his ordinances, as that he never can, or never does work by an extraordinary way of revelation. Neither must the profusion of miracles, the, prodigality and prostitution of miracles in the Roman church, (where miracles for every natural disease may be had, at some shrine, or miracle-shop, better cheap, than a medicine, a drug, a simple at an apothecary's) bring us to deny, or distrust all miracles, done by God upon extraordinary causes, and to important purposes. Eliphaz was a profane person, and yet received a vision from God, and for the instruction of Job himself.
What was it? we see ver. 17. Shall mortal man be more just
18 Ver. 12.
than God, shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Why? Did this doctrine need this solemnity, this preparation, that Eliphaz gives it, ver. 8. That it was a thing told him in secret, and such a secret that he was able to comprehend but a little at once of it? Is there any such incomprehensibleness, any such difficulty in this doctrine, That no mortal man is more just than God, no man more pure than his Maker, but that the shallowest capacity may receive itt and the shortest memory retain it? Needs this a revelation, an extraordinary conveyance? For the general knowledge it does not; every man will say, He knows mortal man cannot be more just than God, nor any man purer than his Maker; but, for the particular consideration, it does. Every justifying a sin, is a making mortal man more just than God; when I come to say, With what justice can God punish a night's, or an hour's sin, with everlasting torments I Every murmuring at God's- corrections is a making man purer than God; when I come to say, Does not God depart farther from the purity of his nature, when he is angry, and a vindictive God, than I from mine, when I am an amorous, or wanton man I We that are but mortal men, must not think, says Eliphaz, to make ourselves purer than our Maker; for, they, who in their nature, are much purer than we, the angels, are far short of that, for, God put no trust in those servants, and those angels he charged with folly.
So then, though Eliphaz' premises reach to the angels, and their state, his inference and his last purpose falls upon us, who, by God's goodness, become capable of succession into the place of . the angels that are fallen, and of an association, and assimilation to those angels that stand. And our assimilation is this, that as they have in their station, we also shall have in ours, a faithful certitude, that we shall never fall out of the arms and bosom of our gracious God. But then, there arises to us a sweeter relish in considering this stability, this perpetuity, this infallibility to consist in the continual succession, and supply of grace, than in any one act, which God hath done for them, or us. I conceive a more effectual delight, when I consider God to have so wrought the confirmation of angels, that he hath taken them into a state of glory, and a fruition of his sight, and, to perpetuate that state unto them, perpetually superinfuses upon them more and more
beams of that glory, than if I should consider God to have confirmed them, with such a measure of grace, at once, as that he could not withdraw, or they forfeit that grace. For, as there is no doubt made by the fathers, nor by the school, but that that light which the apostles saw at the transfiguration of Christ, was that very light of glory, which they see now in heaven, and yet they lost the sight of that light again; so is there no violation of any article of our faith, if we concur in opinion with them, who say, that St. Paul in his ecstacy, in his rapture into the third heaven, did see that very light of glory, which constitutes the beatifical vision, and yet did lose that light again.
Truly to me, this consideration, that his mercy is new every morning, so his grace is renewed to me every minute, that it is not by yesterday's grace that I live now, but that I have Panem quotidianum, and panem Aorarium, My daily bread, my hourly bread, in a continual succession of his grace, that the eye of God is upon me, though I wink at his light, and watches over me, though I sleep, that God makes these returns to my soul, and so studies me in every change, this consideration, infuses a sweeter verdure, and imprints a more cheerful tincture upon my soul, than any taste of any one act, done at once, can minister unto me. God made the angels all of one natural condition, in nature all alike; and God gave them all such grace, as that thereby they might have stood; and to them that used that grace aright, he gave a farther, a continual succession of grace, and that is their confirmation; not that they cannot, but that they shall not fall; not that they are safe in themselves, but by God's preservation safe; for, otherwise, He puts no trust in those servants, and those angels he charges with folly.
This is our case too; ours that are under the blessed election, and good purpose of God upon us; if we do not fall from him, it is not of ourselves; for left to ourselves, we should: for, so St. Augustine interprets those words of our Saviour, Pater operatur, My Father worketh still11; God hath not accomplished his work upon us, in one act, though an election; but he works in our vocation, and he works in our justification, and in our sanctification he works still. And, if God himself be not
so como to his Sabbath, and his rest in us, but that he works upon us still for all that election, shall any man think to have such a Sabbath, such a rest, in that election, as shall slacken our endeavour, to make sure our salvation, and not work as God works, to his ends in us I Hence then we banish all self-subsistence, all attributing of any power, to any faculty of our own; either by pre-operation, in any natural or moral disposing of ourselves, before God's preventing grace dispose us, or by such co-operation, as should put God and man in commission together, or make grace and nature colleagues in the work, or that God should do one half, and man the other; or any such post-operation, that I should think to proceed in the ways of godliness, by virtue of God's former grace, without imploring, and obtaining more, in a continual succession of his concomitant grace, for every particular action; in Christ I can do all things; I need no more but him; without Christ, I can do nothing; not only not have him, but not know that I need him; for I am not better than those angels, of whom it is said, He put no trust in those servants, and those angels he charged with folly.
And as we banish from hence all self-subsistence, all opinion of standing by ourselves, so do we also all impeccability, and all impossibility of falling in ourselves, or in anything, that God hath already done for us, if he should discontinue his future grace, and leave us to our former stock. They that were raised from death to life again, Dorcas, Lazarus, and the rest, were subject to sin, in that new life, which was given them. They that are quickened by the soul of the soul, election itself, are subject to sin, for all that. God sees the sins of the elect, and sees their sins to be sins; and in his Ephemerides, his journals, he writes them down, under that title, sins, and he reads them every day, in that book, as such; and they grow greater and greater in his sight, till our repentance have washed them out of his sight. Casuists will say, That though a dead man raised to life again, be not bound to his former marriage, yet he is bound to that religion, that he had invested in baptism, and bound to his former religious vows, and the same obedience to superiors as before. We were all dead in Adam; and he that is raised again, even by election, though he be not so married to the world, as others are, not so in love with sin, not so under the dominion of sin, yet he is as much bound to an obedience to the will of God declared in his law, and may no more presume of a liberty of sinning before, nor of an impunity of sin after, than he that pretends no such election, to confide in. For this is excellently said to be the working of our election, by Prosper, the disciple of St. Augustine's doctrines, and the echo of his words, Ut fiat permanendi voluntaria, felixque necessitas, That our assurance of salvation by perseverance, is necessary, and yet voluntary; consider it in God's purpose, easily it cannot, consider it in ourselves, it might be resisted. For we are no better than those angels, and, In those servants he put no trust, and those angels he charged with folly.
But such as they are, we shall be: and, since with the Lord there is Copiosa redemptio, Plenteous redemption", that overflowing mercy of our God, those super-superlative merits of our Saviour, that plenteous redemption, may hold even in this particular blessedness, in our assimilation to them, that as, though there fell great numbers of angels, yet great, and greater than they that fell, stood, so though The wag to heaven be narrow, and the gate strait, (which is said by Christ, to excite our industry, and are rather an expression arising out of his mercy, lest we should slacken our holy endeavours, than any intimidation, or commination, for though the way be narrow, and the gate strait, yet the room is spacious enough within) why, by this plenteous redemption, may we not hope, that many more than are excluded, shall enter there? Those words, The dragorfs tail drew the third part of the stars from heavenTM, the fathers generally interpret of the fall of angels with Lucifer; and it was but a third part; and by God's grace, whose mercy is overflowing, whose merits are superabundant, with whom there is plenteous redemption, the serpent gets no farther upon us. I know some say, that this third part of the stars, is meant of eminent persons, illustrated and assisted with the best means of salvation, and, if a third of them, how many meanlier furnished, fall? But, those that we can consider to be best provided of means of salvation, next to these, are Christians in general; and so may this plenteous
Psalm cxxx. 7. 19 Rev. xii. 4.
redemption be well hoped to work, that but a third part of them, of Christians, shall perish; and then the God of this plenteous redemption having promised us, that the Christian religion shall be carried over all the world, still the number of those that shall be saved is enlarged.
Apply to thyself that which St. Cyril says of the angels, Tristans, quia aliqui vitam amiserunt? Does it grieve thee, that any are fallen? At plures meliorem statum apud Deum obtinent, Let this comfort thee, even in the application thereof to thyself, that more stood than fell. As Elisha said to his servant, in a danger of surprisal, Fear not, for they that be with us, are more than they that are with them'"', so, if a suspicion of the paucity of them that shall be saved, make thee afraid, look up upon this overflowing mercy of thy God, this superabundant merit of thy Saviour, this plenteous redemption, and thou mayest find, find in a fair credulity, and in a well-regulated hope, more with thee, than with them that perish. Live so, in such a warfare with tentations, in such a colluctation with thy concupiscences, in such a jealousy, and suspicion of thine indifferent, nay, of thy best actions, as though there were but one man to be saved, and thou wouldst be that one; but live and die in such a sense of this plenteous redemption of thy God, as though neither thou, nor any could lose salvation, except he doubted of it. I doubt not of mine own salvation; and in whom can I have so much occasion of doubt, as in myself? When I come to heaven, shall I be able to say to any there, Lord! how got you hither I Was any man less likely to come thither than I? There is not only an only God in heaven; but a Father, a Son, a Holy Ghost in that God; which are names of a plurality, and sociable relations, conversable notions. There is not only one angel, a Gabriel; but to thee all angels cry aloud; and cherubim, and seraphim, are plural terminations; many cherubs, many seraphs in heaven. There is not only one monarchal apostle, a Peter, but The glorious company of the apostles praise thee. There is not only a protomartyr, a Stephen, but The noble army of martyrs praise thee. Who ever amongst our fathers, thought of any other way to the
*' 2 Kings vi. 16.
Moluccas, or to China, than by the promontory of Good Hope? Yet another way opened itself to Magellan; a strait, it is true; but yet a way thither; and who knows yet, whether there may not be a north-east, and a north-west way thither, besides? Go thou to heaven, in an humble thankfulness to God, and holy cheerfulness, in that way that God hath manifested to thee; and do not pronounce too bitterly, too desperately, that every man is in an error, that thinks not just as thou thinkest, or in no way, that is not in thy way. God found folly, weakness in his angels, yet more stood than fell; God finds weakness, wickedness in us, yet he came to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance: and who, that comes in that capacity, a repentant sinner can be shut out, or denied his part in this resurrection I
The key of David opens, and no man shuts. The Son of David, is the key of David, Christ Jesus; he hath opened heaven for us all: let no man shut out himself, by diffidence in God's mercy, nor shut out any other man, by overvaluing his own purity, in respect of others. But forbearing all lacerations, and tearings, and woundings of one another, with bitter invectives, all exasperations by odious names of subdivision, let us all study, [first the redintegration of that body, of which Christ Jesus hath declared himself to be the head, the whole Christian church, and pray that he would, and hope that he will enlarge the means of salvation to those, who have not yet been made partakers of it. That so, he that called the gates of heaven strait, may say to those gates, Elevamini portw wternales, Be ye lifted up, ye eternal gates*1, and be ye enlarged, that as the King of Glory himself is entered into you, for the farther glory of the King of Glory, not only that hundred and four and forty thousand of the tribes of the children of Israel, but that multitude which is spoken of in that place88, which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and friends, may enter with that acclamation, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever. And unto this city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly, and church of the first born, which are written in heaven,
81 Psal. xxiv. 7. 88 Rev. vii. 19.
and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks letter things than that of Abel, blessed God bring us all, for thy Son's sake, and by the operation of thy Spirit. Amen.