PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S, UPON EASTER DAY, 1630.
Matt, xxviii. 6.
He is not here, for he is risen, as he said; Come, see the place where the
These are words spoken by the angel of heaven, to certain devout women, who, not yet considering the resurrection of Christ, came with a pious intention to do an office of respect, and civil honour to the body of their Master, which they meant to embalm in the monument where they thought to find it. How great a compass God went in this act of the resurrection! Here was God, the God of life, dead in a grave, and here was a man, a dead man, risen out of the grave; here are angels of heaven employed in so low an office, as to catechise women, and women employed in so high an office, as to catechise the apostles. I chose this verse out of the body of the story of the resurrection, because in this verse the act of Christ's rising, (which we celebrate this day) is expressly mentioned, surrexit enim,for he is risen: which word stands as a candle, that shows itself, and all about it, and will minister occasion of illustrating your understanding, of establishing your faith, of exalting your devotion in some other things about the resurrection, than fall literally within the words of this verse. For, from this verse we must necessarily reflect, both upon the persons (they to whom, and they by whom the words were spoken) and upon the occasion given. I shall not therefore now stand to divide the words into their parts and branches, at my first entering into them, but handle them, as I shall meet them again anon, springing out, and growing up from the body of the story; for the context is our text, and the whole resurrection is the work of the day, though it be virtually, implicitly contracted into this verse, He is not here, for he is risen, as he said; Come, and see the place where the Lord lay.
Our first consideration is upon the persons; and those we find to be angelical women, and evangelical angels: angels made evangelists, to preach the Gospel of the resurrection, and women made angels, (so as John Baptist is called an angel1, and so as the seven bishops are called angels1) that is, instructors of the church; and to recompense that observation, that never good angel appeared in the likeness of woman, here are good women made angels, that is, messengers, publishers of the greatest mysteries of our religion. For, howsoever some men out of a petulancy and wantonness of wit, and out of the extravagancy of paradoxes, and such singularities, have called the faculties, and abilities of women in question, even in the root thereof, in the reasonable and immortal soul, yet that one thing alone hath been enough to create a doubt, (almost an assurance in the negative) whether St. Ambrose's Commentaries upon the Epistles of St. Paul, be truly his or no, that in that book there is a doubt made, whether the woman were created according to God's image; therefore, because that doubt is made in that book, the book itself is suspected not to have had so great, so grave, so constant an author as St. Ambrose was; no author of gravity, of piety, of conversation in the Scriptures could admit that doubt, whether woman were created in the image of God, that is, in possession of a reasonable and an immortal soul.
The faculties and abilities of the soul appear best in affairs of state, and in ecclesiastical affairs; in matter of government, and in matter of religion; and in neither of these are we without examples of able women. For, for state affairs, and matter of government, our age hath given us such a queen, as scarce any former king hath equalled; and in the Venetian story, I remember, that certain matrons of that city were sent by commission, in quality of ambassadors, to an empress with whom that state
1 Mal. iii. 1. * Rev. i. 20.
had occasion to treat; and in the stories of the Eastern parts of the world, it is said to be in ordinary practice to send women for ambassadors. And then, in matters of religion, women have evermore had a great hand, though sometimes on the left, as well as on the right hand. Sometimes their abundant wealth, sometimes their personal affections to. some church-men, sometimes their irregular and indiscreet zeal hath made them great assistants jo( great heretics; as St. Hierome tells us of Helena to Simon Magus, and so was Lucilia to Donatus, so another to Mahomet, and others to others. But so have they been also great instruments for the advancing of true religion, as St. Paul testifies in their behalf, at Thessalonica, Of the chief women, not a few3; great, and many. For many times women have the proxies of greater persons than themselves, in their bosoms; many times women have voices, where they should have none; many times the voices of great men, in the greatest of civil, or ecclesiastical assemblies, have been in the power and disposition of women.
Hence is it, that in the old epistles of the bishops of Rome, when they needed the court, (as, at first they needed courts as much, as they brought courts to need them at last) we find as many letters of those popes to the emperors' wives, and the emperors' mothers, and sisters, and women of other names, and interests in the emperors' favours and affections, as to the emperors themselves. St. Hierome writ many letters to divers holy ladies; for the most part, all of one stock and kindred; and a stock and kindred so religious, as that I remember, the good old man says, That if Jupiter were their cousin, of their kindred, he believes Jupiter would be a Christian; he would leave being such a god as he was, to be their fellow-servant to the true God.
Now if women were brought up according to St. Hierome's instructions in those letters, that by seven years of age, they should be able to say the Psalms without book; that as they grew in years, they should proceed in the knowledge of Scriptures, that they should love the service of God at church, but not sine matre, not go to church when they would, but when their mother could go with them, Nec quwrerent celebritatem ecclesiarum, They should not always go to the greatest churches, and
3 Acts xvii. 4.
VOL. I. 2 G
where the most famous preachers drew most company; if women have submitted themselves to as good an education as men, God forbid their sex should prejudice them, for being examples to others. Their sex i no, nor their sins neither: for, it is St. Hierome's note, That of all those women, that are named in Christ's pedigree in the Gospel, there is not one, (his only blessed Virgin Mother excepted) upon whom there is not some suspicious note of incontinency. Of such women did Christ vouchsafe to come; He came of woman so, as that he came of nothing but woman; of woman, and not of man. Neither do we read of any woman in the Gospel, that assisted the persecutors of Christ, or furthered his afflictions; even Pilate's wife dissuaded it. Woman, as well as man, was made after the image of God, in the creation; and in the resurrection, when we shall rise such as we were here, her sex shall not diminish her glory: of which, she receives one fair beam, and inchoation in this text, that the purpose of God, is, even by the ministry of angels, communicated to women. But what women? for their preparation, their disposition is in this text too; such women, as were not only devout, but sedulous, diligent, constant, perseverant in their devotion; to such women God communicated himself; which is another consideration in these persons.
As our Saviour Christ was pleased, that one of these women should be celebrated by name, for another act upon him, Mary Magdalen, and that wheresoever his Gospel was preached, her act should be remembered, so the rest, with her, are worthy to be known and celebrated by their names; therefore we consider, Qitw, and quales; first who they were, and then what they were, their names first, and then their conditions. There is an historical relation, and observation4, That though there be divers kingdoms in Europe, in which the crowns may fall upon women, yet, for kome ages, they did not, and when they did, it was much at one time, and all Upon women of one name, Mary. It was so with us in England, and in Scotland it was so; so in Denmark, and in Hungary it was .so too; all four, Marys. Though regularly women should not preach, yet when these legati a latere, these angels from heaven did give orders to women, and made them
4 Bodin de repub. l. 6. c. 4.
apostles to the apostles, the commission was to women of that name, Mary; for, though our expositors dispute whether the blessed Virgin Mary were there then, when this passed at the sepulchre, yet of Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, there can be no doubt. Indeed it is a noble, and a comprehensive name, Mary. It is the name of woman, in general; for, when Adam says of Eve, She shall be called woman6, in the Arabic translation, there is this name, She shall be called Mary; and the Arabic is, perchance, a dialect of the Hebrew. But in pure, and original Hebrew, the word signifies exaltation, and whatsoever is best in the kind thereof. This is the name of that sister of Aaron, and Moses6, that with her choir of women assisted at that eucharistical sacrifice, that triumphant song of thanksgiving, upon the destruction, the subversion, the summersion of Egypt in the Red Sea. Her name was Miriam; and Miriam and Mary is the same name in women, as Josuah and Jesus is the same name to men. The word denotes greatness, not only in power, but in wisdom, and learning too; and so signifies often prophets and doctors; and so falls fitliest upen these blessed women, who, in that sense, were all made Marys, messengers, apostles to the apostles; in which senso, even those women were made Marys, (that is, messengers of the resurrection) who, no doubt, had other names of their own. There was amongst them, the wife of Chusa7, a great man in Herod's court, his steward; and her name was Joanna, Joan. So that here was truly a Pope Joan, a woman of that name, above the greatest men in the church. For the dignity of the papacy, they venture to say, That whosoever was St. Peters successor in the bishopric of Rome, was above any of the apostles, that over-lived Peter; as St. John did; here was a woman, a Pope Joan, superior to St. Peter himself, and able to teach him. But though we found just reason to celebrate these women by name, we meant not to stay upon that circumstance; we shut it up with this prayer, That that blessing which God gave to these Marys, which was,, to know more of Christ, than their former teachers knew, he will also be pleased to give to the greatest of that name amongst us,
5 Gen. ii. 23. 6 Exod. xv. 20. 7 Luke viii. 3; xxiv. 10.
that she may know more of Christ, than her first teachers knew. And we pass on, from the names, to the conditions of these women.
And first we consider their sedulity; sedulity, that admits no intermission, no interruption, no discontinuance, no tepidity, no indifferency in religious offices. Consider we therefore their sedulity if we can. I say, if we can; because if a man should sit down at a bee-hive, or at an ant-hill, and determine to watch such an ant, or such a bee, in the working thereof, he would find that bee, or that ant so sedulous, so serious, so various, so concurrent with others, so contributary to others, as that he would quickly lose his marks, and his sight of that ant, or that bee; so if we fix our consideration upon these devout women, and the sedulity of their devotion, so as the several evangelists present it unto us, we may easily lose our sight, and hardly know which was which, or, at what time she or she came to the sepulchre. They came in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn, towards the first day of the week", says St. Matthew: They came very early in the morning, upon the first day of the week, the sun being then risen*, says St. Mark; They prepared their spices, and rested the Sabbath, and came early the next day1", says St. Luke; They came the first day, when it was yet dark11, says St. John. From Friday evening, till Sunday morning, they were sedulous, busy upon this service; so sedulous, as that Athanasius thinks these women came four several times to the sepulchre, and that the four evangelists have relation to their four comings; and St. Hierome argues upon this seeming variety in the evangelists, thus, Non mendacii signum, sed sedulw msitationis officium, This variety argues no uncertainty in the evangelists, but testifies the sedulity of those women they speak of; Dum crebro abeunt et recurrunt, says he, Whilst they make many accesses, and returns, Nec patiuntur a sepulchro diu, aut longius abesse, And cannot indure to be far distant, or long absent from their devout exercise.
Beloved, true devotion is a serious, a sedulous, an impatient thing. He that said in the Gospel, / fast twice a week1*, was but a Pharisee; he that can reckon his devout actions, is no better;
8 Matt, xxviii. 1. 8 Mark xvi. 1. - "Luke xxiv. 1.
, 11 John xx. 1. '» Luke xviii. 11.
he that can tell how often he hath thought upon God to-day, hath not thought upon him often enough. It is St. Augustine's holy circle, to pray, that we may hear sermons profitably, and to hear sermons that we learn to pray acceptably. Devotion is no marginal note, no interlineary gloss, no parenthesis that may be left out; it is no occasional thing, no conditional thing; I will go, if I like the preacher, if the place, if the company, if the weather; but it is of the body of the text, and lays upon us an obligation of fervour and of continuance. This we have in this example of these, not only evangelical, but evangelistical (preaching) women; and thus much more, that as they were sedulous and diligent after, so they were early, and begun betimes; for, howsoever tne evangelists may seem to vary, in the point of time, when they came, they all agree they came early, which is another exaltation of devotion.
They were women of quality, and means. They came with Christ from Galilee, and they came upon their own charges; and more than so; for, says the text, They ministered to Christ of their substance ". Women of quality may be up and ready early enough for God's service, if they will. If they be not, let them but seriously ask themselves that question, Whether upon no other occasion, no entertainment, no visit, no letter to or from another, they could have made more haste; and if they find they could, I must say in that case, as Tertullian said, They have put God and that man into the balance, and weighed them together, and found God too light. That mighty, that weighty, that ponderous God, that blasts a state with a breath, that melts a church with a look, that moulders a world with a touch, that God is weighed down with that man; that man, whose errand, if it bo but conversation, is vanity, but, if it be sin, is nothing, weighs down God. The world will needs think one of these Marys, (Magdalen) to have been guilty of such entertainments as these, of incontinency, and of that in the lowest (that is, the highest) kind, prostitution; perchance she was; but, I would there were that necessity of thinking so, that because she was a woman, and is called a sinner, therefore that must be her sin, as though they were capable of no other sin; alas, it is not so.
13 Luke viii. 3.
There may be women, whom oven another sin, the sin of pride, and over-valuation of themselves may have kept from that sin, and yet may well bo called sinners too; there may bo found women, whom only their scorn of others, have kept honest, and yet are sinners, though not in that sin. But yet, even this woman, Mary Magdalen, be her sin what you will, came early to Christ; early, as soon as he afforded her any light. Christ says, in the person of Wisdom, / love them that love me, and they that geek me early shall find me14; and a good soul will echo back that return of David, 0 God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee; my flesh longeth for thee"; and double that echo with Esay, With my soul have I desired thee in the night, and with my spirit within me, will I seek thee early1".
Now, what is this early seeking of God? First, there is a general rule given by Solomon, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth17; submit thyself to a religious discipline betimes. But then, in that there is a now inserted into that rule of Solomon's, (Remember now thy Creator, in the days of thy youth,) there is an intimation, that there is a youth in our age, and an earliness acceptable to God, in every action; we seek him early, if we seek him at the beginning of every undertaking. If I awake at midnight, and embrace God in mine arms, that is, receive God into my thoughts, and pursue those meditations, by such a having had God in my company, I may have frustrated many temptations that would have attempted me, and perchance prevailed upon me, if I had been alone, for solitude is one of the devil's scenes; and, I am afraid there are persons that sin oftener alone, than in company; but that man is not alone that hath God in his sight, in his thought. Thou preventest me with the blessings of goodnessTM, says David to God. I come not early enough to God, if I stay till his blessings in a prosperous fortune prevent me, and lead me to God; I should come before that. The days of affliction have prevented me1", says Job. I come not early enough to God, if I stay till his judgments prevent me, and whip me to him; I should come before that. But, if / prevent
the night watches, and the dawning of the morningTM', if in the morning my prayer prevent thee 0 God", (which is a high expression of Davids, That I should wake before God wakes, and even prevent his preventing grace, before it be declared in any outward act, that day) if before blessing or cross fall upon me, I surrender myself entirely unto thee, and say, Lord here I lie, make thou these sheets my sheets of penance, in inflicting a long sickness, or my winding-sheet, in delivering me over to present death, here I lie, make thou this bed mine altar, and bind me to it in the cords of decrepitness, and bedridness, or throw me off of it into the grave and dust of expectation, here I lie, do thou choose whether I shall see any to-morrow in this world, or begin my eternal day, this night, thy kingdom come, thy will be done; when I seek God, merely for love of him, and his glory, without relation to his benefits or to his corrections, this is that early seeking, which we consider in those blessed women, whose sedulity and earnestness, when they were come, and acceleration and earliness, in their coming, having already considered, pass we now to the ad quid, to what purpose, and with what intention they came, for in that alone, there are divers exaltations of their devotion.
In the first verse of this chapter it is said, They came to see the sepulchre ; even to see the sepulchre was an act of love, and every act of love to Christ, is devotion. There is a love that will make one kiss the case of a picture, though it be shut; there is a love that will melt one's bowels, if he do but pass over, or pass by the grave of his dead friend. But their end was not only to see the sepulchre, but to see whether the sepulchre were in such state, as that [they might come to their end, which was, To embalm their Master's body. But this was done before; and done to their knowledge; for, that all the evangelists testify; particularly, St. Luke, The women followed, and beheld the sepulchre, and how the body was laid". How, that is, how abundantly it was embalmed by Nicodemus. How, that is, how decently and orderly it was wound and bound up, according to the manner of the Jews' funerals. What then intended these women to do more than was done already?
80 Psalm cxix. 147. 81 Psalm Lxxxiii. 13. s' Luke xxiii. 55.
That cannot be well admitted, which Theophylact says, That as Jacob's body was embalmed forty days in Egypt83, so they intended to re-embalm our Saviour's body, formerly embalmed by Nicodemus. For that was only done upon such bodies as were exenterated and embowelled, and then filled up, and plastered about with spices and gums, to preserve them from putrefaction, when they were to be carried into remote parts; but of these re-embalmings and post-unctions after the body had been laid in the sepulchre, I know not, who may have read of them; I have not. Neither seems it to have been possible in this case; not possible for these women to have come to the body of Christ. For, if that be the true winding-sheet of Christ which is kept in Savoy, it appears, that that sheet stuck so close to his body, as that it did, and does still retain the dimensions of his body, and the impressions and signatures of every wound that he had received in his body. So that it would have been no easy matter for those women to have pulled off that sheet, if it ha»i had no other glue, no other gum, but his own precious blood to hold it ^ but, if (as their more wary authors say84) Christ's body were carried loose, in that sheet, which is showed in Savoy, from the cross to the sepulchre, and then taken out of that sheet, and embalmed by Nicodemus, and wrapped up in other linen, upon those spices and gums which he bestowed upon it, and then buried according to the manner of the Jews, whose manner it was to swathe the bodies of the dead, just as we swathe the bodies of children, all over, (for, so Lazarus came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes*6) how could it fall into the imagination of these women, that they could come to embalm the body of Christ, so swathed, so wound, so bound up, as that body was; for, certainly, it was the body, and not the grave-clothes that they meant to embalm.
Truly I have often wondered, that amongst our very many expositors of the Gospels, (which I can pronounce of some scores) no one hath touched upon this doubt. They all make good use of their piety, and devout officiousness towards their dead Master, but of the impossibility of coming to that body, and of the irregularity, and impertinency of undertaking that, and proceed
83 Gen. L. 1. 84 Chiffletius de Liuteis Sepulchr. cap. 25. "John xi. 44.
ing so far in that, which could not possibly be done, I find no mention. What shall be said of this? That may be said, which Chrysologus says, (though not of this, for of this none says anything) S<eva passionis procella turbaverat, That a bitter storm of passion and consternation, had so disordered them, as that no faculty of theirs performed the right function; and that which Calvin says, of the same case, which Chrysologus intends, Pra fervore cwcutiebant, Vehemence and earnestness had discomposed them, and amazed them, amused them so, as that they discerned nothing clearly, did nothing orderly. This, these, and some other authors say, of some other inconsiderations in these women, particularly, of the removing of the stone of the sepulchre. For, they had prepared their gums, and they were come upon their way, before they ever thought of that. Then they stop, and say to one another, Who shall roll iis away the stone from the door of the sepulchre"? we never thought of that. So also did they fall under the" rebuke and increpation of the angel for another supine inconsideration; Why seek ye the living amongst the dead31? Why him, who is The Son of the living God*"? Why him, who is The Prince of life"? Why him, Who hath life in himself"? Why him, who is Life itself"1? Why him, who is The Bread of life3" to us? Why him, who is this life and the next too, (/ am the life, and the resurrection33) Why him, who by his death hath made you a path of life, (Thou wilt show me the path of life3*) Why seek ye the living among the dead? What makes you think of arming him with your gums against putrefaction, who had told you before, that he was not subject to putrefaction, but would rise again. So also in such another inconsideration we may deprehend one of these women, Mary Magdalen; when the angel had told her at the sepulchre, He is not here, for he is risen, as he said, yet when she came to Peter, she said nothing of the resurrection, never thought of that, but poured herself out in that lamentation, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him36; whereas if she had considered it advisedly, she must necessarily have known from
86 Mark xvi. 3. *7 Luke xxiv. 5. 88 Matt. xvi. 16. ** Acts iii. 15. 3J John v. 26. "John i. 4. ** John vi. 35. 33 John xi. 25.
34 Psalm xvi. 11. 35 John xx. 2.
the angel's words, that no man had taken away the Lord, that no man had laid him anywhere else, but that by his own power he was risen again. But as in this storm of passion they left Christ's promise, that he would rise, unconsidered, and left the rolling of the stone from the door of the sepulchre, unconsidered, so in this storm they also left unconsidered the impossibility of coming to Christ's body to do that office; their devotion was awake, their consideration was in a slumber. But what though? Did they therefore lose all benefit of their pious and devout intention? That is another, and our next consideration.
As Luther says, that if the marriage-bed be kept undefiled, that is, from strange persons, and from such sins as are opposed against the very purpose of marriage, God pardons maritales ineptias, some levities, and half-wantonnesses in married folks; so Calvin says of our present case, Dens non imputat, because these good women were transported with a zealous piety towards Christ, God did not impute this inconsideration unto them. For, though zeal without discretion produce ill effects, yet not so ill as discretion without zeal, worldly wisdom without religion, for that is an evident preferring of thy worldly safety before the glory of God. When Moses makes that prayer to God in a holy fury and excess, If thou wilt not forgive their sin, blot me I pray thee, out of the book thou hast written3", (which was the excess of St. Paul too, in his anathema; I could wish that myself were accursedfrom Christ, for my brethren31) God proceeds not to any sharper rebuke toward Moses, than this, Take heed what you say in your inconsiderate prayer, you may sin in a prayer, and, Whosoever hath sinned against me, (says God there) him will I blot out of my book; yet it concerns but others, take heed you draw it not upon yourselves. And such a charitable interpretation it becomes us to give of those prayers for the dead, which we find in the ancient fathers; in St. Augustine for his mother Monica, in St. Ambrose for his master Theodosius; they prayed inconsiderately, and upon consideration they retracted their prayers; at least, gave such expositions of them, as that then they were no prayers, but vehement, and indeed, exorbitant declarations of piety mixed with passion. And so beloved, behoves it thee to do in thine own
behalf, if at any time having oast thyself into the posture of prayer, upon thy knees, and entered into thy prayer thou have found thyself withdrawn, transported, strayed into some deviations, and by-thoughts; thou must not think all that devotion lost; much less, that prayer to be turned into sin; for, God, who hath put all thy tears into his bottle, all thy words into his register, all thy sighs into his bosom', will also spread that zeal with which thou enteredest into thy prayer, over thy whole prayer, and where that (thine own zeal) is too short, Christ Jesus himself will spread his prayer over thine, and say, Give him, O Father, that which he hath asked faithfully in my name, and, where he hath fallen into any deviations or negligences, Father forgive him, though he knew not what he said.
In our case in hand, for all their inconsideration, their misgovernment, their mistaking, the angel doth not forbear to comfort them; Nolite timer e, says he, Do not ye fear. In Mis perseveret pavor, in quibus permanet incredulitas, says St. Hierome, In the person of this angel to these women; I cannot blame ye, if ye fear; such unexpected changes, such violent earthquakes, such unnatural darknesses and eclipses, such rentings of the Temple, such cleaving of grave-stones may well occasion fear in you, but recollect yourselves, In illis perseveret, Let them continue in fear, who continue in unbelief, and have no God to comfort themselves in. Cur vos pertimescitis, qui vestros concives videtis, (says St. Gregory also, in, and to the same persons) Let those mercenary soldiers, who are hired to watch the sepulchre, fear, and never recover, cur vos, why should you fear, who see none but us, concives, your fellow-citizens, in the city, and service of God, if your conversation be in heaven, as it is, if ye do truly seek that Jesus, who is risen from hence, that he might go thither? And as though this comfort from the angel were not enough, he multiplies this comfort in person unto them; he meets them, and says, aveteTM, first salutes them, and then enlarges himself unto them; as long as the root of their actions was piety and zeal, he casts no cloud of discouragement upon them, ho occasions no jealousy or suspicion of his good purpose towards them, in them, but he maintains and exalts their holy confidence.
38 Ver. 9.
Peccata non nocent, ubi non placent3*; Even our sins are forgiven, when we leave delighting in them; much more our inconsiderations, and mistakings, when we recollect, and rectify ourselves. For, all this withholds not the angel from proceeding to a farther establishment of these devout, though weak women, in other particulars arising out of the very words, non est hic, he is not here, for he is risen.
Non hic per prwsentiam carnis, qui, per prwsentiam majestatis nusquam abest*0; He is not here, so as you thought to have found him here; so, as that you may anoint and embalm his body, he is not here: but, so as the secret sinner would wish him away, God is away nowhere. No adulterer that hath waited for the twilight*1, no whispering calumniator that hath shot his arrow of slander, and wounded the righteous in secret**, can say, non est hic, God is not here, God sees not this. For even in the ways of death and hell, (in all thy sinful courses) though God be a God of pure eyes and cannot behold evil, he sees thee. He sees thee in thy way'thither, and when thou shalt make thy bed in hell", that is, enter into that perpetual prison, there will he be, felt though not seen. But could the angel intend this for a comfort to these women, non est hic, he is not here? Alas, might these poor souls say, we see that well enough, he is not here, but, where is he I From this arises the occasion of theirs, and all our comfort, surrexit enim, he is not here, for he is risen.
First; this For, (for he is risen) this particle of argumentation, the angel opposes prophetically, and by way of prevention, both against that heresy of Rome, that the body of Christ may be in divers places at once, by the way of transubstantiation, and against that dream of the ubiquitaries, that the body of Christ must necessarily be in all places at once, by communication of the divine nature. For, if the angel argue fairly, logically, sincerely, he is not here, for he is risen, then there is no necessity, there is no possibility of this omnipresence, or this multipresence, for then the angel's argument might have been denied, and they might have replied, what though he be risen, he may be here too,
for he may be in divers places; but the angel concludes us in this for, he cannot be here, for he is risen; because he is risen, he cannot be here in the sepulchre, so, as that you may embalm his body, because he is ascended, he cannot be here, here in the sacrament, so, as you may break or eat that body.
But is there such a comfort exhibited in this surrexit, he is risen, as may recompense the discomfort that arises from the non est hic, that he is not here? Abundantly, superabundantly there is; in-these two channels and derivations of comfort; first, that he in whom we had placed our comfort, and our hope, is, by this his rising, declared to be the Son of God. God hath fulfilled his promise, in that he hath raised Jesus from the dead, as it is written in the second Psalm**, says St. Paul in his sermon at Antioch. Now, what is written in that Psalm, which St. Paul cites there, to our present purpose I This; Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. But is not this hodie genui, this this day's begetting intended rather of the eternal filiation and generation of the Son of God, than of this day's work, the resurrection I Those words of that Psalm may well admit that interpretation, and so many have taken them. But, with St. Hilary, most of the ancients have applied them to the resurrection, as the application of St. Paul himself directly binds us to do, that the hodie genui, this day's generation, is this day's manifestation that Christ was the Son of God. Calvin enlarges it farther; that every declaration of the Son by the Father, is a generation of the Son: so his baptism, and the voice then4', so his transfiguration, and the voice then46, were each of them, a hodie genui, a generation of the Son that day. But especially (says Calvin) do those words of the Psalm belong to this day, because the resurrection was the most evident actual declaration that Christ was the Son of God, for, He was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead*''', says the apostle expressly. But how I Wherein was he declared? There were others that were raised from the dead by prophets in the Old Testament, by Christ and his apostles in the New, and yet not thereby declared to be such sons of God, essential sons; no nor any sons of God, not
44 Acts xiii. 33.
45 Matt. iii. 17.
46 Matt. xvii. 3.
47 Rom. i. 4.
sons by adoption; for we are not sure that all those that were miraculously raised from the dead, were effectually saved at last. Therefore the comfort in our case is in that word of the angelj surrexit, he is risen; for so all our translators, and expositors do constantly carry it, not in a suscitatus (as all the rest are) that he was raised, but in this surrexit, he is risen, risen of himself. For so he testifies of himself, Destroy this Temple, and in three days, ego suscitabo, I will raise it up again43; not that the Father should, but that he would; so also ego pono, and ego sumo, says Christ, / lay down, and I take again my soul"; not that it is given, or taken by another. And therefore Gregory Nyssen suspects, that for the infirmity of the then hearers, the apostles thought it scarce safe, to express it often in that phrase, he rose, or he raised himself, and therefore, for the most part, return to the suscitatus est, that he was raised, lest weak hearers might be scandalized with that, that a dead man had raised himself of his own power. And therefore the angel in this place enlarges the comfort to these devout women, in a full measure, when he opens himself in that word surrexit, he is risen, risen of himself.
This then is one piece of our evidence, and the foundation of all, that we cannot be deceived, because he, in whom we trust, is, by this his own rising, declared to be the Son of God; and another, and a powerful comfort is this, that he being risen for out justification69, we are also risen itt him. He that raised the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by the same Jesus51. He shall; there is our assurance; but that is not all; for there is a 6on-resuscitavit, he hath quickened us together, and raised us together, and made us to sit together in heavenly placesTM; not together with one another, but, together with Christ. There is our comfort collected from this surrexit, he is risen, equivalent to the discomfort of the non est hic, he is not here; that this his rising declares him to be the Son of God, who therefore can, and will, and to be that Jesus, an actual Redeemer, and therefore hath already raised us. To what? To that renovation, to that new creation, which is so excellently expressed by Severianus, as makes us sorry we
have no more of his; Mutator ordo rerim, The whole frame! and course of nature is changed; Sepulchrum non mortuum, sed mortem devorat, The grave, (now, since Christ's resurrection, and ours in him) does not bury the dead man, but death himself; my bell tolls for death, and my bell rings out for death, and not for me that die; for I live, even in death; but death dies in me, and hath no more power over me.
I was crucified with Christ upon Friday, says Chrysologus, Et hodie resurgo, To-day I rose with him again; Et gloria reeurrectionis sepelivit injuriam morientis, The ingloriousness of having been buried in the dust, is recompensed in the glory I rise to, Liber inter mortuos; that which David says, and, (by St. Augustine's application) of Christ, is true of me too; Christ was, and I am Liber inter mortuos, Free amongst the dead*3, undetainable in the state of death. For, says St. Peter, It was not possible he should be holden of it6*. Not possible for Christ, because of the prediction of so many prophets, whose words had an infallibility in them; not possible especially, because of the union of the Divine nature: not possible for me neither, because God hath afforded me the marks of his election, and thereby made me partaker of the Divine nature too". But yet these things might, perchance, not fall into the consideration of these women; they did not; but they might, they should have done; for, as the angel tells them here, Christ had told them of this before; sicut dixit, he is risen, as he said.
Even the angel himself refers himself to the word, sicut dixit; the angel himself desires not to be believed, but as he grounds himself upon the word, sicut dixit. Let therefore no angel of the church, not that super-archangel of the Roman church, proceed upon an ipse dixit, upon his own pectoral word, and determination, for the angel here refers us to the sicut dixit, the former word. God will be content that we doubt, and suspend our assent to any revelation, if it do not concern some duty delivered in Scripture before; and to any miracle, if it do not conduce to the proof of something commanded in Scripture before. Sicut dixit, is an angelical issue, as he said.
But, how often soever Christ had spoken of this resurrection
53 Psal. txxxviii. 5. 54 Acts ii. 24. 56 2 Pet. i. 4.
to others, these women might be ignorant of it. For all that is said, even by Christ himself, is not said to all; nor is all written for all, that is written by the Holy Ghost. No man must suspect that he knows not enough for salvation, if he understand not all places of Scripture. But yet these women could not well be ignorant of this, because being disciples and followers of Christ, though Christ had never spoken of the resurrection to them, they were likely to have heard of it from them, to whom Christ had spoken of it. It was Cleophas's question to Christ, (though he knew him not then to be so, when they went together to Emmaus) Art thou only a stranger in JerusalemTM? That is, hast thou been at Jerusalem, and is this, the death of Christ, strange to thee? So may we say to any that professes Christianity, art thou in the Christian church, and is this, the resurrection of Christ, strange to thee I Are there any amongst us, that thrust to forenoon's, and afternoon's sermons, that pant after high, and un-understandable doctrines, of the secret purposes of God, and know not this, the fundamental points of doctrine I Even these women's ignorance, though they were in the number of the disciples of Christ, makes us afraid, that some such there may be; and therefore blessed be they that have set on foot that blessed way of catechizing, that after great professions, we may not be ignorant of small things. These things these women might have learnt of others, who were to instruct them. But for their better assurance, the angel tells them here, that Christ himself had told them of this before; Remember, says he, how Christ spoke to you whilst he was with you in Galilee''''.
We observe, that Christ spoke to his disciples, of his resurrection, five times in the Gospel; now, these women could not be present at any of the five but one, which was the third58; and, before that, it is evident that they had applied themselves to Christ, and ministered unto him. The angel then remembers them, what Christ said to them there. It was this; The son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and crucified, and the third day, rise again5"; and they remembered his words,
55 Luke xxiv. 16.
58 Matt. xvii. 22.
says the text there; then they remembered them, when they heard of them again; but not till then.
Which gives me just occasion to note first the perverse tenderness, and the supercilious, and fastidious delicacy of those men, that can abide no repetitions, nor endure to hear anything which they have heard before; when as even these things which Christ himself had preached to these women, in Galilee, had been lost, if this angel had not preached them over again to them at Jerusalem; Remember how he spake to you, says he to them. And why shouldst thou be loath to hear those things which thou hast heard before, when, till thou heardest them again, thou didst not know, that is, not consider that ever thou hadst heard them? So have we here also just occasion to note their impertinent curiosity, who though the sense be never so well observed, call everything a falsification, if the place be not rightly ciphered, or the word exactly cited; and magnify one another for great text-men, though they understand no text, because they cite book, and chapter, and verse, and words aright; whereas in this place, the angel refers the women to Christ's words, and they remember that Christ spake those words, and yet if we compare the places, (that where Christ speaks the words, and that where the angel repeats them) though the sense be entirely the same, yet the words are not altogether so. Thus the angel erects them in the consternation; remember what was promised, that in three days he would rise; the third day is come, and he is risen, as he said; and, that your senses may be exercised as well as your faith, Come and see the place, where the Lord lay.
Even the angel calls Christ Lord; and his Lord; for, the Lord, • (and the angel calls him so) is Lord of all, of men, and angels. When God brings his Son into the world, (says the apostle) he says, let all the angels of God worship hime°. And when God carries his Son out of the world, by the way of the cross, they have just cause to worship him too, for, By the blood of his woss are all things reconciled to God, both things in earth, and things in heaven", men and angels. Therefore did an angel minister to Christ before he was, in the annunciation to his blessed mother, that he should be; and an angel to his imaginary father Joseph, before he was
"Coloss. i. 20.
born; and a choir of angels to the shepherds at his birth; an angel after his temptation, and in his agony, and bloody-sweat, more angels; angels at his last step, at his ascension, and here, at his resurrection angels minister unto him. The angels of heaven acknowledged Christ to be their Lord. In the beginning some of the angels would be Similes altissimo, Like to the Most High; but what a transcendent, what a super-diabolical, what a prae-Luciferian pride is his, that will be supra altissimum, superior to God; that not only exalteth himself above all that is called GodTM, (kings are called Gods, and this arch-monarch exalts himself above all kings) but above God literally, and in that wherein God hath especially manifested himself to be God, to us, that is in prescribing us a law, how he will be obeyed; for, in dispensing with this law, and adding to, and withdrawing from this law, he exalts himself above God, as our lawgiver. And, (as it is also said there) he exalteth himself, and opposeth himself against God. There is no trusting of such neighbours, as are got above us in power. This man of sin hath made himself superior to God, and then, an enemy to God; for God is truth, and he opposes him in that, for he is heresy and falsehood; and God is love, and he opposes him in that, for he is envy, and hatred, and malice, and sedition, and invasion, and rebellion.
The angel confesses Christ to be the Lord, his Lord, and he confesses him to be so then when he lay dead in the grave, Come, see the place where the Lord lay. A West Indian king having been well wrought upon for his conversion to the Christian religion, and having digested the former articles, when he came to that, He was crucified, dead, and buried, bad no longer patience, • but said, If your God be dead and buried, leave me to my old god, the sun, for the sun will not die. But if he would have proceeded to the article of the resurrection, he should have seen, that even then, when he lay dead, he was God still; then, when he was no man, he was God still; nay, then when he was no man, he was God, and man, in this true sense, that th&igh the body and soul were divorced from one another, and that during that divorce, he were no man, (for it is the union of body and soul that makes a man) yet the Godhead was not divided from
2 Thess. ii. 4.
either of these constitutive parts of man, body or soul. Even then, when a man is no man, he may be a Christian ; when I am a worm and no man", when I am the off-scouring of the world**, when I am the reproach, the proverb, the hissing of mene>, yet, as my Saviour, when he lay in the grave, was the same Christ, so in this grave of oppression and persecution, I um the same Christian, as in my baptism.
Let nothing therefore that can fall upon thee, despoil thee of the dignity and constancy of a Christian; howsoever thou be severed from those things, which thou makest account do make thee up, severed from a wife by divorce, from a child by death, from goods by fire, or water, from an office' by just, or by unjust displeasure, (which is the heavier but the happier case) yet never think thyself severed from thy head Christ Jesus, nor from being a lively member of his body. Though thou be a brother of dragons and a companion of owls", though thy harp be turned into mourning, and thine organ into the voice of them that weep, nay, Though the Lord kill thee, yet trust in him"1. Thy Saviour when he lay dead in the grave, was still the same Lord, thou, when thou art enwrapped, and interred in confusion, art still the same Christian. To this meditation the angel carries us, in keeping up Christ's style at the highest, then when he was at the lowest, and to some other particulars he carries these women, in that which remains, Come and see the place.
It is not nothing, certainly not merely nothing, that God does so often direct us to frequent his sanctuary, and his holy places. Not nothing, that Solomon, into that instrument which passed between God and him, for the consecration of the temple, inserted that covenant, That not only they which came to that temple, but they, who being necessarily absent, prayed towards the temple, might be heard6"; which is, (not inconveniently) assigned for a reason of Hezekiah's turning to the wall to pray, in his sick-bed", and of Daniel's opening of his windows, when he prayed in his private chamber70, because, in so doing, they looked towards Jerusalem, where the Temple was. When Naaman being
63 Psal. xxii. 7. 84 I Cor. iv. 13. 85 Jer. xix. 8.
M Job xxx. 29. "7 Job xiii. \o. 88 1 Kings 8.
69 Isaiah xxxviii. 2. 70 Dan. vi. 10.
recovered from his bodily leprosy, recovered from his spiritual leprosy too, and resolved to worship none but the true God, he was loath to worship the true God, in an unholy place, and therefore desired some of that earth to build an altar upon71. Pharaoh was come to be content that Moses and his people should sacrifice to their true God, so they would sacrifice in Egypt72, but Moses durst not accept of those conditions. Pharaoh grew content that they should go out of Egypt to sacrifice, so they would not go far, but keep within his limits73; but Moses durst not accept, those conditions; nor any conditions less than those, in which God had determined him, which was, To go three days' journey into the Wilderness1*\ We know that God is alike in all places, but he does not work in all places alike; God works otherwise in the church, than in an army; and diversly in his divers ordinances in the church; God works otherwise in prayer than in preaching, and otherwise in the sacraments than in either; and otherwise in the later, than in the first sacrament. The power is the same, and the end is the same, but the way is not so. Athanasius, scarce three hundred years after Christ, found the church in possession of that custom (and he takes knowledge of it, as of a precept from the apostles themselves) that the congregation should pray towards the east, to testify (says that father) their desire of returning to the country, which they had lost, Paradise. Places of profane and secular use should not be made equal with holy places; nor should holy actions, and motions, and gestures, and positions of the body in divine service, be submitted to scorn and derision. They have their use; either in a real exaltation of devotion, or for a peaceable conservation of uniformity, and decency, or for a reverential obedience to lawful authority; and any of these is enough, to authorize things in their use, which in themselves and in their own nature are indifferent. And though the principal purpose of the angel, in showing these women the place, were to assure them, that Christ was risen, yet may there also be an intimation of the help and assistance that we receive from holy places, in this their Ecce locus, Come, and see the place.
71 2 Kings v. 17. i* Exod. viii. 25. 73 Ver. 28.
74 Exod. iii. 18.
But this is far, very very far from that superstitious fixing of God to the freehold, which they have induced in the Roman church, and upon which, they have superinduced their meritorious pilgrimages to certain places. Consider a little the pilgrimage of these pilgrimages, how they have gone on. Innocent the Third, in the Lateran council, about four hundred years since, gave free pardon of all sins to all men, that went or contributed to the recovery of the Holy Land. Now these, expeditions were not with any hope of recovering that land, but principally to carry the powerfulest persons, and the activest spirits into those remote parts, that so these parts might be left the more open to the inundation of that sea of Rome, and the invasions of that bishop. After this, these indulgences were enlarged, and communicated to all that went to Jerusalem, not only as soldiers, but as pilgrims. And after that, by Boniface the Eighth's liberality, the way was shortened, and they had as much that came but to Rome, as they that went to Jerusalem. As, a little before, by Clement the Sixth, there was a power given to every man, that went such a pilgrimage, to deliver four souls out of purgatory, which he would, and a commandment given to the angels of heaven, to carry their souls that died in that pilgrimage, immediately to heaven, without touching upon purgatory.
These abuses made that learned and devout man, Gerson, the chancellor of Paris, in his time, (as, let them deny it with what stiffness they will, nothing is more demonstrable, nor more evidently demonstrated, than that in all times, some great men amongst themselves have opposed their superstitions) this, I say, made Gerson say, (though he durst say no more) Abnegare 11011 possumus, None of us all can deny, but that many things are induced upon colour of religion, quorum sanctior esset omissio, which he shall be more holy that forbears, than he that performs them. In detestation of this local and stationary salvation of these meritorious pilgrimages to certain places, some of the blessed fathers spoke much, long before they were come to that enormous abuse, in which the later times exceeded. St. Hierome had occasion to say much of it, by a solicitation from Polinus, and he says this, Quantihodie portant funera sua1"? How many
« Epist. 13.
men carry sepulchres to the Sepulchre, when they carry themselves to Jerusalem? Non Hieroaolymh vixisse, says he, To have lived well at Jerusalem, is praiseworthy, but not to have lived there. Non audeo conoludere, I dare not shut up that God, whom the heavens cannot contain, in a corner of the earth; and Jerusalem is but so. Et de Britannia, et de Hierosolymis wqualiter patet aula ewlestis, Heaven is as near England, (says St. Hierome) as it is to Jerusalem. And Christ, (says he) was then in Jerusalem, in that holy place, when he said, Abeamus hinc, Let us go from henceTM; as holy as the place was, he made haste out of it; for, (as that father adds) it is a place full of mutinous soldiers, of licentious prostitutes, of players and jesters; and these are the elements of the holiness of that place.
Gregory Nyssen (in the same time with Hierome) had a particular occasion to deliver his opinion of these pilgrimages to Jerusalem; for he had been there himself, though not as a pilgrim. Sunt aliqui, there are some that make it a part of religion, to have been at Jerusalem, Sin prwter prwceptum Domini, but, says he, if Christ never commanded it, (that is his rule) I know not what can justify that man, that makes himself the rule of his religion. Christ never called that, blessedness, says he, to have been at Jerusalem, nor ever called this Jerusalem the way to heaven; why any man should do so, when Christ did not, Qui mentem habet, consideret, (says that father) Let him that is not distracted, consider. Nay, says he, there is not only no certain profit, but evident danger to a chaste soul, in the unchaste conversation of those pilgrims, and he exemplifies, and particularizes wherein; but we forbear that. Shall I be asked then, why I went to Jerusalem I says that father; I went into those parts out of necessity, says he, being called to a council held in those parts; and, being so near, I was chosen as an arbitrator between some churches, which were then at variance, which differences were to be composed at Jerusalem, and so I went thither. Howsoever, let no man be encouraged to go thither for my being there, (for I was never the better Christian for having been there) but let every man think and believe me to be the more competent witness, and judge of the dangers, because I
78 John xiv. 31.
saw them. I believed that Christ was risen, before I saw the empty Sepulchre; and though (I thank God for it) I lost none of my faith at Jerusalem, yet I increased it not there. Si perverse vivas; live Christianly, or thou art as far from Christ in the Sepulchre, and from all benefit of his resurrection, as they that were hired to watch the Sepulchre, and to seal the Sepulchre to prevent the resurrection, or as if he that lay in the Sepulchre had never died. When we have remembered you of that which St. Chrysostom (of the same time with Jerome and Nyssen) says, that there were some so vain, as to go to Arabia to kiss that dunghill where Job sate to be visited by his impertinent friends, you have testimony enough, concurrence enough for the detestation of these hypocritical pilgrimages, and the manifold superstitions that grow from this tree; and grew to a far greater inexcusableness, when all was transferred to Rome, where both the indulgences were larger, and the pestilent infections of the place more contagious than at Jerusalem.
Now, to bind up our sheaf, and lay it so upon you, that you may easily carry it, you have seen, that women, though weak, are capable of religious offices; no understanding so weak, but it may believe, no body so weak, but it may do something in some calling. You have seen too, that these women were early in their religious work, they begun betimes; we have but one parable that tells us, they that came late to the labour were as well rewarded as the earliest. So have you also seen, that as they were early and forward, so were they earnest, and sedulous; Cursed be he that doth the work of God (that is, any godly work) negligently. You have likewise seen upon what their devotion was carried; upon things which could not entirely be done; yet God accepted their devotion; where the root and substance of the work is piety, God pretermits many times errors in circumstance. You have heard the angel's information to them, non hic, that Christ was not there, and yet comfort in that; God raises comfort out of all things, even out of discomfort itself to the godly. You have heard the reason added, quia surrexit, for he is risen; and if this be a good reason, there is no transubstantiation, no ubiquitism, for then Christ might have been there, though he were risen. He is risen, not only raised, and therefore the Son of God; and r isen for our justification, therefore we are risen in him. And this, Stent dixit, As he had said before; no word is certain, not in the mouth of an angel, but as it is referred to the former word of God. And it is Sicut dixit vobis, As he had said to you; though all Scriptures be not proposed to all, and God's secret purposes proposed to none, yet the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith are proposed to all, the weakest of all, these women had heard Christ. Him, this angel calls the Lord, his Lord; how rebellious is that man of sin, that makes Christ his servant, and pretence of religion his instrument? He avows him to be the Lord, then when he lay dead in the grave; be truly a Christian, and in the grave of persecution, in the grave of putrefaction thou shalt retain the same name, and even thy dust shall be Christian dust. And lastly, for the establishment of their comfort, the angel directs them to consider the place, ecce locus, not to incline them to superstitious pilgrimages, but yet to a holy reverence, and estimation of places consecrated to God's service. And if these meditations have raised you from the bed of sin, in any holy purpose, this is one of your resurrections, and you have kept your Easter day well. To which, he, whose name is Amen, say Amen, our blessed Saviour Christ Jesus, in the power of his Father, and in the operation of his Spirit.