PREACHED TO THE LORDS, UPON EASTER DAY, AT THE
[The King being then dangerously sick at Newmarket.]
Psal. Lxxxix. 47.
What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?
At first, God gave the judgment of death upon man, when he should transgress, absolutely, Morte morieris, Thou shalt surely die; the woman in her dialogue with the Serpent, she mollifies it, Ne forte moriamur, perchance, if we eat, we may die; and then the devil is as peremptory on the other side, Nequaquam moriemini, Do what you will, surely you shall not die; and now God in this text comes to his reply, Quis est homo, Shall they not die I Give me but one instance, but one exception to this rule, What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death f Let
no man, no woman, no devil offer a Ne forte, (perchance we may die) much less a Nequaquam, (Surely we shall not die) except he be provided of an answer to this question, except he can give an instance against this general, except he can produce that man's name, and history, that hath lived, and shall not see death. We are all conceived in close prison; in our mothers' wombs, we are close prisoners all; when we are born, we are born but to the liberty of the house; prisoners still, though within larger walls: and then all our life is but a going out to the place of execution, to death. Now was there ever any man seen to sleep in the cart, between Newgate, and Tyburn? between the prison, and the place of execution, does any man sleep? And we sleep all the way; from the womb to the grave we are never thoroughly awake; but pass on with such dreams, and imaginations as these, I may live as well, as another, and why should I die, rather than another? but awake, and tell me, says this text, Quis homo? Who is that other that thou talkest of? What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?
In these words, we shall first, for our general humiliation, consider the unanswerableness of this question, There is no man that lives, and shall not see death. Secondly, we shall see, how that modification of Eve may stand, Forte moriemur, How there may be a probable answer made to this question, that it is like enough, that there are some men that live, and shall not see death: and thirdly, we shall find that truly spoken, which the devil spake deceitfully then, we shall find the Nequaquam verified, we shall find a direct, and full answer to this question; we shall find a man that lives, and shall not see death, our Lord, and Saviour Christ Jesus, of whom both St. Augustine, and St. Hierome, do take this question to be principally asked, and this text to be principally intended. Ask me this question then, of all the sons of men, generally guilty of original sin, Quis homo, and I am speechless, I can make no answer; ask me this question of those men, which shall be alive upon earth at the last day, when Christ comes to judgment, Quis homo, and I can make a probable answer; Forte moriemur, Perchance they shall die; it is a problematical matter, and we say nothing too peremptorily. Ask me this question without relation to original sin, Quis homo, and then I will answer directly, fully, confidently, Ecce homo, There was a man that lived, and was not subject to death by the law, neither did he actually die so, but that he fulfilled the rest of this verse; Emit animam de inferno, By his own power, he delivered his soul from the hand of the grave. From the first, this lesson rises, general doctrines must be generally delivered, all men must die; from the second, this lesson, collateral, and unrevealed doctrines must be \ soberly delivered, how we shall be changed at the last day, we know not so clearly: from the third, this lesson arises, conditional doctrines must be conditionally delivered, If we be dead with him, we shall be raised with him.
First then, for the generality, those other degrees of punishment, which God inflicted upon Adam, and Eve, and in them upon us, were as absolutely, and illimitedly pronounced, as this of death, and yet we see, they are many ways extended, or contracted; to man it was said, In the sweat of thy brows, thou shalt eat thy bread, and how many men never sweat, till they sweat with eating? To the woman it was said, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee: and how many women have no desire to their husbands, how many over-rule them? Hunger, and thirst, and weariness, and sickness are denounced upon all, and yet if you ask me Quis homo? What is that man that hungers and thirsts not, that labours not, that sickens not I I can tell you of many, that never felt any of these; but contract the question to that one of death, Quis homo? What man is he that shall not taste death? and I know none. Whether we consider the summer solstice, when the day is sixteen hours, and the night but eight, or the winter solstice, when the night is sixteen hours, and the day but eight, still all is but twenty-four hours, and still the evening and morning make but a day: the patriarchs in the Old Testament had their summer-day, long lives; we are in the winter, short-lived; but Quis homo? Which of them, or us, come not to our night in death? If we consider violent deaths, casual deaths, it is almost a scornful thing to see, with what wantonness, and sportfulness, death plays with us; we have seen a man cannon-proof in the time of war, and slain -with his own pistol in the time of peace: we have seen a man recovered after his drowning, and live to hang himself. But for that one kind of death, which is general, (though nothing be in truth more against nature than dissolution, and corruption, which is death) we are come to call that death, natural death, than which, indeed, nothing is more unnatural; the generality makes it natural; Moses says, that man's age is seventy1, and eighty is labour and pain; and yet himself was more than eighty, and in a good state, and habitude when he said so. No length, no strength enables us to answer this Quis homo? What man?
Take a flat map, a globe in piano, and here is East, and there is West, as far asunder as two points can be put: but reduce this flat map to roundness, which is the true form, and then East and West touch one another, and are all one: so consider man's life aright, to be a circle, Dust thou art, and to dust thou must return; Naked I came, and naked I must gos; in this, the circle, the two points meet, the womb and the grave are but one point, they make but one station, there is but a step from that to this. This brought in that custom amongst the Greek emperors, that ever at the day of their coronation, they were presented with several sorts of marble, that they might then bespeak their tomb. And this brought in that custom into the Primitive church, that they called the martyrs' days, wherein they suffered, Natalitia martyrum, Their birth days; birth, and death is all one.
Their death was a birth to them into another life, into the glory of God; it ended one circle, and created another; for immortality, and eternity is a circle too; not a circle where two points meet, but a circle made at once; this life is a circle, made with a compass, that passes from point to point; that life is a circle stamped with a print, an endless, and perfect circle, as soon as it begins. Of this circle, the mathematician is our great and good God; the other circle we make up ourselves; we bring the cradle, and grave together by a course of nature. Every man does; Mi gheber, says the original; It is not Ishe, which is the first name of man, in the Scriptures, and signifies nothing but a sound; a voice, a word, a musical air dies, and evaporates; what wonder if man, that is but Ishe, a sound, die too? It is not Adam, which is another name of man, and signifies nothing but red
1 Psal. xc. io. 8 Job i.
earth; let it be earth red with blood, (with that murder which we have done upon ourselves) let it be earth red with blushing, (so the word is used in the original) with a conscience of our own infirmity, what wonder if man, that is but Adam, guilty of this self-murder in himself, guilty of this in-born frailty in himself, die too? It is not Enos, which is also a third name of man, and signifies nothing but a wretched and miserable creature; what wonder if man, that is but earth, that is a burden to his neighbours, to his friends, to his kindred, to himself, to whom all others, and to whom myself desires death, what wonder if he die? But this question is framed upon none of these names; not Ishe, not Adam, not Enos; but it is Mi gheber, Quis vir; which is the word always signifying a man accomplished in all excellencies, a man accompanied with all advantages; fame, and good opinion justly conceived, keeps him from being Ishe, a mere sound, standing only upon popular acclamation; innocency and integrity keeps him from being Adam, red earth, from bleeding, or blushing at anything he hath done; that holy and religious art of arts, which St. Paul professed, That he knew how to want, and how to abound, keeps him from being Enos, miserable or wretched in any fortune; he is gheber, a great man, and a good man, a happy man, and a holy man, and yet Mi gheber, Quis homo, This man must see death.
And therefore we will carry this question a little higher, from Quis homo, to Quis deorum, Which of the gods have not seen death? Ask it of those, who are gods by participation of God's power, of those of whom God says, / have said, ye are gods, and God answers for them, and of them, and to them, You shall die like men; ask it of those gods, who are gods by imputation, whom creatures have created, whom men have made gods, the gods of the heathen, and do we not know, where all these gods died? Sometimes divers places dispute, who hath their tombs; but do they not deny their godhead in confessing their tombs? do they not all answer, That they cannot answer this text, Mi gheber, Quis homo, What man, Quis deorum, What god of man's making hath not seen death? As Justin Martyr asks that question, Why should I pray to Apollo or Esculapius for health, Qui apud Chironem mfdicinam didicerunt, when I know who taught them all that they knew? so why should I look for immortality from such or such a god, whose grave I find for a witness, that he himself is dead? Nay, carry this question higher than so, from this Quis homo to Quid homo, What is there in the nature and essence of man, free from death? The whole man is not, for the dissolution of body and soul is death. The body is not; I shall as soon find an immortal rose, an eternal flower, as an immortal body. And for the immortality of the soul, it is safelier said to be immortal by preservation, than immortal by nature; that God keeps it from dying, than, that it cannot die. We magnify God in an humble and faithful acknowledgment of the immortality of our souls, but if we ask, Quid homo, What is there in the nature of man, that should keep him from death, even in that point, the question is not easily answered.
It is every man's case then; every man dies; and though it may perchance be but a mere Hebraism to say, That every man shall see death, perchance it amounts to no more, but to that phrase, Gustare mortem, To taste death, yet thus much may be implied in it too, that as every man must die, so every man may see, that he must die; as it cannot be avoided, so it may be understood. A beast dies, but he does not see death; St. Basil says3, He saw an ox weep for the death of his yoke-fellow; but St. Basil might mistake the occasion of that ox's tears. Many men die too, and yet do not see death; the approaches of death amaze then, and stupify them; they feel no colluctation with powers, and principalities, upon their death-bed; that is true; they feel no terrors in their consciences, no apprehensions of judgment, upon their death-bed; that is true; and this we call going away like a lamb. But the Lamb of God had a sorrowful sense of death; his soul was heavy unto death, and he had an apprehension, that his Father had forsaken him; and in this text, the Chaldee paraphrase expresses it thus, Videbit angelum mortis, He shall see a messenger, a forerunner, a power of death, an executioner of death, he shall see something with horror, though not such as shall shake his moral, or his Christian constancy.
So that this Videbunt, They shall see, implies also a Viderunt, 3 Basil orat. de Morta* •
They have seen, that is, they have used to see death, to observe a death in the decay of themselves, and of every creature, and of the whole world. Almost fourteen hundred years ago, St. Cyprian writing against Demetrianus, who imputed all the wars, and deaths, and unseasonablenesses of that time, to the contempt, and irreligion of the Christians, that they were the cause of all those ills, because they would not worship their gods, Cyprian imputes all those distempers to the age of the whole world; Canos videmus in pueris, says he, We see children born grayheaded; Capilli deficiunt, antequam crescant, Their hair is changed, before it be grown. Nec cctas in senectute desinit, sed incipit a senectute, We do not die with age, but we are born old. Many of us have seen death in our particular selves; in many of those steps, in which the moral man4 expresses it; We have seen Mortem infantiw, pueritiam, The death of infancy in youth; and Pueritiw, adolescentiam, And the death of youth in our middle age; and at last we shall see Mortem senectutis, mortem ipsam, The death of age in death itself. But yet after that, a step farther than that moral man went, Mortem mortis in morte Jesu, We shall see the death of death itself in the death of Christ. As we could not be clothed at first, in Paradise, till some creatures were dead, (for we were clothed in beasts' skins) so we cannot be clothed in heaven, but in his garment who died for us.
This Videbunt, this future sight of death implies a Viderunt, They have seen, they have studied death in every book, in every creature; and it implies a Vident, They do presently see death in every object, they see the hourglass running to the death of the hour; they see the death of some profane thoughts in themselves, by the entrance of some religious thought of compunction, and conversion to God; and then they see the death of that religious thought, by an inundation of new profane thoughts, that overflow those. As Christ says, That as often as we eat the Sacramental bread, we should remember his death, so as often, as we eat ordinary bread, we may remember our death; for even hunger and thirst, are diseases; they are Mors quo* tidiana, A daily death5, and if they lasted long, would kill usa
4 Seneca. * Bernard, Augustine.
In every object and subject, we all have, and do, and shall see death; not to our comfort as an end of misery, not only as such a misery in itself, as the philosopher takes it to be, Mors omnium miseriarum, That death is the death of all misery, because it destroys and dissolves our being; but as it is Stipendium peccati, The reward of sin; that as Solomon says, Indignatio regis nuncius mortis, The wrath of the king, is as a messenger of death", so Mors nuncius indignationis regis, We see in death a testimony, that our heavenly king is angry; for, but for his indignation against our sins, we should not die. And this death, as it is malum, ill, (for if ye weigh it in the philosopher's balance, it is an annihilation of our present being, and if ye weigh it in the Divine balance, it is a seal of God's anger against sin) so this death is general; of this, this question there is no answer, Quia homo, What man, &c.
We pass then from the morte moriemini, to the forte moriemini, from the generality and the unescapeableness of death, from this question, as it admits no answer, to the forte moriemini, perchance we shall die; that is, to the question as it may admit a probable answer. Of which, we said at first, that in such questions, nothing becomes a Christian better than sobriety; to make a true difference between problematical, and dogmatical points* between upper buildings, and foundations, between collateral doctrines, and doctrines in the right line: for fundamental things, Sine hwsitatione credantur1, They must be believed without disputing; there is no more to be done for them, but believing; for things that are not so, we are to weigh them in two balances, in the balance of analogy, and in the balance of scandal: We must hold them so, as may be analogal, proportionable, agreeable to the articles of our faith, and we must hold them so, as our brother be not justly offended, nor scandalized by them; we must weigh them with faith, for our own strength, and we must weigh them with charity, for others' weakness. Certainly nothing endangers a church more, than to draw indifferent things to be necessary; I mean of a primary necessity, of a necessity to be believed de fide, not a secondary necessity, a necessity to be performed and practised for obedience: without doubt, the Roman church
"Prov. xvi. 14. 7 Augustine.
repents now, and sees now that she should better have preserved herself, if they had not denied so many particular things, which were indifferently and problematically disputed before, to be had necessarily de fide, in the Council of Trent.
Taking then this text for a problem, What man lives, and shall not see death? We answer, it may be that those men, whom Christ shall find upon the earth alive, at his return to judge the world, shall die then, and it may be they shall but be changed, and not die. That Christ shall judge quick and dead, is a fundamental thing; we hear it in St. Peter's sermon, to Cornelius and his company, and we say it every day in the Creed, He shall judge the quick and the dead". But though we do not take the quick and the dead, as Augustine and Chrysostom do, for the righteous which lived in faith, and the unrighteous, which were dead in sin, though we do not take the quick and the dead, as Ruffinus and others do, for the soul and the body, (he shall judge the soul, which was always alive, and he shall the body, which was dead for a time) though we take the words (as becomes us best) literally, yet the letter does not conclude, but that they, whom Christ shall find alive upon earth, shall have a present and sudden dissolution, and a present and sudden re-union of body and soul again. Saint Paul says, Behold I show you a mystery*; therefore it is not a clear case, and presently, and peremptorily determined; but what is it? We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. But whether this sleeping be spoke of death itself, and exclude that, that we shall riot die, or whether this sleep be spoke of a rest in the grave, and exclude that, we shall not be buried, and remain in death, that may be a mystery still. St. Paul says too, The dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive, and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the airI0. But whether that may not still be true, that St. Augustine says, that there shall be Mors in raptu, an instant and sudden disunion, and re-union of body and soul, which is death, who can tell? So on the other side, when it is said to him, in whom all we were, to Adam, Pulvis es, Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return", when it is said, In Adam
all die1*, when it is said, Death passed upon all men, for all have sinned", why may not all those sentences of Scripture, which imply a necessity of dying, admit that restriction, Nisi diesjudicii natures cursum immutet1*, We shall all die, except those, in whom the coming of Christ shall change the course of nature.
Consider the Scriptures then, and we shall be absolutely concluded neither way; consider authority, and we shall find the fathers for the most part one way, and the school for the most part another; take later men, and all those in the Roman church; then Cajetan thinks, that they shall not die, and Catharin is so peremptory, that they shall, as that he says of the other opinion, Falsam esse confidenter asserimus, et contra Scripturas satis manifestas, et omnino sine ratione; It is false, and against Scriptures, and reason, saith he; take later men, and all those in the Reformed church; and Calvin says, Quia aboletur prior natura, censetur species mortis, sed non migrabit anima a corpore; St. Paul calls it death, because it is a destruction of the former being; but it is not truly death, saith Calvin; and Luther saith, That St. Paul's purpose in that place is only to show the suddenness of Christ's coming to judgment, Non autem inficiatur omnes morituros; nam dormire, est sepeliri: but St. Paul doth not deny, but that all shall die; for that sleeping which he speaks of, is burial; and all shall die, though all shall not be buried, saith Luther.
Take then that which is certain; it is certain, a judgment thou must pass: if thy close and cautelous proceeding have saved thee from all informations in the Exchequer, thy clearness of thy title from all courts at common law, thy moderation from the Chan, eery, and Star Chamber, if height of thy place, and authority, have saved thee, even from the tongues of men, so that ill men dare not slander thy actions, nor good men dare not discover thy actions, no not to thyself, all those judgments, and all the judgments of the world, are but interlocutory judgments; there is a final judgment, In judicantes et judicatos, against prisoners and judges too, where all shall be judged again; Datum est omne judicium, All judgment is given to the Son of man15, and upon all the
sons of men must his judgment pass. A judgment is certain, and the uncertainty of this judgment is certain too; perchance God will put off thy judgment; thou shalt not die yet; but who knows whether God in his mercy, do put off this judgment, till these good motions which his blessed Spirit inspires into thee now, may take root, and receive growth, and bring forth fruit, or whether he put it off, for a heavier judgment, to let thee see, by thy departing from these good motions, and returning to thy former sins, after a remorse conceived against those sins, that thou art inexcusable even to thyself, and thy condemnation is just, even to thine own conscience. So perchance God will bring this judgment upon thee now; now thou mayest die; but whether God will bring that judgment upon thee now, in mercy, whilst his graces, in his ordinance of preaching, work some tenderness in thee, and gives thee some preparation, some fitness, some courage to say, Veni Domine Jesu, Come Lord Jesu, come quickly, come now, or whether he will come now in judgment, because all this can work no tenderness in thee, who can tell I
Thou hearest the word of God preached, as thou hearest an oration, with some gladness in thyself, if thou canst hear him, and never be moved by his oratory; thou thinkest it a degree of wisdom, to be above persuasion; and when thou art told, that he that fears God, fears nothing else, thou thinkest thyself more valiant than so, if thou fear not God neither; whether or why God defers, or hastens the judgment, we know not; this is certain, this all St. Paul's places collineate to, this all the fathers, and all the school, all the Cajetans, and all the Catharins, all the Luthers, and all the Calvins agree in, a judgment must be, and it must be In ictu oculi, In the twinkling of an eye, and Fur in node, A thief in the night. Make the question, Quis homo? What man is he that liveth, and shall not pass this judgment? Or, what man is he that liveth, and knows when this judgment shall be? So it is a nemo scit, a question without an answer; but ask it, as in the text, Quis homo? Who liveth, and shall not die? So it is a problematical matter; and in such things as are problematical, if thou love the peace of Sion, be not too inquisitive to know, nor too vehement, when thou thinkest thou dost know it.
Come then to ask this question, not problematically, (as it is contracted to them that shall live in the last days) nor peremptorily of man, (as he is subject to original sin) but at large, so, as the question may include Christ himself, and then to that Quis homo? What man is he? We answer directly, here is the man that shall not see death; and of him principally, and literally, St. Augustine (as we said before) takes this question to be framed; Ut quwras, dictum, non ut desperes, saith he, This question is moved, to move thee to seek out, and to have thy recourse to that man which is the Lord of Life, not to make thee despair, that there is no such man, in whose self, and in whom, for all us, there is redemption from death: for, says he, this question is an exception to that which was said before the text; which is, Where/ore hast thou made all mew in vain? Consider it better, says the Holy Ghost, here, and it will not prove so; man is not made in vain at first, though he do die now; for, Perditio tua ex te, This death proceeds from man himself; and Quare moriemini domus Israel? Why will ye die, 0 house of Israel? God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living; the wise man says it18, and the true God swears it, As I live saith the Lord, I would not the death of a sinner. God did not create man in vain then, though he die; not in vain, for since he will needs die, God receives glory even by his death, in the execution of his justice; not in vain neither, because though he be dead, God hath provided him a Redeemer from death, in his mercy; man is not created in vain at all; nor all men, so near vanity as to die; for here is one man, God and Man Christ Jesus, which liveth, and shall not see death. And conformable to St. Augustine's purpose, speaks St. Hierome too, Scio quod nullus homo carneus evadet, sed novi Deum sub velamento carnis latentem; I know there is no man but shall die; but I know where there is a God clothed in man's flesh, and that person cannot die.
But did not Christ die then? Shall we join with any of those heretics, which brought Christ upon the stage to play a part, and say he was born, or lived, or died, in phantasmate, in appearance only, and representation; God forbid; so all men were created in vain indeed, if we had not a regeneration in his true death.
18 Wisdom i. 13.
Where is the contract hetween him, and his Father, that oportuit pati, all this Christ ought to suffer, and so enter into glory: Is that contract void, and of none effect? Must he not die I Where is the ratification of that contract in all the prophets I Where is Esay's Vere languores nostros tulit11, Surely he hath borne our sorrows; and, he made his grave with the wicked in his death? la the ratification of the prophets cancelled? Shall he not, must he not die? Where is the consummation, and the testification of all this I Where is the Gospel, Consummatum est! And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost? Is that fabulous I Did he not die? How stands the validity of that contract, Christ must die; the dignity of those prophecies, Christ will die; the truth of the Gospel, Christ did die, with this answer to this question, Here is a man that liveth and shall not see death? Very well; for though Christ Jesus did truly die, so as was contracted, so as was prophesied, so as was related, yet he did not die so, aa was intended in this question, so as other natural men do die.
For first, Christ died because he would die; other men admitted to the dignity of martyrdom, are willing to die; but they die by the torments of the executioners, they cannot bid theft* souls go out, and say, now I will die. And this was Christ's case: it was not only, / lay down my life for my sheep18, but he says also, No man can take away my soul; and, I have power to lay it down; and de facto, he did lay it down, he did die, before the torments could have extorted his soul from him; many crucified men lived many days upon the cross; the thieves were alive, long after Christ was dead; and therefore Pilate wondered, that he was already dead. His soul did not leave his body by force, but because he would", and when he would, and how he would; thus far then first, this is an answer to this question, Quis homo? Christ did not die naturally, nor violently, as all others do, but only voluntarily.
Again, the penalty of death appertaining only to them, who were derived from Adam by carnal, and sinful generation, Christ Jesus being conceived miraculously of a virgin, by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, was not subject to the law of death; and therefore in his person, it ia a true answer to this
>f Isaiah tiii. 4, 9. 18 John x. 16. Mar. xv. 44. Augustine.
Quis homo? Here is a man, that shall not see death, that is, he need not see death, he hath not incurred God's displeasure, he is not involved in a general rebellion, and therefore is not involved in the general mortality, not included in the general penalty. He needed not have died by the rigour of any law, all we must; he could not die by the malice, or force of any executioner, all we must; at least by Nature's general executioners, age, and sickness; and then, when out of his own pleasure, and to advance our salvation, he would die, yet he died so, as that though there were a disunion of body and soul, (which is truly death) yet there remained a nobler, and faster union, than that of body and soul, the hypostatical union of the Godhead, not only to his soul, but to his body too; so that even in his death, both parts were still, not only inhabited by, but united to the Godhead itself; and in respect of that inseparable union, we may answer to this question, Quis homo? Here is a man that shall not see death, that is, he shall see no separation of that, which is incomparably, and incomprehensibly, a better soul than his soul, the Godhead shall not be separated from his body.
But, that which is indeed the most direct, and literal answer, to this question, is, that whereas the death in this text, is intended of such a death, as hath dominion over us, and from which we have no power to raise ourselves, we may truly, and fully answer to his Quis homo? Here is a man, that shall never see death so, but that he shall even in the jaws, and teeth of death, and in the bowels and womb of the grave, and in the sink, and furnace of hell itself, retain an Almighty power, and an effectual purpose, to deliver his soul from death, by a glorious, a victorious, and a triumphant resurrection: so it is true, Christ Jesus died, else none of us could live; but yet he died not so, as is intended in this question; not by the necessity of any law, not by the violence of any executioner, not by the separation of his best soul, (if we may so call it) the Godhead, nor by such a separation of his natural, and human soul, as that he would not, or could not, or did not resume it again.
If then this question had been asked of angels at first, Quis angelus? What angel is that, that stands, and shall not fall? Though as many of those angels, as were disposed to that answer, Erimus similes altissimo, We will be like God, and stand of ourselves, without any dependence upon him, did fall, yet otherwise they might have answered the question fairly, all we may stand if we will; if this question had been asked of Adam in Paradise, Quis homo ? though when he hearkened to her, who had hearkened to that voice, Eritis sicut dii, You shall be as gods, he fell too, yet otherwise, he might have answered the question fairly so, I may live, and not die, if I will; so, if this question be asked of us now, as the question implies the general penalty, as it considers us only as the sons of Adam, we have no other answer, but that by Adam sin entered upon all, and death by sin upon all; as it implies the state of them only, whom Christ at his second coming shall find upon earth, we have no other answer but a modest non liquet, we are not sure, whether we shall die then, or no; we are only sure, it shall be so, as most conduces to our good, and God's glory; but as the question implies us to be members of our head, Christ Jesus, as it was a true answer in him, it is true in every one of us, adopted in him, here is a man that liveth, and shall not see death.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue*", says Solomon, in another sense; and in this sense too, if my tongue, suggested by my heart, and by my heart rooted in faith, can say, non moriar, non moriar; if I can say, (and my conscience do not tell me, that I belie mine own state) if I can say, That the blood of my Saviour runs in my veins, that the breath of his Spirit quickens all my purposes, that all my deaths have their resurrection, all my sins their remorses, all my rebellions their reconciliations, I will hearken no more after this question, as it is intended de morte naturali, of a natural death, I know I must die that death, what care I? Nor de morte spirituali, the death of sin, I know I do, and shall die so; why despair I? But I will find out another death, mortem raptus", a death of rapture, and of ecstacy, that death which St. Paul died more than once34, the death which St. Gregory speaks of, Divina contemplatio quoddam sepulchrum animw, The contemplation of God, and heaven, is a kind of burial, and sepulchre, and rest of the soul; and in this death of . rapture, and ecstacy, in this death of the contemplation of my
40 Prov. xviii. 21. 11 2 Cor. 12. *a Acts 9.
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interest in my Saviour, I shall find myself, and all my sins interred, and entombed in his wounds, and like a lily in Paradise, out of red earth, I shall see my soul rise out of his blade, in a candour, and in an innocence, contracted there, acceptable in the sight of his Father.
Though I have been dead, in the delight of sin, so that that of St. Paul, That a widow that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth*3, be true of my soul, that so, viduatur, gratia mortua, when Christ is dead, not for the soul, but in the soul, that the soul hath no sense of Christ, viduatur anima, the soul is a widow, and no dowager, she hath lost her husband, and hath nothing from him; yea though / have made a covenant with death, and have been at an agreement with hell**, and in a vain confidence have said to myself, that when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to me, yet God shall annul that covenant, he shall bring that scourge, that is, some medicinal correction upon me, and so give me a participation of all the stripes of his Son; he shall give me a sweat, that is, some horror, and religious fear, and so give me a participation of his agony; he shall give me a diet, perchance want, and penury, and so a participation of his fasting; and if he draw blood, if he kill me, all this shall be but mors raptus, a death of rapture towards him, into a heavenly, and assured contemplation, that I have a part in all his passion, yea such an entire interest in his whole passion, as though all that he did, or suffered, had been done, and suffered for my soul alone; Quasi moriens, et ecce vivoTM: Some show of death I shall have, for I shall sin; and some show of death again, for I shall have a dissolution of this tabernacle; sed ecce vivo, still the Lord of life will keep me alive, and that with an ecce, behold, I live; that is, he will declare, and manifest my blessed state to me; I shall not sit in the shadow of death; no nor I shall not sit in darkness; his gracious purpose shall evermore be upon me, and I shall ever discern that gracious purpose of his; I shall not die, nor I shall not doubt that I shall; if I be dead within doors, (if I have sinned in my heart) why, suscitavit in domo, Christ gave a resurrection to the ruler's daughter within doors, in the house86;
if I be dead in the gate, (if I have ginned in the gates of my soul) in mine eyes, or ears, or hands, in actual sins, why, suscitavit in porta, Christ gave a resurrection to the young man at the gate of Naim*7. If I be dead in the grave, (in customary, and habitual sins) why suscitavit in sepulchro, Christ gave a resurrection to Lazarus in the grave too". If God give me mortem raptus, a death of rapture, of ecstacy, of fervent contemplation of Christ Jesus, a transfusion, a transplantation, a transmigration, a transmutation into him, (for good digestion brings always assimilation, certainly, if I come to a true meditation upon Christ, I come to a conformity with Christ) this is principally that Pretiosa mars sanctorum, Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his saints", by which they are dead and buried, and risen again in Christ Jesus: precious is that death, by which we apply that precious blood to ourselves, and grow strong enough by it, to meet David's question, Quis homo? What man? with Christ's answer, Ego homo, I am the man, in whom whosoever abideth, shall not see death.