PREACHED TO THE KING AT WHITEHALL, UPON THE
OCCASION OF THE FAST, APRIL 5, 1628.
Psaiju vi. 6, 7.
I am weary with my groaning ; all the night make I my bed to swim, I water
my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of gricf; it waxeth old, because of all mine
This is David's humiliation; and coming after his repentance and reconciliation, David's penance: and yet here is no fast; it is true; no fast named; David had had experience, that as the wisest actions of kings, (of kings as kings over subjects) so the devoutest actions of kings, (of kings, as humble subjects to the King of kings, the God of heaven) had been misinterpreted. Of sighing, and groaning, and weeping, and languishing, (as in this text) David speaks often, very, very often in the Psalms; and they let him sigh, and groan, and weep, and languish; they neglect his passion, and are not affected with that; but that is all; they afflict him no farther: but when he comes to fasting, they deride him, they reproach him ; Cares God whether you eat, or fast ? But thrice in all the Psalms does David speak of his
VOL. II. 2 G
fasting, and in all three places, it was misinterpreted, and reproachfully misinterpreted; / humbled my soul Kith fasting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosom1 ; he did this (as he says there) for others, that needed it, and they would not thank him for it, but reproached him. When I wept, and chastened my sout with fasting, that was to my reproach*. So also my bones are weak through fasting, and I became a reproach unto them*. And therefore no wonder that David does not so often mention and publish his fasting, as his other mortifications; no wonder that in all his seven penitential Psalms, (which are the church's topics for mortification and humiliation,) there is no mention of his fasting. But for his practice, (though he speak not so much of it in the Psalms) in his history where others, not himself, speak of him, we know that when he mourned, and prayed for his sick child, he fasted too*. And we doubt not, but that, when he was thus wearied, (/ am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim, I water my couch with my tears; mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies) he fasted too; he fasted oftener, than he tells us of it. As St. Hierome says, Jejunium non perfecta virtus, sed cceterarum virtutum fundamentum, If we must not call fasting (as fasting is but a bodily abstinence) a religious act, an act of God's worship, yet it is a basis, and a foundation, upon which other religious acts, and acts of God's worship are the better advanced. It is so at all tunes; but it is so especially when it is enjoined by sovereign authority, and upon manifest occasion, as now to us. Semper virtutis cibus jejunium fuit, it is elegantly, and usefully said5: At all times, lleligion feeds upon fasting, and feasts upon fasting, and grows the stronger for fasting. But, Quod pium est agere non indicium, impium est negligereprcedicatum*, It is a godly thing to fast uncommanded, but to neglect it being commanded, is an ungodly, an impious, a refractory perverseness, says the same father. But then another carries it to a higher expression, />..*-perationis genus est, tune manducare, cum abstinere debeas1, Not to fast when the times require it, and when authority enjoins it,
1 Psalm xxxv. 13. * Psalm rxix. 10. * Psalm cix. 24.
4 2 Sam. ii. 15. 5 Leo. * Leo.
7 Maximus de jejunio Ninevitanuu.
or not to believe, that God will be affected and moved with that fasting, and be the better inclined for it, is desperationis genus, a despairing of the state, a despairing of the church, a despairing of the grace of God to both, or of his mercy upon both. And truly there cannot be a more disloyal affection than that, desperare rempublicam, to forespeak great councils, to bewitch great actions, to despair of good ends in things well intended: and in our distresses, where can we hope, but in God ? And how shall we have access to God, but in humiliation ? We doubt not therefore but that this act of humiliation, his fasting, was spread over David's other acts in this text, and that as a sinner in his private person, and as a kiug in his public and exemplar office, he fasted also, (though he says not so) when he said he was wearied, I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim, I water my couch with my tears; mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
But though this fasting, and these other penal acts of humiliation, be the body that carries, and declares, yet the soul that inanimates, and quickens all, is prayer; and therefore this whole Psalm is a prayer; and the prayer is partly deprecatory, in some things David desires that God would forbear him, as ver. 1., Correct me not, for if thou correct me, others will trample upon me; rebuke me not, for if thou rebuke me, others will calumniate me; and partly postulatory, that some things God would give him, as health, and deliverance, and that which is all, salvation, in the other verses. Both parts of the prayer are (as all prayer must be) grounded upon reasons; and the reasons are from divers roots; some from the consideration of himself, and they argue his humiliation; some from the contemplation of God, and they testify his devotion, and present recourse to him; some from both together, God, and himself jointly, which is an acknowledgment, that God works not alone in heaven, nor man lives not alone upon earth, but there is a conversation, and a correspondence, and a commerce between God and man, and conditions, and contracts, and covenants, and stipulations between them, and so a mutual interest in one another. From God himself alone, David raises a reason, (ver. 4,) Propter misericordiam, 0 save me for thy mercies sake; for of the mercy of God, there is no precedent, there is no concurrent reason, there is no reason of the mercy of God, but the mercy of God: from God, and himself together, he raises a reason, v. 5, Quia non in morte, For in death there is no remembrance of thee; destroy me not, for if I die, Quid facies magno nomini tuo? (as Joshua speaks) what will become of thy glory ? Of that glory which thou shouldst receive from my service in this world, if thou take me out of this world ? But then, as he begun in reasons arising from himself, and out of the sense of his own humiliation under the hand of God, (for so he does) v. 2, Quia infirmus, Have mercy upon me, because I am weak, and cannot subsist without that mercy. And Quia turbata ossa, His bones-were vexed; Habet anima ossasua, says St. Basil, The soul hath bones as well as the body; the bones of the soul are the strongest faculties, and best operations of the soul, and his best, and strongest actions, were but questionable actions, disputable, and suspicious actions; and turbata anima, all his faculties, even in their very root, his very soul, was sore vexed, v. 3, As, I say, he began with reasons of that kind, arising from himself, so he returns and ends with the same humiliation, in the reasons arising from himself too, Quia laboram ingemitu, I am weary with my groaning, all the night make I my bed to swim, &c.
As our Saviour Christ entered into the house to his disciples, januis clausis, when the doors were shut6: so God enters into us too, januis claims, when our eyes have not opened their doors, in any real penitent tears, when our mouths have not opened their doors, in any verbal prayers; God sees, and he hears the inclinations of the heart. St. Bernard notes well upon those words of Christ, at the raising of Lazarus, Father I thank thee, that thou hast heard me*, that at that time, when Christ gave thanks to God, for having heard him, he had said nothing to his father; but God had heard his heart. Since God does so even to us, he will much more hear us, as David, when we make outward declarations too, because that outward declaration conduces more to his glory, in the edification of his servants, therefore David comes to that declaratory protestation, Quia laboravi in gemitu, I am weary with my groaning, &c.
0 John xx. 28. * John xi. 41.
In which words, we shall consider, Quid factum, and Quid faciendum, What David did, and what we are to do: for David, after he had thrown himself upon the mercy of God, after he had confessed, and prayed, and done the spiritual parts of repentance, he afflicts his body besides; and so ought we likewise to do, if we will be partakers of David's example. And therefore we may do well to consider Quid faciendum, How this example of David binds us, how these groanings and waterings of his bed with tears, and other mortifications assumed after repentance, and reconciliation to God, lay an obligation upon us.
But this is our part, Quid faciendum, What is to be done by us; first, Quid factum, What David did; and truly he did much first gemuit, he came to groan, to sigh, to outward declarations of inward heaviness. And Laboramt in gemitu, He laboured, he travailed in that passion, and (as the word imports, and as our later translation hath it) he was wearied, tired with it; so far, that (as it is in the first translation) lie fainted, he languished with it. First he sighed, and sighed so; and groaned, and groaned so; passionately, vehemently, and then openly, exemplarily; and he was not ashamed of it, for he came to weeping, though he knew it would be thought childish: and that in that abundance, Natarefeci, and Liquefeci lectum, He watered his bed, dissolved his bed, made his bed to swim, surrounded his bed with tears; and more, he macerated his bed with that brine: and then he continued this affliction ; it was not a sudden passion, a flash of remorse; but he continued it, till his eye was consumed by reason of that anguish, and despite, and indignation; as our diverse translations vary the expressing thereof; so long, as night and day lasted, so long, as that he was waxen old under it; and when this great affliction should have brought him safely into harbour, that he might have rested securely at last, his enemies that triumphed over him, gave him new occasions of misery, his eyes were consumed, and waxed old because of his enemies; that is, because he was still amongst enemies that triumphed over him.
Be pleased to take another edition, another impression of these particulars ; a natural man's moral constancy will hold out against outward declarations of grief; yet David came to that, he groaned: a groan, a sigh may break out, and the heart be at the more ease for that; but laboravit, they grew upon him, and the more he groaned, and the more he sighed, the more he had an inclination, and not only that, but cause to do so, for he found that his sorrow was to be sorrowed for, and his repentance to be repented, there were such imperfections in all. Therefore he suffered thus till he was wearied, till he fainted with groaning, and sighing. And then this wind does not blow over the rain, he weeps; and weeps the more violently, and the more continually, extremes that seldom meet, violence, and lasting, but in his case they did. All this, all night, and all this, all this while, not amongst friends to pity him, and condole with him, but amongst enemies to affront him, and deride him: so that here are all the ingredients, all the elements of misery; sorrow of heart, that admits no disguise, but flows into outward declarations; and such declarations as create no compassion, but triumph in the enemy. / am weary with my groaning, &c.
To proceed then to the particulars iu our first part, Quid factum, What David did, first gemit, he comes to sigh, to groan, to an outward declaration of a sense of God's indignation upon him, till he had perfected his repentance. She siyhed, and turned backward, was Jerusalem's misery. To sigh, and turn backward, to repent, and relapse, is a woful condition : but to sigh, and turn forward, to turn upon God, and to pursue this sorrow for our sins, then, in such sighs, The spirit of man returns to God that gave it"; as God breathed into man, so man breathes unto the nostrils of God a savour of reet, as it is said of Noah, an acceptable sacrifice, when he sighs for his sins. This sighing, this groaning, expressed in this word, Anaeh, t/emitus, is Vox turturis. Turtnr yemit; it is that voice, that sound which the turtle gives; and we learn by authors of natural story", and by experience, Turiuria gemitus Indicium veris, The voice of the turtle is an evidence of the spring; when a sinner comes to this voice, to this sighing, there is a spring of grace begun in him; then Vox turturis audita in terra nostra, says Christ to his spouse, The voice of the turtle is heard in our land"; and so he says to thy soul, this
10 Eccles. xii. 7. " Plin. li. xviii. c. 28. » Can. ii. 12.
voice of the turtle, these sighs of thy penitent soul, are heard in terra nostra, in our land, in the kingdom of heaven.
And when he hears this voice of this turtle, these sighs of thy soul, then he puts thy name also into that list, which he gave to his messenger, (in which commission this very word of our text, anach, is used) Signabis signum super frontibus virorum suspirantium et gementiumTM, Upon all their foreheads, that sigh and groan, imprint my mark; which is ordinarily conceived by the ancients to have been the letter tau; of which though Calvin assign a useful, and a convenient reason, that they were marked with this letter tau, which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in sign, that though they were in estimation of the world, the most abject, and the outcasts thereof, yet God set his mark upon them, with a purpose to raise them; yet St. Hidrome, and the ancients for the most part assign that for the reason, why they were marked with that letter, because that letter had the form of the cross ; not for any such use, or power, as the Roman church hath ascribed to that sign, but as in the persecutions of the primitive church, the martyrs at the stake, when a cry was raised, that they died for treason, for rebellion, for sedition, and could not be heard, for the clamour, to clear themselves, used then in the sight of all, who, though they could not hear them, could see them, to sign themselves with the cross, not to drive away devils, or to strengthen themselves against temptations by that sign, but by that sign to declare the cause of their death to be the profession of the Christian religion, and not treason, nor sedition. And as we in our baptism have that cross imprinted upon us, not as a part of the sacrament, or any piece of that armour, which we put on of spiritual strength, but as a protestation, whose soldiers we became: so God imprinted upon them, that sighed, and mourned, that tau, that letter, which had the form of the cross, that it might be an evidence, that all their crosses shall be swallowed in his cross, their sighs in his sighs, and their agonies in his. And therefore, beloved, these sighs are too spiritual a substance, to be bestowed upon worldly matters; all the love, all the ambitions, all the losses of this world, are not
" Ezek. i \. 4.
worth a sigh; if they were, yet thou hast none to spare, for all thy sighs are due to thy sins; bestow them there.
Gemit, he sighs, he groans; and then Laboravit in gemitu; he laboured, he travailed, he grew weary, he fainted with sighing. Not to be curious, we meet with a threefold labour in Scriptures. First there is Labor communis, The labour which no man may avoid; Man is born unto travail, as the sparks fly upward1*; where we may note in the comparison, that it is not a dejection, a diminution, a depressing downward, but a flying upward, the true exaltation of a man, that he labours duly in a lawful calling; and this is labor communis; secondly there \sLaborimpii, The labour of the wicked, for, they have taught their tongues to speak lies, says David, and take great pains to deal wickedly; as it is also in Job, The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days", and (as our former translation had it) he is continually as one travailing with child; indeed the labour is greater, to do ill, than well; to get hell, than heaven; heaven might be had with less pains, than men do bestow upon hell; and this is labor impiorum. And lastly, there is Labor justorum, The labour of the righteous, which is, To rise early, to lie down late, and to eat the bread of sorrow; for, though in that place, this seems to be said to be done in vain, It is in vain to rise early, in vain to lie down late, in vain to eat the bread of sorrow ", yet it is with the same exception, which is there specified, that is, Except the Lord build, it is in vain to labour, except the Lord keep the city, it is in vain to watch; so except the Lord give rest to his beloved, it is in vain to rise early: in vain to travail, except God give a blessing. But when the Lord hath given thee rest, in the remission of thy sins, then comes this labor justorum, the labour that a righteous man is bound to, that as God hath given him a good night's rest, so he gives God a good day's work, as God hath given him rest and peace of conscience, for that which is past, so he take some pains for that which is to come, for such was David's case, and David's care, and David's labour.
Ephraim, an ancient deacon, and expositor in the Christian church, takes this labour of David, laboravi in gemitu, to have
14 Job v. 7. " Job xv. 20. " Psalm cxxvii. 2.
been in gemitu, but in comprimendo gemitu, that he laboured to conceal his penance and mortification, from the sight and knowledge of others; beloved, this concealing of those things, which we put ourselves to in the ways of godliness, hath always a good use, when it is done, to avoid ostentation, and vain glory, and praise of men ; and it hath otherwise, sometimes a good use, to conceal our tribulations and miseries from others, because the wicked often take occasion, from the calamities and pressures of the godly, to insult and triumph over them, and to dishonour and blaspheme their God, and to say, Where is now your God? And therefore it may sometimes concern us to labour to hide our miseries, to swallow our owu spittle, as Job speaks, and to sponge up our tears in our brains, and to eat, and smother our sighs in our own bosoms. But this was not David's case now; but as he had opened himself to God, he opened himself to the world too; and as he says in another place, Come and I will tell you, what God hath done for my soul, so here he says, Come, and I will tell you, what I have done against my God. So he sighed, and so he groaned; he laboured, he was affected bitterly with it himself ; and he declared it, he made it exemplar, and catechistical, that his dejection in himself, might be an exaltation to others; and then he was not ashamed of it, but as he said of his dancing before the ark, If this be to be vile, I will be more vile, so here, if this passion be weakness, I will yet be more weak ; for this wind brought rain, these sighs brought tears, All the night make I my bed to swim, &c.
The concupiscences of man, are naturally dry powder, combustible easily, easily apt to take fire; but tears damp them, and give them a little more leisure, and us intermission and consideration. David had laboured hard ; first ad ruborem, as physicians advise, to a redness, to a blushing, to a shame of his sin; and now ad sudorem, he had laboured to a sweat: for Lacrymce sudor animce mcerentis", Tears are the sweat of a labouring soul, and that soul that labours as David did, will sweat, as David did, in the tears of contrition; till then, till tears break out, and find a vent in outward declaration, we pant and struggle in miserable convulsions, and distortions, and distractions, and earthquakes,
and irresolutions of the soul; I can believe, that God will have mercy upon me, if I repent, but I cannot believe that is repentance, if I cannot weep, or come to outward declarations. This is the laborious irresolution of the soul; but Lacrymce diluvium, et evehunt animam10, These tears carry up our soul, as the flood carried up the ark, higher than any hills; whether hills of power, and so above the oppression of potent adversaries, or hills of our own pride, and ambition; true holy tears carry us above all. And therefore, when the angel rebuked the people, for not destroying idolatry, They wept, says the text", there was their present remedy; and they called the name of the place Bochim, Tears, that there might be a permanent testimony of that expressing of their repentance; that that way they went to God, and in that way God received them; and that their children might say to one another, Where did God show that great mercy to our fathers? Here; here, in Bochim, that is, here in tears. And so when at Samuel's motions, and increpation, the people would testify their repentance, They drew water, says the story, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted, and said, We have sinned against the Lord**. They poured water, Ut esset symlolum lacrymarum", That that might be a type, and figure, in what proportion of tears, they desired to express their repentance. For, such an effusion of tears, David may be well thought to intend, when he says, Effundite cm-am Deo animam vestram, Pour out your souls before God, pour them out in such an effusion, in a continual, and a contrite weeping. Still the prophets cry out upon idols and idolaters, Ululate sculptilia ; Howl ye idols, and howl ye idolaters; he hath no hope of their weeping. And so the devil, and the damned are said to howl, but not to weep; or when they are said to weep, it is with a gnashing of teeth, which is a voice of indignation, even towards God, and not of humiliation under his hand: so also says the prophet of an impenitent sinner, Induratce super petram facies, They have made their faces harder than stone"; Wherein? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not wept; not sorrowed. Out of a stone water cannot be drawn, but by miracle, though it be twice stricken; as Moses
10 Nazianzen. " Judges ii. 5. *0 1 Sam. vii. 6.
*1 Nab. Ozicl. *• Jer. v. 3.
struck the rock twiceTM, yet the water came by the miraculous power of God, and not by Moses' second stroke. Though God strike this sinner twice, thrice, he will not weep: though inward terrors strike his conscience, and outward diseases strike his body, and calamities and ruin strike his estate, yet he will not confess by one tear, that these are judgments of God, but natural accidents ; or if judgments, that they proceeded not from his sin, but from some decree in God, or some purpose in God, to glorify himself, by thus afflicting him, and that if he had been better, he should have fared never the better, for God's purpose must stand. Therefore says God of such in that place, Surely they are poor, that was plain enough, and they are foolish too, says God there: and God gives the reason of it, for they know not the judgmentt of God; they know not his judgments to be judgments; they ascribe all calamities to other causes, and so they turn upon other ways, and other plots, and other miserable comforters. But attribute all to the Lord; never say of anything, This falls upon me, but of all, This is laid upon me by the hand of God, and thou wilt come to him in tears. Rain-water is better than riverwater; the water of heaven, tears for offending thy God, are better than tears for worldly losses; but yet come to tears of any kind, and whatsoever occasion thy tears, Dens absterget omnem lacrymam, there is the largeness of his bounty, He will wipe all tears from thine eyes"; but thou must have tears first: first thou must come to this weeping, or else God cannot come to this wiping; God hath not that errand to thee, to wipe tears from thine eyes, if there be none there; if thou do nothing for thyself, God finds nothing to do for thee.
David wept thus, thus vehemently, and he wept thus, thus continually; in the night, says our text; not that he wept not in the day: he says of himself, My tears have been my meat, both day and night", where though he name no fast, you see his diet, how that was attenuated. And so when it is said of Jerusalem, 8lie weepeth continually in the night", it is not that she put off her weeping till night, but that she continued her days weeping to the night, and in the night: Plorando plorabit, says the original
** Numb. xx. 11. " Isaiah xxv. 8.
*5 Psalm xtii. 3. M Lament, i. 2.
in that place; she does weep already, and she will weep still; she puts it not off dilatorily, (I will weep, but not yet) nor she puts it not over easily, suddenly, (I have wept, and I need no more) but as God promises to his children, the first and latter rain", so must his children give to him again both rains, tears of the day, and tears of the night, by washing the sins of the day in the evening, and the sins of the night in the morning. But this was an addition to David's affliction in this night-weeping, that whereas the night was made for man to rest in, David could not make that use of the night. When he had proposed Bo great a part of his happiness to consist in this, That he would lay him down and sleep in peaceTM, we see in the next Psalm but one, he that thought to sleep out the night, come to weep out the night. When the saints of God have that security, which St. Hierome speaks of, Ut sanctis ipse somnus sit oratio, They sleep securely, for their very sleep is a glorifying of God, who giveth his beloved sleep, yet David could have none of this. But why not he ? Noctem letiferam node compensatTM; first, for the place, the sin came in at those windows, at his eyes, and came in, in fire, in lust, and it must go out at those windows too, and go out in water, in the water of repentant tears; and then, for the time, as the night defiled his soul, so the sin must be expiated, and the soul washed in the night too.
And this may be some emblem, some useful intimation, how hastily repentance follows sin; David's sin is placed, but in the beginning of the night, in the evening, (In the evening he rose, and walked upon the terrace, and saw Bathsheba) and in the next part of time, in the night, he falls a weeping: no more between the sweetness of sin, and the bitterness of repentance, than between evening, and night; no morning to either of them, till the sun of grace arise, and shine out, and proceed to a meridional height, and make the repentance upon circumstance, to be a repentance upon the substance, and bring it to be a repentance for the sin itself, which at first was but a repentance upon some calamity, that that sin induced.
He wept then, and wept in the night; in a time, when he
»* Joel i. 23 ** Psalm iv. ult. ° Eusebius.
could neither receive rest in himself, which all men had, nor receive praise from others, which all men affect. And he wept omni nocte; which is not only Omnibus noctibus, Sometime every night, but it is Tota nocte, Clean through the night; and he wept in that abundance, as hath put the Holy Ghost to that hyperbole in David's pen to express it, Liquefecit stratum, natare fecit stratum, It drowned his bed, surrounded his bed, it dissolved, it macerated, it melted his bed with that brine. Well; Qui rigat stratum, He that washes his bed so with repentant tears, Non potest in cogitationem ejus libidinum pompa subrepere": Temptations take hold of us sometimes after our tears, after our repentance, but seldom or never in the act of our repentance, and iu the very shedding of our tears; at least Libidinum pompa, The victory, the triumph of lust breaks not in upon us, in a bed, so dissolved, so surrounded, so macerated with such tears. Thy bed is a figure of thy grave; such as thy grave receives thee at death, it shall deliver thee up to judgment at last; such as thy bed receives thee at night, it shall deliver thee in the morning: if thou sleep without calling thyself to an account, thou wilt wake so, and walk so, and proceed so, without ever calling thyself to an account, till Christ Jesus call thee in the clouds. It is not intended, that thou shouldst afflict thyself so grievously, as some over-doing penitents, to put chips, and shells, and splints, and flints, and nails, and rowels of spurs in thy bed, to wound and macerate thy body so. The inventions of men, are not intended here; but here is a precept of God, implied in this precedent and practice of David, that as long as the sense of a former sin, or the inclination to a future oppresses thee, thou must not close thine eyes, thou must not take thy rest, till, as God married thy body and soul together in the creation, and shall at last crown thy body and soul together in the resurrection, so they may also rest together here, that as thy body rests in thy bed, thy soul may rest in the peace of thy conscience, and that thou never say to thy head, Rest upon this pillow, till thou canst say to thy soul, Rest in this repentance, in this peace.
Now as this sorrow of David's continued day and night, (in the day for the better edification of men, and in the night for his
better capitulation with God) so there is a farther continuation thereof without any weariness, expressed in the next clause, Turbatus a furore oculus meus, as the Vulgate reads it, and Mine eye is dimmed, for despight or indignation, as our former, or as this last translation hath it, Mine eye is consumed because of grief; and to speak nearest to the original, Erosus est oculus, Min e eye is eaten out with indignation. A word or two shall be enough of each of these words, these three terms, What the eye, which is the subject, what this consuming, or dimming, which is the effect, and what this grief, or indignation, which is the affection, imports and offers to our application. First, oculus, the eye, is ordinarily taken in the Scriptures, pro aspectu, for the whole face, the looks, the countenance, the air of a man ; and this air, an looks, and countenance, declares the whole habitude, and consti tution of the man ; as he looks, so he is: so that the .--//. here, is the whole person ; and so this grief had wrought upon the whole frame and constitution of David, and decayed that; though he place it in the eye, yet it had grown over all the body. Since thou wast not able to say to thy sin, The sin shall come to mine eyes, but no farther, I will look, but not lust, I will see, but not covet, thou must not say, My repentance shall come to mine eyes, and no farther, I will shed a few tears, and no more; but (with this prophet David, and with the apostle St. Paul) thou must beat down thy body to that particular purpose, and in that proportion, as thou findest the rebellions thereof to require: thou couldst not stop the sin at thine eyes; stop not thy repentance there neither, but pursue it in wholesome mortification, through all those parts, in which the sin hath advanced his dominion over thec; and that is our use of the first word, the eye, the whole frame.
For the second word, which in our translations, is, in one dimmed, in the other consumed, and in the Vulgate troubled, a great master in the original" renders it well, elegantly, and naturally, out of the original, Verminavit, tineavit, which is such a deformity, as worms make in wood, or in books; if David's sorrow for his sins brought him to this deformity, what sorrow do they owe to their sins, who being come to a deformity by
their own licentiousness, and intemperance, disguise all that by unnatural helps, to the drawing in of others, and the continuation of their former sins ? The sin itself was the devil's act in thee; but in the deformity and ability, though it follow upon the sin, God hath a hand; and they that smother and suppress these by paintings, and pamperings, unnatural helps to unlawful ends, do not deliver themselves of the plague, but they hide the marks, and infect others, and wrestle against God's notifications of their former sins.
And then the last of these three words, which is here rendered grief, does properly signify, indignation, and anger: and therefore St. Augustine upon this place, puts himself to that question, If David's constitution be shaken, if his complexion and countenance be decayed, and withered, Prce indignatione, For indignation, for anger, from whom proceeds this indignation, and this anger ? says that blessed father. If it proceed from God, says he, it is well that he is but turbatus, and not extinct us, that he is but troubled, and not distracted, but shaken, and not overthrown; but overthrown, and not ground to powder, not trodden as flat aa dirt in the streets, as the prophet speaks. For David himself had told us but a few Psalms before, That when the Son is angry**, (and when we speak of the Son, we intend a person more sensible, and so more compassionate of our miseries, than when we speak of God, of God considered in the height of his majesty) and but a little angry, (which amounts not to this provocation of God, which David had fallen into here) we may perish; andperiah in the way; perish in a half repentance, before we perfect our reconciliation: in the way so, before we come to our end; or in the way, in these outward actions of repentance, if they be hypocritically, or occasionally, or fashionally, or perfunctorily performed, and not with a right heart towards God. Though this be the way, we may perish in the way.
Now Aquinas places this fury (aa the Vulgate calls it, this indignation) in Absalom, and not in David; he takes David's sorrow to rise out of his son's rebellion, and furious prosecution thereof; that David was thus vehemently affected for the fault of another: and truly it is a holy tenderness, and an exemplar
disposition to be so sensible, and compassionate for the sins of other men; though Absalom could not have hurt David, David would have grieved for his unnatural attempt to do it. So in Aquinas' sense, it is Excandescentia pro inimicis, A sorrow for his enemies; Not for his own danger from them, but for their sin in themselves; but Gregory Nyssen takes it, De excandescentia in i?iimicos, For an indignation against his enemies : and that David speaks this by way of confession, and accusation of himself, as of a fault, that he was too soon transported to an impatience, and indignation against them, though enemies; and taking that sense, we see, how quickly even the saints of God put themselves beyond the ability of making that petition sincerely, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; how hard it is even for a good man to forgive an enemy; and how hard it is, Nihil in peccatore odisse nisi peccatum, To sever the sin from the sinner, and to hate the fault, and not the man.
But leaving Thomas and Gregory, Aquinas and Nyssen to that exposition, in which (I think) they are singularly singular, either that this sorrow in David was a charitable and compassionate sense of others' faults, which is Aquinas' way, or that it was a confession of uncharitableness in himself towards others, which is Gregory's way, the whole stream (for the most part) of ancient expositors divide themselves into these two channels; either that this indignation conceived by David, which withered and decayed him, was a holy scorn and indignation against his own sins, that such wretched things as those should separate him from his God, and from his inheritance, according to that chain of affections which the apostle makes", That godly sorrow brings a sinner to a care; he is no longer careless, negligent of his ways ; and that care to a clearing of himself, not to clear himself by way of excuse, or disguise, but to clear himself by way of physic, by humble confession; and then that clearing brings him to an indignation, to a kind of holy scorn, and wonder, how that temptation could work so; such an affection as we conceive to have been in the spouse, when she said, Lavi pedes, I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them? I have emptied my soul by confession, is it possible I should charge it with new transgressions ? Or else they place this affection, this indignation in God; and then they say, it was an apprehension of the anger of God, to be expressed upon him in the day of judgment; and against this vermination, (as the original denotes) against this gnawing of the worm, that may bore through, and sink the strongest vessel that sails in the seas of this world, there is no other varnish, no other liniment, no other medicament, no other pitch nor rosin against this worm, but the blood of Christ Jesus: and therefore whensoever this worm, this apprehension of God's future indignation, reserved for the judgment, bites upon thee, be sure to present to it the blood of thy Saviour: never consider the judgment of God for sin alone, but in the company of the mercies of Christ. It is but the hissing of the serpent, and the whispering of Satan, when he surprises thee in a melancholy midnight of dejection of spirit, and lays thy sins before thee then; look not upon thy sins so inseparably, that thou canst not see Christ too: como not to a confession to God, without consideration of the promises of his Gospel; even the sense and remorse of sin is a dangerous consideration, but when the cup of salvation stands by me, to keep me from fainting. David himself could not get off when he would; but (as he complains there, which is the last act of his sorrow to be considered in this, which is all his part, and all our first part) Inveteravit, He waxed old because of all his enemies.
83 2 Cor. vii.
The difference is not of much importance, whether it be inveteravi, or inveteravit; in the first, or in the third person. Whether David's eyes, or David himself be thus decayed, and waxen old, imports little. But yet that which Bellarmine collects, upon this difference, imports much. For, because the Vulgate edition, and the Septuagint, (such a Septuagint as we have now) read this in the first person of David himself, inveteravi, and the Hebrew hath it in the third, inveteravit, Bellarmine will needs think, that the Hebrew, the original, is falsified and corrupted; still in advancement of that dangerous position of theirs, that their translation is to be preferred before the original; and that is an insufferable tyranny, and an idolatrous servility. The translation is a reverend translation ; a translation to which the church of God owes much; but gold will make an idol as well as wood, and to make any translation equal, or better than the original, is
VOL. II. 2 II
an idolatrous servility. It is true, that that which is said here in the third person, implies the first; and it is David, that after his sighing, and fainting with that, after his weeping, and dissolving with that, after his consuming, and withering with that, foresees no rescue, no escape, inveteravit, he waxes old amongst his enemies. Who wore his enemies, and what was this age that he speaks of? It is of best use to pursue the spiritual sense of this Psalm, and Bo his enemies were his sins; and David found that he had not got the victory over any one enemy, any one sin; another's blood did not extinguish the lustful heat of his own, nor the murder of the husband, the adultery with the wife: change of sin is not an overcoming of sin; he that passes from sin to sin, without repentance, (which was David's case for a time) still leaves an enemy behind him; and though he have no present assault from his former enemy, no temptation to any act of his former sin, yet he is still in the midst of his enemies; under condemnation of his past, as well as of his present sins; as unworthy a receiver of the sacrament, for the sins of his youth done forty years ago, if those sins were never repented, though so long discontinued, as for his ambition, or covetousness, or indevotion of this present day. These are his enemies; and then this is the age that grows upon him, the age that David complains of, / am waxen old.; that is, grown into habits of these sins. There is an old age of our natural condition, We shall wax old as doth a garment"; David would not complain of that which all men desire; to wish to be old, and then grudge to be old, when we are come to it, cannot consist with moral constancy. There is an old age expressed in that phrase, the old man, which the apostle speaks of, which is that natural corruption and disposition to sin, cast upon us by Adam; but that old man was crucified in Christ, says the apostle"; and was not so only from that time when Christ was actually crucified, one thousand six hundred years ago, but from that time that a second Adam was promised to the first, in Paradise ; and so that Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, from the beginning delivered all them, to whom the means ordained by God, (as circumcision to them, baptism to us) were afforded; and in that respect, David was not
" Psalm cii. 26. 0' Rom. vi. 6.
under that old age, but was become a new creature. Nor as the law was called the old law, wbich is another age also; for to them who understood that law aright, the new law, the Gospel, was enwrapped in the old : and so David as well as we, might be said to serve God in the newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letterTM; so that this was not the age that oppressed him.
The age that oppresses the sinner, is that when he is grown old in sin, he is grown weak in strength, and become less able to overcome that sin then, than he was at beginning. Blindness contracted by age, doth not deliver him from objects of temptations ; he sees them, though he be blind; deafness doth not deliver him from discourses of temptation; he hears them though he be deaf; nor lameness doth not deliver him from pursuit of temptation; for in his own memory he sees, and hears, and pursues all his former sinful pleasures, and every night, every hour sins over all the sins of many years that are passed. That which waxeth old, is ready to vanishs1, says the apostle: if we would let them go, they would go ; and whether we will or no, they leave us for the ability of practice ; but thesaurizamus, we treasure them up in our memories, and we treasure up the wrath of God with them, against the day of wrath*0; and whereas one calling of our sins to our memories by way of confession, would do us good, and serve our turns, this often calling them in a sinful delight, in the memory of them, exceeds the sin itself, when it was committed**, because it is more unnatural now, than it was then, and frustrates the pardon of that sin, when it was repented. To end this branch, and this part, so humble was this holy prophet, and so apprehensive of his own debility, and so far from an imaginary infallibility of falling no more, as that after all his agonies, and exercises, and mortifications, and prayer, and sighs, and weeping, still he finds himself in the midst of enemies, and of his old enemies; for not only temptations to new sins, but even the memory of old, though formerly repented, arise against us, arise in us, and ruin us. And so we pass from these pieces which constitute our first part, quid factum, what David upon the sense of his case did, to the other, quid faciendum, what by
" Rom. vii. 6. 07 Heb. viii. 13. "0 Rom. ii. 5. *" Ezek. xxiii. 19.
his example we are to do, and what is required of us, after we have repented, and God hath remitted the sin.
Out of this passage here in this psalm, and out of that history, where Nathan says to David, The Lord hath put away thy sin", and yet says after, The child that is born to thee shall surely die, and out of that story, where David repents earnestly his sin, committed in the numbering of his people, and says; Now, now that I have repented, Now I beseech thee 0 Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I haw done very foolishly41, yet David was to endure one of those three calamities, of famine, war, or pestilence; and out of some other such places as these, some men have imagined a doctrine, that after our repentance, and after God had thereupon pardoned our sin, yet he leaves the punishment belonging to that sin unpardoned; though not all the punishment, not the eternal, yet say they, There belongs a temporary punishment too, and that God does not pardon, but exacts, and exacts in the nature of a punishment, and more, by way of satisfaction to his justice.
Now, stipendium peccati morg est, there is the punishment for sin. The reward of sin is death. If there remain no death, there remains no punishment: For the reward of sin is death, and death complicated in itself, death wrapped in death; and what is so intricate, so entangling as death ? Whoever got out of a windingsheet? It is death aggravated by itself; death weighed down by death: and what is so heavy as death ? Whoever threw off his grave-stone? It is death multiplied by itself; and what is so infinite as death ? Whoever told over the days of death ? It is morte morieris, a double death, eternal, and temporary. Temporal, and spiritual death. Now, the temporary, the natural death, God never takes away from us, he never pardons that punishment, because he never takes away that sin that occasioned it, which is original sin; to what sanctification soever a man comes, original sin lives to his last breath. And therefore, statutum est, that decree stands, semel mori, that every man must die once" ; but for any bis mori, for twice dying, for eternal death upon any man, as man, if God consider him not as an impotent sinner, there is
10 2 Sam. xii. 13. " 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. " Heb. is. 27.
no such invariable decree; for, that death being also the punishment for actual sin, if he take away the cause, the sin, he takes away that effect, that death also; for this death itself, eternal death, we all agree that it is taken away with the sin; and then for other calamities in this life, which we call, Morticulas, little deaths, the children, the issue, the offspring, the propagation of death, if we would speak properly, no affliction, no judgment of God in this life, hath in it exactly the nature of a punishment; not only not the nature of satisfaction, but not the nature of a punishment. We call not coin, base coin, till the allay be more than the pure metal: God's judgments are not punishments, except there be more danger than love, more justice than mercy in them; and that is never; for miserationes ejus super omnia opera, his mercies are above all his works : in his first work, in the creation, his Spirit, the Holy Ghost, moved upon the face of the waters; and still upon the face of all our waters, (as waters are emblems of tribulation in all the Scriptures) his Spirit, the Spirit of comfort, moves too; and as the waters produced the first creatures in the creation, so tribulations offer us the first comforts, sooner than prosperity does. God executes no judgment upon man in this life, but in mercy; either in mercy to that person, in his sense thereof, if he be sensible, or at least in mercy to his church, in the example thereof, if he be not: there is no person to whom we can say, that God's corrections are punishments, any otherwise than medicinal, and such, as he may receive amendment by, that receives them; neither does it become us in any case, to say God lays this upon him, because he is so ill, but because he may be better.
But here our consideration is only upon the godly, and such as by repentance stand upright in his favour; and even in them, our adversaries say, That after the remission of their sins, there remains a punishment, and a punishment by way of satisfaction, to be borne for that sin, which is remitted. But since they themselves tell us, that in baptism God proceeds otherwise, and pardons there all sin, and all punishment of sin, which should be inflicted in the next world, (for children newly baptized, do not suffer anything in purgatory) and that this holds not only in baptismo flnminis, in the sacrament of baptism, but in baptismo sanguinis, in the baptism of blood too; (for in martyrdom, as St. Augustine says, Injuriam facit martyr i, He wrongs a martyr that prays for a martyr, as though he were not already in heaven, so he suspects a martyr, that thinks that martyr goes to purgatory) and since they say, that he can do so in the other sacrament too, and in repentance, which they call, and justly, Secundam post naufragium tabulam, That whereas baptism hath once delivered us from shipwreck, in original sin, this repentance delivers us after baptism, from actual sin; since God can pardon, without reserving any punishment, since God does so in baptism and martyrdom, since out of baptism or martyrdom, it appears often, that de facto, he hath done so, (for ho enjoined no penanco to the man sick of the palsy, when he said, Son be of good comfort, thy sins are forgiven theeTM, sius, and punishments too. He intimated no such after reckoning to her, of whom he said, Many sitt s are forgiven her"; sins, and punishments too. He left no such future satisfaction in that parable upon the Publican, that departed to his house justified"; justified from sins, and punishments too. And when he had declared Zaccheus to be the son of Abraham, and said, This day is salvation come unto thyhouse4*, he did not charge this blessed inheritance with any such incumbrance, that he should still be subject to old debts, to make satisfaction by bodily afflictions for former sins) since God can do this, and does so in baptism, and martyrdom, and hath done this very often, out of baptism, or martyrdom, in repentance, we had need of clearer evidence than they have offered to produce yet, that God does otherwise at any time; that at any time he pardons the sin, and retains the punishment, by way of satisfaction. If their market should fail, that no man would buy indulgences (as of late years it was brought low, when they vented ten indulgences in America for one in Europe) if the fire of purgatory were quenched, or slackened, that men would not be so prodigal to buy out fathers' or friends' souls, from thence ; if commutation of penance were so moderated amongst them, that those penances, and satisfao
a Matt. ix. 2. " Luke vii. 47. ** Luke xviii. 14.
40 Luke xix. 9.
tions, which they mako so necessary, were not commuted to money, and brought them in no profit, they would not be perhaps Bo vehement in maintenance of this doctrine.
To leave auch imaginations with their authors; we see David did enjoin himself penance, and impose upon himself heavy afflictions after he had asked, and no doubt, received assurance of the mercy of God, in the remission of his sins. Why did he so? St. Augustine observes out of the words of this text, that because some of David's afflictions are expressed in the pretor tense, as things already past, and some in tho future, as things to come, (for it is Laboravi, I have mourned, and it is Natare faciam, I will wash my bed with tears) so that something David confesses he had done, and something he professes that he will do, therefore David hath a special regard to his future state, and he proceeds with God, not only by that way of holy worship, by way of confession, what he had done, but by another religious worship of God too, by way of vow, what he would do. David understood his own conscience well; and was willing to husband it, to manure, and cultivate it well; he knew what ploughing, what harrowing, what weeding, and watering, and pruning it needed, aud so perhaps might be trusted with himself, and he his own spiritual physician. This is not every one's case. Those that are not so perfect in the knowledge of their own estate, (as it is certain the most are not) the church ever took into her care; and therefore it is true, that in the primitive church, there were heavy penitential canons, and there were public penances enjoined to sinners : either ad explorationem, when the chui'ch had cause to be jealous, and to suspect the hearty repentance of the party, they made this trial of their obedience, to submit them to that heavy penance ; or else ad (edificationem, to satisfy the church which was scandalized by their sins before; or ad exercitationem, to keep them in continual practice, the better to resist future temptations, and relapses; for to them this penance was an unction, as to one that was to wrestle with himself, and as the buckling on of an armour upon one that was to fight God's battles, in his own bowels.
If from some of the fathers there have fallen sometimes some phrases, which may have seemed to some to attribute something more to man's works, to his after-afflictions, and post-penances, some power of satisfaction to the justice of God, Bellarmine himself hath given us one good caution, That we must be very wary in understanding those phrases ; for he finds it very inconvenient to accept all that the fathers have said, in their manner of expressing themselves in that point. We will add thus much more, for the better understanding of repentance in the root, and the fruits of repentance, that there is such an indissoluble knot, such an individual marriage between those parts of repentance, which we call Partes constitutivas, Essential parts of repentance, and those parts, which we call consecutivas, which do infallibly concur, or immediately follow upon repentance, these two are so inseparable ; there is not only such a contiguity, but such a continuity in them, not only such a vicinity, but such an identity, between repentance, and the fruits of repentance, that many reverend persons, in their expositions, and meditations have presented, and named one for the other, and have called those subsequent, and subsidiary things, by the name of repentance itself. Hence it comes, that whereas repentance is only conversio, a turning, and this conversion, this turning hath only terminum a quo, something to turn from, and that is sin, and terminum ad quem, something to turn to, and that is God, those things which are indeed but helps to hold us in that station, and in that posture when we are turned from sin upon God, they have called by the names of repentance itself, as parts of it; and so these bodily afflictions, which we speak of, being indeed to be embraced for that use, to maintain us in that good disposition, to which our repentance hath brought us, have sometimes been called parts of repentance, even by godly, and learned expositors ; and by occasion of that easiness in them, in calling these things thus, in after-times, salvation itself, which God gives upon repentance, hath been attributed to these post-penances, and after-afflictions, which because they do always accompany repentance, have sometimes been called repentance.
The meaning of ancient and later men too therein, hath been to impose a necessity of taking these medicinal physics, these after-afflictions, for that use of holding us in that state, to which we are brought; but their meaning hath ever been too, to exclude satisfaction, properly so termed. Pcenitentia est, mala prceterita plangere", This is repentance says that father, to lament and bewail our former sins; but, this is not all that he requires, but he adds, Plangenda iterum non committere, This belongs to repentance too, not to return to those sins, which -we have bewailed. For, repentance is Vindicta semper puniens, quod dolet se commisisse", says another also ; A man truly penitent is a daily executioner upon himself, and punishes after, the sins which he hath committed before. Here we see that both those blessed fathers, St. Augustine, and St. Ambrose, attribute these afterafflictions, and post-penances to repentance, and call them by that name, repentance. But yet, not to leave these blessed fathers under the danger of mis-interpretation, and ill-application of words well intended, we consider the same fathers in other places too; Lacrymas Petri lego, satisfactionem non lego", I read of Peter's tears, not of his satisfaction. So if these post-penances had the nature of punishments, yet these punishments had not the nature of satisfaction. But Calamitates ante remissionem sunt svpplicia, post remissionem exercitationes**, says the other of those fathers: Till God be pacified by our repentance, his corrections have more of the nature of punishments, because considered so, we are in the state of enemies, and he may justly punish; but after God hath remitted the sin, the after-afflictions are but from a physician, not from an executioner, and intended to keep us in our station, and not to throw us lower ; so that they are neither properly satisfactions, nor punishments. For, for satisfaction to the justice of God, Nee si te excories, satisfacere possis", If thou flay thyself with hair-cloths, and whips, it is nothing towards satisfaction of that infinite Majesty, which thou hast violated, and wounded by thy sin ; and then for the other, that is, punishment after remission, Ubi misericordia, pcence locus non est", They are incompatible things, if God have reserved a disposition and purpose to punish, he hath not pardoned.
So that howsoever something said by them, may seem to make these after-afflictions to be necessary to repentance, and, in a large sense, parts of repentance, yet neither did they put that value
'1 Ambrose. 4* Augustine. ** Ambrose.
50 Augustine. " Origen. 5i Chrysostom.
upon man's act, that man should be able to satisfy God, nor that delusion upon God's act, that God should pretend to pardon, and yet punish. We are not disposed to wrangle about words, and names; the school may admit that exercise, but not the pulpit. If upon admittance, that these after-afflictions might be called punishments, they had not inferred a satisfaction, and thereupon super-induced a satisfaction after this life, and so a purgatory, and so indulgences, and carried their Babel so many stories high, we to advance the doctrine of a necessity of these disciplines, and mortifications, even after God hath sealed to our consciences the remission of our sin, would not abhor, nor decline the name, we would not be afraid to call them penances, nor punishments, nor satisfactions; for when St. Chrysostom in his time, had no occasion to bo afraid of such a mis-interpretation, he wa§ not afraid to call them so ; Non remisit supplioium, says he ; God hath not forgiven the punishment; and Imponit pcenam, God exacts a punishment at thy hands; but yet, though St. Chrysostom suspected no such mis-interpretations, the Holy Ghost who foresaw that they would come, prevents all dangerous mis-constructions, and directs St. Chrysostom's pen, thus, God does all this, says he, Non exigen, suppUcium de peccatis, sed corrigens ad futurum; Whatsoever I have said of punishments, it is not that in that punishment, God hath any relation to the former, but to the future sin, not to our lapse, but to our relapse, not to that which he hath seen, but to that which he foresees would fall upon us, if he did not, if we did not prevent it with these medicinal assistances : and, as long as it is but so, call them what you will, yet here is no foundation laid, no materials, no stone brought to the building of the Roman satisfaction, or purgatory, or indulgencies.
Howsoever therefore you exclude dangerous jiames, do not, upon colour of that, exclude necessary things: howsoever you have delivered yourselves to the mercy of God, and he hath delivered a seal of his mercy to you, inwardly in his spirit, outwardly in his sacrament, yet there are Amarc e sagittce ex dulci manu Dei, (as Nazianzen calls afflictions after repentance) sharp arrows out of the sweet hand of God ; corrections, by which God intends to establish us in that spiritual health, to which our repentance, by his grace, hath brought us : remember still, that this which David did for the present, and that which he promised he would do for the future, both together made up the reason of his prayer to God, by which he desired God in the former verses, to return to him, to deliver his soul, and to save him; he had had no reason, no ground of his prayer, though he had done something already, if he had not proposed to himself something more to bo done. There is a preparation before, and there is a preservation after required at our hands, if we study a perfect recovery, and cure of our souls. And as St. Gregory notes well, there is a great deal of force in David's possessive, in his word of appropriation, Meus, leetus meus, and oculus meus, It is his bed that he washed, and they are his eyes that washed it: he bore the affliction himself, and trusted not to that which others had suffered by way of supererogation. Sometimes, when the children of great persons offend at school, another person is whipped for them, and that affects them, and works upon a good nature; but if that person should take physic for them in a sickness, it would do them no good: God's corrections upon others may work by way of example upon thee; but because thou art sick for physic, take it thyself. Trust not to the treasure of the church ; neither the imaginary treasure of the church of Rome, which pretends an inexhaustible mine of the works of other men, to distribute and bestow; no, nor to the true treasure of the true church, that is, absolution, upon confession, and repentance; no, trust not to the merits of Christ himself, in their application to thee, without a li<-tii* f1n'.-, and an oculus tuus, except thou remember thy sins in thy bed, and pour out thy tears from thine eyes, and fulfil the sufferings of Christ in thyself. Nothing can be added to Christ's merits; that is true : but something must bo added to thee; a disposition in thee, for the application of that which is his: not, that thou canst begin this disposition in thyself, till God offer it, but that thou mayest resist it, now it is offered, and reject it again, after it is received. Trust not in others, not in the church, nor in Christ himself, so, as to do nothing for thyself; nor trust not in that, which thou doest for thyself, so, as at any time to think, thou hast done enough and needest do no more : but when thou hast past the signet, that thou hast found the signature of
God's hand and seal, in a manifestation, that the marks of his grace are upon thee, when thou hast past his privy seal, that his spirit bears witness with thy spirit, that thy repentance hath been accepted by him, when thou hast past the great seal, in the holy and blessed sacrament publicly administered, do not suspect the goodness of God, as though all were not done that were necessary for thy salvation, if thou wert to have thy transmigration out of this world this hour; but yet, as long as thou continuest in the vale of tentations, continue in the vale of tears too; and though thou have the seal of reconciliation, plead that seal to the church, (which is God's tribunal, and judgment-seat upon earth) in a holy life, and works of example to others, and look daily, look hourly upon the ita quod of that pardon, upon the covenants and conditions, with which it is given, that if by neglecting those medicinal helps, those auxiliary forces, those subsidies of the kingdom of heaven, those after-afflictions, (choose whether you will call them by the name of penance, or no) vou relapse into former sins, your present repentance, and your present seal of that repentance, the sacrament, shall rise up against you at the last day, and to that sentence (you did not feed, you did not clothe, you did not harbour me in the poor) shall this be added, as the aggravation of all, you did repent, and you did receive the seal, but you did not pursue that repentance, nor perform the conditions required at your hands.
But we are here met, by God's gracious goodness, in a better disposition; with a sincere repentance of all our former sins, and with a deliberate purpose, as those Israelites made their pouring out of water a testimony of dissolving themselves into holy tears, to make this fast from bodily sustenance an inchoation of a spiritual fast, in abstinence from all that may exasperate our God against us; that so, though not for that, yet thereby our prayers may be the more acceptable to our glorious God, in our gracious Saviour, to Him that sits upon tho throne, and to the Lamb, first, that as he is the King of kings, he will establish, and prosper that crown, which he hath set upon the head of his Anointed over us here, and hereafter crown that crown with another crown, a better crown, a crown of immarcessible glory in tho kingdom of heaven, and in the mean time, make him his bulwark, and his rampart,
against all those powers, which seek to multiply mitres, or crowns, to the disquiet and prejudice of Christendom : and then, that as he is the Lord of lords, he will inspire them, to whom he hath given lordship over others in this world, with a due consideration, that they also have a Lord over them, even in this world ; and that he, and they, and we have one Lord over us all, in the other world : that as he is the Bishop and High Priest over our souls, he vouchsafe to continue in our bishops, a holy will, and a competent power to superintend faithfully over his church, that they for their parts, when they depart from hence, may deliver it back into his hands, in the same form, and frame, in which his blessed spirit delivered it into their hands, in their predecessors, in the primitive institution thereof: that as he is the Angel of the great council, he vouchsafe to direct the great council of this kingdom, to consider still, that as he works in this world by means, so it concerns his glory, that they expedite the supply of such means as may do his work, and may carry home the testimony of good consciences now, and in their posterity have the thanks of posterity, for their behaviour in this parliament ; that as he is the God of peace, he will restore peace to Christendom; that as he is the Lord of hosts, he will fight our battles, who have no other end in our wars, but his peace; and that after this fast, which in the bodily and ghostly part too, we perform to-day, and vow and promise for our whole lives, he will bring us to the marriage-supper of the Lamb, in that kingdom, which our Saviour Christ Jesus hath purchased for us, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood, Amen.