PREACHED UPON TRINITY SUNDAY.
Psalm ii. 12.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.
Whether we shall call it a repeating again in us, of that which God had done before to Israel, or call it a performing of that in us, which God promised by way of prophecy to Israel, that is certainly afforded to us by God, which is spoken by the prophet of Israel, God doth draw us with the cords of a man, and with bands of love1: with the cords of a man, the man Christ Jesus, the Son of God, and with the bands of love, the band and seal of love, a holy kiss, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry. No man comes to God, except the Father draw him; the Father draws no man, but by the Son ; and the Son receives none, but by love, and this cement and glue, of a zealous and a reverential love, a holy kiss; kiss the Son, &c.
The parts upon which, for the enlightening of your understandings, and assistance of your memories, we shall insist, are two: first our duty, then our danger; the first is an expression of love, kiss the Son; the second is an impression of fear, lest he be angry. In the first we shall proceed thus: we shall consider first the object of this love, the Person, the second Person in the Trinity, the Son; the rather, because that consideration will clear the translation; for, in no one place of Scripture, do translations differ more, than in this text; and the Roman translation and ours differ so much, as that they have but apprehendite discipli
1 Hoeea xL 4.
H, embrace knowledge, where we have, (as you heard) kiss the Son. ' From the Person, the Son, we shall pass to the act, Osculamini, Kiss the Son ; in which we shall see, that since this is an act, which licentious men have depraved, (carnal men do it, and treacherous men do it; Judas, and not only Judas, have betrayed by a kiss) and yet God commands this, and expresses love in this, everything that hath, or may be abused, must not therefore be abandoned ; the turning of a thing out of the way, is not a taking of that thing away, but good things deflected to ill uses, by some, may be by others reduced to their first goodness. And then in a third branch of this first part, we shall consider, and magnify the goodness of God, that hath brought us into this distance, that we may kiss the Son, that the expressing of this love lies in our hands, and that, whereas the love of the church, in the Old Testament, even in the Canticle, went no farther but to the Osculetar me, 0 that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth*! now, in the Christian church, and in the visitation of a Christian soul, he hath invited us, enabled us to kiss him, for he is presentially amongst us : and this will lead us to conclude that first part, with an earnest persuasion, and exhortation to kiss the Son, with all those affections, which we shall there find to be expressed in the Scriptures, in that testimony of true love, a holy kiss. But then, lest that persuasion by love should not be effectual, and powerful enough to us, we shall descend from that duty, to the danger, from love, to fear, lest he be angry ; and therein see first, that God, who is love, can be angry ; and then, that this God who is angry here, is the Son of God, he that hath done so much for us, and therefore in justice may be angry ; he that is our judge, and therefore in reason we are to fear his anger : and then, in a third branch, we shall see, how easily this anger departs, a kiss removes it, Do it, lest he be angry ; and then lastly, we shall inquire, what does anger him ; and there consider, that as we attribute power to the Father, and so, sins against power (the undervaluing of God's power in the magistrate over us, or the abusing of God's power, in ourselves, over others) were sins against the Father ; so wisdom being the attribute of the Son, ignorance, which is so far under wisdom,
s Cant i. 1.
and curiosity, which carries us beyond wisdom, will be sins against the Son.
Our first branch in our first part, directs us upon him, who is first and last, and yesterday and to-day, and the same for ever; the Son of God, Osculamini Filium, Kiss the Son. Where the translations differ as much, as in any one passage. The Chaldee paraphrase (which is, for the most part, good evidence) and the translation of the Septuagint, (which adds much weight) and the current of the fathers (which is of importance too) do all read this place, Apprehendite disciplinam, Embrace knowledge, and not Osculamini Filium, Kiss the Son. Of the later men in the Roman church, divers read it as we do, osculamini, and some farther, Amplectimini, Embrace the Son. Amongst the Jews, Rab. Solomon reads it,Armamini disciplina, Arm yourselves with knowledge; and another modern man, reads it, Osculamini pactum, Kiss the covenant; and, Adoratefrumentum, Adore the corn, and thereby carries it from the pacification of Christ in heaven, to the adoration of the bread in the sacrament. Clearly, and without exception, even from Bellarmine himself, according to the original Hebrew, it ought to be read, as we read it, kiss the Son. Now very many, very learned, and very zealous men of our times, have been very vehement against that translation of the Roman church, though it be strengthened, by the Chaldee, by the Septuagint, and by the fathers, in this place. The reason of the vehemence in this place, is not because that sense, which that translation presents, may not be admitted; no, nor that it does not reach home, to that which is intended in ours, kiss the Son: for, since the doctrine of the Sou of God, had been established in the verses before, to say now, Apprehendite disciplinam, Lay hold upon that doctrine; that doctrine which was delivered before, is, in effect the same thing, as, kiss the Son. So Luther, when he takes, and follows that translation of that church, says, Rostra translatio, ad verbum, nihil est, ad sensum proprissima; That translation, if we consider the very words only, is far from the original, but if we regard the sense, it is most proper. And so also Calvin admits; take it which way you will, Idem manet sensus, The sense is all one. And therefore another author* in
the Reformation says, In re dubia, malim vetustissimo interpreti credere, Since upon the whole matter it is doubtful, or indifferent, I would not depart, says he, from that translation, which is most ancient.
The case then being thus, that that sense may be admitted, and admitted so as that it establish the same doctrine that ours does, why are our late men so very vehement against it ? Truly, upon very just reason : for, when those former reverent men were so moderate as to admit that translation in this place, the church of Rome had not then put such a sanctity, such a reverence, such a singularity, and pre-eminence, and supremacy, such a noli me tangere, upon that translation ; it had the estimation then of a very reverend translation, and compared with any other translations, then the best. But when in the Council of Trent they came to make it as authentical, to prefer it before the originals themselves, to decide all matters of controversy by it alone, and to make the doing so, matter of faith, and heresy, in anything to depart from that translation, then came these later men justly to charge it with those errors, wherein, by their own confessions, it hath departed from the original; not that these men meant to discredit that translation so, as that it should not still retain the estimation of a good and useful translation, but to avoid that danger, that it should be made matter of faith, to be bound to one translation; or that any translation should be preferred before the original. And so truly it is, in many other things, besides the translation. They say St. Peter was at Rome; and all moderate men went along with them; St. Peter was at Rome. But when upon St. Peter's personal being at Rome, they came to build their uersal supremacy over all the church, and so to erect matter of faith upon matter of fact, then later men came to deny, that it could be proved out of Scripture, that Peter was at Rome; so the ancients spoke of many sacraments, so they did of purgatory, so they did of many things controverted now; when as they, then, never suspected that so impious a sense would have been put upon their words, nor those opinions and doctrines so mischievously advanced, as they have been since. If they would have let their translation have remained such a translation, we would not have declined it; since they will have all trials made by it, we rather accept the original; and that is in this place, Osculamini Filium, Kiss the Son.
The person then (which was our first consideration) is the Son; the testimony of our love to this Person, is this kiss, osculamini: where we see, that God calls upon us, and enjoins unto us, such an outward act, as hath been diversely depraved, and vitiated before amongst men. God gives no countenance to that distempered humour, to that distorted rule; it hath been ill used, and therefore it may not be used. Sacred and secular stories abound with examples of the treacherous kiss; let the Scriptures be our limits. Joab's compliment with Amasa; Art thou in health, my brother? ended in this; He took him with the right hand, as to kits him, and killed him4. Enlarge your thoughts a little upon Judas's case; Judas was of those, who had tasted of the word of God5, and the powers of the world to come; he had lived in the conversation, in the paedagogy, in the discipline of Christ; yet he sold Christ; and sold him at a low price, as every man that is so unprovident, as to offer such a thing to sale, shall do; and he stayed not till they came to him, with, What will you take for your master ? But he went to them, with, What will you give me for Christ I Yet Christ admits him, admits him to supper, and after all this, calls him friend; for, after all this, Christ had done two, perchance three offices of a friend to Judas; he washed his feet; and, perchance, he gave him the sacrament with the rest; and by assigning the sop for a particular mark, he let him see, that he knew he was a traitor, which might have been enough to have reclaimed him: it did not; but he proceeded in his treason, and in the most mischievous and treacherous performing of it, to betray him with a kiss; He gave them a sign, whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he*: Dat signum osculi, cum veneno diaboli, says Hierome, He kisses with a biting kiss, and conveys treason in a testimony of love. It is an apothegm of Luther's, Mali tyranni, haretici pejores, falsi fratres pessimi: A persecutor is ill; but he that persuades me to anything, which might submit me to the persecutor's rage, is worse; but he that
4 2 Sam. xx. 9. « Heb. vi. 5. * Matt. xxvL 48.
hath persuaded me, and then betrays me, is worst of all. When all that happens, when a man's enemies are the men of his own house1, when amongst ourselves men arise, and draw away the disciples*, remember that Judas defamed this kiss before, he kissed his master, and so betrayed him. Homo sum, et inter homines vivo, says St. Augustine, I am but a man myself, and I look but for men to live amongst; Nee mihi arrogare audeo, meliorem domum ineam, quam area Noah, I cannot hope to have my house clearer than Noah's ark, and there, in eight, there was one ill; nor than Jacob's house, and there the son went up to the father's bed ; nor than David's, and there the brother forced the sister; nor than Christ's, and there Judas betrayed his Master, and with a kiss: which alone does so aggravate the fact, as that for the atrocity and heinousness thereof, three of the evangelists remember that circumstance, That he betrayed him with a kiss; and as though it might seem impossible, incredible to man, that it could be so, St. John pretermits that circumstance, that it was done with a kiss.
In Joab's treachery, in Judas'n treason, is the kiss defamed, and in the carnal and licentious abuse of it, it is every day depraved. They mistake the matter much, that think all adultery is below the girdle: a man darts out an adultery with his eye, in a wanton look; and he wraps up adultery with his fingers, in a wanton letter; and he breathes in an adultery with his lips, in a wanton kiss. But though this act of love, be so defamed both ways, by treachery, by licentiousness, yet God chooses this metaphor, he bids us kiss the Son. It is a true, and an useful rule, that ill men have been types of Christ, and ill actions figures of good*: much more, may things not ill in themselves, though deflected and detorted to ill, be restored to good again; and therefore doth God, in more than this one place, expect our love in a kiss; for, if we be truly in love with him, it will be a holy and an acceptable metaphor unto us, else it will have a carnal and a fastidious taste. Frustra ad legendum amoris carmen, qui non amat, accedit1*: He that comes to read Solomon's love-song, and loves not him upon whom that song is directed,
1 Mic. vii. 6. * Acts xs. 30.
* Hieron. Ep. 131. G. Sanctius. 2 Sam. xi. n. 29. 10 Bernard.
will rather endanger, than profit himself by that reading: Non capit ignitum eloquium frigidum pectus": A heart frozen and congealed with the love of this world, is not capable, not sensible of the fires of the Holy Ghost; Grcece loquentes non intelligit, qui GrcecZ non novit, et lingua amoris ei, qui non amat, barbara; As Greek itself is barbarous to him that understands not Greek, so is the language of love, and the kiss which the Holy Ghost speaks of here, to him that always grovelleth, and holds his face upon the earth.
Treachery often, but licentiousness more, hath depraved this seal of love ; and yet, Ut nos ad amplexus sacri amoris accendat, usque ad turpis amoris nostri verba se inclinat"; God stoops even to the words of our foul and unchaste love, that thereby he might raise us to the heavenly love of himself, and his Sou. Cavendum, ne machina quce ponitur ut levet, ipsa aggravet: Take thou heed, that that ladder, or that engine which God hath given to raise thee, do not load thee, oppress thee, cast thee down : take heed lest those phrases of love and kisses which should raise thee to him, do not bury thee in the memory and contemplation of sinful love, and of licentious kisses. Palea tegit frumentum; palea jumentorum, frumentum hominum: There is corn under the chaff; and though the chaff and straw be for cattle, there is corn for men too: there is a heavenly love, under these ordinary phrases : the ordinary phrase belongs to ordinary men ; the heavenly love and the spiritual kiss, to them who affect an union to God, and him whom he sent, his Son Christ Jesus. St. Paul abhors not good and appliable sentences, because some secular poets had said them before; nor hath the Christian church abhorred the temples of the Gentiles, because they were profaned before with idolatrous sacrifices. I do not conceive how that Jesuit Serarius1* should conceive any such great joy, as he says he did, when he came to a church-porch, and saw an old statue of Jupiter, and another of HerculesJ holding two basins of holy water; when Jupiter and Hercules were made to do Christians such services, the Jesuit is overjoyed. His Jupiter and his Hercules might well enough have been spared in the Christian church, but why some such
11 Bernard. 18 Gregory. » In Jos. 6. q. 40.
things as hare been abused in the Roman church, may not be preserved in, or reduced to their right use here, I conceive not; as well as (in a proportion) this .outward testimony of inward love, though defamed by treachery, though depraved by licentiousness, is exacted at our han ds by God himself, towards his Son, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.
For all Joab's and Judas's treason, and carnal lover's licentiousness, kiss thou the Son, and be glad that the Son hath brought thee, in the Christian church, within that distance, as that thou mayest kiss him. The nearest that the synagogue, or that the spouse of Christ not yet married came to, was, Osculetur me, Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. It was but a kissing of his hand, when he reached them out their spiritual food by others ; it was a marriage, but a marriage by proxy; the personal marriage, the consummation of the marriage was in the coming of Christ, in establishing a real presence of himself in the church. Prcecepta Dei oscula sunt, says Gregory; In every thing that God says to us, he kisses us; Sed per prophetas et ministros, alieno we nos osculatur, Ho kissed us by another man's mouth, when he spoke by the mouth of the prophets ; but now that he speaks by his own Son, it is by himself. Even his servant Moses himself was of uncircumcised lips1*, and with the uncircumcised there was no marriage. Even his servant Esay was of unclean lips", and with the unclean there was no marriage : even his servant Jeremiah was or is infantilis", he was a child and could not speak, and with children, in infancy, there is no marriage: but in Christ, God hath abundantly performed that supply promised to Moses, there, Aaron thy brother, shall be thy prophet; Christ himself shall come and speak to thee, and return and speak for thee : in Christ, the Seraphim hath brought that live coal from the altar, and touched Esay's lips, and so spoken lively, and clearly to our souls; in Christ, God hath done that which he said to Jeremiah, Fear not, I am with thee; for in this Immanuel, God and man, Christ Jesus, God is with us.
In Eschines' mouth, when he repeated them, they say, even Demosthenes' orations were flat, and tasteless things; compare
14 Exod. vi. 12. " Isaiah vi. 5. " Jer. L 6.
VOL. II. o
the prophets with the Son, and even the promises of God, in them, are faint and dilute things. Elisha's staff in the hand of Gehazi his servant, would not recover the Shunamite's dead child" ; but when Elisha himself came, and put his mouth upon the child's mouth, that did: in the mouth of Christ's former servants there was a preparation, but effect, and consummation in his own mouth. In the Old Testament, at first, God kissed man, and so breathed the breath of life, and made him a man; in the New Testament Christ kissed man, he breathed the breath of everlasting life, the Holy Ghost, into his apostles, and so made the man a blessed man. Love is as strong as deathTM; as in death there is a transmigration of the soul, so in this spiritual love, and this expressing of it, by this kiss, there is a transfusion of the soul too: and as we find in Gellius a poem of Plato's, where he says, he knew one so extremely passionate, Ut parum affuit quin moreretur in oseulo, much more is it true in this heavenly union, expressed in this kiss, as St. Ambrose delivers it, Per osculum adhceret anima Deo, et transfunditur spiritus osculantis, In this kiss, where Righteousness and peace have kissed each otherTM, In this Person, where the Divine and the human nature have kissed each other, in this Christian church, where grace and sacraments, visible and invisible means of salvation, have kissed each other, Love is as strong as death; my soul is united to my Saviour, now in my life, as in death, and I am already made one spirit with him: and whatsoever death can do, this kiss, this union can do, that is, give me a present, an immediate possession of the kingdom of heaven: and as the most mountainous parts of this kingdom are as well within the kingdom as a garden, so in the midst of the calamities and incommodities of this life, I am still in the kingdom of heaven. In the Old Testament, it was but a contract, butter verba defuturo, sponsabo, I will marry thee*0; but now that Christ is come, the bridegroom is with us for ever, and the children of the bridechamber cannot mourn".
Now, by this, we are slid into our fourth and last branch of our first part, the persuasion to come to this holy kiss, though
" 2 Kings iv. 34. 1* Cant. viii. 6. " PsaL ixxv. 10.
10 Hos. ii. 19. !1 Matt. ix. 15.
defamed by treachery, though depraved by licentiousness, since God invites us to it, by so many good uses thereof in his word. It is an imputation laid upon Nero, That Neque adveniens, neque profisciscens, That whether coming or going he never kissed any: and Christ himself imputes it to Simon, as a neglect of him, that when he came into his house, he did not kiss him". This then was in use, first among kinsfolks; In illa simplicitate antiquorum, propinqui propinquos oscitlabanturTM: In those innocent and harmless times, persons near in blood did kiss one another: and in that right, and not only as a stranger, Jacob kissed Rachel", and told her how near of kin he was to her. There is no person so near of kin to thee, as Christ Jesus: Christ Jesus thy father as he created thee, and thy brother as he took thy nature: thy father as he provided an inheritance for thee, and thy brother as he divided this inheritance with thee, and as he died to give thee possession of that inheritance: he that is Nutritius, thy fosterfather who hath nursed thee in his house, in the Christian church, and thy twin-brother, so like thee, as that his Father, and thine in him, shall not know you from one another, but mingle your conditions so, as that he shall find thy sins in him, and his righteousness in thee; Osculamini Filium, Kiss this Son as thy kinsman.
This kiss was also in use, as Symbolum subjection-Is, A recognition of sovereignty or power; Pharaoh says to Joseph, Thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled"; there the original is, All my people shall kiss thy face. This is the Lord paramount, the sovereign Lord of all, the Lord Jesus; Jesus, at whose name every knee must bow, in heaven, in earth, and in hellTM; Jesus, into whose hands allpower in heaven and in earth is given*1; Jesus, who hath opened a way to our appeal, from all powers upon earth, Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul"; Jesus, who is the lion and the lamb too, powerful upon others, accessible nnto thee; Osculamini Filium, Kiss this Son, as he is thy sovereign.
It was hi use likewise, in discessu, friends parting kissed; Laban rose up early in the morning, and kissed his sons and his
** Luke vii. 45. ** Augustine. ** Gen. xxix. 12.
" Gen. Xll 40. " Phil. ii. 10. *7 Matt, xxviii. 18. w Matt. x. 28.
daughters, and departed"; and At Paufs departing, they fell on his neck, and wept, and kissed himTM. When thou departest to thy worldly businesses, to thy six days' labour, kiss him, take leave of him, and remember that all that while thou art gone upon his errand, and though thou work for thy family, and for thy posterity, yet thou workest in his vineyard, and dost his work.
They kissed too in reditu; Esau ran to meet his brother, and fell on his neck and kissed him". When thou returnest to his house, after thy six days' labour, to celebrate his Sabbath, kiss him there, and bo able to give him some good account, from Sabbath to Sabbath, from week to week, of thy stewardship, and thou wilt never be bankrupt.
They kissed in reconciliation; David kissed Absalom". If thou have not discharged thy stewardship well, restore to man who is damnified therein, confess to God who hath suffered in that sin, reconcile thyself to him, and kiss him in the sacrament, in the seal of reconciliation.
They kissed in a religious reverence even of false gods; / have, says God, seven thousand knees that have not bowed unto Baal, and mouths that have not kissed him". Let every one of us kiss the true God, in keeping his knees from bowing to a false, his lips from assenting, his hands from subscribing to an idolatrous worship. And, as they kissed In symbolvm concordia, (which was another use thereof; Salute one another with a holy kiss**) upon which custom, Justin Martyr says, Osculum ante eucharistiam, Before the communion, the congregation kissed, to testify their unity in faith in him, to whom they were then sacramentally to be united, as well as spiritually, and Tertullian calls it Osculum signaculum orationis, because they ended their public prayers with that seal of unity and concord, let every congregation kiss him so; at every meeting to seal to him a new band, a new vow that they will never break, in departing from any part of his true worship. And to that purpose kiss his feet, as Mary Magdalen did*4: Speciosi pedes evangelizantium; Let his feet, his ministers,
" Gen. xxxi. 15, 80 Acts xx. 37. " Gen. xxxiii. 4.
" 2 Sam. xiv. 33. " 2 Kings xix. 18. ** Rom. xvi. 16.
*S Luke vii. 38.
in whom he comes, be acceptable unto you; and love that, upon which himself stands, the ordinance which ho hath established for your salvation. ;
Kiss the Son, that is, embrace him, depend upon him all these ways; as thy kinsman, as thy sovereign, at thy going, at thy coming; at thy reconciliation, in the truth of religion in thyself, in a peaceable unity with the church, in a reverent estimation of those men, and those means, whdm he sends. Kiss him, and be not ashamed of kissing him ; it is that, which the spouse desired, / would kiss thee, and not be despised". If thou be despised for loving Christ in his Gospel, remember that when David was thought base, for dancing before the ark, his way was to be more base. If thou be thought frivolous for thrusting in at service, in the forenoon, be more frivolous, and come again in the afternoon : Tanto major requies, quanta ab amore Jesu nulla requies*1: The more thou troublest thyself, or art troubled by others for Christ, the more peace thou hast in Christ.
We descend now to our second part, from the duty to the danger, from the expressing of love to the impression of fear, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry: and first that anger and love, are not incompatible, that anger consists with love: God is immutable, and God is love, and yet God can be angry. God stops a little upon scorn, in the fourth verse of this Psalm, When the kings of the earth take counsel against his anointed, he laughs them to scorn, he hath them in derision. But it ends not in a jest; He shall speak to them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure; and that is not all; He shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Lactantius reprehends justly two errors, and proposes a godly middle way in the doctrine of the anger of God. Some say, says he, that only favour, and gentleness can be attributed to God, Quia illcesibilis, He himself cannot be hurt, and then why should he be angry? And this is, says he, Favorabilis et popularis oratio, It is a popular and an acceptable proposition, God cannot be angry, do what you will, you cannot anger him, for he is all gentleness. Others, says Lactantius, take both anger, and gentleness from God, and say he is affected neither way : and this
88 Cant. vii. 1. " Gregor.
is, says he well, Oonstantior error, An error that will better hold together, better consist in itself, and be better stood to; for they are inseparable things; whosoever does love the good, does hate the bad : and therefore if there be no anger, there is no love in God ;- but that cannot be said. And therefore, says he, we must not argue thus, because there is no anger in God, therefore there is no love ; for that indeed would follow, if the first were true; but because there is love in God, therefore there is anger; and so he concludes thus, This is cardo religionis, this is the hinge upon which all religion, all the worship of God turns and moves, Si nihil prcestat colenti non debetur cultus, nee metus si non irascitur non colenti ; If God gave me nothing for my love, I should not love him, nor fear him, if he were not angry at my displeasing him. It is argument enough against the Epicures, (against whom principally he argues) Si non curat, non habet potestatem: If God take no care of human actions, he hath no power; for it is impossible to think, that he hath power, and uses it not; an idle God is as impossible an imagination, as an impotent God, or an ignorant God. Anger, as it is a passion that troubles, and disorders, and discomposes a man, so it is not in God, but anger as it is a sensible discerning of foes from friends, and of things that conduce, or disconduce to his glory, so it is in God. In a word, Hilary hath expressed it well, Pcena patientis, ira decernentis, Man's suffering is God's anger; when God inflicts such punishments, as a king justly incensed would do, then God is thus angry. Now here, our case is heavier; it is not this great, and almighty, and majestical God, that may be angry; that is like enough ; but even the Son, whom we must kiss, may be angry: it is not a person whom we consider merely as God, but as man ; nay, not as man neither, but a worm, and no man, and he may be angry, and angry to our ruin. But is it he ? Is it the Son, that is intended here ? Ask the Roman translation, and it is not he: there it is, Ne irascatur Dominus, Lest the Lord be angry; but the record, the original will be against them: though it were so, the Lord, it might be he, the Son, but it is not the Lord, but must necessarily be the Son; the Son may, the Son will be angry with us. If he could be angry, why did he not show it to the devil that tempted him, to the Jews that crucified him? God bless us
from such an anger, as works upon the devil, in a desperate insensibleness of any mercy, from any trade in that sea, which environs the whole world, and makes all that, one island, where only the devil can be no merchant, the bottomless sea of his blood ; and God bless us from such an anger, as works upon the Jews, in an obduration, and the punishment of it, a dispersion. Are ye sure David was not angry with Shimei, because he reprieved him for a time? Are ye sure the Son is not angry now, beoause ye perish not yet? Do you not say, A fruit is perished, if it be bruised in one place ? Is not your religion perished, if locusts and ear-wigs have eaten into it, though they have not eaten it up ? Is not your religion perished, if irreligion and profaneness be entered into your manners, into your lives, though religion have some motion in our ordinary meetings, and public exercises here ?
The Son is Caput, and Corpus, as St. Augustine says often, Christ, and the church of Christ, are Christ; and, Quis enumeret omnia, quibus corpus Christi irascitur? says the same father; Who can reckon how many ways, this Christ, this body of Christ, the church, is constrained to express anger ? How many excommunications, how many censures, how many suspensions, how many irregularities, how many penances, and commutations of penances, is the body of Christ, the church, forced to inflict upon sinners I And how heavy would these be to us, if we did not weigh them with the weights of flesh in the shambles, or of iron in the shop; if we did not consider them only in their temporal damage, how little an excommunication took from us of our goods, or worldly substance, and not how much it shut up the ordinary and outward means of our salvation. When the anger of the body, the church, is thus heavy, what is the anger of the head, of Christ himself, who is judge in his own cause ? When an unjust judgment was executed upon him, how was the frame of nature shakpd in eclipses, in earth-quakes, in renting of the temple, and cleaving the monuments of the dead: when his pleasure is to execute a just judgment upon a nation, upon a church, upon a man, in the infatuation of princes, in the recidivation of the clergy, in the consternation of particular consciences, quis stabit? who shall be able to stand in that judgment ? Kiss the Son lest he be angry; but when he is angry he will not kiss you, nor be kissed by you, but throw you into unquenchable fire, if you be cold, and if you be luke-warm, spit you out of his mouth, remove you from the benefit and comfort of his word.
This is the anger of God, that reaches to all the world ; and the anger of the Son, that comes home to us ; and all this is removed with this holy and spiritual kiss: Osculamini Filium, Kiss the Son lest he be angry; implies this, If ye kiss him, he will not be angry. What this kiss is, we have seen all the way ; it is to hang at his lips, for the rule of our life, to depend upon his word for our religion, and to succour ourselves, by the promises of his Gospel, in all our calamities, and not to provoke him to farther judgments, by a perverse and froward use of those judgments which he hath laid upon us: as it is, in this point towards man, it is towards God too; Nihil mansuetudine violentius**, There is not so violent a thing as gentleness, so forcible, so powerful upon man, or upon God. This is such a saying, as one would think he that said it, should be ready to retract, by the multiplicity of examples to the contrary every day. Such rules as this, He that puts up one wrong invites and calls for another, will shake ChryBOStom's rule shrewdly, Nihil mansuetudine violentius, That no battery is so strong against an enemy, as gentleness. Say, if you will, Nihil melius, There is no better thing than gentleness, and we can make up that with a comment, that is, nothing better for Bome purposes; say, if you will, Nihil frugalius, There is not a thriftier thing than gentleness, it saves charges, to suffer, it is a more expensive thing to revenge than to suffer, whether we consider expense of soul, or body, or fortune; and, (by the way) that which we use to add in this account, opinion, reputation, that which we call honour, is none of the elements of which man is made; it may be the air, that the bird flies in, it may be the water that the fish swims in, but it is none of the elements that man is made of, for those are only soul, and body, and fortune. Say also, if you will, Nihil accommodating, Nothing conforms us more to our great pattern Christ Jesus, than mildness, than gentleness, for that is our lesson from him, Discite a me, quia mitis, Learn of me, for I am meek.
All this Chrysostom might say ; but will he say, Nifiil violentius, There is not so violent, so forcible a thing as mildness? that there is no such bullet, as a pillow, no such action, as passion, no such revenge, as suffering an injury? Yet, even this is true; nothing defeats an anger so much as patience; nothing reproaches a chiding so much as silence. Reprehendis iratum ? accusas indianationem ? says that father: Art thou sorry to see a man angry? Cur magis irasci vis? Why dost thou add thy anger to his? Why dost thou fuel his anger -with thine ? Quod ignl aqua, hoc irce mausuetudo, As water works upon fire, so would thy patience upon his anger. St. Ambrose hath expressed it well too, If cee sunt arma justi, ut cedendo vincat; This is the war of the righteous man, to conquer by yielding. It was Hezekiah's way; when Rabshakeh reviled, they held their peace, (where the very phrase affords us this note, That silence is called holding of our peace, we continue our peace best by silence) They held their peace, says that text, and answered him not a word, for the Iiing had commanded them not to auswerTM. Why? St. Hierome tells us why; Ne admajores blasphemias provocaret; Lest the multiplying of choleric words amongst men, should have occasioned more blasphemies against God. And as it is thus with man, with God it is thus too; nothing spends his judgments, and his corrections so soon, as our patience, nothing kindles them, exasperates them so much, as our frowardness, and murmuring. Kiss the Son, and he will not be angry; if he be, kiss the rod, and he will be angry no longer; love him lest he be, fear him when he is angry : the preservative is easy, and so is the restorative too: the balsamum of this kiss is all; to suck spiritual milk out of the left breast, as well as out of the right, to find mercy in his judgments, reparation in his ruins, feasts in his lents, joy in his anger. But yet we have reserved it for our last consideration, what will make him angry: what sins are especially directed upon the second Person, the Son of God, and then we have done all.
Though those three attributes of God, power, and wisdom, and goodness, be all three in all the three Persons of the Trinity, (for they are all, as we say in the school, co-omnipotentes, they have all a joint-almightiness, a joint-wisdom, and a joint-goodness), yet
'8 Isaiah - xxxvi 21.
because the Father is principium, the root of all, independent, not proceeding from any other, as both the other Persons do, and power, and sovereignty best resembles that independency, therefore we attribute power to the Father; and because the Son proceeds per modum intelleetus, (which is the phrase that passes through the fathers, and the school) that as our understanding proceeds from our reasonable soul, so the second Person, the Son, proceeds from the Father, therefore we attribute wisdom to the Son: and then, because the Holy Ghost is said to proceed per modum voluntatis, that as our soul (as the root) and our understanding, proceeding from that soul, produce our will, and the object of our will, is evermore itonum, that which is good in our apprehension, therefore we attribute to the Holy Ghost, goodness. And therefore David forms his prayer, in that manner, plurally, Miserere meiElohim", Be merciful unto me all, because in his sin upon Uriah, (which he laments in that Psalm) he had transgressed against all the three Persons, in all their attributes, against the power, and the wisdom, and the goodness of God.
That then which we consider principally in the Son, is wisdom. And truly those very many things, which are spoken of wisdom, in the Proverbs of Solomon, do, for the most part, hold in Christ: Christ is, for the most part, the Wisdom of that book. And for that book which is called altogether, The Book of Wisdom, Isidore says, That a rabbi of the Jews told him, that that book was heretofore in the canonical Scripture, and so received by the Jews ; till after Christ's crucifying, when they observed, what evident testimonies there were in that book for Christ, they removed it from the canon. This I know, is not true; but I remember it therefore, because all assists us, to consider wisdom in Christ, as that does also, that the greatest temple of the Christians in Constantinople, was dedicated in that name, Sophia, to wisdom; by implication to Christ. And in some apparitions, where the Son of God is said to have appeared, he calls himself by that name, Sapientiam Dei. He is Wisdom, therefore, because he reveals the will of the Father to us; and therefore is no man wise, but he that knows the Father in him. Isidore makes this difference Inter sapientem, ft prudentem, that the first, The wise
40 Psal . I.i.
man, attends the next world, the last, The prudent man, but this world: but wisdom, even heavenly wisdom, does not exclude that prudence, though the principal, or rather the ordinary object thereof, be this world. And therefore sins against the second Person, are sins against wisdom, in either extreme, either in affected and gross ignorance, Op in over-refined and sublimed curiosity.
As we place this ignorance in practical things of this world, so it is stupidity ; and as we place it in doctrinal things, of the next world, so ignorance is implicit belief: and curiosity, as we place it upon practical things, is craft, and upon doctrinal things, subtilty; and this stupidity, and this implicit faith, and then this craft, and this subtilty, are sins directed against the Son, who is true and only Wisdom.
First then, a stupid and negligent passage through this world, as though thou wert no part of it, without embarking thyself in any calling ; to cross God's purpose so much as that, whereas he produced everything out of nothing, to be something, thou wilt go so far back, towards nothing again, as to be good for nothing, that when as our laws call a calling, an addition, thou wilt have no addition, and when (as St. Augustine says) Musca soli prceferenda, quia vivit, A fly is a nobler creature than the sun, in this respect, because a fly hath life in itself, and the sun hath none, so any artificer is a better part of a state, than any retired or contemplative man that embraces no calling; these chippings of the world, these fragmentary and incoherent men, trespass against the Son, against the second Person, as he is Wisdom. And so do they in doctrinal things, that swallow any particular religion, upon an implicit faith. When Christ declared a very forward knowledge, in the temple, at twelve years of age, with the doctors, yet he was there, audiens et interrogate, he heard what they would say, and he moved questions, to hear what they could say*1; for, Ejusdem scientice est, scire quid interroc/es, quidve respondeai", It is a testimony of as much knowledge to ask a pertinent question, as to give a pertinent answer. But never to have been able to give answer, never to have asked question in matter of religion, this is such an implicitness, and indifierency,as transgresses against the Son of God, who is Wisdom. It is so too, in the other extreme, curiosity; and this, in practical things, is craft, in doctrinal, subtilty. Craft, is properly and narrowly, to go towards good ends, by ill ways : and though this be not so ill, as when neither ends, nor ways be good, yet this is ill too. The civilians use to say of the canonists, and casuists, That they consider nothing but crassam cequitatem, fat equity, downright truths, things obvious and apprehensible by every natural man: and to do but so, to be but honest men, and no more, they think a diminution. To stay within the limits of a profession, within the limits of precedents, within the limits of time, is to over-active men contemptible ; nothing is wisdom, till it be exalted to craft, and got above other men. And so it is, with some, with many, in doctrinal things too. To rest in positive divinity, and articles confessed by all churches, to be content with salvation at last, and raise no estimation, no emulation, no opinion of singularity by the way, only to edify an auditory, and not to amaze them, only to bring them to an assent, and to a practice, and not to an admiration, this is but home-spun divinity, but country-learning, but catechistical doctrine. Let me know (say these high-flying men) what God meant to do with man, before ever God meant to make man: I care not for that law that Moses hath written; that every man can read ; that he might have received from God, in one day; let me know the cabal, that which passed between God and him, in all the rest of the forty days. I care not for God's revealed will, his acts of parliament, his public proclamations, let me know his cabinet counsels, his bosom, his pocket despatches. Is there not another kind of predestination, than that which is revealed in Scriptures, which seems to be only of those that believe in Christ ? May not a man be saved, though he do not, and may not a man be damned, though he do perform those conditions, which seem to make sure his salvation in the Scriptures 1 Beloved, our countryman Holkot, upon the Book of Wisdom, says well of this wisdom, which we must seek in the Book of God : after he hath magnified it in his harmonious manner, (which was the style of that time) after he had said, Cujus authore nihil sublimius, That the Author of the Scripture was the highest Author, for that was God, Cujus tenore nihil solidius, That the assurance of the Scripture was the safest foundation, for it was a rock, Cnjus valore nihil locupletius, That the riches of the Scripture was the best treasure, for it defrayed us in the next world, After he had pursued his way of elegancy, and called it Muniment um majestatis, That majesty and sovereignty itself was established by the Scriptures, and Fundamentum firmitatis, That all true constancy was built upon that, and Complementum potestatis, That the exercise of all power, was to be directed by that, he reserves the force of all to the last, and contracts all to that, Emolumentum proprietatis, The profit which I have, in appropriating the power and the wisdom of the Scriptures to myself: all wisdom is nothing to me, if it be not mine: and I have title to nothing, that is not conveyed to me, by God, in his Scriptures ; and in the wisdom manifested to me there, I rest. I look upon God's decrees, in the execution of those decrees, and I try whether I be within that decree of election, or no, by examining myself, whether the marks of the elect be upon me, or no, and so I appropriate the wisdom of the Scripture to myself. A stupid negligence in the practical things of this world, to do nothing; and an implicit credulity in doctrinal things, to believe all; and so also, a crafty preventing, and circumventing in the practical part; and a subtle, and perplexing intricacy, in the doctrinal part; the first on this side, the other beyond, do both transgress from that Wisdom of God, which is the Son, and, in such a respect, are sins, especially against the second Person in the Trinity.
41 Luke ii. 46. *> Origen.