PREACHED UPON TRINITY SUNDAY.
1 Peter i. 17.
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's works, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.
You may remember, that I proposed to exercise your devotions and religious meditations in these exercises, with words which might present to you, first the several Persons in the Trinity, and the benefits which we receive, in receiving God in those distinct notions of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and then with other words which might present those sins, and the danger of those
VOL. II. I
sins which are most particularly opposed against those several Persons. Of the first, concerning the person of the Father, we spoke last, and of the other, concerning sins against the Father, these words will occasion us to speak now.
It is well noted upon those words of David, Have mercy upon me, 0 God1, that the word is Elohim, which is Gods in the plural, Have mercy upon me, 0 Gods: for David, though he conceived not divers Gods, yet he knew three divers Persons in that one God, and he knew that by that sin which he lamented in that Psalm, that peccatum complicatum, that manifold sin, that sin that enwrapped so many sins, he had offended all those three Persons. For whereas we consider principally in the Father, potestatem, power, and in the Son, sapientiam, wisdom, and in the Holy Ghost, bonitatem, goodness, David had sinned against the Father, in his notion, in potestate, in abusing his power, and kingly authority, to a mischievous and bloody end in the murder of Uriah: and he had sinned against the Son, in his notion, in sapientia, in depraving and detorting true wisdom into craft and treachery: and he had sinned against the Holy Ghost in his notion, in bonitate, when he would not be content with the goodness and piety of Uriah, who refused to take the eases of his own house, and the pleasure of his wife's bosom, as long as God himself in his army lodged in tents, and stood in the face of the enemy. Sins against the Father then, we consider especially to be such as are in potestate, either in a neglect of God's power over us, or in an abuse of that power which we have from God over others; and of one branch of that power, particularly of judgment, is this text principally intended, If ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth, &c.
In the words we shall insist but upon two parts, first, a counsel, which in the apostle's mouth is a commandment; and then a reason, an inducement, which in the apostle's mouth is a forcible, an unresistible argument. The counsel, that is, the commandment, is, If ye call on the Father, fear him, stand in fear of him : and the reason, that is, the argument, is, the name of Father implies a great power over you, therefore fear him; and amongst other powers, a power of judging you, of calling you to an
1 Psal . 1.1.1
account, therefore fear him: in which judgment, this Judge accepts no persons, but judges his sons as his servants, and therefore fear him: and then, he judges, not upon words, outward professions, but upon works, actions, according to every mans works, and therefore fear him: and then as on his part he shall certainly call you to judgment when you go hence, so on your part, certainly it cannot be long before you go hence, for your time is but a sojourning here, it is not a dwelling, and yet it is a sojourning here, it is not a posting, a gliding through the world, but such a stay, as upon it our everlasting dwelling depends; and therefore that we may make up this circle, and end as we begun, with the fear of God, pass that time, that is, all that time, in fear; in fear of neglecting and undervaluing, or of over-tempting that great power which is in the Father, and in fear of abusing those limbs, and branches, and beams of that power which he hath communicated to thee, in giving thee power and authority any way over others; for these, to neglect the power of the Father, or to abuse that power which the Father hath given thee over others, are gins against the Father, who is power. //" ye call on the Father, &c.
First then, for the first part, the counsel, Si invocatis, If ye call on the Father, in timore, do it in fear, the counsel hath not a voluntary condition, and arbitrary in ourselves annexed to it; if you call, then fear, does not import, if you do not call, you need not fear ; it does not import, that if you profess a particular form of religion, you are bound to obey that church, but if you do not, but have fancied a religion to yourself without precedent, or a way to salvation without any particular religion, or a way out of the world without any salvation or damnation, but a going out like a candle, if you can think thus you need not fear, this is not the meaning of this if in this place, If you call on the Father, &c. But this if implies a wonder, an impossibility, that any man should deny God to be the Father: if the author, the inventor of anything useful for this life be called the father of that invention, by the Holy Ghost himself, Jubal was the father of such as dwell in tents, and Tubal his brother the father of music*, and so Horace calls Eunius the father of one kind of poem : how abso
' Gen. iv. 20.
lutely is God our Father, who (may I say?) invented us, made us, found us out in the depth, and darkness of nothing at all! He is Pater, and Pater luminum, Father, and Father of lights*, of all kinds of lights. Lux lucifica, as St. Augustine expresses it, The light from which all the lights which we have, whether of nature, or grace, or glory, have their emanation. Take these Lights of which God is said to be the Father, to he the angels, (so some of the fathers take it, and so St. Paul calls them angels of light*; and so Nazianzen calls them Secundos splendores primi splendoris administros, Second lights that serve the first light) or take these lights of which God is said to be the Father to be the ministers of the Gospel, the angels of the church, (so some fathers take them too, and so Christ says to them, in the apostles, You are the light of the world*,) or take these lights to be those faithful servants of God, who have received an illustration in themselves, and a coruscation towards others, who by having lived in the presence of God, in the household of his faithful, in the true church, are become, as John Baptist was, burning and shining lamps, (as St. Paul says of the faithful, You shine as lights in this world*, and as Moses had contracted a glorious shining in his face, by his conversation with God) or take this light to be a fainter light than that, (and yet that which St. James doth most literally intend in that place) the light of natural understanding, that which Pliny calls Serenitatem animi, When the mind of man, disencumbered of all eclipses, and all clouds of passion, or inordinate love of earthly things, is enlightened so far, as to discern God in nature ; or take this light to be but the light of a shadow, (for Umbrce non sunt tenebrce, sed densior lux, Shadows are not darknesses, shadows are but a grosser kind of light) take it to be that shadow, that design, that delineation, that obumbration of God, which the creatures of God exhibit to us, that which Pliny calls Cceli icetitiam, When the heavens, and all that they embrace, in an openness and cheerfulness of countenance, manifest God unto us; take these lights of which St. James speaks, in any apprehension, any way, angels of heaven who are ministering spirits, angels of the church, who are spiritual ministers, take it
* James i. 17. * 2 Cor. xi. 14.
4 Matt. v. 14. * Phil . ii. 15.
for the light of faith from hearing, the light of reason from discoursing, or the light flowing from the creature to us, by contemplation, and observation of nature, every way, by every light we see, that he is Pater luminum, The Father of lights; all these lights are from him, and by all these lights we see that he is a Father, and our Father.
So that as the apostle uses this phrase in another place, Si opertum Evangelium, If the Gospel be hid1, with wonder and admiration, is it possible, can it be that this Gospel should be hid ? So it is here, Si invocatis, If ye call God Father, that is, as it is certain you do, as it is impossible but you should, because you cannot ascribe to any but him, your being, your preservation in that being, your exaltation in that being to a well-being, in the possession of all temporal, and spiritual conveniences, and then there is thus much more force in this particle si, if, which is (as you have seen) si concessionis, non dubitationis, an if that implies a confession and acknowledgment, not a hesitation or a doubt, that it is also si progressions, si conclusionis, an if that carries you farther, and that concludes you at last, if you do it, that is, since you do it, since you do call God Father, since you have passed that act of recognition, since not only by having been produced by nature, but by having been regenerated by the Gospel, you confess God to be your Father, and your Father in his Son, in Christ Jesus: since you make that profession, Of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth*, if you call him Father, since you call him Father, thus, go on farther, Timete, Fear him; If ye call him Father, fear him, Sic.
Now, for this fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, and the end of wisdom too, we are a little too wise, at least, too subtle, sometimes in distinguishing too narrowly between a filial fear, and a servile fear, as though this filial fear were nothing but a reverend love of God, as he is good, and not a doubt and suspicion of incurring those evils, that are punishments, or that produce punishments. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil', it is a holy detestation of that evil which is Malum culpce, The evil of sin, and it is a holy trembling under a tender apprehension of
i 2 Cor. iv. 3. * Jaoues i. 18. * Prov. viii. 13,
that other evil, which we call Malum pcence, The evil of punishment for sin. God presents to us the joys of heaven often to draw us, and as often the torments of hell to avert us. Origen says aright, As Abraham had two sons, one of a bondwoman, another of a free, but yet both sons of Abraham; so God is served by two fears, and the later fear, the fear of future torment, is not the perfect fear, but yet even that fear is the servant, and instrument of God too. Quis tam insensatus1*, Who can so absolutely divest all sense, Qui non fluctuante cirtitate, imminente naufragio, But that when the whole city is in a combustion and commotion, or when the ship th.it he is in, strikes desperately and irrecoverably upon a rock, he is otherwise affected toward God then, than when every day, in a quietness and calm of holy affections, he hears a sermon? Gehennce timor (says the same father) regni nos affert coronam, Even the fear of hell gets us heaven. Upon Abraham there fell A horror of great darkness", and Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God". And that way, towards that dejected look, does God bend his countenance; Upon this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, andtrembleth at my word". As there are both impressions in security, vicious and virtuous, good and bad' so there are both in fear also. There is a wicked security in the wicked, by which they make shift to put off all providence in God, and to think God like themselves, indifferent what becomes of this world; there is an ill security in the godly, when for the time, in their prosperity, they grow ill husbands of God's graces, and negligent of his mercies; In my prosperity (says David himself, of himself) / said, I shall not be moved1*. And there is a security of the faithful, a constant persuasion, grounded upon those marks, which God, in his word, hath set upon that state, That neither height, nor depth, nor any creature shall separate us from God: but yet this security is never discharged of that fear, which he that said that, had in himself, / keep undtr my body, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway"; and which he persuades others, how safe soever they
10 Chrysostom. " Gen. xv. 12.
" Exod. iii. 6. » Isaiah Lxvi. 12.
" Peal. xxx. 6. » i Cor. ix. 27.
were, Work out your salvation wit h fear and tremblingTM, and, Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall".
As then there is a vicious, an evil security; and that holy security which is good, is not without fear: so there is no fear of God, though it have some servility, (so far, as servility imports but a fear of punishment) but it is good. For, Timor est amor inchoativus", The love of God begins in fear, and then Amor est timor consmnmatus, The fear of God ends in love; which David intends when he says, Rejoice with trembling"; conceive no such fear as excludes spiritual joy, conceive no such assurance, as excludes an humble and reverential fear. There is a fear of God too narrow, when we think every natural cross, every worldly accident to be a judgment of God, and a testimony of his indignation, which the poet (not altogether in an ill sense) calls a disease of the soul, Quo morbo mentem concusse ? timore Deorum; he imagines a man may be sick of the fear of God, that is, not distinguish between natural accidents, and immediate judgments of God; between ordinary declarations of his power, and extraordinary declarations of his anger. There is also a fear of God too large, too far extended, when for a false fear of offending God, I dare not offend those men, who pretend to come in his name, and so captivate my conscience to the traditions and inventions of men, as to the word, and law of God. And there is a fear of God conceived, which never quickens, but putrefies in the womb before inanimation ; the fear and trembling of the devil, and men whom he possesses, desperate of the mercies of God. But there is a fear acceptable to God, and yet hath in it, a trembling, a horror, a consternation, an astonishment, an apprehension of God's dereliction for a time. The law was given in thundering, and lightening, and the people were afraid ". How proceeds Moses with them ? Fear not, says he, for God is come to prove you, that his fear might be before your faces. Here is a fear not, that is, fear not with despair, nor with diffidence, but yet therefore, that you may fear the law; for, in this place, the very law itself (which is given to direct them) is called fear; as in another place, God himself is called fear, (as he is in other places called
w Phil. ii. 12. 17 1 Cor. x. 12. 1* Augustine.
" Psal. ii. 11. *0 Exod. xx. 20.
love too) Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac"; that is, by him whom his father Isaac feared, as the Chaldee paraphrase rightly expresses it.
Briefly, this is the difference between fearfulness, and fear, (for so we are fain to call timiditatem and timorem) timidity, fearfulness, is a fear, where no cause of fear is; and there is no cause of fear, where man and man only threatens on one side, and God commands on the other: Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer, the Holy One of IsraelTM. Moses's parents had overcome this fearfulness: They hid him, says the text", Et non metuerunt edictum reals, They feared not the proclamation of the king, because it was directly, and evidently, and nndisputably against the manifest will of God. Queen Esther had overcome this fearfulness; she had fasted, and prayed, and used all prescribed and all possible means, and then she entered the king's chamber, against the proclamation, with that necessary resolution, Si per eam, peream, If I perish, I perish*4; not upon a disobedient, not upon a desperate undertaking, but in a rectified conscience, and well established opinion, that either that law was not intended to forbid her, who was his wife, or that the king was not rightly informed, in that bloody command, which he had given for the execution of all her countrymen. And for those who do not overcome this fearfulness, that is, that fear where no cause of fear is, (and there is no cause of fear, where God's cause is by godly ways promoved, though we do not always discern the ways, by which this is done) for those men that frame imaginary fears to themselves, to the withdrawing or discouraging of others in the service of God, we see where such men are ranked by the Holy Ghost, when St. John says*5, The unbelieving, the murderer, the whoremonger, the sorcerer, the idolater, shall have their portion in the lake of brimstone, which is the second death: we see who leads them all into this irrecoverable precipitation, the fearful, that is, he that believes not God in his promises, that distrusts God in his own cause, as soon as he seems to open us to any danger; or distrusts God's instruments, as soon as they go another way, than ho would have them go. To end
11 Gen. xxxi. 53. w Isaiah xu. 14. a Heb. xi. 23.
** Esther iv. 16. *» Rev. xxi. 8.
this, there is no love of God without fear, no law of God, no God himself without fear; and here, as in very many other places of Scripture, the fear of God is our whole religion, the whole service of God ; for here, fear him, includes worship him, reverence him, obey him. Which counsel or commandment, though it need no reason, no argument, yet the apostle does pursue with an argument, and that constitutes our second part.
Now the apostle's arguments grow out of a double root; one argument is drawn from God, another from man. From God, thus implied, if God be a father, fear him, for naturally we acknowledge the power of a father to be great over his children, and consequently the reverent fear of the children great towards him. The father had potestatem vitce et necis, a power over the life of his child, he might have killed his child; but that the child should kill his father, it never entered into the provision of any law, and it was long before it fell into the suspicion of any law-maker. Romulus in his laws, called every manslaughter Parricidium, because it was paris occisio, he had killed a man, a peer, a creature equal to himself; but for parricide in the latter sense, when parricide is patricide, the killing of a father, it came not into the jealousy of Romulus's law, nor into the heart or hand of any man there in six hundred years after : Cum lege cceperunt, et facinu s pcena monetravit, says their moral man": That sin began not, till the law forbade it, and only the punishment ordained for it, showed that there might be such a thing. He that curseth father or mother, shall surely die, says Moses"; and he that is but stubborn towards them, shall die too". The dutiful love of children to parents is so rooted in nature, that Demosthenes says, It is against the impressions and against the law of nature, for any child ever to love that man, that hath done execution upon his father, though by way of justice: and this natural obligation is not conditioned with the limitations of a good or a bad father, Natura te non bono patri, sed patri contiliamt, says that little great philosopher", Nature hath not bound thee to thy father, as he is a good father, but merely as he is thy father.
" Seneca. " Exod. xxi. 17- " Deut. xxi. 10.
Now for the power of fathers over their children, by the law of nations, that is, the general practice of civil states, the father had power upon the life of his child; it fell away by discontinuance, in a great part, and after was abrogated by particular laws, but yet, by a conance, admitted in some cases too. For, as in nature man is microcosmus, a little world, so in nature, a family is a little state, a little commonwealth, and what power the magistrate hath in that, the father hath in this. Ipsum regnum suapte natura imperium est paternum**, The power of a king, if it be kept within the bounds of the nature of that office, is only to be a father to his people : and, Gratius est nomen pietatis, quam potestatis", Authority is presented in a more acceptable name, when I am called a father, than when I am called a master; and therefore, says Seneca, our ancestors mollified it thus, Ut invidiam Dominis, contumeliam semis detraherent, That there might accrue no envy to the master for so great a title, nor contempt upon the servant for so low a title, they called the master patrem familias, the father of a household, and they called the servants, familiares, parts and pieces of the family. So that in the name of father they understand all power; and the first law that passed amongst the Romans against parricides, was Contra interfectores patrum et dominorum**; They were made equal, fathers and sovereigns : and in the law of God itself, honour thy father, we see all the honour, and fear, and reverence that belongs to the magistrate, is conveyed in that name, in that person, the father is all; as in the state of that people, before they came to be settled, both the civil part of the government, and the spiritual part, was all in the father, that father was king and priest over all that family.
Present God to thyself then as a father, and thou wilt fear him; and take knowledge, that the son might not sue the father; enter no action against God why he made thee not richer, nor wiser, nor fairer; no nor why he elects, or refuses, without respect of good or bad works; but take knowledge too, that when by the law, the father might punish the son with death, he might not kill his son before he was passed three years in age, before he was come to some demonstration of an ill, and rebellious nature,
*0 Aristotle. " TertuUian. M Lex Pompeia.
and disposition : whatsoever God may do of his absolute power, believe that he will not execute that power upon thee to thy condemnation, till thine actual sins have made thee incapable of his love: what he may do, dispute not, but be sure he will do thee no harm if thou fear him, as a Father.
Now to bring that nearer to you, which principally we intended, which is, the consideration and precaution of those sins, which violate this power of God, notified in this name of Father, we consider a threefold emanation or exercise of power in this Father, by occasion of a threefold repeating of this part of the text, in the Scripture. The words are weighty, always at the bottom; for we have these words in the last of the prophets, in Malachi, and in the last of the evangelists, in John, and here in this apostle, we have them of the last judgment. In Malachi he says", A son honour eth his father, if then I be a father, where is my honour ? This God speaks there to the priest, to the Levite; for the tribe of Levi had before, (as Moses bade them") consecrated their hands to God, and punished by a zealous execution, the idolatry of the golden calf; and for this service, God fastened the priesthood upon them. But when they came in Malachi's time, to cone at idolatry itself, God, who was himself the root of the priesthood, and had trusted them with it, and they had abused that trust, and the priesthood, then when the prophet was become a fool, and the spiritual man, mad", or (as St. Hierome reads it) arreptitius, that is, possessed by others, God first of all turns upon the priest himself, rebukes the priest, interminates his judgment upon the priest, for God is our high priest. And therefore fear this Father in that notion, in that apprehension, as a priest, as thy high priest, that refuses or receives thy sacrifices, as he finds them conditioned; and if he look narrowly, is able to find some spot in thy purest lamb, some sin in thy holiest action, some deviation in thy prayer, some ostentation in thine alms, some vain glory in thy preaching, some hypocrisy in thy hearing, some concealing in thy confessions, some reservation in thy restitutions, some relapses in thy reconciliations: since thou callest him Father, fear him as thy high priest: so the words have their
** Mal . i. 6. " Exod. xxxii. 29. " Hosea ix. 7
force in Malachi, and they appertain ad potestatem sacerdotalem, to the power of the priest, despise not that.
And then, in the second place, which is in St. John", Christ says, If God were your Father, you would love me: and this Christ speaks to the Pharisees, and to them, not as sectaries in religion, but as to persons in rauthority, and command in the state, as to rulers, to governors, to magistrates; so Christ says to Pilate", Thou couldst have no power to all against me, except it were given theefrom above: and so St. Paul*0, There is no power but of God, the powers that be, be ordained of God. Christ then charges the Pharisees, that they having the secular power in their hands, they went about to kill him, when he was doing the will of his Father, who is the root, as of priesthood, so of all civil power, and magistracy also. Fear this Father then, as the civil sword, the sword of justice is in his hand. He can open thee to the malicious prosecutions of adversaries, and submit thee to the penalties of those laws, which, in truth, thou hast never transgressed : thy fathers, thy grandfathers have sinned against him, and thou hast been but reprieved for two sessions, for two generations, and now mayest come to execution. Thou hast sinned thyself, and hast repented, and hast had thy pardon sealed in the sacrament; but thy pardon was clogged with an ita quod se bene gerat, thou wast bound to the peace by that pardon, and hast broken that peace since, in a relapse, and so fallest under execution for thine old sins : God cuts off men by unsearchable ways and means; and therefore fear this Father as a sovereign, as a magistrate, for that use this word in St. John may have.
In Malachi we consider him in his supreme spiritual power, and in St. John in his supreme temporal power; and in this text, this Father is presented in a power, which includes both, in a judiciary power, as a judge, as our judge, our judge at the last day, beyond all appeal; and (as this apostle St. Peter, is said by Clement, who is said to have been his successor at Rome, to have said) Quis peccare poterit, &c. Who could commit any sin at any time, if at all times he had his eye fixed upon this last judgment ? We have seen purses cut at the sessions, and at exe
John viii. 42. '7 John xix. 11. M Rom. xiii. 1.
cutions, but the cut-purse did not see the Judge look upon him: we see men sin over those sins to-day, for which judgment was inflicted but yesterday, but surely they do not see then that the Judge sees them. Thou treasurest up wrath, says the apostle", against the day of wrath, and revelation of the judgment of God: there is no revelation of the day of judgment, no sense of any such day, till the very day itself overtake him, and swallow him. Represent God to thyself as such a judge, as St. Chrysostom says, That whosoever considers him so, as that judge, and that day, as a day of irrevocable judgment, Gehennce pamam tolerare malit, quam adverso Deo stare, He will even think it an ease to be thrown down into hell out of the presence of God, rather than to stand long in the presence, and stand under the indignation of that incensed Judge: the ite maledicti will be less than the surgite qui dormitis. And there is the miserable perplexity, Latere impossibile, apparere intolerabile", To be hid from this Judge is impossible, and to appear before him, intolerable: for he comes invested with those two flames of confusion, (which are our two next branches in the text) first, he respects no persons, then, he judges according to works: without respect of persons, &c.
Nine or ten several times it is repeated in the Scriptures, and, I think, no one entire proposition so often, that God is no accepter of persons. It is spoken by Moses, that they who are conversant in the law might see it, and spoken in the Chronicles, that they might see it who are conversant in state affairs, and spoken in Job, that men in afflictions might not misimagine a partiality in God: it is spoken to the Gentiles, by the apostle of the Gentiles, St. Paul, severally; to the Romans, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Colossians: and spoken by the chief apostle, St. Peter, both in a private sermon in Cornelius's house, and now in this Catholic epistle written to all the world, that all the world, and all the inhabitants thereof might know, that God is no accepter of persons: and lest all this should not be all, it is spoken twice in the apocryphal books; and though we know not assuredly by whom, yet we know to whom, to all that exercise any judiciary power under God, it belongs to know, that God is no accepter of persons. In divers of those places, this also is added,
Rom. ii. 5. 4* Bernard.
nor receiver of rewards; whether that be added as an equal thing, that it is as great a sin to accept persons, as to accept rewards, or as a concomitancy, they go together, he that will accept persons, will accept rewards, or as an identity, it is the same thing to accept persons, and to accept rewards, because the preferment which I look for from a person in place, is as much a reward, as money from a person rich in treasure; whether of these it be, I dispute not: clearly there is a bribery in my love to another, and in my fear of another there is a bribery too : there is a bribery in a poor man's tears, if that decline me from justice, as well as in the rich man's plate, and hangings, and coach, and horses.
Let no man therefore think to present his complexion to God for an excuse, and say, my choler with which my constitution abounded, and which I could not remedy, inclined me to wrath, and so to blood; my melancholy inclined me to sadness, and so to desperation, as though thy sins were medicinal sins, sins to vent humours. Let no man say, I am continent enough all the year, but the spring works upon me, and inflames my concupiscences, as though thy sins were seasonable and anersary sins. Make not thy calling the occasion of thy sin, as though thy sin were a mystery, and an occupation; nor thy place, thy station, thy office the occasion of thy sin, as though thy sin were an heir-loom, or furniture, or fixed to the freehold of that place : for this one proposition, God is no accepter of persons, is so often repeated, that all circumstances of dispositions, and callings, and time, and place might be involved in it. Nulla discretio personarum, sed morum"; God discerns not, that is, distinguishes not persons, but actions, for, he judgeth according to every mans works, which is our next branch.
Now this judging according to works, excludes not the heart, nor the heart of the heart, the soul of the soul, faith. God requires the heart, my son give me thy heart; he will have it, but he will have it by gift; and those deeds of gift must be testified; and the testimony of the heart is in the hand, the testimony of faith is in works. If one give me a timber tree for my house, I know not whether the root be mine or no, whether I may stub it by that gift: but if he give me a fruit-tree for mine orchard, he
intends me the root too; for else I cannot transplant it, nor receive fruit by it: God judges according to the work, that is, root and fruit, faith and work; that is the work; and then he judges according unto thy work; the works of other men, the actions and the passions of the blessed martyrs, and sainta in the primitive church, works of supererogation are not thy works. It were a strange pretence to health, that when thy physician had prescribed thee a bitter potion, and came for an account how it had wrought upon thee, thou shouldst say, my brother hath taken twice as much as you prescribed for me, but I took none, or if he ordained six ounces of blood to be taken from thee, to say, my grandfather bled twelve. God shall judge according to the work, that is, the nature of the work, and according to thy work, the propriety of the work : thee, who art a Protestant, he shall judge by thine own work, and not by St. Stephen's, or St. Peter's; and thee, who art a Papist, he shall judge by thine own work, and not by St. Campian's, or St. Garnet's, as meritorious as thou thinkest them. And therefore if God be thy Father, and in that title have sovereign power over thee, a power spiritual, as high priest of thy soul, that discerns thy sacrifices; a power civil, and draws the sword of justice against thee, when he will; a power judiciary, and judges without accepting persons, and without error in apprehending thy works, if he be a Father thus, fear him, for these are the reasons of fear, on his part, and then fear him, for this reason on thy part, that this time which thou art to stay here, first, is but a sojourning, it is no more, but yet it is a sojourning, it is no less, pass the time of your sojourning here, &c.
When there is a long time to the assizes, there may be some hope of taking off, or of smothering evidence, or working upon the judge, or preparing for a pardon : or if it were a great booty, a great possession which we had gotten, even that might buy out our peace. But this world is no such thing, neither for the extent that we have in it, it is but little that the greatest hath, nor for the time that we have in it; in both respects it is but a sojourning, it is but a pilgrimage, says Jacob", and but the daya of my pilgrimage; every one of them quickly at an end, and all of them quickly reckoned. Here we have no continuing city";
" Gen. xLvii. 6. - " Heb. xiii. 14.
first, no city, no such large being, and then no continuing at all, it is but a sojourning. The word in the text is 7rapoi«ta?, we have but a parish, we are but parishioners in this world, and they that labour to purchase whole shires, usurp more than their portion; and yet what is a great shire in a little map 1 Here we are but viatores, passengers, wayfaring men ; this life is but the highway, and thou canst not build thy hopes here; nay, to be buried in the highway is no good mark; and therefore bury not thyself, thy labours, thy affections upon this world. What the prophet says to thy Saviour, (0 the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man, that turns aside to tarry for a night"?) say thou to thy soul, Since thou art a stranger in the land, a wayfaring man, turned aside to tarry for a night, since the night is past, Arise and depart, for here is not thy rest"; prepare for another place, and fear him whom thou callest Father, and who is shortly to be thy Judge; for here thou art no more than a sojourner; but yet remember withal that thou art so much, thou art a sojourner.
This life is not a parenthesis, a parenthesis that belongs not to the sense, a parenthesis that might be left out, as well as put in. More depends upon this life, than so: upon every minute of this life, depend millions of years in the next, and I shall be glorified eternally, or eternally lost, for my good or ill use of God's grace offered to me this hour. Therefore where the apostle says of this life, Peregrinamur a Domino, We are abscnt from the Lord", yet he says, We are at home in the body: this world is so much our home, as that he that is not at home now, he that hath not his conversation in heaven here, shall never get home. And therefore 'even in this text, our former translation calls it dwelling; that which we read now, pass the time of your sojourning, we did read then, pass the time of your dwelling; for this, where we are now, is the suburb of the great city, the porch of the triumphant church, and the grange, or country house of the same landlord, belonging to his heavenly palace, in the heavenly Jerusalem. Be it but a sojourning, yet thou must pay God something for thy sojourning, pay God his rent of praise and prayer; and be it but a sojourning, yet thou art bound to it for a time; though thou sigh with David, lieu mihi, quia prolongatus incolatus41, Woe is me that I sojourn so long here, though the miseries of thy life make thy life seem long, yet thou must stay out that time, which he, who took thee in, appointed, and by no practice, no not so much as by a deliberate wish, or unconditioned prayer, seek to be delivered of it: because thy time here is such a sojourning as is quickly at an end, and yet such a sojourning as is never at an end, (for our endless state depends upon this) fear him, who shall so certainly, and so soon be a just judge of it; fear him, in abstaining from those sins which are directed upon his power; which are, principally, (as we intimated at the beginning, and with which we shall make an end) first, the negligence of his power upon thee, and then, the abuse of his power communicated to thee over others.
44 Jer. xiv. 7. 4* Mic. ii. 10. " 2 Cor. v. 6.
First then, the sin directed against the Father, whom we consider to be the root and centre of all power, is, when as some men have thought the soul of man to be nothing but a resultance of the temperament and constitution of the body of man, and no infusion from God, so they think that power, by which the world is governed, is but a resultance of the consent, and the tacit voice of the people, who are content for their ease to be so governed, and no particular ordinance of God: it is an undervaluing, a false conception, a mis-apprehension of those beams of power, which God from himself sheds upon those, whom himself calls gods in this world. We sin then against the Father, when we undervalue God in his priest. God hath made no step in that perverse way of the Roman church, to prefer, so as they do, the priest before the king; yet, speaking in two several places, of the dignity of his people, first, as Jews, then as Christians, he says in one place, They shall be a kingdom, and a kingdom of priests"; and he says in the other, They shall be sacerdotium, and regale sacerdotium, priests, and royal priests**: in one place, the king, in the other, the priest mentioned first, and in both places, both involved in one another: the blessings from both are so great, as that the Holy Ghost expresses them by one another mutually. When
47 Psalm cxx. 5. ** Isaiah xix. 0. " 1 Pet. ii. 9.
VOL. II. M
God commands his people to be numbered50 in every tribe, one51 moves this question, Why in all other tribes he numbered but from twenty years upward, and in the tribe of Levi from a month upward ? Agnosce sacerdos, says he, quanti te Deu s tuusfecerit, Take knowledge, thou art the priest of the high God, what a value God hath set upon thee, that whereas he takes other servants for other affairs, when they are men, fit to do him service, he took thee to the priesthood in thy cradle, in thine infancy. How much more then, when the priest is not sacerdos infans, a priest that cannot or does not speak; but continues watchful in meditating, and assiduous in uttering, powerfully, and yet modestly, the things that concern your salvation, ought you to abstain from violating the power of God the Father, in disesteeming his power thus planted in the priest ?
So also do we sin against the Father, the root of power, in conceiving amiss of the power of the civil magistrate: whether where God is pleased to represent his unity, in one Person, in a King; or to express it in a plurality of Persons, in divers governors, when God says, Per me reges regnant, By me kings reign; there the per, is not a permission, but a commission, it is not, that they reign by my sufferance, but they reign by mine ordinance. A king is not a king, because he is a good king, nor leaves being a king, as soon as he leaves being good. All is well summed by the apostle, You must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience" sake**.
But then the greatest danger of sinning against the Father, in this notion of power, is, if you conceive not aright of his judiciary power, of that judgment, which he executes, not by priests, nor by kings upon earth, but by his own Son Christ Jesus in heaven. For, not to be astonished at the contemplation of that judgment, where there shall be information, examination, publication, hearing, judgment, and execution in a minute; where they that never believed, till they heard me, may be taken in, and I that preached and wrought their salvation, may be left out; where those wounds which my Saviour received upon earth, for me, shall be shut up against me, and those wounds which my blasphe
50 Numb. i. " Oleaster. " Rom. xiii. 5.
mies have made in his glorified body, shall bleed out indignation, upon sight of me, the murderer, not to think upon, not to tremble at this judgment, is the highest sin against the Father, and his power, in the undervaluing of it.
But there is a sin against this power too, in abusing that portion of that power, which God hath deposited in thee. Art thou a priest, and expectest the reverence due to that holy calling ? Be holy in that calling. Quomodo potest obserxari a populo, qui nihil habet secretum a populo"? How can the people reverence him, whom they see to be but just one of them? Quid in te miretur, si sua in te recognoscit? If they find no more in thee, than in one another, what should they admire in thee ? Si quce in se erubescit, in te, quem reverendum arbitrator, offendit? If they discrn those infirmities in thee, which they are ashamed of in themselves, where is there any object, any subject, any exercise of their reverence ? Art thou great in civil power ? Quid gloriaris in ma/1', quia potens es? Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, 0 mighty man"? Hast thou a great body therefore, because thou shouldest stand heavy upon thine own feet, and make them ache? Or a great power therefore, because thou shouldest oppress them that are under thee ?, use thy power justly, and call it the voice of allegiance when the people say to thee, as to Joshua, All that thou commandest us, we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go": abuse that power to oppression, and thou canst not call that the voice of sedition, in which, Peter and the other apostles joined together, We ought to obey God rather than man". Hast thou any judicial place in this world ? here there belongs more fear than in the rest: some things C»od hath done in Christ as a Priest in this world, some things as a King, but when Christ should have been a judge in civil causes, he declined that, he would not divide the inheritance, and in criminal causes he did so too, he would not condemn the adulteress. So that for thy example in judgment, thou art referred to that which is not come yet, to that, to which thou must come, the last, the everlasting judgment. Weigh thine affections there, and then, and think there stands before thee now, a prisoner so affected, as thou shalt
5* Arabr. Ep. C. ad Iren. M Psalm Lii. 1.
85 Jos. i. 17. " Acts v. 29.
be then. Weigh the mercy of thy Judge then, and think there is such mercy required in thy judgment now. Be but able to say, God be such to me at the last day, as I am to his people this day, and for that day's justice in thy public calling, God may be pleased to cover many sins of infirmity. And so you have all that we intended in this exercise to present unto you, the first Person of the Trinity, God the Father, in his attribute of power, Almighty, and those sins, which, as far as this text leads us, are directed upon him in that notion of Father. The next day the Son will rise.