DEVOTIONS UPON EMERGENT OCCASIONS,
SEVERAL STEPS IN MY SICKNESS.
I. MEDITATIONS, UPON OUR HUMAN CONDITION.
II. EXPOSTULATIONS, AND DEBATEMENTS WITH GOD. III. PRAYERS, UPON THE SEVERAL OCCASIONS, TO HIM.
THE MOST EXCELLENT PRINCE, PRINCE CHARLES.
Most Excellent Phince,
I Have had three births; one, natural, when I came into the world; one, supernatural, when I entered into the ministry; and now, a preternatural birth, in returning to life, from this sickness. In my second birth, your Highness' royal father vouchsafed me his hand, not only to sustain me in it, but to lead me to it. In this last birth, I myself am born a father: this child of mine, this book, comes into the world, from me, and with me. And therefore, I presume (as I did the father, to the Father) to present the son to the Son; this image of my humiliation, to the lively image of his Majesty, your Highness. It might be enough, that God hath seen my devotions: but examples of good kings are commandments; and Hezekiah writ the meditations of his sickness, after his sickness. Besides, as I have lived to see, (not as a witness only, but as a partaker) the happiness of a part of your royal father's time, so shall I live (in my way) to see the happinesses of the times of your Highness too, if this child of mine, inanimated hy your gracious acceptation, may so long preserve alive the memory of
Your Highness humblest and devotedest,
John Donne. STATIONES, SIVE PERIODI TN MORBO,
AD QUA8 REFERUNTUIt MED1TATIONES
(I) Insih.tus morbi primus; (2) Post, actio Uesa;
(3) Decubitus scquitur taudcm ; (4) Medicusquc vocatur;
(5) Solus adest; ((i) Metuit; (7) Socios sibi jungitur* instnt;
(8) Et Rex ipse sunm mittit; (0) Medicamina scribunt;
(10) Lcnte et serpent! satagunt occurrero morbo.
(II) Nobilibusque trabunt, a ciucto corde, vcnenum,
Succis, ct gemiuis; et ijuie generosa, ministrant.
Ars, et Natura, instillant; (12) Spirante Cohmiba,
Supposita pedibus, revocantur ad hna vapores;
(13) Atque malum geniuin, numcroso stigmate, fassus,
Pellitur nd pectus, morbique suburbia, morbus:
(14) Idque notant criticis'medici eveuisse diebus.
(15) Interea insomnes noctes ego duco, diesque,
(16) Et properare meum, clamaut e turre propinqna
Obstrepeiie campanae, aliorum in funere, funus.
(17) Nunc lento sonitu dicunt, morieris; (lli) At iude,
Mortuns es; sonitu celeri, pulsuquo agitato.
(10) Oceano tandem cmenso, aspicienda resurgit
Terra; videut justis, medici, jam cocta mederi
So posse, iudiciis; (20) Id aguut (21) Atque anunit ille,
Qui per eos clamat, linquas jam Lazai c lcctum;
(22) Sit morbi fomes tibi cura; (23) Metusque relabi.
* I suppose jmigitr Is meant, both lure and again where the heading is repeated at Meditation VII.—Ed.
Insultus Mobbi Pbimus;
The first altercation, the first grudging of the sickness*.
Vabiable, and therefore miserable condition of man; this minute I was well, and am ill, this minute. I am surprised with a sudden change, and alteration to worse, and can impute it to no cause, nor call it by any name. We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats, and drink, and air, and exercises, and we hew, and we polish every stone that goes to that building; and so our health is a long and a regular work; but in a minute a cannon batters all; overthrows all; diminishes all: a sickness unprevented for all our diligence, unsuspected for all our curiosity; nay, undeserved, if we consider only disorder, summons us, destroys us in an instant. O miserable condition of man, which was not imprinted by God, who as he is immortal himself, had put a coal, a beam of immortality into us, which we might have blown into a flame, but blew it out by our first sin; we beggared ourselves by hearkening after false riches, and infatuated ourselves by hearkening after false knowledge. So that now, we do not only die, but die upon the rack, die by the torment of sickness; nor that only, but are pre-afflicted, super-afflicted with these jealousies and suspicions, and apprehensions of sickness, before we can call it a sickness: we are not sure we are ill; one hand asks the other by the pulse, and our eye asks our own urine how we do. O multiplied misery! we die, aud cannot enjoy death, because we die in this torment of sickness; we are tormented with sickness, and cannot stay till the torment come, but pre-apprehensions and presages, prophesy
• Old edition, "the first alteration,"—" the first gruding."
those torments, which induce that death before either come; and our dissolution is conceived in these first changes, quickened in the sickness itself, and born in death, which bears date from these first changes. Is this the honour which man hath by being a little world, that he hath these earthquakes in himself, sudden shakings, these lightnings, sudden flashes; these thunders, sudden noises; these eclipses, sudden elfuscations, and darkening of his w senses; these blazing stars, sudden fiery exhalations; these rivers of blood, sudden red waters? Is he a world to himself only therefore, that he hath enough in himself, not only to destroy and execute himself, but to presage that execution upon himself; to assist the sickness, to antedate the sickness, to make the sickness the more irremediable by sad apprehensions, and as if he would make a fire the more vehement, by sprinkling water upon the coals, so to wrap a hot fever in cold melancholy, lest the fever alone should not destroy fast enough without this contribution, nor perfect the work (which is destruction) except we joined an artificial sickness of our own melancholy, to our natural, our unnatural fever.
0 perplexed discomposition! O riddling distemper! 0 miserable condition of man!
I. EXPOSTULATION. If I were but mere dust and ashes I might speak unto the Lord, for the Lord's hand made me of this dust, and the Lord's hand shall recollect these ashes; the Lord's hand was the wheel, upon which this vessel of clay was framed, and the Lord's hand is the urn, in which these ashes shall be preserved. I am the dust and the ashes of the temple of the Holy Ghost, and what marble is so precious? But I am more than dust and ashes, I am my best part, I am my soul. And being so, the breath of God, I may breathe back these pious expostulations to my God, My God, my God, why is not my soul as sensible as my body I Why hath not my soul these apprehensions, these presages, these changes, those antedates, those jealousies, those suspicions of a sin, as well as my body of a sickness? Why is there not always a pulse in my soul, to beat at the approach of a temptation to sin? Why are there not always waters in mine eyes, to testify my spiritual sickness?
1 stand in the way of temptations, naturally, necessarily, all men Vol. m. 2 K
do so: for there is a snake in every path, temptations in every vocation; but I go, I run, I fly into the ways of temptation, which I might shun; nay, I break into houses where the plague is; I press into houses of temptation, and tempt the devil himself, and solicit and importune them, who had rather be left unsolicited by me. I fall sick of sin, and am bedded and bedrid, buried and putrefied in the practice of sin, and all this while have no presage, no pulse, no sense of my sickness; O height, O depth of misery, where the first symptom of the sickness is hell, and where I never see the fever of lust, of envy, of ambition, by any other-light than the darkness and horror of hell itself; and where the first messenger that speaks to me doth not say, Thou mayest die, no, nor Thou must die, but Thou art dead; and where the first notice that my soul hath of her sickness is irrecoverableness, irrcmediableness: but, 0 my God, Job did not charge thee foolishly, in his temporal afflictions, nor may I in my spiritual. Thou hast imprinted a pulse in our soul, but we do not examine it; a voice in our conscience, but we do not hearken unto it. We talk it out, we jest it out, we drink it out, we sleep it out; and when we wake, we do not say with Jacob, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I know it not: but though we might know it, we do not, we will not. But will God pretend to make a watch and leave out the spring? to make so many various wheels in the faculties of the soul, and in the organs of the body, and leave out grace, that should move them? or will God make a spring, and not wind it up? Infuse his first graco, and not second it with more, without which we can no more use his first grace, when we have it, than we could dispose ourselves by nature to have it? But alas, that is not our case; we are all prodigal sons, and not disinherited; we have received our portion and misspent it, not been denied it. We are God's tenants here, and yet here, he our Landlord pays us rents, not yearly, nor quarterly, but hourly, and quarterly, every minute he renews his mercy, but we irill not understand, lest that we should be converted, and he should heal us (Matt. xiii. 16).
O Eternal and most gracious God, who considered in thyself, art a circle, first and last, and altogether; but considered in thy working upon us, art a direct line, and leadest us from our beginning, through all our ways, to our end; enable me by thy grace, to look forward to mine end; and to look backward too, to the considerations of thy mercies afforded me, from the beginning; that so by that practice of considering thy mercy, in my beginning in this world, when thou plantedst me in the Christian church, and thy mercy in the beginning in the other world, when thou writest me in the book of life, in my election, I may come to a holy consideration of thy mercy, in the beginning of all my actions here: that in all the beginnings, in all the accesses, and approaches of spiritual sicknesses of sin, I may hear and hearken to that voice, 0 thou man of God, there is death in the pot (2 Kings iv. 40), and so refrain from that, which I was so hungerly, so greedily flying to. A faithful ambassador is health, says thy wise servant Solomon (Prov. xiii. 17). Thy voice received in the beginning of a sickness, of a sin, is true health. If I can see that light betimes, and hear that voice early, Then shall my light break forth as the morning, and my health shall spring forth speedily (Isaiah Lviii. 8). Deliver me therefore, O my God, from these vain imaginations; that it is an over-curious thing, a dangerous thing, to come to that tenderness, that rawness, that scrupulousness, to fear every concupiscence, every offer of sin, that this suspicious and jealous diligence will turn to an inordinate dejection of spirit, and a diffidence in thy care and providence; but keep me still established, both in a constant assurance, that thou wilt speak to me at the beginning of every such sickness, at the approach of every such sin; and that if I take knowledge of that voice then, and flee to thee, thou wilt preserve me from falling, or raise me again, when by natural infirmity I am fallen: Do this, 0 Lord, for his sake who knows our natural infirmities, for he had them and knows the weight of our sins, for he paid a dear price for them, thy Son, our Saviour, Christ Jesus. Amen.
The strength, and the functions of the senses, and other faculties change and fail.
The heavens are not the less constant, because they move continually, because they move continually one and the same way. The earth is not the more constant, because it lies still continually, because continually it changes and melts in all the parts thereof. Man, who is the noblest part of the earth, melts so away as if he were a statue, not of earth, but of snow. We see his own envy melts him, he grows lean with that; he will say, another's beauty melts him; but he feels that a fever doth not melt him like snow, but pour him out like lead, like iron, like brass melted in a furnace; it doth not only melt him, but calcine him, reduce him to atoms, and to ashes, not to water, but to lime. And how quickly? Sooner than thou canst receive an answer, sooner than thou canst conceive the question; earth is the centre of my body, heaven is the centre of my soul: these two are the natural places of these two; but those go not to these two in an equal pace: my body falls down without pushing, my soul does not go up without pulling: ascension is my soul's pace and measure, but precipitation my body's: and even angels, whose home is heaven, and who are winged too, yet had a ladder to go to heaven by steps. The sun which goes so many miles in a minute, the stars of the firmament which go so very many more, go not so fast, as my body to the earth. In the same instant that I feel the first attempt of the disease, I feel the victory; in the twinkling of an eye, I can scarce see; instantly the taste is insipid and fatuous; instantly the appetite is dull and dcsireless: instantly the knees are sinking and strengthless; and in an instant sleep, which is the picture, the copy of death, is taken away, that the original, death itself may succeed, and that so I might have death to the life. It was part of Adam's punishment, In the sweat of thy brows thou shalt eat thy bread: it is multiplied to me, I have earned bread in the sweat of my brows, in the labour of my calling, and I have it; and I sweat again, and again, from the brow to the sole of the foot, but I eat no bread, I taste no sustenance: miserable distribution of mankind, where one half lacks meat, and the other stomach.
David professes himself a dead dog to his king, Saul (1 Sam. xxiv. 15), and so doth Mephibosheth to his king, David (2 Sam. ix. 8), and yet David speaks to Saul, and Mephibosheth to David. No man is so little, in respect of the greatest man, as the greatest in respect of God; for here, in that, we have not so much as a measure to try it by; proportion is no measure for infinite. He that hath no more of this world, but a grave; he that hath his grave but lent him, till a better man, or another man must be buried in the same grave; he that hath no grave, but a dunghill, he that hath no more earth, but that which he carries, but that which he is, he that hath not that earth, which he is; but even in that, is another's slave, hath as much proportion to God, as if all David's worthies, and all the world's monarchs, and all imagination's giants were kneaded and incorporated into one, and as though that one were the survivor of all the sons of men, to whom God had given the world. And therefore how little soever I be, as God calls things that are not, as though they were, I, who am as though I were not, may call upon God, and say, My God, my God, why comes thine anger so fast upon me? Why dost thou melt me, scatter me, pour me like water upon the ground so instantly? Thou stayedest for the first world, in Noah's time, a hundred and twenty years; thou stayedest for a rebellious generation in the wilderness, forty years; Wilt thou stay no minute for me! Wilt thou make thy process, thy decree, thy citation, and thy judgment but one act? Thy summons, thy battle, thy victory, thy triumph, all but one act; and lead me captive, nay, deliver me captive to death, as soon as thou declarest me to be enemy, and so cut me off even with the drawing of thy sword out of the scabbard, and for that question, How long was he sick? leave no other answer, but that the hand of death pressed upon him from the first minute? My God, my God, thou wast not wont to come in whirlwinds, but in soft and gentle air. Thy first breath breathed a soul into me, and shall thy breath blow it out I Thy breath in the congregation, thy word in the church, breathes communion and consolation here, and consummation hereafter; Shall thy breath in this chamber breathe dissolut ion, and destruction, divorce and separation? Surely it is not thou; it is not thy hand. The devouring sword, the consuming fire, the winds from the wilderness, the diseases of the body, all that afflicted Job, were from the hand of Satan; it is not thou. It is thou; thou my God, who hast led me so continually with thy hand, from the hand of my nurse, as that I know, thou wilt not correct me but with thine own hand. My parents would not give me over to a servant's correction, nor my God to Satan's. I am fallen into the hands of God with David, and with David I see that his mercies are great (2 Sam. xxiv. 14). For by that mercy, I consider in my present state, not the haste, and the despatch of the disease, in dissolving this body, so much, as the much more haste and despatch, which my God shall use, in recollecting, and re-uniting this dust again at the resurrection. Then I shall hear his angels proclaim the Surgite mortui, Rise ye dead. Though I be dead, I shall hear the voice, the sounding of the voice, and the working of the voice shall be all one; and all shall rise there in a less minute, than any one dies here.
0 Most gracious God, who pursuest, and perfeetest thine own purposes, and dost not only remember me by the first accesses of this sickness, that I must die, but inform me by this further proceeding therein, that I may die now, who hast not only waked me with the first, but called me up, by casting me further down, and clothed me with thyself, by stripping me of myself, and by dulling my bodily senses, to the meats, and eases of this world, hast whet, and sharpened my spiritual senses, to the apprehension of thee, by what steps and degrees soever it shall please to go, in the dissolution of this body, hasten, O Lord, that pace, and multiply, 0 my God, those degrees, in the exaltation of my soul, toward thee now, and to thee then. My taste is not gone away, but gone up to sit at David's table, to taste and see, that the Lord is good (Psalm xxxiv. 8). My stomach is not gone, but gone up, so far upwards toward the supper of the Lamb, with thy saints in heaven, as to the table, to the communion of thy saints here in earth: my knees are weak, but weak therefore that I should easily fall to, and fix myself long upon my devotions to thee. A sound heart is the life of the flesh (Prov. xiv. 30), and a heart visited by thee, and directed to thee, by that visitation is a sound heart. There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger (Psalm xxxviii. 3). Interpret thine own work, and call this sickness, correction, and not anger, and there is soundness in my flesh, There is no rest in my bones, because of my sin (Ps. xxxviii.), transfer my sins, with which thou art so displeased, upon him, with whom thou art so well pleased, Christ Jesus, and there will be rest in my bones: and, O my God, who madest thyself a light in a bush, in the midst of these brambles and thorns of a sharp sickness, appear unto me so, that I may see thee and know thee to be my God, applying thyself to me, even in these sharp and thorny passages. Do this, O Lord, for his sake, who was not the less the King of heaven, for thy suffering him to be crowned with thorns, in this world.
Decubitus Sequituh Tandem.
The patient takes his bed.
We attribute but one privilege and advantage to man's body, above other moving creatures, that he is not as others, grovelling, but of an erect, of an upright form, naturally built, and disposed to the contemplation of heaven. Indeed it is a thankful form, and recompences that soul, which gives it, with carrying that soul so many foot higher, towards heaven. Other creatures look to the earth; and even that is no unfit object, no unfit contemplation for man; for thither he must come; but because, man is not to stay there, as other creatures are, man in his natural form, is carried to the contemplatien of that place, which is his home, heaven. This is man's prerogative: but what state hath he in this dignity? A fever can fillip him down, a fever can depose him; a fever can bring that head, which yesterday carried a crown of gold, five foot towards a crown of glory, as low as his own foot, to-day. When God came to breathe into man the breath of life, he found him flat upon the ground; when he comes to withdraw that breath from him again, he prepares him to it, by laying him flat upon his bed. Scarce any prison so close, that affords not the prisoner two or three steps. The anchorites that barked themselves up in hollow trees, and immured themselves in hollow walls; that perverse man, that barrelled himself in a tub, all could stand, or sit, and enjoy some change of posture. A sick bed is a grave, and all that the patient says there, is but a varying of his own epitaph. Every night's bed is a type of the grave; at night we tell our servants at what hour we will rise; hero we cannot tell ourselves, at what day, what week, what month. Here the head lies as low as the foot; the head of the people, as low as they whom those feet trod upon; and that hand that signed pardons, is too weak to beg his own, if he might have it for lifting up that hand: strange fetters to the feet, strange manacles to the hands, when the feet and hands are bound so much the faster, by how much the cords are slacker; so much the less able to do their offices, by how much more the sinews and ligaments are the looser. In the gravo I may speak through the stones, in the voice of my friends, in the accents of those words, which their love may afford my memory; here I am mine own ghost, and rather affright my beholders, than instruct them; they conceive the worst of me now, and yet fear worse; they give me for dead now, and yet wonder how I do, when they wake at midnight, and ask how I do to-morrow. Miserable, and (though common to all) inhuman posture, where I must practise my lying in the grave, by lying still, and not practise my resurrection, by rising any more.
My God, and my Jesus, my Lord, and my Christ, my strength, and my salvation, I hear thee, and I hearken to thee, when thou rebukest thy disciples, for rebuking them, who brought children to thee, Suffer little children to come unto me, sayest thou (Matt, xix. 13). Is there a verier child than I am now? I cannot say with thy servant Jeremiah, Lord, I am a child, and cannot speak; but, O Lord, I am a sucking child, and cannot eat, a creeping child, and cannot go; How shall I come to thee? Whither shall I come to thee? To this bed? I have this weak, and childish frowardness too, I cannot sit up, and yet am loth to go to bed; Shall I find thee in bed 2 Oh, have I always done so? The bed is not ordinarily thy scene, thy climate: Lord, dost thou not accuse me, dost thou not reproach to me, my former sins, when thou layest me upon this bed? Is not this to hang a man at his own door, to lay him sick in his own bed of wantonness? When thou chidest us by thy prophet for lying in beds of ivory (Amos vi. 4), is not thine anger vented; not till thou changest our beds of ivory into beds of ebony? David swears unto thee, that he will not go up into his bed, till he had built thee an house (Psalm cxxxii. 3). To go up into the bed, denotes strength, and promiseth ease. But when thou sayest, That thou wilt cast Jezabel into a bed (Apoc. ii. 22), thou makest thine own comment upon that, thou callest the bed tribulation, great tribulation: How shall they come to thee, whom thou hast nailed to their bed I Thou art in the congregation (Matt. viii. 6), and I in a solitude: when the centurion's servant lay sick at home, his master was fain to come to Christ; the sick man could not. Their friend lay sick of the palsy, and the four charitable men were fain to bring him to Christ; he could not come (Matt. viii. 4). Peters wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and Christ came to her; she could not come to him (Matt. viii. 14). My friends may carry me home to thee, in their prayers in the congregation; thou must come home to me in the visitation of thy Spirit, and in the seal of thy sacrament: but when I am cast into this bed, my slack sinews are iron fetters, and those thin sheets, iron doors upon me; and, Lord, I have loved the habitation of th ine house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth (Psalm xxvi. 8). I lie here; and say, Blessed are they that dwell in thy /wuse (Psalm Lxxxiv. 4), but I cannot say, I will come into thy house; I may say, In thy fear will I worship towards thy holy temple (Psalm v. 8), but I cannot say in thy holy temple: and, Lord, the zeal of thy house eats me up (Psalm Lxix. 10), as fast as my fever. It is not a recusancy, for I would come, but it is an excommunication, I must not. But Lord, thou art Lord of hosts, and lovest action; Why callest thou me from my calling I In the grave no man shall praise thee; in the door of the grave, this sick bed, no man shall hear me praise thee: thou hast not opened my lips, that my mouth might show thee thy praise, but that my mouth might show forth thy praise. But thy apostle's fear takes hold of me, that when I have preached to others, I myself should, be a castaway (1 Cor. ix. 27); and therefore am I cast down, that I might not be a cast-away; thou couldst take me by the head, as thou didst Habakkuk (2 Kings ii. 11), and carry me so; by a chariot, as thou didst Elijah, and carry me so; but thou carriest me thine own private way, the way by which thou carriedst thy Son, who first lay upon the earth, and prayed, and then had his exaltation, as himself calls his crucifying; and first descended into hell, and then had his ascension. There is another station (indeed neither are stations but prostrations) lower than his bed; to-morrow I may be laid one story lower, upon the floor, the face of the earth, and next day another story, in the grave, the womb of the earth: as yet God suspends me between heaven and earth, as a meteor; and I am not in heaven, because an earthly body clogs me, and I am not in the earth, because a heavenly soul sustains me. And it is thine own law, 0 God, that if a man be smitten so by another, as that he keep his bed, though he die net, he that hurt him, must take care of his healing, and recompense him (Exod. xxi. 18). Thy hand strikes me into this bed; and therefore if I rise again, thou wilt be my recompense, all the days of my life, in making the memory of this sickness beneficial to me; and if my body fall yet lower, thou wilt take my soul out of this bath, and present it to thy Father, washed again, and again, and again, in thine own tears, in thine own sweat, in thine own blood.
O Most mighty and most merciful God, who though thou have taken me off my feet, hast not taken me off my foundation, which is thyself, who though thou have removed me from that upright form, in which I could stand, and see thy throne, the heavens, yet hast not removed from me that light, by which I can lie, and see thyself, who though thou have weakened my bodily knees, that they cannot bow to thee, hast yet left me the knees of my heart, which are bowed unto thee evermore; as thou hast made this bed, thine altar, make me thy sacrifice; and as thou makest thy Son Christ Jesus the priest, so make me his deacon, to minister to him in a cheerful surrender of my body, and soul to thy pleasure, by his hands. I come unto thee, O God, my God, I come unto thee, so as I can come, I come to thee, by embracing thy coming to me, I come in the confidence, and iii the application of thy servant David's promise (Psalm xri. 3), That thou wilt make all my bed in my sickness; all my bed; that which way soever I turn, I may turn to thee; and as I feel thy hand upon all my body, so I may find it upon all my bed, and see all my corrections, and all my refreshings to flow from one, and the same, and all, from thy hand. As thou hast made these feathers, thorns, in the sharpness of this sickness, so, Lord, make these thorns, feathers, again, feathers of thy dove, in the peace of conscience, and in a holy recourse to thine ark, to the instruments of true comfort, in thy institutions, and in the ordinances of thy church. Forget my bed, O Lord, as it hath been a bed of sloth, and worse than sloth; take me not, O Lord, at this advantage, to terrify my soul, with saying, Now I have met thee there, where thou hast so often departed from me; but having burnt up that bed, by these vehement heats, and washed that bed in these abundant sweats, make my bed again, O Lord, and enable me according to thy command, to commune with mine own heart, upon my bed, and be still ("Psalm iv. 4). To provide a bed for all my former sins, whilst I lie upon this bed, and a grave for my sins, before I come to my grave; and when I have deposed them in the wounds of thy Son, to rest in that assurance, that my conscience is discharged from further anxiety, and my soul from further danger; and my memory from further calumny. Do this, O Lord, for his sake, who did, and suffered so much, that thou mightest, as well in thy justice, as in thy mercy, do it for me, thy Son, our Saviour Christ Jesus.
The physician is sent for.
It is too little to call man a little world, except God, man is a diminutive to nothing. Man consists of more pieces, more parts, than the world; than the world doth, nay, than the world is. And if those pieces were extended and stretched out in man, as f they are in the world, man would be the giant, and the world the dwarf, the world but the map, and the man the world. If all the veins in our bodies were extended to rivers, and all the sinews, to veins of mines, and all the muscles, that lie upon one another, to hills, and all the bones, to quarries of stones, and all the other pieces, to the proportion of those which correspond to them in the world, the air would be too little, for this orb of man to move in, the firmament would be but enough for this star; for, as the whole world hath nothing, to which something in man doth not answer, so hath man many pieces, of which the whole world hath no representation. Enlarge this meditation upon this great world, man, so far, as to consider the immensity of the creatures this world produces; our creatures are our thoughts, creatures that are born giants; that reach from east to west, from earth to heaven, that do not only bestride all the sea and land, but span the sun and firmament at once; my thoughts reach all, comprehend all. Inexplicable mystery; I their creator am in a close prison, in a sick bed, anywhere, and any one of my creatures, my thoughts, is with the sun, and beyond the sun, overtakes the sun, and overgoes the sun in one
pace, one step, everywhere. And then as the other world produces serpents, and vipers, malignant, and venomous creatures, and worms, and caterpillars, that endeavour to devour that world produces them, and monsters compiled and complicated of diverse parents, and kinds, so this world, ourselves, produces all these in us, in producing diseases and sicknesses of all those sorts; venomous, and infectious diseases, feeding and consuming diseases, and manifold, and entangled diseases, made up of many several ones. And can the other world name so many venomous, so many consuming, so many monstrous creatures, as we can diseases, of all these kinds? O miserable abundance, O beggarly riches! how much do we lack of having remedies for every disease, when as yet we have not names for them? But we have a Hercules against these giants, these monsters; that is, the physician; he musters up all the forces of the other world, to succour this; all nature, to relieve man. We have the physician, but we are not the physician. Here we shrink in our proportion, sink in our dignity, in respect of very mean creatures, who are physicians to themselves. The hart, that is pursued and wounded, they say, knows an herb, which being eaten, throws off the arrow: a strange kind of vomit. The dog that pursues it, though he be subject to sickness, even proverbially, knows his grass that recovers him. And it may be true, that the drugger is as near to man, as to other creatures, it may be that obvious and present simples, easy to be had, would cure him; but the apothecary is not so near him, nor the physician so near him, as they two are to other creatures; man hath not that innate instinct, to apply those natural medicines to his present danger, as those inferior creatures have; he is not his own apothecary, his own physician, as they are. Call back therefore thy meditations again, and bring it down; What is become of man's great extent and proportion, when himself shrinks himself, and consumes himself to an handful of dust? What is become of his soaring thoughts, his compassing thoughts, when himself brings himself to the ignorance, to the thoughtlessness of the grave? His diseases are his own, but the physician is not; he hath them at home, but he must send for the physician.
I Have not the righteousness of Job, but I have the desire of Job, / would speak to the Almighty, and I would reason with God (Job xiii. 3). My God, my God, how soon wouldst thou have me .go to the physician, and how far wouldst thou have me go with the physician? I Jviiow thou hast made the matter, and the man, and the art, and I go not from thee, when I go to the physician. Thou didst not make clothes, before there was a shame of the nakedness of the body; but thou didst make physic before there was any grudging of any sickness; for thou didst imprint a medicinal virtue in many simples, even from the beginning; Didst thou mean that we should be sick, when thou didst so? when thou madest them? No more than thou didst mean that we should sin, when thou madest us: thou foresawest both, but causedst neither. Thou, Lord, promisest here trees, whose fruit s/tall be for meat, and their leaves for medicine (Ezek. XLvii. 12). It is the voice of thy Son, Wilt thou be made whole? (John v. 6.) that draws from the patient a confession that he was ill, and could not make himself well. And it is thine own voice, Is there no physician? (Jer. viii. 22.) that inclines us, disposes us to accept thine ordinance. And it is the voice of the wise man, both for the matter, physic itself, The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth, and he that is wise, shall not abhor them (Ecclus. xxxviii. 4). And for the art, and the person, the physician cutteth oft' a long disease. In all these voices, thou sendest us to those helps, which thou hast afforded us in that. But wilt not thou avow that voice too, He that hath sinned against his Maker, let him fall into the hands of the physician (Ecclus. xxxviii. 15); and wilt thou afford me an understanding of those words? Thou who seudest us for a blessing to the physician, dost not make it a curse to us, to go, when thou sendest. Is not the curse rather in this, that only he falls into the hands of the physician, that casts himself wholly, entirely upon the physician, confides in him, relies upon him, attends all from him, and neglects that spiritual physic, which thou also hast instituted in thy church: so to fall into the hands of the physician, is a sin, and a punishment of former sins; so as Asa
fell, who in his disease, sought not to the Lord, but to the physician (1 Chron. xvi. 12), reveal therefore to me thy method, O Lord, and see, whether I have followed it; that thou mayest have glory, if I Jiave, and I pardon, if I have not, and help that I may. Thy method is, In time of thy sickness, be not negligent (Ecclus. xxxviii. i)). Wherein wilt thou have my diligence expressed? Pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole. O Lord, I do; I pray, and pray thy servant David's prayer, Have mercy upon me, 0 Lord, for I am weak; heal me, 0 Lord, for my bones are vexed (Psalm vi. 2): I know, that even my weakness is a reason, a motive, to induce thy mere)', and my sickness an occasion of thy sending health. When art thou so ready, when is it so seasonable to thee, to commiserate, as in misery? Put is prayer for health in season, as soon as I am sick? Thy method goes further, Leave off from sin, and order thy hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness (Psalm vi. 10). Have I, O Lord, done so? O Lord, I have; by thy grace, I am come to a holy detestation of my former sin; Is there any more? In thy method thero is more; Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour, and make a fat offering, as not being. And, Lord, by thy grace, I have done that, sacrificed a little, of that little, which thou lentest me, to them, for whom thou lentest it: and now in thy method, and by thy steps, I am come to that, Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him, let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him (Psalm vi. 12). I send for the physician, but I will hear him enter with those words of Peter, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole (Acts ix. 34). I long for his presence, but I look that the power of the Lord should be present to heal me (Luke v. 17).
O Most mighty, and most merciful God, who art so the God of health and strength, as that without thee, all health is but the fuel, and all strength but the bellows of sin; behold me under the vehemence of two diseases, and under the necessity of two physicians, authorized by thee, the bodily, and the spiritual physician. I come to both, as to thine ordinance, and bless, and glorify thy name, that in both cases, thou hast afforded help to man by the ministry of man. Even in the new Jerusalem (Apoc. xxii. 2), in heaven itself, it hath pleased thee to discover a tree, which is a tree of life there, but the leaves thereof are for the healing of the nations; life itself is with thea there, for thou art life; and all kinds of health, wrought upon us here, by thine instruments, descend from thence. Thou wouldest have healed Babylon, but she is not healed (Jer. Li. 9). Take from me, O Lord, her perverseness, her wilfulness, her refractoriness, and hear thy Spirit saying in my soul, Heal me, 0 Lord, for I would be healed. Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound; then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb, yet could not he heal you, nor cure you of your wound (Hosea v. 13). Keep me back, 0 Lord, from them who mis-profess arts of healing the soul, or of the body, by means not imprinted by thee in the church, for the soul, or not in nature, for the body; there is no spiritual health to be had by superstition, nor bodily by witchcraft; thou Lord, and only thou art Lord of both. Thou in thyself art Lord of both, and thou in thy Son, art the physician, the applier of both. With his stripes are we healed, says the prophet Esay there; there before he was scourged, we were healed with his stripes; how much more shall I be healed now, now, when that which he hath already suffered actually, is actually, and effectually applied to me! Is there anything incurable, upon which that balm drops? Any vein so empty, as that that blood cannot fill it? Thou promisest to heal the earth (2 Chron. vii. 14); but it is when the inhabitants of the earth pray that thou wouldest heal it (Ezek. XLvii. 11). Thou promisest to heal their waters, but their miry places and standing waters, thou sayest there, Thou wilt not heal: my returning to any sin, if I should return to the ability of sinning over all my sins again, thou wouldest not pardon. Heal this earth, O my God, by repentant tears, and heal these waters, these tears from all bitterness, from all diffidence, from all dejection, by establishing my irremovable assurance in thee. Thy Son went about healing all manner of sicknesses (Matt. iv. 23). (No disease incurable, none difficult; he healed them in passing) (Luke vi. 19). Virtue went out of him, and he healed all (John vii. 23), all the multitude (no person incurable) he healed them every whit, (as himself speaks) he
left no relics of the disease; and will this universal physician, pass by this hospital, and not visit me I Not heal me! Not heal me wholly I Lord, I look not that thon shouldest say by thy messenger to me, as to Hezekiah, Behold, I will heal thee, and on the third day, thou shaltgo up to the house of the Lord (2 Kings xx. 5). I look not that thou shouldest say to me, as to Moses in Miriam's behalf (Numb. xii. 14), when Moses would have had her healed presently, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not have been ashamed seven days? Let her be shut up seven days, and then return; but if thou be pleased to multiply seven days, (and seven is infinite) by the number of my sins, (and that is more infinite) if this day must remove me, till days shall be no more, seal to me my spiritual health, in affording me the seals of thy church, and for my temporal health, prosper thine ordinance, in their hands who shall assist in this sickness, in that manner, and in that measure as may most glorify thee, and most edify those, who observe the issues of thy servants, to their own spiritual benefit.
The Physician comes.
As Sickness is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sickness, is solitude; when the infectiousness of the discase deters them who should assist from coming; even the physician dares I scarce come. Solitude is a torment, which is not threatened in hell itself. Mere vacuity, the first agent, God, the first instrument of God, nature, will not admit; nothing can be utterly empty, but so near a degree towards vacuity, as solitude, to be but one, they love not. When I am dead, and my body might infect, they have a remedy, they may bury me, but when I am but sick, and might infect, they have no remedy, but their
VOL. III. 2 L
absence, and my solitude. It is an excuse to them that are great, and pretend, and yet are loath to come; it is an inhibition to those who would truly come, because they may be made instruments, and pestiducts, to the infection of others, by their coming. And it is an outlawry, an excommunication upon the patient, and separates him from all offices, not only of civility, but of working charity. A long sickness will weary friends at last, but a pestilential sickness averts them from the beginning. God himself would admit a figure of society, as there is a plurality of persons in God, though there be but one God; and all his external actions testify a love of society, and communion. In heaven there are orders of angels, and armies of martyrs, and in that house many mansions; in earth, families, cities, churches, colleges, all plural things; and lest either of these should not be company enough alone, there is an association of both, a communion of Saints, which make the Militant and Triumphant church, one parish; so that Christ was not out of his diocese, when he was upon the earth, nor out of his temple, when he was in our flesh. God, who saw that all that he made, was good, came not so near seeing a defect in any of his works, as when he saw that it was not good, for man to be alone, therefore he made him a helper; and one that should help him so, as to increase the number, and give him her own, and more society. Angels, who do not propagate, nor multiply, were made at first in an abundant number; and so were stars: but for the things of this world, their blessing was, increase; for I think, I need not ask leave to think, that there is no phoenix; nothing singular, nothing alone: men that inhere upon nature only, are so far from thinking, that there is anything singular in this world, as that they will scarce think, that this world itself is singular, but that every planet, and every star, is another world like this; they find reason to conceive, not only a plurality in every speeies in the world, but a plurality of worlds; so that the abhorrers of solitude, are not solitary; for God, and nature, and reason concur against it. Now a man may counterfeit the plague in a vow, and mistake a disease for religion; by such a retiring and recluding of himself from all men, as to do good to no man, to converse with no man. God hath two testaments, two wills; but this is a schedule, and not of his, a codicil, and not of his, not in the body of his testaments, but interlined, and postscribed by others, that the way to the communion of saints, should be by such a solitude, as excludes all doing of good here. That is a disease of the mind; as the height of an infectious disease of the body, is solitude, to be left alone: for this makes an infectious bed, equal, nay worse than a grave, that though in both I be equally alone, in my bed I know it, and feel it, and shall not in my grave: and this too, that in my bed, my soul is still in an infectious body, and shall not in my grave be so.
0 God, my God, thy Son took it not ill at Martha's hands, that when he said unto her, Thy brother Lazarus shall rise again (John xiii. 23), she expostulated it so far with him, as to reply, / know that he shall rise again in the resurrection, at the last day; for she was miserable by wanting him then. Take it not ill, 0 my God, from me, that though thou have ordained it for a blessing, and for a dignity to thy people, That they should dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations (Numb, xxiii. 9), (because they should be above them) and that they should dwell in safety alone (Deut. xxxiii. 33), (free from the infestation of enemies) yet
1 take thy leave to remember thee, that thou hast said too, Two are better than one (Eccles. iv. 10). And, Woe be unto him that is alone when he falleth; and so when he is fallen, and laid in the bed of sickness too. Righteousness is immortal (Wisd. i. 9). I know thy wisdom hath said so; but no man, though covered with the righteousness of thy Son, is immortal so, as not to die; for he who was righteousness itself, did die. I know that the Son of righteousness (Matt. xiv. 23), thy Son, refused not, nay affected solitariness, loneness, many, many times; but at all times, he was able to command more than twelve legions of angels to his service (Matt. xxvi. 13), and when he did not so, he was far from being alone; for, / am not alone (John viii. 16), says ho, but I, and the Father that sent me. 1 cannot fear, but that I shall always be with thee, and him; but whether this disease may not alien, and remove my friends, so that they stand aloof from my sore, and my kinsmen stand afar off (Psalm xxxviii. 11), I cannot tell. I cannot fear, but that thou wilt reckon with me from this minute, in which, by thy grace, I see thee, whether this understanding, and this will, and this memory, may not decay, to the discouragement, and the ill-interpretation of them, that see that heavy change in me, I cannot tell. It was for thy blessed, thy powerful Son alone, to tread the wine-press alone, and none of the people with him (Isaiah Lxiii. 3). I am not able to pass this agony alone; not alone without thee; thou art thy spirit; not alone without thine; spiritual and temporal physicians are thine; not alone without mine; those whom the bands of blood, or friendship, hath made mine, are mine; and if thou, or thine, or mine, abandon me, I am alone, and woe unto me, if I be alone. Elias himself fainted under that apprehension, Lo, I am left alone (1 Kings xiv. 14), and Martha murmured at that, said to Christ, Lord, dost not thou care, that my sister hath left me to serve alone? (Luke x. 40.) Neither could Jeremiah enter into his Lamentations, from a higher ground than to say, How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people (Jcr. i. 1), O my God, it is the leper, that thou hast condemned to live alone; have I such a leprosy in my soul (Lev. xiii. 49); that I must die alone; alone without thee? Shall this come to such a leprosy in my body, that I must die alone? Alone without them that should assist, that should comfort me? But comes not this expostulation too near a murmuring? Must I be concluded with that, that Moses was commanded to come near the Lord alone? (Exod. xiv. 2.) That solitariness, and dereliction, and abandoning of others, disposes us best for God, who accompanies us most alone' May I not remember, and apply too; that though God came not to Jacob (Gen. xxxii. 24), till he found him alone, yet when he found him alone, he wrestled with him and lamed him? That when in the dereliction and forsaking of friends and physicians, a man is left alone to God, God may so wrestle with this Jacob, with this conscience, as to put it out of joint, and so appear to him, as that he dares not look upon him face to face, when as by way of reflection, in the consolation of his temporal or spiritual servants, and ordinances he durst, if they were there? But a faithful friend is the physic of life, and they that fear the Lord shall find him (Ecclus. vi. 16). Therefore hath the Lord afforded me both in one person, that physician, who is my faithful friend.
0 Eteknal, and most gracious God, who calledst down fire from heaven upon the sinful cities, but once, and openedst the earth, to swallow the murmurers, but once, and threwest down the tower of Siloe upon sinners, but once, but for thy works of mercy repeatest them often, and still workest by thine own patterns, as thou broughtest man into this world, by giving him a helper fit for him, so whether it be thy will to continue mo long thus, or to dismiss me by death, be pleased to afford me the helps fit for both conditions, either for my weak stay here, or my final transmigration from hence. And if thou mayest receive glory by that way (and by all ways thou mayest receive glory) glorify thyself in preserving this body from such infections, as might withhold those, who would come, or endanger them who do come; and preserve this soul in the faculties thereof, from all such distempers, as might shake the assurance which myself and others have had, that because thou hast loved me, thou wouldest love me to my end, and at my end. Open none of my doors, not of my heart; not of my ears; not of my house to any supplanter that would enter to undermine me in my religion to thee, in the time of my weakness: or to defame me, and magnify himself, with false rumours of such a victory, and surprisal of me, after I am dead; be my salvation, and plead my salvation; work it, and declare it; and as thy Triumphant shall be, so let the Militant church be assured, that thou wast my God, and I thy servant, to, and in my consummation. Bless thou the learning, and the labours of this man, whom thou sendest to assist me; and since thou takest me by the hand, and puttest me into his hands (for
1 come to him in thy name, who in thy name comes to me) since I clog not my hopes in him, no nor my prayers to thee, with any limited conditions, but enwrap all in those two petitions, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, prosper him, and relieve me, in thy way, in thy time, and in thy measure. Amen.
I Obsebve the physician, with the same diligence, as he the disease; I see he fears, and I fear with him: I overtook him, I overrun him in his fear, and I go the faster, because he makes his pace slow; I fear the more, because he disguises his fear, and I see it with the more sharpness, because ho would not have me see it. Ho knows that his fear shall not disorder the practice, and exercise of his art, but he knows that my fear may disorder the effect, and working of his practice. As the ill affections of the spleen, complicate, and mingle themselves, with every infirmity of the body, so doth fear insinuate itself in every action, or passion of the mind; and as wind in the body will counterfeit any disease, and seem the stone, and seem the gout, so fear will counterfeit any disease of the mind; it shall seem love, a love of having, and it is but a fear; a jealous and suspicious fear of losing; it shall seem valour, in despising, and undervaluing danger, and it is but fear, in an overvaluing of opinion, and estimation, and a fear of losing that. A man that is not afraid of a lion, is afraid of a cat; not afraid of starving, and yet is afraid of some joint of meat at the table, presented to feed him; not afraid of the sound of drums, and trumpets, and shot, and those, which they seek to drown, the last cries of men, and is afraid of some particular harmonious instrument; so much afraid, as that with any of these the enemy might drive this man, otherwise valiant enough, out of the field. I know not what fear is, nor I know not what it is that I fear now; I fear not the hastening of my death, and yet I do fear the increase of the disease; I should belie nature, if I should deny that I feared this, and if I should say that I feared death, I should belie God; my weakness is from nature, who hath but her measure, my strength is from God, who possesses and distributes infinitely. As then every cold air is not a damp, every shivering is not a stupefaction, so every fear is not a fearfulness, every declination is not a running away, every debating is not a resolving, every wish, that it were not thus, is not a murmuring, nor a dejection, though it be thus; but as my physician's fear puts not him from his practice, neither doth mine put me, from receiving from God, and man, and myself, spiritual, and civil and moral assistances, and consolations.
VI. EXPOSTULATION. My God, my God, I find in thy book, that fear is a stifling spirit, a spirit of suffocation; that Ishbosheth could not speak, nor reply in his own defence to Abner, because he was afraid (2 Sam. iii. 11). It was thy servant Job's case too, who before he could say anything to thee, says of thee, Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me, then would I speak with him, and not fear him; but it is not so with me (Job ix. 34). Shall a fear of thee, take away my devotion to thee I Dost thou command me to speak to thee, and command me to fear thee, and do these destroy one another? There is no perplexity in thee, my God; no inextricableness in thee, my light, and my clearness, my sun, and my moon, that directest me as well in the night of adversity and fear, as in my day of prosperity and confidence. I must then speak to thee, at all times, but when must I fear thee? At all times too. When didst thou rebuke any petitioner, with the name of importunate? Thou hast proposed to us a parable of a judge that did justice at last, because the client was importunate, and troubled him (Luke xviii. 1). But thou hast told us plainly, that thy use in that parable, was not, that thou wast troubled with our importunities, but (as thou sayest there) That we should always pray (Lukexi. 5). And to the same purpose thou proposest another, that If I press my friend, when he is in bed, at midnight, to lend me bread, though he will not rise, because I am his friend, yet because of mine importunity, he will. God will do this, whensoever thou askest and never call it importunity. Pray in thy bed at midnight, and God will not say, I will hear thee to-morrow upon thy knees, at thy bed-side; pray upon thy knees then, and God will not say, I will hear thee on Sunday at church; God is no dilatory God, no froward God; prayer is never unseasonable, God is never asleep, nor absent. But, O my God, can I do this, and fear thee; come to thee, and speak to thee, in all places, at all hours, and fear thee? Dare I ask this question? There is more boldness in the question, than in the coming: I may do it, though I fear thee; I cannot do it, except I fear thee. So well hast thou provided, that we should always fear thee, as that thou hast provided, that we should fear no person but thee, nothing but thee; no men? No. Whom? The Lord is my help, and my salvation, whom shall I fear? (Psalm xxvii. 1.) Great enemies: not great enemies; for no enemies are great to them that fear thee; Fear not the people of this land, for they are bread to you (Numb. xiv. 9). They shall not only not eat us, not eat our bread, but they shall be our bread; Why should we fear them? But for all this metaphorical bread, victory over enemies, that thought to devour us, may we not fear, that we may lack bread literally? And fear famine, though we fear not enemies I Young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord, shall not want any good thing (Psalm xxxv. 70). Never I Though it be well with them at one time, may they not fear, that it may be worse? Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, says thy servant David? (Psalm XLvi. 5.) Though his own sin had made them evil, he feared them not. No? not if this evil determine in death? Not though in a death; not, though in a death inflicted by violence, by malice, by our own desert. Fear not the sentence of death (Ecclus. XLi. 3), if thou fear God. Thou art, 0 my God, so far from admitting us, that fear thee, to fear others, as that thou makest others to fear us; as Herod feared John, because he was a holy and a just man, and observed him (Mark vi. 20). How fully then, 0 my abundant God; how gently, O my sweet, my easy God, dost thou unentangle me, in any scruple arising out of the consideration of this thy fear! Is not this that which thou intendest, when thou sayest, The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him (Psalm xxv. 14). The secret, the mystery of the right use of fear. Dost thou not mean this, when thou sayest, We shall understand the fear of the Lord? Have it, and have benefit by it (Prov. ii. 5), have it, and stand under it; be directed by it, and not be dejected with it. And dost thou not propose that church for our example, when thou sayest, The church of Judea walked in the fear of God (Acts ix. 31); they had it, but did not sit down lazily, nor fall down weakly, nor sink under it? There is a fear which weakens men in the service of God; Adam was afraid because he was naked (Gen. iii. 10). They who have put off thee, are a prey to all. They may fear, For thou wilt laugh, when their fear comes upon them (Prov. i. 26), as thou hast told them more than once (Prov. x. 24). And thou wilt make them fear, where no cause of fear is (Psalm xiv. 5), thou hast told them more than once too (Psalm, uii. 6). There is a fear that is a punishment of former wickedness; and induces more: Though some said of thy Son, Christ Jesus, that he was a good man, yet no man spake openly, for fear of the Jews (John vii. 13). Joseph was his disciple; but secretly, for fear of the Jews (John xix. 38). The disciples kept some meetings, but with doors shut for fear of tho Jews (John xxix. 19). O my God thou givest us fear for ballast to carry us steadily in all weathers. But thou wouldst ballast us, with such sand, as should have gold in it, with that fear which is thy fear, for the fear of the Lord is his treasure (Isaiah xxxiii. 6). He that hath that, lacks nothing that man can have, nothing that God does give. Timorous men thou rebukest; Why are ye fearful, 0 ye of little faithf\ (Matt. viii. 26.) Such thou dismissest from thy service, with scorn, though of them there went from Gideon's army, twenty-two thousand, and remained but ten thousand (Judg. vii. 3). Such thou sendest farther than so; thither from whence they never return, The fearful and the unbelieving, into that burning lake, which is the second death (Rev. xxi. 8). There is a fear, and there is a hope, which are equal abominations to thee; for, they were confounded, because they hoped, says thy servant Job (Job vi. 20). Because they had misplaced, mis-centered their hopes; they hoped and not in thee, and such shall fear, and not fear thee. But in thy fear, my God, and my fear, my God, and my hope, is hope, and love, and confidence, and peace, and every limb, and ingredient of happiness enwrapped; for joy includes all; and fear and joy consist together; nay constitute one another; The women departed from the sepulchre (Matt, xxviii. 8). The women which were made supernumerary apostles, apostles to the apostles; mothers of the church, and of the fathers, grandfathers of the church, the apostles themselves, the women, angels of the resurrection, went from the sepulchre, with fear and joy; they ran, says the text, and they ran upon those two legs, fear and joy; and both was the right leg, they joy in thee, 0 Lord, that fear thee, and fear thee only, who feel this joy in thee. Nay, thy fear, and thy love are inseparable; still we are called upon, in infinite places, to fear God; yet the commandment, which is the root of all, is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; he doth neither, that doth not both; he omits neither, that does one. Therefore when thy servant David had said (Psalm cxi. 10), that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and his son had repeated it again (Prov. i. 7); he that collects both, calls this fear, the root of wisdom (Ecclus. i. 20, 27). And that it may embrace all, he calls it wisdom itself. A wise man therefore is never without it, never without the exercise of it: therefore thou sendest Moses to thy people, That they might learn to fear thee all the days of their lives (Deut. iv. 10): not in heavy, and calamitous, but in good, and cheerful days too: for Noah, who had assurance of his deliverance, yet moved with fear, prepared an ark, for the saving of his house (Heb. xi. 7). A wise man will fear in every thing (Ecclus. xviii. 27). And therefore though I pretend to no other degree of wisdom, I am abundantly rich in this, that I lie here possessed with that fear, which is thy fear, both that this sickness is thy immediate correction, and not merely a natural accident; and therefore fearful, because it is a fearful thing to fall into thy hands, and that this fear preserves me from all inordinate fear, arising out of the infirmity of nature, because thy hand being upon me, thou wilt never let me fall out of thy hand.
0 Most mighty God, and merciful God, the God of all true sorrow, and true joy too, of all fear, and of all hope too, as thou hast given me a repentance, not to be repented of, so give me, 0 Lord, a fear, of which I may not be afraid. Give me tender, and supple, and conformable affections, that as I joy with them that joy, and mourn with them that mourn, so may I fear with them that fear. And since thou hast vouchsafed to discover to me, in his fear whom thou hast admitted to be my assistance in this sickness, that there is danger therein, let me not, O Lord, go about to overcome the sense of that fear, so far, as to pretermit the fitting, and preparing of myself, for the worst that may be feared, the passage out of this life. Many of thy blessed martyrs, have passed out of this life, without any show of fear; but thy most blessed Son himself did not so. Thy martyrs wero known to be but men, and therefore it pleased thee, to fill them with thy Spirit, and thy power, in that they did more than men; thy Son was declared by thee, and by himself to be God; and it was requsite that he should declare himself to be man also, in the weakness of man. Let me not therefore, O my God, be ashamed of these fears, but let me feel them, to determine where his fear did, in a present submitting of all to thy will. And when thou shalt have inflamed and thawed my former coldnesses, and indevotions, with these heats, and quenched my former heats, with these sweats, and inundations, and rectified my former presumptions and negligences with these fears, be pleased 0 Lord, as one, made so by thee, to think me fit for thee; and whether it be thy pleasure, to dispose of this body, this garment, so as to put it to a farther wearing in this world, or to lay it up in the common wardrop, the grave, for tho next, glorify thyself in thy choice now, and glorify it then, with that glory, which thy Son, our Saviour Christ Jesus hath purchased for them, whom thou makest partakers of his resurrection. Amen.
SOCIOS SIBI JUNGIER INSTAT.
The physician desires to have others joined with him.
Thebe is more fear, therefore more cause. If the physician desire help, the burden grows great: there is a growth of the disease then; but there must be an autumn too; but whether an autumn of the disease or me, it is not my part to choose; but if it be of me, it is of both; my disease cannot survive me, I may outlive it. Howsoever, his desiring of others, argues his candour, and his ingenuity; if the danger be great, he justifies his proceedings, and he disguises nothing, that calls in witnesses; and if the danger be not great, he is not ambitious, that is so ready to divide the thanks and the honour of that work, which he begun alone, with others. It diminishes not the dignity of a monarch, that he derive part of his care upon others; God hath not made many suns, but he hath made many bodies, that receive, and give light. The Romans began with one king; they came to two consuls; they returned in extremities, to one dictator: whether in one, or many, the sovereignty is the same, in all states, and the danger is not the more, and the providence is the more, where there are more physicians; as the state is the happier, where businesses are carried by more counsels, than can be in one breast, how large soever. Diseases themselves hold consultations, and conspire how they may multiply, and join with one another, and exalt one another's force, so; and shall we not call physicians, to consultations? Death is in an old man's door, ho appears, and tells him so, and death is at a young man's back, and says nothing; age is a sickness, and youth is an ambush; and we need so many physicians, as may make up a watch, and spy every inconvenience. There is scarce anything, that hath not killed somebody; a hair, a feather hath done it; nay, that which is our best antidote against it, hath done it; the best cordial hath been deadly poison; men have died of joy, and almost forbidden their friends to weep for them, when they have seen them die laughing. Even that tyrant Dionysius (I think the same that suffered so much after) who could not die of that sorrow, of that high fall, from a king to a wretched private man, died of so poor a joy, as to be declared by the people at a theatre, that he was a good poet. Wo say often, that man may live of a little; but, alas, of how much less may a man die? And therefore the more assistants, the better: Who comes to a day of hearing, in a cause of any importance, with one advocate? In our funerals, we ourselves have no interest; there we cannot
advise, we cannot direct: and though some nations (the Egyptians in particular) built themselves better tombs, than houses, because they were to dwell longer in them; yet amongst ourselves, the greatest man of style, whom we have had, the Conqueror, was left, as soon as his soul left him, not only without persons to assist at his grave, but without a grave. Who will keep us then, we know not; as long as we can, let us admit as much help, as we can; another, and another physician, is not another, and another judication, and symptom of death, but another, and another assistant, and proctor of life: nor do they so much feed the imagination with apprehension of danger, as the understanding with comfort. Let not one bring learning, another diligence, another religion, but every one bring all, and, as many ingredients enter into a receipt, so may many men make the receipt. But why do I exercise my meditation so long upon this, of having plentiful help in time of need? Is not my meditation rather to be inclined another way, to condole, and commiserate their distress, who have none? How many are sicker, (perchance) than I, and laid in their woful straw at home (if that corner be a home) and have no more hope of help, though they die, than of preferment, though they live. Nor do no more expect to see a physician then, than to be an officer after; of whom, the first that takes knowledge, is the sexton that buries them; who buries them in oblivion too. For they do but fill up the number of the dead in the bill, but we shall never hear their names, till we read them in the book of life, with our own. How many are sicker (perchance) than I, and thrown into hospitals, where, (as a fish left upon the sand, must stay the tide) they must stay the physician's hour of visiting, and then can be but visited? How many are sicker (perchance) than all we, and have not this hospital to cover them, nor this straw to lie in, to die in, but have their grave-stone under them, and breathe out their souls in the ears, and in the eyes of passengers, harder than their bed, the flint of the street? That taste of no part of our physic; but a sparing diet, to whom ordinary porridge would be julap enough, the refuse of our servants, bezoar enough, and the off-scouring of our kitchen tables, cordial enough. O my soul, when thou art not enough awake, to bless thy God enough for his plentiful mercy, in affording thee many helpers, remember how many lack them, and help them to them, or to those other things, which they lack as much as them.
My God, my Ood, thy blessed servant Augustine begged of thee, that Moses might come, and tell him what he meant by some places of Genesis: May I have leave to ask of that Spirit, that writ that book, why when David expected news from JoaVs army, and that the watchman told him, that he saw a man running alone (2 Sam. xviii. 25), David concluded out of that circumstance, That if he came alone, he brought good news? I see the grammar, the word signifies so, and is so ever accepted, good news; but I see not the logic, nor the rhetoric, how David would prove, or persuade that this news was good, because he was alone, except a greater company might have made great impressions of danger, by imploring and importuning present supplies: howsoever that be, I am sure, that that which thy apostle says to Timothy (2 Tim. iv. 11), Only Luke is with me; Luke, and nobody but Luke, hath a taste of complaint and sorrow in it: though Luke want no testimony of ability, of forwardness, of constancy, and perseverance, in assisting that great building, which St. Paul laboured in, yet St. Paul is affected with that, that there was none but Luke to assist. We take St. Luke to have been a physician, and it admits the application the better, that in the presence of one good physician we may be glad of more. It was not only a civil spirit of policy, or order that moved Moses' father-in-law (Exod. xviii. 13), to persuade him to divide the burden of government, and judicature, with others, and take others to his assistance, but it was also thy immediate Spirit, O my God, that moved Moses to present unto thee seventy of the elders of Israel (Numb. xi. 16), to receive of that spirit, which was upon Moses only before, such a portion as might ease him in the government of that people; though Moses alone had endowments above all, thou gavest him other assistants. I consider thy plentiful goodness, O my God, in employing angels, more than one, in so many of thy remarkable works. Of thy Son, thou sayest; Let all the angels of God worship him (Heb. i. 6),
if that bo in heaven, upon earth, he says that he could command twelve legions of angels (Matt. xxvi. 53). And when heaven, and earth shall be all one, at the last day, Thy Son, 0 God, the Son of man, shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him (Mark xxv. 31). The angels that celebrated his birth to the shepherds (Luke xxi. 15). The angels that celebrated his second birth, his resurrection to the Marys (Job xx. 12), were in the plural, angels associated with angels. In Jacob's ladder, they which ascended and descended (Gen. xxviii. 12), and maintained the trade between heaven and earth, between thee and us, they who have the commission, and charge to guide us in all our ways (Psalm xci. 13), they who hastened Lot (Gen. xix. 15), and in him, us, from places of danger and temptation, they who are appointed to instruct and govern us in the church here (Rev. i. 20), they who are sent to punish the disobedient, and refractory (Rev. viii. 2), that they are to be the mowers, and harvest-men (Matt. xiii. 39), after we are grown up in one field, the church, at the day of judgment, they that are to carry our souls whither they carried Lazarus (Luke xvi. 22), they who attend at the several gates of the new Jerusalem (Rev. xxi. 21), to admit us there; all these who administer to thy servants, from the first, to their last, are angels, angels in the plural, in every service. Angels associated with angels. The power of a single angel we see in that one, who in one night destroyed almost two hundred thousand in Sennacherib's army (1 Kings xix. 35), yet thou often employest many; as we know the power of salvation is abundantly in any one evangelist, and yet thou hast afforded us four. Thy Son proclaims of himself, That thy Spirit, hath anointed him to preach the Gospel (Luke iv. 18), yet he hath given others for the perfecting of the saints in the work of the ministry (Eph. iv). Thou hast made him bishop of our souls (1 Peter ii. 25), but there are other bishops too. He gave the Holy Ghost, and others gave it also (John xx. 22). Thy way, O my God, (and, O my God, thou lovest to walk in thine own ways, for they are large) thy way from the beginning, is multiplication of thy helps; and therefore it were a degree of ingratitude, not to accept this mercy of affording me many helps for my bodily health, as a type and earnest of thy gracious purpose now, and ever, to afford me the same assistances. That for thy great help, thy Word, I may seek that, not from corners, nor conventicles, nor schismatical singularities, but from the association, and communion of thy catholic church, and those persons, whom thou hast always furnished that church withal: and that it may associate thy Word, with thy sacrament, thy seal, with thy patent; and in that sacrament associate the sign with the thing signified, the bread with the body of thy Son; so, as I may be sure to have received both, and to be made thereby, (as thy blessed servant Augustine says) the ark, and the monument, and the tomb of thy most blessed Son, that he, and all the merits, of his death, may, by that receiving, be buried in me, to my quickening in this world, and my immortal establishing in the next.
0 Etebnal, and most gracious God, who gavest to thy servants in the wilderness, thy manna, bread so conditioned, qualified so, as that, to every man, manna tasted like that, which that man liked best, I humbly beseech thee, to make this correction, which I acknowledge to be part of my daily bread, to taste so to me, not as I would, but as thou wouldest have it taste, and to conform my taste, and make it agreeable to thy will. Thou wouldest have thy corrections taste of humiliation, but thou wouldest have them taste of consolation too; taste of danger, but taste of assurance too. As therefore thou hast imprinted in all thine elements, of which our bodies consist, two manifest qualities, so that, as thy fire dries, so it heats too; and as thy water moists, so it cools too, so, O Lord, in these corrections, which are the elements of our regeneration, by which our souls are made thine, imprint thy two qualities, those two operations, that as they scourge us, they may scourge us into the way to thee: that when they have showed us, that we are nothing in ourselves, they may also show us, that thou art all things unto us. When therefore in this particular circumstance, O Lord, (but none of thy judgments are circumstances; they are all of all substance, of thy good purpose upon us) when in this particular, that he, whom thou hast sent to assist me, desires assistants to him, thou hast let me see, in how few hours thou canst throw me beyond the help of man, let me
by the same light see that no vehemence of sickness, no temptation of Satan, no guiltiness of sin, no prison of death, not this first, this sick bed, not the other prison, the close and dark grave, can remove me from the determined, and good purpose, which thou hast sealed concerning me. Let me think no degree of this thy correction, casual, or without signification; but yet when I have read it in that language, as it is a correction, let me translate it into another, and read it as a mercy; and which of these is the original, and which is tho translation; whether thy mercy, or thy correction, were thy primary, and original intention in this sickness, I cannot conclude, though death conclude me; for as it must necessarily appear to be a correction, so I can have no greater argument of thy mercy, than to die in thee, and by that death, to be united to him, who died for me.
Et Rex Ipse Suum Mittit.
The king sends his own physician.
Still when we return to that meditation, that man is a world, we find new discoveries. Let him be a world, and himself will be the land, and misery the sea. His misery (for misery is his, his own; of the happiness even of this world, ho is but tenant, but of misery the freeholder, of happiness he is but the farmer, but the usufructuary; but of misery, the lord, the proprietary): his misery, as the sea, swells above all tho hills, and reaches to the remotest parts of this earth, man; who of himself is but dust, and coagulated and kneaded into earth; by tears, his matter is earth, his form, misery. In this world, that is mankind, tho highest ground, the ominentest hills, are kings, and have they line and lead enough to fathom this sea, and say, My misery is but this deep? scarce any misery equal to sickness; and they are subject to that equally, with their lowest subject. A glass is not
VOL. III. 2 M
the less brittle, because a king's face is represented in it; nor a king the less brittle, because God is represented in him. They have physicians continually about them, and therefore sicknesses, or the worst of sicknesses, continually fear of it. Are they gods? He that called them so, cannot flatter. They are gods, but sick gods; and God is presented to us under many human affections, as far as infirmities; God is called angry, and sorry, and weary, and heavy, but never a sick God: for then he might die like men, as our gods do. The worst that they could say in reproach and scorn of the gods of the heathen, was, that perchance they were asleep; but gods that are so sick, as that they cannot sleep, are in an infirmer condition. A God, and need a physician? a Jupiter, and need an iEsculapius? that must have rhubarb to purge his choler, lest he be too angry, and agaric* to purge his phlegm, lest he be too drowsy; that as Tcrtullian says of the Egyptian gods, plants, and herbs, That God was beholden to man, for groicing in his garden, so must we say of these gods, their eternity (an eternity of threescore and ten years) is in the apothecary's shop, and not in the metaphorical deity. But their deity is better expressed in their humility, than in their height: when abounding and overflowing, as God, in means of doing good, they descend, as God, to a communication of their abundances with men, according to their necessities, then they are gods. No man is well, that understands not, that values not his being well; that hath not a cheerfulness, and a joy in it; and whosoever hath this joy, hath a desire to communicate, to propagate that, which occasions his happiness, and his joy, to others; for every man loves witnesses of his happiness; and the best witnesses, are experimental witnesses; they who have tasted of that in themselves, which makes us happy: it consummates therefore, it perfits the happiness of kings, to confer, to transfer, honour, and riches, and (as they can) health, upon those that need them.
My God, my God, I have a warning from the wise man, that
when a rich man speaketh, every man holdeth his tongue, and look what he saith, they extol it to the clouds: but if a poor man speak,
* Agaricus, the generic name of the mushroom tribe.—Ed.
they say, What fellow is this? and if he stumble, they 1rill help to overthrow 'him (Ecclus. xiii. 23). Therefore may my words be undervalued, and my errors aggravated, if I offer to speak of kings; but not by thee, O my God, because I speak of them, as they are in thee, and of thee, as thou art in them. Certainly thoso men prepare a way of speaking negligently, or irreverently of thee, that give themselves that liberty, in speaking of thy vicegerents, kings; for thou who gavest Augustus the empire, gavest it to Nero too: and as Vespasian had it from thee, so had Julian: though kings deface in themselves thy first image, in their own soul, thou givest no man leave to deface thy second image, imprinted indelibly in their power. But thou knowest, O God, that if I should be slack in celebrating thy mercies to me, exhibited by that royal instrument, my sovereign, to many other faults, that touch upon allegiance, I should add the worst of all, ingratitude; which constitutes an ill man; and faults which are defects in any particular function, are not so great as those that destroy our humanity: it is not so ill to be an ill subject, as to be an ill man; for he hath an universal illness, ready to flow, and pour out itself into any mould, any form, and to spend itself in any function. As therefore thy Son did upon the coin, I look upon the king, and I ask, Whose image and whose inscription he hath; and he hath thine; and I give unto thee, that which is thine, I recommend his happiness to thee, in all my sacrifices of thanks, for that which he enjoys, and in all my prayers, for tho continuance and enlargement of them. But let me stop, my God, and consider; Will not this look liko a piece of art, and cunning, to convey into tho world an opinion, that I were more particularly in his care, than other men I and that herein, in a show of humility, and thankfulness, I magnify myself more than there is cause? But let not that jealousy stop me, 0 God, but let me go forward in celebrating thy mercy exhibited by him. This which he doth now, in assisting so my bodily health, I know is common to mo with many; many, many have tasted of that expression of his graciousness. Where he can give health by his own hands he doth; and to more than any of his predecessors have done: therefore hath God reserved one disease for him, that he only might cure it, though perchance, not only by one title, and interest, nor only as one king. To those that need it not, in that kind, and so cannot have it by his own hand, he sends a donative of health, in sending his physician. The holy king St. Lewis, in France, and our Maud, is celebrated for that, that personally they visited hospitals, and assisted in the cure, even of loathsome diseases. And when their religious empress, Placilla, the wife of Theodosius, was told, that she diminished herself too much in those personal assistances, and might do enough in sending relief, she said, She would send in that capacity, as empress, but she would go too, in that capacity, as a Christian, as a fellow-member of the body of thy Son, with them. So thy servant David applies himself to his people (2 Sam. xix. 12), so he incorporates himself in his people, by calling them, His brethren, his bones, his ftesh: and when they fell under thy hand, even to the pretermitting of himself, he presses upon thee, by prayer for them; / have sinned, but these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house (2 Sam. xxiv. 14). It is kingly to give; when Araunah gave that great, and free present to David, that place, those instruments for sacrifices, and the sacrifices themselves, it is said there, by thy Spirit, All these things did Araunah give, as a king to the king (2 Sam. xxiv. 14). To give is an approaching to the condition of kings, but to give health, an approaching to the King of kings, to thee. But this his assisting to my bodily health, thou knowest, O God, and so do some divers of thine honourable servants know, is but the twilight of that day, wherein thou, through him, hath shincd upon me before; but the echo of that voice, whereby thou, through him, hast spoke to me before; then, when he, first of any man conceived a hope, that I might be of some use in thy church, and descended to an intimation, to a persuasion, almost to a solicitation, that I would embrace that calling. And thou who hadst put that desire into his heart, didst also put into mine, an obedience to it; and I, who was sick before, of a vertiginous giddiness, and irresolution, and almost spent all my time in consulting how I should spend it, was by this man of God, and god of men, put into the pool and recovered; when I asked, perchance, a stone, he gave me bread; when I asked, perchance, a scorpion, he gave me a fish; when I asked a temporal office, he denied not, refused not that,
but let me see that he had rather I took this. These things, thou O God, who forgettest nothing, hast not forgot, though perchance he, because they were benefits, hath; but I am not only a witness, but an instance, that our Jehoshaphat hath a care to ordain priests, as well as judges (2 Chron. xiv. 8). And not only to send physicians for temporal, but to be the physician for spiritual health.
VIII. PRAYER. O Etehnal, and most gracious God, who though thou have reserved thy treasure of perfect joy, and perfect glory, to bo given by thine own hands then, when by seeing thee, as thou art in thyself, and knowing thee, as we are known, we shall possess in an instant, and possess for ever, all that can any way conduce to our happiness, yet here also in this world, givest us such earnests of that full payment, as by the value of the earnest, we may give some estimate of the treasure, humbly, and thankfully I acknowledge, that thy blessed Spirit instructs me, to make a difference of thy blessings in this world, by that difference of the instruments, by which it hath pleased thee. to derive them unto me. As we see thee here in a glass, so we receive from thee here by reflection, and by instruments. Even casual things come from thee; and that which we call fortune here, hath another name above. Nature reaches out her hand, and gives us corn and wine, and oil and milk, but thou fillest her hand before, and thou openest her hand that she may rain down her showers upon us. Industry reaches out her hand to us, and gives us fruits of our labour for ourselves, and our posterity; but thy hand guides that hand, when it sows, and when it waters, and the increase is from thee. Friends reach out their hands, and prefer us, but thy hand supports that hand that supports us. Of all these thy instruments have I received thy blessing, 0 God, but bless thy name most for the greatest; that as a member of the public, and as a partaker of private favours too, by thy right hand, thy powerful hand set over us, I have had my portion, not only in the hearing, but in the preaching of thy Gospel. Humbly beseeching thee, that as thou continuest thy wonted goodness upon the whole world, by the wonted means and instruments, the same sun, and moon, the same nature, and industry, so to continue the same blessings upon this state, and this church by the same hand, so long, as that thy Son when he comes in the clouds, may find him, or his son, or his son's sons ready to give an account, and able to stand in that judgment, for their faithful stewardship, and dispensation of thy talents so abundantly committed to them; and be to him, O God, in all distempers of his body, in all anxieties of spirit, in all holy sadnesses of soul, such a physician in thy proportion, who art the greatest in heaven, as he hath been in soul, and body to me, in his proportion who is the greatest upon earth.
Upon their consultation they prescribe.
They have seen me, and heard me, arraigned me in these fetters, and received the evidence; I have cut up mine own anatomy, dissected myself, and they are gone to read upon me. O how manifold, and perplexed a thing, nay how wanton and various a thing is ruin and destruction! God presented to David three kinds, war, famine, and pestilence; Satan left out these, and brought in, fires from heaven, and winds from the wilderness. If there were no ruin but sickness, we see, the masters of that art, can scarce number, nor name all sicknesses; everything that disorders a faculty, and the function of that is a sickness: the names will not serve them which are given from the place affected; the pleurisy is so; nor from the effect which it works; the falling sickness is so; they cannot have names enow, from what it does, nor where it is, but they must extort names from what it is like, what it resembles, and but in some one thing, or else they would lack names; for the wolf, and the canker, and the polypus are so; and that question, Whether there be more names or things, is as perplexed in sicknesses as in anything else;
except it bo easily resolved upon that side, that there are more sicknesses than names. If ruin were reduced to that one way, that man could perish no way but by sickness, yet his danger were infinite; and if sickness were reduced to that ouo way, that there were no sickness but a fever, yet the way were infinite still; for it would over-load, and oppress any natural disorder, and discompose any artificial memory, to deliver the names of several fevers; how intricate a work then have they, who are gone to consult, which of these sicknesses mine is, and then which of these fevers, and then what it would do, and then how it may be countermined! But even in ill, it is a degree of good, when the evil will admit consultation. In many diseases, that which is but an accident, but a symptom of the main disease, is so violent, that the physician must attend the cure of that, though he pretermit (so far as to intermit) the cure of the disease itself. Is it not so in states too? Sometimes the insolency of those that are great, put the people into commotions; the great disease, and the greatest danger to the head, is the insolency of the great ones; and yet, they execute martial law, they come to present executions upon the people, whose commotion was indeed but a symptom, but an accident of the main disease; but this symptom, grown so violent, would allow no timo for a consultation. Is it not so in the accidents of the diseases of our mind too? Is it not evidently so in our affections, in our passions? If a choleric man be ready to strike, must I go about to purge his cholcr, or to break the blow? But whero there is room for consultation, things are not desperate. They consult; so there is nothing rashly, inconsiderately done: and then they prescribe, they write, so there is nothing covertly, disguisedly, unavowedly done. In bodily diseases it is not always so; sometimes, as soon as the physician's foot is in the chamber, his knife is in the patient's arm; the disease would not allow a minute's forbearing of blood, nor prescribing of other remedies. In states, and matter of government it is so too, they are sometimes surprised with such accidents, as that the magistrate asks not what may be done by law, but does that which must necessarily be done in that case. But it is a degree of good in evil, a degree that carries hope and comfort in it, when wo may have recourse to that which is written, and that the proceedings may bo apert and ingenuous, and candid, and avowable, for that gives satisfaction and acquiescence. They who have received my anatomy of myself, consult, and end their consultation in prescribing, and in prescribing physic, proper and convenient remedy: for if they should come in again, and chide me for some disorder, that had occasioned, and induced, or that had hastened and exalted this sickness, or if they should begin to writo now rules for my diet, and exercise when I were well, this were to antidate, or to postdate their consultation, not to give physic. It were rather a vexation than a relief, to tell a condemned prisoner, you might have lived if you had done this; and if you can get your pardon, you shall do well to take this, or this course hereafter. I am glad they know, (I have hid nothing from them), glad they consult, (they hide nothing from one another), glad they write (they hide nothing from the world), glad that they write and prescribe physic, that they are remedies for the present case.
My God, my God, allow me a just indignation, a holy detestation of the insolency of that man, who because he was of that high rank, of whom thou hast said, They are gods, thought himself more than equal to thee; that king of Aragon, Alphonsus, so perfect in the motions of the heavenly bodies, as that ho adventured to say, That if he had been of counsel with thee, in the making of the heavens, the heavens should have been disposed in a better order, than they are. The king Amaziah would not endure thy prophet to reprehend him, but asked him in anger, Art thou made of the king's counsel? (2 Chron. xxv. 16.) When thy prophet Esay asks that question, Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his councillor hath taught him? (Isaiah xi.ii. 13.) It is after he had settled and determined that office, upon thy Son, and him only, when he joins with those great titles, The mighty God, and the Prince of Peace, this also, the Councillor (Isaiah ix. 6); and after he had settled upon him, the spirit of might, and of counsel (Isaiah xi). So that then, thou, O God, though thou have no counsel from man, yet dost nothing upon man, without counsel; in the making of man there was a
consultation; Let us make man (Gen. i. 26). In the preserving of man, O thou great preserver of men, thou proceedest by counsel; for all thy external works are the works of the whole Trinity, and their hand is to every action. How much more must I apprehend, that all you blessed, and glorious persons of the Trinity are in consultation now, what you will do with this infirm body, with this leprous soul, that attends, guiltily, but yet comfortably, your determination upon it. I offer not to counsel them, who meet in consultation for my body now, but I open my infirmities, I anatomize my body to them. So I do my soul to thee, O my God, in an humble confession, that there is no vein in me, that is not full of the blood of thy Son, whom I have crucified, and crucified again, by multiplying many, and often repeating the same sins: that there is no artery in me, that hath not the spirit of error (1 Tim. iv. 1), the spirit of lust (Hosea iv. 12), the spirit of giddiness in it (Isaiah xix. 14), no bone in me that is not hardened with the custom of sin, and nourished, and suppled with the marrow of sin; no sinews, no ligaments, that do not tie, and chain sin and sin together. Yet, O blessed and glorious Trinity, O holy, and whole college, and yet but one physician, if you take this confession into a consultation, my case is not desperate, my destruction is not decreed; if your consultation determine in writing, if you refer me to that which is written, you intend my recovery: for all the way, O my God, (ever constant to thine own ways) thou hast proceeded openly, intelligibly, manifestly, by the book. From thy first book, the book of life, never shut to thee, but never thoroughly open to us; from thy second book, the book of nature, where though sub-obscurely and in shadows, thou hast expressed thine own image; from thy third book, the Scriptures, where thou hadst written all in the Old, and then lightedst us a candle to read it by, in the New Testament; to these thou hadst added the book of just and useful laws, established by them, to whom thou hast committed thy people; to those, the manuals, the pocket, the bosom-books of our own consciences, to those thy particular books of all our particular sins, and to those, the book with seven seals, which only the Lamb which was slain, was found worthy to open (Rev. vii. 1), which, I hope, it shall not disagree with the meaning of thy blessed Spirit, to interpret, the promulgation of their pardon, and righteousness, who are washed in the blood of that Lamb; and if thou refer me to these books, to a new reading, a new trial by these books, this fever may be but a burning in the hand, and I may be saved, though not by my book, mine own conscience, nor by thy other books, yet by thy first, the book of life, thy decree for my election, and by thy last, the book of the Lamb, and the shedding of his blood upon me; if I be still under consultation, I am not condemned yet; if I be sent to these books, I shall not be condemned at all: for, though there be something written in some of those books (particularly in the Scriptures) which some men turn to poison, yet upon these consultations (these confessions, these takings of our particular cases, into thy consideration) thou intendest all for physic, and even from those sentences, from which a too late repenter will suck desperation, he that seeks theo early, shall receive thy morning dew, thy seasonable mercy, thy forward consolation.