PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S.
Psalm xc. 14.
O satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days
They have made a rule in the Council of Trent, that no Scripture shall be expounded, but according to the unanime consent of the fathers: but in this book of the Psalms, it would trouble them to give many examples of that rule, that is, of an unanime consent of the fathers, in the interpretation thereof. In this psalm, Bellarmine, in his Exposition of the Psalms, finds himself
perplexed; he says, (and says truly) Hieronymus constanter affirmat, Aiigustinus constanter negat, St. Hierome doth confidently and constantly affirm, and St. Augustine with as much confidence, and constancy deny, that this psalm, and all that follow to the Hundreth Psalm, are Moses' Psalms, and written by him. And this diverse constancy in these two fathers, St. Hierome and St. Augustine, shake the constancy of that canon, which binds to a following of an unanime consent, for that canon to be found. Bellarmine expedites himself herein, that way, which is indeed their most ordinary way amongst their expositors, which is, where the fathers differ, to adhere to St. Augustine. So he doth in this point; though most of the ancients of the Christian church, most of the rabbins of the Jews, most of the writers in the Reformation, take it to be Moses' Psalm, and that way runs the greatest stream, and nearest to a concurrence. And thus far I have stopped upon this consideration, whether this be Moses' Psalm or no, that when it appears to be his psalm, and that we see, that in the tenth verse of this psalm, man's life is limited to seventy years, or at most to eighty, and then remember, that Moses himself, then when he said so, was above eighty, and in a good habitude long after that, we might hereby take occasion to consider, that God does not so limit, and measure himself in his blessings to his servants, but that for their good and his glory he enlarges those measures. God hath determined a day, from sun to sun, yet when God hath use of a longer day, for his glory, he commands the sun to stand still, till Joshua have pursued his victory. So God hath given the life of man, into the hand of sickness; and yet for all that deadly sickness, God enlarges Hezekiah's years: Moses was more than fourscore, when he told us, that our longest term was fourscore.
If we require exactly an unanime consent, that all agree in the author of this psalm, we can get no farther, than that the Holy Ghost is the author. All agree the words to be canonical Scripture, and so from the Holy Ghost; and we seek no farther. The words are his, and they offer us these considerations; first, that the whole psalm being in the title thereof called a prayer, A Prayer of Moses tie Man of God, it puts us justly, and pertinently upon the consideration of the many dignities and prerogatives of that part of our worship of God, prayer; for there we shall see, that though the whole psalm be not a prayer, yet because there is a prayer in the psalm, that denominates the whole psalm, the whole psalm is a prayer. When the psalm grows formally to be a prayer, our text enters, 0 satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days: and in that there will be two parts more, the prayer itself, 0 satisfy us early with thy mercy, and the effect thereof, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. So that our parts are three; first prayer, then this prayer, and lastly the benefit of all prayer.
For the first, which is prayer in general, I will thrust no farther than the text leads me in, that is, that prayer is so essential a part of God's worship, as that all is called prayer. St. Hierome upon this psalm says, Difficillimum psalmum aggredior, I undertake the exposition of a very hard psalm, and yet, says he, I would proceed so in the exposition thereof, ut interpretatio nostra aliena non egeat interpretatione, that there should not need another comment upon my comment, that when I pretend to interpret the psahn, they that hear me, should not need another to interpret me: which is a frequent infirmity amongst expositors of Scriptures, by writing, or preaching, either when men will raise doubts in places of Scripture, which are plain enough in themselves, (for this creates a jealousy, that if the Scriptures be everywhere so difficult, they cannot be our evidences, and guides to salvatiou) or when men will insist too vehemently, and curiously, and tediously in proving of such things as no man denies; for this also induces a suspicion, that that is not so absolutely, so undeniably true, that needs so much art, and curiosity, and vehemence to prove it. I shall therefore avoid these errors; and because I presume you are full of an acknowledgment of the duties, and dignities of prayer, only remember you of thus much of the method, or elements of prayer, that whereas the whole book of Psalms is called Sepher Teh illim, that is, Liber Laudationum, the Book of Praise, yet this psalm, and all that follow to the hundredth psalm, and divers others besides these, (which make up a fair limb of this body, and a considerable part of the book) are called prayers; the book is praise, the parts are prayer. The name changes not the nature; prayer and praise is the same thing: the name scarce
changes the name; prayer and praise is almost the same word; as the duties agree in the heart and mouth of a man, so the names agree in our ears; and not only in the language of our translation, but in the language of the Holy Ghost himself, for that which with us differs but so, prayer, and praise, in the original differs no more than so, tehillim, and tephilloth.
And this concurrence of these two parts of our devotion, prayer and praise, that they accompany one another, nay this coincidence, that they meet like two waters, and make the stream of devotion the fuller; nay more than that, this identity, that they do not only consist together, but constitute one another, is happily expressed in this part of the prayer, which is our text; for that which in the original language is expressed in the voice of prayer, 0 satisfy us, fyc, in the first translation, that of the Soptuagint, is expressed in the voice of praise, Saturasti, Thou hast satisfied us; the original makes it a prayer, the translation a praise. And not to compare original with translation, but translation with translation, and both from one man, we have from St. Hicrome's works two translations of the Psalms; one in which he gives us the psalms alone; another, in which he gives them illustrated with his notes and commentaries. And in one of these translations he reads this as a prayer, Reple nos, 0 fill us early with thy mercy, and in the other he reads it as a praise, Eepleti sumus, Thou hast filled us, <SfC. Nay, not to compare original with translation, nor translation with translation, but original with original, the Holy Ghost with himself, in the title of this psalm, (and the titles of the psalms are canonical scripture) the Holy Ghost calls this psalm a prayer, and yet enters the psalm, in the very first verse thereof, with praise and thanksgiving, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. And such is the constitution and frame of that prayer of prayers, that which is the extraction of all prayers, and draws into a sum all that is in all others, that which is the infusion into all others, sheds and showers whatsoever is acceptable to God, in any other prayer, that prayer which our Saviour gave us, (for as he meant to give us all for asking, so he meant to give us the words by which we should ask) as that prayer consists of seven petitions, and seven is infinite, so by being at first begun with glory and acknowledgment of his reigning in heaven, and then shut up in the same manner, with acclamations of power and glory, it is made a circle of praise, and a circle is infinite too, the prayer and the praise is equally infinite. Infinitely poor and needy man, that ever needest infinite things to pray for; infinitely rich and abundant man, that ever hast infinite blessings to praise God for.
God's house in this world is called the house of prayer; but in heaven it is the house of praise : no surprisal with any new necessities there, but one even, incessant, and everlasting tenour of thanksgiving; and it is a blessed inchoation of that state here, here to be continually exercised in the commemoration of God's former goodness towards us. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, 0 Lord, says David1. What voice? the voice of his prayer; it is true; In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, says David there*. And not only then, but at noon and at night he vows that sacrifice; evening and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry unto thee. But David's devotion began not, when his prayers began; one part of his devotion was before morning; At midnight will I rise, to give thanks unto thee 0 Lord, says he*, doubtless when he lay down and closed his eyes, he had made up his account with God, and had received his quietus est then: and then the first thing that he does when he wakes again, is not to importune God for more, but to bless God for his former blessings. And as this part of his devotion, praise, began all, so it passes through all, / will bless the Lord at all times, and his praise shall be continually in my mouth*. He extends it through all times, and all places, and would fain do so through all persons too, as we see by that adprecation which is so frequent with him, O that men icould therefore praise the Lord, and declare the wondrous works that he doth for the children of men!
If we compare these two incomparable duties, prayer, and praise, it will stand thus, our prayers besiege God, (as Tertullian speaks, especially of public prayer in the congregation, A amine facto obsidemus Deuni) but our praises prescribe in God, we urge him, and press him with his ancient mercies, his mercies of old: by prayer, we incline him, we bend him, but by praise we bind
1 Psalm v. 3. * Psalm Lv. 17.
* Psalm cxix. 62. * Psalm xxxiv. 1.
him; our thanks for former benefits, is a producing of a specialty, by which he hath contracted with us for more. In prayer we sue to him, but in our praise we sue him himself; prayer is as our petition, but praise is as our evidence; in that we beg, in this we plead. God hath no law upon himself, but yet God himself proceeds by precedent: and whensoever we present to him with thanksgiving, what he hath done, he does the same, and more again. Neither certainly can the church institute any prayers, more effectual for the preservation of religion, or of the state, than the collects for our deliverances, in the like cases before: and when he hears them, though they have the nature of praise only, yet he translates them into prayers, and when we ourselves know not, how much we stand in need of new deliverances, he delivers us from dangers which we never suspected, from armies and navies which we never knew were prepared, and from plots and machinations which we never knew were brought into consultation, and diverts their forces, and dissipates their counsels with an untimely abortion. And farther I extend not this first part of prayer in general, in which, to that which you may have heard often, and usefully of the duty and dignity of prayer, I have only added this, of the method and elements thereof, that prayer consists as much of praise for the past, as of supplication for the future.
We pass now to our second part, to this particular prayer, and those limbs that make up this body, those pieces that constitute this part. They are many; as many as words in it: satisfy, and satisfy us, and do that early, and do that with that which is thine, and let that be mercy. So that first it is a prayer for fulness and satisfaction, Satura, satisfy; and then it is a prayer not only of appropriation to ourselves, satisfy me, but of a charitable dilation and extension to others, satisfy us, all us, all thy servants, all thy church; and then thirdly, it is a prayer of despatch and expedition, Satura nos mane, Satisfy us early; and after that, it is a prayer of evidence and manifestation, satisfy us with that which is, and which we may discern to be thine; and then lastly, it is a prayer of limitation even upon God himself, that God will take no other way herein, but the way of mercy, Satisfy us early with thy mercy.
And because these are the land-marks that must guide you in this voyage, and the places to which you must resort to assist your memory, be pleased to take another survey and impression of them. I may have an apprehension of a conditional promise of God, and I may havo some fair credulity and testimony of conscience, of an endeavour to perform those conditions, and so some inchoations of those promises, but yet this is not a fulness, a satisfaction, and this is a prayer for that, Satura, satisfy: I may have a full measure in myself, find no want of temporal conveniences, or spiritual consolation even in inconveniences, and so hold up a holy alacrity, and cheerfulness for all concerning myself, and yet see God abandon greater persons, and desert some whole churches, and states, upon whom his glory and Gospel depends much more than upon me, but this is a prayer of charitable extension, Satura nos, not me, but us, all us that profess thee aright: this also I may be sure that God will do at last, he will rescue his own honour in rescuing or establishing his servants, he will bring Israel out of Egypt, and out of Babylon, but yet his Israel may lie long under the scourge and scorn of his and their enemies, 300 years before they get out of Egypt, seventy years before they get out of Babylon, and so fall into temptations of conceiving a jealousy, and suspicion of God's good purpose towards them, and this is a prayer of despatch and expedition, Satura nos mane, Satisfy us early, O God make speed to save us, O Lord make haste to help us: but he may derive help upon us, by means that are not his, not avowed by him, he may quicken our counsels by bringing in an Achitophel, he may strengthen our armies by calling in the Turk, he may establish our peace and friendships, by remitting or departing with some parts of our religion; at such a dear price we may be helped, but these are not his helps, and this is a prayer of manifestation, that all the way to our end he will be pleased to let us see, that the means are from him, Satura nos tua, satisfy us with that, which is thine, and comes from thee, and so directs us to thee: all this may be done too, and yet not that done which we pray for here; God may send that which is his, and yet without present comfort therein; God may multiply corrections, and judgments, and tribulations upon us, and intend to help us that way, by whipping
and beating us into the way, and this is his way; but this is a prayer of limitation even upon God himself, that our way may be bis, and that his way may be the way of mercy, Satisfy us early with thy mercy.
First then, the first word satura, implies a fulness, and it implies a satisfaction, a quietness, a contentedness, an acquiescence in that fulness; satisfy is, let us be full, and let us feel it, and rest in that fulness. These two make up all heaven, all the joy, and all the glory of heaven, fulness and satisfaction in it. And therefore St. Hierome refers this prayer of our toxt, to the resurrection, and to that fulness, and that satisfaction which we shall have then, and not till then. For though we shall have a fulness in heaven, as soon as we come thither, yet that is not fully a satisfaction, because we shall desire, and expect a fuller satisfaction in the reunion of body and soul. And when heaven itsolf cannot give us this full satisfaction till then, in what can we look for it in this world, where there is no true fulness, nor any satisfaction, in that kind of fulness which we seem to have? Pleasure and sensuality, and the giving to ourselves all that we desire, cannot give this; you hear God reproaches Israel so, You have multiplied your fornications, and yet are not satisfiedi. Labour for profit, or for preferment, cannot do it; you see God reproaches Israel for that too, Ye have sown much, and bring in little, ye eat, but have not enough, ye drink, but are not filled, ye clothe you, but are not warm, and he that earneth wages, putteth it into a broken bag3; that is, it runs out as fast as it comes in, he finds nothing at the year's end, his Midsummer will scarce fetch up Michaelmas, and if he have brought about his year, and made up his circle, yet ho hath raised up nothing, nothing appears in his circle. If these things could fill us, yet they could not satisfy us, because they cannot stay with us, or not we with them: He hath devoured substance, and he shall vomit it1. He devoured it by bribery, and he shall vomit it by a fine; he devoured it by extortion, and he shall vomit it by confiscation; he devoured it in other courts, and shall vomit it in a star-chamber. If it stay some time, it shall be with an anguish and vexation; When he shall be filled with
abundance, it shall be a pain to him, as it is in the same place. Still his riches shall have the nature of a vomit, hard to get down, and hard to keep in the stomach when it is there; hardly got, hardly kept when they are got. If all these could be overcome, yet it is clogged with a heavy curse, Woe be unto you that are full, for ye shall be hungry3: Where, if the curse were only from them, who are poor by their own sloth, or wastefulness, who for the most part delight to curse and malign the rich, the curse might be contemned by us, and would be thrown back by God into their own bosoms; but Os Domini locutum, The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, Christ himself hath denounced this curse upon worldly men, That they shall be hungry, not only suffer impairment and diminution, but be reduced to hunger.
There is a spiritual fulness in this life, of which St. Hierome speaks, Ebrietas felix, satietas salutaris, A happy excess, and a wholesome surfeit; quw quanto copiosius sumitur, majorem donat sobrietatem, In which the more we eat, the more temperate we are, and the more we drink, the more sober. In which, (as St. Bernard also expresses it, in his mellifluence) Mutua, interminabili, ineosplicabili generatione, By a mutual and reciprocal, by an undeterminable and unexpressible generation of one another, Desiderium generat satietatem, et satietas parit desiderium, The desire of spiritual graces begets a satiety, if I would be, I am full of them, and then this satiety begets a farther desire, still we have a new appetite to those spiritual graces: this is a holy ambition, a sacred covetousness, and a wholesome dropsy. Napthali's blessing*, 0 Napthali satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord; St. Stephen's blessing10, Full of faith and of the Holy Ghost; the blessed Virgin's blessing, Full of grace; Dorcas' blessing", Full of good works, and of alnu-deeds; the blessing of him, who is blessed above all, and who blesseth all, Christ Jesus, Full of wisdom", full of the Holy Ghost", full of grace and truthu. But so far are all temporal things from giving this fulness or satisfaction, as that even in spiritual things, they may be, there is often an error, or mistaking.
B Luke vi. 25. 3 Deut. xxxiii. 23. 10 Acts vL 5.
"Acts ix. 36. "Luke ii. 40.
1• Luke iv. 1. 14 John i. 14.
Even in spiritual things, there may be a fulness, and no satisfaction, and there may be a satisfaction, and no fulness; I may have as much knowledge, as is presently necessary for my salvation, and yet have a restless and unsatisfied desire, to search into unprofitable curiosities, unrevealed mysteries, and inextricable perplexities: and, on the other side, a man may be satisfied, and think he knows all, when, God knows, he knows nothing at all; for, I know nothing, if I know not Christ crucified, and I know not that, if I know not how to apply him to myself, nor do I know that, if I embrace him not in those means, which he hath afforded me in his church, in his word, and sacraments; if I neglect this means, this place, these exercises, howsoever I may satisfy myself, with an over-valuing mine own knowledge at home, I am so far from fulness, as that vanity itself is not more empty. In the wilderness, every man had one and the same measure of manna; the same gomer went through all; for manna was a meat, that would melt in their mouths, and of easy digestion. But then for their quails, birds of a higher flight, meat of a stronger digestion, it is not said, that every man had an equal number: some might have more, some less, and yet all their fulness. Catechistical divinity, and instructions in fundamental things, is our manna; every man is bound to take in his gomer, his explicit knowledge of articles absolutely necessary to salvation; the simplest man, as well as the greatest doctor, is bound to know, that there is one God in three persons, that the second of those, the Son of God, took our nature, and died for mankind; and that there is a Holy Ghost, which in the communion of saints, the church established by Christ, applies to every particular soul the benefit of Christ's universal redemption. But then for our quails, birds of higher pitch, meat of a stronger digestion, which is the knowledge how to rectify every straying conscience, how to extricate every entangled, and scrupulous, and perplexed soul, in all emergent doubts, how to defend our church, and our religion, from all the mines, and all the batteries of our adversaries, and to deliver her from all imputations of heresy, and schism, which they impute to us, this knowledge is not equally necessary in all; in many cases a master of servants, and a father of children is bound to know more, than those children and servants,
Vol. m. 2 G
and the pastor of the parish more than parishioners: they may have their fulness, though he have more, but he hath not his, except he be able to give them satisfaction.
This fulness then is not an equality in the measure ; our fulness in heaven shall not be so; Abraham died, says the text, Plenus dierum, full of years"; it is not said so in the text of Methusalem, that he died full of years, and yet he had another manner of gomer, another measure of life than Abraham, for he lived almost eight hundred years more than he; but he that is best disposed to die, is fullest of years; one man may be fuller at twenty, than another at seventy. David lived not the tithe of Methusalem's years, not ten to his hundred, he lived less than Abraham, and yet David is said to have died plenus dierum, full of years"; he had made himself agreeable to God, and so was ripe for him. So David is said there to have died full of honour; God knows David had cast shrewd aspersions upon his own, and other's honour; but, as God says of Israel, Because I loved thee, thou wast honourable in my sight; so because God loved David, and he persevered in that love to the end, he died full of honour. So also it is said of David, that he died full of riches; for, though they were very great additions, which Solomon made, yet because David intended that which he left, for God's service, and for pious uses, he died full of riches; fulness of riches is in the good purpose, and the good employment, not in the possession. In a word, the fulness that is inquired after, and required by this prayer, carry it upon temporal, carry it upon spiritual things, in such a proportion of either, as is fit for that calling, in which God hath put us; and then, the satisfaction in this fulness is not to hunt, and pant after more worldly possessions, by undue means, or by macerating labour, as though we could not be good, or could do no good in the world, except all the goods of the world passed our hands, nor to hunt and pant after the knowledge of such things, as God by his Scriptures hath not revealed to his church, nor to wrankle contentiously and uncharitably about such points, as do rather shake other's consciences, than establish our own, as though we could not possibly come to heaven, except we knew what God meant to do with us, before ho meant to make us. St. Paul
expresses fuUy what this fulness is, and satisfies us in this satisfaction, Ut sitis pleni in omni voluntate Dei, that ye may be filled according to the will of God11: what is the will of God? How shall I know the will of God upon me? God hath manifested his will in my calling; and a proportion, competent to this calling, is my fulness, and should be my satisfaction, that so God may have odorem quietis, (as it is said in Noah's sacrifice, after he came out of the ark, that God smelt a savour of rest") a sacrifice, in which he might rest himself; for God hath a Sabbath in the Sabbaths of his servants, a fulness in their fulness, a satisfaction when they are satisfied, and is well pleased when they are so.
So then this prayer is for fulness, and fulness is a competency in our calling, and a prayer for satisfaction, and satisfaction is a contentment in that competency; and then this prayer is not only a prayer of appropriation to ourselves, but of a charitable extension to others too, Satura nos, satisfy us, all us, all thy church. Charity begins in ourselves, but it does not end there, but dilates itself to others; the saints in heaven are full, as full as they can hold, and yet they pray; though they want nothing, they pray that God would pour down upon us graces necessary for our peregrination here, as he hath done upon them, in their station there. We are full; full of the gospel; present peace and plenty in the preaching thereof, and fair appearances of a perpetual succession; we are full, and yet we pray; we pray that God would continue the gospel where it is, restore the gospel where it was, and transfer the gospel where it hath not yet been preached. Charity desires not her own, says the apostle; but much less doth charity desire no more than her own, so as not to desire the good of others too, True love and charity is to do the most that we can, all that we can for the good of others; so God himself proceeds, when he says, What could I do, that I have not done? And so he seems to have begun at first; when God bestowed upon man, his first and greatest benefit, his making, it is expressed so, Faciamus hominem, Let us, all us, make man; God seems to summon himself, to assemble himself, to muster himself, all himself, all the
persons of the Trinity, to do what he could in the favour of man. So also when he is drawn to a necessity of executing judgment, and for his own honour, and consolidation of his servants, puts himself upon a revenge, he proceeds so too; when man had rebelled, and began to fortify in Babel, then God says, Venite, Let us", all us come together, and Descendamus, et confundamus, let us, all us, go down, and confound their language, and their machinations, and fortifications. God does not give patterns, God does not accept from us acts of half-devotion, and half-charities; God does all that he can for us; and therefore when we see others in distress, whether national or personal calamities, whether princes be dispossessed of their natural patrimony, and inheritance, or private persons afflicted with sickness, or penury, or banishment, let us go God's way, all the way; first, Faeiamus hominem ad imaginem nostram, let us make that man according unto our image, let us consider ourselves in him, and make our case his, and remember how lately he was as well as we, and how soon we may be as ill as he, and then Descendamus et confundamus, let us, us, with all the power we have, remove or slacken those calamities that lie upon them.
This only is charity, to do all, all that we can. And something there is which every man may do; there are armies, in the levying whereof, every man is an absolute prince, and needs no commission, there are forces, in which every man is his own mustermaster, the force which we spoke of before, out of Tertullian, the force of prayer; in public actions, we obey God, when we obey them to whom God hath committed the public; in those things which are in our own power, the subsidies and contributions of prayer, God looks that we should second his faeiamus, with our dicamus, that since he must do all, we would pray him that he would do it, and his descendamus, with our ascendamus, that if we would have him come down, and fight our battles, or remove our calamities, we should first go up to him, in humble and fervent prayer, that he would continue the gospel where it is, and restore it where it was, and transfer it where it was never as yet heard; charity is to do all to all; and the poorest of us all can do this to any.
Gen. xi. 7.
I may then, I must pray for this fulness, (and fulness is sufficiency) and for this satisfaction, (and satisfaction is contentment) and that God would extend this, and other his blessings, upon others too, and if God do leave us in an Egypt, in a Babylon, without relief, for some time I may proceed to this holy importunity, which David intimates here, Satura nos mane, O Lord, make haste to help us, Satisfy us early with thy mercy, and God will do so. Weeping may endure for a night, says David". David does not say, It must endure for a night, that God will by no means shorten the time; perchance God will wipe all tears from thine eyes, at midnight, if thou pray; try him that way then. If he do not, if weeping do endure for a night, all night, yet joy cometh in the morning, saith David; and then he doth not say, joy may come in the morning, but it cometh certainly, infallibly it comes, and comes in the morning. God is an early riser; In the morning-watch, God looked upon the host of the Egyptians". He looked upon their counsels to see what they would do, and upon their forces to see what they could do. He is not early up, and never the nearer; His going forth is prepared as the morning, (there is his general providence, in which he visits every creature) and he shall come to us, in the former, and later rain upon the earth"; he makes haste to us in the former, and seconds his former mercies to us, in more mercies. And as he makes haste to refresh his servants, so goes he the samo pace, to the ruin of his enemies, In matutino, interficiam, I will early destroy all the wicked of the land**: it is not a weakening of them, it is a destruction; it is not of a squadron or regiment, it is all; it is not only upon the land, but the wicked of any land he will destroy upon the sea too. This is his promise, this is his practice, this is his pace. Thus he did in Sennacherib's army, When they arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead carcasses*1; they rose early that saw it, but God had been up earlier, that had done it. And that story, God seems to have had care to have recorded almost in all the divisions of the Bible, for it is in the historical part, and it is in the prophetical part too; and because God foresaw, that men's curiosities would carry them upon Apo
» Psalm xxx. 5. "Exod. xiv. 24. ,2 Hos. vL 3.
"Psalm ci. 8. "2 Kings xix. 35.
cryphal books also, it is repeated almost in every book of that kind, in Ecclesiasticus, in Tobit, in the Maccabeesj in both books, that everywhere our eye might light upon that, and every soul might make that syllogism, and produce that conclusion to itself, if God be thus forward, thus early in the ways of judgment, much more is he so in the ways of mercy; with that he will satisfy us mane, early, and as Tremellius reads this very text, unoquoque mane, betimes in the morning, and every morning.
Now if we look for this early mercy from God, wo must rise betimes too, and meet God early. God hath promised to give matutinam stellam, the morning-star"; but they must be up betimes in the morning, that will take the morning-star. He himself who is it, hath told us who is this morning star; / Jesus am the bright and morning star". God will give us Jesus; him, and all his, all his tears, all his blood, all his merits; but to whom, and upon what conditions! That is expressed there, Vincenti dabo, To him that overcometh I will give the morning-star. Our life is a warfare, our whole life; it is not only with lusts in our youth, and ambitions in our middle years, and indevotions in our age, but with agonies in our body, and temptations in our spirit upon our death-bed, that we are to fight; and he cannot be said to overcome, that fights not out the whole battle. If he enter not the field in the morning, that is, apply not himself to God's service in his youth, if he continue not to the evening, if he faint in the way, and grow remiss in God's service, for collateral respects, God will overcome his cause, and his glory shall stand fast, but that man can scarce be said to have overcome.
It is the counsel of the wise man, Prevent the sun to give thanks to God, and at the day-spring pray unto him". You see still, how these two duties are marshalled, and disposed; first praise, and then prayer, but both early: and it is placed in the Lamentations, as though it were a lamentable negligence to have omitted it, It is good for a man, that he bear his yoke in his youth". Rise as early as you can, you cannot be up before God; no, nor before God raise you: howsoever you prevent this sun, the sun of the firmament, yet the Son of heaven hath prevented you, for without
his preventing grace you could not stir. Have any of you slept out their morning, resisted his private motions to private prayer at home, neglected his callings so? Though a man do sleep out his forenoon, the sun goes on his course, and comes to his meridional splendour, though that man have not looked towards it. That son which hath risen to you at home, in those private motions, hath gone on his course, and hath shined out here, in this house of God, upon Wednesday, and upon Friday, and upon every day of holy convocation; all this, at home, and here, ye have slept out and neglected. Now, upon the Sabbath, and in these holy exercises, this sun shines out as at noon, the grace of God is in the exaltation, exhibited in the powerfullest and effectuallest way of his ordinance, and if you will but awake now, rise now, meet God now, now at noon, God will call even this early. Have any of you slept out the whole day, and are come in that drowsiness to your evening, to the closing of your eyes, to the end of your days? Yet rise now, and God shall call even this an early rising; if you can make shift to deceive your own souls, and say, We never heard God call us; if you neglected your former callings so, as that you have forgot that you have been called; yet, is there one amongst you, that denies that God calls him now? If he neglect this calling now, to-morrow he may forget that he was called to-day, or remember it with such a terror, as shall blow a damp, and a consternation upon his soul, and a lethargy worse than his former sleep; but if he will wake now, and rise now, though this be late in his evening, in his age, yet God shall call this early. Be but able to say with Esay this night, My soul hath desired thee in the nightTM, and thou mayest be bold to say with David to-morrow morning, Satura nos mane, Satisfy us early with thy mercy, and he shall do it.
But yetno prayer of ours, howsoever made in the best disposition, in the best testimony of a rectified conscience, must limit God his time, or appoint him, in what morning, or what hour in the morning, God shall come to our deliverance. The Son of man was not the less the Son of God, nor the less a beloved Son, though God hid from him the knowledge of the day of the general judgment. Thou art not the less the servant of God, nor the
** Isaiah xxvi. 9.
less rewarded by him, though he keep from thee the knowledge of thy deliverance from any particular calamity. All God's deliverances are in the morning, because there is a perpetual night, and an invincible darkness upon us, till he deliver us. God is tho GoJ of that climate, where the night is six months long, as well as of this, where it is but half so many hours. The highest hill hinders not the roundness of the earth, the earth is round for all that hill; the lowest vaults, and mines hinder not the solidness of the earth, the earth is solid for all that; much less hath a year, or ten years, or all our three score and ten, any proportion at all to eternity; and therefore God comes early in a sort to me, though I lose abundance of my reward by so long lingering, if he come not till he open mo the gate of heaven, by the key of death. There are Indies at my right hand, in the east; but there are Indies at my left hand too, in the west. There are testimonies of God's love to us, in our east, in our beginnings; but if God continue tribulation upon us to our west, to our ends, and give us the light of his presence then, if he appear to us at our transmigration, certainly ho was favourable to us all our peregrination, and though he show himself late, he was our friend early. The prayer is, that he would come early, but it is, if it be rightly formed, upon both these conditions; first, that I rise early to meet him, and then that I magnify his hour as early, whensoever he shall be pleased to come.
All this I shall do the better, if I limit my prayer, and my practice, with the next circumstance in David's prayer; Tua, satisfy us early with that which is thine, thy mercy; for there arc mercies, (in a fair extent and accommodation of the word, that is refreshings, eases, deliverances) that are not his mercies, nor his satisfactions. How many men are satisfied with riches (I correct myself, few are satisfied; but how many have enough to satisfy many) and yet have never a penny of his money! Nothing is his, that comes not from him, that comes not by good means. How many are there, that are easy to admit scruples, and jealousies, and suspicions in matter of religion: easy to think, that that religion, and that church, in which they have lived ill, cannot be a good religion, nor a true church; in a troubled, and distempered conscience, they grow easy to admit scruples, and then as over-easy to admit false satisfactions, with a word whispered on one side in a conventicle, or a word whispered on the other side in a confession, and yet have never a dram of satisfaction from his word, whose word is preached upon the house-top, and avowed, and not in coiners? How many men are anguished with torturing diseases, racked with the conscience of ill-spent estates, oppressed with inordinate melancholies, and irreligious dejections of spirit, and then repair, and satisfy themselves with wine, with women, with fools, with comedies, with mirth, and music, and with all Job's miserable comforters, and all this while have no beams of his satisfaction, it is not misericordia ejus, his mercy, his satisfaction? In losses of worldly goods, in sicknesses of children, or servants, or cattle, to receive light or ease from witches, this is not his mercy. It is not his mercy, except we go by good ways to good ends; except our safety be established by alliance with his friends, except our peace may be had with the perfect continuance of our religion, there is no safety, there is no peace. But let me feel the effect of this prayer, as it is a prayer of manifestation, let me discern that, that that is done upon me, is done by the hand of God, and I care not what it be: I had rather have God's vinegar, than man's oil, God's wormwood, than man's manna, God's justice, than any man's mercy; for therefore did Gregory Nysseu call St. Basil in a holy sense, Ambidextrum, because he took everything that came, by the right handle, and with the right hand, because he saw it to come from God. Even afflictions are welcome, when we see them to be his: though the way that he would choose, and the way that this prayer entreats, be only mercy, Satisfy us early with thy mercy.
That rod and that staff with which we are at any time corrected, is his. So God calls the Assyrians, The rod of his anger, and he says, That the staff that is in their hand, is his indignation". He comes to a sharper execution, from the rod, and the staff" to the sword, and that also is his, It is my sword, that is put into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch out my sword upon the whole land"; God will beat down, and cut off, and blow up, and blow out at his pleasure; which is expressed in a
f0 Isaiah x. 5. "Ezek. xxx. 24.
phrase very remarkable by David, He bringeth the wind out of his treasuries**; and then follow in that place, all the plagues of Egypt: storms and tempests, ruins and devastations, are not only in God's armouries, but they are in his treasuries; as he is the Lord of hosts, he fetches his judgments from his armouries, and casts confusion upon his enemies, but as he is the God of mercy, and of plentiful redemption, he fetches these judgments, these corrections out of his treasuries, and they are the money, the jewels, by which he redeems and buys us again; God does nothing, God can do nothing, no not in the way of ruin and destruction, but there is mercy in it; he cannot open a door in his armoury, but a window into his treasury opens too, and he must look into that.
But then God's corrections are his acts, as the physician is his creature, God created him for necessity. When God made man, his first intention was not that man should fall, and so need a Messias, nor that man should fall sick, and so need a physician, nor that man should fall into rebellion by sin, and so need his rod, his staff, his scourge of afflictions, to whip him into the way again. But yet says the wise man, Honour the physician for the use you may have, of him; slight him not, because thou hast no need of him yet33. So though God's corrections were not from a primary, but a secondary intention, yet, when you see those corrections fall upon another, give a good interpretation of them, and believe God's purpose to be not to destroy, but to recover that man: do not thou make God's rhubarb thy ratsbane, and poison thine own soul with an uncharitable misinterpretation of that correction, which God hath sent to cure his. And then, in thine own afflictions, fly evermore to this prayer, Satisfy us with thy mercy; first, satisfy us, make it appear to us that thine intention is mercy, though thou enwrap it in temporal afflictions, in this dark cloud let us discern thy Son, and though in an act of displeasure, see that thou art well pleased with us; satisfy us, that there is mercy in thy judgments, and then satisfy us, that thy mercy is mercy; for such is the stupidity of sinful man, that as in temporal blessings, we discern them best by wanting them, so do we the mercies of God too; we call it not a mercy, to have
the same blessings still: but, as every man conceives a greater degree of joy, in recovering from a sickness, than in his former established health; so without doubt, our ancestors who endured many years civil and foreign wars, were more affected with their first peace, than we are with our continual enjoying thereof, and our fathers more thankful, for the beginning of reformation of religion, than we for so long enjoying the continuance thereof. Satisfy us with thy mercy, let us still be able to see mercy in thy judgments, lest they deject us, and confound us; satisfy us with thy mercy, let us be able to see, that our deliverance is a mercy, and not a natural thing that might have happened so, or a necessary thing that must have happened so, though there had been no God in heaven, nor providence upon earth. But especially since the way that thou choosest, is to go all by mercy, and not to be put to this way of correction, so dispose, so compose our minds, and so transpose all our affections, that we may live upon thy food, and not put thee to thy physic, that we may embrace thee in the light, and not be put to seek thee in the dark, that we come to thee in thy mercy, and not be whipped to thee by thy corrections. And so we have dono also with our second part, the pieces and petitions that constitute this prayer, as it is a prayer for fulness and satisfaction, a prayer of extent and dilatation, a prayer of despatch and expedition, and then a prayer of evidence and declaration, and lastly, a prayer of limitation even upon God himself, satisfy, and satisfy us, and us early, with that which we may discern to be thine, and let that way be mercy.
There remains yet a third part, what this prayer produces, and it is joy, and continual joy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. The words are the parts, and we invert not, we trouble not the order; the Holy Ghost hath laid them fitliest for our use, in the text itself, and so we take them. First then, the gain is joy. Joy is God's own seal, and his keeper is the Holy Ghost; we have many sudden ejaculations in the form of prayer, sometimes inconsiderately made, and they vanish so; but if I can reflect upon my prayer, ruminate, and return again with joy to the same prayer, I have God's seal upon it. And therefore it is not so very an idle thing, as some have misimagined it, to repeat often the same prayer in the same words; our Saviour did so; ho prayed a third time, and in the same words; this reflecting upon a former prayer, is that that sets to this seal, this joy, and if I have joy in my prayer, it is granted so far as concerns my good, and God's glory. It hath been disputed by many, both of the Gentiles, with whom the fathers disputed, and of the schoolmen, who dispute with one another, An sit gaudium in Deo, de semet, Whether God rejoice in himself, in contemplation of himself, whether God be glad that he is God: but it is disputed by them, only to establish it, and to illustrate it, for I do not remember that any one of them denies it. It is true, that Plato dislikes, and justly, that salutation of Dionysius the Tyrant to God, Gaude, et servato vitam tyranni jucundam; that he should say to God, Live merrily, as merrily as a king, as merrily as I do, and then you are God enough; to imagine such a joy in God, as is only a transitory delight in deceivable things, is an impious conceit. But when, as another Platonic34 says, Deu s est quod ipse semper voluit, God is that which he would be, if there be something that God would be, and he be that, if Plato should deny, that God joyed in himself, we must say of Plato as Lactantius does, Deum potius somniaverat, quam cognoverat, Plato had rather dreamed that there was a God, than understood what that God was. Bonum simplex, says St. Augustine, To be sincere goodness, goodness itself, Ipsa est delectatio Dei, This is the joy that God hath in himself, of himself; and therefore says Philo Judajus, Hoc necessarium philosophico sodalibu-s, This is the tenant of all philosophers, (and by that title of philosophers, Philo always means them that know and study God) Solum Deum vtre festum agere, That only God can be truly said to keep holyday, and to rejoice.
This joy we shall see, when we see him, who is so in it, as that he is this joy itself. But here in this world, so far as I can enter into my master's sight, I can enter into my master's joy. I can see God in his creatures, in his church, in his word and sacraments, and ordinances; since I am not without this sight, I am not without this joy. Here a man may transilire mortalitatem, says that divine moral man"; I cannot put off" mortality, but I can look upon immortality; I cannot depart from this earth, but
"Plotinus. 33 Seneca.
I can look into heaven. So I cannot possess that final and accomplished joy here, but as my body can lay down a burden or a heavy garment, and joy in that ease, so my soul can put off my body so far, as that the concupiscencies thereof, and the manifold and miserable incumbrances of this world, cannot extinguish this holy joy. And this inchoative joy, David derives into two branches, to rejoice, and to be glad.
The Holy Ghost is an eloquent author, a vehement, and an abundant author, but yet not luxuriant; he is far from a penurious, but as far from a superfluous style too. And therefore we do not take these two words in the text, to rejoice, and to be glad, to signify merely one and the same thing, but to be two beams, two branches, two effects, two expressings of this joy. We take them therefore, as they offer themselves in their roots, and first natural propriety of the words. The first, which we translate to rejoice, is ranan; and ranan denotes the external declaration of internal joy; for the word signifies cantare, to sing, and that with an extended and loud voice, for it is the word, which is oftenest used for the music of the church, and the singing of psalms; which was such a declaration of their zealous alacrity in the Primitive church, as that, when to avoid discovery in the times of persecution, they were forced to make their meetings in the night, they were also forced to put out their candles, because by that light in the windows they were discovered; after that this meeting in the dark occasioned a scandal and ill report upon those Christians, that their meetings were not upon so holy purposes, as they pretended, they discontinued their vigils, and night-meetings, yet their singing of psalms, when they did meet, they never discontinued, though that, many times, exposed them to dangers, and to death itself, as some of the authors of the secular story of the Romans have observed and testified unto us. And some ancient decrees and constitutions we have, in which such are forbidden to be made priests, as were not perfect in the psalms. And though St. Hierome tell us this, with some admiration, and note of singularity, that Paula could say the whole book of Psalms without book, in Hebrew; yet he presents it as a thing well known to be their ordinary practice; In villula Christi Bethlem, extra psalmos silentium est, In the village where I dwell, says he, where Christ was horn in Bethlehem, if you cannot sing psalms, you must be silent, here you shall hear nothing but psalms; for, (as he pursues it) Arat&r stivam tenens, The husbandman that follows the plough, he that sows, that reaps, that carries home, all begin and proceed in all their labours with singing of psalms. Therefore he calls them there, Cantiones amatorias, Those that make or entertain love, that seek in the holy and honourable way of marriage, to make themselves acceptable and agreeable to one another, by no other good parts, nor conversation, but by singing of psalms. So he calls them, Pastorum sibilum, and Arma culturw, Our shepherds, says St. Hierome, here, have no other eclogues, no other pastorals; our labourers, our children, our servants no other songs, nor ballads, to recreate themselves withal, than the Psalms.
And this universal use of the Psalms, that they served all for all, gives occasion to one author, in the title of the book of Psalms, to depart from the ordinary reading, which is, Sepher tehillim, the book of praise, and to read it, Sepher telim, which is, acervorum, the book of heaps, where all assistances to our salvation are heaped and treasured up. And our countryman Bede found another title, in some copies of this book, Liber soliloquiorum de Christo, the book of Meditations upon Christ; because this book is (as Gregory Nyssen calls it) Clems David, that key of David, which lets us into all the mysteries of our religion; which gave the ground to that which St. Basil says, that if all the other books of Scripture could be lost, he would ask no more than the book of Psalms, to catechize children, to edify congregations, to convert Gentiles, and to convince heretics.
But we are launched into too large a sea, the consideration of this book of Psalms. I mean but this, in this, that if we take that way with God, the way of prayer, prayer so elemented and constituted, as we have said, that consists rather of praise and thanksgiving, than supplication for future benefits, God shall iufuse into us, a zeal of expressing our consolation in him, by outward actions, to the establishing of others; we shall not disavow, nor grow slack in our religion, nor in any parts thereof; God shall neither take from us, the candle and the candlestick, the truth of the Gospel, which is the light, and the cheerful, and
authorized, and countenanced, and rewarded preaching of the Gospel, which is the candlestick that exalts the light; nor take from us our zeal to this outward service of God, that we come to an indifferency, whether the service of God be private or public, sordid or glorious, allowed and suffered, by way of connivency, or commanded and enjoined by way of authority. God shall give us this ranan, this rejoicing, this external joy, we shall have the public preaching of the Gospel continued to us, and we shall show that we rejoice in it, by frequenting it, and by instituting our lives according unto it.
But yet this ranan, this rejoicing, this outward expressing of our inward zeal, may admit interruptions, receive interceptions, intermissions, and discontinuances; for, without doubt, in many places there live many persons, well affected to the truth of religion, that dare not avow it, express it, declare it, especially where that fearful vulture, the inquisition, hovers over them. And therefore the Holy Ghost hath added here another degree of joy, which no law, no severe execution of law, can take from us, in another word of less extent, shamach, which is an inward joy, only in the heart, which we translate here, to be glad. How far we are bound to proceed in outward declarations of religion, requires a serious and various consideration of circumstances. You know how far Daniel proceeded"; the lords had extorted a proclamation from the king, that no man should pray to any other god, than the king, for certain days; Daniel would not only not be bound by this proclamation, and so continue his set and stationary hours of private prayer in his chamber, but he would declare it to all the world; he would set open his chamber windows, that he might be seen to pray; for, though some determine that act of Daniel, in setting open his windows at prayer, in this, that because the Jews were bound by their law, wheresoever they were, in war, in captivity, upon the way, or in their sick beds, to turn towards Jerusalem, and so towards the temple, whensoever they prayed, according to that stipulation, which had passed between God and Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, When thy servants pray towards this house, hear them in it; therefore as Hezekias, in his sick bed, when he turned
towards the wall to pray, is justly thought, to have done so, therefore that he might pray towards the temple, which stood that way; so Daniel is thought to have opened his windows to that purpose too, that he might have the more free prospect towards Jerusalem from Babylon; though some, I say, determine Daniel's act in that, yet it is by more, and more usefully extended, to an expressing of such a zeal, as, in so apparent a dishonour to his God, could not be suffocated nor extinguished with a proclamation.
In which act of his, which was a direct and evident opposing and affronting of the state, though I dare not join with them, who absolutely and peremptorily condemn this act of Daniel, because God's subsequent act in a miraculous deliverance of Daniel seems to imply some former particular revelation from God to Daniel, that he should proceed in that confident manner, yet dare I much less draw this act of Daniel's into consequence, and propose it for an example and precedent to private men, least of all, to animate seditious men, who upon pretence of a necessity, that God must be served in this, and this, and no other manner, provoke and exasperate the magistrate with their schismatical conventicles and separations. But howsoever that may stand, and howsoever there may be circumstances which may prevail either upon human infirmity, or upon a rectified conscience, or howsoever God in his judgments, may cast a cloud upon his own Son, and darken the glory of the Gospel, in some place, for some time, yet, though we lose our ranan, our public rejoicing, we shall never lose our shamach, our inward gladness, that God is our God, and we his servants for all this. God will never leave his servants without this internal joy, which shall preserve them from suspicions of God's power, that he cannot maintain, or not restore his cause, and from jealousies, that he hath abandoned or deserted them in particular. God shall never give them over to an indifferency, nor to a stupidity, nor to an absence of tenderness, and holy affections, that it shall become all one to them, how God's cause prospers, or suffers. But if I continue that way, prayer, and prayer so qualified, if I lose my ranan, my outward declarations of rejoicing; if I be tied to a death-bed in a ionsumption, and cannot rejoice in coming to
these public congregations, to participate of their prayers, and to impart to them my meditations; if I be ruined in my fortune, ■ and cannot rejoice in an open distribution to the relief of the poor, and a preaching to others, in that way, by example of doing good works; if at my last minute, I be not able to edify my friends, nor catechize my children, with any thing that I can do or say; if I be not able so much, as with hand or eye to make a sign, though I have lost my ranan, all the eloquence of outward declaration, yet God shall never take from me, my shamach, my internal gladness and consolation, in his undeceivable and undeceiving Spirit, that he is mine, and I am his; and this joy, this gladness, in my way, and in my end, shall establish me; for that is that which is intended in the next, and last word, omnibus diebus, we shall rejoice and be glad all our days.
Nothing but this testimony, That the Spirit bears witness with my spirit, that upon my prayer, so conditioned, of praise, and prayer, I shall still prevail with God, could imprint in me, this joy, all my days. The seals of his favour, in outward blessings, fail me in the days of shipwreck, in the days of fire, in the days of displacing my potent friends, or raising mine adversaries; in such days I cannot rejoice, and be glad. The seals of his favour, in inward blessings, and holy cheerfulness, fail me in a present remorse after a sin newly committed. But yet in the strength of a Christian hope, as I can pronounce out of the grounds of nature, in an eclipse of the sun, that the sun shall return to his splendour again, I can pronounce out of the grounds of God's word (and God's word is much better assurance, than the grounds of nature, for God can and does shake the grounds of nature by miracles, but no jot of his word shall ever perish) that I shall return again on my hearty penitence, if I delay it not, and rejoice and be glad all my days; that is, what kind of day soever overtake me. In the days of our youth, when the joys of this world take up all the room, there shall be room for this holy joy, that my recreations were harmless, and my conversation innocent; and certainly to be able to say, that in my recreations, in my conversation, I neither ministered occasion of temptation to another, nor exposed myself to temptations from another, is a fair beam of this rejoicing in the days of my youth. In the days of our age, when we
VOL. III. 2 H
become incapable, insensible of the joys of this world, yet this holy joy shall season us, not with a sinful delight in the memory of our former sins, but with a re-juveniscence, a new and a fresh' youth, in being come so near to another, to an immortal life. In the days of our mirth, and of laughter, this holy joy shall enter; and as the sun may say to the stars at noon, How frivolous and impertinent a thing is your light now! so this joy shall say unto laughter, Thou art mad, and unto mirth, What dost thou*"? And in the midnight of sadness, and dejection of spirit, this joy shall shine out, and chide away that sadness, with David's holy charm, My soul, why art thou cast down, why art thou disquieted within me? In those days, which Job speaks of, Prwvenerunt me dies afflictionis mew, Miseries are come upon me before their timeTM; My intemperances have hastened age, my riotousness hath hastened poverty, my neglecting of due officiousness and respect towards great persons hath hastened contempt upon me, afflictions which I suspected not, thought not of, have prevented my fears; and then in those days, which Job speaks of agains*, Possident me dies afflictionis, Studied and premeditated plots and practices swallow me, possess me entirely, in all these days, I shall not only have a Zoar to fly to, if I can get out of Sodom, joy, if I can overcome my sorrow; there shall not be a Goshen bordering upon my Egypt, joy, if I cau pass beyond, or besides my sorrow, but I shall have a Goshen in my Egypt, nay my very Egypt shall be my Goshen, I shall not only have joy, though I have sorrow, but therefore; my very sorrow shall be the occasion of joy; I shall not only have a sabbath after my six days' labour, but omnibus diebus, a sabbath shall enlighten every day, and inanimate every minute of every day: and as my soul is as well in my foot, as in my hand, though all the weight and oppression lie upon the foot, and all action upon the hand, so these beams of joy shall appear as well in my pillar of cloud, as in theirs of fire; in my adversity, as well as in their prosperity; and when their sun shall set at noon, mine shall rise at midnight; they shall have damps in their glory, and I joyful exaltations in my dejections.
And to the end with the end of all, in die mortis, in the day of my death, and that which is beyond the end of all, and without end in itself, the day of judgment, if I have the testimony of a rectified conscience, that I have accustomed myself to that access to God, by prayer, and such prayer, as though it have had a body of supplication, and desire of future things, yet the soul and spirit of that prayer, that is, my principal intention in that prayer, hath been praise and thanksgiving, if I be involved in St. Chrysostom's patent, Orantes, non natura, sed dispensatione angeli fiunt, That those who pray so, that is, pray by way of praise, (which is the most proper office of angels) as they shall be better than angels in the next world, (for they shall be glorifying spirits, as the angels are, but they shall also be glorified bodies, which the angels shall never be) so in this world they shall be as angels, because they are employed in the office of angels, to pray by way of praise, if, as St. Basil reads those words of that psalm, not spiritus mens, but respiratio mea laudet Dominum, not only my spirit, but my very breath, not my heart only, but my tongue, and my hands be accustomed to glorify God, in die mortis, in the day of my death, when a mist of sorrow, and of sighs shall fill my chamber, and a cloud exhaled and condensed from tears, shall be the curtains of my bed, when those that love me, shall be sorry to see me die, and the devil himself that hates me, sorry to see me die so, in the favour of God; and in die judicii, in the day of judgment, when as all time shall cease, so all measures shall cease; the joy, and the sorrow that shall be then, shall be eternal, no end, and infinite, no measure, no limitation, when every circumstance of sin shall aggravate the condemnation of the unrepentant sinner, and the very substance of my sin shall be washed away, in the blood of my Saviour, when I shall see them, who sinned for my sake, perish eternally, because they proceeded in that sin, and I myself, who occasioned their sin received into glory, because God upon my prayer, and repentance had satisfied mo early with his mercy, early, that is, before my transmigration, in omnibus diebus, in all these days, the days of youth, and the wantonnesses of that, the days of age, and the tastelessness of that, the days of mirth, and the sportfulness of that, and of inordinate melancholy, and the disconsolateness of that, the days of such miseries, as astonish us with their suddenness, and of such as aggravate their own weight with a heavy expectation; in the day of death, which pieces up that circle, and in that day which enters another circle that hath no pieces, but is one equal everlastingness, the day of judgment, either I shall rejoice, be able to declare my faith, and zeal to the assistance of others, or at least be glad in mine' own heart, in a firm hope of mine own salvation.
And, therefore, beloved, as they, whom lighter affections carry to shows, and masks, and comedies; as you yourselves, whom better dispositions bring to these exercises, conceive some contentment, and some kind of joy, in that you are well and commodiously placed, they to see the show, you to hear the sermon, when the time comes, though your greater joy be reserved to the coming of that time; so though the fulness of joy be reserved to the last times in heaven, yet rejoice and be glad that you are well and commodiously placed in the mean time, and that you sit but in expectation of the fulness of those future joys: return to God, with a joyful thankfulness that he hath placed you in a church, which withholds nothing from you, that is necessary to salvation, whereas in another church they lack a great part of the word, and half the sacrament; and which obtrudes nothing to you, that is not necessary to salvation, whereas in another church, the additional things exceed the fundamental; the occasional, the original; the collateral, the direct: and the traditions of men, the commandments of God. Maintain and hold up this holy alacrity, this religious cheerfulness; for inordinate sadness is a great degree and evidence of unthankfulness, and the departing from joy in this world, is a departing with one piece of our evidence, for the joys of the world to come.