PREACHED TO THE KING AT WHITEHALL, APRIL 15, 1628.
Isaiah xxxii. 8.
But the liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he
By two ways especially hath the Gospel been propagated by men of letters, by epistles, and by sermons. The apostles pursued both ways; frequent in epistles, assiduous in sermons. And, as they had the name of apostles, from letters, from epistles, from missives, (for the certificates and testimonials, and safe-conducts, and letters of credit, which issued from princes' courts, or from courts that held other jurisdiction, were in the formularies and terms of law called apostles, before Christ's apostles were called apostles) so they executed the office of their apostleship so too, by writing, and by preaching. This succession in the ministry of the gospel did so too. Therefore it is said of St. Chrysostom, Ubique prwdicavit, quia ubique lectus, he preached everywhere, because he was read everywhere. And, he that is said to have been St. Chrysostom's disciple, Isidore, is said to have written ten thousand epistles', and in them to have delivered a just, and full commentary upon all the Scriptures. In the first age of all, they scarce went any other way, (for writing) but this, by epistles. Of Clement, of Ignatius, of Polycarpus, of Martial, there is not much offered us with any probability, but in the name of epistles.
When Christians gathered themselves with more freedom, and churches were established with more liberty, preaching prevailed; and there is no exercise, that is denoted by so many names, as preaching. Origen began; for, (I think) we have no sermons, till Origen's. And though he began early, (early, if we consider the age of the church, a thousand four hundred years since) and early, if we consider his own age, (for Origen preached by the commandment, and in the presence of bishops, before he was a churchman) yet he suffered no sermons of his to be copied, till he was sixty years old. Now, Origen called his, homilies; and the first Gregory, of the same time with Origen, that was bishop of Neocsesaria, hath his called, sermons. And so names multiplied; homilies, sermons, condones, lectures, St. Augustine's enarrations, dictiones, that is, speeches, Damascene's and Cyril's orations (nay, one exercise Ciesareus, conveyed in the form of a dialogue) were all sermons. Add to these church-exercises, (homilies, sermons, lectures, orations, speeches, and the rest) the declamations of civil men in courts of justice, the tractates of moral men written in their studies, nay go back to your own times, when you went to school, or to the university; and remember but your own, or your fellows' themes, or problems, or common-places, and in all these you may see evidence of that, to which the Holy Ghost himself hath set a seal in this text, that is, the recommendation of bounty, of munificence, of liberality, The liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand.
That which makes me draw into consideration the recommendation of this virtue, in civil authors, and exercises, as well as in ecclesiastical, is this, that our expositors, of all the three ranks, and classes (the fathers and ancients, the later men in the Roman Church, and ours of the Reformation) are very near equally divided, in every of these three ranks; whether this text be intended of a moral and a civil, or of a spiritual and ecclesiastical liberality; whether this prophecy of Isaiah, in this chapter, beginning thus (Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment*) be to be understood of an Hezekias, or a Josias, or any other good king, which was to
* Ver. 1.
succeed, and to induce virtuous times in the temporal state, and government, or whether this were a prophecy of Christ's time, and of the exaltation of all virtues in the Christian religion, hath divided our expositors in all those three classes. In all three, (though in all three some particular men are peremptory and vehement upon some one side, absolutely excluding the other exposition, as, amongst authors in the Reformation, one* says, Dubium non est, it can admit no doubt, but that this is to be understood of Hezekias, and his reign, and yet another of the same side', says too, Qui Rabbinos secuti, they that adhere too much to the Jewish Rabbins, and will needs interpret this prophecy of a temporal king, obscure the purpose of the Holy Ghost, and accommodate many things to a secular prince, which can hold in none, but Christ himself) yet, I say, though there be some peremptory, there are in all the three classes, ancients, Romans, reformed, moderate men, that apply the prophecy both ways, and find that it may very well subsist so, that in a fair proportion, all these blessings shall be in the reigns of those Hezekiases, and those Josiases, those good kings which God affords to his people; but the multiplication, the exaltation of all these blessings, and virtues, is with relation to the coming of Christ, and the establishing of his kingdom. And this puts us, if not to a necessity, yet with conveniency, to consider these words both ways; what this civil liberality is, that is here made a blessing of a good king's reign; and what this spiritual liberality is, that is here made a testimony of Christ's reign, and of his gospel. And therefore, since we must pass twice through these words, it is time to begin; The liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand.
From these two arms of this tree, that is, from the civil, and from the spiritual accommodation of these words, be pleased to gather, and lay up these particular fruits. In each of these, you shall taste first, what this liberality thus recommended is; and secondly, what this devising, and studying of liberal things is; and again, how this man is said to stand by liberal things; The liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand. And because in the course of this prophecy, in this
* Calvin. * Heslmsius.
chapter, we have the king named, and then his princes, and after, persons of lower quality and condition, we shall consider these particulars; this liberality, this devising, this standing; first, in the first accommodation of the words, in the king, in his princes, or great persons, the magistrate, and lastly, in his people. And in the second accommodation, the spiritual sense, we shall consider these three terms, (liberality, devising, standing) first, in the King of kings, Christ Jesus, and then, in his officers, the ministers of his gospel, and lastly, in his people gathered by this gospel; in all which persons, in both sorts, civil and spiritual, we shall see how the liberal man deviseth liberal things, and how by liberal things he stands.
First then, in our first part, in the civil consideration of this virtue, liberality, it is a communication of that which we have to other men; and it is thobest character of the best things, that they are communicable, diffusive. Light was God's first child; light opened the womb of the chaos; born heir to the world, and so does possess the world; and there is not so diffusive a thing, nothing so communicative, and self-giving as light is. And then, gold is not only valued above all things, but is itself the value of all things; the value of everything is, thus much gold it is worth; and no metal is so extensive as gold; no metal enlarges itsolf to such an expansion, such an attenuation as gold does, nor spreads so much, with so little substance. Sight is the noblest, and the powerfullest of our senses; all the rest, (hearing only excepted) are determined in a very narrow distance; and for hearing, thunder is the furthest thing that we can hear, and thunder is but in tho air; but we see the host of heaven, the stars in the firmament. All the good things that we can consider, light, sight, gold, all are accompanied with a liberality of themselves, and are so far good, as they are dispensed and communicated to others; for their goodness is in their use. It is virtus prolifica, a generative, a productive virtue, a virtue that begets another virtue; another virtue upon another man; thy liberality begets my gratitude; and if there be an unthankful barrenness in me, that thou have no children by me, no thankfulness from me, God shall raise thee more children for my barrenness, thy liberality shall be the more celebrated by all the
world, because I am unthankful. God - hath given me a being, and my liberal benefactor hath given me such a better being, as that, without that, even my first being had been but a pain, and a burden unto me. He that leaves treasure at his doath, left it in his life; then, when he locked it up, and forbade himself the use of it, he left it. He that looks up, may be a good gaoler; but he that gives out, is his steward: the saver may be God's chest; the giver is God's right hand. But the matter of our liability (what we give) is but the body of this virtue. The soul of this liberality, that that inanimates it, is the manner, intended more in the next word, he deviseth, he studieth, the liberal deviseth liberal things.
Here the Holy Ghost's word is iagnatz, and iagnatz carries evermore with it a denotation of counsel, and deliberation, and conclusions upon premises. He devises, that is, considers what liberality is, discourses with himself, what liberal things are to bo done, and then, upon this, determines, concludes, that he will do it, and really, actually does it. Therefore, in our first translation, (the first since the Reformation) we read this text thus, The liberal man imagineih honest things; though the translator have varied the word, liberal and honest) the original hath not. It is the same word in both places; liberal man, liberal things; but the translator was pleased to let us see, that if it be truly a liberal, it is an honest action. Therefore the liberal man must give that which is his own; for else the receiver is but a receiver of stolen goods; and the curse of the oppressed may follow the gift, not only in his hands, through which it passed, but into his hands, where it remains. We have a convenient emblem of liberality in a torch, that wastes itself to enlighten others; but for a torch to set another man's house on fire, to enlighten me, were no good emblem of liberality. But liberality being made up of the true body, and truo soul, true matter, and true form, that is, just possession for having, and sober discretion for giving, then enters the word of our text, liberally, The liberal man deviseth liberal things; he devises, studies, meditates, casts about, where he may do a noble action, where he may place a benefit; ho seeks the man with as much earnestness as another man seeks tho money; and as God comes with an earnostness (as though he thought it nothing, to have wrought all the week);to his faciamus hominem. Now let us make man; so comes the liberal man to make a man, and to redeem him out of necessity and contempt; (the upper and lower millstone of poverty) and to return to our former representations of liberality, light, and sight; as light comes through the glass, but we know not how, and our sight apprehends remote objects, but we know not how; so the liberal man looks into dark corners, even upon such as are loath to be looked upon, loath to have their wants come into knowledge, and visits them by his liberality, when sometimes they know not from whence that shower of refreshing comes, no more than we know how light comes through the glass, or how our sight apprehends remote objects. So the liberal man deviseth liberal things; and then, (which is our third term, and consideration in this civil and moral acceptation of the words) by liberal things he shall stand.
Some of our later expositors admit this phrase, (The liberal man shall stand) to reach no further, nor to signify no more, but that the liberal man shall stand, that is, will stand, will continue his course, and proceed in liberal ways. And this is truly a good sense; for many times men do some small actions, that have some show and taste of some virtue, for collateral respects, and not out of a direct and true virtuous habit. But these expositors (with whose narrowness our former translators complied) will not let the Holy Ghost be as liberal as he would be. His liberality here is, that the liberal man shall stand, that is, prosper and multiply, and be the better established for his liberality; he shall sow silver, and reap gold; he shall sow gold, and reap diamonds; sow benefits, and reap honour; not honour rooted in the opinion of men only, but in the testimony of a cheerful conscience, that pours out acclamations by thousands; and that is a blessed and a loyal popularity, when I have a people in mine own bosom, a thousand voices in mine own conscience, that justify and applaud a good action. Therefore that translation which we mentioned before, reads this clause thus, The liberal man imagineth honest things, and cometh up by honesty; still that which he calls honesty, is in the original liberality, and he comes up, he prospers, and thrives in the world, by those noble, and virtuous actions. It is easy for a man of any largeness in conversation, or in reading, to assign examples of men, that have therefore lost all, because they were loath to part with anything. When Nazianzen says, That man cannot be so like God in anything, as in giving, he means that he shall be like him in this too, that he shall not be the poorer for giving. But keeping the body, and soul of liberality, giving his own, and giving worthily, in soul and body too, (that is, in conscience and fortune both) by liberal things he shall stand, that is, prosper.
Now these three terms, liberality, the virtue itself, the studying of liberality, this devising, and the advantage of this liberality, this standing, (being yet in this first part, still upon the consideration of civil, and moral liberality) we are to consider, (according to their exposition, that bind this prophecy to an Hezekias, or a Josias, in which prophecy we find mention of all those persons) we are, I say, to consider them, in the king, in his officers, the magistrate, and in his subjects. For the king first, this virtue of our text, is so radical, so elementary, so essential to the king, as that the Vulgate edition in the Roman church reads this very text thus, Princeps verd ea quw principe digna sunt, cogitabit, The king shall exercise himself in royal meditations, and actions; him, whom we call a liberal man, they call a king, and those actions that we call liberal, they call royal. A translation herein excusable enough; for the very original word, which we translate, liberal, is a royal word, nadib, and very often in the Scriptures hath so high, a royal signification. The very word is in that place5, where David prays to God, to renew him spiritu principali; and this, (spiritus principalis) as many translators call a principal, a princely, a royal spirit, as a liberal, a free, a bountiful spirit; if it be liberal, it is royal. For, when David would have bought a threshing-floor, to erect an altar upon, of Araunah, and Araunah offered so freely place, and sacrifice, and instruments, and all, the Holy Ghost expresses it so, All these things did Araunah, as a king, offer to the king*; there was but this difference between the liberal man, and David, a king, and the king. Higher than a king, for an example and comparison of liberality, on this side of God, he could not go.
The very form of the office of a king, is liberality, that is, providence, and protection, and possession, and peace, and justice shed upon all.
And then, this prophecy (considered still the first way, morally, civilly) carries this virtue, not only upon the king, but upon the princes too, upon those persons that are great, great in blood, great in power, great in place, and office, they must be liberal of that, which is deposited in them. The sun does not enlighten the stars of the firmament, merely for an ornament to the firmament, (though even the glory, which God receives from that ornament, be one reason thereof) but that by the reflection of those stars his beams might be cast into some places, to which, by a direct emanation from himself, those beams would not have come. So do kings transmit some beams of power into their officers, not only to dignify and illustrate a court, (though that also be one just reason thereof, for outward dignity and splendour must be preserved) but that by those subordinate instruments, the royal liberality of the king, that is, protection, and justice might be transferred upon all. And therefore, St. Hierome7, speaking of Nebridius, who was so gracious with the emperor, that he denied him nothing, assigns that for the reason of his largeness towards him, Quod sciebat, non uni, eedpluribus indulgeri, Because he knew, that in giving him, he gave to the public; he employed that which he received, for the public.
And lastly, our prophecy places this liberality upon the people. Now, still this liberality is, that it be diffusive, that the object of our affections be the public. To depart with nothing which we call our own, nothing in our goods, nothing in our opinions, nothing in the present exercise of our liberty, is not to be liberal. To press too far the advancing of one part, to the depressing of another, (especially where that other is the head) is not liberal dealing. Thereforo said Christ to James, and John*, Non est meum dare vobis, It is not mino to give, to set you on my right, and on my left hand; Non vobis, quia singuli separatim ab aliis rogatis*, Not to you, because you consider but yourselves, and petition for yourselves, to the prejudice, and exclusion of others.
7 Euistol. ad Salviau.
"Matt. xx. 23.
Therefore Christ bid the Samaritan woman call her husband too, when she desired the water of life10, Ne sola gratiam acciperet, saith St. Chrysostom, That he might so do good to her, as that others might have good by it too. For, Ad patriam qua itur"? Which way think you to go home, to the heavenly Jerusalem I Per ipsum mare, sed in ligno, You must pass through seas of difficulties, and therefore by ship; and in a ship, you are not safe, except other passengers in the same ship be safe too. The spouse saith, Trahe me post te, Draw me after thee1*. When it is but a me, in the singular, but one part considered, there is a violence, a difficulty, a drawing; but presently after, when there is an uniting in a plural, there is an alacrity, a concurrence, a willingness; Curremus post te, We, We will run after thee; if we would join in public considerations, we should run together. This is true liberality in God's people, to depart with some things of their own, though in goods, though in opinions, though in present use of liberty, for the public safety. These liberal things, these liberal men, (king, magistrate, and people) shall devise, and by liberal things they shall stand.
The king shall devise liberal things, that is, study, and propose directions, and commit the execution thereof to persons studious of the glory of God, and the public good; and that is his devising of liberal things. The princes, magistrates, officers, shall study to execute aright those gracious directions received from their royal master, and not retard his holy alacrity in the ways of justice, by any slackness of theirs, nor by casting a damp, or blasting a good man, or a good cause, in the eyes, or ears of the king; and that is their devising of liberal things. The people shall divest all personal respects, and ill affections towards other men, and all private respects of their own, and spend all their faculties of mind, of body, of fortune, upon the public; and that is their devising of liberal things.
And by these liberal things, these liberal men shall stand. The king shall stand; stand in safety at home, and stand in triumph abroad. The magistrate shall stand; stand in a due reverence of his place from below, and in safe possession of his
10 John iv. 10.
"Augustine. "Cant. i. 4.
place from above; neither be contemned by his inferiors, nor suspiciously, and guiltily inquired into by his superiors; neither fear petitions against him, nor commissions upon him. And the people shall stand; stand upon their right basis, that is, an inward feeling, and an outward declaration, that they are safe only in the public safety. And they shall all stand in the sunshine, and serenity of a clear conscience, which serenity of conscience is one fair beam, even of the glory of God, and of the joy of heaven, upon that soul that enjoys it.
This is Esay's prophecy of the times of an Hezekias, of a Josias, the blessing of this civil and moral liberality, in all these persons. And it is time to pass to our other general part, from the civil, to the spiritual, and from applying these words, to the good times of a good king, to that, (which is evidently the principal purpose of the Holy Ghost) that in the time of Christ Jesus, and the reign of his Gospel, this, and all other virtues, should be in a higher exaltation, than any civil, or moral respect can carry them to.
As an Hezekias, a Josias is a typo of Christ; but yet but a type of Christ; so this civil liberality, which we have hitherto spoken of, is a type, but yet but a type of our spiritual liberality. For, here we do not only change terms, the temporal, to spiritual, and to call that, which we called liberality in the former part, charity in this part; nor do we only make the difference in the proportion and measure, that that which was a benefit in the other part, should be an alms in this. But we invest the whole consideration in a mere spiritual nature; and so that liberality, which was, in the former acceptation, but a relieving, but a refreshing, but a repairing of defects, and dilapidations in the body or fortune, is now, in this second part, in this spiritual acceptation, the raising of a dejected spirit, the redintegration of a broken heart, the resuscitation of a buried soul, the re-consolidation of a scattered conscience, not with the glues, and cements of this world, mirth, and music, and comedies, and conversation, and wine, and women, (miserable comforters are they all) nor with that meteor, that hangs between two worlds, that is, philosophy, and moral constancy, (which is somewhat above the carnal man, but yet far below the man truly Christian and religious) but this is the liberality, of which the Holy Ghost himself is content to be the steward of the holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, and to be notified, and qualified by that distinctive notion, and specification, The Comforter.
To find a languishing wretch in a sordid corner, not only in a penurious fortune, but in an oppressed conscience, his eyes under a diverse suffocation, smothered with smoke, and smothered with tears, his ears estranged from all salutations, and visits, and all sounds, but his own sighs, and the storms, and thunders, and earthquakes of his own despair, to enable this man to open his eyes, and see that Christ Jesus stands before him, and says, Behold and see, if ever there were any sorrow, like my sorrow, and my sorrow is overcome, why not is thine? To open this man's ears, and make him hear that voice that says, / was dead, and am alive, and behold, I live for evermore, amen1*; and so mayest thou; to bow down those heavens, and bring them into his sad chamber, to set Christ Jesus before him, to out-sight him, outweep him, out-bleed him, out-die him, to transfer all the fasts, all the scorns, all the scourges, all the nails, all the spears of Christ Jesus upon him, and so, making him the crucified man in the sight of the Father, because all the actions, and passions of the Son, are appropriated to him, and made his so entirely, as if there were never a soul created but his, to enrich this poor soul, to comfort this sad soul so, as that he shall believe, and by believing find all Christ to be his, this is that liberality which we speak of now, in dispensing whereof, the liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall stand.
Now you may be pleased to remember, that when we considered this word, in our former part, (he shall devise) we found this devising originally to signify a studying, a deliberation, a concluding upon premises; upon which, we inferred pregnantly and justly, that as to support a man's expense, he must vivere de proprio, live upon his own; so to relieve others, he must dare de suo, be liberal of that which is his. Now, what is ours? ours, that are ministers of the Gospel? as we are Christ's, so Christ is ours. Puer datus nobis, Filius natus nobis, There is a child given unto us, a Son born unto us1*; even in that sense, Christ is given to
15 Rev. i. 18. 1* Isaiah ix. 6.
us, that we might give him to others. So that in this kind of spiritual liberality, we can be liberal of no more but our own; we can give nothing but Christ; we cau minister comfort to none, farther than he is capable, and willing to receive and embrace Christ Jesus.
When therefore some of the fathers have said, Ratio pro fide Gravis et barbaris '*, rectified reason was accepted at the hands of the Gentiles, as faith is of the Christians; Philosophia per sejustificavit Grwcos", philosophy alone (without faith) justified the Grecians; Satis fuit Gentibus abstinuisse ab idololatria1?, it was enough for the Gentiles, if they did not worship false gods, though they knew not the true truly; when we hear Andradius in the Roman church pour out salvation to all the Gentiles, that lived a good moral life, and no more; when we hear their Tostatus sweep away, blow away original sin so easily from all the Gentiles, in prima operatione bom in charitute, in the first good moral work that they do, original sin is as much extinguished in them by that, as by baptism in us; when we see some authors in the Reformation afford heaven to persons that never professed Christ, that is spiritual prodigality, and beyond that liberality which wo consider now; for, Christ is ours; and where we can apply him, we can give all comforts in him; but none to others. Not that we manacle the hands of God, or say, God can save no man without the profession of Christ, but, that God hath put nothing else into his church's hands to save men by, but Christ delivered in his Scripture, applied in the preaching of the gospel, and sealed in the sacraments. And therefore, if we should give this comfort, to any but those that received him, and received him so, according to his ordinance in his church, we should be over liberal, for we should give more than our own. But to all that would be comforted in Christ, we devise liberal things, that is, we spend our studies, our lucubrations, our meditations, to bring Christ Jesus home to their case, and their conscience, and, by these liberal things we shall stand.
In our former part, in that civil liberality, we did not content ourselves with that narrow signification of the word, which some
15 Justin Martyr.
gave, that the liberal man would stand to it, abide by it, that is, continue liberal still habitually, but that he should stand by it, and prosper the better for it. If this liberality which we consider now in this second part, were but that branch of charity, which is bodily relief by bountiful alms, and no more, yet, we might be so liberal in God's behalf, as to pronounce that the charitable man should stand by it, prosper for it, and have a plentiful harvest for any sowing in that kind. The Holy Ghost in the one hundred and twelfth Psalm, and ninth verse, hath taken a word, which may almost seem to taste of a little inconsideration in such a charitable person, a little indiscretion, in giving, in flinging, in casting away; for it is, he hath dispersed; dispersed; a word that implies a careless scattering. But that which follows, justifies it; He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor. Let tho manner, or the measure be how it will, so it be given to the poor, it will not be without excuse, not without thanks. And therefore we have this liberal charity expressed by St. Paul in the same word too, He hath dispersed13; but dispersed as before, dispersed by giving to the poor. For there is more negligence, more inconsideration allowed us, in giving of alms, than in any other expense; neither are we bound to examine the condition, and worthiness of the person to whom we give too narrowly, too severly. He that gives freely, shall stand by doing so; for, He that pitieth the poor, lendeth to the Lord"; and the Lord is a good debtor, and never puts creditor to sue. And, if that be not comfort enough, St. Hierome gives more, in his translation of that place, fwneratur Domino, he that pitieth the poor, puts his money to use to God, and shall receive the debt, and more. But, the liberality which we consider here, in this part, is more than that, more than any charity, how large soever, that is determined, or conversant about bodily relief; for, (as you have heard) it is consolation applied iii Christ, to a distressed soul, to a disconsolate spirit. And how a liberal man shall stand by this liberality, (by applying such consolation to such a distressed soul) I better know in myself, than I can tell any other, that is not of mine own profession; for this knowledge lies in the experience of it.
For the most part, men are of one of these three sorts; either
18 2 Cor. ix. 9. "Prov. xix. 17.
inconsiderate men; (and they that consider not themselves, consider not us, they ask not, they expect not this liberality from us) or else they are over confident, and presume too much upon God; or diffident, and distrust him too much. And with these two we meet often; but truly, with seven diffident, and dejected, for one presuming soul. So that we have much exercise of this liberality, of raising dejected spirits: and by this liberality we stand. For, when I have given that man comfort, that man hath given me a sacrament, he hath given me a seal and evidence of God's favour upon me; I have received from him, in his receiving from me; I leave him comforted in Christ Jesus, and I go away comforted in myself, that Christ Jesus hath made me an instrument of the dispensation of his mercy; and I argue to myself and say, Lord, when I went, I was sure, that thou who hadst received me to mercy, wouldest also receive him, who could not be so great a sinner as I; and now, when I come away, I am sure, that thou who art returned to him, and hast re-manifested thyself to him, who, in the diffidence of his sad soul, thought thee gone for ever, wilt never depart from mo, nor hide thyself from me, who desire to dwell in thy presence. And so, by this liberality I stand; by giving I receive comfort.
We follow our text, in the context, our prophet, as he places this liberality in the king, in the magistrate, in the people. Here, the king is Christ, the magistrate the minister, the people the people, whether collectively, that is, the congregation, or distributively, every particular soul. Afford your devotions a minute to each of those, and we have done. When wo consider the liberality of our king, the bounty of God, to man in Christ, it is species ingratitudinis, it is a degree of iiTgratitude, nay, it is a degree of forgetfulness, to pretend to remember his benefits so, as to reckon them, for they are innumerable. Sicut in visibilibus est sol, in intelligibilibus est Deus*3; As liberal as the sun is in nature, God is in grace. BonitasDei ad extra, liberalitas est; it is the expressing of the School, and of much use; that God is essential goodness, within doors, in himself; but ad extra, when he comes abroad, when this interior goodness is produced into action, then all God's goodness is liberality. Deus est voluntas omni
potent, is excellently said by St. Bernard; God is all Almightiness, all power; but he might be so and we never the better. Therefore he is voluntas omnipotens, a power digested into a will, as willing, as able to do us all, all good. What good? receive some drops of it in St. Bernard's own manna, his own honey; creau s mentes ad se participandum, so good as that he hath first given us souls capable of him, and made us so, partakers of the Divine nature; vivificans ad sentiendum, so good as that he hath quickened those souls, and made them sensible of having received him; for, grace is not grace to me, till it make me know that I have it alliciens ad appetendum, so good as that he bath given that soul an appetite, and a holy hunger and thirst to take in more of him; for I have no grace, till I would have more; and then, dilatans ad capiendum, so good as that he hath dilated and enlarged that soul, to take in as much of God as he will. And lest tho soul should lose any of this by unthankfulness, God is kind even to the unthankful", says God himself; which is a degreo of goodness, in which God seldom is, nay, in which God scarce looks to be imitated, to be kind to the unthankful.
But if the whole space to the firmament were filled with sand, > and we had before us Clavius's number, how many thousands would be; if all that space were filled with water, and so joined the waters above with the waters below the firmament, and we had the number of all those drops of water; and then had every single sand, and every single drop multiplied by the whole number of both, we were still short of numbering tho benefits of God, as God; but then, of God in Christ, infinitely, superinfinitely short. To have been once nothing, and to be now co-heir with the Son of God, is such a circle, such a compass, as that no revolutions in this world, to rise from the lowest to the highest, or to fall from the highest to the lowest, can be called or thought any segment, any arch, any point in respect of this circle; to have once been nothing, and now to be coheirs with the Son of God: that Son of God, who if there had been but one soul to have been saved, would have died for that; nay, if all souls had been to be saved, but one, and that that only had sinned, he would not have contented himself with all the rest, but would. have died for
that. And there is the goodness, the liberality of our King, our God, our Christ, our Jesus.
But we must look upon this liberality, as our prophet leads us, in the magistrate too, that is, in this part, the minister. As I have received mercy, I am one of them, as St. Paul speaks. And why should I deliver out this mercy to others, in a scanter measure, than I have received it myself from God? Why should I deliver out his talents in single farthings? Or his gomers in narrow and shallow thimbles? Why should I default from his general propositions, and against all grammar, and all dictionaries, call his omnes, his all, a few? Why should I lie to the Holy Ghost, (as St. Peter charges Ananias2*), boldest thou the land for so much? Yea, for so much. Did God make heaven for so few? yes, for so few. Why should I say so? If we will constitute a place for heaven above, and a place for hell below, even the capacity of the place will yield an argument, that God, (as we can consider him in his first meaning) meant more should be saved than cast away. As oft as God tells us, of painful ways, and narrow gates, and of camels, and needles, all that is done to sharpen an industry in all, not to threaten an impossibility to any. If God would not have all, why took he me? And if he were sorry he had taken me, or were wearied with the sins of my youth, why did he not let me slide away, in the change of sins in mine age, or in my sinful memory of old sins, or in my sinful sorrow that I could not continue in those sins, but still make his mercies new to me every morning I My King, my God in Christ, is liberal to all; he bids us, his officers, his ministers, to be so too; and I am; even thus far; if any man doubt bis salvation, if any man think himself too great a sinner to attain salvation, let him repent, and take mine for his; with any true repentant sinner, I will change states; for, God knows his repentance, (whether it be true or no) better than I know mine.
Therefore doth the prophet here, promise this liberality, as in the King, in Christ, and in the magistrate, the minister; so in the people too, in every particular soul. He cries to us, his ministers, Consolamini, consolamini**, Comfort, O comfort my people, and he cries to every one of you, Miserere animoa tu&,
"Acts v. 3, 4. ** Isaiah XL. 1.
Have mercy upon thino own souland I will commiserate it too; be liberal to thyself, and I will bear thee out in it. God asks, Quid potui, What could have been done more to my vineyard"? Do but tell him, and he will do that. Tell him, that he can remove this damp from thy heart; tell him, as though thou wouldst have it done, and he will do it. Tell him, that he can bring tears into thine eyes, and then, wipe all tears from thine eyes; and he will do both. Tell him, that he did as much for David, as thou needest; that he came later to the thief upon the cross, than thou puttest him to; and David's transtulit peccatum, shall be transferred upon thee, and that thief's hodie mecum eris, shall waft, and guard, and convey thy soul thither. Think not thy God a false God, that bids me call thee, and means not that thou hear; nor an impotent God, that would save thee, but that there is a decree in the way; nor a cruel God, that made thee, to damn thee, that he might laugh at thy destruction. Thy King, thy Christ, is a liberal God; his officers, his ministers, by his instructions, declare plentiful redemption; be liberal to thyself, in the apprehension and application thereof, and by these liberal things, wo shall all stand.
The King himself stands by it, Christ himself. It destroys the nature, the office, the merit of Christ himself, to mako his redemption so penurious, s0 illiberal. We, his officers, his ministers, stand by it. It overthrows the credit, and evacuates the purpose of our employment, and our ministry, if wo must offer salvation to the whole congregation, and must not be believed, that he that sends it, means it. The people, every particular soul stands by it. For, if he cannot believe God, to have been more liberal to him, than he hath been to any other man, he is in an ill case, because he knows more ill by himself, than he can know by any other man. Believe therefore liberal purposes in thy God; accept liberal propositions from his ministers; and apply them liberally, and cheerfully to thino own soul; for, The liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand.