PREACHED AT THE FUNERALS OF SIR WILLIAM COKAYNE, KNT., ALDERMAN OF LONDON, DECEMBER 12, 1626.
John xi. 21.
Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
God made the first marriage, and man made the first divorce; God married the body and soul in the creation, and man divorced the body and soul by death through sin, in his fall. God doth not admit, not justify, not authorize such super-inductions upon such divorces, as some have imagined; that the soul departing from one body, should become the soul of another body, in a perpetual revolution and transmigration of souls through bodies, which hath been the giddiness of some philosophers to think; or that the body of the dead should become the body of an evil spirit, that that spirit might at his will, and to his purposes inform, and inanimate that dead body; God allows no such super-inductions, no such second marriages upon such divorces by death, no such disposition of soul or body, after their dissolution by death, but because God hath made the band of marriage indissoluble but by death, farther than man can die, this divorce cannot fall upon man; as far as man is immortal, man is a married man still, still in possession of a soul, and a body too; and man is for ever immortal in both; immortal in his soul by preservation, and immortal in his body by reparation in the resurrection. For, though they be separated a thoro et mensa, from bed and board, they are not divorced; though the soul be at the table of the Lamb, in glory, and the body but at the table of the serpent, in dust; though the soul be in lecto florido1, in that bed which is always green, in an everlasting spring, in Abraham's bosom; and the body but in that green-bed, whose covering is but a yard and a half of turf, and a rug of grass, and the sheet but a winding-sheet, yet they are not divorced; they shall return to one another again, in an inseparable reunion in the resurrection. To establish this assurance of a resurrection
in us, God does sometimes in this life, that which he hath promised for the next; that is, he gives a resurrection to life, after a bodily death here. God hath made two testaments, two wills; and in both, he hath declared his power, and his will, to give this new life after death, in this world. To the widow's son of Zarephtha, he bequeaths new life*; and to the Shunaniite's son* he gives the same legacy, in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, to the widow of Naim's son*, he bequeaths new life; and to Jairus' daughter he gives the same legacy: and out of the surplusage of his inexhaustible estate, out of the overflowing of his power, he enables his executors to do as he did; for Peter gives Dorcas this resurrection too5. Divers examples hath he given us, of the resurrection of every particular man, in particular resurrections; such as we have named; and one of the general resurrection, in the resurrection of Christ himself; for. in him, we all rose; for, he was all in all; Con-vivifcavit, says the apostle; and Considere nos fecit, God hath quickened us*, (all us ; not only St. Paul, and his Ephesians, but all) and God hath raised us, and God hath made us to sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. They that are not fallen yet by any actual sin, (children newly baptized) are risen already in him; and they are not dead yet, nay, not alive yet, not yet born, have a resurrection in him, who was not only the Lamb slain from the beginning, but from before all beginnings was risen too; and all that shall ever have part in the second resurrection, are risen with him from that time. Now, next to that great prophetical action, that type of the general resurrection, in the resurrection of Christ, the most illustrious evidence, of the resurrection of particular men, is this resuscitation of Lazarus; whoso sister Martha, directed by faith, and yet transported by passion, seeks to entender and mollify, and supple him to impressions of mercy and compassion, who was himself the mould, iu which all mercy was cast, nay, the substance, of which all mercy docs consist, Christ Jesus, with this imperfect piece of devotion, which hath a tincture of faith, but is deeper dyed in passion, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
* 1 Kings xvii. * 2 Kings iv. * Luke vii. 8.
5 Acts ix. 40. * Eph. ii. 5.
This text which you hear, Martha's single words, complicated with this text which you see, the dead body of this our brother, makes up between them this body of instruction for the soul; first, that there is nothing in this world perfect; and then, that such as it is, there is nothing constant, nothing permanent. We consider the first, that there is nothing perfect, in the best things, in spiritual things; even Martha's devotion and faith hath imperfections in it; and we consider the other, that nothing is permanent in temporal things; riches prosperously multiplied, children honourably bestowed, additions of honour and titles, fairly acquired, places of command and government, justly received, and duly executed; all testimonies, all evidences of worldly happiness, have a dissolution, a determination in the death of this, and of every such man: thore is nothing, no spiritual thing, perfect in this world; nothing, no temporal thing, permanent and durable; and these two considerations shall bo our two parts; and then, these the branches from these two roots; first, in the first, wo shall see in general, the weakness of man's best actions; and secondly, more particularly, the weaknesses in Martha's action; and yet, in a third place, the easiness, the propenseness, the largeness of God's goodness towards us, in the acceptation of our imperfect sacrifices; for, Christ does not refuse, nor discourage Martha, though her action have those imperfections; and in this largeness of his mercy, which is the end of all, we shall end this part. And in our second, that as in spiritual things nothing is perfect, so in temporal things nothing is permanent, we shall, by the same three steps, as in the former, look first upon the general consideration, the fluidness, the transitoriness of all such temporal things; and then, consider it more particularly, in God's master-piece, amongst mortal things, the body of man, that even that flows into putrefaction; and then lastly, return to that, in which we determined the former part, the largeness of God's goodness to us, in affording even to man's body, so dissolved into putrefaction, an incorruptible and a glorious state. So have you the frame set up, and the rooms divided; the two parts, and the three branches of each; and to the furnishing of them, with meditations fit for this occasion, we pass now.
In entering upon the first branch of our first part, that in spiritual things nothing is perfect, we may well afford a kind of spiritual nature to knowledge; and how imperfect is all our knowledge! What one thing do we know perfectly? Whether we consider arts, or sciences, the servant knows but according to the proportion of his master's knowledge in that art, and the scholar knows but according to the proportion of his master's knowledge in that science; young men mend not their sight by using old men's spectacles; and yet we look upon nature, but with Aristotle's spectacles, and upon the body of man, but with Galen's, and upon the frame of the world, but with Ptolemy's spectacles. Almost all knowledge is rather like a child that is embalmed to make mummy, than that is nursed to make a man; rather conserved in the stature of the first age, than grown to be greater; and if there be any addition to knowledge, it is rather a new knowledge, than a greater knowledge; rather a singularity in a desire of proposing something that was not known at all before, than an improving, an advancing, a multiplying of former inceptions; and by that means, no knowledge comes to be perfect. One philosopher thinks he has dived to the bottom, when he says, he knows nothing but this, that he knows nothing; and yet another thinks, that he hath expressed more knowledge than he, in saying, that he knows not so much as that, that he knows nothing. St. Paul found that to be all knowledge, to know Christ; and Mahomet thinks himself wise therefore, because he knows not, acknowledges not Christ, as St. Paul does. Though a man knew not, that every sin casts another shovel of brimstone upon him in hell, yet if he knew that every riotous feast cuts off a year, and every wanton night seven years of his seventy in this world, it were some degree towards perfection in knowledge. He that purchases a manor, will think to have an exact survey of the land: but who thinks of taking so exact a survey of his conscience, how that money was got, that purchased that manor? We call that a man's means, which he hath; but that is truly his means, what way he came by it. And yet how few are there, (when a state comes to any great proportion) that know that; that know what they have, what they are worth? Wo have seen great wills, dilated into glorious uses, and into pious uses, and then too narrow an estate to reach to it; and we have seen wills, where
the testator thinks he hath bequeathed all, and he hath not known half his own worth. When thou knowest a wife, a son, a servant, a friend no better, but that that wife betrays thy bed, and that son thine estate, and that servant thy credit, and that friend thy secret, what canst thou say thou knowest? But we must not insist upon this consideration of knowledge; for, though knowledge be of a spiritual nature, yet it is but as a terrestrial spirit, conversant upon earth; spiritual things, of a more rarified nature than knowledge, even faith itself, and all that grows from that in us, falls within this rule, which we have in hand, that even in spiritual things, nothing is perfect.
We consider this therefore in credendis, in things that we are bound to believe, there works our faith; and then, in petendis, in things that we are' bound to pray for, there works our hope; and lastly, in agendis, in things that we are bound to do, and there works our charity; and there is nothing in any of these three perfect. When you remember who they were, that made that prayer, Domine adauge, that the apostles themselves prayed, that their faith might receive an increase, Lord increase our faith1, you must necessarily second that consideration with a confession, that no man's faith is perfect. When you hear Christ so often upbraid, sometimes whole congregations, with that, Modicwfidei, 0 ye of little faith*; and sometimes his disciples alone, with the same reproach, Modicw fdei, 0 ye of little faith*; when you may be perplexed with the variety of opinions amongst the ancient interpreters, whether Christ spoke but to the incredulous Jews, or to his own disciples, when he said, 0 faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you10? (for many interpreters go one way, and many the other). And when you may be cleared without any colour of perplexity, that to whomsoever Christ spoke in that place, he spoke plainly to his own disciples, when he said, Because of your unbelief you cannot do this"; in which disciples of his, he denies also, that there is such a proportion of faith, as a grain of mustard-seed, Can ye place a perfectness of faith in any? When the apostle takes knowledge of the good estate and
1 Luke xvii. 5. * Matt. vi. 30.
10 Matt. xvii. 17
* Matt. viii. 20. "Ver. 20.
condition of the Thessalonians, and gave God thanks for their works of faith, for their labours of love, for their patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ''*: does he conclude them to be perfect I No; for after this he says, Night and day we pray exceedingly, that we may perfect that which is lacking in your faith". And after this, he sees the fruit of those prayers, We are bound to thank God always, because your faith groweth exceedingly14; still, at the best, it is but a growing faith, and it may be better. There are men that are said to be rich in faith"; men that are come from the weak and beggarly elements of nature, or of the law", to the knowledge of the precious and glorious Gospel, and so are rich in faith, enriched, improved by faith. There are men that abound in faith"; that is, in comparison of the emptiness of other men, or of their own emptiness before they embraced the Gospel, they abound now; but still it is, As God hath given the measure of faith to every man'"; not as of his manna, a certain measure, and an equal measure, and a full measure to every man; no man hath such a measure of faith, as that he needs no more, or that ho may not lose at lea'st some of that. When Christ speaks so doubtfully, When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon earth"? Any faith in any man? If the Holy Ghost be come into this presence, into this congregation, does he find faith in any? A perfect faith he does not.
Deceive not yourselves then, with that new charm and flattery of the soul, that if once you can say to yourselves you have faith, you need no more, or that you shall always keep that alive; the apostle says, All boasting, that is, all confidence, is excluded; by what law? says he, by the law of faith", not by faith, but by the law of faith; there is a law of faith; a rule that ordinates, and regulates our faith; by which law and rule, the apostle calls upon us, to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith, or no*1; not only by the internal motions, and private inspirations of his blessed Spirit, but by the law and the rule, which he hath delivered to us in the Gospel. The king's pardon flows from his
1« 1 Thess. i. 2.
15 James ii. 5.
10 Rom. xii. 3.
80 Rom. iii. 27.
13 1 Thess. iii.
10 Gal. iv. 9
14 2 Thess. i.
17 2 Cor. viii. 7.
"Luke xviii. 8.
81 2 Cor. xiii. 5.
mere grace, and from his breast; but we must have the writing and the seal, that we may plead it: so does faith from God; but we must see it ourselves, and show it to others, or else we do not observe the law of faith. Abraham received the seal of the righteousness of faith, says the apostle82; ho had an outward testimony to proceed by; and then, Abraham became an outward testimony and rule to the faithful, Walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham, says that apostle in that place83; not a faith conceived only, but a faith which you saw, the faith of Abraham; for, so the apostle proposing to us the example of other men says, Their faith follow you,1, not faith in general, but their faith. So that it is not enough to say, I feel the inspiration of the Spirit of God, he infuses faith, and faith infused cannot be withdrawn; but, as there is a law of faith, and a practice of faith, a rule of faith, and an example of faith, apply thyself to both; regulate thy faith by the rule, that is, the word, and by example, that is, believe those things which the saints of God have constantly and unanimely believed to be necessary to salvation: the word is the law, and the rule, the church is the practice, and the precedent that regulates thy faith; and if thou make imaginary revelations, and inspirations thy law, or the practice of sectaries thy precedent, thou doest but call fancy and imagination, by the name of reason and understanding, and opinion by the name of faith, and singularity, and schism, by the name of communion of saints. The law of thy faith is, that that that thou believest, be universal, catholic, believed by all; and then, that the application be particular, to believe, that as Christ died sufficiently for all, so he died effectually for thee. And of this effectual dying for thee, there arises an evidence from thyself, in thy conformity to him; thy conformity consists in this, that thou art willing to live according to his Gospel, and ready to die for him, that died for thee. For, till a man have resisted unto blood, he cannot know experimentally what degrees towards perfection his faith hath: and though he may conceive in himself a holy purpose to die for Christ, yet till he have died for Christ, or died in Christ, that is, as long as we are in this valley of temptations, there is nothing, no not in spiritual things, not in faith itself, perfect.
"Rom. iv. 11. 83 Rom. iv. 12. u Heb. xiii. 7.
It is not in credendis, in our embracing the object of faith; we do not that perfectly; it is not in petendis, in our directing our prayers faithfully neither; we do not that; our faith is not perfect, nor our hope is not perfect; for so argues the apostle*5, Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss: you cannot hope constantly, because you do not pray aright: and to make a prayer a right prayer, there go so many essential circumstances, as that the best man may justly suspect his best prayer: for, since prayer must be of faith, prayer can be but so perfect, as the faith is perfect; and the imperfections of the best faith wo have seen. Christ hath given us but a short prayer; and yet we are weary of that. Some of the old heretics of the Primitive church abridged that prayer, and some of our later schismatics have annihilated, evacuated that prayer: the Cathari then, left out that one petition, Dimitte nobis, Forgive us our trespasses, for they thought themselves so pure, as that they needed no forgiveness, and our new men leave out the whole prayer, because the same spirit that spake in Christ, speaks in their extemporal prayers, and they can pray, as well as Christ could teach them. And (to leave those, whom we are bound to leave, those old heretics, those new schismatics) which of us ever, ever says over that short prayer, with a deliberate understanding of every petition as we pass, or without deviations, and extravagances of our thoughts, in that half minute of our devotion? We have not leisure to speak of the abuse of prayer in the Roman church; where they will antedate and postdate their prayers; say tomorrow's prayers today, and today's prayers tomorrow, if they have other uses and employments of the due time between; where they will trade, and make merchandise of prayers by way of exchange, my man shall fast for me, and I will pray for my man; or my attorney, and proxy shall pray for us both, at my charge; nay, where they will play for prayers, and the loser must pray for both; to this there belongs but a holy scorn, and I would fain pass it over quickly. But when we consider with a religious seriousness the manifold weaknesses of the strongest devotions in time of prayer, it is a sad consideration. I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in, and invite God, and his angels thither, and when
"James iv. 3.
they are there, I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door; I talk on, in the same posture of praying; eyes lifted up; knees bowed down; as though I prayed to God; and, if God, or his angels should ask me, when I thought last of God in that prayer, I cannot tell: sometimes I find that I had forgot what I was about, but when I began to forget it, I cannot tell. A memory of yesterday's pleasures, a fear of tomorrow's dangers, a straw under my knee, a noise in mine ear, a light in mine eye, an any thing, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer. So certainly is there nothing, nothing in spiritual things, perfect in this world.
Not in credendis, in things that belong to faith; not in petendis, in things that belong to hope; nor in agendis, in things that belong to action, to works, to charity, there is nothing perfect there neither. I would be loath to say, that every good work is a sin; that were to say, that every deformed, or disordered man were a beast, or that every corrupt meat were poison; it is not utterly so; not so altogether; but it is so much towards it, as that there is no work of ours so good, as that we can look for thanks at God's hand for that work; no work, that hath not so much ill mingled with it, as that we need not ciy God mercy for that work. There was so much corruption in the getting, or so much vain glory in the bestowing, as that no man builds an hospital, but his soul lies, though not dead, yet lame in that hospital; no man mends a highway, but he is, though not drowned, yet mired in that way; no man relieves the poor, but he needs relief for that relief. In all those works of charity, the world that hath benefit by them, is bound to confess and acknowledge a goodness, and to call thom good works; but the man that does them, and knows the weaknesses of them, knows they are not good works. It is possible to art, to purge a peccant humour out of a sick body; but not possible to raise a dead body to life. God, out of my confession of the impurity of my best actions, shall vouchsafe to take off his eyes from that impurity, as though there were none; but no spiritual thing in us, not faith, not hope, not charity, have any purity, any perfection in themselves; which is the general doctrine we proposed at first; and our next consideration is, how this weakness appears in the action, and in the words of Martha in our text, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
Now lest we should attribute this weakness, only to weak persons, upon whom we had a prejudice, to Martha alone, we note to you first, that her sister Mary, to whom in the whole story very much is ascribed, when she comes to Christ, comes also in the same voice of infirmity, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died". No person so perfect, that hath not of these imperfections; both these holy sisters, howsoever there might be differences of degrees in their holiness, have imperfections in all three, in the consideration of their faith, and their hope, and their charity; though in all three they had also, and had both, good degrees towards perfection. Look first upon their faith; they both say, Lord, if thou hadst been here, our brother had not died. We cannot say so to any consultation, to any college of physicians; not to a Chiron, to an Esculapius, to a god of physic, could any man say, If you had been here, my friend had not died; though surely there be much assistance to be received from them, whom God hath endowed with knowledge to that purpose. And yet there was a weakness in these sisters, in that they said but so, and no more to Christ. They thought Christ to be the best amongst good men, but yet they were not come to the knowledge that he was God. Martha says37, / know, that even now, whatsoever thou askest of God, God will give it thee; but she does not know him to be God himself. I do not here institute a confutation, but here, and everywhere I lament the growth, and insinuation of that pestilent heresy of Socinianism; that Christ was a holy, a thriceholy man, an unreproachable, an irreprehensible, an admirable, an incomparable man; a man to whom he that should equal any other man, were worse than a devil; a man worthy to be called God, in a far higher sense than any magistrate, any king, any prophet; but yet he was no God, say they, no Son of God; a redeemer, by way of good example; but no redeemer, by way of equivalent satisfaction, say those heretics. St. Paul says", He is an atheist, that is without Christ; and he is as much an atheist
- Ver. 32.
17 Ver. 22.
28 Ephes. ii. 12.
still, that pretends to receive Christ, and not as God; for if the receiving of Christ must redeem him from being an atheist, there can no other way be imagined, but by receiving him as God, for that only, and no other good opinion of Christ, overcomes, and removes his atheism. After the last day, whatsoever is not heaven, is hell; ho that then shall be where the sun is now, (if he be not then in heaven) shall be as far from heaven, as if ho were where the centre of the earth is now; he that confesses not all Christ, confesses no Christ. Horribile dictu, dicam tamen, says St. Augustine in another case; there belongs a holy trembling to the saying of it, yet I must say it, If Christ were not God, he was a devil that durst say he was God. This then was one weakness in these sisters' faith, that it carried them not up to the consideration of Christ as God; and then another rose out of that, that they insisted so much, relied so much, upon his corporal, and personal presence, and promised themselves more from that, than he had ever given them ground for; which was that which Christ diverted Mary from, when after his resurrection manifesting himself to her, and she flying unto him with that impatient zeal, and that impetuous devotion, Babboni, Master, my master, Christ said to her, Touch me not, for I am not ascended to my Father"; that is, Dwell not upon this passionate consideration of my bodily, and personal presence, but send thy thoughts, and thy reverence, and thy devotion, and thy holy amorousness up, whither I am going, to the right hand of my Father, and consider me, contemplate me there. St. Peter had another holy distemper of another kind, upon the personal presence of Christ; he was so astonished at his presence in the power of a miracle, that he fell down at his feet, and said, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord20. These sisters longed for him, and St. Peter longed as much to be delivered of liim; both out of weakness and error. So is it an error, and a weakness to attribute too much, or too little to Christ's presence in his sacraments, or other ordinances. To imprison Christ in opere operato, to conclude him so, as that where that action is done, Christ must necessarily be, and necessarily work, this is to say weakly with these sisters, Lord, if thou hadst been here, our brother had not died. As long as we are
present at thine ordinance, thou art present with us. But to banish Christ from those holy actions, and to say, that he is no otherwise present, or works no otherwise in those actions, than in other times, and places, this is to say with Peter, in his astonishment, Exi a me Domine, 0 Lord depart from me; it is enough that thy sacrament be a sign; I do not look that it should be a seal, or a conduit of grace; this is the danger, this is the distemper, to ascribe too much, or too little to God's visible ordinances, and institutions, either to say with those holy sisters, Lord, if thou hadst been here, our brother had not died, if we have a sacrament, if we have a sermon all is well, we have enough; or else with Peter, Exi a me, leave me to myself, to my private motions, to my bosom inspirations, and I need no church-work, no sermons, no sacraments, no such assistances.
So there was weakness in their faith, there was so too in their hope, in their confidence in Christ, and in their manner of expressing it. For, they did not go to him, when their brother was sick, but sent. Nicodemus came in person for his sick soul31; and the centurion in person, for his sick servant"; and Jairus in person, for his sick daughter33; and the woman with the bloody issue in person, for her sick self. These sisters did but send, but piously, and reverendly; their messenger was to say to Christ, not Lazarus, not our brother, but he whom thou lovest, is sick; and they left this intimation to work upon Christ; but that was not enough, we must bring Christ and our necessities nearer together than so. There is good instruction in tho several expressings of Christ's curings of Peter's mother in the Evangelists. St. Mark says, They told him of her31; and St. Luke says, They brought him up to her; and St. Matthew says, He saw her, and took her by the hand. I must not wrap up all my necessities in general terms in my prayers, but descend to particulars; for this places my devotion upon particular considerations of God, to consider him in every attribute, what God hath done for me in power, what in wisdom, what in mercy; which is a great assistance, and establishing, and propagation of devotion. As it is a degree of unthankfulness, to thank God too generally, and not to delight to
31 John iii. 1.
"Mark v. 25, 33.
88 Matt. via. 5.
"Mark i. 30.
insist upon the weight, and measure, and proportion, and the goodness of every particular mercy; so is it an irreverent, and inconsiderate thing, not to take my particular wants into my thoughts, and into my prayers, that so I may take a holy knowledge, that I have nothing, nothing but from God, and by prayer. And as God is an accessible God, as he is his own master of requests, and is ever open to receive thy petitions, in how small a matter soever: so he is an inexhaustible God, he can give infinitely, and an indefatigable God, he cannot be pressed too much. Therefore hath Christ given us a parable of getting bread at midnight by importunity*5, and not otherwise: and another of a judge that heard tho widow's cause by importunity*8, aud not otherwise; and not a parable, but a history, and a history of his own, of a woman of Canaan*7, that overcame him in the behalf of her daughter, by importunity; when, but by importunity, she could not get so much as an answer, as a denial at his hands. Pray personally, rely not upon dead nor living saints; thy mother the church prays for thee, but pray for thyself too; she can open her bosom, and put the breast to thy mouth, but thou must draw, and suck for thyself. Pray personally, and pray frequently; David had many stationary times of the day, and night too, to pray in. Pray frequently, and pray fervently; God took it not ill, at David's hands, to be awaked, and to be called up, as though he were asleep at our prayers, aud to be called upon, to pull his hand out of his bosom, as though he were slack in relieving our necessities. This was a weakness in those sisters, that they solicited not Christ in person; still get as near God as you can; and that they declared not their case particularly; it is not enough to pray, nor to confess in general terms; and, that they pursued not their prayer earnestly, thoroughly; it is not enough to have prayed once; Christ does not only excuse, but enjoin importunity.
And then a weakness there was in their charity too, even towards their dead brother. To lament a dead friend is natural, and civil; and he is the deader of the two, the verier carcass, that does not so. But inordinate lamentation implies a suspicion of a
*5 Luke xi. 5.
worse state in him that is gone; and if I do believe him to be in heaven, deliberately, advisedly to wish him here, that is, in heaven, is an uncharitable desire. For, for me to say, he is preferred by being where he is, but I were better, if ho were again where I am, were such an indisposition, as if the prince's servant should be loath to see his master king, because he should not hold the same place with him, being king, as he did when he was prince. Not to hope well of him that is gone, is uncharitableness; and at the same time, when I believe him to be better, to wish him worse, is uncharitableness too. And such weaknesses were in thoso holy and devout sisters of Lazarus; which establishes our conclusion, there is nothing in this world, no not in spiritual things, not in knowledge, not in faith, not in hope, not in charity perfect. But yet, for all these imperfections, Christ doth not refuse, nor chide, but cherish their piety, which is also another circumstance in that part.
There is no form of building stronger than an arch, and yet au arch hath declinations, which oven a flat roof hath not; the flat roof lies equal in all parts; the arch declines downwards in all parts, and yet the arch is a firm supporter. Our devotions do not the less bear us upright, in the sight of God, because they have some declinations towards natural affections: God doth easilier pardon some ueglectings of his grace, when it proceeds out of a tenderness, or may bo excused out of good nature, than any presuming upon his grace. If a man do depart in some actions, from an exact obedience of God's will, upon infirmity, or humane affections, and not a contempt, God passes it over oftentimes. For, when our Saviour Christ says, Be pure as your Father in heaven is pure, that is a rule for our purity, but not a measure of our purity; it is that wo should be pure so, not that we should be so puro as our Father in heaven. When we consider that weakness, that went through the apostles, even to Christ's ascension, that they looked for a temporal kingdom, and for preferment in that; when we consider that weakness in the chief of them, St. Peter, at the Transfiguration, when, as the text says, He knew not what to say3«; when we consider the weakness of his action, that for fear of death, he renounced the Lord of life, and denied his master;
Mark ix. 6.
when in this very story, when Christ said that Lazarus was asleep, and that he would go to awake him, they could understand it so impertinently, as that Christ should go such a journey, to come to the waking of a man. asleep at that time when he spoke; all these infirmities of theirs, multiply this consolation upon us, that though God look upon the inscription, he looks upon the metal too, though he look that his image should be preserved in us, ho looks in what earthen vessels this imago is put, and put by his own hand; and though he hate us in our rebellions, yet he pities us in our grievances; though he would have us better, he forsakes us not for every degree of illness. There are three great dangers in this consideration of perfectness, and purity; first, to distrust of God's mercy, if thou find not this purity in thyself, and this perfectness; and then to presume upon God, nay upon thine own right, in an overvaluing of thine own purity, and perfectness; and again, to condemn others, whom thou wilt needs think less pure, or perfect than thyself. Against this diffidence in God, to think ourselves sp desperately impure, as that God will not look upon us; and this presumption in God, to think ourselves so pure, as that God is bound to look upon us; and this uncharitableness towards others, to think none pure at all, that arc not pure our way; Christ arms us by his example, he receives these sisters of Lazarus, and accomplishes as much as they desired, though there were weaknesses in their faith, in their hope, in their charity, expressed in that imperfect speech, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; for there is nothing, not in spiritual things perfect. This wo have seen out of the text we have heard; and now out of the text, which we see, we shall see the rest, that as in spiritual things, there is nothing perfect, so in temporal, there is nothing permanent.
I need not call in new philosophy, that denies a settledness, an acquiescence in the very body of the earth, but makes tho earth to move in that place, where we thought the sun had moved; I need not that help, that the earth itself is in motion, to prove this, that nothing upon earth is permanent; the assertion will stand of itself, till some man assign me some instance, something that a man may rely upon, and find permanent. Consider the greatest bodies upon earth, the monarchies; objects, which one would think, destiny might stand and stare at, but not shake; consider the smallest bodies upon earth, the hairs of our head, objects, which one would think, destiny would not observe, or could not discern; and yet, destiny, (to speak to a natural man) and God, (to speak to a Christian) is no more troubled to make a monarchy ruinous, than to make a hair gray. Nay, nothing needs be done to either, by God, or destiny; a monarchy will ruin, as a hair will grow gray, of itself. In the elements themselves, of which all sub-elementary things are composed, there is no acquiescence, but a vicissitudinary transmutation into one another; air condensed becomes water, a more solid body, and air rarefied become fire, a body more disputable, and inapparent. It is so in the conditions of men too; a merchant condensed, kneaded and packed up in a great estate, becomes a lord; and a merchant rarefied, blown up by a perfidious factor, or by a riotous son, evaporates into air, into nothing, and is not seen. And if there were anything permanent and durable in this world, yet we got nothing by it, because howsoever that might last in itself, yet we could not last to enjoy it; if our goods were not amongst moveables, yet we ourselves are; if they could stay with us, yet we cannot stay with them; which is another consideration in this part.
The world is a great volume, and man the index of that book; even in the body of man, you may turn to the whole world; this body is an illustration of all nature; God's recapitulation of all that he had said before, in his fiat lux, and fiat firmamentum, and in all the rest, said or done, in all the six days. Propose this body to thy consideration in the highest exaltation thereof; as it is the temple of the Holy Ghost: nay, not in a metaphor, or comparison of a temple, or any other similitudinary thing, but as it was really and truly the very body of God, in the person of Christ, and yet this body must wither, must decay, must languish, must perish. When Goliah had armed and fortified this body, and Jezebel had painted and perfumed this body, and Dives had pampered and larded this body, as God said to Ezekiel, when he brought him to the dry bones, Fill hominis, Son of man, dost thou think these bones can live? they said in their hearts to all the world, Can these bodies die I and they are dead. Jezebel's dust is not amber, nor Goliah's dust terra sigillata, medicinal; nor does the serpent, whose meat they are both, find any better relish in Dives' dust, than in Lazarus's. But as in our former part, where our foundation was, that in nothing, no spiritual thing, there was any perfectness, which we illustrated in the weaknesses of knowledge, and faith, and hope, and charity, yet we concluded, that for all those defects, God accepted those their religious services; so in this part, where our foundation is, that nothing in temporal things is permanent, as we have illustrated that, by the decay of that which is God's noblest piece in nature, the body of man; so we shall also conclude that, with this goodness of God, that for all this dissolution, and putrefaction, he affords this body a resurrection.
The Gentiles, and their poets describe the sad state of death so, nox una obeunda, that it is one everlasting night; to them, a night; but to a Christian, it is dies mortis, and dies resurrectionis, the day of death and the day of resurrection; we die in the light, in the sight of God's presence, and we rise in the light, in the sight of his very essence. Nay, God's corrections, and judgments upon us in this life, are still expressed so, dies visitationis, still it is a day, though a day of visitation; and still we may discern God to be in the action. The Lord of life was the first that named death; Morte morieris, says God*0, Thou shalt die the death. I do the less fear, or abhor death, because I find it in his mouth; even a malediction hath a sweetness in his mouth; for there is a blessing wrapped up in it; a mercy in every correction, a resurrection upon every death. When Jezebel's beauty, exalted to that height which it had by art, or higher than that, to that height which it had in her own opinion, shall be infinitely multiplied upon every body; and as God shall know no man from his own Son, so as not to see the very righteousness of his own Son upon that man; so the angels shall know no man from Christ, so as not to desire to look upon that man's face, because the most deformed wretch that is there, shall have the very beauty of Christ himself; so shall Goliah's armour, and Dives' fulness, be doubled, and redoubled upon us, and every thing that we can call good, shall first be infinitely exalted in the goodness, and then infinitely multiplied in the proportion, and
"Gen. ii. 17.
again infinitely extended in the duration. And since we are in an action of preparing this dead brother of ours to that state, (for the funeral is the Easter-eve, the burial is the depositing of that man for the resurrection) as we have held you, with doctrine of mortification, by extending the text, from Martha to this occasion; so shall we dismiss you with consolation, by a like occasional inverting the text, from passion in Martha's mouth, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died, to joy in ours, Lord, because thou wast here, our brother is not dead.
Tho Lord was with him in all those steps; with him in his life; with him in his death; he is with him in his funerals, and he shall be with him in his resurrection; and therefore, because tho Lord was with him, our brother is not dead. He was with him in the beginning of his life, in this manifestation, that though ho were of parents of a good, of a great estate, yet his possibility and his expectation from them, did not slacken his own industry; which is a canker that eats into, nay that hath eat up many a family in this city, that relyiug wholly upon what the father hath done, the son docs nothing for himself. And truly, it falls out too often, that he that labours not for more, does not keep his own. God imprinted in him an industrious disposition, though such hopes from such parents might have excused some slackness, and God prospered his industry so, as that when his father's estate came to a distribution by death, he needed it not. God was with him, as with] David in a dilatation, and then in a repletion; God enlarged him, and then he filled him10; he gave him a large and a comprehensive understanding, and with it, a public heart; and such as perchance in his way of education, and in our narrow and contracted times, in which every man determines himself in himself, and scarce looks farther, it would be hard to find many examples of such largeness. You have, I think, a phrase of driving a trade; and you have I know, a practice of driving away trade, by other use of money; and you have lost a man, that drove a great trade, the right way in making the best uso of our home commodity. To fetch in wine, and spice, and silk, is but a drawing of trade; the right driving of trade, is, to vent our own outward; and yet, for the drawing in of that,
,0 Psalm lxxxi. 10.
which might justly seem most behooveful, that is, of arts, and manufactures, to be employed upon our own commodity within the kingdom, he did his part, diligently, at least, if not vehemently, if not passionately. This city is a great theatre, and he acted great and various parts in it; and all well; and when he went higher, (as he was often heard in parliaments, at counciltables, and in more private accesses to the late king of ever blessed memory) as, for that comprehension of those businesses, which he pretended to understand, no man doubts, for no man lacks arguments and evidences of his ability therein, so for his manner of expressing his intentions, and digesting and uttering his purposes, I have sometimes heard the greatest master of language and judgment, which these times, or any other did, or do, or shall give, (that good and great king of ours) say of him, that he never heard any man of his breeding, handle businesses more rationally, more pertinently, more elegantly, more persuasively; and when his purpose was, to do a grace to a preacher, of very good abilities, and good note in his own chapel, I have heard him say, that his language, and accent, and manner of delivering himself, was like this man. This man hath God accompanied all his life; and by performance thereof seems to have made that covenant with him, which he made to Abraham, Multiplicabo te vehementer, I will multiply thee exceedingly". He multiplied his estate so, as was fit to endow many and great children; and he multiplied his children so, both in their number, and in their quality, as they were fit to receive a great estate. God was with him all the way, in a pillar of fire, in the brightness of prosperity, and in the pillar of clouds too, in many dark, and sad, and heavy crosses: so great a ship, required a great ballast; so many blessings, many crosses; and ho had them, and sailed on his course the steadier for them; the eloud as well as the fire, was a pillar to him; his crosses, as well as his blessings established his assurance in God; and so, in all the course of his life, the Lord was here, and therefore our brother is not dead; not dead in the evidences and testimonies of life; for he, whom the world hath just cause to celebrate, for things done, when he was alivo, is alive still in their celebration.
*1 Gen. xvii. 2.
The Lord was here, that is, with him at his death too. He was served with the process here in the city, but his cause was heard in the country; here he sickened, there he languished, and died there. In his sickness there, those that assisted him, are witnesses, of his many expressings, of a religious and a constant heart towards God, and of his pious joining with them, even in the holy declaration of kneeling, then, when they, in favour of his weakness, would dissuade him from kneeling. I must not defraud him of this testimony from myself, that into this place where we are now met, I have observed him to enter with much reverence, and compose himself in this place with much declaration of devotion. And truly it is that reverence, which those persons who are of the same rank that he was in the city, that reverence that they use in this place, when they come hither, is that that makes us, who have now the administration of this choir, glad, that our predecessors, but a very few years before our time, (and not before all our times neither) admitted these honourable and worshipful persons of this city, to sit in this choir, so, as they do upon Sundays; the church receives an honour in it; but the honour is more in their reverence, than in their presence; though in that too: and they receive an honour, and an ease in it; and therefore they do piously towards God, and prudently for themselves, and gratefully towards us, in giving us, by their reverend comportment here, so just occasion of continuing that honour, and that ease to them here, which to less reverent, and unrespective persons, we should be less willing to do. To return to him in his sickness; he had but one day's labour, and all the rest were sabbaths, one day in his sickness he converted to business; thus: he called his family, and friends together; thankfully he acknowledged God's manifold blessings, and his own sins as penitently: and then, to those who were to have the disposing of his estate, jointly with his children, he recommended his servants, and the poor, and the hospitals, and the prisons, which, according to his purpose, have been all taken into consideration; and after this (which was his valediction to the world) he seemed always loath to return to any worldly business, his last commandment to wife and children was Christ's last commandment to his spouse the church, in the apostles, To love one another. He blest them, and the estate devolved upon them, unto them: and by God's grace shall prove as true a prophet to them in that blessing, as he was to himself, when in entering his last bed, two days before his death, he said, Help me off with my earthly habit, and let me go to my last bed. Where, in the second night after, he said, Little know ye what pain I feel this night, yet I know, I shall have joy in the morning; and in that morning he died. The form in which ho implored his Saviour, was evermore, towards his end, this, Christ Jesus, which died on the cross, forgive me my sins; he have mercy upon me: and his last and dying words were the repetition of the name of Jesus; and when he had not strength to utter that name, distinctly and perfectly, they might hear it from within him, as from a man afar off; even then, when his hollow and remote naming of Jesus, was rather a certifying of them, that he was with his Jesus, than a prayer that he might come to him. And so The Lord was here, here with him in his death; and because The Lord was here, our brother is not dead; not dead in the eyes and ears of God; for as the blood of Abel speaks yet, so doth the zeal of God's saints; and their last prayers (though we hear them not) God continues still; and they pray in heaven, as the martyrs under the altar, even till the resurrection.
He is with him now too; here in his funerals. Burial, and Christian burial, and solemn burial are all evidences, and testimonies of God's presence. God forbid we should conclude, or argue an absenco of God, from the want of solemn burial, or Christian burial, or any burial; but neither must we deny it, to be an evidence of his favour and presence, where he is pleased to afford these. So God makes that the seal of all his blessings to Abraham, That he should be buried in a good age"; God established Jacob with that promise, That his son Joseph should have care of his funerals": and Joseph does cause his servants, the physicians, to embalm him, when he was dead44. Of Christ it was prophesied, That he should have a glorious burial"; and
therefore Christ interprets well that profuse, and prodigal piety of tho woman that poured out the ointment upon him, That she did it to bury him"; and so shall Joseph of Arimathea be ever colebrated, for his care in celebrating Christ's funerals. If we were to send a son or a friend to take possession of any place in court, or foreign parts, we would send him out in the best equipage: let us not grudge to set down our friends, in the antechamber of heaven, the grave, in as good manner, as without vain-gloriousness, and wastefulness we may; and, in inclining them, to whom that care belongs, to express that care as they do this day, The Lord is with him, even in this funeral; and because The Lord is here, our brother is not dead; not dead in the memories and estimation of men.
v d lastly, that wo may have God present in all his manifestations, He that was, and is, and is to come, was with him, in his life and death, and is with him in this holy solemnity, and shall bo with him again in the resurrection. God says to Jaoob*7, / tvill go down with thee into Egypt, and I will also surely bring thee up again. God goes down with a good man into the grave, and will surely bring him up again. When? The angel promised to return to Abraham and Sarah, for the assurance of the birth of Isaac, according to the time of life**; that is, in such time, as by nature a woman may have a child. God will return to us in the grave, according to the time of life; that is, in such time, as he, by his gracious decree, hath fixed for the resurrection. And in the mean time, no more than the Godhead departed from the dead body of our Saviour, in the grave, doth his power, and his presence depart from our dead bodies in that darkness; but that which Moses said to the whole congregation, I say to you all, both to you that hear me, and to him that does not, All ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God, are alive, every one of you this day"; even he, whom we call dead, is alivo this day. In the presence of God, we lay him down; in the power of God he shall rise; in the person of Christ, he is risen already. And so into the same hands that have received his soul, we commend
his body; beseeching his blessed Spirit, that as our charity inclines us to hope confidently of his good estate, our faith may assure us of the same happiness, in our own behalf; and that for all our sakes, but especially for his own glory, he will be pleased to hasten the consummation of all, in that kingdom which that Son of God hath purchased for us, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. Amen.