Sermon XCIV

206

SERMON XCIV.

PREACHED AT LINCOLN'S INN.

John viii. 15.
I judge no man.

The rivers of paradise did not all run one way, and yet they flowed from one head; the sentences of the Scripture flow all from one head, from the Holy Ghost, and yet they seem to present divers senses, and to admit divers interpretations; in such an appearance doth this text differ from that which I handled in the forenoon, and as heretofore I found it a useful and acceptable labour, to employ our evening exercises, upon the vindicating of some such places of Scripture, as our adversaries of the Roman church had detorted in some point of controversy between them and us, and restoring those places to their true sense, (which course I held constantly for one whole year) so I think it a useful and acceptable labour, now to employ for a time those evening exercises to reconcile some such places of Scripture, as may at first sight seem to differ from one another; in the morning we saw how Christ judged all; now we are to see how he judges none; I judge no man.

To come then to these present words, here we have the same person Christ Jesus, and hath not he the same office? Is not he judge? certainly though he retained all his other offices, though he be the redeemer, and have shed his blood in value satisfactory for all our sins, though he be our advocate and plead for us in heaven, and present our evidence to that kingdom, written in bis blood, sealed in his wounds, yet if he be not our judge, we cannot stand in judgment; shall he be our judge, and is he not our judge yet I Long before we were he was our judge at the separation of the elect and reprobate, in God's eternal decree. Was he our judge then, and is he not so still? still he is present in his church, and clears us in all scruples, rectifies us in all errors, erects us in all dejections of spirit, pronounces peace and reconciliation in all apprehensions of his judgments, by his Word and

by his Sacraments, was he, and is he, and shall he not be our judge still? / am sure my Redeemer liveth, and he shall stand the last on earth1. So that Christ Jesus is the same to-day, and yesterday, and for ever, before the world begun, and world without end, Sicut erat in principio, as he was in the beginning, he is, and shall be ever our judge.

So that then these words are not de tempore, but de modo, there was never any time when Christ was not judge, but there were some manner of judgments which Christ did never exercise, and Christ had no commission which he did not execute; for he did all his Fathers will. 1. In secularibus, in civil, or criminal businesses, which belong merely to the judicatures, and cognizance of this world, Judicat neminem, Christ judges no man. 2. Secundum carnem, so as they to whom Christ spake this; who judged, as himself says here, according to fleshly affections, Judicat neminem, he judges no man: and 3, Ad internecionem, so as that upon that judgment, a man should despair of any reconciliation, any redintegration with God again, and be without hope of pardon, and remission of sins in this world, Judicat neminem, he judges no man; 1. Christ usurps upon no man's jurisdiction, that were against justice. 2. Christ imputes no false things to any man, that were against charity. 3. Christ induces no man to desperation, that were against faith; and against justice, against charity, against faith, Judicat neminem.

First then, Christ judgeth not in secular judgments, and we note his abstinence therein; first, in civil matters, when one of the company said to him, Master, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me%, as St. Augustine says, the plaintiff thought his cause to be just, and he thought Christ to be a competent judge in the cause, and yet Christ declines the judgment, disavows the authority, and he answers, Homo, quis me constituit judicem, Man, who made me a judge between you? To that general, which we had in the morning, Omne judicium, the Son hath all judgment; here is an exception of the same judge's own making, for in secular judgments, Nemo constituit, he had no commission, and therefore judicat neminem, he judges no man; he forbore in criminal matters too, for when the woman taken in adultery

1 Job xix. 25. * Luke xii. 13.

was brought before him, he condemned her not; it is true, he absolved her not, the evidence was pregnant against her, but he condemned her not, he undertook no office of a judge, but of a sweet and spiritual counsellor, Go, and sin no more, for this was his element, his tribunal.

When then Christ says of himself, with such a pregnant negative, Quis me constituit judicem, may not we say so too, to his pretended vicar, the bishop of Rome, Quis te? Who made you judge of kings, that you should depose them, in criminal causes? Or who made you proprietary of kingdoms, that you should dispose of them, as of civil inheritances? when to countenance such a pretence, they detort places of Scripture, not only perversely, but senselessly, blasphemously, ridiculously (as ridiculously as in their pasquils, when in an undiscreet shamelessness, to make their power greater than it is, they make their fault greater than it is too, and fill their histories with examples of kings deposed by popes, which in truth were not deposed by them, for in that they are more innocent than they will confess themselves to be) when some of their authors say, that the primitive church abstained from deposing emperors, only because she was not strong enough to do it, when some of them say, that all Christian kingdoms of the earth, may fall into the church of Rome, by faults in those princes, when some of them say, that de facto, the pope hath already a good title to every Christian kingdom, when some of them say, that the world will never be well governed, till the pope put himself into possession of all (all which several propositions are in several authors of good credit amongst them) will he not endure Christ's own question, Qius te constituit? Who made you judge of all this? If they say Christ did; did he it in his doctrine? It is hard to pretend that, for such an institution as that must have very clear, very pregnant words to carry it; did he do it by his example and practice? we see he abstained in criminal causes, when they come to their last shift, that is, that Christ did exercise judiciary authority, when he whipped merchants out of the temple, when he cursed the fig-tree, and damnified the owner thereof, and when he destroyed the herd of swine, (for there, say they, the devil was but the executioner, Christ was the judge, to all these, and such as these, it is enough to say, all these were miraculous, and not ordinary; and though it might seem half a miracle how that bishop* should exercise so much authority as he hath done over the world, yet when we look nearer, and see his means, that he hath done all this by massacres of millions, by withdrawing subjects from their allegiance, by assassinating and murdering of princes, when we know that miracles are without means, and we see the means of his proceedings, the miracle ceases, howsoever that bishop as Christ's vicar can claim no other power, than was ordinary in Christ, and so exercised by Christ, and so judicavit neminem; in secular judgment, Christ judges no man, and therefore that bishop as his vicar should not.

Secondly, Christ judges no man by calumny, by imputing, or laying false aspersions upon him, nor truths extrajudicially, for that is a degree of calumny; we enter into a large field, when we go about to speak against calumny, and slander, and detraction, so large a field, as that we may fight out the last drop of our blood, preach out the last gasp of our breath, before we overcome it, those to whom Christ spake here, were such as gave perverse judgments, calumniating censures upon him, and so he judges no man, we need not insist upon that, for it is manifeste verum; but that we may see our danger, and our duty, what calumny is, and so how to avoid it actively, and how to bear it passively, I must by your leave stop a little upon it.

When then we would present unto you that monster slander, and calumny, though it be hard to bring it within any compass of a division, yet to take the largeness of the school, and say, that every calumny is either direct, or indirect, that will comprehend all, and then a direct calumny, will have three branches, either to lay a false and unjust imputation, or else to aggravate a just imputation, with unnecessary, but heavy circumstances, or thirdly to reveal a fault which in itself was secret and I by no duty bound to discover it, and then the indirect calumny will have three branches too, either to deny expressly some good that is in another, or to smother it in silence, when my testimony were due to him, and might advantage him, or lastly to diminish

3 In the folio edition it stands "how that should exercise."

VOL. IV. P

his good parts, and say they are well, but not such as you would esteem them to be; collect then again, for that is all, that we shall be able to do, that he is a calumniator directly, that imputes a false crime, that aggravates a true crime, that discovers any crime extrajudicially; that he is an indirect calumnitor, that denies another man's sufficiencies, that conceals them, that diminishes them; take in some of St. Bernard's examples of these rules4, that it is a calumny to say, Doleo vehementer, I am sorry at the heart for such a man because I love him, but I could never draw him from such and such a vice, or to say, Per me nunquam innotuisset, I would never have spoken of it, yet since all the world talks of it, the truth must not be disguised, and so take occasion to discover a fault which nobody knew before, and thereby (as the same Father says) cum gravitate et tarditate aggredi maledictionem, to cut a man's throat gravely, and soberly, and so much the more persuasively, because he seems, and pretends to do it all against his will; this being the rule, and this the example, who amongst us is free from the passive calumny? Who amongst us hath not some other man calumniated? Nay who is free from the active part? Which of us in some of these degrees hath not calumniated some other? But those to whom Christ makes his exception here, that he judges no man as they judge, were such calumniators, as David speaks of, Sedens adversus fratrem tuum loque baris, Thou sittest and speakest against thy neighbour', as St. Augustine notes upon that place, Non transitorie, non surreptionis passione, sed quasi ad hoc vacans, not by chance, and unawares, not in passion because he had offended thee, not for company, because thou wouldest be of their minds, but as though thy profession would bear thee out in it, to leave the cause and lay aspersion upon the person, so thou art a calumniator, They eat up my people as bread, as David says in God's person6: and upon those words of the same prophet, says the same Father, De cozteris, when we eat of anything else, we taste of this dish, and we taste of that, Non semper hoc olus, says he, we do not always eat one sallad, one meat, one kind of fruit, sed semper panem, whatsoever we eat else we always eat bread, howsoever they

4 Ser. xxiv. in Cant. 8 Psalm L. 20. • Psalm tiii. 4.

employed their thoughts, or their wits other ways, it was always one exercise of them to calumniate Christ Jesus, and in that kind of calumny, which is the bitterest of all, they abounded most, which is in scorn and derision, David, and Job, who were slander proof, in a good measure, yet everywhere complain passionately that they were made a scorn, that the wits made libels, that drunkards sung songs, that fools, and the children of fools derided them; and when Saul was in his last, and worst agony, and had abandoned himself to a present death, and prayed his armour-bearer to kill him, it was not because the uncircumcised should not kill him (for he desired death, and he had their deadly arrows already in his bosom) but it was (as it is expressed there) lest the uncircumcised should come and abuse him, he was afraid of scorn when he had but a few minutes of life. Since then Christ judges no man (as they did) secundum carnem ejus, according to the outward appearance, for they thought no better of Christ than he seemed to be, (as fathers take that phrase, nor secundum camem suam, according to his own fleshly passions, (as some others take it) judge not you so neither, first judge not that ye be not judged1, that is, as St. Ambrose interprets it well enough, nolite judicare de judiciis Dei, when you see God's judgments fall upon a man, when you see the tower of Silo fall upon a man, do not you judge that that man had sinned more than you, when you see another born blind, do not you think that he or his father had sinned, and that you only are derived from a pure generation; especially non maledicas surdo, speak not evil of the deaf that hears not*; that is, (as Gregory interprets it, if not literally, yet appliably, and usefully) calumniate not him who is absent, and cannot defend himself, it is the devil's office to be accusator fratrum, and though God do not say in the law, non erit, yet he says, Non erit criminator, it is not plainly, there shall be no informer': (for as we dispute, and for the most part affirm in the school, that though we could, we might destroy no entire species of those creatures, which God made at first, though it be a tiger, or a viper, because this were to take away one link of God's chain out of the world, so such vermin as informers

7 Matt. vii. 1. 8 Lev. xix. 14. Lev. xix. 16.

may not, for some good use that there is of them, be taken away) though it be not non erit, there shall be none, yet it is at least by way of good counsel to thee, non eris, thou shalt not be the man, thou shalt not be the informer, and for resisting those that are, we are bound, not only not to harm our neighbours house, but to help him, if casually his house falLon fire, we are bound where we have authority to stop the mouths of other calumniators where we have no authority, yet since as the north wind driveth away rain, an angry countenance driveth away a backbiting tongue10, at least deal so with a libeller, with a calumniator, for he that looks pleasantly, and hearkens willingly to one libel, makes another, occasions a second; always remember David's case, when he thought that he had been giving judgment against another he was more severe, more heavy, than the law admitted; the law was, that he that had stolen the sheep should return fourfold, and David's auger was kindled says the text, and he said, and he swore, As the Lord liveth, that man shall restore fourfold, filing mortis, and he shall surely die": 0 judicis superfiuentem et justitiam1*, 0 superabundant and overflowing justice, when we judge another in passion; but this is judicium secundum carnem, according to which Christ judges no man, for Christ is love, and that non cogitat malum", love thinks no evil any way; the charitable man neither meditates evil against another, nor believes not easily any evil to be in another, though it be told him.

Lastly, Christ judges no man ad inter,necionem, he judges no man so in this world, as to give a final condemnation upon him here; there is no error in any of his judgments, but there is an appeal from all his judgments in this world; there is a verdict against every man, every man may find his case recorded, and his sin condemned in the law, and in the prophets, there is a verdict, but before judgment, God would have every man saved by his book, by the apprehension, and application of the gracious promises of the Gospel, to his case, and his conscience, Christ judges no man so, as that he should see no remedy, but to curse God, and die, not so, as that he should say, his sin is greater than God could forgive, for God sent not his Son into the world

to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved14.

Do not thou then give malicious evidence against thyself, do not weaken the merit, nor lessen the value of the blood of thy Saviour, as though thy sin were greater than it: doth God desire thy blood now, when he hath abundantly satisfied his justice with the blood of his Son for thee? what hast thou done? hast thou come hypocritically to this place upon collateral reasons, and not upon the direct service of God? not for love of information, of reformation of thyself? If that be thy case, yet if a man hear my words, says Christ, and believe not, I judge him not, he hath one that judgeth him, says Christ15, and who is that? The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him; it shall, but when? It shall judge him, says Christ, at the last day, for till the last day, the day of his death, no man is past recovery, no man's salvation is impossible: Hast thou gone farther than this? Hast thou admitted scruples of diffidence, and distrust in God's mercy, and so tasted of the lees of desperation? It is true, perpetrare fcagitium est mors animw, sed desperare est descensus ad inferos, In every sin the soul dies, but in desperation it descends into hell16; but yet Porta; inferi non prwvalebunt, Even the gates of this hell shall not prevail against thee17; assist thyself, argue thine own case, desperation itself may be without infidelity; desperation as well as hope is rooted in the desire of happiness; desperation proceeds out of a fear and a horror of sin, desperation may consist with faith thus far, that a man may have a true, and faithful opinion in the general, that there is a remission of sin, to be had in the church, and yet have a corrupt imagination in the particular, that to him in this sinful state that he is in, this remission of sins shall not be applied, so that the resolution of the school is good, Desperatio potest esse ex solo excessu boni"; desperation may proceed from an excess of that which is good in itself, from an excessive over-fearing of God's justice, from an excessive over-hating thine own sins, Et virtute quis male utitur? Can any man make so ill use of so great virtues, as the fear of God and the hate of sin? Yes they may, so fro ward a weed is sin, as that

» John iii. 17. 15 John xii. 47, 48. 16 Isidore.

"Matt. xvi. 18. 18 Thorn, i. 2nd. ix. 40. or. 4.

it can spring out of any root, and therefore if it have done so in thee, and thou thereby have made thy case the harder, yet know still, that Objectum spei est arduum, et possibile, The true object of hope is hard to come by, but yet possible to come by, and therefore as David said, By my God have I leaped over a wall1', so by thy God mayest thou break through a wall, through this wall of obduration, which thou thyself hast begun to build about thyself. Feather thy wings again, which even the flames of hell have touched in these beginnings of desperation, feather them again with this text Neminem judicat, Christ judges no man, so as a desperate man judges himself, do not make thyself believe, that thou hast sinned against the Holy Ghost; for this is the nearest step thou hast made to it, to think that thou hast done it; walk in that large field of the Scriptures of God, and from the first flower at thy entrance, the flower of Paradise, semen mulieris, the general promise of the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, to the last word of that Messias upon the cross, consummatum est, that all that was promised for us is now performed, and from the first to the last thou shalt find the savour of life unto life in all those flowers; walk over the same alley again, and consider the first man Adam in the beginning who involved thee in original sin; and the thief upon the cross who had continued in actual sins all his life, and sealed all with the sin of reviling Christ himself a little before his expiration, and yet he recovered Paradise, and Paradise that day, and see if thou canst make any shift to exclude thyself; receive the fragrancy of all these cordials, vivit Dominus, as the Lord liveth I would not the death of a sinner, quandocunque, at what time soever a sinner repenteth, and of this text Neminem judicat, Christ judgeth no man to destruction here, and if thou find after all these antidotes a suspicious air, a suspicious working in that impossibile est, that it is impossible for them, who were once enlightened if they fall away, to renew them again by repentance, sprinkle upon that worm-wood of impossibile est, that manna of Quorum remiseritis, Whose sins ye remit, are remitted, and then it will have another taste to thee, and thou wilt see that that impossibility lies upon them only, who are utterly fallen away

19 2 Sam. xxii. 30.

into an absolute apostacy, and infidelity, that make a mock of Christ, and crucify him again, as it is expressed there, who under value, and despise the church of God, and those means which Christ Jesus hath instituted in his church for renewing such as are fallen. To such it is impossible, because there are no other ordinary means possible, but that is not thy case, thy case is only a doubt, that those means that are shall not be applied to thee, and even that is a slippery state to doubt of the mercy of God to thee in particular, this goes so near making thy sin greater than God's mercy, as that it makes thy sin greater than daily adulteries, daily murders, daily blasphemies, daily prophanings of the Sabbath could have done, and though thou canst never make that true in this life, that thy sins are greater than God can forgive, yet this is a way to make them greater than God will forgive.

Now to collect both our exercises, and to connex both texts, Christ judgeth all men and Christ judgeth no man, he claims all judgment, and he disavows all judgment, and they consist well together; he was at our creation, but that was not his first sense; the Arians who say, Brat quando non erat, There was a time when Christ was not, intimating that he had a beginning, and therefore was a creature, yet they will allow that he was created before the general creation, and so assisted at ours, but he was infinite generations before that, in the bosom of his Father, at our election, and there in him was executed the first judgment of separating those who were his, the elect from the reprobate, and then he knows who are his by that first judgment: and so comes to his second judgment, to seal all those in the visible church with the outward mark of his baptism, and the inward mark of his Spirit, and those whom he calls so, he justifies, and sanctifies, and brings them to his third judgment, to an established and perpetual glory. And so all judgment is his. But then to judge out of human affections, and passions, by detraction, and calumny, as they did to whom he spoke at this time, so he judges no man, so he denies judgment: to usurp upon the jurisdiction of others, or to exercise any other judgment, than was his commission, as his pretended vicar doth so, he judges no man, so he disavows all judgment: to judge so as that our condemnation

sliould be irremediable in this life, so he judges no man, so he forswears all judgment, As I live, saith the Lord of Hosts, and as I have died, saith the Lord Jesus, so I judge none. Acknowledge his first judgment, thy election in him, Christ his second judgment, thy justification by him, breathe and pant after his third judgment, thy crown of glory for him; intrude not upon the right of other men, which is the first, defame not, calumniate not other men, which is the second, lay not the name of reprobate in this life upon any man, which is the third judgment, that Christ disavows here, and then thou shalt have well understood, and well practised both these texts, The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son, and yet the Son judges no man.