PREACHED AT LINCOLN'S INN.
1 Corinthians Xv. 50.
Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
St. Gregory hath delivered this story1; that Eutychius, who was bishop of Constantinople, having written a book of the resurrection, and therein maintained that error, that the body of Christ had not, that our bodies in the resurrection should not have, any of the qualities of a natural body, but that those bodies were, in subtilitatem redacta, so rarefied, so refined, so attenuated, and reduced to a thinness, and subtleness, that they were airy bodies, and not bodies of flesh and blood; this error made a great noise, and raised a great dust, till the emperor, to avoid scandal, (which for the most part arises out of public conferences) was pleased to hear Eutychius and Gregory dispute this point pri
1 Moral, xiv. 29.
vately before himself, and a small company; and, that upon conference, the emperor was so well satisfied, that he commanded Eutychius his books to be burnt. That after this, both Gregory and Eutychius fell sick; but Eutychius died; and died with this protestation, In hac carne, in this flesh, (taking up the flesh of his hand in the presence of them that were there) in this flesh, I acknowledge, that I, and all men shall arise at the day of judgment. Now the principal place of Scripture, which in his book, and in that conference Eutychius stood upon, was this text, these words of St. Paul; (This I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.) And the directest answer that Gregory gave to it was, Caro secundum culpam non regnabit, sed caro secundum naturam; sinful flesh shall not, but natural flesh; that is, flesh indued with all qualities of flesh, all such qualities as imply no defect, no corruption, (for there was flesh before there was sin) such flesh, and such blood shall inherit the kingdom of God.
As there have been more heresies about the humanity of Christ, than about his divinity, so there have been more heresies about the resurrection of his body, and consequently of ours, than about any other particular article, that concerns his humiliation, or exaltation. Simon Magus struck deepest at first, to the root; that there was no resurrection at all; the Gnostics, (who took their name from knowledge, as though they knew all, and nobody else anything, which is a pride transferred through all heretics: for, as that sect in the Roman church, which call themselves Ignorantes, and seem to pretend to no knowledge, do yet believe that they know a better way to heaven, than all other men do, so that sect amongst them, which called themselves Nullanos, nothings, thought themselves greater in the kingdom of God, than either of the other two sects of diminution, the Minorites, or the Minims did) these Gnostics acknowledged a resurrection, but they said it was of the soul only, and not oi the body, for they thought that the soul lay dead (at least, in a dead sleep) till the resurrection. Those heretics that are called the Arabians, did. (as the Gnostics did) affirm a temporary death of the soul, as well as of the body, but then they allowed a resurrection to both soul, and body, after that death, which the Gnostics did not, but to
VOL. IV.. R
the soul only. Hymeneus and Philetus, (of whom St. Paul speaks*) they restrained the resurrection to the soul, but then they restrained this resurrection of the soul to this life, and that in those who were baptized, the resurrection was accomplished already. Eutychius, (whom we mentioned before) enlarged the resurrection to the body, as well as to the soul, but enlarged the qualities of the body so far, as that it was scarce a body. The Armenian heretics said, that it was not only corpus humanum, but corpus masculinum, that all should rise in the perfecter sex, and none, as women. Origen allowed a resurrection, and allowed the body to be a natural body; but he contracted the time; he said, that when we rose we should enjoy the benefits of the resurrection, even in bodily pleasures, for a thousand years, and then be annihilated, or absorpted, and swallowed up into the nature, and essence of God himself; (for it will be hard to state Origen's opinion in this point; Origen was not, herein, well understood in his own time; nor do we understand him now, for the most part, but by his accusers, and those that have written against him.) Divers of these heretics, for the maintenance of their several heresies, perverted this Scripture, (Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God) and that occasioned those fathers who opposed those heresies, so diverse from one another, to interpret these words diversely, according to the heresy they opposed. All agree, that they are an argument for the resurrection, though they seem at first too oppose it. For, this chapter hath three general parts; first, Resurrectionem esse, that there shall be a resurrection, which the apostle proves by many and various arguments to the thirty-fifth verse. And then Quali corpore, the body shall rise, but some will say, How are the dead raised, and with what body, do they come? in that thirtyfifth verse: and lastly, Quid de superstitibus, what shall become of them, who shall be found alive, at that day? We shall all be changed, (ver. 51.) Now this text is the knot, and corollary of all the second part, concerning the qualities of the bodies in the resurrection; now, says the apostle, now that I have said enough to prove that a resurrection there is, now, now that I have said enough what kind of bodies shall arise, now, I show you as much
* 2 Tim. ii. 17, 18.
in the negative as I have done in the affirmative, now I teach you what to avoid, as well as I have done what to affect, now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
Now, though those words be primarily, principally intended of the last resurrection, yet in a secondary respect, they are appliable in themselves, and very often applied by the ancients, to the first resurrection, our resurrection in this life. Tertullian hath intimated, and presented both together, elegantly, when he says of God, Nobis arrhabonem Spiritus reliquit, et arrhabonem a nobis aecepit, God hath given us his earnest, and a pawn from him upon earth, in giving us the Holy Ghost, and he hath received our earnest, and a pawn from us into heaven, by receiving our nature, in the body of Christ Jesus there. Flesh and blood, when it is conformed to the flesh and blood of Christ now glorified, and made like his, by our resurrection, may inherit the kingdom of God, in heaven. Yea flesh and blood being conformed to Christ by the sanctification of the Holy Ghost, here in this world may inherit the kingdom of God, here upon earth; for God hath a kingdom here; and there is a communion in arms, as well as a communion in triumph. Leaving then that acceptation of flesh and blood, which many think to be intended in this text, that is, animalis caro, flesh and blood that must be maintained by eating, and drinking, and preserved by propagation and generation, that flesh, and that blood cannot inherit heaven, where there is no marrying, nor giving in marriage, but Erimus sicut angeli, We shall be as the angels, (though such a heaven, in part, Mahomet hath proposed to his followers, a heaven that should abound with worldly delights, and such a heaven the disciples of Origen, and the Millenarians, that look for one thousand years of all temporal felicity, proposed to themselves; and, though amongst our latter men, Cajetan do think, that the apostle in this text, bent himself upon that doctrine, non caro, non animalis caro, flesh and blood, that is, no carnal, no worldly delights are to be looked for, in heaven,) leaving that sense, as too narrow, and too shallow for the Holy Ghost, in this place, iu which he hath a higher reach, we shall determine ourselves at this time, in these two acceptations of this phrase of speech; first, non caro, that is, non caro corrupta, flesh and blood cannot,
sinful flesh, corrupt flesh, flesh not discharged of sinful corruption here, by repentance, and sanctiflcatiou, and the operation of God's Spirit, such flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God here. Secondly, non caro, is non caro corruptibilis, flesh and blood cannot, that is, flesh that is yet subject to corruption, and dissolution, and natural passions and impressions, tending to defectiveness, flesh that is still subject to any punishment that God lays upon flesh, for sin, such flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God hereafter; for our present possession of the kingdom of God here, our corrupt flesh must be purged by sanctification here, for the future kingdom, our natural corruptibleness must be purged by glorification there. We will make the last part first, as this , flesh, and this blood, by divesting the corruptibleness it suffers here, by that glorification, shall inherit that kingdom; and, not stay long upon it neither. For of that we have spoken conveniently before, of the resurrection itself. Now we shall look a little into the qualities of bodies in the resurrection; and that, not in the intricacies, and subtilties of the school, but only in that one pattern, which hath been given us of that glory upon earth, which is the transfiguration of Christ; for that transfiguration of his was a representation of a glorified body in a r- glorified state. And then in the second place, we shall come to our first part, what that flesh and blood is that is denied to be capable of the inheritance of that kingdom here, that is, that earnest of heaven, and that inchoation of heaven which may be had in this world; and in that part we shall see, what this inheritance, what this title to heaven here, and what this kingdom of God, that heaven which is proposed to us here is.
First then, for the first acceptation, (which is of the later resurrection) no man denies that which Melanchthon hath collected and established to be the sum of this text, Statuit resurrectionem in corpore, sed non quale jam corpus est; The apostle establishes a resurrection of the body, but yet not such a body as this is. It is the same body, and yet not such a body; which is a mysterious consideration, that it is the same body, and yet not such as itself, nor like any other body of the same substance. But, what kind of body then? We content ourselves with that, Transfiguratio specimen appositissimum resurrectionis*, The trans
figuration of Christ, is the best glass to see this resurrection, and state of glory in. But how was that transfiguration wrought? We content ourselves with St. Hierome's expressing of it, Non pristinam amisit veritatem, vel formam corporis; Christ had still the same ture, and real body, and he had the same form, and proportion, and lieaments, and dimensions of his body, in itself. Transfiguratio non faciem subtraxit, sed splendorem addidit, says he; It gave him not another face, but it superimmitted such a light, such an illustration upon him, as, by that irradiation, that coruscation, the beams of their eyes were scattered, and disgregated, dissipated so, as that they could not collect them, as at other times, nor constantly, and confidently discern him. Moses had a measure, a proportion of this; but yet when Moses came down with his shining face4, though they were not able to look long upon him, they knew him to be Moses. When Christ was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James and John, yet they knew him to be Christ5.0 Transfiguration did not so change him, nor shall glorification so change us, as that we shall not be known. There is nothing to convince a man of error, nothing in nature, nothing in Scriptures, if he believe that he shall know those persons in heaven, whom he knew upon earth; and, if he conceive soberly, that it were a less degree of blessedness, not to know them, than to know them, he is bound to believe that he shall know them, for he is bound to believe, that all that conduces to blessedness shall be given him. The school resolves, that at the judgment, all the sins of all, shall be manifested to all6; even those secret sinful thoughts that never came out of the heart. And, when any in the school diners or departs from this common opinion, they say only, that those sins which have been, in particular, repented, shall not be manifested7: all others shall. And therefore it is a deep uncharitableness, to reproach any man, of sins formerly repented; and a deep uncharitableness, not to believe, that he whom thou seest at the communion, hath repented his former sins; reproach no man, after thou hast seen him receive, with last year's sins; except thou have good evidence of his hypocrisy then, or of his relapsing after; for in those two cases, a man
remains, or becomes again guilty of his former sins. Now, if in heaven they shall know the hearts of one another, whose faces they never knew before, there is less difficulty in knowing them, whom we did know before. From this transfiguration of Christ, in which, the mortal eye of the apostles, did see that representation of the glory of Christ, the schools make a good argument, that in heaven we shall do it much more. And though in this case of the transfiguration, in which the eyes of mortal men could have no proportion with that glory of heaven, this may be well said to have been done, either moderando lumen, (that God abated the light of glory) or confortando visum, (that God exalted their sense of seeing supernaturally) no such distinctions, or modifications will be needful in heaven, because how highly soever the body of my father, or of my friend shall be glorified there, mine eyes shall be glorified as much, and we are both kept in the same proportion there, as we had towards one another here; here my natural eye could see his natural face, and there mine eye is as much mended, as his body is, and my sense as much exalted as mine object; and as well, as I may know, that I am I; I may know, that he is he; for I shall not know myself, nor that state of glory which I am then in, by any light of nature which I brought thither, but by that light of glory which I shall receive there. When therefore a man finds, that this consideration does him good in his conversation, and retards him towards some sins; how shall I stand then, when all the world shall see, that my solicitation hath brought such a woman to the stews, to the hospital, to hell, who had escaped all this, if I had not corrupted her at first, (which no man in the world knew before, and all shall know then.) Or that my whispering, and my calumny hath overthrown such a man in his place, in his reputation, in his fortune, (which he himself knew not before, and all shall know then.) Or, that my counsel, or my example hath been a furtherance to any man's spiritual edification here. He that in rectified reason, and a rectified conscience finds this, in God's name let him believe; yea, for God's sake let him take heed of not believing that we shall know one another, actions and persons, in the resurrection, as the apostles did know Christ at the transfiguration, which was a type of it.
This transfiguration then upon earth, was the same glory, which Christ had after, in heaven. Qualis venturus, talis .apparuit*; such as all eyes shall see him to be, when he comes in glory at last, those apostles saw him then, but of the particular circumstances, even of this transfiguration upon earth, there is but little said to us. Let us modestly take that which is expressed in it, and not search over-curiously farther into that which is signified, and represented by it; which is, the state of glory in the resurrection. First, his face shined as the sun, says that Gospel, he could not take a higher comparison, for our information, and for our admiration in this world, than the sun. And then, the saints of God in their glorified state are admitted to the same comparison. The righteous shall shine out as the sun in the kingdom of the Father'; the sun of the firmament which should be their comparison, will be gone; but the sun of grace and of glory, the Son of God shall remain; and they shall shine as he; that is, in his righteousness.
In this transfiguration, his clothes were white, says the text; but is how white, the holy Ghost does not tell us at once, as white as snow, says St. Mark10, as white as light, says St. Matthew. Let the garments of the glorified saints of God be their bodies, and then, their bodies are as white as snow, as snow that falls from heaven, and hath touched no pollution of the earth. For, though our bodies have been upon earth, and have touched pitch, and have been defiled, yet that will not lie in proof, nor be given in evidence; though he that drew me, and I that was drawn too, know, in what unclean places, and what unclean actions, this body of mine hath been, yet it lies not in proof, it shall not be given in evidence, for, Accusator fratrum, The accuser of the brethren, is cast down", the devil shall find nothing against me; and if I had spontaneum damonem, as St. Chrysostom speaks, a bosom devil, and could tempt myself, though there had been no other tempter in this world, so I have spontaneum dwmonem, a bosom accuser, a conscience that would accuse me there, if I accuse myself there, I reproach the mercy of God, who hath sealed my pardon, and made even my body, what sins soever had discoloured it, as white as snow.
6 Hierom. 9 Matt. xiii. 43. 10 Mark ix. 3,10. 11 Rev. xii. 10.
As white as snow, and as white as light, says that Gospel. Light implies an active power, light is operative, and works upon others. The bodies of the saints of God, shall receive all impressions of glory in themselves, and they shall do all that is to be done, for the glory of God there. There, they shall stand in his service, and they shall kneel in his worship, and they shall fall in his reverence, and they shall sing in his glory, they shall glorify him in all positions of the body; they shall be glorified in themselves passively, and they shall glorify God actively, sicut nix, stent lux, their being, their doing shall be all for him; thus they shall shine as the sun; thus their garments shall be white, white as snow, in being glorified in their own bodies, white as light, in glorifying God in all the actions of those bodies.
Now, there is thus much more considerable, and appliable to our present purpose, in this transfiguration of Christ, that there was company with them. Be not apt to think heaven is an hermitage, or a monastery, or the way to heaven a sullen melancholy; heaven, and the way to it, is a communion of saints, in a holy cheerfulness. Get thou thither; make sure thine own salvation: but be not too hasty to think, that nobody gets thither, except he go thy way in all opinions, and all actions.
There was company in the transfiguration; but uo other company than Moses, and Elias, and Christ, and the apostles; none but they, to whom Cod had manifested himself otherwise than to a mere natural man, otherwise than as a general God. For, in the law, and in the peedagogy, and schoolmastership, and instruction thereof, God had manifested himself particularly by Moses. In Elias and the prophets, whom God sent in a continual succession, to refresh that manifestation which he had given of himself in the law, before, in the example of these rules, in him, who was the consummation of the law, and the prophets, Christ Jesus; and then, in the application of all this, by the apostles, and by the church established by them, God had more particularly manifested himself, than to natural men. Moses, Elias, Christ, and the apostles, make up the household of the faithful; and none have interest in the resurrection, but in, and by these; these, to whom, and by whom, God hath exhibited himself, to his church, by other notions, than as one universal God; for, nothing will save a man, but to believe in God; so as God hath proposed himself, in his Son, in his Scriptures, in his Christ.
These were with him in the transfiguration, and they talked with him, says that text. As there is a communion of saints, so there is a communication of saints. Think not heaven a charterhouse, where men, who only of all creatures are enabled by God to speak, must not speak to one another. The Lord of heaven is verbum, the word, and his servants there talk of us here, and pray to him for us.
They talked with him; but of what? They talked of his decease, (says the text there") which he should accomplish at Jerusalem, all that they talked of, was of his passion. All that we shall say, and sing in heaven, will be of his passion, accomplished at Jerusalem, in that hymn13, This Lamb hath redeemed us to God, by his blood; Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing, amen. Even our glory in heaven, at last, is not principally for ourselves, but to contribute to the glory of Christ Jesus. If we inquire further than this, into the state of our glorified bodies, remember that in this real parable, in this type of the resurrection, the transfiguration of Christ, it is said that even Peter himself wist not what to say1*; and remember too, that even Christ himself forbad them to say any thing at all of it, till his resurrection15. Till our resurrection, we cannot know clearly, we should not speak boldly, of the glory of the saints of God, nor of our blessed endowments in that state.
The sum of all is, Fiducia Christianorum est resurrectio mortuorumu; My faith directs itself first upon that which Christ hath done, he is dead, he is risen: and my hope directs itself upon that which shall be done, I shall rise again. And yet says Luther, Papa, Gardinales et primarii viri, I know the pope, the cardinals, the bishops are ingenio, doctrind, ratione, prudentia excellentes, they abound in natural parts, in reading, in experience, in civil wisdom: yet says he, si tres sunt, qui hunc, articulum indubitanter credunt, If there be three amongst them, that do faithfully and undoubtedly believe this article of the resurrection
of tho body, throe are more than I look for amongst them. Beloved, as no things are liker one another, than court and court, the same ambitions, the same underminings in one court as in another, so church and church is alike too; all persecuted churches are religious, all peaceable churches are dissolute; when Luther said that of the church of Rome, (that few of them believed the resurrection) the Roman church wallowed in all abundances, and dissoluteness, and scarce a man, (in respect") opened his mouth against her, otherwise than that the Holy Ghost, to make his continual claim, and to interrupt their prescription, in every age raised up some to declare their impieties and usurpations. But then, when they bent all their thoughts entirely, and prosperously upon possessing this world, they thought they might spare the resurrection well enough; as he that hath a plentiful fortune in Europe, cares not much though there be no land of perfumes in the East, nor of gold in the West Indies; God in our days, hath given us, and our church, the fat of the glory of this world too, and we also neglect the other: but when men of a different religion from them, (for they will needs call a differing from their errors, a different religion, as though all their religion were errors, for, excepting errors, we differ in no point) when, I say, such men came to inquire into them, to discover them, and to induce or to attempt in divers parts of their government a reformation, then they shut themselves up closer, then they grew more careful of their manners, and did reform themselves somewhat, though not thoroughly, and are the better for that reformation which was offered to them, and wrought more effectually upon others? As we say in the school, that even the devil is somewhat the better for the death of Christ, so the Roman church is somewhat the better for the Reformation. Our assiduity of preaching hath brought them to another manner of frequency in preaching, than before the Reformation they were accustomed to, and our answers to their books have brought them to a more reserved manner of writing, than they used before. Let us therefore by their example, make as good use of our enemies, as our enemies have done of us. For, though we have no military enmity, no hostility with any nation, though we must
17 In proportion: in comparison with the multitudes who were silent.
all, and do, out of a true sense of our duty to God, pray ever for the continuance of peace amongst Christian princes, and to withhold the effusion of Christian blood, yet to that intendment, and in that capacity as they were our enemies in 1588, when they provoked by their excommunications, dangerous invasions, and in that capacity as they were our enemies in 1603, when they bent their malice even against that place, where the laws for the maintenance of our religion were enacted, so they are our enemies still, if we be still of the same religion. He that by God's mercy to us, leads us, is as sure that the Pope is Antichrist, now, as he was then; and we that are blessedly led by him, are as sure, that their doctrine is the doctrine of devils, now, as we were then. Let us therefore make use of those enemies, and of their airy insolences, and their frothy confidences, as thereby to be the firmer in ourselves, and the carefuller of our children, and servants, that we send not for such a physician as brings a Roman priest for his apothecary, not entertain such a schoolmaster, as brings a Roman priest for his usher, nor such a mercer, as brings a priest for his tailor; (for in these shapes they have, and will appear.) But in true faith to God, true allegiance to our prince, true obedience to the church, true dealing with all men, make ourselves sure of the resurrection in the next life; in came incorruptibili, in flesh that shall be capable of no corruption, by having that resurrection in this life, in carne incorruptd, in divesting or correcting the corruptions which cleave to our flesh here, that we be not corrupted spiritually, (not disputed out of our religion, nor jested out, nor threatened out, nor bought out, nor beat out of the truth of God) nor corrupted carnally by the pleasures or profits of this world, but that we may conform ourselves to the purity of Christ Jesus, in that measure which we are able to attain to, which is our spiritual resurrection, and constitutes our second part, that kingdom of God, which flesh and blood may inherit in this life.
From the beginning we settled that, that the primary purpose of the apostle in these words, was to establish the doctrine of the last resurrection. But in Tertullians exposition, arrhabonem dedit, et arrhabonem accepit; that God hath left us the earnest of his spirit upon earth, and hath taken the earnest of our flesh into heaven, it grew indifferent, of which resurrection, spiritual, or bodily, first, or last, it be accepted. But take Tertullian in another place, upon the verse immediately preceding our text (Sicut portavimus, portemus, for so Tertullian reads that place, and so does the Vulgate, As we have borne the image of the earthly, so let us bear the image of the heavenly) there from Tertullian it must necessarily be referred to the first resurrection, the resurrection by grace in this life; for, says he there, Non refertur ad substantiam resurrectionis, sed ad prwsentis temporis disciplinam; The apostle does not speak of our glorious resurrection at last, but of our religious resurrection now. Portemus, non portabimus, Let us bear his image, says the apostle; let us now, not that we shall bear it at the last day. Prwceptive dictum, non promissive; the apostle delivers it as a duty, that we must, not as a reward, that we shall bear that image. And therefore in Tertullian' s construction, it is not only indifferent, and probable, but necessary to refer this text to the first resurrection in this life; where it will be fittest, to pursue that order, which we proposed at first, first to consider quid regnum, what kingdom it is, that is pretended to; and then, quid hwreditas, what estate and term is to be had in it: it is an inheritance. And lastly, quid caro, et sanguis, what flesh and blood it is, that is excluded out of this kingdom. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
First, for this kingdom of God in this world, let us be glad that it is a kingdom, that it is so much, that the government is taken out of the hands of saints, and angels, and reunited, re-annexed to the crown, restored to God, to whom we may come immediately, and be accepted. Let us be glad that it is a kingdom, so much, and let us be glad that it is but a kingdom, and. no more, not a tyranny; that we come not to a God that will damn us, because he will damn us, but a God that proposes conditions, and enables us to perform those conditions, in such a measure as he will vouchsafe to accept from us; a God that governs us by his word, for in his word is truth, and by his law, for in his law is clearness. Will you ask what this kingdom of God is? What did you take it to be, or what did you mean by it, when, even now, you said with me, in the Lord's Prayer, Thy kingdom come? Did you deliberately, and determinately pray for the day of judgment, and for his coming in the kingdom of glory, then I Were you all ready for that, when you said so I Purw conscientiw, et grandis audaciw est1', It is a very great confidence, and (if it be not grounded upon a very pure conscience) it must have a worse name, Regnum Dei postulate, et judicium non timere; To call upon God for the day of judgment, upon confidence of our own righteousness, is a shrewd distemper; to say, Vent Domine Jesu, Come Lord Jesu, come and take us, as thou findest us, is a dangerous issue. But adveniat regnum, and then veniat Rex, let his kingdom of grace come upon us, in this life, and then let himself come too, in his good time, and when his good pleasure shall be, in the kingdom of glory: Sive velimus sive nolimus, regnum Dei utique veniet"; What need we hasten him, provoke him? says St. Augustine; whether we will or no, his kingdom, his judgment will come. Nay, before we called for it, even his kingdom of grace was come. Christ said to the scribe, Non longe, Thou art not far from the' kingdom of God"; and to the Pharisees themselves he said, Intra vos, The kingdom of God is among you, within you". But, where there is a whole hospital of three hundred blind men together, (as there is at Paris) there is as much light, amongst them there, as amongst us here, and yet all they have no light, so this kingdom of God is amongst us all, and yet God knows whether we see it, or no. And therefore Adveniat ut manifestetur Dens, says St. Augustin, His kingdom come, that we may discern it is come, that we may see that God offers it to us; and, adveniat regnum, ut manefestemur Deo, his kingdom come so, that he may discern us in our reception of that kingdom, and our obedience to it. He conies when we see him, and he comes again, when we receive him: Quid est, regnum ejus veniat, quam utnos lonos inveniat? Then his kingdom comes, when he finds us willing to be subjects to that kingdom. God is a king in his own right. By creation, by redemption, by many titles, and many undoubted claims. But, Aliud est regem esse, aliud regnareTM, It is one thing to be a king, another to have subjects in obedience; a king is not the less a king, for a rebellion; but, Vere justum regnum est, (says that father) quando et rexvult
"Hierom. so Augustin. *1 Mark xii. 34.
** Luke xvii. 21. ^ Chrysostom.
homines habere sub se, et cupiunt homines esse sub eo, When the king would wish no other subjects, nor the subjects other king, then is that kingdom come, come to a durable, and happy state. When God hath showed himself in calling us, and we have showed our willingness to come, when God shows his desire to preserve us, and we adhere only to him, when there is a Dominus regnat, Iwtetur terra", when our whole land is in possession of peace, and plenty, and the whole church in possession of the word and sacraments, when the land rejoices because the Lord reigns; and when there is a Dominus regnat, lwtentur insulw, because the Lord reigneth, every island doth rejoice; that is, every man; that every man that is encompassed within a sea of calamities in his estate, with a sea of diseases in his body, with a sea of scruples in his understanding, with a sea of transgressions in his conscience, with a sea of sinking and swallowing in the sadness of spirit, may yet open his eyes above water, and find a place in the ark above all these, a recourse to God, and joy in him, in the ordinances of a well established, and well governed church, this is truly regnum Dei, the kingdom of God here; God is willing to be present with us, (that he declares in the preservation of his church) and we are sensible of his presence, and residence with us, and that we declare in our frequent recourses to him hither, and in our practice of those things which we have learnt here, when we have gone hence.
This then is the blessed state that we pretend to, in the kingdom of God in this life; peace in the state, peace in the church, peace in our conscience: in this, that we answer the motions of his blessed spirit here in his ordinance, and endeavour a conformity to him, in our life, and conversation; in this, he is our King, and we are his subjects, and this is this kingdom of God, the kingdom of grace. Now the title, by which we make claim to this kingdom, is in our text inheritance: who can, and who cannot inherit this kingdom of God. I cannot have it by purchase, by mine own merits and good works; it is neither my former good disposition, nor God's foresight of my future co-operation with him, that is the cause of his giving me his grace. I cannot have this by covenant, or by the gift, or bequeathing of another, by works of supererogation, that a martyr of the Primitive church
should send me a phial of his blood, a splinter of his bone, a collop of his flesh, wrapped up in a half-sheet of paper, in an imaginary - sixpenny indulgence from Rome, and bid me receive grace, and peace of conscience in that. I cannot have it by purchase, I cannot have it by gift, I cannot have it by courtesy, in the right of my wife, that if I will let her live in the obedience of the Roman church, and let her bring up my children so, for myself, I may have leave to try a court, or a worldly fortune, and be secure in that, that I have a Catholic wife, or a Catholic child to pray, and merit for me; I have no title to this kingdom of God, but inheritance, whence grows mine inheritance? ex semine Dei; because I am propagated of the seed of God, I inherit this peace. Whosoever is bor n of God doth not commit sin; for, his seed remaineth in him", and he cannot sin, because he is born of God: that is, he cannot desire to sin; he cannot antedate a sin, by delighting in the hope of a future sin, and sin in a preefruition of his sin, before the act; he cannot postdate a sin, delight in the memory of a past sin, and sin it over again, in a post-fruition of that sin; he cannot boast himself of sin, much less belie himself in glorying in sins, never done; he cannot take sin's diet, therefore, that he maybe able to sin again next spring; he cannot hunger and thirst, and then digest and sleep quietly after a sin; and to this purpose, and in this sense St. Bernard says, Prwdestinati non possunt peccare, That the elect cannot sin; and in this also, that when the sins of the elect, are brought to trial, and to judgment, there their sins are no sins; not because they are none in themselves, but because the blood of Jesus covering them, they are none in the eyes of God. I am heir then as I am the Son of God, born of the seed of God. But, what is that seed? verbum Dei, the seed is the word of God, Of his own will begat he us, (says that apostle) with the word of truth"; and our Saviour himself speaks very clearly in expounding the parable; The seed is the word of God*1. We have this kingdom of God, as we have an inheritance, as we are heirs; we are heirs as we are sons; we are sons as we have the seed, and the seed is the word. So that all ends in this; we inherit not this kingdom if we possesss not the preaching of the word; if we profess not the true religion still: for the word of this
"1 John iii. 9. u James i. 18. *? Luke viii. II.
text which we translate to inherit, for the most part, in the translation of the Septuagint, answers the Hebrew word, nachal; and nachal is hopreditas cum possess ione; not an inheritance in reversion, * but in possession. Take us 0 Lord, for thine inheritance, says Moses"; et possideas nos, as St. Hierome translates that very place; inherit us and possess us; et erimus tibi, whatsoever we are, we will be thine, says the Septuagint: you see then how much goes to the making up of this inheritance of the kingdom of God in this world, first, ut habeamus verbum, that we have thisse^f of God, his word; (in the Roman church they have it not; not that that church hath it not, not that it is not there; but they, the people have it not) and then, ut possideamus, that we possess it, or rather that it possess us; that we make the word the only rule of our faith, and of our actions; (in the Roman church they do not so, they have not pure wheat, but mestlin, other things joined with this good seed, the word, of God) and lastly, ut simus Deo, that we be his, that we be so still, that we do not begin with God, and give over, but that this seed of God, of which we are born, may (as St. Peter says) be incorruptible", and abide for ever; that we may be his so entirely, and so constantly, as that we had rather have no being, then for any time of suspension, or for any part of his fundamental truth, be without it, and this the Roman church cannot be said to do, that expunges and interlines articles of faith, upon reason of state, and emergent occasions. God hath made you one, says the prophet80, who be the parties whom God hath married together, and made one, in that place? you and your religion; (as our expositors interpret that place). And why one, says the prophet there; that God might have a goodly seed, says he, that is, a continuation, a propagation, a race, a posterity of the same religion; therefore says he, let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. Let none divorce himself from that religion, and that worship of God, which God put into his arms, and which he embraced in his baptism. Except there be error in fundamental points, such as make that church no church, let no man depart from that church, and that religion, in which he delivered himself to the service of God at first. Woe be unto us, if we deliver not over our religion to our posterity, in the
*0 Exod. xxxiv. 9. s" 1 Pet. i. 23. 30 Mal. ii. 15.
same sincerity, and the same totality in which our fathers have delivered it us; for that, that continuation, is that, that makes it an inheritance: for, (to conclude this) every man hath an inheritance in the law, and yet if he be hanged, he is hanged by the law, in which he had his inheritance: so we have our inheritance in the word of God, and yet, if we be damned, we are damned by that word; If thy heart turn away, so as that thou worship other gods, I denounce unto you this day, that you shall surely perish31. So then, we have an inheritance in this kingdom, if we preserve it, and we incur a forfeiture of it, if we have not this seed, (the Word, the truth of religion) so as that we possess it; that is, conform ourselves to him, whose word it is, by it, and possess it so, as that we persevere in the true profession of it, to our end; for perseverance, as well as possession, enters into our title, and inheritance to this kingdom.
You see then, what this kingdom of God is ; it is, when he comes and is8* welcome; when he comes in his sacraments, and speaks in his word; when he speaks and is answered, knocks and is received, (he knocks in his ordinances, and is received in our obedience to them, he knocks in his example, and most holy conversation, and is received in our conformity, and imitation). So have you seen what the inheritance of this kingdom is, it is a having, and holding of the Gospel, a present, and a permanent possession, a holding fast, lest another (another nation, another church) take our crown **. There remains only that you see, upon whom the exclusion falls; and for the clearing of that, This I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
It is fully expressed by St. Paul, The carnal mind is enmity against GodS*. It is not a coldness, a slackness, an omission, a preterition of some duties towards God, but it is enmity, and that is an exclusion out of the kingdom; for, (says the apostle there) it is not subject to the law of God; and no subjection, no kingdom; it is not, says he, neither can it be; it is not, that excludes the present; it cannot be, that excludes the future; so that it is only this incorrigible, this desperate state that constitutes his flesh and blood, that cannot inherit the kingdom of God;
31 Deut. xxx. 17, 18. "FoL edit. " and his welcome.''
33 Eev. ui. 11. 3* Rom. viii. 7.
VOL. IV. S
for this implies impenitibleness, which is the sin against the Holy Ghost. Take the word flesh, so literally, as that it be either the adorning of my flesh in pride, or the polluting of my flesh in wantonness, whether it be a pampering of my flesh with voluptuous provocations, or a withering, a shrivelling of my flesh w7ith superstitious and meritorious fastings, or other macerations, and lacerations by inhuman violence upon my body; take the word blood so literally, as that it be either an admiring and adoring of honourable blood, in a servile flattering of great persons, or an insinuating of false and adulterous blood, in a bastardizing a race, by supposititious children, whether it be the inflaming the blood of young persons by lascivious discourse, or shedding the blood of another in a murderous quarrel, whether it be in blaspheming the blood of my Saviour, in execrable oaths, or the profaning of his blood in an unworthy receiving thereof, all these ways, and all such, doth this flesh and blood exclude from the kingdom of God; it is summarily, all those works which proceed merely out of the nature of man, without the regeneration of the spirit of God; all that is flesh and blood, and enmity against God, says the apostle in that place.
But in another place, that apostle leads us into other considerations; to the Galatians he says, The works of the flesh are manifestTM: and amongst those manifest works of the flesh, he reckons not only sins of wantonness, and sins of anger, not only sins in concupiscibili, and in irascibili, but in intelligibili, sins and errors in the understanding, particularly heresy and idolatry are works of the flesh, in St. Paul's inventory, in that place, heresy and idolatry, are that flesh and blood which shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Bring we this consideration home to ourselves. The church of Rome does not charge us with affirming any heresy, nor does she charge us with any idolatry in our practice. So far we are discharged from the works of the flesh. If they charge us with doctrine of flesh and blood because we prefer marriage before chastity, it is a charge ill laid, for marriage and chastity consist well together; The bed undeflled is chastity. If they charge us that we prefer marriage before continency, they charge us unjustly, for we do not so: let them contain that can,
35 Gal. v. 19.
and bless God for that heavenly gift of continency, and let them that cannot, marry, and serve God, and bless him for affording them that physic for that infirmity. As marriage was ordained at first, for those two uses, Procreation of children, and mutual assistance of man, and wife, so continency was not preferred before marriage. As there was a third use of marriage added after the fall, by way of remedy, so marriage may well be said to be inferior to continency, as physic is in respect of health. If they charge us with it, because our priests marry, they do it frivolously, and impertinently, because they deny that we are priests. We charge them with heresy in the whole new creed of the Council of Trent, (for, if all the particular doctrines be not heretical, yet, the doctrine of inducing new articles of faith is heretical, and that doctrine runs through all the articles, for else they could not be articles.) And we charge them with idolatry, in the people's practice, (and that practice is never controlled by them) in the greatest mystery of all their religion, in the adoration of the sacrament; and heresy and idolatry are manifest works of the flesh. Our kingdom is the Gospel; our inheritance is our holding that; our exclusion is flesh and blood, heresy and idolatry. And therefore let us be able to say with the apostle, When God had called us, and separated us, immediately we conferred not with flesh and bloodTM. Since God hath brought us into a fair prospect, let us have no retrospect back; in Canaan, let us not look towards Egypt, nor towards Sodom, being got to the mountain; since God hath settled us in a true church, let us have no kind of bias, and declination towards a false; for that is one of St. Paul's manifest works of the flesh, and I shall lose all the benefit of the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus, if I do so, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
We have done; add we but this, by way of recollecting this which hath been said now, upon these words, and that which hath been formerly said upon those words of Job, which may seem to differ from these, (In my flesh I shall see God) Omne verum omni vero consentiens, whatsoever is true in itself agrees with
88 Gal. i. 16.
every other truth. Because that which Job says, and that which St. Paul says, agree with the truth, they agree with one another. For, as St. Paul says, Non omnis caro eadem caro, There is one flesh of man, another of beasts", so there is one flesh of Job, another of St. Paul; and Job's flesh can see God, and Paul's cannot; because the flesh that Job speaks of hath overcome the destruction of skin and body by worms in the grave, and so is mellowed and prepared for the sight of God in heaven; and Paul's flesh is overcome by the world. Job's flesh triumphs over Satan, and hath made a victorious use of God's corrections, Paul's flesh is still subject to temptations, and carnalities. Job's argument is but this, some flesh shall see God, (mortified men here, glorified men there shall) Paul's argument is this, all flesh shall not see God, (carnal men here, impenitent men there, shall not.) And therefore, that as our texts answer one another, so your resurrections may answer one another too; as at the last resurrection, all that hear the sound of the trumpet, shall rise in one instant, though they have passed thousands of years between their burials, so do all ye, who are now called, by a lower and infirmer voice, rise together in this resurrection of grace. Let him that hath been buried sixty years, forty years, twenty years, in covetousness, in uncleanness, in indevotion, rise now, now this minute, and then, as Adam that died five thousand before, shall be no sooner in heaven, in his body, than you, so Abel that died for God, so long before you, shall be no better, that is, no fuller of the glory of heaven, than you that die in God, when it shall be his pleasure to take you to him.