Sermon CXIV

SERMONS.

SERMON CXIV.

PREACHED AT DENMARK HOUSE,

Some Few Days Before The Body Of Kino James Was Removed From Thence, To His Burial, April 26, 1625 \

Canticles iii. 11.

Go forth ye daughters of Sion, and behold King Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.

In the creation of man, in that one word, Faeiamus, Let us make man, God gave such an intimation of the Trinity, as that we may well enlarge, and spread, and paraphrase that one word, so far, as to hear therein, a council of all the three persons, agreeing in this gracious design upon man, Faciamus, Let us make him; make him, and mend him, and make him sure:. I, the Father, will make him by my power; if he should fall, thou the Son shalt repair him, re-edify him, redeem him; if he should distrust that this redemption belonged not to him, thou, the Holy Ghost, shalt apply to his particular soul, and conscience, this mercy of mine, and this merit of the Son's; and so let us make him. In our text there is an intimation of another Trinity. The words are spoken but by one, but the persons in the text are three; for first, the speaker, the director of all, is the church, the spouse of Christ, she says, Go forth ye daughters of Sion; and then the persons that are called up, are, as you see, the daughters of Sion, the obedient children of the church, that hearken to her voice: and then lastly, the persons upon whom they are directed, is Solomon crowned, that is, Christ invested with the royal dignity

1 The king died March 27.

of being head of the church; and in this, especially, is this appliable to the occasion of our present meeting (all our meetings now, are, to confess to the glory of God, and the rectifying of our own consciences, and manners, the uncertainty of the prosperity, and the assuredness of the adversity of this world) that this crown of Solomon's in the text, will appear to be Christ's crown of thorns, his humiliation, his passion; and so these words will dismiss us in this blessed consolation, that then we are nearest to our crown of glory, when we are in tribulation in this world, and then enter into full possession of it, when we come to our dissolution and transmigration out of this world: and these three persons, the church that calls, the children that hearken, and Christ in his humiliation, to whom they are sent, will be the three parts, in which we shall determine this exercise.

First then, the person that directs us, is the church; no man hath seen God, and lives; but no man lives till he have Heard God; for God spake to him, in his baptism, and called him by his name, then. Now, as it were a contempt in the king's house, for aliy servant to reftise anything, except he might hear the king in person' command it; when the king hath already so established the government of his house, as that his commaiidttieiits &re to be Signified by his great officers: so neither are we to look that God should speak to us mouth to mouth, spirit to spirit, by inspiration, by revelation, for it is a large mercy, that he hath constituted an office, and established a church, in which we should hear him. When Christ was baptized by John, it is said by all those three evangelists, that report that story, in particular circumstances, that there was a voice heard from heaven, saying; This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: and it is not added in any of those* three evangelists, that that voice added, hear him: for, after that declaration, that he, who' was Visibly and personally Come atiiOhgst them, was the Son of God, there Was HO reason to doubt of riien's willingness to hear him, whb went forth in person, to preach unto them, in this world; as ldhg as he was to stay with them, it was not likely that they should need provocation, to hear him, therefore that was Hot added at his baptism, and entrance into his personal ministry: but when Christ came to his transfiguration, which was a manifestation of his glory, in the next world, and an intimation of the approaching of the time of his going away, to the possession of that glory; out of this world, there that voice from heaven says, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear* him': when he was gone out of this world, men needed a more particular solicitation to hear him; for how, and where, and in whom should they hear him, when he was gone? In the churchy for the same testimony that God gave of Christ, to authorize and justify his preaching, hath Christ given of the church, to justify her power: the Holy Ghost fell upon Christ, at his baptism^ and the Holy Ghost fell upon the apostles, (who were the representative church) at Whitsuntide: the Holy Ghost tarried upon Christ then, and the Holy Ghost shall tarry with the church, usque ad consummationem^ till the end of the world; And therefore, as we have that institution from Christ, die ecclesiw, When men are refractory and perverse, to complain to the church, 80 have they who are complained of to the church, that institution from Christ also, audi ecclesiam, hearken to the voice of God, in the church; and they have from him that commination, If you disobey them, you disobey God; in what fetters soever they bind you, you shall rise bound in those fetters; and, as he who is excommunicated in one diocese, should not be received in another; so let no man presume of a better state, in the Triumphant church, than he holds in the Militant, or hope for communion there, that despises excommunication here. That which the Scripture says, God says, (says St. Augustine) for the Scripture is his word; and that which the church says, the Scriptures say, for she is their word, they speak in her; they authorize her, and she explicates them; the Spirit of God inanimates the Scriptures, and makes them his Scriptures, the church actuates the Scriptures, and makes them our Scriptures: Nihil salubrius^ says the same father, There is not so wholesome a thing, no soul can live in so good an air, and in so good a diet, Quam ut rationem prweedat authoritas, Then still to submit a man's own particular reason, to the authority of the church expressed in the Scriptures: for, certainly it is very truly (as it is very usefully) said by Calvin, Semper niiriia morositas, est ambitiosa, A frowardness, and an

* Matt. xvii. 5.

aptness to quarrel at the proceedings of the church, and to be delivered from the obligations, and constitutions of the church, is ever accompanied with an ambitious pride, that they might enjoy a licentious liberty; it is not because the church doth truly take too much power, but because they would be under none; it is an ambition, to have all government in their own hands, and to be absolute emperors of themselves, that makes them refractory: but, if they will pretend to believe in God, they must believe in God so, as God hath manifested himself to them, they must believe in Christ; so if they will pretend to hear Christ, they must hear him there, where he hath promised to speak, they must hear him in the church.

The first reason then in this Trinity, the person that directs, is the church; the trumpet in which God sounds his judgments, and the organ in which he delivers his mercy; and then the persons of the second place, the persons to whom the church speaks here, are filiw Sion, The daughters of Sion, her own daughters. We are not called filii ecclesiw, sons of the church: the name of sons may imply more virility, more manhood, more sense of our own strength, than becomes them, who profess an obedience to the church: therefore, as by a name, importing more facility, more suppleness, more application, more tractableness, she calls her children daughters. But then, being a mother, and having the dignity of a parent upon her, she does not proceed supplicatorily, she does not pray them, nor intreat them, she does not say, I would you would go forth, and I would you would look out, but it is egredimini, et videte, imperatively, authoritatively, do it, you must do it: so that she shows what, in important and necessary cases, the power of the church is, though her ordinary proceedings, by us and our ministry be, to pray you, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. In your baptism, your souls became daughters of the church; and they must continue so, as long as they continue in you; you cannot divest your allegiance to the church, though you would; no more than you can to the state, to whom you cannot say, I will be no subject. A father may disinherit his son upon reasons, but even that disinherited child cannot renounce his father. That church which conceived thee in the covenant of God, made to Christians and their seed, and brought thee forth in baptism, and brought thee up in catechizing, and preaching, may yet, for thy misdemeanour to God in her, separate thee, d mensa et toro, from bed and board; from that sanctuary of the soul, the communion table, and from that sanctuary of the body, Christian burial, and even that Christian burial gives a man a good rise, a good help, a good advantage, even at the last resurrection, to be laid down in expectation of the resurrection, in holy ground, and in a place accustomed to God's presence, and to have been found worthy of that communion of saints, in the very body, is some earnest, and some kind of first-fruits of the joyful resurrection, which we attend: God can call our dead bodies from the sea, and from the fire, and from the air, for every element is his; but consecrated ground m our element. And therefore, you daughters of Sion, holy and religious souls, (for to them only this indulgent mother speaks here) hearken ever to her voice; quarrel not3 with your mother's honour, nor her discretion: despise not her person, nor her apparel; do not say, she is not the same woman she was heretofore, nor that she is not so well dressed as she was then; dispute not her doctrine, dispise not her discipline; that as you sucked her breasts in your baptism, and in the other sacrament, when you entered, and whilst you stayed in this life, so you may lie in her bosom, when you go out of it. Hear her; and a good part of that which you are to hear from her, is involved and enwrapped in that which we have proposed to you for our third part, Go forth, and behold Solomon, &c.

Here are two duties enjoined; at least two steps, two degrees; egredimini, go forth, and then, videte, behold, contemplate; and, after the duty, or wrapped in the duty, we have the object which we are to look upon, and in that, divers things to be considered; as we shall see in their order. First, when we are bid to go forth, it is not to go so far, as out of that church, in which God hath given us our station; for, as Moses says, That the word of God is not beyond sea; so the church of God is not so beyond sea as that we must needs seek it there, either in a painted church, on one side, or in a naked church, on another; a church in a dropsy, overflown with ceremonies, or a church in a consumption,

3 Folio Edition, " Quarrel not your mother's honour."

for want of such ceremonies, as the primitive church found useful, and beneficial for the advancing of the glory of God, and the devotion of the congregation. That which Christ says to the church itself, the church says to every soul in the church: Go thy way forth, by the footsteps of the flock1; associate thyself to the true shepherd, and true sheep of Christ Jesus, and stray not towards idolatrous chapels, nor towards schismatical conventicles, but go by the footsteps of the flock; there must be footsteps, some must have gone that way before, take heed of opinions, that begin in thyself; and the whole flock must have gone that way, take heed of opinions vented by a few new men, which have not had the establishment of a church. And truly the best way to discern footsteps, is Daniel's way, Daniel's way was to strew ashes, and so their footsteps that had been there were easily discerned: walk in thine own ashes, in the meditation of thine own death, or in the ashes of God's saints, who are dead before thee, in the contemplation of their example, and thou wilt see some footsteps of the flock, some impressions, some directions, how they went, and how thou art to follow, to the heavenly Jerusalem. In conversing evermore with them which tread upon carpets, or upon marbles, thou shalt see no footsteps, carpets and marbles receive no impressions; amongst them that tread in ashes, in the ways of holy sorrow, and religious humiliation, thou shalt have the way best marked out unto thee. Go forth, that is, go farther than thyself, out of thyself; at least out of the love of thyself, for that is but a short, a giddy, a vertiginous walk; how little a thing is the greatest man! If thou have many rooms in thyself, many capacities to contemplate thyself in, if thou walk over the consideration of thyself, as thou hast such a title of honour, such an office of command, such an inheritance, such a pedigree, such a posterity, such an alliance, if this be not a short walk, yet it is a round walk, a giddy, a vertiginous proceeding. Get beyond thine own circle; consider thyself at thine end, at thy death, and then egredere, go farther than that, go forth and see what thou shalt be after thy death.

Still that which we are to look upon, is especially ourselves, but it is ourselves, enlarged and extended into the next world;

4 Cant. i. 8.

for till we see what we shall be then, we are but short sighted. Wouldst thou say, thou knewest a man, because thou hadst seen him in his cradle? No more canst thou be said to have known thyself, because thou knowest the titles and additions which thou hast received in this word; for all those things which we have here, are but swaddling clouts, and all our motions and preferments, from place to place, are but the rocking of a cradle. The first thing that Christ says to his spouse in the Canticles, is, If thou know not thyself', (for so all the ancients read it, and so the original bears it) If thou know not thyself O thou fairest of women; she might know that she was the fairest of women, and yet not know herself; thou mayest know that thou art the happiest of men, in this world, and yet not know thyself. All this life is but a preface, or but an index and repertory to the book of life; there, at that book begins thy study; to grow perfect in that book, to be daily conversant in that book, to find what be the marks of them, whose names are written in that book, and to find those marks, ingenuously, and in a rectified conscience, in thyself, to find that no murmuring at God's corrections, no disappointing of thy hopes, no interrupting of thy expectations, no frustrating of thy possibilities in the way, no impatience in sickness, and in the agony of death, can defkee those marks, this is to go forth, and see thyself beyond thyself, to see what thou shalt be in the next world. Now we cannot see our own face without a glass: and therefore in the old temple, in or about that laver of brass, where the water for the uses of the church was reserved, Moses appointed looking-glasses to be placed6; that so, at the entering into the temple, men might see themselves, and make use of that water, if they had contracted any foulness in any part about them. Here, at your coming hither now, you have two glasses, wherein you may see yourselves from head to foot; one in the text, your head, Christ Jesus, represented unto you, in the name and person of Solomon, Behold King Solomon crowned, fee. And another, under your feet, in the dissolution of this great monarch, our royal master, now laid lower by death than any of us, his subjects and servants.

5 Cant. i . 8. 6 Exod. xxxviii. 8.

First then, behold yourselves in that first glass, Behold King Solomon; Solomon the son of David, but not the son of Bathsheba, but of a better mother, the most blessed Virgin Mary. For, Solomon, in this text, is not a proper name, but an appellative; a significative word: Solomon is pacificus, the peace-maker, and our peace is made in, and by Christ Jesus: and he is that Solomon, whom we are called upon to see here. Now, as St. Paul says, that He would know nothing but Christ, (that is his first abridgment) and then he would know nothing of Christ, but him crucified, (and that is the re-abridgment) so we seek no other glass, to see ourselves in, but Christ, nor any other thing in this glass, but his humiliation. What need we? Even that, his lowest humiliation, his death, is expressed here, in three words of exaltation, it is a crown, it is a marriage, it is the gladness of heart: Behold King Solomon crowned, &c.

The crown, which we are called to see him crowned with, his mother put upon him; the crown which his Father gave him, was that glory, wherewith he was glorified, with the Father, from all eternity, in his divine nature: and the crown wherewith his Father crowned his human nature, was the glory given to that, in his ascension. His mother could give him no such crown; she herself had no crown, but that, which he gave her. The crown that she gave him, was that substance, that he received from her, our flesh, our nature, our humanity, and this, Athanasius, and this, St. Ambrose, calls the crown, wherewith his mother crowned him, in this text, his infirm, his human nature. Or, the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, was that crown, to which, that infirm nature which he took from her, submitted him, which was his passion, his crown of thorns; for so Tertullian, and divers others take this crown of his, from her, to be his crown of thorns: Woe to the crown of pride, whose beauty is a fading flower, says the prophet7; but blessed be this crown of humiliation, whose flower cannot fade. Then was there truly a rose amongst thorns, when through his crown of thorns, you might see his title, Jesus Nazarenus: for, in that very name, Nazarenus, is involved the signification of a flower; the very word signifies a flower. Esay's flower i ti the crown of pride fades, and is removed; this flower

in the crown of thorns fades not, nor could he removed: for, for all the importunity of the Jews, Pilato would not suffer that title to be removed, or to be changed; still Nazarenus remained, and still a rose amongst thorns. You know the curse of the earth, Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee*; it did so to our Solomon here, it brought forth thorns to Christ, and he made a crown of those thorns, not only for himself, but for us too, Omnes aculei mortis, in dominici corporis tolerantia, obtusi sunt3, All the thorns of life and death, are broken, or blunted upon the head of our Solomon, and now, even our thorns, make up our crown, our tribulation in life, our dissolution in death, conduce to our glory: Behold him crowned with his mother's crown, for even that brought him to his Father's crown, his humiliation to exaltation, his passion to glory.

Behold your Solomon, your Saviour again, and you shall see another beam of comfort, in your tribulations from his; for even this humiliation of his, is called his espousals, his marriage, Behold him crowned in the day of his espousals. His spouse is the church, his marriage is the uniting of himself to this spouse, in his becoming head of the church. The great city, the heavenly Jerusalem, is called the bride, and the Lamb's wife, in the Revelation10: and he is the head of this body, the bridegroom of this bride, the head of this church, as he is the first born of the dead; death, that dissolves all ours, made up this marriage. His death is his marriage, and upon his death flowed out from his side, those two elements of the church, water and blood; the sacraments of baptism, and of the communion of himself. Behold then this Solomon crowned and married; both words of exaltation and exultation, and both by death ; and trust him for working the same effects upon thee; that thou (though by death) shall be crowned with a crown of glory, and married to him, in whose right and merit thou slialt have that crown.

And behold him once again, and you shall not see a beam, but a stream of comfort; for this day, which is the day of his death, he calls here The day of the gladness of his heart. Behold him crowned in the day of the gladness of his heart. The fulness, the

compass, the two hemispheres of heaven, are often designed to us, in these two names, joy and glory: If the cross of Christ, the. death of Christ, present us both these, how near doth it bring, how fully doth it deliver heaven itself to us in this life \ And then we hear - the apostle say, We see Jesus, for the suffering of death, crowned with honour and glory11: there is half heaven got by death, glory. And then, For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross,2; there is the other half, joy; all heaven purchased by death. And therefore, If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, saith the apostle13; but let him glorify God, inisto nomine, as the Vulgate reads it; in that behalf, as we translate it. But, In isto nomine, saith St. Augustine: Let us glorify God, in that name; non solum in nomine Ohristiani, sed Christiani patientis, not only because he is a Christian in his baptism, but a Christian in a second baptism, a baptism of blood; not only as he hath received Christ, in accepting his institution, but because he hath conformed himself to Christ, in fulfilling his sufferings. And therefore, though we admit natural and human sorrow, in the calamities which overtake us, and surround us in this life: (for as all glasses will gather drops and tears from external causes, so this very glass which we look upon now, our Solomon in the text, our Saviour, had those sadnesses of heart toward his passion, and agonies in his passion) yet Count it all joy when you fall into temptations, saith the apostle14: all joy, that is, both the interest and the principal, hath the earnest and the bargain; for if you can conceive joy in your tribulations in this world, How shall that joy be multiplied unto you, when no tribulation shall be mingled with it? There is not a better evidence, nor a more binding earnest of everlasting joy in the next world, than to find joy of heart in the tribulations of this; fix thyself therefore upon this first glass, this Solomon, thy Saviour, Behold King Solomon crowned, &c., and by conforming thyself to his holy sadness, and humiliation, thou shalt also become like him, in his joy, and glory.

But then the hand of God hath not set up, but laid down another glass, wherein thou mayest see thyself; a glass that

11 Heb. ii.9.

13 1 Pet. iv. 16.

l2 Heb. xii. 2. 14 James i. 2.

reflects thyself, and nothing but thyself. Christ, who was the other glass, is like thee in every thing, but not absolutely, for sin is excepted; but in this glass presented now (the body of our royal, but dead master and sovereign) we cannot, wa do not except sin. Not only the greatest man is subject to natural infirmities, (Christ himself was so) but the holiest man is subject to original and actual sin, as thou art, and so a fit glass for thee, tq see thyself in. Jet shows a man his face, as well as crystal; nay, a crystal glass will not show a man his face, except it be steeled, except it be darkened on the back side: Christ as he was a pure crystal glass, as he was God, had not been a glass for us, to have seen ourselves in, except he had been steeled, darkened with our human nature; neither was he ever so thoroughly darkened, as that he could present us wholly to ourselves, because he had no sin, without seeing of which we do not see ourselves. Those therefore that are like thee in all things, subject to human infirmities, subject to sins, and yet are translated, and translated by death, to everlasting joy, and glory, are nearest and clearest glasses for thee, to see thyself in; and such is this glass, which God hath proposed to thee, in this house. And therefore, change the word of the text, in a letter or two, from egredimini, to ingredimini; never go forth to see, but Go in and see a Solomon crowned with his mother's crown, &c. And when you shall find that hand that bad signed to one of you a patent for title, to another for pension, to another for pardon, to another for dispensation, dead: that hand that settled possessions by his seal, in the keeper, and rectified honours by the sword, in his marshal, and distributed relief to the poor, in his almoner, and health to the diseased, by his immediate touch, dead: that hand that balanced bis own three kingdoms so equally, as that none of them complained of one another, nor of him, and carried the keys of all the Christian world, and locked up, and let out armies in their due season, dead; how poor, how faint, how pale, how momentary, how transitory, how empty, how frivolous, how dead things, must you necessarily think titles, and possessions, and favours, and all, when you see that hand, which was the hand of destiny, of Christian destiny, of the Almighty (Jod, lie dead! It was not so hard a hand when we touched it last, nor so cold a hand when wc kissed it last: that hand which was wont to wipe all tears from all our eyes, doth now but press and squeeze us as so many sponges, filled one with one, another with another cause of tears. Tears that can have no other bank to bound them, but the declared and manifested will of God: for, till our tears flow to that height, that they might be called a murmuring against the declared will of God, it is against our allegiance, it is disloyalty, to give our tears any stop, any termination, any measure. It was a great part of Anna's praise, That she departed not from the temple, day nor night"; visit God's temple often in the day, meet him in his own house, and depart not from his temples, (the dead bodies of his saints are his temples still) even at midnight; at midnight remember them, who resolve into dust, and make them thy glasses to see thyself in. Look now especially upon him whom God hath presented to thee now, and with as much cheerfulness as ever thou heardst him say, Remember my favours, or remember my commandments; hear him say now with the wise man, Remember my judgment, for thine also shall be so; yesterday for me, and to-day for thee16; he doth not say to-morrow, but to-day, for thee. Look upon him as a beam of that sun, as an abridgment of that Solomon in the text; for every Christian truly reconciled to God, and signed with his hand in the absolution, and sealed with his blood in the sacrament, (and this was his case) is a beam, and an abridgment of Christ himself. Behold him therefore, crowned with the crown that his mother gives him: his mother, the earth. In ancient times, when they used to reward soldiers with particular kinds of crowns, there was a great dignity in corona graminea, in a crown of grass: that denoted a conquest, or a defence of that land. He that hath but coronam gramineam, a turf of grass in a church-yard, hath a crown from his mother, and even in that burial taketh seisure of the resurrection, as by a turf of grass men give seisure of land. He is crowned in the day of his marriage; for though it be a day of divorce of us from him, and of divorce of his body from his soul, yet neither of these divorces break the marriage: his soul is

15 Luke ii. 37. 16 Ecclus. xxxviii. 22.

married to him that made it, and his body and soul shall meet again, and all we, both then in that glory where we shall acknowledge, that there is no way to this marriage, but this divorce, nor to life, but by death. And lastly, he is crowned in the day of the gladness of his heart: he leaveth that heart, which was accustomed to the half joys of the earth, in the earth; and he hath enlarged his heart to a greater capacity of joy, and glory, and God hath filled it according to that new capacity. And therefore, to end all with the apostle's words, / would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them, which are asleep, that ye sorroto not, as others that have no hope; for if ye believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so, them also, which sleep in him, will God bring with him"'. But when you have performed this ingredimini, that you have gone in, and mourned upon him, and performed the egredimini, you have gone forth, and laid his sacred body, in consecrated dust, and come then to another egredimini, to a going forth in many several ways: some to the service of their new master, and some to the enjoying of their fortunes conferred by their old; some to the raising of new hopes, some to the burying of old, and all; some to new, and busy endeavours in court, some to contented retirings in the country; let none of us go so far from him, or from one another, in any of our ways, but that all we that have served him, may meet once a day, the first time we see the sun, in the ears of Almighty God, with humble and hearty prayer, that he will be pleased to hasten that day, in which it shall be an addition, even to the joy of that place, as perfect as it is, and as infinite as it is, to see that face again, and to see those eyes open there, which we have seen closed here. Amen.

17 1 Thess. iv. 13.

14