PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1B2I.
John i. 8.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
It is an injury common to all the evangelists, (as Irenseus notes) that all their Gospels were severally refused by one sect of heretics or other. But it was proper to St. John alone, to be refused by a sect, that admitted all the other three evangelists, (as Epiphanius remembers) and refused only St. John. These were the Alogiani, a limb and branch of the Arians, who being unable to look upon the glorious splendour, the divine glory, attributed by St. John to this Logos, (which gave them their name of Alogiani) this Word, this Christ, not comprehending this mystery, that this Word was so with God, as that it was God; they took a round way, and often practised, to condemn all that they did not understand, and therefore refuse the whole Gospel. Indeed his whole Gospel is comprehended in the beginning thereof. In this first chapter is contracted all that which is extensively spread, and dilated through the whole book. For here is first, the foundation of all, the divinity of Christ, to the 15th verse. Secondly, the execution of all, the offices of Christ, to the 35th verse. And then the effect, the working, the application of all, that is, who were to preach all this, to the ends of the world, the calling of his apostles, to the end of the chapter: for the first, Christ's divinity, there is enough expressed in the very first verse alone: for, there is his eternity, intimated in that word, In principio, In the beginning. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, and the last book, (that is, that which was last written) this Gospel, begin both with this word, in the beginning. But the last beginning was the first, if Moses' beginning do only denote the Creation, which was not six thousand years since, and St. John's, the eternity of Christ, which no millions, multiplied by millions, can calculate. And then, as his eternity, so his distinction of persons, is also specified in this first verse, when the word, (that is, Christ) is said to have been apud Deim, with God.
For, therefore, (says St. Basil) did the Holy Ghost rather choose to say apud Deum, then in Deo, with God, than in God, ne auferendw hypostaseos occasionem daret, lest ho should give any occasion of denying the same nature, in divers persons; for it doth more clearly notify a distinction of persons, to say, He was with him, than to say, He was in him; for the several attributes of God, (mercy and justice, and the rest) are in God, and yet they are not distinct persons. Lastly, there is also expressed in this first verse, Christ's equality with God, in that it is said, Et verbum erat Deus, and this word was God. As it was in the beginning, and therefore eternal, and as it was with God, and therefore a distinct person, so it was God, and therefore equal to the Father; which phrase doth so vex and anguish the Arians, that being disfurnished of all other escapes, they corrupted the place, only with a false interpunction, and broke oft* the words, whore they admitted no such pause ; for, they read it thus, Verbum erat apud Deum; (so far, well) et Deus erat. There they made their point; and then followed in another sentence: Verbum hoc erat in principio, &c.
The first part then of this chapter, (and indeed of the wholo Gospel) is in that first verse the manifestation of his Divine nature, in his eternity, in the distinction of persons, in the equality with the Father. The second part of the chapter layeth down the office of Christ, his prophetical, his priestly, his royal office. For the first, the office of a prophet consisting in three several exercises, to manifest things past, to foretell things to come, and to expound things present. Christ declared himself to be a prophet in all these three: for, for the first, he was not only a verbal, but an actual manifester of former prophecies, for all the former prophecies were accomplished in his person, and in his deeds, and words, in his actions and passion. For the second, his foretelling of future things, he foretold the state of the church, to the end of the world. And for the third (declaring of present things) he told the Samaritan woman, so exquisitely, all her own history, that she gave presently that attestation, Sir, I see that thou art a prophet1: so his prophetical office, is plainly laid down. For his second office, his priesthood, that is expressed in the thirty-sixth
1 John iv. 19.
verse, Behold the Lamb of God; for, in this, he was our priest, that he was our ^sacrifice; he was our priest, in that he offered himself for our sins. Lastly, his royal office was the most natural to him of all the rest. The office of a prophet was natural to none; none was born a prophet. Those who are called the children of the prophets, and the sons of the prophets, are but the prophet's disciples. Though the office of priesthood, by being annexed to one tribe, may (in some sense) be called natural, yet in Christ it could not be so, for he was not of that tribe of Levi: so that he had no interest in the legal priesthood, but was a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. But this title to be king, was natural, by descent, he was of the blood royal, and the nearest in succession; so that he, and only he, had, de jure, all the three unctions upon him. David had two; he was both a prophet, and a king; he had those two capacities: Melchizedek had two too: he was both a king and a priest; he had two: only Christ had all three, both a prophet, and priest, and king.
In the third part of the chapter, which is the calling of four of his apostles, we may observe that the first that was called, was not Peter, but Andrew; that there might be laid at first some interruption, some stop to their zealous fury, who will still force, and heap up every action which any way concerns St. Peter, to the building up of his imaginary primacy, which primacy, they cared not though Peter wanted, if they could convey that primacy to his successor, by any other title; for which successor's sake it is, and not for St. Peter's own, that they are so over diligent in il advancing his prerogative. But, it was not Peter, that was || called, but Andrew. In Andrew's present and earnest application of himself to Christ, we may note, (and only so) divers particulars, fit for use and imitation. In his first question, Master, where dwellest thou? there is not only, (as Cyril observes) a reverent ascribing to him a power of instructing in that compellation, Master, but a desire to have more time afforded to hearken to his instructions, Where dwellest thou, that I may dwell with thee? And as soon as ever he had taken in some good portion of knowledge himself, he conceives presently a desire to communicate his happiness with others; and he seeks his brother Peter, and tells him, Imenimus Messiam, we have found the Messias; which is, (as St. Chrysostom notes) vox quwrentis: in this, that he rejoices in the finding of him, he testifies that he had sought him, and that he had continued in the expectation of a Messias before. Invenit Messiam, he had found the Messias; but, saith the text, Duxit ad Jesum, he brought his brother the glorious news of having found a king, the King of the Jews, but he led him to Jesus, to a Saviour; that so, all kinds of happiness, temporal and spiritual, might be intimated in this discovery of a king, and of a Saviour; What may not his servants hope for at his hands, who is both those, a king and a Saviour, and hath worldly preferments, and the glory of heaven in his power l
Now, though the words of this text, (He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light) are placed in the first part of the chapter, that which concerns Christ's divine nature, yet they belong, and they have a respect to all three; to his divine nature, to his offices, and to his calling of his apostles: for, first, light denotes his divine nature; secondly, the testimony that is given of him by John Baptist, (of whom the words of our text are spoken) declares him to be the Messias, and Messias, (which signifies anointed) involves all his offices,, for his three offices, are his three vocations; and thirdly, the application of this testimony, given by John Baptist here, by the apostles and their successors after, intimates or brings to our memory this their first vocation, in this chapter. So that the Gospel of St. John contains all divinity, this chapter all the Gospel, and this text all the chapter. Therefore it is too large to go through at this time; at this time we shall insist upon such branches as arise out of that consideration, what, and who this light is, for we shall find it to be both a personal light, (it is some body) and, otherwise too, a real light, (it is some thing) therefore we inquire, what this light is (what thing) and who this light is, (what person) which John Baptist is denied to be. Hereafter we shall consider, the testimony which is given of this light; in which part in due time, we shall handle, the person of the witness John Baptist, in whom we shall find many considerable, and extraordinary circumstances: and then, his citation, and calling to this testimony; and thirdly, the testimony itself that he gave: and lastly, why any testimony was requisite to so evident a thing as light. But the first part, Who, Vol. v. E
and what this light is, belongs most properly to this day, and will fill that portion of the day, which is afforded us for this exercise. . Proceed we therefore to that, John Baptist was not that light. Who was, what was \
Though most expositors, as well ancient, as modern agree with one general, and unanime consent, that light in this verse is intended and meant of Christ, Christ is this light ; yet in some precedent and subsequent passages in this chapter, I see other senses have been admitted of this word, light, than perchance thoso places will bear; certainly other than those places need: particularly, in the fourth verse (In it was life, and that life was the light of men) there they understand life, to be nothing but this natural life which we breathe, and light to be only that natural life, natural reason, which distinguishes us men from other creatures. Now, it is true that they may have a pretence for some ground of this interpretation in antiquity itself, for, so says St. Cyril, Films Dei creative illuminat, Christ doth enlighten us, in creating us. And so some others of the fathors, and some of the School, understand by that light natural reason, and that life, conservation in life. But this interpretation seems to me subject to both these dangers, that it goes so far, and yet reaches not home. So far, in wresting in divers senses into a word, which needs but one, and is of itself clear enough, that is light, and yet reaches not homo, for it reaches not to the essential light, which is Christ Jesus, nor to the supernatural light, which is faith and grace, which seems to have been the evangelist's principal scope, to declare the coming of Christ, (who is the essential light) and his purpose in coming, to raise and establish a church, by faith and grace, which is the supernatural light: for, as the Holy Ghost himself interprets life to be meant of Christ, (He that hath the Son hath life*) so we may justly do of light too, he that sees the Son, the Son of God hath light. For, light is never, (to my remembrance) found in any place of the Scripture, where it must necessarily signify the light of nature, natural reason; but wheresoever it is transferred from the natural to a-figurative sense, it takes a higher signification than that; either it signifies essential light, Christ Jesus, (which answers our first question, Quia lux,
* 1 John v. 12.
Who is this light, it is Christ personally) or it signifies the supernatural light of faith and grace, (which answers our second question, Quid lux, What is this light, for it is the working of Christ, by his spirit, in his church, in the infusion of faith and grace, for belief, and manners) and therefore though it be ever lawful, and oftentimes very useful, for the raising and exaltation of our devotion, and to present the plenty, and abundance of the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures, who satisfies us as with marrow, and with fatness, to induce the divers senses that the Scriptures do admit, yet this may not be admitted, if there may be danger thereby, to neglect or weaken the literal sense itself. For there is no necessity of that spiritual wantonness of finding more than [necessary senses; for, the more lights there are, the more shadows are also cast by those many lights. And, as it is true in religious duties, so is it in interpretation of matters of religion, necessarium et satis convertuntur; when you have done that you ought to do in your calling, you have done enough; there are no such evangelical counsels, as should raise works of supererogation, more than you are bound to do, so when you have the necessary sense, that is the meaning of the Holy Ghost in that place, you have senses enough, and not till then, though you have never so many, and never so delightful.
Light therefore, is in all this chapter fitliest understood of Christ; who is noted here, with that distinctive article, Illa lux, that light. For, non sic dicitur lux, sicut lapis"; Christ is not so called light, as he is called a rock, or a corner-stone; not by a metaphor, but truly, and properly. It is true that the apostles are said to be light, and that with an article, the light; but yet with a limitation and restriction, The light of the world*, that is, set up to convey light to the world. It is true that John Baptist himself was called light, and with large additions, Lucerna ardens, a burning, and a shining lamp5, to denote both his own burning zeal, and the communicating of this his light to others. It is true, that all the faithful are said to be light in the Lord6; but all this is but to signify that they had been in darkness before; they had been be-clouded, but were now illustrated; they
were light, but light by reflection, by illustration of a greater light. And as in the first creation, Vesper et mane dies unus, The evening and the morning made the day, evening before morning, darkness before light, so in our regeneration, when we are made new creatures, the Spirit of God finds us in natural darkness, and by him we are made light in the Lord. But Christ himself, and he only, is Ilia lux, vera lux, That light, the true light. Not so opposed to those other lights, as though the apostles, or John Baptist, or the faithful, who are called lights, were false lights; but that they were weak lights. But Christ was fons lucis, the fountain of all their light; light so, as nobody else was so; so, as that he was nothing but light. Now, neither the apostles, nor John Baptist, nor the elect, no nor the Virgin Mary (though we should allow all that the Roman church ask in her behalf) for the Roman church is not yet come to that searedness, that obdurateness, that impudency, as to pronounce that the Virgin Mary was without original sin, (though they have done many shrewd acts towards it, to the prejudice of the contrary opinion) yet none of these were so light, as they were nothing but light. Moses himself who received and delivered the law, was not so; and to intimate so much, there was an illustration, and irradiation upon his face, but not so of all his body. Nay, Christ Jesus himself, who fulfilled the law, as man, was not so; which he also intimated in the greatest degree of glorification which he accepted upon earth, which was his transfiguration, for, though it be said in that, That the fashion of his countenance was changed, and his garment was white, and glistered1, yet, Lineamenta Petro agnoscibilia servavit3, He kept that former proportion of body, that Peter could know him by it. So that this was not a glorifying of the body, and making it thorough light; but he suffered his divine nature to appear and shine through his flesh, and not to swallow, or annihilate that flesh. All other men, by occasion of this flesh, have dark clouds, yea nights, yea long and frozen winter^nights of sin, and of the works of darkness. Christ was incapable of any such nights, or any such clouds, any approaches towards sin; but yet Christ admitted some shadows, some such degrees of human infirmity,
1 Luke ix. 29. * Tertullian.
as by them, he was willing to show, that the nature of man, in the best perfection thereof, is not vera lux, tota lux, true light, all light, which he declared in that Si possibile, and that Transeat calix, If it be possible, let this cup pass3; words, to which himself was pleased to allow so much of a retractation, and a correction, Venintamen, yet Father, whatsoever the sadness of my soul have made me say, Yet, not my will but thine be done; not mine, but thine; so that they were not altogether, all one; human infirmity made some difference. So that no one man, not Christ, (considered but so as man) was tota lux, all light, no cloud. No not mankind, consider it collectively, can be light so, as that there shall be no darkness. It was not so, when all mankind was in one person, in Adam. It is said sometimes in School, that no man can keep the commandments, yet man, collectively, may keep them. They intend no more horein, but that some one man may abstain from doing any act against worshipping of images, another from stealing, another from adultery, and others from others. But if it were possible to compose a man of such elements, as that the principalest virtues, and eminences of all other men, should enter into his composition, and if there could be found a man, as perfect in all particular virtues, as Moses was in meekness, (who was a meek man, above all the men that were upon the earth '"') yet this man would not be vera lux, tota lux, true light, all light. Moses was not so meek, but that he slew the Egyptian, nor so meek, but that he disputed and expostulated with God many times, passionately. Every man is so far from being tota lux, all light, as that he hath still within him, a dark vapour of original sin, and the cloud of human flesh without him.
Nay not only no man, (for so we may consider him in the whole course of his life) but no one act, of the most perfect, and religious man in the world, though that act employ but half a minute in the doing thereof, can be vera lux, true light, all light, so perfect light, as that it may serve another, or thyself, for a lanthorn to his, or thy feet, or a light to his, or thy steps, so that he or thou may think it enough to do so still. For, another man may do so good works, as it may justly work to thy shame, and confusion, and to the aggravating of thy condemnation, that thou
• Matt. xxvi. 39. 10 Numb. xii. 3.
livest not as well as he, yet, it would not perchance servo thy turn, to live but so well; for, to whom God gives more, of him he requires more. No man hath veram lucem, true light, thorough light; no man hath meridiem, augem, that high point that casts no shadow, because, besides original sin, that ever smokes up, and creates a soot in the soul, and besides natural infirmities, which become sins, when we consider grace, no man does carry his good actions to that height as, by that grace, which God affords him, he might do. Slacker men have a declination even in their mornings; a west even in their east; coolings, and faintnesses and afternoons, as soon as they have any dawnings, any break of day, any inchoation of any spiritual action or purpose. Others have some farther growth, and increasing, and are more diligent in the observation of spiritual duties; but yet they have not their meridem, their augem, their noon, their south point, no such height, as that they might not have a higher, by that grace which they have received. In the best degree of our best actions, particularly in this service, which we do to God at this hour, if we brought with us hither a religious purpose to sanctify this festival, if we answer to the callings of his most blessed Spirit, whilst we are here, if we carry away a detestation of our sins, and a holy purpose of amendment of life, this is a good degree of proficiency, and God be blessed, if any of us all arrive to that degree; but yet, this is not vera lux, true light, all light; for, who amongst us can avoid the testimony of his conscience, that since he begun this present service to God, his thoughts have not strayed upon pleasures and vanities or profit, and leaped the walls of this church, yea, perchance within the walls of this flesh, which should bo the Temple of the Holy Ghost? Besides, to become vera lux, tota lux, true light, thorough light, requires perseverance to the end. So that till our natural light go out, we cannot say that we have this light; for, as the darkness of hell-fire is, so this light of this heavenly I fire, must be everlasting. If ever it go clean out, it was never thoroughly kindled, but kindled to our farther damnation; it was never vera lux, true light, for, as one office of the law is, but to show sin, so all the light of grace may end in this, to show me my desperate estate, from the abuse of grace. In all philosophy there is not so dark a thing as light; as the sun, which is fone lucis naturalis, the beginning of natural light, is the most evident thing to be seen, and yet the hardest to bo looked upon, so is natural light to our reason and understanding. Nothing clearer, for it is clearness itself, nothing darker, it is enwrapped in so many scruples. Nothing nearer, for it is round about us, nothing more remote, for we know neither entrance, nor limits of it. Nothing more easy, for a child discerns it, nothing more hard, for no man understands it. It is apprehensible by sense, and not comprehensible by reason. If we wink, we cannot choose but see it, if we stare, we know it never the better. No man is yet got so near to the knowledge of the qualities of light, as to know whether light itself be a quality, or a substance. If then this natural light be so dark to our natural reason, if we shall offer to pierce so far, into the light of this text, the essential light Christ Jesus, (in his nature, or but in his offices) or the supernatural light of faith and grace, (how far faith may be had, and yet lost, and how far the free-will of man may concur and co-operate with grace, and yet still remain nothing in itself) if we search farther into these points, than the Scripture hath opened us a way, how shall we hope to unentangle, or extricate themselves? They had a precious composition for lamps, amongst the ancients, reserved especially for tombs, which kept light for many hundreds of years; we have had in our age experience, in some casual openings of ancient vaults, of finding such lights, as were kindled, (as appeared by their inscriptions) fifteen or sixteen hundred years before; but, as soon as that light comes to our light, it vanishes. So this eternal, and this supernatural light, Christ and faith, enlightens, warms, purges, and does all the profitable offices of fire, and light, if we keep it in the right sphere, in the proper place, (that is, if we consist in points necessary to salvation, and revealed in the Scripture) but when we bring this light to the common light of reason, to our inferences, and consequences, it may be in danger to vanish itself, and perchance extinguish our reason too; we may search so far, and reason so long of faith and grace, as that we may lose not only them, but even our reason too, and sooner become mad than good. Not that we are bound to believe anything against reason, that is, to believe, we know »not why. It is but a slack opinion, it is not belief, that is not | grounded upon reason. He that should come to a heathen man, a mere natural man, uncatechized, uninstructed in the rudiments of the Christian religion, and should at first, without any preparation, present him first with this necessity; Thou shalt burn in fire and brimstone eternally, except thou believe a Trinity of persons, in an unity of one God, except thou believe the incarnation of the second person in the Trinity, the Son of God, except thou believe that a virgin had a Son, and the same Son that God had, and that God was man too, and being the immortal God, yet died, he should be so far from working any spiritual
(cure upon this poor soul, as that he should rather bring Christian mysteries into scorn, than him to a belief. For, that man, if you proceed so, Believe all, or you burn in hell, would find an easy, an obvious way to escape all; that is, first not to believe hell itself, and then nothing could bind him to believe the rest.
The reason therefore of man, must first be satisfied; but the way of such satisfaction must be this, to make him see, that this world, a frame of so much harmony, so much concinnity and conveniency, and such a correspondence, and subordination in the parts thereof, must necessarily have had a workman, for nothing can make itself: that no such workman would deliver over a frame, and work, of so much majesty, to be governed by fortune, casually, but would still retain the administration thereof in his own hands: that if he do so, if he made the world, and sustain it still by his watchful providence, there belongeth a worship and service to him, for doing so: that therefore he hath certainly revealed to man, what kind of worship and service, shall be acceptable to him: that this manifestation of his will, must be permanent, it must be written, there must be a Scripture, which is his word and his will: and that therefore, from that Scripture, from that Word of God, all articles of our belief are to be drawn.
If then his reason confessing all this, ask farther proof, how he shall know that these Scriptures accepted by the Christian church, are the true Scriptures, let him bring any other book which pretendeth to be the Word of God, into comparison with these; it is true, we have not a demonstration; not such an evidence as that one and two, are three, to prove these to be Scriptures of God; God hath not proceeded in that manner, to drive our reason into a pound, and to force it by a peremptory necessity to accept these for Scriptures, for then, here had been no exercise of our will, and our assent, if we could not have resisted. But yet these Scriptures have so orderly, so sweet, and so powerful a working upon the reason, and the understanding, as if any third man, who were utterly discharged of all preconceptions and anticipations in matter of religion, one who were altogether neutral, disinterested, unconcerned in either party, nothing towards a Turk, and as little towards a Christian, should hear a Christian plead for his Bible, and a Turk for his Alcoran, and should weigh the evidence of both; the majesty of the style, the punctual accomplishments of the prophecies, the harmony and concurrence of the four evangelists, the consent and unanimity of the Christian church ever since, and many other such reasons, he would be drawn to such an historical, such a grammatical, such a logical belief of our Bible, as to prefer it before any other, that could be pretended to be the Word of God. He would believe it, and he would know why he did so. For let no man think that God hath given him so much ease here, as to save him by believing he knoweth not what, or why. Knowledge cannot save us, but we cannot be saved without knowledge; faith is not on this side knowledge, but beyond it; we must necessarily come to knowledge first, though we must not stay at it, when we are come thither. For, a regenerate Christian, being now a new creature, hath also a new faculty of reason: and so believeth the mysteries of religion, out of another reason, than as a mere natural man, he believed natural and moral things. He believeth them for their own sake, by faith, though he take knowledge of them before, by that common reason, and by those human arguments, which work upon other men, in natural or moral things. Divers men may walk by the sea-side, and the same beams of the sun giving light to them all, one gathereth by the benefit of that light pebbles, or speckled shells, for curious vanity, and another gathers precious pearl, or medicinal amber, by the same light. So the common light of reason illumines us all; but one employs this light upon the searching of impertinent vanities, another by a better use of the same light, finds out the mysteries of religion; and when he hath found them, loves them, not for the light's sake, but for the natural and true worth of the thing itself. Some men by the benefit of this light of reason, have found out thinga profitable and useful to the whole world; as in particular, printing, by which the learning of the whole world is communicable to one another, and our minds and our inventions, our wits and compositions may trade and have commerce together, and we may participate of one another's understandings, as well as of our clothes, and wines, and oils, and other merchandise; so by the benefit of this light of reason, they have found out artillery, by which wars come to quicker ends than heretofore, and the great expense of blood is avoided: for the numbers of men slain now, since the invention of artillery, are much less than before, when the sword was the executioner. Others, by the benefit of this light, have searched and found the secret corners of gain, and profit, wheresoever they lie. They have found wherein the weakness of another man consisted, and made their profit of that, by circumventing him in a bargain: they have found his riotous and wasteful inclination, and they have fed and fomented that disorder, and kept open that leak, to their advantage, and the other's ruin. They have found where was the easiest, and most accessible way, to solicit the chastity of a woman, whether discourse, music, or presents, and according to that discovery, they have pursued hers, and their own eternal destruction. By the benefit of this light, men see through the darkest, and most impervious places that are, that is, courts of princes, and the greatest officers in courts; and can submit themselves to second, and to advance the humours of men in great place, and so make their profit of the weaknesses which they have discovered in these great men. All the ways, both of wisdom, and of craft lie open to this light, this light of natural reason: but when they have gone all these ways by the benefit of this light, they have got no further, than to have walked by a tempestuous sea, and to have gathered pebbles, and speckled cockle-shells. Their light seems to be great out of the same reason, that a torch in a misty night, seemeth greater than in a clear, because it hath kindled and inflamed much thick and gross air round about it. So the light and wisdom
of worldly men seemeth great, because ho hath kindled an admiration, or an applause in airy flatterers, not because it is so indeed.
But if thou canst take this light of reason that is in thee, this poor snuff, that is almost out in thee, thy faint and dim knowledge of God, that riseth out of this light of nature, if thou canst in those embers, those cold ashes, find out one small coal, and wilt take the pains to kneel down, and blow that coal with thy devout prayers, and light thee a little candle, (a desire to read that book, which they call the Scriptures, and the Gospel, and the Word of God;) if with that little candle thou canst creep humbly into low and poor places, if thou canst find thy Saviour in a manger, and in his swathing-clouts, in his humiliation, and bless God for that beginning, if thou canst find him flying into Egypt, and find in thyself a disposition to accompany him in a persecution, in a banishment, if not a bodily banishment, a local banishment, yet a real, a spiritual banishment, a banishment from those sins, and that sinful conversation, which thou hast loved more than thy parents, or country, or thine own body, which perchance thou hast consumed, and destroyed with that sin; if thou canst find him contenting and containing himself at home in his father's house, and not breaking out, no not about the work of our salvation, till the due time was come, when it was to be done. And if according to that example, thou canst contain thyself in that station and vocation in which God hath planted thee, and not, through a hasty and precipitate zeal, break out to an imaginary and intempestive, and unseasonable reformation, either in civil or ecclesiastical business, which belong not to thee; if with this little poor light, these first degrees of knowledge and faith, thou canst follow him into the garden, and gather up some of the drops of his precious blood and sweat, which he shed for thy soul, if thou canst follow him to Jerusalem, and pick up some of those tears, which he shed upon that city, and upon thy soul; if thou canst follow him to the place of his scourging, and to his crucifying, and provide thee some of that balm which must cure thy soul; if after all this, thou canst turn this little light inward, and canst thereby discern where thy diseases and thy wounds, and thy corruptions are, and canst apply those tears, and blood and balm to them, (all this is, that if thou attend the light of natural reason, and cherish that, and exalt that, so that that bring thee to a love of the Scriptures, and that love to a belief of the truth thereof, and that historical faith to a faith of application, of appropriation, that as all those things were certainly done, so they were certainly done for thee) thou shalt never envy the lustre and glory of the great lights of worldy men, which are great by the infirmity of others, or by their own opinion, great because others think them great, or because they think themselves so, but thou shalt find, that howsoever they magnify their lights, their wit, their learning, their industry, their fortune, their favour, and sacrifice to their own nets11, yet thou shalt see, that thou by thy small light hast gathered pearl and amber, and they by their great lights nothing but shells and pebbles; they have determined the light of nature, upon the book of nature, this world, and thou hast carried the light of nature higher, thy natural reason, and even human arguments, have brought thee to read the Scriptures, and to that love, God hath set to the seal of faith. Their light shall set at noon; even in their height some heavy damp shall cast a damp upon their soul, and cut off all their succours, and divest them of all comforts, and thy light shall grow up, from a fair hope, to a modest assurance and infallibility, that that light shall never go out, nor the works of darkness, nor the prince of darkness ever prevail upon thee, but as thy light of reason is exalted by faith here, so thy light of faith shall be exalted into the light of glory, and fruition in the kingdom of heaven. Before the sun was made there was a light which did that office of distinguishing night and day; but when the sun was created, that did all the offices of the former light, and more. Reason is that first, and primogenial light, and goes no farther in a natural man; but in a man regenerate by faith, that light does all that reason did, and more; and all his moral, and civil, and domestic, and indifferent actions, (though they be never done without reason) yet their principal scope, and mark is the glory of God, and though they seem but moral, or civil, or domestic, yet they have a deeper tincture, a heavenly nature, a relation to God, in them.
"11 Habak. i. 16.
The light in our text then, is essentially and personally Christ himself, from him flows the supernatural light of faith and grace, here also intended; and because this light of faith and grace, flowing from that fountain of light Christ Jesus, works upon the light of nature, and reason, it may conduce to the raising of your devotions, if we do (without any long insisting upon the several parts thereof) present to you some of those many and divers lights, which are in this world, and admit an application to this light in our text, the essential light, Christ Jesus; and the supernatural light, faith and grace.
Of these lights we shall consider some few couples; and the first pair, Lux essentiw, and Lux gloriw, the light of the Essence of God, and the light of the glory of his saints. And though the first of these, be that essential light, by which we shall see God face to face, as he is, and the effluence and emanation of beams, from the face of God, which make that place heaven, of which light it is said, That God who only hath immortality, dwells in luce inaccessibili*', In the light that none can attain to, yet by the light of faith, and grace in sanctification, we may come to such a participation of that light of essence, or such a reflection of it in this world, that it shall be true of us, which was said of those Ephesians, You were once darkness, but now are light in the Lord13; he does not say enlightened, nor lightsome, but light itself, light essentially, for our conversation is in heaven"; and as God says of Jerusalem, aud his blessings here in this world, Calceavi te janthino, I have shod thee, with badger's skin", (some translate it) (which the ancients take for some precious stuff) that is, I have enabled thee to tread upon all the most estimable things of this world, (for as the church itself is presented, s<3 every true member of the church is endowed, Luna sub pedibus16, The moon, and all under the moon is under our feet, we tread upon this world, even when we are trodden upon in it) so the precious promises of Christ, make us partakers of the Divine nature*1, and the light of faith, makes us the same spirit with the LordTM; and this is our participation of the light of essence, in this life. The next is the light of glory.
"1 Tim. vi. 16. 13 Eph. v. 8. 14 Phil. iii. 20.
15 Ezek. xvi. 10. 16 Rev. xii. 1. "2 Pet. i. 4. 18 1 Cor. vi. 17.
This is that glorification which we shall have at the last day, of which glory, we consider a great part to be in that denudation, that manifestation of all to all; as, in this world, a great part of our inglorious servitude is in those disguises, and palliations, those colours, and pretences of public good, with which men of power and authority apparel their oppressions of the poor; in this are we the more miserable, that we cannot see their ends, that there is none of this denudation, this laying open of ourselves to one another, which shall accompany that state of glory, where we shall see one another's bodies, and souls, actions and thoughts. And therefore, as if this place were now that tribunal of Christ Jesus, and this that day of judgment, and denudation, we must be here, as we shall be there, content to stand naked before him; content that there be a discovery, a revealing, a manifestation of all our sins, wrought upon us, at least to our own consciences, though not to the congregation; if we will have glory, we must have this denudation. We must not be glad, when our sins escape the preacher. We must not say, (as though there were a comfort in that) Though he have hit such a man's adultery, and another's ambition, and another's extortion, yet, for all his diligence, he hath missed my sin; for, if thou wouldost fain have it missed, thou wouldest fain hold it still. And then, why camest thou hither? What eamest thou for to church, or to the sacrament? Why dost thou delude God, with this complimental visit, to come to his house, if thou bring not with thee, a disposition to his honour, and Jiis service? Camest thou only to try whether God knew thy sin, and could tell thee of it, by the preacher? Alas, he knows it infallibly; and, if he take no knowledge of his knowing it, to thy conscience, by the words of the preacher, thy state is the more desperate. God sends us to preach forgiveness of sins; where we find no sin, M*e have no commission to execute; How shall we find your sins? In the old sacrifices of the law, the priest did not fetch the sacrifice from the herd, but he received it from him that brought it, and so sacrificed it for him. Do thou therefore prevent the preacher; accuse thyself before he accuse thee; offer up thy sin thyself; bring it to the top of thy memory, and thy conscience, that he finding it there may sacrifice it for thee; tune the instru
ment, and it is the fitter for his hand. Remember thou thine own sins, first and then every word that falls from the preacher's lips shall be a drop of the dew of heaven, a dram of the balm of Gilead, a portion of the blood of thy Saviour, to wash away that sin, so presented by thee to be so sacrificed by him; for, if thou only of all the congregation find that the preacher hath not touched thee, nor hit thy sins, know then, that thou wast not in his commission for the remission of sins, and bo afraid, that thy conscience is either gangrened, and unsensible of all incisions, and cauterizations, that can be made by denouncing the judgments of God, (which is as far as the preacher can go) or that thy whole constitution, thy complexion, thy composition is sin; the preacher cannot hit thy particular sin, because thy whole life, and the whole body of thy actions is one continual sin. As long as a man is alive, if there appear any offence in his breath, the physician will assign it to some one corrupt place, his lungs, or teeth, or stomach, and thereupon apply convenient remedy thereunto. But if he be dead, and putrefied, no man asks from whence that ill air and offence comes, because it proceeds from thy whole carcase. So, as long as there is in you a sense of your sins, as long as we can touch the offended and wounded part, and be felt by you, you are not desperate, though you be froward, and impatient of our increpatious. But when you feel nothing, whatsoever we say, your soul is in a hectic fever, where the distemper is not in any one humour, but in the whole substance; nay, your soul itself is become a carcase. This then is our first couple of these lights, by our conversation in heaven here, (that is, a watchfulness, that we fall not into sin) we have lucem essentiw, possession and fruition of heaven, and of the light of God's presence; and then, if we do, by infirmity, fall into sin, yet, by this denudation of our souls, this manifestation of our sins to God by confession, and to that purpose, a gladness when we hear our sins spoken of by the preacher, we have lumen gloriw, an inchoation of our glorified estate; and then, another couple of theso lights, which we propose to be considered, is lumen fidei, and lumen naturee, the light of faith, and the light of nature.
Of these two lights, faith and grace, first, and then nature and reason, we said something before, but never too much, because contentious spirits have cast such clouds upon both these lights, that some have said, Nature doth all alone, and others that Nature hath nothing to do at all, but all is grace: we decline wranglings, that tend not to edification, we say only to our present purpose, (which is the operation of these several couples of lights) that by this light of faith, to him which hath it, all that is involved in phrophecies, is clear and evident, as in a history already done; and all that is wrapped up in promises, is his own already in performance. That man needs not go so high, for his assurance of a Messias and Redeemer, as to the first promise made to him in Adam", nor for the limitation of the stock and race from whence this Messias should come: so far as to the renewing of this promise in Abraham80: nor for the description of this Messias who should be, and of whom he should be born, as to Essaias81; nor to Micheas, for the place88; nor for the time when he should accomplish all this, so far as to Daniel83; no, nor so far, as to the evangelists themselves, for the history and the evidence that all this that was to be done in his behalf by the Messias, was done sixteen hundred years since. But he hath a whole Bible, and an abundant library in his own heart, and there by this light of faith, (which is not only a knowing, but an applying, an appropriating of all to thy benefit) he hath a better knowledge than all this, than either prophetical or evangelical; for though both these be irrefragable and infallible proofs of a Messias, (the prophetical, that he should, the evangelical, that he is come) yet both these might but concern others: this light of faith brings him home to thee. How sure soever I be, that the world shall never perish by water, yet I may be drowned; and how sure soever that the Lamb of God hath taken away the sins of the world, I may perish without I have this applicatory faith. And as he needs not look back to Esay, nor Abraham, nor Adam, for the Messias, so neither needs he to look forward. He needs not stay in expectation of the angels' trumpets to awaken the dead; he is not to put his Usque Domine, How long, Lord, wilt thou defer our restitution? But he hath already died the death of the righteous; which is, to die to sin; he hath already had his burial, by being buried with Christ
19 Gen. iii. 15. 80 Gen. xii. 3. 81 Isaiah vii. 14.
88 Micah v. 2. S3 Dan. ix. 12.
in baptism, he hath had his resurrection from sin, his ascension to holy purposes of amendment of life, and his judgment, that is, peace of conscience, sealed unto him, and so by this light of applying faith, he hath already apprehended an eternal possession of God's eternal kingdom. And the other light in this second couple is lux naturw, the light of nature.
This, though a fainter light, directs us to the other, nature to faith: and as by the quantity in the light of the moon, we know the position and distance of the sun, how far, or how near the sun is to her, so by the working of the light of nature in us, we may discern, (by the measure and virtue and heat of that) how near to the other greater light, the light of faith, we stand. If we find our natural faculties rectified, so as that that free will which we have in moral and civil actions, be bent upon the external duties of religion, (as every natural man may, out of the use of that free will, come to church, hear the word preached, and believe it to be true) we may be sure the other greater light is about us. If we be cold in them, in actuating, in exalting, in using our natural faculties so far, we shall be deprived of all light; we shall not see the invisible God in visible things, which St. Paul makes so inexcusable84, so unpardonable a thing, we shall not see the hand of God in all our worldly crosses, nor the seal of God in all our worldly blessings; we shall not see the face of God in his house, his presence here in the church, nor the mind of God in his gospel, that his gracious purposes upon mankind, extend so particularly, or reach so far, as to include us. I shall hear in the Scriptures, his Venite omnes, Come all, and yet I shall think that his eye was not upon me, that his eye did not beckon me, and I shall hear the Deus vult omnes salvos, That God would save all, and yet I shall find some perverse reason in myself, why it is not likely that God will save me. I am commanded scrutari Scripturas, to search the Scriptures; now, that is not to be able to repeat any history of the Bible without book, it is not to ruffle a Bible, and upon any word to turn to the chapter, and to the verse; but this is exquisita scrutatio, the true searching of the Scriptures, to find all the histories to be examples to me, all the prophecies to induce a Saviour for me, all the gospel to apply Christ Jesus to me.
"Rom. i. 20.
Turn over all the folds and plaits of thine own heart, and find there the infirmities and waverings of thine own faith, and an ability to say, Lord, I believe, help mine unbelief, and then, though thou have no Bible in thy hand, or though thou stand in a dark corner, nay though thou canst not read a letter, thou hast searched that Scripture, thou hast turned to Mark ix. 24. Turn thine ear to God, and hear him turning to thee, and saying to thy -soul, I will marry thee to myself for ever; and thou hast searched that Scripture, and turned to Hosea ii. 19. Turn to thine own history, thine own life, and if thou canst read there, that thou hast endeavoured to turn thine ignoranee into knowledge, and thy knowledge into practice, if thou find thyself to be an example of that rule of Christ's, If you know these things, blessed are you, if you da them, then thou hast searched that Scripture, and turned to John xiii. 14. This is scrutari Scripturas, to search the Scriptures, not as though thou wouldst make a concordance, but an application; as thou wouldst search a wardrobe, not to make an inventory of it, but to find in it something fit for thy wearing. :John Baptist was not the light, he was not Christ, but he bore witness of him. The light of faith, in the highest exaltation that can be had, in the elect, here, is not that very beatifical vision, which we shall have in heaven, but it bears witness of that light. The light of nature, in the highest exaltation is not faith, but it bears witness of it. The lights of faith and of nature, are subordinate John Baptists: faith bears me witness, that I have Christ, and the light of nature, that is, the exalting of my natural faculties towards religious uses, bears me witness that I have faith. Only that man, whose conscience testifies to himself, and whose actions testify to the world, that he does what he can, can believe himself, or be believed by others, that he hath the true light of faith.
And therefore, as the apostle saith, Quench not the SpiritI say too, Quench not the light of Nature, suffer not that light to go out; study your natural faculties; husband and improve them and love the outward acts of religion, though an hypocrite, and though a natural man may do them. Certainly he that loves not the Militant church, hath but a faint faith in his interest in the Triumphant. He that cares not though the material church fall,
"I Thess. v. 19.
I am afraid is falling from the spiritual. For, can a man be sure to have his money, or his plate, if his house be burnt? Or to preserve his faith, if the outward exercises of religion fail f He that undervalues outward things, in the religious service of God, though he begin at ceremonial and ritual things, will come quickly to call sacraments but outward things, and sermons, and public prayers, but outward things, in contempt. As some Platonic philosophers, did so over refine religion, and devotion, as to say, that nothing but the first thoughts and ebullitions of a devout heart, were fit to serve God in. If it came to any outward action of the body, kneeling, or lifting up of hands, if it came to be but invested in our words, and so mode a prayer, nay if it passed but a revolving, a turning in our inward thoughts, and thereby were mingled with our affections, though pious affections, yet, say they, it is not pure enough for a service to God; nothing but the first motions of the heart is for him. Beloved, outward things apparel God; and since God was content to take a body, let not us leave him naked, nor ragged; but, as you will bestow not only some cost, but some thoughts, some study, how you will clothe your children, and how you will clothe your servants, so bestow both cost and thoughts, think seriously, execute cheerfully in outward declarations, that which becomes the dignity of him, who evacuated himself for you. The zeal of his house needs not eat you up, no nor eat you out of house and home; God asks not that at your hands. But, if you eat one dish the less at your feasts for his house' sake, if you spare somewhat for his relief, and his glory, you will not be the leaner, nor the weaker for that abstinence. John Baptist bore witness of the light, outward things bear witness of your faith, the exalting of our natural faculties bear witness of the supernatural. We do not compare the master and the servant, and yet we thank that servant that brings us to his master. We make a great difference between the treasure in the chest, and the key that opens it, yet we are glad to have that key in our hands. The bell that calls me to church does not catechise me, nor preach to me, yet I observe the sound of that bell, because it brings me to him that does those offices to me. The light of nature is far from being enough; but, as a candle may kindle a torch, so into the faculties of nature, well employed, God infuses faith. And this is our second couple of lights, the subordination of the light of nature, and the light of faith. And a third pair of lights of attestation, that bear witness to the light of our text, is lux wternorum corporum, that light which the sun and moon, and those glorious bodies give from heaven, and lux incensionum, that light, which those things, that are naturally combustible, and apt to take fire, do give upon earth; both these bear witness of this light, that is, admit an application to it. For, in the first of these, the glorious lights of heaven, we must take nothing for stars, that are not stars; nor make astrological and fixed conclusions out of meteors, that are but transitory; they may be comets and blazing stars, and so portend much mischief, but they are none of those ceterna corpora, they are not fixed stars, not stars of heaven. So is it also in the Christian church, (which is the proper sphere in which the light of our text, that light, the essential light Christ Jesus moves by that supernatural light of faith and grace, which is truly the intelligence of that sphere, the Christian church). As in the heavens the stars were created at once, with one fiat, and then being so made, stars do not beget new stars, so the Christian doctrine necessary to salvation, was delivered at once, that is, entirely in one sphere, in the body of the Scriptures. And, then as stars do not beget stars, articles of faith do not beget articles of faith; so, as that the council of Trent should be brought to bed of a new creed, not conceived before by the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures, and, (which is a monstrous birth) the child greater than the father, as soon as it is born, the new creed of the council of Trent to contain more articles, than the old creed of the apostles did. St. Jude writing of the common salvation (as he calls it) (for, St. Jude, it seems, knew no such particular salvation, as that it was impossible for any man to have, salvation is common salvation) exhorts them to contend earnestly for that faith, which was once delivered to the saints". Semel, once; that is, at once, semel, simul, once altogether. For this is also Tertullian's note; that the rule of faith is, that it be una, immobilis, irreformabilis; it must not be deformed, it cannot be reformed; it must not be marred, it cannot be mended; Whatsoever needs mending, and
88 Jude 3.
reformation, cannot be the rule of faith, says Tertullian. Other foundation can no man lay than Christ"; not only no better, but no other; what other things soever are added by men, enter not into the nature and condition of a foundation. The additions, and traditions, and superedifications of the Roman church, they are not lux wternorum corporum, they are not fixed bodies, they are not stars to direct us; they may be meteors, and so exercise our discourse, and argumentation, they may raise controversies: and they may be comets, and so exercise our fears, and our jealousies, they may raise rebellions and treasons, but they are not fixed and glorious bodies of heaven, they are not stars. Their non-communions, (for, communions where there are no communicants, are no communions) when they admit no bread at all, no wine at all, all is transubstantiated, are no communions; their semi-communions, when they admit the bread to be given, but not the wine; their sesqui-communions, bread and wine to the taste, and to all other trials of bread and wine, and yet that bread and wine, the very body, and the very blood of Christ; their quotidianmiracles, which destroy and contradict even the nature of the miracle, to make miracles ordinary, and fixed, constant and certain; (for, as that is not a miracle which nature does, so that is not a miracle which man can do certainly, constantly, infallibly every day, and every day, every priest can miraculously change bread into the body of Christ, and besides they have certain fixed shops, and marts of miracles, in one place a shop of miracles for barrenness, in another, a shop for the tooth-ache). To contract this, their occasional divinity, doctrines to serve present occasions, that in 88, an heretical prince must necessarily be excommunicated88, and an heretical prince excommunicated must necessarily be deposed, but at another time it may be otherwise, and conveveniences, and dispensations may be admitted, these, and such as these, traditional, occasional, almanack divinity, they may be comets, they may be meteors, they may rain blood, and rain fire, and rain hailstones, hailstones as big as talents, (as it is in the Revelation) millstones, to grind the world by their oppressions, but they are not lux wternorum corporum, the light of the stars
v 1 Cor. iii. 11.
88 Elizabeth, by Pope Sixtus Quintus, the abettor of the Spanish armada.
and.'other heavenly bodies, for they were made at once, and diminish not, increase not. Fundamental articles of faith are always the same. And that is our application of this lux wternorum corporum, the light of those heavenly bodies, to the light of our text, Christ working in the church.
Now, for the consideration of the other light in this third couple, which is lux incemiomim, the light of things, which take, and give light here upon earth, if we reduce it to application and practice, and contract it to one instance, it will appear that the devotion and zeal of him, that is best affected, is, for the most part, in the disposition of a torch, or a knife, ordained to take fire, and to give light. If it have never been lightened, it does not easily take light, but it must be bruised, and beaten first; if it have been lighted and put out, though it cannot take fire of itself, yet it does easily conceive fire, if it be presented within any convenient distance. Such also is the soul of man towards the fires of the zeal of God's glory, and compassion of other's misery. If there be any that never took this fire, that was never affected with either of these, the glory of Clod, the miseries of other men, can I hope to kindle him? It must be God's work to bruise and beat him, with his rod of affliction, before he will take fire. Paulus reeelatione compulsus ad fidem**, St. Paul was compelled to believe; not the light which he saw, but the power which he felt wrought upon him; not because that light shined from heaven, but because it struck him to the earth. Agnoscimus Christum in Paulo prin s cogentem, deinde docentem3*; Christ begun not upon St. Paul, with a catechism, but with a rod. If therefore here be any in Paul's case, that were never kindled before, Almighty God proceed the same way with them, and come so near to a friendship towards them, as to be at enmity with them; to be so merciful to them, as to seem unmerciful; to be so well pleased, as to seem angry; that so by inflicting his medicinal afflictions, he may give them comfort by discomfort, and life by death, and make them seek his face, by turning his face from them; and not to suffer them to continue in a stupid kiconsideration, and lamentable senselessness of their miserable condition, but bruise and break them with his rod, that they
"Hierpme. 30 Augustine.
may take fire. But for you, who have taken this fire before, that have been enlightened in both sacraments, and in the preaching of the word; in the means, and in some measure of practice of holiness heretofore, if in not supplying oil to your lamps, which God by his ordinance had kindled in you, you have let this light go out by negligence or inconsideration, or that storms of worldly calamities have blown it out, do but now at this instant call to mind, what sin of yesterday, or the other day, or long ago, begun, and practised, and prevailed upon you, or what future sin, what purpose of doing a sin to-night, or to-morrow, possesses you; do but think seriously what sin, or what cross hath blown out that light, that grace, which was formerly in you, before that sin, or that cross invaded you, and turn your soul, which hath been enlightened before, towards this fire which God's Spirit blows this minute, and you will conceive new fire, new zeal, new compassion. As this lux incensionum, kindles easily, when it hath been kindled before, so the soul accustomed to the presence of God in holy meditations, though it fall asleep in some dark corner, in some sin of infirmity, awhile, yet, upon every holy occasion, it takes fire again, and the meanest preacher in the church, shall work more upon him, than the four doctors of the churcb should be able to do, upon a person who had never been enlightened before, that is, never accustomed to the presence of God in his private meditations, or in his outward acts of religion. And this is our third couple of lights, that bears witness, that is, admit an application to the light of our text; and then the fourth and last couple, which we consider, is lux depuratarum mixtionum, the light and lustre of precious stones, and then lux repercussionum, the light of repercussion, and reflection, when one body, though it have no light in itself, casts light upon other bodies.
In the application of the first of these lights, depuratarum mixtionum, precious stones, we shall only apply their making and their value. Precious stones are first drops of the dew of heaven, and then refined by the sun of heaven. When by long lying they have exhaled, and evaporated, and breathed out all their gross matter, and received another concoction from the sun, then they become precious in the eye, and estimation of men-; So those actions of ours, that shall be precious or acceptable in the eye of God, must at first have been conceived from heaven, from the word of God, and then receive another concoction, by a holy deliberation, before we bring those actions to execution, lest we may have mistaken the root thereof. Actions precious, or acceptable in God's eye, must be holy purposes in their beginning, and then done in season; the dove must lay the egg, and hatch the bird; the Holy Ghost must infuse the purpose, and sit upon it, and overshadow it, and mature and ripen it, if it shall be precious in God's eye. The reformation of abuses in state or church, is a holy purpose, there is that drop of the dew of heaven in it; but if it be unseasonably attempted, and have not a further concoction, than the first motions of our own zeal, it becomes ineffectual. Stones precious in the estimation of men, begin with the dew of heaven, and proceed with the sun of heaven; actions precious in the acceptation of God, are purposes conceived by his spirit, and executed in his time to his glory, not conceived out of ambition, nor executed out of sedition. And this is the application of this lux depuratarum mixtionnm, of precious stones, out of their making, we proposed another out of their valuation; which is this, that whereas a pearl or diamond of such a bigness, of so many carats, is so much worth, one that is twice as big, is ten times as much worth. So, though God vouchsafe to value every good work thou dost, yet as they grow greater he shall multiply his estimation of them infinitely. When he hath prized at a high rate, the chastity and continency of thy youth, if thou add to this, a moderation in thy middle age, from ambition, and in thy latter age from covetousness and indevotion, there shall be no price in God's treasure (not the last drop of the blood of his Son) too dear for thee, no room, no state in his kingdom (not a jointenancy with his only Son) too glorious for thee. This is one light in this couple; the lustre of precious stones: the other the last is lux repercussionum, the light of repercussion, of reflection.
This is, when God's light cast upon us, reflecteth upon other men too, from us; when God doth not only accept our works for ourselves, but employs those works of ours upon other men. And here is a true, and a divine supererogation; which the devil, (as he doth all God's actions, which fall into his compass) did mischievously counterfeit in the Roman church, which he induced their doctrine of supererogation, that a man might do so much more than he was bound to do for God, as that that superplusage might save whom he would; and that if he did not direct them in his intention, upon any particular person, the Bishop of Rome, was general administrator to all men, and might bestow them where he would. But here is a true supererogation; not from man, or his merit, but from God; when our good works shall not only profit us, that do them, but others that see them done; and when we by this light of repercussion, of reflection, shall be made specula divinw gloriw, quw accipiunt et reddunt31, such looking-glasses as receive God's face upon ourselves, and cast it upon others by a holy life, and exemplary conversation.
To end all, we have no warmth in ourselves; it is true, but Christ came even in the winter: we have no light in ourselves; it is true, but he came even in the night. And now, I appeal to your own consciences, and I ask you all, (not as a judge, but as an assistant to your consciences, and amicus curiw,) whether any man have made a good use of this light, as he might have done. Is there any man that in the compassing of his sin, hath not met this light by the way, Thou shouldst not do this? Any man, that hath not only as Balaam did, met this light as an angel3*, (that is, met heavenly inspirations to avert him,) but that hath not heard as Balaam did, his own ass; that is, those reasons that used to carry him, or those very worldly respects that used to carry him, dispute against that sin, and tell him, not only that there is more soul and more heaven, and more salvation, but more body, and more health, more honour, and more reputation, more cost, and more money, more labour, and more danger spent upon such a sin, than would have carried him the right way?
They that sleep, sleep in the night, and they that are drunk, are drunk in the night33. But to you the day-star, the sun of righteousness, the Son of God is risen this day. The day is but a little longer now, than at shortest; but a little it is. Be a little better now, than when you came, and mend a little at every coming, and in less than seven years' apprenticeage, which your
occupations cost you, you shall learn, not the mysteries of your twelve companies, but the mysteries of the twelve tribes, of the twelve apostles, of their twelve articles, whatsoever belongeth to the promise, to the performance, to the imitation of Christ Jesus. He, who is lux una, light and light alone, and lux tota, light and all light, shall also, by that light, which he sheddeth from himself upon all his, the light of grace, give you all these attestations, all these witnesses of that his light; he shall give you lucem essentiw, (really, and essentially to be incorporated into him, to be made partakers of the Divine nature, and the same spirit with the Lord, by a conversation in heaven, here) and lucem gloriw, (a gladness to give him glory in a denudation of your souls, and your sins, by humble confession to him, and a gladness to receive a denudation and manifestation of yourselves to yourselves, by his messenger, in his medicinal and musical increpations, and a gladness to receive an inchoation of future glory, in the remission of those sins). He shall give you lucem fidei, (faithful and unremovable possession of future things, in the present, and make your hereafter, now, in the fruition of God). And lucem naturw (a love of the outward beauty of his house, and outward testimonies of this love, in inclining your natural faculties to religious duties). He shall-give you lucem wternorum corporum, (a love to walk in the light of the stars of heaven, that never change, a love so perfect in the fundamental articles of religion, without impertinent additions). And lucem incensionum, (an aptness to take holy fire, by what hand, or tongue, or pen soever it be presented unto you, according to God's ordinance, though that light have formerly been suffered to go out in you). He shall give you lucem depuratarum mixtionum, (the lustre of precious stones, made of the dew of heaven, and by the heat of heaven, that is, actions intended at first, and produced at last, for his glory; and every day multiply their value, in the sight of God, because thou shalt every day grow up from grace to grace). And lucem repercussionum, (he shall make you able to reflect and cast this light upon others, to his glory, and their establishment).
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord, with all these lights; that in thy light we may see light; that in this essential
light, which is Christ, and in this supernatural light, which is grace, we may see all these, and all other beams of light, which may bring us to thee, and hi in, and that blessed spirit which proceeds from both. Amen.