AN ANNIVERSARY SERMON, PREACHED AT ST. DUNSTAN'S, UPON THE COMMEMORATION OF A PARISHIONER, A BENEFACTOR TO THAT PARISH.
Genesis iii. 24.
And dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
This is God's malediction upon the serpent in paradise, there in the region, in the storehouse of all plenty, he must starve; this is the serpent's perpetual fast, his everlasting Lent, (Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.) There is a generation derived from this serpent, progenies viperarum, a generation of vipers, that will needs in a great, and unnecessary measure, keep this serpent's Lent, and bind themselves to perform his fast; for, the Carthusian will eat no flesh, (and yet, I never saw better bodied men, men of better habitudes and constitution, howsoever they recompense their abstinence from flesh) and the Fueillans will eat neither flesh nor fish, but roots, and salads, (and yet amongst Vol. v. u
them, amongst men so enfeebled by roots, was bred up that man, who had both malicious courage, and bodily strength, to kill the last king, who was killed amongst them*) they will be above others in their fasts, fish, and roots will they eat, all the days of their life, but their Master will be above them in his fast, (Dust must he eat all the days of his life.)
It is Luther's observation upon this place, that in all Moses his books, God never spoke so long, so much together, as here, upon this occasion. Indeed the occasion was great; it was the arrangement of all the world, and more; of mankind, and of angels too; of Adam, and Eve, (and there were no more of them) and then of the serpent, and of Satan in that, and of all the fallen angels in him. For the sentence which God, as judge gave upon them, upon all these malefactors, of that part which fell upon the woman, all our mothers are experimental witnesses, they brought forth us in sorrow and in travail. Of that part of the sentence which fell upon man, every one of us is an experimental witness, for in every calling, in the sweat of our face, we eat our bread. And of that part of the judgment, which was inflicted upon the serpent, and Satan in him, this dead brother of ours who lies in this consecrated earth, is an experimental witness, who being by death reduced to the state of dust, for so much of him, as is dust, that is, for his dead body, and then, for so long time, as he is to remain in that state of dust, is in the portion, and jurisdiction, and possession of the serpent, that is, in the state which the serpent hath induced upon man, and dust must he eat all the days of his life.
In passing through these words, we shall make but these two steps; first, what the serpent lost, by this judgment inflicted upon him; and secondly, what man gained by it; for these two considerations embrace much, involve much; first, that God's anger is so intensive, and so extensive, so spreading, and so vehement, as that in his justice, he would not spare the serpent, who had no voluntary, no innate, no natural ill disposition towards man, but was only made the instrument of Satan, in the overthrow of man. And then, that God's mercy is so large, so overflowing, so superabundant, as that even in his judgment upon the serpent,
* I suppose this alludes to Ravaillac; Henry IV. was assasinated in 1610.—Ed.
he would provide mercy for man. For, as it is a great weight of judgment upon the serpent, that the serpent must eat dust, so is it a great degree of mercy to man, that the serpent must eat but dust, because man's best part is not subject to be served in at his table, the soul cannot become dust, (and dust must he eat all the days of his life.) 0, in what little sin, though but a sin of omission, though but a sin of ignorance, in what circumstance of sin, may I hope to escape judgment, if God punished the serpent who was violently, and involuntarily transported in this action? And in what depth, in what height, in what heinousness, in what multiplicity of sin can I doubt of the mercy of my God, who makes judgment itself the instrument, the engine, the chariot of his mercy? What room is there left for presumption, if the serpent, the passive serpent were punished? What room for desperation, if in the punishment, there be a manifestation of mercy? The serpent must eat dust, that is his condemnation, but he shall eat no better meat, he shall eat but dust, there is man's consolation.
First then, as it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God1, so is it an impossible thing to escape it. God is not ashamed of being jealous; he does not only pronounce that he is a jealous God, but he desires to be known by none other name, (The Lord whose name is jealous, is a jealous God*) so jealous, as that he will not have his name uttered in vain; not only not blasphemed, not sworn by, but not used indifferently, transitorily, not proverbially, occasionally, not in vain. And if it be, what then? Even for this, he will visit to the third, and fourth generation; and three and four are seven, and seven is infinite. So jealous, as that in the case of the angels, not for looking upon any other creatures, or trusting in them, (for, when they fell, as it is ordinarily received there were no other creatures made) but for not looking immediately, directly upon God, but reflecting upon themselves, and trusting in their own natural parts, God threw those angels into so irrecoverable, and bottomless a depth, as that the merits of Christ Jesus, though of infinite, superinfinite value, do not buoy them up; so jealous a God, is God, so jealous, as that in Adam's case, for over-loving his own wife,
1 Heb. x. 31. » Exod. xxxiv. J 4.
for his over-tender compassion of her, for eating the forbidden fruit, ne constristaretur delicias suas, (as St. Hierorae lays his fault) lest he should deject her into an inordinate and desperate melancholy, and so make her incapable of God's mercy, God threw the first man, and in him, all, out of paradise, out of both paradises, out of that of rest, and plenty here, and that of joy, and glory hereafter. Consider Balaam's sin about cursing God's people8, or Moses' sin about striking the rock3, and wouldst not thou be glad to change sins, with either of them? Are not thy sins greater, heavier sins; and yet, wouldst thou not be sorry, to undergo their punishments? Are not thy punishments less? Hast thou found honey, says the Holy Ghost in Solomon*; and, he says it promiscuously, and universally, to everybody; eat, as much as is sufficient. Every man may. And then, Jonathan found that honey5, and knew not that it was forbidden by Saul's proclamation, and did but taste it, and that in a case of extreme necessity, and Jonathan must die. Any man might eat enough, he did but taste, and he must die. If the angels, if Adam, if Balaam, if Moses, if Jonathan did, if the serpent in the text, could consider this, how much cheaper God hath made sin to thee, than to them, might they not have colour in the eye of a natural man, to expostulate with God? Might not Ananias, and Sapphira", who only withheld a little of that, which, but a little before, was all their own, and now must die for that, have been excusable if they had said at the last gasp, How many direct sacrileges hath God forborne, in such and such, and we must die? Might not Er, and Onan7, after their unclean act upon themselves only, for which they died, have been excusable, if they had said at the last gasp, How many direct adulteries, how many unnatural incests hath God forborne in such and such, and we must die I How many loads of miserable wretches mayest thou have seen suffer at ordinary executions, when thou mightest have said with David, Lord I have done wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? What had this serpent done?
The serpent was more subtle than any other beast8. It is a
'Numb. xxii. 6. * Numb. xx. 11.
4 Prov. xxv. 16. 5 1 Sam. xiv. 27. * Acts v. 8.
7 Gen. xxxviii. 9. 8 Gen. iii. 1.
dangerous thing to have a capacity to do evil; to be fit to be wrought upon, is a dangerous thing. How many men have been drawn into danger, because they were too rich? How many women into solicitation, and temptation, because they were too beautiful? Content thyself with such a mediocrity in these things, as may make thee fit to serve God, and to assist thy neighbour, in a calling, and be not ambitious of extraordinary excellency in any kind; it is a dangerous thing, to have a capacity to do evil. God would do a great work; and he used the simplicity of the ass; he made Balaam's ass speak*; but the devil makes use of the subtlety, of the craft of the serpent; the serpent is his instrument; no more but so, but so much he is, his instrument. And then, says St. Chrysostom, Pater noster execratur gladium, As a natural father would, so our heavenly Father does hate, that which was the instrument of the ruin of his children. Wherein hath he expressed that hate? Not to bind ourselves to Josephus his opinion, (though some of the ancients in the Christian church have seconded that opinion too) that at that time the serpent could go upright, and speak, and understand, and knew what he did, and so concurred actually and willingly to the temptation and destruction of man, though he were but another's instrument, he became odious to God. Our bodies, of themselves, if they had no souls, have no disposition to any evil; yet, these bodies which are but instruments, must burn in hell. The earth was accursed for man's sin, though the earth had not been so much as an instrument of his sin; only because it was, after, to conduce to the punishment of his children, it was accursed, God withdrew his love from it. And in the law, those beasts with which men committed bestiality, were to be stoned, as well as the men10. How poor a plea will it be, to say, at the last day, I got nothing by such an extortion, to mine own purse, it was for my master; I made no use of that woman whom I had corrupted, it was for a friend. Miserable instrument of sin, that hadst not the profit, nor the pleasure, and must have the damnation! As the prophet calls them, that help us towards heaven, Saviours, (Saviours shall come up on Mount
Sion1') so are all that concur instrumentally to the damnation of others, devils. And, at the last day, we shall see many sinners saved, and their instruments perish. Adam, and Eve, both God interrogated, and gave them time, to meditate and to deprecate; to Adam, he says, Where art thou, and, who told thee that thou wast naked? And to Eve, What is this that thou hast done? But to the serpent no such breathing; the first word is, Quia fecisti; no calling for evidence whether he had done it or no, but, Because thou hast done it, thou art accursed. Sin is treason against God; and in treason there is no accessory; the instrument is the principal.
We pass from that first part, the consideration of heavy judgments upon faults, in appearance but small, derived from the punishment of the serpent, though but an instrument. Let no man set a low value upon any sin; let no man think it a little matter to sin some one sin, and no more; or that one sin but once, and no oftener; or that once but a little way in that sin, and no farther; or all this, to do another a pleasure, though he take none in it himself, (as though there were charity in the society of sin, and that it were an alms to help a man to the means of sinning.) The least sin cost the blood of the Son of God, and the least sinner may lose the benefit of it, if he presume of it. No man may cast himself from a pinnacle, because an angel may support him; no man may kill himself, because there is a resurrection of the body; nor wound his soul to death by sin, because there may be a resurrection of that, by grace. Here is no room for presumption upon God; but, as little for desperation in God; for, in the punishment of the serpent, we shall see, that his mercy, and justice are inseparable; that, as all the attributes of God, make up but one God (goodness, and wisdom, and power are but one God) so mercy and justice make up but one act; they do not only duly succeed, and second one another, they do not only accompany one another, they are not only together, but they are all one. As manna, though it tasted to one man like one thing, to another like another, (for it tasted to every man like that, that that man liked best) yet still was the same
11 Obad. 21.
manna; so, for God's corrections, they have a different taste in different persons; and howsoever the serpent found nothing but judgment, yet we find mercy even in that judgment. The evening and the morning make up the day, says Moses"; as soon as he had named evening comes in morning, no interposing of the mention of a dark, and sad night between. As soon as I hear of a judgment, I apprehend mercy, no interposing of any dark or sad suspicion, or diffidence, or distrust in God, and his mercy; and to that purpose we consider the serpent's punishment, and especially as it is heightened, and aggravated in this text, Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
There are three degrees in the serpent's punishment; first, Super pectus, He must creep upon his belly; and secondly, Inimicitias ponam, I will put enmity, God will raise him an enemy; and thirdly, Pulverem comedes, Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And, in all these three, though they aggravate the judgment upon the serpent, there is mercy to us; for, for the first, that the serpent now does but creep upon his belly, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory understand this belly to be the seat of our affections, and our concupiscences; that the serpent hath no power upon our heart, nor upon our brain, for, if we bring a temptation to consideration, to deliberation, that we stop at it, think of it, study it, and foresee the consequences, this frustrates the temptation. Our nobler faculties are always assisted with the grace of God to resist him, though the belly, the bowels of sin, in sudden surprisals, and ebullitions, and foamings of our concupiscences, be subject to him: for, though it may seem, that if that be the meaning, (which, from St. Augustine and St. Gregory we have given you) that the serpent hath this power over our affections, and that is intended by that, the belly, it should rather have been said, super pectus vestrum, he shall creep upon your belly, than upon his own, yet, indeed, all that is his own, which we have submitted and surrendered to him, and he is upon his own, because we make ourselves his; (for, to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are13.) So that if he be super pectus nostrum, if he be upon our belly, he is upon his own. But he does but creep; he does not fly; he is not
"Gen. i. 5. 13 Rom. vi. 16.
presently upon you, in a present possession of you; you may discern the beginning of sin, and the ways of sin, in the approaches of the serpent, if you will. The serpent leaves a slime that discovers him, where he creeps; at least behind him, after a sin, you may easily see occasion of remorse, and detestation of that sin, and thereby prevent relapses, if you have not watched him well enough in his creeping upon you. When he is a lion, he does not devour all whom he finds; He seeks whom he may devour n; he may not devour all, nor any but those, who cast themselves into his jaws, by exposing themselves to temptations to sin.
He does but creep; why, did he any more before? Was his form changed in this punishment? Many of the ancients think literally that it was; and that before the serpent did go upon feet; we are not sure of that; nor is it much probable. That may well be true, which Luther says, Fuit suamssima bestiola, till then it was a creature more lovely, more sociable, more conversable with man, and, (as Calvin expresses the same) Minus odiosus, Man did less abhor the serpent before, than after. Beloved, it is a degree of mercy, if God bring that, which was formerly a temptation to me, to a less power over me, than formerly it had; if deformity, if sickness, if age, if opinion, if satiety, if inconstancy, if anything have worn out a temptation in that face, that transported me heretofore, it is a degree of mercy. Though the serpent be the same serpent, yet if be not so acceptable, so welcome to me, as heretofore, it is a happy, a blessed change. And so, in that respect, there was mercy.
It was a punishment to the serpent, that, though he were the same still as before, yet he was not able to insinuate himself as before, because he was not so welcome to us. So, the having of the same form, which he had, might be a punishment, as nakedness was to man after his fall; he was naked before, but he saw it not, he felt it not, he needed no clothes before; now, nakedness brings shame, and infirmities with it. So, God was so sparing towards the serpent, as that he made him not worse in nature, than before, and so merciful to us, as that he made us more jealous of him, and thereby more safe against him, than before. Which is also intimated pregnantly, in the next step of
"1 Peter v. 8.
his punishment, Inimicitias ponam, that God hath kindled a war between him and us. Peace is a blessed state, but it must be the peace of God; for, Simeon and Levi are brethren15, they agree well enough together; but they are instruments of evil; and, in that case, the better agreement, the worse. So, war is a fearful state; but not so, if it be the war of God, undertaken for his cause, or by his word. Many times, a state suffers by the security of a peace, and gains by the watchfulness of a war. Woe be to that man that is so at peace, as that the spirit rights not against the flesh in him; and woe to them too, who would make them friends, or reconcile them, between whom, God hath perpetuated an everlasting war, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, Christ and Belial, truth and superstition. Till God proclaimed a war between them, the serpent did easily overthrow them, but therefore God brought it to a war, that man might stand upon his guard. And so it was a mercy.
But the greatest mercy is in the last, and that which belongs most directly, (though all conduce pertinently and usefully) to our present occasion; Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. He must eat dust, that is, our bodies, and carnal affections; he was at a richer diet, he was in better pasture before; before, he fed upon souls too; but for that his head was bruised, in the promise of a Messias, who delivers our souls from his tyranny; but the dust, the body, that body, which for all the precious ransom, and the rich, and large mercy of the Messias, must die, that dust is left to the serpent, to Satan, that is, to that dissolution, and that putrefaction, which he hath induced upon man, in death. He eats but our dust, in our death, when he hath brought us to that; that is a mercy; nay he eats up our dust before our death, which is a greater mercy; our carnal affections, our concupiscences are eaten up, and devoured by him; and so, even his eating is a sweeping, a cleansing, a purging of us. Many times we are the better for his temptations. My discerning a storm, makes me put on a cloak. My discerning a temptation, makes me see my weakness, and fly to my strength. Nay, I am sometimes the safer, and the readier for a victory, by having been overcome by him. The sense, and the remorse of a sin, after I have fallen into it, puts me into a better state, and establishes
15 Gen. xLix. 5.
better conditions between God and me than were before, when I felt no temptations to sin. He shall eat up my dust, so, as that it shall fly into mine eyes; that is, so work upon my carnal affections, as that they shall not make me blind, nor unable to discern that it is he that works. It is said of one kind of serpent", that because they know, by an instinct they have, that their skin is good for the use of man, (for the falling sickness) out of envy, they hide their skin, when they cast it. The serpent is loth we should have any benefit of him; but we have; even his temptations arm us, and the very falling exalts us, when after a sin of infirmity, we come to a true, and serious repentance, and scrutiny of our conscience. So he hath nothing to eat but our dust, and he eats up our dust so, as that he contributes to our glory, by his malice. The whale was Jonah's pilot'7: the crows were Elias' caters18; the lions were Daniel's sentinels19; the viper was Paul's advocate80; it pleaded for him, and brought the beholders in an instant, from extreme to extreme, from crying out that Paul was a murderer, to cry that he was a god. Though at any time, the serpent having brought me to a sin, cry out, Thou art a murderer, that is, bring me to a desperate sense of having murdered mine own soul, yet in that darkness I shall see light, and by a present repentance, and effectual application of the merits of my Saviour, I shall make the serpent see, I am a god; thus far a god, that by my adhering to Christ, I am made partaker of the divine nature81. For, that which St. Chrysostom says of baptism, is true too in the second baptism, repentance, Deposui terrain, et caelum indui; then I may say to the serpent, Your meat is dust; and I was dust; but Deposui terrain, I have shaked off my dust, by true repentance, for I have shaked off myself, and am a new creature88, and am not now meat for your table. Jam terra non sum, sed sal, says the same father, I am not now unsavoury dust, but I am salt; and, sal ex aqua et vento, says he; salt is made of water and wind; I am made up of the water of baptism, of the water of repentance, of the water that accompanies the blood of Christ Jesus, and of that wind that
'" Stellio. 17 Jonah i. 17- 18 1 Kings xvii. 6.
19 Dan. vi. 22. !0 Acts xxviii.
81 2 Peter i. 4. M 2 Cor. v. 17.
blows where it list83, and hath been pleased to blow upon me, the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, and I am no longer meat for the serpent, for Dust must he eat all the days of his life. I am a branch of that vine, (Christ is the vine, and we are the branches") I am a leaf of that rose of Sharon, and of that lily of the valleys"; I am a plant in the orchard of pomegranates", and that orchard of pomegranates is the church; I am a drop of that dew87, that dew that lay upon the head of Christ. And this vine, and this rose, and lily, and pomegranates, of paradise, and this dew of heaven, are not dust, And dust must thou eat all the days of thy life.
So then, the prophecy of Esay fulfils itself, That when Christ shall reign powerfully over us, the wolf and the lamb shall feed togetherTM, (Saul and Ananias shall meet in a house, (as St. Hierome expounds that) and Ananias not be afraid of a persecutor). The lion shall eat straw like the bullock, says that prophet in that place, Tradent se rusticitati ScHpturarum, says the same father, The strongest understandings shall content themselves with the homeliness of the Scriptures, and feed upon plain places, and not study new dishes, by subtleties, and perplexities, and then, Dust shall be the serpents meat, says the prophet there, the power of Satan shall reach but to the body, and not touch a soul wrapped up in Christ. But then, it is tota vita, all his life. His diet is impaired, but it is not taken away; he eats but dust, but he shall not lack that, as long as he lives. And how long lives the serpent, this serpent? The life of this serpent is to seduce man, to practise upon man, to prevail upon man, as far, and as long as man is dust. And therefore we are not only his dust, whilst we live (all which time we serve in our carnal affections, for him to feed upon) but when we are dead, we are his dust still. Man was made in that state, as that he should not resolve to dust, but should have passed from this world to the next, without corruption, or resolution of the body. That which God said to Adam, Dust thou art", belonged to all, from the beginning, he, and all we were to be of dust, in his best integrity; but that which God adds there, Et in terram reverteris, (Dust thou art, and to it thou shalt
"John xv. 5. 85 Cant. ii. 1. »6 Cant. iv. 13.
"Isaiah Lxv. 25. "Gen. iii. 19.
John iii. 8.
87 Cant. v. 2.
return) that the serpent brought in, that was induced upon man by him, and his temptation. So that when we are living dust here he eats us, and when we are dead dust too, in the grave, he feeds upon us, because it proceeds from him both that we die, and that we are detained in the state of exinanition, and ingloriousness, in the dust of the earth, and not translated immediately to the joys of heaven, as but for him, we should have been. But as, though he do feed upon our living dust, that is, induce sicknesses, and hunger, and labour, and cold, and pain upon our bodies here, God raises even that dust out of his hands, and redeems it from his jaws, in affording us a deliverance, or a restitution from those bodily calamities here, as he did abundantly to his servant, and our example, Job, so, though he feed upon our dead dust and detain our bodies in the disconsolate state of the grave, yet, as the Godhead, the divine nature did not depart from the body of Christ when it lay dead in the grave, so neither doth the love and power of God, depart from the body of a Christian, though resolved to dust in the grave, but, in his due time, shall re-collect that dust, and re-compact that body, and re-unite that soul, in everlasting joy and glory. And till then, the serpent lives; till the judgment, Satan hath power upon that part of man; and that is the serpent's life, first to practise our death, and then to hold us in the state of the dead. Till then we attend with hope, and with prayers God's holy pleasure upon us, and then begins the unchangeable state in our life, in body and soul together, then we begin to live, and then ends the serpent's life, that is, his earnest practice upon us in our life, and his faint triumph in continuing over our dust. That time, (the time of the general resurrection) being not yet come, the devils thought themselves wronged, and complained that Christ came before the time to torment them80; and therefore Christ yielded so much to their importunity, as to give them leave to enter into the swine. And therefore, let not us murmur nor over-mourn for that, which as we have induced it upon ourselves, so God shall deliver us from, at last, that is, both death, and corruption after death, and captivity in that comfortless state, but for the resurrection. For so long we are to be dust, and so long lasts the serpent's life,
30 Matt. viii. 29.
Satan's power over man; dust must he eat all the days of his life.
In the mean time, (for our comfort in the way) when this serpent becomes a lion, yet there is a lion of the tribe of Judah"1, that is too strong for him. So, if he who is serpens serpens humi, the serpent condemned to creep upon the ground, do transform himself into a flying serpent, and attempt our nobler faculties, there is serpens exaltatus, a serpent lifted up in the wilderness38 to recover all them that are stung, and feel that they are stung with this serpent, this flying serpent, that is, these high and continued sins. The creeping serpent, the grovelling serpent, is craft; the exalted serpent, the crucified serpent, is wisdom. All your worldly cares, all your crafty bargains, all your subtle matches, all your diggings into other men's estates, all your hedgings in of debts, all your planting of children in great alliances; all these diggings, and hedgings and plantings savour of the earth, and of the craft of that serpent, that creeps upon the earth: but crucify this craft of yours, bring all your worldly subtlety under the cross of Christ Jesus, husband your farms so, as you may give a good account to him, press your debts so, as you would be pressed by him, market and bargain so, as that you would give all, to buy that field, in which his treasure, and his pearl is hid, and then you have changed the serpent, from the serpent of perdition creeping upon the earth, to the serpent of salvation exalted in the wilderness. Creeping wisdom, that still looks downward, is but craft; crucified wisdom, that looks upward, is truly wisdom. Between you and that ground-serpent God hath kindled a war; and the nearer you come to a peace with him, the farther ye go from God, and the more ye exasperate the Lord of hosts, and you whet his sword against your own souls. A truce with that serpent, is too near a peace; to condition with your conscience for a time, that you may continue in such a sin, till you have paid for such a purchase, married such a daughter, bought such an annuity, undermined and eaten out such an unthrift, this truce, (though you mean to end it before you die) is too near a peace with that serpent, between whom and you, God hath kindled an everlasting war. A cessation of arms, that
is, not to watch all his attempts and temptations, not to examine all your particular actions, a treaty of peace, that is, to dispute and debate in the behalf and favour of a sin, to palliate, to disguise, to extenuate that sin, this is too near a peace with this serpent, this creeping serpent. But in the other Serpent, the crucified Serpent, God hath reconciled to himself, all things in heaven, and earth, and hell. You have peace in the assistance of the angels of heaven, peace in the contribution of the powerful prayers, and of the holy examples of the saints upon earth, peace in the victory and triumph over the power of hell, peace from sins towards men, peace of affections in yourselves, peace of conscience towards God. From your childhood you have been called upon to hold your peace; to be content is to hold your peace; murmur not at God, in any corrections of his, and you do hold this peace. That creeping serpent, Satan, is war, and should be so; the crucified Serpent Christ Jesus is peace, and shall be so for ever. The creeping serpent eats our dust, the strength of our bodies, in sicknesses, and our glory in the dust of the grave: the crucified Serpent hath taken our flesh, and our blood, and given us his flesh, and his blood for it; and therefore, as David, when he was thought base, for his holy freedom in dancing before the ark33, said he would be more base; so, since we are all made of red earth, let him that is red, be more red; let him that is red with the blood of his own soul, be red again in blushing for that redness, and more red in the communion of the blood of Christ Jesus; whom we shall eat all the days of our life, and be mystically, and mysteriously, and spiritually, and sacramentally united to him in this life, and gloriously in the next.
In this state of dust, and so in the territory of the serpent, the tyrant of the dead, lies this dead brother of ours, and hath lain some years, who occasions our meeting now, and yearly upon this day, and whose soul, we doubt not, is in the hands of God, who is the God of the living. And having gathered a good gomer of manna, a good measure of temporal blessings in this life, and derived a fair measure thereof, upon them, whom nature and law directed it upon, (and in whom we beseech God to bless it) hath
85 2 Sam. vi. 14.
also distributed something to the poor of this parish, yearly, this day, and something to a meeting for the conserving of neighbourly love, and something for this exercise. In which, no doubt, his intention was not so much to be yearly remembered himself, as that his posterity, and his neighbours might be yearly remembered to do as he had done. For, this is truly to glorify God in his saints, to sanctify ourselves in their examples; to celebrate them, is to imitate them. For, as it is probably conceived, and agreeably to God's justice, that they that write wanton books, or make wanton pictures, have additions of torment, as often as other men are corrupted with their books, or their pictures: so may they, who have left permanent examples of good works, well be believed, to receive additions of glory and joy, when others are led by that to do the like: and so, they who are extracted, and derived from him, and they who dwelt about him, may assist their own happiness, and enlarge his, by following his good example in good proportions. Amen.