A SERMON OF VALEDICTION AT MY GOING INTO GERMANY, AT LINCOLN'S INN, APRIL 18, 1619.
EcCXESIASTES xii. 1.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy yonth.
We may consider two great virtues, one for the society of this life, thankfulness, and the other for attaining the next life, repentance; as the two precious metals, silver and gold: of silver (of the virtue of thankfulness) there are whole mines, books written by philosophers, and a man may grow rich in that metal, in that virtue, by digging in that mine, in the precepts of moral men; of this gold (this virtue of repentance) there is no mine in the earth; in the book of philosophers, no doctrine of repentance;
"Psalm xxxii. 6.
VOL. vi. c this gold is for the most part in the washes; this repentance in matters of tribulation; but God directs thee to it in this text, before thou come to those waters of tribulation, remember now thy Creator before those evil days come, and then thou wilt repent the not remembering him till now. Here then the Holy Ghost takes the nearest way to bring a man to God, by awaking his memory; for, for the understanding, that requires long and clear instruction; and the will requires an instructed understanding before, and is in itself the blindest and boldest faculty; but if the memory do but fasten upon any of those things which God hath done for us, it is the nearest way to him. Remember therefore, and remember now, though the memory be placed in the hindermost part of the brain, defer not thou thy remembering to the hindermost part of thy life, but do that now in die, in the day, whilst thou hast light, now in diebus, in the days, whilst God presents thee many lights, many means; and in diebus juventutis, in the days of thy youth, of strength, whilst thou art able to do that which thou purposest to thyself; and as the word imports, bechurotheica1, in diebus electionum tuarum, in the days of thy choice, whilst thou art able to make thy choice, whilst the grace of God shines so brightly upon thee, as thou mayest choose the way, and so powerfully upon thee, as that thou mayest walk in that way. Now, in this day, and in these days remember first the Creator, that all these things which thou labourest for, and delightest in, were created, made of nothing; and therefore thy memory looks not far enough back, if it stick only upon the creature, and reach not to the Creator, remember thy Creator, and remember thy Creator; and in that, first that he made thee, and then what he made thee; he made thee of nothing, but of that nothing he hath made thee such a thing as cannot return to nothing, but must remain for ever; whether happy or miserable, that depends upon thy remembering thy Creator now in the days of thy youth.
First remember; which word is often used in the Scripture for considering and taking care: for, God remembered* Noah and every beast with him in the ark; as the word which is contrary
1 Tfllini from "\2., elegit .—ed. * Gen. viii. 1.
v \: - T
to that, forgetting is also for the affection contrary to it, it is neglecting, Can a woman forget her child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb*? But here we take not remembering so largely, but restrain it to the exercise of that one faculty, the memory; for it is stomachus animw. The momory, says St. Bernard, is the stomach of the soul, it receives and digests, and turns into good blood, all the benefits formerly exhibited to us in particular, and exhibited to the whole church of God: present that which belongs to the understanding, to that faculty, and the understanding is not presently settled in it; present any of the prophecies made in the captivity, and a Jew's understanding takes them for deliverances from Babylon, and a Christian's understanding takes them for deliverances from sin and death, by the Messias Christ Jesus; present any of the prophecies of the Revelation concerning antichrist, and a papist will understand it of a single, and momentane, and transitory man, that must last but three years and a half; and a protestant may understand it of a succession of men, that have lasted so one thousand years already: present but the name of bishop or of elder, out of the Acts of the Apostles, or their epistles, and other men will take it for a name of equality, and parity, and we for a name and office of distinction in the hierarchy of God's church. Thus it is in the understanding that is often perplexed; consider the other faculty, the will of man, by those bitternesses which have passed between the Jesuits and the Dominicans, (amongst other things belonging to the will) whether the same proportion of grace, offered to men alike disposed, must necossarily work alike upon both their wills? And amongst persons nearer to us, whether that proportion of grace, which doth convert a man, might not have been resisted by perverseness of his will I By all these difficulties we may see, how untractable, and untameable a faculty the will of man is. But come not with matter of law, but matter of fact, Let God make his wonderful works to be had in remembrance*: present the history of God's protection of his children, from the beginning, in the ark, in both captivities, in infinite dangers; present this to the memory, and howsoever the
8 Isaiah xLviii. 15. 4 Psalm cxi. 4.
understanding be beclouded, or the will perverted, yet both Jew and Christian, Papist and Protestant, Puritan and Protestant, are affected with a thankful acknowledgment of his former mercies and benefits, this issue of that faculty of their memory is alike in them all: and therefore God in giving the law, works upon no other faculty but this, / am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of ths land of Egypt; he only presents to their memory what he had done for them. And so in delivering the Gospel in one principal seal thereof, the sacrament of his body, he recommended it only to their memory, Do this in remembrance of me. This is the faculty that God desires to work upon; and therefore if thine understanding cannot reconcile differences in all churches, if thy will cannot submit itself to the ordinances of thine own church, go to thine own memory; for as St. Bernard calls that the stomach of the soul, we may be bold to call it the gallery of the soul, hanged with so many, and so lively pictures of the goodness and mercies of thy God to thee, as that every one of them shall be a catechism to thee, to instruct thee in all thy duties to him for those mercies: and as a well-made, and wellplaced picture, looks always upon him that looks upon it; so shall thy God look upon thee, whose memory is thus contemplating him, and shine upon thine understanding, and rectify thy will too. If thy memory cannot comprehend his mercy at large showed to his whole church, (as it is almost an incomprehensible thing, that in so few years he made us of the Reformation, equal even in number to our adversaries of the Roman church,) if thy memory have not held that picture of our general deliverance from the navy; (if that mercy be written in the water and in the sands, where it was performed, and not in thy heart) if thou remember not our deliverance from that artificial hell, the vault, (in which, though his instruments failed of their plot, they did not blow us up; yet the devil goes forward with his plot, if ever he can blow out; if he can get that deliverance to be forgotten.) If these be too large pictures for thy gallery, for thy memory, yet every man hath a pocket-picture about him, Emanuel, a bosom book, and if he will turn over but one leaf, and remember what God hath done for him even since yesterday, he shall find even by that little branch a navigable river, to sail into that great and endless sea of God's mercies towards him, from the beginning of his being.
Do but remember, but remember now: Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be as the first fruits of his creatures': that as we consecrate all his creatures to him, in a sober, and religious use of them, so as the first fruits of all, we should principally consecrate ourselves to his service betimes. Now there were three payments of first fruits appointed by God to the Jews: the first was, primitiw spicarum, of their ears of corn, and this was early about Easter; the second was primitice panum, of loaves of bread, after their corn was converted to that use; and this, though it were not so soon, yet it was early too, about Whitsuntide; the third was primitiw frugum, of all their fruits and revenues; but this was very late in Autumn, at the fall of the kaf, in the end of the year. The two first of these, which were offered early, were offered partly to God, and partly to man, to the priest; but in the last, which came late, God had no part: he had his part in the corn, and in the loaves, but none in the latter fruits. Offer thyself to God; first, as primitias spicarum, (whether thou glean in the world, or bind up whole sheaves, whether thy increase be by little and little, or apace;) and offer thyself, as primitias panum, when thou hast kneaded up riches, and honour, and favour in a settled and established fortune, offer at thy Easter, whensoever thou hast any resurrection, any sense of raising thy soul from the shadow of death; offer at thy Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost visits thee, and descends upon thee in a fiery tongue, and melts thy bowels by the power of his word; for if thou defer thy offering till thy fall, till thy winter, till thy death, howsoever they may be thy first fruits, because they be the first that ever thou gavest, yet they are such, as are not acceptable to God; God hath no portion in them, if they be not offered till then; offer thyself now; for that is an easy request; yea offer to thyself now, that is more easy; Viximus mundo; vivamus reliquum nobis ipsis*; Thus long we have served the world; let us serve ourselves the rest of our time, that is, the best part of ourselves, our souls, Expectas tit febris te vocet ad
5 James i. 18. 8 Basil,
poinitentiam? Hadst thou rather a sickness should bring thee to God, than a sermon? Hadst thou rather be beholden to a physician for thy salvation, than to a preacher? Thy business is to remember; stay not for thy last sickness, which may be a lethargy in which thou mayest forget thine own name, and his that gave thee the name of a Christian, Christ Jesus himself: thy business is to remember, and thy time is now, stay not till that angel come which shall say and swear, that time shall be no more7.
Remember then, and remember now; In die, In the day; the Lord will hear us In die qua invocaverimus, In the day that we shall call upon him'; and in quacunque die, In what day soever we call*, and in Quacunque die velociter exaudiet1*, As soon as we call in any day. But all this is opus diei, a work for the day; for in the night, in our last night, those thoughts that fall upon us, they are rather dreams, than true rememberings; we do rather dream that we repent, than repent indeed, upon our death-bed. To him that travels by night a bush seems a tree, and a tree seems a man, and a man a spirit; nothing hath the true shape to him; to him that repents by night, on his deathbed, neither his own sins, nor the mercies of God have their true proportion. Fool, says Christ, this night they will fetch away thy soul; but he neither tells him, who they be that shall fetch it, nor whither they shall carry it; he hath no light but lightnings: a sudden flash of horror, first, and then he goes into fire without light, Numquid Deu* nobis ignem pacavit? Non, sed diabolo, etan</elisu: Did God ordain hell-fire for us? no, but for the devil, and his angels. And yet we that are vessels so broken, as that there is not a sherd left, to fetch water at the pit, that is, no means in ourselves, to derive one drop of Christ's blood upon us, nor to wring out one tear of true repentance from us, have plunged ourselves into this everlasting, and this dark fire, which was not prepared for us; a wretched covetousness, to be intruders upon the devil; a wretched ambition, to be usurpers upon damnation. God did not make the fire for us; but much less did he make us for that fire; that is, make us to damn us.
7 Rev. x. 6. 8 Psalm xx. 9. * Psalin cxxxviii. 3.
"Psalm cii. 2. 11 Chrysostom.
But now the judgment is given, Ite maledicti, Go ye accursed; but yet this is the way of God's justice, and his proceeding, that his judgments are not always executed, though they be given. The judgments and sentences of Medes and Persians are irrevocable, but the judgments and sentences of God, if they be given, if they be published, they are not executed. The Ninevites had perished, if the sentence of their destruction had not been given; and the sentence preserved them; so even in this cloud of Ite maledicti, Go ye accursed, we may see the daybreak, and discern beams of saving light, even in this judgment of eternal darkness; if the contemplation of his judgment brings us to remember him in that day, in the light and apprehension of his anger and correction.
For this circumstance is enlarged; it is not in die, but in diebus, not in one, but in many days; for God affords us many days, many lights to see and remember him by. This remembrance of God is our regeneration, by which we are new creatures; and therefore we may consider as many days in it, as in the first creation. The first day was the making of light; and our first day is the knowledge of him, who says of himself, Ego sum lux mundi, I am the light of the world, and of whom St. John testifies, Erat lux vera, He was the true light, that lighteth every man into the world. This is then our first day the true passion of Christ Jesus. God made light first, that the other creatures might be seen; Frustra essent si non viderenturTM, It had been to no purpose to have made creatures, if there had been no light to manifest them. Our first day is the light and love of the Gospel; for the noblest creatures of princes, (that is, the noblest actions of princes, war, and peace, and treaties) frustra sunt, they are good for nothing, they are nothing, if they be not showed and tried by this light, by the love and preservation of the Gospel of Christ Jesus: God made light first, that his other works might appear, and he made light first, that himself (for our example) might do all his other works in the light: that we also, as we had that light shed upon us in our baptism, so we might make all our future actions justifiable by that light, and not erubescere evangelium, not be ashamed of being too jealous in this profession of his
truth. Then God saw that the light was good: the seeing implies a consideration; that so a religion be not accepted blindly, nor implicitly; and the seeing it to be good implies an election of that religion, which is simply good in itself, and not good by reason of advantage, or conveniency, or other collateral and byrespects. And when God had seen the light, and seen that it was good, then ho severed light from darkness; and he severed them, non tanquam duo positiva, not as two essential, and positive, and equal things, not so, as that a brighter and a darker religion, (a good and a bad) should both have a being together, but tanquam positivum et primitivum, light and darkness are primitive, and positive, and figure this rather, that a true religion should be established, and continue, and darkness utterly removed; and then and not till then, (till this was done, light severed from darkness) there was a day; and since God hath given us this day, the brightness of his Gospel, that this light is first presented, that is, all great actions begun with this consideration of the Gospel; since all other things are made by this light, that is, all have relation to the continuance of the Gospel, since God hath given us such a head, as is sharp-sighted in seeing the several lights, wise in discerning the true light, powerful in resisting foreign darkness; since God hath given us this day, Qui non humiliabit animam suam in die hac, as Moses speaks of the days of God's institution", he that will not remember God now, in this day, is impious to him, and unthankful to that great instrument of his, by whom this day-spring from on high hath visited us.
To make shorter days of the rest, (for we must pass through all the six days in a few minutes) God in the second day made the firmament to divide between the waters above, and the waters below; and this firmament in us, is terminus cognoscibilium, the limits of those things which God hath given man means and faculties to conceive, and understand: he hath limited our eyes with a firmament beset with stars, our eyes can see no farther: he hath limited our understanding in matters of religion with a starry firmament too; that is, with the knowledge of those things, quw ubique, quw semper, which those stars which he hath kindled in his church, the fathers and doctors, have ever from the begin
ning proposed as things necessary to be explicitly believed, for the salvation of our souls; for the eternal decrees of God, and his unrevealed mysteries, and the inextricable perplexities of the school, they are waters above tho firmament: here Paul plants, and here Apollos waters; here God raises up men to convey to us the dew of his grace, by waters under the firmament; by visible sacraments, and by the word so preached, and so interpreted, as it hath been constantly, and unanimously from the beginning of the church. And therefore this second day is perfected in the third, in the congregentur aquai, let the waters be gathered together; God hath gathered all tho waters, all the waters of life in one place; that is, all the doctrine necessary for the life to come, into his church: and then producet terra, here in this world are produced to us all herbs and fruits, all that is necessary for the soul to feed upon. And in this third day's work God repeats here that testimony, videt quod bonum, he saw that it was good; good, that here should be a gathering of waters in one place, that is, no doctrine received that had not been taught in the church; and videt quod bonum, he saw it was good, that all herbs and trees should be produced that bore seed; all doctrines that were to be proseminated and propagated, and to be continued to the end, should be taught in the church: but for doctrines which were but to vent the passion of vehement men, or to serve the turns of great men for a time, which were not seminal doctrines, doctrines that bore seed, and were to last from the beginning to the end; for these interlineary doctrines, and marginal, which were no part of the first text, here is no testimony that God sees that they are good. And, In diebus istis, If in these two days, the day when God makes thee a firmament, shows thee what thou art, to limit thine understanding and thy faith upon, and the day where God makes thee a sea, a collection of the waters, (shows thee where these necessary things must be taught in the church) if in those days thou wilt not remember thy Creator, it is an irrecoverable lethargy.
In the fourth day's work, let the making of the sun to rule the day be the testimony of God's love to thee, in the sunshine of temporal prosperity, and the making of the moon to shine by night, be the refreshing of his comfortable promises in the darkness of adversity; and then remember that he can make thy sun to set at noon, he can blow out thy taper of prosperity when it burns brightest, and he can turn the moon into blood, he can make all the promises of the Gospel, which should comfort thee in adversity, turn into despair and obduration. Let the first day's work, which was the creation Omnium reptibilium, and Omnium volatilium, Of all creeping things, and of all flying things, produced out of water, signify and denote to thee, either thy humble devotion, in which thou sayest of thyself to God, Vermis ego et non, homo, I am a worm and no man; or let it be the raising of thy soul in that, pennas columbw dedisti, that God hath given thee the wings of a dove to fly to the wilderness, in a retiring from, or a resisting of temptations of this world; remember still that God can suffer even thy humility to stray, .and degenerate into an uncomely dejection and stupidity, and senselessness of the true dignity and true liberty of a Christian: and he can suffer this retiring thyself from the world, to degenerate into a contempt and despising of others, and an overvaluing of thine own perfections. Let the last day in which both man and beasts were made out of the earth, but yet a living soul breathed into man, remember thee that this earth which treads upon thee, must return to that earth which thou treadest upon, thy body, that loads thee, and oppresses thee to the grave, and thy spirit to him that gave it. And when the Sabbath-day hath als0 remembered thee, that God hath given thee a temporal sabbath, placed thee in a land of peace, and an ecclesiastical sabbath, placed in a church of peace, perfect all in a spiritual sabbath, a conscience of peace, by remembering now thy Creator, at least in one of these days of the week of thy regeneration, either as thou hast light created in thee, in the first day, that is, thy knowledge of Christ; or as thou hast a firmament created in thee the second day, that is, thy knowledge what to seek concerning Christ, things appertaining to faith and salvation; or as thou hast a sea created in thee; the third day, that is, a church where all the knowledge is reserved and presented to thee; or as thou hast a sun and moon in the fourth day, thankfulness in prosperity, comfort in adversity, or as thou hast reptilem humilitatem, or Tolatilem fiduciam, a humiliation in thyself, or an exaltation in
Christ, in thy fifth day, or as thou hast a contemplation of thy mortality and immortality in the sixth day, or a desire of a spiritual sabbath in the seventh, in those days remember thou thy Creator.
Now all these days are contracted into less room in this text, in diebus bechurotheica, is either, in the days of thy youth, or electionum tuarum, in the days of thy heart's desire, when thou enjoyest all that thou couldest wish. First, therefore if thou wouldest be heard in David's prayer; Delicto, jwentutis; O Lord remember not the sins of my youth14; remember to come to this prayer, In diebus jweentutis, In the days of thy youth. Job remembers with much sorrow, how he was in the days of his youth, when God's providence was upon his tabernacle ls: and it is a late, but a sad consideration, to remember with what tenderness of conscience, what scruples, what remorses we entered into sins in our youth, how much we were afraid of all degrees and circumstances of sin for a little while, and how indifferent things they arc grown to us, and how obdurate we are grown in them now. This was Job's sorrow, and this was Tobias' comfort", when I was but young, all my tribes fell away; but I alone went after to Jerusalem. Though he lacked the counsel, and the example in his elders, yet he served God; for it is good for a man, that he bear his yoke in his youth": for even when God had delivered over his people purposely to be afflicted, yet himself complains in their behalf, That the persecutor laid the very heaviest yoke upon the ancient": it is a lamentable thing to fall under a necessity of suffering in our age, Lahore fracta instruments, ad Deum ducis, quorum nullus usus"? Wouldest thou consecrate a chalice to God that is broken? no man would present a lame horse, a disordered clock, a torn book to the king; Caro jumeniumThy body is thy beast; and wilt thou present that to God, when it is lamed and tired with excess of wantonness? When thy clock, (the whole course of thy time) is disordered with passions, and perturbations; when thy book (the history of thy life,) is torn, a thousand sins of thine own torn out of thy memory, wilt thou then present thyself thus defaced and mangled to Almighty God? Tempe
14 Psalm xxv. 7. 15 Job xxix. 4. Tobit i. 4. 17 Lam. iii. 27.
16 Isaiah xtvii. 6. "Basil. 80 Augustine.
rantia non est temperantia in senectute, sed impotentia incontinentia", Chastity is not chastity in an old man, but a disability to be unchaste; and therefore thou dost not give God that which thou pretendest to give, for thou hast no chastity to give him. Senex bis puer; but it is not bis juvenis, an old man comes to the infirmities of childhood again; but he comes not to the strength of youth again.
Do this then in diebus juventutis, in thy best strength, and when thy natural faculties are best able to concur with grace; but do it; in diebus electionum, in the days when thou hast thy heart's desire; for if thou have worn out this word, in one sense, that it be too late now, to remember him in the days of youth, that is, spent forgetfully, yet as long as thou art able to make a new choice, to choose a new sin, that when thy heats of youth are not overcome, but burnt out, then thy middle age chooses ambition, and thy old age chooses covetousness; as long as thou art able to make thy choice thou art able to make a better than this; God testifies that power, that he hath given thee; I call heaven and earth to record this day, that I have set before you life and death; choose life": if this choice like you not, If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, saith Joshua, then choose ye this day whom ye will serve**. Here is the election day; bring that which ye would have, into comparison with that which ye should have; that is, all that this world keeps from you, with that which God offers to you; and what will ye choose to prefer before him? for honour, and favour, and health, and riches, perchance you cannot have them though you choose them; but can you have more of them than they have had, to whom those very things have been occasions of ruin? The market is open till the bell ring; till thy last bell ring the church is open, grace is to be had there: but trust not upon that rule, that men buy cheapest at the end of the market, that heaven may be had for a breath at last, when they that hear it cannot tell whether it be a sigh or a gasp, a religious breathing and anhelation after the next life, or natural breathing out, and exhalation of this; but find a spiritual good husbandry in that other rule, that the prime of the
market is to be had at first: for howsoever, in thine age, there may be by God's strong working, dies juventutis, a day of youth, in making thee then a new creature; (for as God is antiquissimus dierum, so in his school no man is superannuated,) yet when age hath made a man impotent to sin, that is not dies electionum, it is not a day of choice; but remember God now, when thou hast a choice, that is, a power to advance thyself, or to oppress others by evil means; now in die electionum, in those thy happy and sunshine days, remember him.
This is then the faculty that is excited, the memory; and this is the time, now, now whilst we have power of election: the object is, the Creator, remember the Creator: first, because the memory can go no farther than the creation; and therefore we have no means to conceive, or apprehend anything of God before that. AVhen men therefore speak of decrees of reprobation, decrees of condemnation, before decrees of creation; this is beyond the counsel of the Holy Ghost here, Memento Creatoris, Remember the Creator, for this is to remember God a condemner before he was a Creator: this is to put a preface to Moses' Genesis, not to be content with his in principio, to know that in the beginning God created heaven and earth, but we must remember what he did ante principium, before any such beginning wa3. Moses' in principio, that beginning, the creation we can remember; but St. John's in principio, that beginning, eternity, we cannot; we can remember God's fiat in Moses, but not God's erat in St. John: what God hath done for us, is the object of our memory, not what he did before we were: and thou hast a good and perfect memory, if it remember all that the Holy Ghost proposes in the Bible; and it determines in the memento Creatoris: there begins the Bible, and there begins the creed, / believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth; for when it is said, The Holy Ghost was not given, because Jesus was not glorified", it is not truly non erat datus, but non erat; for, non erat nobis antequam operaretur; it is not said there, the Holy Ghost was not given, but it is the Holy Ghost was not: for he is not, that is, he hath no being to us-ward, till he works in us which was first in the creation: remember the Creator then, because thou canst
remember nothing backward beyond him, and remember him so too, that thou mayest stick upon nothing on this side of him, that so neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature may separate thee from God"; not only not separate thee finally, but not separate so, as to stop upon the creature, but to make the best of them, thy way to the Creator; we see ships in the river; but all their use is gone, if they go not to sea; we see men freighted with honour, and riches, but all their use is gone, if their respect be not upon the honour and glory of the Creator; and therefore says the apostle, Let them that suffer, commit their souls to God, as to a faithful Creator"; that is, be made them, and therefore will have care of them. This is the true contracting, and the true extending of the memory, to remember the Creator, and stay there, because there is no prospect farther, and to remember the Creator, and get thither, because there is no safe footing upon the creature, till we come so far.
Remember then the Creator, and remember thy Creator, for, Quis magis fidelis Deo"? Who is so faithful a counsellor as God? Quis prttdentior sapiente? Who can be wiser than wisdom? Quis utilior bono? or better than goodness? Quis conjunctior Creatore? or nearer than our Maker? and therefore remember him. What purposes soever thy parents or thy prince have to make thee great, how had all those purposes been frustrated, and evacuated, if God had not made thee before: this very being is thy greatest degree; as in arithmetic how great a number soever a man express in many figures, yet when we come to number all, the very first figure is the greatest and most of all; so what degrees or titles soever a man have in this world, the greatest and the foundation of all, is, that he had a being by creation: for the distance from nothing to a little, is ten thousand times more' than from it to the highest degree in this life: and therefore remember thy Creator, as by being so, he hath done more for thee than all the world besides; and remember him also, with this consideration, that whatsoever thou art now, yet once thou wast nothing.
He created thee, ex nihilo, he gave thee a being, there is matter
of exaltation, and yet all this from nothing; thou wast worse than a worm, there is matter of humiliation; but he did not create thee ad nihilum, to return to nothing again, and there is matter for thy consideration, and study, how to make thine immortality profitable unto thee; for it is a deadly immortality, if thy immortality must serve thee for nothing but to hold thee in immortal torment. To end all, that being which we have from God shall not return to nothing, nor the being which we have from men neither. As St. Bernard says of the image of God in man's soul, Uri potest in gehenna, non exuri, That soul that descends to hell, carries the image of God in the faculties of that soul thither, but there that image can never be burnt out, so those images and those impressions, which we have received from men, from nature, from the world, the image of a lord, the image of a councillor, the image of a bishop, shall all burn in hell, and never burn out; not only these men, but these offices are not to return to nothing; but as their being from God, so their being from man, shall have an everlasting being, to the aggravating of their condemnation. And therefore remember thy Creator, who, as he is so, by making thee of nothing, so he will ever be so, by holding thee to his glory, though to thy confusion, from returning to nothing; for the court of heaven is not like other courts, that after a surfeit of pleasure or greatness, a man may retire; after a surfeit of sin there is no such retiring, as a dissolving of the soul into nothing; but God is from the beginning the Creator, he gave all things their being, and he is still thy Creator, thou shalt evermore have that being, to be capable of his judgments.
Now to make up a circle, by returning to our first word, remember: as we remember God, so for his sake, let us remember one another. In my long absence, and far distance from hence, remember me, as I shall do you in the ears of that God, to whom the farthest east, and the farthest west are but as the right and left ear in one of us; we hear with both at once, and he hears in both at once; remember me, not my abilities; for when I consider my apostleship that I was sent to you, I am in St. Paul's quorum, quorum ego sum minimus", the least of them that have been sent; and when I consider my infirmities, I am in his
M 1 Cor. xv. 9.
quorum, in another commission, another way, quorum ego maximum"; the greatest of them; but remember my labours, and endeavours, at least my desire, to make sure your salvation. And I shall remember your religious cheerfulness in hearing the word, and your christianly respect towards all them that bring that word unto you, and towards myself in particular far above my merit. And so as your eyes that stay here, and mine that must be far off, for all that distance shall meet every morning, in looking upon that same sun, and meet every night, in looking upon the same moon; so our hearts may meet morning and evening in that God, which sees and hears everywhere; that you may come thither to him with your prayers, that I, (if I may be of use for his glory, and your edification in this place) may be restored to you again; and may come to him with my prayer, that what Paul soever plant amongst you, or what Apollos soever water, God himself will give the increase: that if I never meet you again till we have all passed the gate of death, yet in the gates of heaven, I may meet you all, and there say to my Saviour and your Saviour, that which he said to his Father and our Father, Of those whom thou hast given me, have I not lost one. Remember me thus, you that stay in this kingdom of peace, where no sword is drawn, but the sword of justice, as I shall remember you in those kingdoms, where ambition on one side, and a necessary defence from unjust persecution on the other side hath drawn many swords; and Christ Jesus remember us all in his kingdom, to which, though we must sail through a sea, it is tho sea of his blood, where no soul suffers shipwreck; though we must be blown with strange winds, with sighs and groans for our sins, yet it is the Spirit of God that blows all this wind, and shall blow away all contrary winds of diffidence, or distrust in God's mercy; where we shall be all soldiers of one army, the Lord of hosts, and children of one choir, the God of harmony and consent: where all clients shall retain but one counsellor, our advocate Christ Jesus, not present him any other fee but his own blood, and yet every client have a judgment on his side, not only in a not guilty, in the remission of his sins, but in a venite benedicti, in being called to the participation of an immortal crown of glory: where there shall be no
1 Tim. i. 15.
difference in affection, nor in mind, but we shall agree as fully and perfectly in our hallelujah, and gloria in excelsis, as God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost agreed in the faciamus hominem at first: where we shall end, and yet begin but then; where we shall have continual rest, and yet never grow lazy; where we shall be stronger to resist, and yet have no enemy; where we shall live and never die, where we shall meet and never part.