PREACHED AT LINCOLN'S INN.
Psalm xxxviii. 2.
For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
Almost every man hath his appetite, and his taste disposed to some kind of meats rather than others; he knows what dish he would choose, for his first, and for his second course. We have often the same disposition in our spiritual diet; a man may have
a particular love towards such or such a book of Scripture, and in such an affection, I acknowledge, that my spiritual appetite carries me still, upon the Psalms of David, for a first course, for the Scriptures of the Old Testament: and upon the epistles of St. Paul, for a second course, for the New, and my meditations even for these public exercises to God's church, return oftenest to these two. For, as a hearty entertainer offers to others, the meat which he loves best himself, so do I oftenest present to God's people, in these congregations, the meditations which I feed upon at home, in those two Scriptures. If a man be asked a reason why he loves one meat better than another, where all are equally good, (as the books of Scripture are) he will at least, find a reason in some good example, that he sees some man of good taste, and temperate withal, so do: and for my diet, I have St. Augustine's protestation, that he loved the Book of Psalms, and St. Chrysostom's, that he loved St. Paul's Epistles, with a particular devotion. I may have another more particular reason, because they are Scriptures, written in such forms, as I have been most accustomed to; St. Paul's being letters, and David's being poems: for, God gives us, not only that which is merely necessary, but that which is convenient too; he does not only feed us, but feed us with marrow and with fatness; he gives us our instruction in cheerful forms, not in a sour, and sullen, and angry, and unacceptable way, but cheerfully, in Psalms, which is also a limited and a restrained form; not in an oration, not in prose, but in Psalms; which is such a form as is both curious, and requires diligence in the making, and then when it is made, can have nothing, no syllable taken from it, nor added to it: therefore is God's will delivered to us in Psalms, that we might have it the more cheerfully, and that we might have it the more certainly, because where all the words are numbered, and measured, and weighed, the whole work is less subject to falsification, either by subtraction or addition. God speaks to us in oratione stricta, in a limited, in a diligent form; let us speak to him in oratione soluta; not pray, not preach, not hear, slackly, suddenly, unadvisedly, extemporally, occasionally, indiligently; but let all our speech to him, be weighed, and measured in the weights of the sanctuary, let us be content to preach, and to hear within the com
pass of our articles, and content to pray in those forms which the church hath meditated for us, and recommended to us.
The whole Psalm is a prayer, and recommended by David to the church; and a prayer grounded upon reasons. The reasons are multiplied, and dilated from the second to the twentieth verse. But as the prayer is made to him that is Alpha and Omega, first, and last; so the prayer is the alpha and omega of the Psalm; the prayer possesses the first and last verse thereof; and though the reasons be not left out, (Christ himself settles that prayer, which he recommended to our daily use, upon a reason, Quia tuum est regnum, for thine is the kingdom,) yet David makes up his circle, he begins, and ends in prayer. But our text falls within his reasons; he prays in the first verse that God would forbear him, upon the reasons that follows; of which some are extrinsical, some arising out of the power, some out of the malice, some out of the scorn of other men; and some are intrinsical, arising out of himself, and of his sense of God's judgments upon him; and our text begins the reasons of that last kind, which because David enters with that particle, not only of connexion, but of argumentation too, for, Rebuke me not 0 Lord, for it stands thus and thus with me) we shall make it a first short part, to consider, how it may become a godly man, to limit God so far, as to present and oppose reasons against his declared purpose, and proceedings. And then in those calamities which he presents for his reasons in this text, For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore, we shall pass by these steps; first, we shall see in what respect, in what allusion, in what notifications he calls them arrows: and therein first, that they are alienw, they are shot from others, they are not in his own power; a man shoots not an arrow at himself; and then that they are veloces, swift in coming, he cannot give them their time; and again they are vix visibiles, though they be not altogether invisible in their coming, yet there is required a quick eye, and an express diligence, and watchfulness to discern and avoid them; so they are arrows in the hand of another; not his own; and swift as they come, and invisible before they come. And secondly, they are many arrows; the victory lies not in scaping one or two; and thirdly, they stick in him; they find not David so good proof, as to rebound back again, and imprint no sense; and they stick fast; though the blow be felt, and the wound discerned, yet there is not a present cure, he cannot shake them off; infixw sunt; and then, with all this, they stick fast in him; that is, in all him; in his body, and soul; in him, in his thoughts, and actions; in him, in his sins and in his good works too; infixw mihi, there is no part of him, no faculty in him, in which they stick not: for, (which may well be another consideration) that hand, which shot them, presses him: follows the blow, and presses him sore, that is, vehemently. But yet, (which will be our conclusion) sagittw tuw, and manus tua, these arrows that are shot, and this hand that presses them so sore, are the arrows, and is the hand of God; and therefore first, they must have their effect, they cannot be disappointed: but yet they bring their comfort with them, because they are his, because no arrows from him, no pressing with his hand, comes without that balsamum of mercy, to heal as fast as he wounds, and of so many pieces will this exercise consist, this exercise of your devotion, and perchance patience.
First then, this particle of connexion and argumentation, for, which begins our text, occasions us, in a first part, to consider, that such an impatience in affliction, as bring us toward a murmuring at God's proceedings, and almost to a calling of God to an account, in inordinate expostulations, is a leaven so kneaded into the nature of man, so innate a tartar, so inherent a sting, so inseparable a venom in man, as that the holiest of men have scarce avoided it in all degrees thereof. Job had God's testimony of being an upright man; and yet Job bent that way, 0 that I might have my request, says Job, and that God would grant me the thing I long for1. Well, if God would, what would Job ask? That God would destroy me, and cut me off. Had it not been as easy, and as ready, and as useful a prayer, That God would deliver him? Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh of brass? says he, in his impatience. What, though it be not? Not stones, not brass; is there no remedy, but to wish it dust? Moses had God's testimonies of a remarkable and examplary man, for meekness. But did God always find it so? was it a meek behaviour towards God, to say, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?
have I conceived all this people, have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom*? Elias had had testimonies of God's care and providence in his behalf; and God was not weary of preserving him, and he was weary of being preserved; he desired that he might die, and said, Sujficit, Domine, It is enough 0 Lord, now take my soul*. Jonas, even then, when God was expressing an act of mercy, takes occasion to be angry, and to be angry at God, and to be angry at the mercy of God. We may see his fluctuation and distemper, and irresolution in that case, and his transportation; He was angry, says the text; very angry; and yet, the text says, he prayed, but he prayed eagerly; 0 Lord take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live*. Better for him, that was all he considered; not what was best for the service and glory of God, but best for him. God asks him, If he do well to be angry? And he will not tell him there; God gives him time to vent his passion, and he asks him again after: Doest thou well to be angry? and he answers more angrily, / do well to be angry, even unto death. Jeremy was under this temptation too. Jonas was angry because his prophesy was not performed; because God would not second his prophecy in the destruction of Ninevah. Jeremy was angry because his prophesy was like to be performed; he preached heavy doctrine, and therefore his auditory hated him; Woe is me, my mother, says he5, that thou hast born me a man of strife, and a man of contention to the whole earth! I preach but the messages of God; and (vw mihi si non, woe be unto me if I preach not them) I preach but the sense of God's indignation upon mine own soul, in a conscience of mine own sins, I impute nothing to another, that I confess not of myself, I call none of you to confession to me, I do but confess myself to God, and you, I rack no man's memory, what he did last year, last week, last night, I only gather into my memory, and pour out in the presence of my God, and his church, the sinful history of mine own youth, and yet I am a contentious man, says Jeremy, a worm, and a burden to every tender conscience, says he, and I strive with the whole earth, I am a bitter, and a satirical preacher; this is that that
wearies me, says he, i" have neither lent on usury, nor men ham lent me on usury, yet, as though I were an oppressing lender, or a fraudulent borrower, every one of them doth curse me.
This is a natural infirmity, which the strongest men, being but men, cannot divest, that if their purposes prosper not, they are weary of their industry, weary of their lives; but this is Summa ingratitudo in Deum, malle non esse, quam miserum esse*: there cannot be a greater unthankfulness to God than to desire to be nothing at all, rather than to be that, that God would have thee to be; to desire to be out of the world, rather than to glorify him, by thy patience in it. But when this infirmity overtakes God's children, Patiuntur ut homines, sustinent ut Dei amici; they are under calamities, as they are men, but yet they come to recollect themselves and to bear those calamities, as the valiant soldiers, as the faithful servants, as the bosom friends of Almighty God. iSi vis discere, qualis esse debeas, disce post gratiam, says the same Father; learn patience, not from the stupidity of philosophers, who are but their own statues, men of stone, without sense, without affections, and who placed all their glory, in a non facies ut te dicam malum, that no pain should make them say they were in pain; nor from the pertinacy of heretics, how to bear a calamity, who gave their bodies to the fire, for the establishing of their disciples, but take out a new lesson in the times of grace; consider the apostles there, Gaudentes et gloriantes, they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy1, to suffer rebuke for his name. It was joy, and all joy, says St. James8; it was glory, and all glory, says St. Paul, Absit mihi, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ'; and if I can glory in that, (to glory in that, is to have a conscience testifying to me, that God receives glory by my use of his correction) I may come to God, reason with God, plead with God, wrestle with God, and be received and sustained by him. This was David's case in our text: therefore he doth not stray into the infirmities of these great, and good men, Moses, Job, Elias, Jeremy, and Jonah; whose errors it is labour better bestowed carefully to avoid, than absolutely to excuse, for that cannot be done. But
David presents only to God the sense of his corrections, and implies in that, that since the cure is wrought, since God's purpose, which is, by corrections, to bring a sinner to himself, and so to God, is effected in him, God would now be pleased to remember all his other gracious promises too; and to admit such a zealous prayer as he doth from Esay after, Be not angry, O Lord, above measureTM; (that is, above the measure of thy promises to repentant souls, or the measure of the strength of our bodies) neither remember iniquities for ever; but, lo, we beseech thee, behold, we are thy people. To end this first part, (because the other extends itself in many branches.) Then when we are come to a sense of God's purpose, by his corrections, it is a seasonable time to fly to his mercy, and to pray that he would remove them from us; and to present our reasons, to spare us, for thy corrections have wrought upon us; Give us this day our daily bread, for thou hast given us stones, and scorpions, tribulations, and afflictions, and we have fed upon them, found nourishment even in those tribulations and afflictions, and said thee grace for them, blessed and glorified thy name, for those tribulations, and. afflictions; give us our cordials now, and our restoratives, for thy physic hath evacuated all the peccant humour, and all our natural strength; shine out in the light of thy countenance now, for this long cold night hath benumbed us; since the dross is now evaporated, now withdraw thy fire; since thy hand hath anew cast us, now imprint in us anew thine image; since we have not disputed against thy corrections, all this while, 0 Lord open thou our lips now, and accept our remembering of thee, that we have not done so; accept our petition, and the reason of our petition, for thine arrows stick fast in us, and thy hand presseth us sore.
David in a rectified conscience finds that he may be admitted to present reasons against further corrections, and that this may be received as a reason, that GooVs arrows are upon him; for this is a phrase or a metaphor, in which God's indignation is often expressed in the Scripture. He sent out his arrows, and scattered them11; says David, magnifying God's goodness in his behalf, against his enemies. And so again, God will ordain his arrows
10 Isaiah Lxiv. 9. 11 Psalm xviii. 14.
for them that persecute me". Complebo sagittas, says God, I will heap mischiefs upon them, and I will spend mine arrows upon them13: yea, inebriabo sanguine, I will make mine arrows drunk in their blood. It is idiotismus spiritus sancti, a peculiar character of the Holy Ghost's expressing God's anger, in that metaphor of shooting arrows. In this place, some understand by these arrows, foul and infectious diseases, in his body, derived by his incontinence. Others, the sting of conscience, and that fearful choice, which the prophet offered him, war, famine, and pestilence. Others, his passionate sorrow in the death of Bathsheba's first child; or in the incest of Amnon upon his sister, or in the murder upon Amnon by Absolon; or in the death of Absolon by Joab; or in many other occasions of sorrow, that surrounded David and his family, more, perchance, than any such family in the body of story. But these psalms were made, not only to vent David's present holy passion, but to serve the church of God, to the world's end. And therefore, change the person, and we shall find a whole quiver of arrows. Extend this man, to all mankind; carry David's history up to Adam's history, and consider us in that state, which we inherit from him, and we shall see arrows fly about our ears, d Deo prosequente, the anger of God hanging over our heads, in a cloud of arrows; and a conscientia remordente, our own consciences shooting poisoned arrows of desperation into our souls; and ab homine contemnente, men multiplying arrows of detraction, and calumny, and contumely upon our good name, and estimation. Briefly, in that wound, as we were all shot in Adam, we bled out impassibilitatem, and we sucked in impossibilitatem; there we lost our immortality, our impassibility, our assurance of paradise, and then we lost possibilitatem boni, says St. Augustine: all possibility of recovering any of this by ourselves. So that these arrows which are lamented here, are all those miseries, which sin hath cast upon us; labour, and the child of that, sickness, and the offspring of that, death; and the security of conscience, and the terror of conscience; the searing of the conscience, and the over-tenderness of the conscience; God's quiver, and the devil's quiver, and our own quiver, and our neighbour's quiver, afford, and furnish arrows to gall, and wound
1* Psalm vii. 13. 13 Deut. xxxii. 23, 42.
us. These arrows then in our text, proceeding from sin, and sin proceeding from temptations, and inducing tribulations, it shall advance your spiritual edification most, to fix your consideration upon those fiery darts14, as they are temptations, and as they are tribulations. Origen says, he would wish no more, for the recovery of any soul, but that she were able to see cicatrices suas, those scars which these fiery darts have left in her, the deformity which every sin imprints upon the soul, and contritiones suas, the attenuating and wearing out, and consumption of the soul, by a continual succession of more, and men wound upon the same place. An ugly thing in a consumption, were a fearful spectacle, and such Origen imagines a soul to be, if she could see cicatrices, and contritiones, her ill-favouredness, and her leanness in the deformity, and consumption of sin. How provident, how diligent a patience did our blessed Saviour bring to his passion, who foreseeing that that would be our case, our sickness, to be first wounded with single temptations, and then to have even the wounds of our soul wounded again, by a daily reiterating of temptations in the same kind, would provide us physic agreeable to our disease, chirurgery conformable to our wound, first to be scourged so, as that his holy body was torn with wounds, and then to have those wounded again, and often, with more violatings. So then these arrows, are those temptations, and those tribulations, which are accompanied with these qualities of arrows shot at us, that they are alienw, shot from others, not in our power; and veloces, swift and sudden, soon upon us; and vix visibiles, not discernible in their coming, but by an exact diligence.
First then, these temptations are dangerous arrows, as they are alienw, shot from others, and not in our own power. It was the emblem, and inscription, which Darius took for his coin, Insculpere sagittarium, to show his greatness, that he could wound afar off, as an archer does. And it was the way by which God declared the deliverance of Israel from Syria: Elisha bids the king open the window eastward, and shoot an arrow out15. The king does shoot: and the prophet says, Sagitta salutis Domini, the arrow of the LoroVs deliverance: he would deliver Israel, by shoot
14 Eph. vi. 1G. !» 2 Kings xiii. 16.
ing vengeance into Syria. One danger in our arrows, as they are temptations, is, that they come unsuspectedly; they come, we know not, from whence; from others; that is a danger; but in our temptations, there is a greater danger than that, for a man cannot shoot an arrow at himself; but we can direct temptations upon ourselves; if we were in a wilderness, we could sin; and where we are, we tempt temptations, and wake the devil, when for any thing that appears, he would sleep. A certain man drew a bow at a venture, says that story"; he had no determinate mark, no express aim, upon any one man; he drew his bow at a venture, and he hit, and he slew the king Ahab. A woman of temptation, Tendit arcum in incertum, as that story speaks; she paints, she curls, she sings, she gazes, and is gazed upon; there is an arrow shot at random; she aimed at no particular mark; and thou puttest thyself within shot, and meetest the arrow; thou soughtest the temptation, the temptation sought not thee. A man is able to oppress others; Et gloriatur in malo quia potens, He boasts himself because he is able to do mischief17; and Tendit arcum in incertum, He shoots his arrow at random, he lets it be known, that he can prefer them, that second his purposes, and thou puttest thyself within shot, and meetest the arrow, and makest thyself his instrument; thou soughtest the temptation, the temptation sought not thee; when we expose ourselves to temptations, temptations hit us, that were not expressly directed, nor meant to us. And even then, when we begin to fly from temptations, the arrow overtakes us. Jehoram fled from Jehu, and Jehu shot after him, and shot him through the heart18. But this was after Jehoram had talked with him. After we have parlied with a temptation, debated whether we should embrace it or no, and entertained some discourse with it, though some tenderness, some remorse, make us turn our back upon it, and depart a little from it, yet the arrow overtakes us; some reclinations, some retrospects we have, a little of Lot's wife is in us, a little sociableness, and conversation, a little point of honour, not to be false to former promises, a little false gratitude, and thankfulness, in respect of former obligations, a little of the
compassion and charity of hell, that another should not be miserable, for want of us, a little of this, which is but the good nature of the devil, arrests us, stops us, fixes us, till the arrow, the temptation shoot us in the back, even when we had a purpose of departing from that sin, and kills us over again. Thus it is, when we meet a temptation, and put ourselves in the arrow's way; and thus it is when we fly not fast enough, nor far enough from a temptation. But when we do all that, and provide as safely as we can to get, and do get quickly out of distance, yet, The wicked bend their bows, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart1*; in occulto, it is a work of darkness, detraction; and they can shoot in the dark; they can wound, and not be known. They can whisper thunder, and pass an arrow through another man's ear, into mine heart; let a man be zealous, and fervent in reprehension of sin, and there flies out an arrow, that gives him the wound of a Puritan. Let a man be zealous of the house of God, and say any thing by way of moderation, for the repairing of the ruins of that house, and making up the differences of the church of God, and there flies out ari arrow, that gives him the wound of a Papist. One shoots east, and another west, but both these arrows meet in him, that means well, to defame him. And this is the first misery in these arrows, these temptations, quia alienw, they are shot from others, they are not in our own quiver, nor in our own government.
Another quality that temptations receive from the Holy Ghost's metaphor of arrows is, quia vehees, because this captivity to sin, comes so swiftly, so impetuously upon us. Consider it first in our making; in the generation of our parents, we were conceived in sin; that is, they sinned in that action; so we were conceived in sin; in their sin. And in ourselves, we were submitted to sin, in that very act of generation, because then we became in part the subject of original sin. Yet, there was no arrow shot into us then; there was no sin in that substance of which we were made; for if there had been sin in that substance, that substance might be damned, though God should never infuse a soul into it; and that cannot be said well then; God, whose goodness, and wisdom will have that substance to become a man,
19 Psalm xi. 2.
he creates a soul for it, or creates a soul in it, (I dispute not that) he sends a light, or he kindles a light, in that lanthorn; and here is no arrow shot neither; here is no sin in that soul, that God creates; for there God should create something that were evil; and that cannot be said; here is no arrow shot from the body, no sin in the body alone; none from the soul, no sin in the soul alone; and yet, the union of this soul and body is so accompanied with God's malediction for our first transgression, that in the instant of that union of life, as certainly as that body must die, so certainly the whole man must be guilty of original sin. No man can tell me out of what quiver, yet here Is' an arrow comes so swiftly, as that in the very first minute of our life, in our quickening in our mother's womb, we become guilty of Adam's sin done six thousand years before, and subject to all those arrows, hunger, labour, grief, sickness, and death, which have been shot after it. This is the fearful swiftness of this arrow, that God himself cannot get before it. In the first minute that my soul is infused, the image of God is imprinted in my soul; so forward is God in my behalf, and so early does he visit me. But yet original sin is there, as soon as that image of God is there. My soul is capable of God, as soon as it is capable of sin; and though sin do not get the start of God, God does not get the start of sin neither. Powers, that dwell so far asunder, as heaven, and hell, God and the devil, meet in an instant in my soul, in the minute of my quickening, and the image of God, and the image of Adam, original sin, enter into me at once, in one, and the same act. So swift is this arrow, original sin, from which, all arrows of subsequent temptations, are shot, as that God, who comes to my first minute of life, cannot come before death.
And then, a third, and last danger, which we noted in our temptations, as they are represented by the Holy Ghost, in this metaphor of arrows, is, that they are vix visibiles, hardly discernible. "Tis true, that temptations do not light upon us, as bullets, that we cannot see them, till we feel them. An arrow comes not altogether so: but an arrow comes so, as that it is not discerned, except we consider which way it comes, and watch it all the way. An arrow, that finds a man asleep, does not wake him first, and wound him after; a temptation that finds a man negligent, possesses him, before he sees it. In gravissimis criminibus, confinia virtutumlwdunt"; this is it that undoes us, that virtues and vices are contiguous, and borderers upon one another; and very often, we can hardly tell, to which action the name of vice, and to which the name of virtue appertains. Many times, that which comes within an inch of a noble action, falls under the infamy of an odious treason; at many executions, half the company will call a man a heretic, and half, a martyr. How often an excess makes a natural affection, an unnatural disorder? Utinam aut sororem non amasset Hamon, aut non vindicasset Absolon; Amnon loved his sister Tamar; but a little too well; Absolon hated his brother's incest, but a little too ill. Though love be good, and hate be good, respectively, yet, says St. Ambrose, I would neither that love, nor that hate had gone so far. The contract between Jonathan and David, was, If I say, The arrow on this side of thee, all is well; if I say, The arrow is beyond thee, thou art in an ill case". If the arrow, the temptation, be yet on this side of thee, if it have not lighted upon thee, thou art well; God hath directed thy face to it, and thou mayest, if thou wilt, continue thy diligence, watch it, and avoid it. But if the arrow be beyond thee, and thou have cast it at thy back, in a forgetfulness, in a security of thy sin, thy case is dangerous. In all these respects, are these arrows, these infirmities, derived from the sin of Adam, dangerous, as they are alienw, in the hand of others, as they are veloces, swift in seizing us, and as they are via; visibiles, hardly discerned to be such; and these considerations fell within this first branch of this second part, Thine arrows, temptations, as they are arrows, stick fast in me.
These dangers are in them, as they are sagittw, arrows; and would be so, if they were but single arrows; any one temptation would endanger us, any one tribulation would encumber us; but they are plural, arrows, and many arrows. A man is not safe, because one arrow hath missed him; nor though he be free from one sin. In the execution of Achan, all Israel threw stones at him, and stoned him". If Achan had had some brother, or
cousin amongst them, that would have flung over, Or short, or weakly, what good had that done him, when he must stand the mark for all the rest? All Israel must stone him. A little disposition towards some one virtue, may keep thee from some one temptation; thou mayest think it pity to corrupt a chaste soul, and forbear soliciting her; pity to oppress a submitting wretch, and forbear to vex him; and yet practise, and that with hunger and thirst, other sins, or those sins upon other persons. But all Israel stones thee; arrows fly from every corner; and thy measure is not, to thank God, that thou art not as the publican, as some other man, but thy measure is, to be pure and holy, as thy Father in heaven, is pure, and holy, and to conform thyself in some measure, to thy pattern, Christ Jesus. Against him it is noted, that the Jews took up stones twice to stone him. Once, when they did it, He went away and hid himself". Our way to escape these arrows, these temptations, is to go out of the way, to abandon all occasions, and conversation, that may lead into temptation. In the other place", Christ stands to it, and disputes it out with them, and puts them from it by the scriptum est; and that's our safe shield, since we must necessarily live in the way of temptations, (for coluber in via, there is a snake in every path, temptation in every calling) still to receive all these arrows, upon the shield of faith, still to oppose the scriptum est, the faithful promises of God, that he will give us the issue with the temptation, when we cannot avoid the temptation itself. Otherwise, these arrows are so many, as would tire, and wear out, all the diligence, and all the constancy of the best moral man. We find many mentions in the Scriptures of filling of quivers, and emptying of quivers, and arrows, and arrows, still in the plural, many arrows. But in all the Bible, I think, we find not this word, (as it signifies temptation, or tribulation) in the singular, one arrow, anywhere, but once, where David calls it, The arrow that flies by day"; and is seen, that is, known by every man; for, for that, the fathers, and ancients run upon that exposition, that that one arrow common to all, that day-arrow visible to all, is the natural death; (so the Chaldee paraphrase calls it there expressly, sagitta mortis, the arrow of death) which
13 John viii. 59. "John x. 31. "Psalm xci. 6.
VOL. IV. Y
every man knows to belong to every man; (for, as clearly as he sees the sun set, he sees his death before his eyes.) Therefore it is such an arrow, as the prophet does not say, thou shalt not feel, but, Thou shalt not fear the arrow that flies by day. The arrow, the singular arrow that flies by day, is that arrow that falls upon every man, death. But everywhere in the Scriptures, but this one place, they are plural, many, so many, as that we know not whence, nor what they are. Nor ever does any man receive one arrow alone, any one temptation, but that he receives another temptation, to hide that, though with another, and another sin. And the use of arrows in the war, was not so much to kill, as to rout, and disorder a battle; and upon that routing, followed execution. Every temptation, every tribulation is not deadly. But their multiplicity disorders us, discomposes us, unsettles ua, and so hazards us. Not only every periodical variation of our years, youth and age, but every day hath a divers arrow, every hour of the day, a divers temptation. An old man wonders then, how an arrow from an eye could wound him, when he was young, and how love could make him do those things which he did then; and an arrow from the tongue of inferior people, that which we make shift to call honour, wounds him deeper now; and ambition makes him do as strange things now, as love did then; a fair day shoots arrows of visits, and comedies, and conversation, and so we go abroad: and a foul day shoots arrows of gaming, or chambering, and wantonness, and so we stay at home. Nay, the same sin shoots arrows of presumption in God, before it be committed, and of distrust and diffidence in God after; we do not fear before, and we cannot hope after: and this is that misery from this plurality, and multiplicity of these arrows, these manifold temptations, which David intends here, and as often as he speaks in the same phrase of plurality, vituli multiTM, many bulls, canes multi, many dogs, and bellantes multi, many warlike enemies, and aquw multw, many deep waters compass me. For as it is said of the spirit of wisdom, that it is unicus multiplex*1, manifoldly one, plurally singular: so the spirit of temptation in every soul is unicus multiplex, singularly plural, rooted in some one beloved sin, but derived into infinite branches of temptation.
50 Psalm xxii. 13, 16. '7 Wisd. vii. 22.
And then, these arrows stick in us; the rain falls, but that cold sweat hangs not upon us; hail beats us, but it leaves no pock-holes in our skin. These arrows do not so fall about us, as that they miss us; nor so hit us, as they rebound back without hurting us; but we complain with Jeremy, The sons of his quiver are entered into our reins". The Roman translation reads that filias, The daughters of his quiver; if it were but so, daughters, we might limit these arrows in the signification of temptations, by the many occasions of temptation, arising from that sex. But the original hath its filios, the sons of his quiver, and therefore we consider these arrows in a stronger signification, tribulations, as well as temptations; They stick in us; consider it but in one kind, diseases, sicknesses. They stick to us so, as that we are not sure, that any old diseases mentioned in physicians' books are worn out, but that every year produces new, of which they have no mention, we are sure. We can scarce express the number, scarce sound the names of the diseases of man's body; 6000 year hath scarce taught us what they are, how they affect us, how they shall be cured in us; nothing on this side the resurrection, can teach us. They stick to us so, as that they pass by inheritance, and last more generations in families than the inheritance itself does; and when no land, no manor, when no title, no honour descends upon the heir, the stone, or the gout descends upon him. And as though our bodies had not naturally diseases, and infirmL ties enough, we contract more, inflict more, (and that, out of necessity too) in mortifications, and macerations, and disciplines of this rebellious flesh. I must have this body with me to heaven, or else salvation itself is not perfect; and yet I cannot have this body thither, except as St. Paul did his, / beat down this body, attenuate this body by mortification; Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death*'? I have not body enough for my body, and I have too much body for my soul; not body enough, not blood enough, not strength enough, to sustain myself in health, and yet body enough to destroy my soul, and frustrate the grace of God in that miserable, perplexed, riddling condition of man; sin makes the body of man miserable, and the remedy of sin, mortification, makes it miserable too; if we enjoy
*8 Lam. iii. 13. 25 1 Cor. ix. ult.
the good things of this world, Duriorem carcerem prwparamus3', we do but carry another wall about our prison, another story of unwieldly flesh about our souls; and if we give ourselves as much mortification as our body needs, we live a life of Fridays, and see no Sabbath, we make up our years of Lents, and see no other Easters, and whereas God meant us Paradise, we make all the world a wilderness. Sin hath cast a curse upon all the creatures of the world, they are all worse than they were at first, and yet we dare not receive so much blessing, as is left in the creature, we dare not eat or drink, and enjoy them. The daughters of God's quiver, and the sons of his quiver, the arrows of temptation, and the arrows of tribulation, do so stick in us, that as he lives miserably, that lives in sickness, and he as miserably, that lives in physic: so plenty is a misery, and mortification is a misery too; plenty, if we consider it in the effects, is a disease, a continual sickness, for it breeds diseases; a mortification, if we should consider it without the effects, is a disease too, a continual hunger, and fasting; and if we consider it at best, and in the effects, mortification is but a continual physic, which is misery enough.
They stick, and they stick fast; alte infixee; every syllable aggravates our misery. Now for the most part, experimentally, we know not whether they stick fast or no, for we never go about to pull them out: these arrows, these temptations, come, and welcome: we are so far from offering to pull them out, that we fix them faster and faster in us; we assist our temptations: yea, we take preparatives and fomentations, we supple ourselves by provocations, lest our flesh should be of proof against these arrows, that death may enter the surer, and the deeper into us by them. And he that does in some measure, soberly and religiously, go about to draw out these arrows, yet never consummates, never perfects his own work; he pulls back the arrow a little way, and he sees blood, and he feels spirit to go out with it, and he lets it alone: he forbears his sinful companions, a little while, and he feels a melancholy take hold of him, the spirit and life of his life decays, and he falls to those companions again. Perchance he rushes out the arrow with a sudden, and a resolved vehemence, and he leaves the head in his body: he forces a divorce from that
sin, he removes himself out of distance of that temptation; and yet he surfeits upon cold meat, upon the sinful remembrance of former sins, which is a dangerous rumination, and an unwholesome chewing of the cud; it is not an ill derivation of repentance, that pwnitere is poenam tenere; that is true repentance when we continue in those means, which may advance our repentance. When Joash the king of Israel came to visit Elisha upon his sick bed, and to consult with him about his war, Elisha bids the king smite the ground, and he smites it thrice, and ceases; then the man of God was angry, and said, Thou shouldst have smitten five or six timesi and so thou shouldst haw smitten thine enemies, till thou hadst consumed them31. Now, how much hast thou to do, that hast not pulled at this arrow at all yet? thou must pull thrice and more, before thou get it out; thou must do, and leave undone many things, before thou deliver thyself of that arrow, that sin that transports thee. One of these arrows was shot into St. Paul himself38, and it stuck, and stuck fast; whether an arrow of temptation, or an arrow of tribulation, the fathers cannot tell; and therefore, we do now, (not inconveniently) all our way, in this exercise, mingle these two considerations, of temptation, and tribulation. Howsoever St. Paul pulled thrice at this arrow, and could not get it out; / besought the Lord thrice, says he, that it might depart from me. But yet, Joash his thrice striking of the ground, brought him some victory; St. Paul's thrice praying, brought him in that provision of grace, which God calls sufficient for him. Once pulling at these arrows, a slight consideration of thy sins will do no good. Do it thrice; testify some true desire by such a diligence; do it now as thou sittest, do it again at the table, do it again in thy bed; do it thrice, do it in thy purpose, do it in thine actions, do it in thy constancy; do it thrice, within the walls of thy flesh, in thyself, within the walls of thy house in thy family, and in a holy and exemplar conversation abroad, and God will accomplish thy work, which is his work in thee; and though the arrow be not utterly pulled out, yet it shall not fester, it shall not gangrene; thou shalt not be cut off from the body of Christ, in his church here, nor in the triumphant church hereafter, how fast soever these arrows did stick upon thee before. God did not refuse Israel
31 2 Kings xiii. 17. 38 2 Cor. xii. J.
for her wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores33, though from the sole of the foot, to the crown of the head, but because those wounds were not closed, nor bound up, nor suppled with ointments, therefore he refused her. God shall not refuse any soul, because it hath been shot with these arrows; alas, God himself hath set us up for a mark, says Job, and so says Jeremy, against these arrows3*. But that soul that can pour out floods of tears, for the loss, or for the absence, or for the unkindness, or imagination of an unkindness of a friend, misbeloved, beloved a wrong way, and not afford one drop, one tear, to wash the wounds of these arrows, that soul that can squeeze the wound of Christ Jesus, and spit out his blood in these blasphemous execrations, and shed no drop of this blood upon the wounds of these arrows; that soul, and only that soul, that refuses a cure, does God refuse; not because they fell upon it, and stuck, and stuck fast, and stuck long, but because they never, never went about to pull them out; never resisted a temptation, never lamented a transgression, never repented a recidivation.
Now this is more put home to us in the next addition, infixee mihi, they stick, and stick fast, in me, that is, in all me. They35 that sin must be saved or damned; that is not the soul alone, nor body alone, but all, the whole man. God is the God of Abraham, as he is the God of the living; therefore Abraham is alive; and Abraham is not alive, if his body be not alive; alive actually in the person of Christ; alive in an infallible assurance of a particular resurrection. Whatsoever belongs to thee, belongs to thy body and soul; and these arrows stick fast in thee; in both. Consider it in both; in things belonging to the body and to the soul; we need clothing; baptism is God's wardrobe; there induimur Christo; in baptism we put on Christ; there we are invested, apparelled in Christ; and there comes an arrow, that cuts off half our garment, (as Hanun did David's servants36) a temptation that makes us think, it is enough to be baptized, to profess the name of Christ; for Papist, or Protestant, it is but the train of the garment, matter of civility, and policy, and government, and may be cut off, and the garment remain still. So we need meat,
sustenance, and then an arrow comes, a temptation meets us, edite, et bibite, eat and drink, to-morrow you shall die; that there is no life, but this life, no blessedness but in worldly abundances. If we need physic, and God offer us his physic, medicinal corrections, there flies an arrow, a temptation, medice cura teipsum, that he whom we make our physician, died himself, of an infamous disease, that Christ Jesus from whom we attend our salvation, could not save himself. In our clothing, in our diet, in our physic, things which carry our consideration upon the body, these arrows stick fast in us, in that part of us. So in the more spiritual actions of our souls too. In our alms there are trumpets blown, there is an arrow of vain glory; in our fastings, there are disfigurings, there is an arrow of hypocrisy; in our purity, there is contempt of others; there is an arrow of pride; in our coming to church, there is custom [and formality; in hearing sermons, there is affection to the parts of the preacher. In our sinful actions these arrows abound; in our best actions they lie hid; and as thy soul is in every part of thy body, so these arrows are in every part of thee, body, and soul; they stick, and stick fast, in thee, in all thee.
And yet there is another weight upon us, in the text, there is still a hand that follows the blow, and presses it, Thy hand presses me sore; so the Vulgate read it, Confirmasti super me manum tuam, Thy hand is settled upon me; and the Chaldee paraphrase carries it further than to man, Sit super me vulnus manus tua; Thy hand hath wounded me, and that hand keeps the wound open. And in this sense the apostle says, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God31. But as God leaves not his children without correction, so he leaves them not without comfort, and therefore it behoves us to consider his hand upon these arrows, more than one way.
First, because his hand is upon the arrow, it shall certainly hit the mark; God's purpose cannot be disappointed. If men, and such men, left-handed men, and so many, seven hundred lefthanded men, and so many of one tribe, seven hundred Benjamites37, could sling stones at a hair's breadth, and not fail, God is a better mark-man than the left-handed Benjamites; his arrows always
37 Heb. x. 31. 81 Judges xx. 16.
hit as he intends them. Take them then for tribulation, his hand is upon them; though they come from the malice of men, his hand is upon them. St. Ambrose observes, that in afflictions, God's hand and the devil's are but one hand. Stretch out thy hand, says Satan to God, concerning Job; and, all that he hath is in thy hand, says God to Satan. Stretch out thy hand, and touch his bones, says Satan again to God; and again; God to Satan, He is in thy hand, but touch not his life. A difference may be, that when God's purpose is but to punish, as he did Pharaoh, in those several premonitory plagues, there it is digitus Dei"; it was but a finger, and God's finger. When Belshazzar was absolutely to be destroyed, there were digiti, and manus hominis, men's fingers, and upon a man's hand40. The arrows of men are ordinary, more venomous, and more piercing, than the arrows of God. But as it is in that story of Elisha and Joash, the prophet bade the king shoot, but Elisha laid his hand upon the king's hand; so from what instrument of Satan soever, thy affliction come, God's hand is upon their hand that shoot it, and though it may hit the mark according to their purpose, yet it hath the effect, and it works according to his.
Yea, let this arrow be considered as a temptation, yet his hand is upon it; at least God sees the shooting of it, and yet lets it fly. Either he tries us by these arrows, what proof we are; or he punishes us by those arrows of new sins, for our former sins; and so, when he hath lost one arrow, he shoots another. He shoots a sermon, and that arrow is lost; he shoots a sickness, and that arrow is lost; he shoots a sin; not that he is author of any sin, as sin; but as sin is a punishment of sin, he concurs with it. And so he shoots arrow after arrow, permits sin after sin, that at last some sin, that draws affliction with it, might bring us to understanding; for that word, in which the prophet here expressed this sticking, and this fast sticking of these arrows, which is nachath, is here, (as the grammarians in that language call it) in Niphal, figere factw, they were made to stick; God's hand is upon them, the work is his, the arrows are his, and the sticking of them is his, whatsoever, and whosesoever they be.
His hand shoots the arrow, as it is a tribulation, he limits it, whosoever inflict it. His hand shoots it, as it is a temptation;
89 Exod. viii 19. « Dan. v. 5.
he permits it, and he orders it, whosoever offer it. But it is especially from his hand, as it hath a medicinal nature in it; for in every temptation, and every tribulation, there is a catechism, and instruction; nay, there is a canticle, a love-song, an epithalamion, a marriage song of God, to our souls, wrapped up, if we would open it, and read it, and learn that new tune, that music of God; so when thou hearest Nathan's words to David, The child that is born unto thee shall surely die*1, (let that signify, the children of thy labour, and industry, thy fortune, thy state shall perish) so when thou hearest God's word to David48, Choose famine, or war, or pestilence, for the people, (let that signify, those that depend upon thee, shall perish) so when thou hearest Esay's words to Hezekiah, Put thy house in order, for thou shalt die"; (let that signify, thou thyself in person shall perish) so when thou hearest all the judgments of God, as they lie in the body of the Scriptures, so the applications of those judgments, by God's ministers, in these services, upon emergent occasions, all these are arrows shot by the hand of God, and that child of God, that is accustomed to the voice, and to the ear of God, to speak with him in prayer, when God speaks to him, in any such voice here, as that to David, or Hezekiah, though this be a shooting of arrows, Non fugabit eum vir Sagittarius", the arrow, (as we read it) the archer, (as the Roman edition reads it) cannot make that child of God afraid, afraid with a distrustful fear, or make him loath to come hither again to hear more, how close soever God's arrow, and God's archer, that is, his word in his servant's mouth, come to that conscience now, nor make him misinterpret that which he does hear, or call that passion in the preacher, in which the preacher is but Sagittarius Dei, the deliverer of God's arrows; for God's arrows, are sagittw compunctionis, arrows that draw blood from the eyes; tears of repentance from Mary Magdalene, and from Peter; and when from thee? There is a probatum est in St. Augustine. Sagittaveras cor meum", Thou hast shot at my heart; and how wrought that? To the withdrawing of his tongue, a nundinis loquacitatis, from that market in which I sold myself, (for St. Augustine at that time taught rhetoric) to turn
the stream of his eloquence, and all his other good parts, upon the service of God in his church. You may have read, or heard that answer of a general who was threatened with that danger, that his enemies' arrows were so many, as that they would cover the sun from him; in umbra pugnabimus; All the better, says he, for then we shall fight in the shadow. Consider all the arrows of tribulation, even of temptation, to be directed by the hand of God, and never doubt to fight it out with God, to lay violent hands upon heaven, to wrestle with God for a blessing, to charge and press God upon his contracts and promises, for in umbra pugnabis, though the clouds of these arrows may hide all suns of worldly comforts from thee, yet thou art still under the shadow of his wings. Nay, thou art still, for all this shadow, in the light of his countenance. To which purpose there is an excellent use of this metaphor of arrows, Habakkuk iii. 11, where it is said, that God's servants shall have the light of his arroics, and, the shining of his glittering spear: that is, the light of his presence, in all the instruments, and actions of his corrections.
To end all, and to dismiss you with such a recollection, as you may carry away with you; literally, primarily, this text concerns David: he by temptations to sin, by tribulations for sin, by comminations, and increpations upon sin, was bodily and ghostly become a quiver of arrows of all sorts; they stuck, and stuck fast, and stuck full in him, in all him. The psalm hath a retrospect too, it looks back to Adam, and to every particular man in his loins, and so, David's case is our case, and all these arrows stick in all us. But the psalm and the text hath also a prospect, and hath a prophetical relation from David to our Saviour Christ Jesus. And of him, and of the multiplicity of these arrows upon him in the exinanition, and evacuation of himself, in this world for us, have many of the ancients interpreted these words literally, and as in their first and primary signification; turn we therefore to him, before we go, and he shall return home with us. How our first part of this text is appliable to him, that our prayers to God, for ease in afflictions, may be grounded upon reasons, out of the sense of those afflictions, St. Basil tells us, that Christ therefore prays to his Father now in heaven, to spare mankind, because man had suffered so much, and drunk so deep of the bitter cup of his anger, in his person and passion before: it is an avoidable plea, from Christ in heaven, for us, Spare them 0 Lord in themselves, since thou didst not spare them in me. And how far he was from sparing thee, we see in all those several weights which have aggravated his hand, and these arrows upon us: if they be heavy upon us, much more was their weight upon thee, every dram upon us was a talent upon thee, Non dolor sicut dolor tuns, take Rachael weeping for her children, Mary weeping for her brother Lazarus, Hezekiah for his health, Peter for his sins, Non est dolor sicut dolor tuus. The arrows that were shot at thee, were alienw, afflictions that belonged to others; and did not only come from others, as ours do; but they were alienoa so, as that they should have fallen upon others; and all that should have fallen upon all others, were shot at thee, and lighted upon thee. Lord, though we be not capable of sustaining that part, this passion for others, give us that, which we may receive, compassion with others. They were veloces, these arrows met swiftly upon thee; from the sin of Adam that induced death, to the sin of the last man, that shall not sleep, but be changed, when thy hour came they came all upon thee, in that hour. Lord put this swiftness into our sins, that in this one minute, in which our eyes are open towards thee, and thine ears towards us, our sins, all our sins, even from the impertinent frowardness of our childhood, to the unsufferable frowardness of our age, may meet in our present confessions, and repentances, and never appear more. They were (as ours are too) invisibles; those arrows which fell upon thee, were so invisible, so undiscernible, as that to this day, thy church, thy school cannot see, what kind of arrow thou tookest into thy soul, what kind of affliction it was, that made thy soul heavy unto death, or dissolved thee into a jelly of blood in thine agony. Be thou O Lord, the Father of Lights unto us, in all our ways and works of darkness; manifest unto us, whatsoever is necessary for us to know, and be a light of understanding and grace before, and a light of comfort and mercy after any sin hath benighted us. These arrows were, as ours are also, plures, plural, many, infinite; they were the sins of some that shall never thank thee, never know that thou borest their sins, never know that they had any such sins to be borne. Lord teach us to number thy corrections upon us, so, as still to see thy torments suffered for us, and our own sins, to be infinitely more that occasioned those torments, than those corrections that thou layest upon us. Thine arrows stuck and stuck fast in thee; the weight of thy torments, thou wouldest not cast off, nor lessen, when at thy execution they offered thee that stupefying drink4', (which was the civil charity in those times to condemned persons, to give them an easier passage, in the agonies of death) thou wouldest not taste of that cup of ease. Deliver us, O Lord, in all our tribulations, from turning to the miserable comforters of this world, or from wishing or accepting any other deliverance, than may improve and make better our resurrection. These arrows were in thee, in all thee: from thy head torn with thorns, to thy feet piered with nails; and in thy soul so as we know not how, so as to extort a Si possibile, If it be possible let this cup pass; and &n Ut quid dereliquisti, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Lord, whilst we remain entire here, in body and soul, make us, and receive us an entire sacrifice to thee, in directing body and soul to thy glory, and when thou shalt be pleased to take us in pieces by death, receive our souls to thee, and lay up our bodies for thee, in consecrated ground, and in a Christian burial. And lastly, thine arrows were followed, and pressed with the hand of God; the hand of God pressed upon thee, in that eternal decree, in that irrevocable contract, between thy Father and thee, in that Oportuit pati, That all that thou must suffer, and so enter into our glory. Establish us, O Lord, in all occasions of diffidences here; and when thy hand presses our arrows upon us, enable us to see, that that very hand, hath from all eternity written, and written in thine own blood, a decree of the issue, as well, and as soon, as of the temptation. In which confidence of which decree, as men in the virtue thereof already in possession of heaven, we join with that choir in that service, in that anthem, Blessing, and glory, and tcisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever, and ever, Amen47.
"Mark xv. 23.
47 Apoc. vii. 11, 12.