PREACHED AT HANWORTH, TO MY LORD CARLISLE, AND HIS COMPANY, BEING THE EARLS OF NORTHUMBERLAND, AND BUCKINGHAM, $c, Aug. 25, 1622.
Job xxxvi. 25.
Every man may see it, man may behold it afar off.
The words are the words of Elihu; Elihu was one of Job's friends, and a mere natural man: a man not captivated, not fettered, not enthralled, in any particular form of religion, as the Jews were; a man not macerated with the fear of God; not infatuated with any preconceptions, which nurses, or godfathers, or parents, or church, or state had infused into him; not dejected, not suppled, not matured, not entendered, with crosses in this world, and so made apt to receive any impressions, or follow any opinions of other men, a mere natural man; and in the mere use
3? Deut. xxxii. 39.
of mere natural reason, this man says of God in his works, Every man may see it, man may behold it afar off. It is the word of a natural man; and the Holy Ghost having canonized it, sanctified it, by inserting it into the book of God, it is the word of God too. St. Paul cites sometimes the words of secular poets, and approves them; and then the words of those poets, become the word of God; Elihu speaks, a natural man, and God speaks, in canonizing his words; and therefore when we speak to godly men, we are sure to be believed, for God says it; if we were to speak to natural men only, we might be believed, for Elihu, a natural man, and wise in his generation says it, that for God in his works, Every man may see it, man may behold it afar off.
Be pleased to admit, and charge your memories with this distribution of the words; Let the parts be but two, so you will be pleased to stoop, and gather, or at least to open your hands to receive, some more (I must not say flowers, for things of sweetness, and of delight grow not in my ground) but simples rather, and medicinal herbs; of which as there enter many into good cordials, so in this supreme cordial, of bringing God into the eyes of man, that every man may see it, men may behold it afar off, there must necessarily arise many particulars to your consideration. I threaten you but with two parts; no farther tediousness; but I ask room for divers branches; I can promise no more shortness. The first part is a discovery, a manifestation of God to man; though that be undeniably true, Posuit tenebras latibulum, God hath made darkness his secret place1, yet it is as true, which proceeds from the same mouth, and the same pen, Amictus tanquam pallio, God covers himself with light as with a garment*, he will be seen through his works: as we shall stand naked to one another, and not be ashamed of our scars, or morphews, in the sight of God, so God stands naked to the eyes of man, and is not ashamed of that humiliation, Every man may see it, man may behold it afar off. This proposition, this discovery, will be the first part; and the other will be a tacit answer, to a likely objection, Is not God far off, and can man see at that distance? yes, he may. Man may behold that afar off. Every man may see it, man may behold it afar off.
1 Psalm xviii. 11. 1 Psalm civ. 2.
God is the subject of both parts; God alone; one God. But in both parts there is a Trinity too; three branches in each part; for in each, there is an object, something to be apprehended; there is a means of apprehending it, it is to be seen; there is a Person enabled to see it, Every man may see it, man may behold it afar off. But these three are not alike in each part; for in the first, that object is determined, limited; it is illud; it; God in his works. In the second, there is no object limited, for it is not illud, but there is more left to be seen; not only God in his works, as here below, but God in his glory above; man may behold, but he does not offer to tell us what; there is an object, but another object. In the second there is a difference too, in the means of apprehending: it is but casah in the first, it is nibbat in the second; in that, every man may see, in the other, man may behold. And in the third, there is also a difference, the man, that may see God, is Adam; Adam is a man, made of earth, the weakest man, even in nature may see God; but the man that must behold afar off, is Enoch, and Enoch is homo wger, a miserable man, a man that hath tasted affliction, and calamity, for that man looks after God in the next world, and as he feels God with a rod in his hand here, so he beholds God with a crown in his hand there. And of thosesticks of sweet wood, of those drops of sweet gums, shall we make up this present sacrifice.
In our first part, the manifestation of God to man, the first branch is the object, the limited object, illud, every man may see it; What is that? That which was proposed in the verse immediately before, Remember that thou magnify his work which men behold; First, it is a work, and therefore it is made, it hath an author, a creator; and then it is his work, the work of God, and therefore manifests him. It is a work, a deliberate, not a casual matter, this frame, this world. It is a work, it was begun, and made up, not an eternal matter, this frame, this world. Epiphanius says well, Omnis error a cwcitate ad vanitatem; that is the progress of error; every error begins in blindness, and ignorance, but proceeds, and ends, in absurdity, in frivolousness. If men had not put out the light of nature, they might discern a creation in the world, that that was made, it is a work; but when they do put out that light, and deny a creation, into what frivolous
opinions they scatter themselves; what contradictory things, men that seem constant, say; what childish, what ridiculous things, men that seem grave, and sober fathers in philosophy, say of this world? when they have said all, this one thing will destroy all, if the world be eternal, it is God; for whatsoever had no beginning, whatsoever needed nothing to give it a being, whatsoever was always of itself, is God. So that to build up their opinions in one part, they destroy it in another; and to overthrow our hall, they build up our chapel; by denying that the world was made, they imply, they confess a God; for if it had no Creator, it is no creature, it is God; so that they lose more than they gain, and they seek damnation, unthriftily, and perish prodigally; they deny the creation, lest by the creation, we should prove God, and their very denial of a creation, their making of the world eternal, constitutes it to be God. They deny any God, and then make a worse God.
This world then is a work, a limited, a determined, a circumscribed work; and it is opus ejus, his work, says Elihu there. But whose? Will you lay hold upon that? upon that, that Elihu only says, Remember his work, but names none. But two verses before, (with which this verse hath connexion) he does name God. But let the work be whose it will, whosoever be this he, this he must be God, whosoever gave the first being to creatures, must be the Creator. If you will think that chance did it, and fortune, then fortune must be your god; and destiny must be your god, if you think destiny did it; and therefore you were as good attribute it to the right God, for a god it must have; if it be a work, it was made, if it be a creature, there is a creator; and if it be his work, that he, must be God, and there are no more gods, but one. Every man hath a delight, and comjilacency in knowledge, and is ashamed of ignorance, even in book learning: a man would have a library pro supellectile3; even for a part of furniture, a man would read for ornament: his house is not well furnished, he is not well furnished without books. Many a man, who lets the Bible dust, and rust, because the Bible hath a kind of majesty, and prerogative, and command over a man, it will not be jested withal, it will not be disputed
against, a man can very hardly divest the reverence that appertains to that book, and therefore he had rather deal with his fellows, more humane authors, that will hear reason, and not bind his faith; many a man can let the fathers stand, because they write out of a pious credulity, and such anticipations, and preconceptions, as the Bible hath submitted them under, and captivated them to; but if thou let the Bible and fathers alone, and yet love books, what book (what kind of book) canst thou take into thy hand, that proves not this world to be opus, a work, made, and opus ejus, his work made by him, by God? Dost thou love learning, as it is expounded, dilated, by orators? The father of orators4 testifies, Nihil tam perspicuum, There is nothing so evident, as that there is a sovereign power, that made, and governs all. Dost thou love learning, as it is contracted, brought to a quintessence, wrought to a spirit, by philosophers? The eldest of all them5 in that whole book, Quod Deus latens, simul et patens est, testifies all that, and nothing but that, that as there is nothing so dark, so there is nothing so clear, nothing so remote, nothing so near us, as God. Dost thou love learning, as it is sweetened and set to music by poets? The king of the poets6 testifies the same, Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet; that is, a great, an universal spirit, that moves, a general soul, that inanimates, and agitates every piece of this world. But St. Paul is a more powerful orator than Cicero, and he says, The invisible things of God are seen by things which are made"'; and thereby man is made inexcusable: Moses is an ancienter philosopher than Trismegistus; and his picture of God, is the creation of the world. David is a better poet than Virgil; and with David, Coeli enarrant, The heavens declare the glory of God; the power of oratory, in the force of persuasion, the strength of conclusions, in the pressing of philosophy, the harmony of poetry, in the sweetness of composition, never met in any man, so fully as in the prophet Esay, nor in the prophet Esay more, than where he says, Levate oculos, Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things*; behold them, therefore, to know that they are created, and to know who is their Creator.
4 Cicero. 5 Trismegistus. 6 Virgil.
7 Bom. i. 20. 8 Isaiah Xl. 20.
All other authors we distinguish by tomes, by parts, by volumes; but who knows the volumes of this author; how many volumes of spheres involve one another, how many tomes of God's creatures there are? Hast thou not room, hast thou not money, hast thou not understanding, hast thou not leisure, for great volumes, for the books of heaven, (for the mathematics) nor for the books of courts, (the politics) take but the Georgics, the consideration of the earth, a farm, a garden, nay seven foot of earth, a grave, and that will be book enough. Go lower; every worm in the grave, lower, every weed upon the grave, is an abridgment of all; nay lock up all doors and windows, see nothing but thyself; nay let thyself be locked up in a close prison, that thou canst not see thyself, and do but feel thy pulse; let thy pulse be intermitted, or stupified, that thou feel not that, and do but think, and a worm, a weed, thyself, thy pulse, thy thought, are all testimonies, that all, this all, and all the parts thereof, are opus, a work made, and opus ejus, his work, made by God. He that 'made a clock or an organ, will be sure to engrave his me fecit, such a man made me; he that builds a fair house, takes it ill, if a passenger will not ask whose house is it; he that bred up his son to a capacity of noble employments, looks that the world should say, he had a wise and an honourable father; Can any man look upon the frame of this world, and not say, there is a powerful, upon the administration of this world, and not say, there is a wise and a just hand over it? Thus is the object, it is but Mud, the world; but such a world, as may well justify St. Hierome's translation, who renders it illum; not only that every man may see it, the work, the world; but may see him; God in that work.
That is the object, not only the work, but the workman, God in the work; and the means is, that man may see it; that is, by that spectacle, he may see God; What of God? How much of God? Is it his essence? For that, the resolution of the School is sufficient; Nulla visio naturalis in terris*; No man can see God in this world, and live, but no man can see God in the next world, and die, there msio is beatitudo, sight is salvation. Yet, Nulla msio corporalis in coelis: These bodily eyes, even
Vol. iv. 2 o
then, when they are glorified, shall not see the essence of God: our mortal eyes do not see bodies here; they see no substance, they see only quantities, and dimensions; our glorified eyes shall see the glory shed out of God, but the very essence of God, those glorified bodily eyes shall not see: but the eyes of our soul shall be so enlightened, as that they shall see God sicuti est, even in his essence, which the best illumined and most sanctified men are very far from in this life. Now the sight of God in this text, is the knowledge of God, to see God, is but to know that there is a God. And can man as a natural man, do that? See God so, as to know that there is a God? Can he do it? Nay can he choose but do it? The question hath divided the School; those two great, and well known families of the School, whom we call Thomists, and Scotists: the first say, that this proposition, Dens est, is per se nota10, Evident in itself, and the others deny that; but yet they differ, but thus far that Thomas thinks that it is so evident, that man cannot choose but know it, though he resist it; the other thinks, in itself, it is but so evident, as that a man may know it, if he employ his natural faculties, without going any farther; thus much, indeed, thus little they differ. Now the Holy Ghost is the God of peace, and doth so far reconcile these two, in this text, as that first in our reading, it is, that man may see God; and that Scotus does not deny; but in the original, in the Hebrew, it is casu, and casu is viderunt: not, every man may, but every man hath seen God: though it go not absolutely, so far as Thomas, every man must, no man can choose but see God, yet it goes so far further than Scotus, (who ends in every man may) as that it says, every man hath seen God. So that our labour never lies in this, to prove to any man, that he may see God, but only to remember him that he hath seen God: not to make him believe that there is a God, but to make him see that he does believe it. Quid habes, quod non accepisti? And hast thou received anything and not seen, not known him that gave it? Who hath infused comfort into thee, into thy distresses? Thine own moral constancy? Who infused that? Who hath imprinted terrors in thee? A damp in thine own heart? Who imprinted it? Swear to me now that thou
Boverius, fol 14.
believest not in God, and before midnight, thou wilt tell God, that thou dost; miserable distemper! not to see God in the light, and see him in the dark: not to see him at noon, and see him fearfully at midnight: not to see, where we all see him, in the congregation, and to see him with terror, in the suburbs of despair, in the solitary chamber.
Man may, says Scotus, man must, he cannot choose, says Thomas, man hath seen God, says the Holy Ghost. Man, that is, every man; and that is our last branch in this first part. The inexcusableness goes over man, over all men": because they would not see invisible things in visible, they are inexcusable, all. Death passed upon all men, for all have sinned14. All sinners, all dead. Is God's right hand shorter than his left? his mercy shrunk, and his justice stretched? No certainly; certainly every man may see him. Man cannot hide himself from God; God does not hide himself from man: not from any man. ColAdam, omnis homs; even in that low name, that lowest acceptation of man, as he is but derived from earth, as he is but earth, he may see God. We have divers names for man in Hebrew, at least four; this that makes him but earth, Adam, is the meanest, and yet Col-Adam, Every man may see God. David calls us to the contemplation of the heavens, cozli enarrant, and Job to the contemplation of the firmament13, of the Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and the ordinances of heaven; but it is not only the mathematician, that sees God, Domini terra, The earth is the Lord's, and all that dwell therein; all, in all corners of the earth, may see him. David tells us, They that go down to the sea, in ships, they see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep": but it is not only the mariner, the discoverer, that discovers God: but he that puts his hand to the plough, and looks not back15, may see God there. Let him be films terrw, the son of the earth, without noble extraction, without known place, of uncertain parents, (even Melchisedeck was so) let him be films percnssionis", the son of affliction, a man that hath inward heavy sentences, and heavy executions of the law; let him be filim
11 Rom. i. 20. la Rom. v. 12. 18 Job xxxviii. 31.
14 Psalm cvii. 23.
15 Luke ix. 62. 16 Deut. xxv. 2.
mortis, the son of death (as Saul said to Jonathan of David17) a man designed to die; nay let him he filius Belial1*, the son of iniquity, and of everlasting perdition, there is no lowness, no natural, no spiritual dejection so low, but that that low man may see God. Let him be filius terrw, the son of the earth, and of nobody else, let him be dominus terrw, lord of the earth, busied upon the earth, and nothing else, let him be Jwspes terrw, a guest, a tenant, an inmate of the earth, half of him in the earth, and the rest nowhere else, this poor man, this worldly man, this dying man, may see God. To end this, you can place the sphere in no position, in no station, in which the earth can eclipse the sun; you can place this clod of earth, man, in no ignorance, in no melancholy, in no oppression, in no sin, but that he may, but that he does see God. The marigold opens to the sun, though it have no tongue to say so; the atheist does see God, though he have not grace to confess it.
We have passed through our first part, and the three branches of that; the object, God in his works, and the faculty that apprehends, seeing, that is, knowing, and the person endued with the faculty, every man, even Adam. In our second part, which is a tacit answer to a likely objection, (Is not God in the highest heaven, afar off"? Yes; but man may see afar off) we have the same three branches too, and yet not the same; the same object, God, but in another manifestation, than in his work, in glory; the same faculty, seeing, but with other manner of eyes, glorified eyes; the same person, man, but not man, as he is Adam, a mere natural and earthly man, but man, as he is Enosh, who by having tasted God's corrections, or by having considered the miseries of this world, is prepared for the joy and glory of the next. And in this part we will begin with the person, man; Man may behold it afar off.
How different are the ways of God, from the ways of man? The eyes of God from the eyes of man? And the ways, and eyes of a godly man, from the eyes, and ways of a man of this world? We look still upon high persons, and after high places, and from those heights, we think, we see far; but he that will see this object, must lie low; it is best discerned in the dark, in
"1 Sam. xx. 31. 18 Deut. xiii. 13.
a heavy, and a calamitous fortune. The natural way is upward; I can better know a man upon the top of a steeple, than if he were half that depth in a well; but yet for higher objects, I can better see the stars of heaven, in the bottom of a well, than if I stood upon the highest steeple upon earth. If I twist a cable of infinite fathoms in length, if there be no ship to ride by it, nor anchor to hold by it, what use is there of it V If manor thrust manor, and title flow into title, and bags pour out into chests, if I have no anchor, (faith in Christ) if I have not a ship to carry to a haven, (a soul to save) what is my long cable to me? If I add number to number, a span, a mile long, if at the end of all that long line of numbers, there be nothing that notes, pounds, or crowns, or shillings; what is that long number, but so many millions of millions of nothing? If my span of life become a mile of life, my penny a pound, my pint a gallon, my acre a shire; yet if there be nothing of the next world at the end, so much peace of conscience, so much joy, so much glory, still all is but nothing multiplied, and that is still nothing at all. It is the end that qualifies all; and what kind of man I shall be at my end, upon my death-bed, what trembling hands, and what lost legs, what deaf ears, and what gummy eyes, I shall have then, I know; and the nearer I come to that disposition, in my life, (the more mortified I am) the better I am disposed to see this object, future glory. God made the sun, and moon, and stars, glorious lights for man to see by; but man's infirmity requires spectacles; and affliction does that office. God's meaning was, that by the sunshine of prosperity, and by the beams of honour, and temporal blessings, a man should see far into him; but I know not how he is come to need spectacles; scarce any man sees much in this matter, till affliction show it him. God made the balance even; riches may show God, and poverty may show God; let the two Testaments, the Old and the New, be the balance, and so they are even; the blessedness of the Old Testament runs all upon temporal blessings, and worldly riches; Blessed in the city, and in the field; blessed in the fruit of thy cattle, and of thy womb; in the New Testament utterly otherwise; Blessed are the poor, blessed are they that mourn, blessed are they that are j)ersecuted and reviled; but the blessedness of the Old Testament, temporal blessings, are temporary, as the Old Testament was; that is expired. The blessedness of the Gospel, is as the Gospel, everlasting: and therefore the low way is the best way; adversity will be the best way to see God by. I speak not of mere beggary, of having nothing; but of having less than we had; the loss of some of that possession, or honour, or wealth, or health, which we had, conduces more to this sight of God, than the additions of any of these. Extreme want may put a man out of his way to God, as far as abundance and superfluity; as we say in civil things, the middle men raise the subsidy, not the great men, nor the beggars; so the middle men see farthest into God, and serve him best; not the abounding, not the wanting man. Solomon prays against both; against riches, and against poverty too1*; but yet not as though the danger were equal, if the words be well considered; the danger of his poverty is, lest he steal, and take the name of God in vain; that is, forswear the theft; a great fault, two great faults; but these two amount not to that one, which arises out of abundance, Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? And that proverb, that Solomon speaks of, St. Hierome calls not, paupertatem, but mendicitatem; and that is often indeed, the mother and nurse of many enormous mischiefs. St. Bernard takes the word, poverty, in that place, but he multiplies it, Paupertates ne dederis, Give me not, 0 Lord, a double poverty; poverty indeed, and poverty in opinion; poverty, and a murmuring with my poverty; for that also is the mother, and nurse of many enormous mischiefs. I know how to abound, and how to want"; it is the harder work, ferre abundantium"; abundance is a burden, want is but a weakness; and it is a greater torment, to be pressed under a great weight, than to lie bed-rid. To end this, the person in our text is Enosh, man; but not every man, as before, Adam; but that man upon whom God's hand hath been in the loss of something, that he had before. As the body of man is mellowed in the grave, and made fit for glory in the resurrection, so the mind of man by suffering is suppled; Adam is made Enosh; and he may see.
The person is the same, and yet changed; man, but another
kind of man; the means of apprehending is the same, and yet changed too, seeing, but another kind of seeing. This man, thus disposed, thus matured, thus mellowed, thus suppled, thus entendered by God's easy corrections, he whom God hath not left to himself, nor yet put him beyond himself, not fulfilled all, but yet not frustrated all his desires neither, laid his hand upon him, so as to keep him down from swelling up against him, but yet so too, as to keep him up, from sinking, or falling from him, that man, that Enosh may see the hand of God, and take God by the hand, and bid him welcome, and find a rich, and a sweet advantage in that correction; it is a seeing of God, not as before, in his works abroad, but in his working upon himself, at home. Such a man God strikes so, as that when he strikes, he strikes fire, and lights him a candle, to see his presence by; we do not find that Job came to his Dominus dedit, To his confession, The Lord giveth, till he came to the Dominus abstulit; to the sense of God's taking away, not to express his sense of God's blessings to him, till he felt his corrections upon him; and then they came together, Dominus dedit, and abstulit, The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Darkness is that, by which the Holy Ghost himself hath chosen to express hell; hell is darkness; and the way to it, to hell, is excwcation in this life, blindness in our spiritual eyes. Eternal life hereafter is msio Dei, the sight of God, and the way to that here, is to see God here: and the eye-salve for that is, to be crossed in our desires in this world, by the hand of God. When Christ presents things necessary for his service, he proposes them thus; this is his inventory; gold against poverty, white clothes against nakedness, and collyrium, eye-salve to see by**. Now for the two first he bids us buy them; buy gold, buy clothes, that is, labour, endeavour to get them; he does not say, buy the eye-salve, that is, affliction; no man is to thrust himself into unnecessary dangers, or persecutions, and call his indiscretion martyrdom; it is to be presumed, that every man, how high or how abundant soever, hath eye-salve enough, affliction and crosses enough, if he do apply them: and therefore Christ does not say, buy them, hunt after them, expose thyself to them; but he says only, anoint thy eyes with them, I will give
4* Rev. iii. 18.
thee the physic, (crosses and calamities here) do thou apply them according to the nature of the medicine, and to the purpose of the physician, and by them thou shalt see God.
Our translation carries this word no further in this part of the text, than the other in the former; there it was, every man may see; here it is, man, that is, this man may behold. But as we showed you, that the former was in the original, casu viderunt, every man, (let him say what he will to the contrary) yet he hath seen God, so in this part, the word in the original, mjabbit, and that is mdebit, in the future, he shall see; this sight of God is not in him, naturally, that we can be sure he hath seen him, but it is reserved to the future; let him be thus wrought upon by God's hand, and videbit, in the future, he shall see. Now, you remember what designs the future, he shall see, is a note of the future, and so is, he will see. This man, this Enosh, thus moulded, thus kneaded, by the hand of God, he shall see God, he shall (in a manner) whether he will or no, a holy, and a heavenly violence shall be offered him, it shall not be in the power of the world, the flesh or the devil, to blind him, he shall see God; and then he will see God, his will shall be inclined, and disposed to it, and every first beam of God's grace, every influence of the spirit of God, shall open his eyes; God shall be so jealous of him, as that he shall see God, he shall be so watchful upon God, and his motions, as that he will see him.
And move than see him; for jabbit, is intuebitur, ho will behold him, contemplate God, ruminate, meditate upon God. Man sees best in the light, but meditates best in the dark; for our sight of God, it is enough, that God gives the light of nature; to behold him so, as to fix upon him in meditation, God benights us, or eclipses us, or casts a cloud of medicinal afflictions, and wholesome corrections upon us. Naturally we dwell longer upon the consideration of God, when we see the sun eclipsed, than when we see it rise, we pass by that as an ordinary thing; and so in our afflictions we stand, and look upon God, and we behold him. A man may see God, and forget that ever he saw him; When saw we thee hungry, or naked, or sick, or in prisonTM, say those merciless men; they forgot; but Christ remembers that they did
"Matt. xxv. 44.
see him, but not behold him, see him, and look off, see him so as aggravated their sin, more than if they had never seen him. But that man, who through his own red glass, can see Christ, in that colour too, through his own miseries, can see Christ Jesus in his blood, that through the calumnies that have been put upon himself, can see the revilings that were multiplied upon Christ, that in his own imprisonment, can see Christ in the grave, and in his own enlargement, Christ in his resurrection, this man, this Enosh, beholds God, and he beholds him e longinqito, which is another step in this branch, he sees him afar off.
Now seeing this afar off, is not a phrase of diminution, a circumstance of extenuation, as though it were less, to see God afar off, and more to see him nearer. This far off, is far from that; it is a power of seeing him so, as wheresoever I am, or wheresoever God is, I can see him at any distance. Being established in my foundation upon God, being built up by faith, in that notion of God, in which he hath manifested himself to me in his Son, being mounted, and raised by dwelling in his church, being made like unto him, in suffering, as he suffered, I can see round about me, even to the horizon, and beyond it, I can see both hemispheres at once, God in this, and God in the next world too. I can see him, in the zenith, in the highest point, and see how he works upon Pharaoh, on the throne, and I can see him in the nadir, in the lowest dejection, and see how he works upon Joseph in the prison; I can see him in the east, see how mercifully ho brought the Christian religion amongst us, and see him in the west, see how justly he might remove that again, and leave us to our own inventions; I can see him in the south, in a warm, and in the north, in a frosty fortune: I can seen him in all angles, in all postures; Abraham saw God coming to him, as he sat at the door of his tent84; and though (as the text says there) God stood by him, (yet says the text too) Abraham ran to meet God; I can see God in the visitation of his spirit come to me; and when he is so, he is already in me; but I must run out to meet him; that is, labour to hold him there, and to advance that manifestation of himself in me. Abraham saw God coming; Moses saw God
u Gen. xviii. 1.
going, his glory passing by; he saw posterior a, his hinder parts85; so I can see God in the memory of his blessings formerly conferred upon me; and Moses saw him too, in a burning bush, in thorns and fire: and had I no other light, but the fire of a pile of fagots, in that light I could see his light, I could see himself. Let me be the man of this text, this Enosh, to say with Jeremy, / am the man that hath seen affliction, by the rod of his wrath*", let me have had this third concoction, that as I am Adam, a man of earth, (wrought upon that wheel) and, as I am a Christian, a vessel in his house, a member of his church (wrought upon that wheel) so let me be vir dolorum, a man of affliction, a vessel baked in that furnace, fitted by God's proportion, and dosis of his corrections, to make a right use of his corrections, and I can see God, e longinquo, afar off, I can see him writing down my name in the book of life, before I was born, and I can see him giving his angels, the Angel of the Great Counsel, Christ Jesus himself, and his spirit, charge of my preservation, all the way, and of my transmigration upon my death-bed, and that is e longinquo, from before I was, to after I shall be no more.
There remains a word more; it is scarce well said; for there remains not a word more. There is not another word, and yet there is another branch in the text. This man, (not every man, as before) this Enosh, (not every Adam as before) he sees not only as before, but he beholds afar off; and so far we are gone; but what beholds he afar off? That the text tells us not. Before there was an Mud, Every man may see that, ask what is that, and I can tell you, I have told you out of the coherence of the text, it is God's works, manifesting himself even to the natural man. But this man, this Enosh, raised by his dejection, rectified by humiliation, may behold, What? here is no Mud, no such word as that, no object limited, and therefore it is that which no eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man conceived, it is God in the glory, and assembly of his immortal saints in heaven. How many times go we to comedies, to masks, to places of great and noble resort, nay even to church only to see the company? If I had no other errand to heaven, but the communion of saints, the
Exod. xxxiii. 23.
Lam. iii. 1,
fellowship of the faithful, lo see that flock of lambs, innocent, unbaptized children, recompensed with the twice-baptized martyrs, (baptized in water, and baptized in their own blood) and that middle sort, the children baptized in blood, and not in the water, that rescued Christ Jesus, by their death, under Herod; to see the prophets and the evangelists, and not know one from the other, by their writings, for they all write the same things (for prophecy is but antedated gospel, and gospel but postdated prophecy ;) to see holy matrons saved by the bearing, and bringing up of children, and holy virgins, saved by restoring their bodies in the integrity, that they received them, sit all upon one seat; to see princes, and subjects crowned all with one crown, and rich and poor inherit one portion; to see this scene, this court, this church, this catholic church, not only Eastern and Western, but Militant and Triumphant church, all in one room together, to see this communion of saints, this fellowship of the faithful, is worth all the pains, that that sight costs us in this world.
But then to see the head of this church, the Son, that sheds all these beams, the God of glory face to face, to see him sicuti est, as he is, to know him, ut cognitus, as I am known, what dark, and inglorious fortune would I not pass through, to come to that light, and that glory I How then hath God doubled his mercies upon those persons to whom he hath afforded two great lights, a sun to rule their day, honour and prosperity, and a moon to rule their night, humiliation and adversity, to whom he hath given both types, in themselves, to see this future glory, that is, titles and places of honour in this world, and spectacles in themselves to see this glory by afflictions, and crosses in this world. And therefore since God gives both these nowhere so plentifully, as in courts, the place of honour, and the place of crosses too, the place of rising, and the place of falling too, you, you especially, who by having your station there, in the court itself, are in the court exemplified, and copied in your own noble houses, you that have seen God characterized in his types, in titles of greatness, you that have beheld God presented in his spectacle of crosses and afflictions, the daily bread of courts, Bless ye the Lord, praise him, and magnify him for ever, and declare the wondrous works that he hath done for the sons of men; for certainly many woes, and invincible darkness attend those, to whom neither the hand of God in his works, nor the hand of God upon themselves, neither the greatness of this world, nor the crosses of this world, can manifest God; for what picture of God would they have that will neither have him in great, nor little?