PREACHED AT THE Earl OF BRIDGEWATER's HOUSE IN LONDON, AT THE MARRIAGEOF HIS DAUGHTER, THE LADY MARY, TO THE ELDEST SON OF THE LORD HERBERT OF CASTLE-ISLAND, NOVEMBER 19, 1627.
The Prayer Before The Sermon.
0 Eternal, and most gracious God, who hast promised to hearken to the prayers of thy people, when they pray towards thy house, though they be absent from it, work more effectually upon us, who are personally met in this thy house, in this place consecrated to thy worship. Enable us, O Lord, so to see thee, in all thy glasses, in all thy representations of thyself to us here, as that hereafter we may see thee face to face, and as thou art in thyself, in thy kingdom of glory. Of which glasses wherein we may see thee, thee in thine unity, as thou art one God; thee in thy plurality, as thou art more persons, we receive this thy institution of marriage to be one. In thy first work, the creation, the last seal of thy whole work was a marriage. In thy Son's great work, the redemption, the first seal of that whole work, was a miracle at a marriage. In the work of thy blessed spirit, our sanctification, he refreshes to us, that promise in one prophet, that thou wilt marry thyself to us for ever: and more in another, that thou hast married thyself unto us from the beginning. Thou hast married mercy and justice in thyself, married God and man in thy Son, married increpation and consolation in the Holy Ghost, marry in us also, O Lord, a love and a fear of thee. And as thou hast married in us two natures, mortal and immortal, marry in us also, the knowledge, and the practice of all duties belonging to both conditions, that so this world may be our gallery Vol. iV. c~' B
to the next; and marry in us, the spirit of thankfulness, for all thy benefits already bestowed upon us, and the spirit of prayer for the continuance, and enlargement of them. Continue, and enlarge them, O God, upon thine universal church, &c.
Matthew xxii. 30.
For, in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Of all commentaries upon the Scriptures, good examples are the best and the liveliest; and of all examples those that are nearest, and most present, and most familiar unto us; and our most familiar examples, are those of our own families, and in families, the masters of families, the fathers of families, are most conspicuous, most appliable, most considerable. Now, in exercises upon such occasions as this, ordinarily, the instruction is to be directed especially upon those persons, who especially give the occasion of the exercise; that is, upon the persons to be united in holy wedlock: for, as that is a difference between sermons and lectures, that a sermon intends exhortation principally and edification, and a holy stirring of religious affections, and then matters of doctrine, and points of divinity, occasionally, secondarily, as the words of the text may invite them; but lectures intend principally doctrinal points, and matter of divinity, and matter of exhortation but occasionally, and as in a second place: so that is a difference between christening sermons, and marriage sermons, that the first, at christenings, are especially directed upon the congregation, and not upon the persons who are to be christened; and these, at marriages, especially upon the parties, that are to be united; and upon the congregation, but by reflection. When therefore to these persons of noble extraction, I am to say something of the duties, and something of the blessings of marriage, what God commands, and what God promises in that state, in his Scriptures, I lay open to them, the best exposition, the best commentaries upon those Scriptures, that is, example, and the nearest example, that is, example in their own family, when, with the prophet Isaiah1, I direct them, to look upon the rock, from whence they are hewn, to propose to themselves their own parents, and to consider there the performance of the
1 Isaiah Li. i.
duties of marriage imposed by God in St. Paul, and the blessings proposed by God in David, Thy wife shall be a fruitful vine by the sides of thy house, thy children like olive-plants round about thy table*; for, to this purpose of edifying children by example, such as are truly religious, fathers in families, are therein truly learned fathers of the church; a good father at home, is a St. Augustine, and a St. Ambrose in himself; and such a Thomas3 may have governed a family, as shall, by way of example, teach children, and children's children more to this purpose, than any Thomas Aquinas can. Since therefore these noble persons have so good a glass to dress themselves in, the useful, as the powerful example of parents, I shall the less need to apply myself to them, for their particular instructions, but may have leave to extend myself upon considerations more general, and such as may be appliable to all, who have, or shall embrace that honourable state, or shall any way assist at the solemnizing thereof; that they may all make this union of marriage, a type, or a remembrancer of their union with God in heaven. That as our Genesis is our Exodus, (our proceeding into the world, is a step out of the world) so every gospel may be a revelation unto us: all good tidings (which is the name of gospel) all that ministers any joy to us here, may reveal, and manifest to us, an interest in the joy and glory of heaven, and that our admission to a marriage here, may be our invitation to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb there, where in the resurrection, we shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but shall be as the angels of God in heaven.
These words our blessed Saviour spake to the Sadducees; who not believing the resurrection of the dead, put him a case that one woman hath had seven husbands, and then whose wife, of those seven, should she be in the resurrection? they would needs suppose, and presume, that there could be no resurrection of the body, but that there must be to all purposes, a bodily use of the body too, and then the question had been pertinent, Whose wife of the seven shall she be? But Christ shows them their error, in the weakness of the foundation, she shall be none of their wives, for, in the resurrection, they neither marry, &c. The words give us
8 Psalm exxviii. 3.
* Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Chancellor, grandfather to the bride.
this latitude, when Christ says, In the resurrection they marry not, &c. from thence flows out this concession, this proposition too; till the resurrection they shall marry, and be given in marriage; no inhibition to be laid upon persons, no imputation, no aspersion upon the state of marriage. And when Christ says, Then they are as the angels of God in heaven, from this flows this concession, this proposition also, till then we must not look for this angelical state, but, as in all other states and conditions of life, so in all marriages there will be some incumbrances, betwixt all married persons, there will arise some unkindnesses, some misinterpretations; or some too quick interpretations may sometimes sprinkle a little sourness, and spread a little, a thin, a dilute and washy cloud upon them; then they marry not, till then they may; then their state shall be perfect as the angels, till then it shall not; these are our branches, and the fruits that grow upon them, we shall pull in passing, and present them as we gather them.
First then, Christ establishes a resurrection, a resurrection there shall be, for that makes up God's circle. The body of man was the first point that the foot of God's compass was upon: first, he created the body of Adam: and then he carries his compass round, and shuts up where he began, he ends with the body of man again in the glorification thereof in the resurrection. God is Alpha and Omega, first, and last; and his alpha and omega, his first, and last work is the body of man too. Of the immortality of the soul, there is not an express article of the creed: for that last article of the life everlasting, is rather deprwmio, et poena, what the soul shall suffer, or what the soul shall enjoy, being presumed to be immortal, than that it is said to be immortal in that article; that article may, and does presuppose an immortality, but it does not constitute an immortality in our soul, for there would be a life everlasting in heaven, and we were bound to believe it, as we were bound to believe a God in heaven, though our souls were not immortal. There are so many evidences of the immortality of the soul, even to a natural man's reason, that it required not an article of the creed, to fix this notion of the immortality of the soul. But the resurrection of the body is discernible by no other light, but that of faith, nor could be fixed by any less assurance than an article of the creed. Where be all the splinters of that bone, which a shot hath shivered and scattered in the air? Where be all the atoms of that flesh, which a corrosive hath eat away, or a consumption hath breathed, and exhaled away from our arms, and other limbs? In what wrinkle, in what furrow, in what bowel of the earth, lie all the grains of the ashes of a body burnt a thousand years since? In what corner, in what ventricle of the sea, lies all the jelly of a body drowned in the general flood? what coherence, what sympathy, what dependence maintains any relation, any correspondence, between that arm which was lost in Europe, and that leg, that was lost in Africa or Asia, scores of years between? One humour of our dead body produces worms, and those worms suck and exhaust all other humour, and then all dies, and all dries, and moulders into dust, and that dust is blown into the river, and that puddled water tumbled into the sea, and that ebbs and flows in infinite revolutions, and still, still God knows in what cabinet every seed-pearl lies, in what part of the world every grain of every man's dust lies; and sibilat populum suum, (as his prophet speaks in another case4) he whispers, he hisses, he beckons for the bodies of his saints, and in the twinkling of an eye, that body that was scattered over all the elements, is sat down at[ the right hand of God, in a glorious resurrection. A dropsy hath extended me to an enormous corpulency, and unwieldiness; a consumption hath attenuated me to a feeble macilency and leanness, and God raises me a body, such as it should have been, if these infirmities had not intervened and deformed it. David could go no further in his book of Psalms, but to that, Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord'; Ye, says he, ye that have breath, praise ye the Lord, and that ends the book: but, that my dead body should come to praise the Lord, this is that new song, which I shall learn, and sing in heaven; when not only my soul shall magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoice in God my Saviour; but I shall have mine old eyes, and ears, and tongue, and knees, and receive such glory in my body myself, as that, in that body, so glorified by God, I also shall glorify him. So very a body, so perfectly a body shall we have there, as that Mahomet, and his followers, could not consist in those heavenly functions of the body, in glorifying God, but mis
4 Zech. x. 8, ?Psalm cl. 6.
imagine a feasting and banqueting, and all carnal pleasures of the body in heaven too. But thero Christ stops; a resurrection there shall be, but, in the resurrection we shall not marry, &c.
They shall not marry, because thoy shall have none of the uses of marriage; not as marriage is physic against inordinate affections; for every soul shall be a consort in itself, and never out of tune; not as marriage is ordained for mutual help of one another; for God himself shall be entirely in every soul; and what can that soul lack, that hath all God? Not as marriage is a second and a suppletory eternity, in the continuation and propagation of children; for they shall have the first eternity, individual eternity in themselves. Therefore does St. Luke assign that reason why they shall not marry, because they cannot die3. Because they have an eternity in themselves, they need not supply any defect, by a propagation of children.
But yet, though Christ exclude that, of which there is clearly no use in heaven, marriage, (because they need no physic, no mutual help, no supply of children, yet he excludes, not our knowing, or our loving of one another upon former knowledge in this world, in the next; Christ does not say expressly we shall, yet neither does he say, that we shall not, know one another there. Neither can we say, we shall not, because we know not how we should. Adam, who was asleep when Eve was made, and neither saw, nor felt any thing that God had done, knew Eve upon the very first sight, to be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh1. By what light knew he this I And in the transfiguration of Christ, Peter, and James, and John knew Moses and Elias*, and by what light knew they them, whom they had never seen? Nor can we, or they, or any, be imagined to have any degree of knowledge of persons, or actions, though but occasionally, and transiently, in this life, which we shall not have inherently, and permanently in the next. In the types of the general resurrection, which were particular resuscitations of the dead in this world, the dead were restored to the knowledge of their friends: when Christ raised the son of the widow of Nain, he delivered him to his mother; when Peter raised Tabitha, he called the saints and the widows, and presented her alive unto them. So God says to
• Luke xx. 35. 1 Gen, ii. 23. 8 Matt. xvii. 3.
Abraham, Ibis adpatres, Thou shalt go to thy fathers*; he should know that they were his fathers: so to Moses, Jungeris populis tuts10, Thou shalt die, and be gathered to thy people, as Aaron thy brother died, and was gathered to his people. John Baptist had a knowledge of Christ, though they were both in their mothers' wombs"; and Dives of Lazarus, though in hell14; and it is not easily told, by what light these saw these. Whatsoever conduces to God's glory, or our happiness, we shall certainly know in heaven: and he that in a rectified conscience believes that it does so, may piously believe that he shall know them there. In things of this nature, where no direct place of Scripture binds up thy faith, believe so, as most exalts thine own devotion; yet with this caution too, not to condemn uncharitably, and peremptorily, those that believe otherwise. A resurrection there shall be: in the resurrection there shall be no marriage, because it conduces to no end; but, if it conduce to God's glory, and my happiness, (as it may piously be believed it does) to know them there, whom I knew here, I shall know them.
Now from this, in the resurrection they marry not, flows this also, till the resurrection they do, they may, they shall marry. Nay, in God's first purpose and institution, they must: for God said, It is not good that the man should be alone13. Every man is a natural body, every congregation is a politic body; the whole world is a catholic, an universal body. For the sustentation and aliment of the natural body, man, God hath given meat; for the politic, for societies, God hath given industry, and several callings; and for the catholic body, for the sustentation, and reparation of the world, God hath given marriage. They that scatter themselves in various lusts, commit waste, and shall undergo at last, a heavy condemnation, upon that action of waste in their souls, as they shall feel it before in their bodies which they have wasted. They that marry not, do not keep the world in reparation; and the common law, the law of nature, and the general law of God binds man in general to that reparation of the world, to marriage: for continency is privilegium, a privilege; that is, privata lex; when it is given, it becomes a law too; for he to whom God gives
the gift of continency, is bound by it: it isprivata lex, a law, an obligation upon that particular man; and then privilegium, is privatio legis, it is a dispensation upon that law, which without that privilege, and dispensation would bind him; so that all those, who have not this privilege, this dispensation, this continency, by immediate gift from God, or other medicinal disciplines, and mortifications, (which disciplines and mortifications, every state and condition of life is not bound to exercise, because such mortifications as would overcome their concupiscences, would also overcome all their natural strength, and make them unable to do the works of their callings) all such are bound by the general law to marry. For, from nature, and her law, we have that voice, Ut gignamus geniti; Man is born into the world, that others might be born from him: and from God's general law, we have that voice, crescite and multiplicamini: therefore God placed man here, that he might repair and furnish the world. He is gone at common law that marries not: not but that he may have relief; but it is only in conscience, and by way of equity, and as in chancery; that is, if in a rectified conscience he know, that he should be the less disposed to religious offices, for marriage, he does well to abstain: otherwise he must remember that the world is one body, and marriage the aliment, that the world is one building, and marriage the reparation. Therefore the emperor Augustus did not only increase the rewards, and privileges which former laws had given to married persons, but he laid particular penalties upon them, that lived unmarried. And though that state seem to have countenanced single life, because they afforded dignities to certain vestal virgins, yet the number of those vestals was small, not above six, and then the dignities and privileges, which those vestals had, were no other, but that they were made equal in the state to married wives; they were preferred before all that lived unmarried, but not before married persons.
This fortification and rampart of the world, marriage, hath the devil battered with most artillery, opposed with most instruments: for, as an army composed of many nations, more sects of heretics have concurred in the condemning of marriage, than in any one heresy. The Adamites, the Tatians, and those whom Ireneeus calls the Encratites; all within two hundred years after Christ; and more after. And yet God kept such a hook in the nostril of this leviathan, such a bridle in the jaws of these sects of heretics, as that never any of them so opposed marriage, as that they justified incontinency, or various lust, or indifferency, or community in that kind. Now as in the Pelagian heresy, those that came to modify and mollify that heresy, and to be semiPelagians, were in some points worse than those that were full Pelagians, (as truly, in many cases, the half Papist may do more harm, and be more dangerous, than the whole Papist that declares himself) so the semi-Adamites, the semi-Tatians, and semi-Encratites of the Roman church, who, though they do not as those whole heretics did, condemn marriage entirely, yet they condemn it in certain persons, and in so many as constitute a great part of the body of mankind, that is, in all their clergy, exceed those very heretics, in favour of incontinency, and fornication, and various lusts, which those heretics who absolutely condemned marriage, condemned too, as absolutely; whereas in the Roman church a Jesuit tells us, that there are divers catholics of that opinion, That it is not heresy to say, That fornication is no deadly sin": and yet it is heresy to say, That marriage in some persons, (only disabled by their canons) is not deadly sin. And when they erect and justify their academies of incontinency, and various lust, various even in the sex, if some authors among themselves have not injured them) when they maintain public stews, and maintain their dignity by them, and make that a part of the revenue of the church, what advocate of theirs can deny, but that these semi-Adamites, semi-Tatians, semi-Encratites, are worse than those heretics themselves, that did absolutely oppose marriage? We depart absolutely from those old heretics, who did absolutely condemn marriage; and from those later men, who though they be but semi-heretics in respect of them, because they limit their forbidding of marriage, to certain persons, yet they are sequi-heretics in this, that they countenance incontinency, and fornication, which those very heretics abhorred; and we must have leave too, (which we are always loath to do) to depart from the rigidness of some of those blessed fathers of the Primitive church, who found some necessities in their times, to speak
14 Lorinus. Acts xv. 20,
so very highly in praise of continency and chastity, as reflected somewhat upon marriage itself, and may seem to imply some under-valuation of that. Many such things wero so said by Tertullian, many by St. Hierome, as being crudely, and nudely taken, not decocted and boiled up with the circumstances of those times, not invested with the knowledge of those persons, to whom they were written, might diminish and dishonour marriage. But Tertullian in his most vehement persuasion of continency, writes to his own wife, and St. Hierome, for the most part, to those ladies, whom he had taken into his own discipline, and with one of which, he had so near a conversation, as that (as himself says) The world was scandalized with it,, and that the world thought him fit to have been made pope, but for that misconstruction which had been made of that his conversation with that lady. Tertullian writing to his wife, St. Hierome to those ladies, may either have had particular reasons of this vehement proceeding of theirs in advancing continency, or they may have conceived that way of persuasion of continency to those persons, to have been a fit way to convey down to posterity the love thereof. As Dionysius the Areopagite says, That the church in those times at funerals, did convey their thanks to God, for the party deceased, by way of prayer: they seemed to pray that those dead persons might be saved; and, indeed, they did but praise God, that they were saved. So Tertullian and St. Hierome, when they seem to persuade continency to those persons, they do but tell us, how continent those persons were. But howsoever it be for that, no such magnifying of virginity before, as should diminish the honour and dignity of marriage, no such magnifying of continency after, as should frustrate the purpose of marriage after, or the returning to a second marriage after a true dissolution of the first, can subvert, or contract the apostle's Nubant in Domino, Let them marry in the Lord; where the in Domino, in the Lord, is not to marry for matter of title and place; nor, in Domino, in the Lord, is not to marry for matter of lordships, and possessions, and worldly preferment; nor, in Domino, in the Lord, is not in hope to exercise a dominion and a lordship over the other party: but in the Lord, is in the fear of the Lord, in the love of the Lord, in the law that is, in the true religion of the
Lord; for this is that that makes the marriages of Christians, contracts of another kind, than the marriages of other people are; with all people of the world, marriage is as fully the same real, and civil, and moral contract, as with us Christians. The same obligations of mutual help, of fidelity and loyalty to one another, and of communication of all their possessions, lies upon marriage in Turkey, or China, as with us. But for marriage amongst Christians, Sacramentum hoc magnum est, says the apostle, This is a great secret, a great mysteryTM. Not that it is therefore a sacrament, as baptism, and the Lord's supper are sacraments. For, if they will make marriage such a sacrament, because it is expressed there in that word, magnum sacramentum, they may come to give us an eighth sacrament after their seven; they may translate that name which is upon the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth, sacrament, if they will, for it is the same word, in that place of the Revelation16, which they translate sacrament in the other place to the Ephesians; and in the next verse but one, they do translate it so there; I will tell thee, says the angel, Sacramentum mulieris, The sacrament of Babylon. Now if all the mysteries and secrets of antichrist, all the confused practices of that Babylon, all the emergent and occasional articles of that church, and that state religion, shall become sacraments, we shall have a sacrament of equivocation, a sacrament of invasion, a sacrament of powder, a sacrament of dissolving allegiance, sacraments in the element of baptism, in the water, in navies, and sacraments in the elements of the Eucharist, in blood, in the sacred blood of kings. But marriage amongst Christians, is herein magnum mysterium, a sacrament in such a sense; a mysterious signification of the union of the soul with Christ, when both persons profess the Christian religion, in general, there arises some signification of that spiritual union: but when they both profess Christ in one form, in one church, in one religion, and that, the right; then, as by the civil contract, there is an union of their estates, and persons, so, as that they two are made one, so by this sacramental, this mysterious union, these two, thus made one, between themselves, are also made one with Christ himself; by the civil union, common to all people, they
15 Ephes. v. 32. w Rev. xvii. 5.
are made eadem caro; the same flesh with one another, by this mysterious, this sacramental, this significative union, they are made idem spiritus cum Domino; the same spirit with the Lord. And therefore, though in the resurrection, they shall not marry, because then all the several uses of marriage cease, yet till the resurrection; that is, as long as this world lasts, for the sustentation of the world, which is one body, and marriage the food, and aliment thereof; for the reparation of the world, which is one building, and marriage the supply thereof, to maintain a second eternity, in the succession of children, and to illustrate this union of our souls to Christ; we may, and in some cases, must marry.
We are come, in our order proposed at first, to our second part, Erimu s sicut angeli, We shall be as the angels of God in heaven; where we consider, first, what we are compared to, those angels; and then in what that comparison lies, wherein we shall be like those angels; and lastly, the proposition that flows out of this proposition, In the resurrection we shall be like them, till the resurrection we shall not, and therefore, in the mean time, we must not look for angelical perfections, but bear with one another's infirmities. Now when we would tell you, what those angels of God in heaven, to which we are compared, are, we can come no nearer telling you that, than by telling you, we cannot tell. The angels may be content with that negative expressing, since we can express God himself in no clearer terms, nor in terms expressing more dignity, than in saying we cannot express him. Only the angels themselves know one another; and, one good point, in which we shall be like them then, shall be, that then we shall know what they are; we know they are spirits in nature, but what the nature of a spirit is, we know not: we know they are angels in office, appointed to execute God's will upon us; but, how a spirit should execute those bodily actions, that angels do, in their own motion, and in the transportation of other things, we know not: we know they are creatures; but whether created with this world, (as all our later men incline to think) or long before, (as all the Greek, and some of the Latin fathers thought) we know not: we know that for their number, and for their faculties also, there may be one for angel every man; but whether there be so, or no, because not only amongst the fathers, but even in the reformed churches, in both subdivisions, Lutheran, and Calvinist, great men deny it, and as great affirm it, we know not: we know the angels know, they understand, but whether by that way, which we call in the school, Cognitionem matutinam, by seeing all in God, or that which we call vespertinam, by a clearer manifestation of the species of things to them, than to us, we know not: we know they are distinguished into orders; the apostle tells us so17: but what, or how many their orders are, (since St. Gregory and St. Bernard diner from that design of their nine orders, which St. Denis the Areopagite had given before, in placing of those nine, and Athanasius adds more to those nine,) we know not; but we are content to say with St. Augustine, Esse firmissime credo, quoenam sint nescio: That there are distinct orders of angels, assuredly I believe; but what they are, I cannot tell; Dicant qui possunt; si taraen probare possunt quod dicunt, says that father, Let them tell you that can, so they be able to prove, that they tell you true. They are creatures, that have not so much of a body as flesh is, as froth is, as a vapour is, as a sigh is, and yet with a touch they shall moulder a rock into less atoms, than the sand that it stands upon; and a millstone into smaller flour, than it grinds. They are creatures made, and yet not a minute elder now, than when they were first made, if they were made before all measure of time began; nor, if they were made in the beginning of time, and be now six thousand years old, have they one wrinkle of age in their face, or one sob of weariness in their lungs. They are primogeniti Dei, God's eldest sons; they are super-elementary meteors, they hang between the nature of God, and the nature of man, and are of middle condition; and, (if we may offencelessly express it so) they are wnigmata Divina, the riddles of Heaven, and the perplexities of speculation. But this is but till the resurrection; then we shall be like them, and know them by that assimilation. We end this branch with this consideration, if by being like the angels, we shall know the angels, we are more than like ourselves, we are ourselves, why do we not know ourselves? Why did not Adam know, that he had a body, that might have been preserved in an immortality,
« Coloss. i. 16, 16.
and yet submitted his body, and mine, and thine, and theirs, who by this union are to be made one, and all, that by God's goodness shall be derived from them, to certain, to inevitable death? Why do not we know our own immortality, that dwells in us still, for all Adam's fall, and ours in him; that immortality which we cannot divest, but must live for ever, whether we will or no! To know this immortality, is to make this immortality, which otherwise is the heaviest part of our curse, a blessing unto us, by providing to live in immortal happiness: whereas now, we do so little know ourselves, as that if my soul could ask one of those worms which my dead body shall produce, Will you change with me? That worm would say, No; for you are like to live eternally in torment; for my part, I can live no longer, than the putrid moisture of your body will give me leave, and therefore I will not change; nay, would the devil himself change with a damned soul? I cannot tell; as we argue conveniently, that the devil is tormented more than man, because the devil fell from God, without any other tempter, than himself, but man had a tempter, so may it be not inconveniently argued too, that man may be more tormented than he, because man continued and relapsed, in his rebellions to God, after so many pardons offered and accepted, which the devil never had. Howsoever otherwise their torments may be equal, as the devil is a spirit, and a condemned soul a spirit, yet that soul shall have a body too, to be tormented with it, which the devil shall not. How little we know ourselves, which is the end of all knowledge! But we haste to the next branch, In the resurrection we shall be like to the angels of God in heaven; but in what lies this likeness?
In how many other things soever this likeness may lie, yet in this text, and in our present purpose, it lies only in this, Non nubent, In the resurrection they shall not marry. But did angels never marry, or, as good, or, at least, as ill, as marry? How many of the ancients take those words, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose1*, to be intended of angels? They offer to tell us how many these married angels were; Origen says, sixty, or seventy. They offer to tell us some of their names; Aza, was
18 Gen. vi. 2.
one of these married angels, and Azael was another". But then all those, who do understand these words, the sons of God, to be intended of angels, who being sent down to protect men, fell in love with women, and married them, all, I say, agree, that those angels that did so, never returned to God again, but fell, with the first fallen, under everlasting condemnation. So that still, the angels of God in heaven, those angels to whom we shall be like in the resurrection, do not marry, not so much as in any such mistaking; they do not, because they need not; they need not, because they need no second eternity, by the continuation of children; for, says St. Luke, they cannot die. Adam's first immortality was but this, Posse non mori, That he needed not to have died, he should not have died; the angels' immortality, and ours, when we shall be like them, in the resurrection, is, non posse mori, that we cannot die, for, whosoever dies, is Homicida sui, says Tertullian; He kills himself, and sin is his sword: in heaven there shall no such sword be drawn; we need not say, that the angels in heaven have, that we when we shall be like them, in the resurrection, shall so invest an immortality in our nature, as that God could not inflict death upon them, or us there, if we sinned: but because no sin shall enter there, no death shall enter there neither, for, death is the wages of sin. Not that no sin could enter there, if we were left to ourselves; for, in that place, angels did sin; (and, Fatendvm est angelos natura mutabiles, says St. Augustine, Howsoever angels be changed in their condition, they retain still the same nature, and by nature they are mutable) but that God hath added another prerogative, by way of confirmation, to that state; so, as that that grace which he gives us here, which is, that nothing shall put a necessity of sinning upon us, or that we must needs sin, God multiplies upon us so there, as that we can conceive no inclination to sin. Therein we shall be like the angels, that we cannot die; and the nearer we come to that state in this life, the liker we are to those angels here. Now, beloved, only he that is dead already, cannot die. He that in a holy mortification is dead the death of the righteous, dead to sin, he lives, (shall we dare to say so? Yes, we may) he lives a blessed death, for such a death is true life: and by such a heavenly death, death
18 Drusius in Sulpit. Sever.
of the righteous, death to sin, he is in possession of a heavenly life here, in an inchoation, though the consummation, and perfection be reserved for the next world; which is our last circumstance, and the conclusion of all, at the resurrection we shall be like the angels; till then we shall not; and therefore must not look for angelical perfections here, but bear one another's infirmities.
It is as yet but in petition, Fiat voluntas, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven: and as long as there is an earth it will be but in petition; his will will not be done in earth as it is in heaven; when all is heaven, to his saints, all will be well; but not all till then. In the mean time, remember all, (especially you, whose sacramental, that is, mysterious, and significative union now is a type of your union with God in as near, and as fast a band, as that of angels, for you shall be as the angels of God in heaven) that the office of the angels in this world, is to assist, and to supply defects. You are both of noble extraction; there is no defect in that; you need not supply one another with honour: you are both of religious education; there is no defect in that; you need not supply one another with fundamental instructions. Both have your parts in that testimony which St. Gregory gave of your nation, at Rome, Angli angeli, you have a loveliness fit for one another. But, though I cannot name, no nor think anything, wherein I should wish that angelical disposition of supporting, or supplying defects, yet, when I consider, that even he that said Ego et Pater unum sumus, I and the Father are one, yet had a time to say, Utquid dereliquisti? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? I consider thereby, that no two can be so made one in this world, but that that unity may be, though not dissolved, no nor rent, no nor endangered, yet shaked sometimes by domestic occasions, by matrimonial incumbrances, by perverseness of servants, by impertinencies of children, by private whisperings, and calumnies of strangers. And therefore, to speak not prophetically, that any such thing shall fall, but provisionally, if any such thing should fall, my love, and my duty, and my text, bids me tell you, that perfect happiness is to be stayed for, till you be as the angels of God in heaven; here, it is a fair portion of that angelical happiness, if you be always ready
to support, and supply one another in any such occasional weaknesses. The God of heaven multiply the present joy of your parents, by that way, of making you joyful parents also; and recompense your obedience to parents, by that way, of giving you obedient children too. The God of heaven so join you now, as that you may be glad of one another all your life; and when he who hath joined you, shall separate you again, establish you with an assurance, that he hath but borrowed one of you, for a time, to make both your joys the more perfect in the resurrection. The God of heaven make you always of one will, and that will always conformable to his; conserve you in the sincere truth of his religion; feast you with the best feast; peace of conscience; and carry you through the good opinion, and love of his saints in this world, to the association of his saints, and angels, and one another, in the resurrection, and everlasting possession of that kingdom, which his Son, our Saviour, Christ Jesus hath purchased for us, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. Amen.