PREACHED AT LINCOLN'S INN.
Job xix. 26.
And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I
Amongst those articles, in which our church hath explained, and declared her faith, this is the eighth article, that the three creeds, (that of the Council of Nice, that of Athanasius, and that which is commonly known by the name of the Apostles' Creed) ought thoroughly to be received, and embraced. The meaning of the church is not, that only that should be believed in which those three creeds agree; (for the Nicene Creed mentions no article after that of the Holy Ghost, not the Catholic church, not the communion of saints, not the resurrection of the flesh; Athanasius' Creed does mention the resurrection, but not the Catholic church, nor the communion of saints,) but that all should be believed, which is in any of them, all which is summed up in the Apostles' Creed. Now, the reason expressed in that article of our church, why all this is to be believed, is, because all this may be proved by most certain warrants of holy Scriptures. The article does not insist upon particular places of Scripture; not so much as point to them. But, they who have enlarged the articles, by way of explanation, have done that. And when they come to cite those places of Scripture, which prove the article of the resurrection, I observe that amongst those places they forbear this text; so that it may seem, that in their opinion, this Scripture doth not concern the resurrection. It will not therefore bo impertinent, to make it a first part of this exercise, whether this Scripture be to be understood of the resurrection, or no; and then, to make the particular handling of the words, a second part. In the first, we shall see, that the Jews always had, and have still, a persuasion of the resurrection. We shall look after, by what light they saw that; whether by the light of natural reason; and, if not by that, by what light given in other places of Scripture; and then, we shall shut up this inquisition with a unanime consent, (so unanime, as I can remember but one that denies it, and he but faintly) that in this text, the doctrine of the resurrection is established. In the second part, the doctrine itself comprised in the words of the text, (And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God) we shall see first, that the saints of God themselves, are not privileged from the common corruption and dissolution of the body; after that curse upon the serpent, Super pectus yradieris1, Upon thy belly shalt thou go, we shall as soon see a serpent go upright, and not crawl, as, after that judgment, In pulverem reverteris, To dust thou shalt return, see a man, that shall not see death, and corruption in death. Corruption upon our skin, says the text, (our outward beauty;) corruption upon our body, (our whole strength, and constitution.) And, this corruption, not a green paleness, not a yellow jaundice, not a blue lividness, not a black morphew upon our skin, not a bony leanness, not a sweaty faintness, not an ungracious decrepitness upon our body, but a destruction, a destruction to both, after my skin my body shall be destroyed. Though not destroyed by being resolved to ashes in the fire, (perchance I shall not be burnt) not destroyed by being
1 Gen. iii. 14.
washed to slime, in the sea, (perchance I shall not be drowned) but destroyed contemptibly, by those whom I breed, and feed, by worms; (after my skin worms shall destroy my body.) And thus far our case is equal; one event to the good and bad; worms shall destroy all in them all. And farther than this, their case is equal too, for, they shall both rise again from this destruction. But in this lies the future glory, in this lies the present comfort of the saints of God, that, after all this, (so that this is not my last act, to die, nor my last scene, to lie in the grave, nor my last exit, to go out of the grave) after says Job; and infinitely, after, I know not how soon, nor how late, I press not into God's secrets for that; but, after all this, Ego, I, I that speak now, and shall not speak then, silenced in the grave, I that see now, and shall not see then, ego videbo, I shall see, (I shall have a new faculty) videbo Deum, I shall see God (I shall have a new object) and, in came, I shall see him in the flesh, (I shall have a new organ and a new medium) and, in carne mea, that flesh shall be my flesh, (I shall have a new propriety in that flesh) this flesh which I have now, is not mine, but the worms; but that flesh shall be so mine, as I shall never divest it more, but In my flesh I shall see God for ever.
In the first part then, which is an inquiry, whether this text concern the resurrection, or no, we take knowledge of a crediderunt, and of a credunt in the Jews, that the Jews did believe a resurrection, and that they do believe it still. That they do so now, appears out of the doctrine of their Talmud, where we find, that only the Jews shall rise again, but all the Gentiles shall perish, both body and soul together, as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed all at once, body, and soul into hells. And to this purpose, (for the first part thereof, that the Jews shall rise) they abuse that place of Esay, Thy dead men shall live; awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust3. And, for the second part, that the Gentiles shall not rise, they apply the words of the same prophet before4, They are dead, they shall not live, they are deceased, they shall not rise. The Jews only, say they shall rise; but, not all they; but only the righteous amongst them. And, to that purpose, they abuse that place of the pro
8 Numb. xvi. 31, 32. 3 Isaiah xxvi. 19. * Isaiah xxvi. 14.
phet Zachary', two parts shall be cut off, and die, but the third shall be left therein, and I will bring that third part, through the fire, and will refine them, as silver is refined, and try them, as gold is tried. The Jews only of all men, the good Jews only of all Jews, and of these good Jews, only they who were buried in the land of promise, shall have this present, and immediate resurrection; and to that purpose they force that place in Genesis" where Jacob, upon his death-bed, advised his son Joseph, to bury him in Canaan, and not in Egypt, and to that purpose, they detort also, that place of Jeremy7, where the prophet lays that curse upon Pashur, That he should die in Babylon, and be buried there. For, though the Jews do not absolutely say, that all that are buried out of Canaan, shall be without a resurrection, yet they say, that even those good and righteous Jews, which are not buried in that great churchyard, the land of promiee, must, at the day of judgment, be brought through the hollow parts of the earth, into the land of promise at that time, and only in that place receive their resurrection, wheresoever they were buried. But yet though none but Jews, none but righteous Jews, none but righteous Jews in that place, must be partakers of the resurrection, yet still a resurrection there is in their doctrine.
It is so now; it was so always. We see, in that time, when Christ walked upon the earth, when he came to the raising of Lazarus, and said to his sister Martha, Thy brother shall rise again, she replies to Christ, Alas, I know he shall rise again, at the Resurrection of the last day*, I make no doubt of that, we all know that. So also, when Christ put forth that parable, that in placing of benefits, we should rather choose such persons, as were able to make no recompense, he gives that reason, Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just'. The resurrection was a vulgar doctrine, well known to the Jews then, and always. For even Herod, when Christ preached and did miracles, was apt to say, John Baptist is risen from the dead1*; and when it is said of those two great apostles, (the loving, and the beloved apostle, Peter, and John) that as yet they knew not the Scripture, that Christ must rise from the dead this argues no
5 Zach. xiii. 8, 9. 6 Gen. xlvii. 29. 1 Jer. xx. 6. 8 John xi. 24. 8 Luke xiv. 14. 10 Mar. vi. 14. 11 John xx. 9.
more, but that, as Peter's compassion before Christ's death made him dissuade Christ from going up to Jerusalem to suffer1*, so their extreme passion after Christ's death, made them less attentively to consider those particular Scriptures, which spoke of the resurrection. For the Jews in general, (much more, they) had always an apprehension, and an acknowledgement of the resurrection of the dead. By what light they saw this, and how they came to this knowledge, is our next consideration.
Had they this by the common notions of other men, out of natural reason? Mclancthon, (who is no bold, nor rash, nor dangerous expresser of himself) says well, Articulus resurrectionis propria ecclesiw vox; It is the Christian church, that hath delivered to us the article of the resurrection. Nature says it not, philosophy says it not; it is the language and the idiotism of the Church of God, that the resurrection is to be believed as an article of faith. For, though articles of faith be not facta ecclesiw, they are dicta ecclesiw, though the church do not make articles, yet she declares them. In the creation, the way was, dixit et facta sunt, God spake, and so things were made; in the Gospel, the way is, Fecit, et dicta sunt, God makes articles of faith, and the church utters them, presents them. That manifeste verum, evidently, undeniably true, that nature, and in philosophy say nothing of articles of faith. But, even in nature and philosophy, there is some preparation a priore, and much illustration a posteriore, of the resurrection. For, first, we know by natural reason, that it is no such thing, as God cannot do; it implies no contradiction in itself, as that new article of transubstantiation does; it implies no defectiveness in God, as that new article, the necessity of a perpetual vicar upon earth, does. For things contradictory in themselves, (which necessarily imply a falshood) things arguing a defectiveness in God, (which implies necessarily a degradation to his nature, to his natural goodness, to that which we may justly call even the God of God, that which makes him God to us, his mercy) such things God himself cannot do, not things which make him an unmerciful, a cruel, a precondemning God. But, excepting only such things, God, who is that, Quod cum dicitur, non potest dici", whom if you name you cannot give him
1! Matt. xvi. 22. 1» Greg. Nazianz.
half his name; for, if you call him God, he hath not his Christian name, for he is Christ as well as God, a Saviour, as well as a Creator; Quod cum wstimatur, non potest wstimari, If you value God, weigh God, you cannot give him half his weight; for, you can put nothing into the balance, to weigh him withal, but all this world; and, there is not a single sand in the sea, no single dust upon the earth, no single atom in the air, that is not likelier to weigh down all the world, than all the world is to counterposo God; What is the whole world to a soul? says Christ14; but what are all the souls of the world, to God I What is man, that God should be mindful of him", that God should ever think of him, and not forget that there is such a thing, such a nothing? Quod cum definitur, ipsa definitione crescit, says the same father; If you limit God with any definition, he grows larger by that definition; for even by that definition you discern presently that he is something else than that definition comprehends. That God, Quem omnia nesciunt, et metuendo sciunt, whom no man knows perfectly, yet every man knows so well, as to stand in fear of him, this incomprehensible God, I say, that works, and who shall let it"? can raise our bodies again from the dead, because to do so, implies no derogation to himself, no contradiction to his word.
Our reason tells us, he can do it; doth our reason tell us as much of his will, that he will do it? Our reason tells us, that he will do, whatsoever is most convenient for the creature, whom, because he hath made him, he loves, and for his own glory. Now this dignity afforded to the dead body of man, cannot be conceived, but as a great addition to him. Nor can it be such a diminution to God, to take man into heaven, as it was for God to descend, and to take mans nature upon him, upon earth. A king does not diminish himself so much, by taking an inferior person into his bosom at court, as he should do by going to live with that person, in the country, or city; and this God did, in the incarnation of his son. It cannot be thought inconvenient, it cannot be thought hard. Our reason tells us, that in all God's works, in all his material works, still his latter works are easier than his former. The creation, which was the first, and was a mere production out of nothing, was the hardest of all. The specification
14 Mark viii. 30. 15 Psalm viii. 4. 14 Isaiah xliii. 13.
of creatures, and the disposing of them, into their several kinds, the making of that which was made something of nothing before, a particular thing, a beast, a fowl, a fish, a plant, a man, a sun or moon, was not so hard, as the first production out of nothing. And then, the conservation of all these, in that order in which they are first created, and then distinguished, the administration of these creatures by a constant working of second causes, which naturally produce their effects, is not so hard as that. And so, accordingly, and in that proportion, the last work is easiest of all; distinction and specification easier than creation, conservation, and administration easiest than that distinction, and restitution by resurrection, easier of all. Tertullian hath expressed it well, Plus est fecisse quam refecisse, et dedisse quam reddidisse; it is a harder work to make, than to mend, and, to give thee that which was mine, than to restore thee that which was thine. Et institutio carnis quam destitutio; it is a lesser matter to recover a sick man, than to make a whole man. Does this trouble thee, says Justin Martyr, (and Athenagoras proceeds in the same way of argumentation too, in his apology) does this trouble thee, Quod homo d piscibus, et piscis ab homine comeditur, that one man is devoured by a fish, and then another man that eats the flesh of that fish, eats, and becomes the other man? Id nec hominem resohit in piscem in hominem, that first man did not become that fish that eat him, nor that fish become that second man, that eat it; sed utriusque resolutio fit in elementa, both that man, and that fish are resolved into their own elements, of which they were made at first. However it be, if thine imagination could carry thee so low, as to think, not only that thou wert become some other thing, a fish, or a dog that had fed upon thee, and so thou couldst not have thine own body, but therewithal must have his body too,—but that thou wert infinitely further gone, that thou wert annihilated, become nothing, canst thou choose but think God as perfect now, at least as he was at first, and can he not as easily make thee up again of nothing, as he made thee of nothing at first. Recogita quid fueris, antequam esses11; think over thyself; what wast thou before thou wast anything I Meminisses utique, sifuisses; if thou hadst been anything then, surely thou
wouldst remember it now. Qui non eras, factus es; Cum iterum non eris,fies; thou that wast once nothing, wast made this that thou art now; and when thou shalt be nothing again, thou shalt be made better than thou art yet. And, Redde rationem qua foetus es, et ego reddam rationem qua fies; do thou tell me, how thou wast made then, and I will tell thee how thou shalt be made hereafter. And yet as Solomon sends us to creatures, and to creatures of a low rank and station, to ants and spiders, for instruction, so St. Gregory sends us to creatures, to learn the resurrection. Lux quotidie moritur, et quotidie resurgit; that glorious creature, that first creature, the light, dies every day, and every day hath a resurrection. In arbustis folia resurrectione erumpunt; from the cedar of Libanus, to the hyssop upon the wall; every leaf dies every year, and every year hath a resurrection, Ubi in brevitate seminis, tam immensa arbor latuit? (as he pursues that meditation.) If thou hadst seen the bodies of men rise out of the grave, at Christ's resurrection, could that be a stranger thing to thee, than, (if thou hadst never seen, nor heard, nor imagined it before) to see an oak that spreads so far, rise out of an acorn? Or if churchyards did vent themselves every spring, and that there were such a resurrection of bodies every year, when thou hadst seen as many resurrections as years, the resurrection would be no stranger to thee, than the spring is. And thus this, and many other good and reverend men, and so the Holy Ghost himself sends us to reason, and to the creature, for the doctrine of the resurrection; St. Paul allows him not the reason of a man, that proceeds not so; Thou fool, says he, that which thou sowest, is not quickened except it die1*; but then it is. It is truly harder to conceive a translation of the body into heaven, than a resurrection of the body from the earth. Num in hominibus, terra degenerat, quw omnia regenerare consuevitTM? Do all kinds of earth regenerate, and shall only the churchyard degenerate? Is there a yearly resurrection of every other thing, and never of men? Omnia pereundo servanturTM, all other things are preserved, and continued by dying; Tu homo solus ad hoc morieris, ut pereas? And canst thou, O man, suspect of thyself, that the end of thy
18 1 Cor. xv. 36. 19 Ambrose. 80 Tertullian.
dying is an end of thee? Fall as low as thou canst, corrupt and putrefy as desperately as thou canst, sis nihil, think thyself nothing; Ejus est nihilum ipsum cujus est totum, even that nothing is as much in his power, as the world which he made of nothing; and, as he called thee when thou wast not, as if thou hadst been, so will he call thee again, when thou art ignorant of that being which thou hast in the grave, and give thee again thy former, and glorify it with a better being.
The Jews then, if they had no other helps, might have, (as natural men may) preparations a priore, and illustrations a posterior, for the doctrine of the resurrection. The Jews had seen resuscitations from the dead in particular persons, and they had seen miraculous cures done by their prophets. And Gregory Nyssen says well, that those miraculous cures which Christ wrought, with a tolle grabatum, and an esto sanus, and no more, they were prwludia resurrectionis, half-resurrections, prologues, and inducements to the doctrine of the resurrection, which shall be transacted with a surgite mortui, and no more. So these natural helps in the consideration of the creature, are prwludia resurrectionis, they are half-resurrections, and these natural resurrections carry us half way to the miraculous resurrection. But certainly, the Jews, who had that, which the Gentiles wanted, the Scriptures, had from them, a general, though not an explicit knowledge of the resurrection. That they had it, we see by that practice of Judas the Maccabee*1, in gathering a contribution to send to Jerusalem, which is therefore commended, because he was therein mindful of the resurrection. Neither doth Christ find any that opposed the doctrine of the resurrection, but those, who though they were tolerated in the state, because they were otherwise great persons, were absolute heretics, even amongst the Jews, the Sadducees. And St. Paul, when, finding himself to be oppressed in judgment, he used his Christian wisdom, and to draw a strong party to himself, protested himself to be of the sect of the Pharisees", and that, as they, and all the rest in general did, he maintained the resurrection, he knew it would seem a strange injury, and an oppression, to be called in question for that, that they all believed; though therefore our Saviour
81 2 Macab. xii. 43. "Acts xv. 5.
Christ, who disputed then only against the Sadducees, argued for the doctrine of the resurrection, only from that place of the Scripture, which those Sadducees acknowledged to be Scripture, (for they denied all but the Books of Moses) and so insisted upon those words, / am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob", yet certainly the Jews had established that doctrine, upon other places too, though to the Sadducees who accepted Moses only, Moses were the best evidence. It is evident enough in that particular place of Daniel", Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame, and everlasting contempt. And in Daniel, that word many, must not be restrained to less than all; Daniel intends by that many, that how many soever they are, they shall all arise; as St. Paul does, when he says, by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners*5, that is, all; for, death passed over all men; for all have sinned. And Christ doth but paraphrase that place of Daniel, who says, multi, many, when he says, omnes, all; All that are in the grave shall hear his voice and shall come forth*'; they that have done good, unto the - resurrection of life, and that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. This then being thus far settled, that the Jews understood the resurrection, and more than that, they believed it, and therefore, as they had light in nature, they had assurance in Scripture, come we now, to that which was our last purpose in this first part, whether in this text, in these words of Job, (though after my skin, worms destroy my body) there be any such light of the resurrection given.
It is true, that in the New Testament, where the doctrine of the resurrection is more evidently, more liquidly delivered, than in the Old, (though it be delivered in the Old too) there is no place cited out of the Book of Job, for the resurrection; and so, this is not. But it is no marvel; both upon that reason which we noted before, that they who were to be convinced, were such as received only the Books of Moses, and therefore all citations from this Book of Job, or any other had been impertinently and frivolously employed, and, because in the New Testament, there
** Luke xx. 37; Exod. iii. 0. "Dan. xii. 2.
"Rom. v. 12, 10. Si John v. 28.
VOL. IV. Q
is but one place of this Book of Job cited at all. To the Corinthians" the apostle makes use of those words in Job, God taketh the wise in their own craft"; and more than this one place, is not, (I think) cited out of this Book of Job in the New Testament. But, the authority of Job is established in another place; You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, says St. James". As you have seen this, so you have heard that; seen and heard one way, out of the Scripture; you have heard that out of the Book of Job, you have seen this out of the Gospel. And further than this, there is no naming of Job's person, or his book, in the New Testament. St. Hierome confesses30, that both the Greek and Latin copies of this book, were so defective in his time, that seven or eight hundred verses of the original were wanting in the book. And, for the original itself, he says, Obliquus totus liber fertur, et lubricus, It is an uncertain and slippery book. But this only for the sense of some places of the book; and that made the authority of this book to be longer suspended in the church, and oftener called into question by particular men, than any other book of the Bible. But in those who have, for many ages, received this book for canonical, there is an unanime acknowledgment, (at least, tacitly) that this piece of it, this text, (When, after my skin, worms shall destroy my body, yet in my flesh I shall see God) does establish the resurrection.
Divide the expositors into three branches; (for so the world will needs divide them) the first, the Roman church will call theirs; though they have no other title to them, but that they received the same translation that they do. And all they use this text for the resurrection. Verba viri in gentilitate positi erubescamus3X; It is a shame for us, who have the word of God itself, (which Job had not) and have had such a commentary, such an exposition upon all the former word of God, as the real, and actual, and visible resurrection of Christ himself, erubescamus verba viri in gentilitate positi, let us be ashamed and confounded, if Job, a person that lived not within the light of the covenant, «aw the resurrection more clearly, and professed it more constantly
"1 Cor. iii. 19. *8 Job v. 13. ss James v. 11.
30 Preefat. in Job. 81 Gregory.
than we do. And, as this Gregory of Rome, so Gregory Nyssen understood Job too. For he considers Job's case thus; God promised Job twofold of all that he had lost38; and in his sheep and camels, and oxen, and asses, which were utterly destroyed, and brought to nothing, God performs it punctually, he had all in a, double proportion. But Job had seven sons, and three daughters before, and God gives him but seven sons, and three daughters again; and yet Job had twofold of these too; for, post nctti cum prioribus numerantur, quia omnes Deo vivunt; those which were gone, and those which were new given, lived all one life, because they lived all in God; nec quicquam aliud est mors, nisi vitiositatis expiatio; death is nothing else, but a divesting of those defects, which made us less fit for God. And therefore, agreeably to this purpose, says St. Cyprian, Scimus non amitti, sealprwmitti; Thy dead are not lost but lent. Non recedere, sedprwcedere; They are not gone into any other womb, than we shall follow them into; nec acquirendw atrw vestes, pro iis qui albis induuntur, neither should we put on blacks, for them that are clothed in white, nor mourn for them, that are entered into their Master's joy. We can enlarge ourselves no farther in this consideration of the first branch of expositors, but that all the ancients took occasion from this text to argue for the resurrection.
Take into your consideration the other two branches of modern expositors, (whom others sometimes contumeliously, and themselves sometimes perversely, have called Lutherans and Calvinists,) and you may know, that in the first rank, Osiander, and with him, all his, interpret these words so; and in the other rank, Tremellius, and Pellicanus, heretofore, Polanus lately, and Piscator, for the present; all these, and all the translators into the vulgar tongues of all our neighbours of Europe, do all establish the doctrine of the resurrection by these words, this place of Job. And therefore, though one, (and truly for any thing I know, but one) though one, to whom we all owe much, for the interpretation of the Scriptures33, do think that Job intends no other resurrection in this place, but that, when he shall be reduced to the miserablest estate that can be in this life, still he will look upon
God, and trust in him for his restitution, and reparation in this life; let us with the whole Christian church, embrace and magnify this holy and heroical spirit of Job; Scio, says he; I know it, (which is more in him, than the credo is in us, more to know it then, in that state, than to belieee it now, after it hath been so evidently declared, not only to be a certain truth, but to be an article of faith) Scio Redemptorem, says he; I know not only a Creator, but a Redeemer; and, Redemptorem meum, my Redeemer, which implies a confidence, and a personal application of that redemption to himself. Scio vivere, says he; I know that he lives; I know that he begun not in his incarnation, I know he ended not in his death, but it always was, and is now, and shall for ever be true, vivit, that he lives still. And then, Scio venturum, says he too; I know he shall stand at the last day to judge me and all the world; and after that, and after my skin and body is destroyed by worms, yet in my flesh I shall see God. And so have you as much as we proposed for our first part; That the Jews do now, that they always did believe a resurrection; that as natural men, and by natural reason they might know it, both in the possibility of the thing, and in the purpose of God, that they had better helps than natural reason, for they had divers places of their Scripture, and that this place of Scripture, which is our text, hath evermore been received for a proof of the resurrection. Proceed we now, to those particulars which constitute our second part, such instructions concerning the resurrection, as arise out of these words, Though after my skin, worms destroy my body, yet in my flesh I shall see God.
In this second part, the first thing that was proposed, was, That the saints of God are not privileged from this, which fell upon Job, this death, this dissolution after death. Upon the morte morieris, that double death, interminated by God upon Adam, there is a non obstante; revertere, turn to God, and thou shalt not die the death, not the second death. But upon that part of the sentence, In pulverum reverteris, To dust thou shalt return, there is no non obstante; though thou turn to God, thou must turn into the grave; for he that redeemed thee from the other death, redeemed not himself from this. Carry this consideration to the last minute of the world, when we that remain shall be caught up in the clouds", yet even that last fire may be our fever, those clouds our winding-sheets, that rapture our dissolution; and so, with St. Augustine, most of the ancients, most of the latter men think, that there shall be a sudden dissolution of body and soul, which is death, and a sudden reuniting of both, which is resurrection, in that instant; Quis homo, is David's question; What man is he that liveth and shall not see deathTM? Let us add, Quis deorum? What god is he amongst the Gentiles, that hath not seen death? Which of their three hundred Jupiters, which of their thousands of other gods, have not seen death? Mortibus moriuntur; we may add to that double death in God's mouth, another death; the gods of the Gentiles have died thrice; in body, in soul, and in fame; for, though they have been glorified with a deification, not one of all those old gods is at this day worshipped in any part of the world, but all those temporary, and transitory gods, are worn out, and dead in all senses. Those gods, who were but men, fall under David's question, Quis homo? and that man who was truly God, falls under it too, Christ Jesus; he saw death, though he saw not the death of this text, corruption. And, if we consider the effusion of his precious blood, the contusion of his sacred flesh, the extension of those sinews, and ligaments which tied heaven, and earth together, in a reconciliation, the departing of that intelligence from that sphere, of that high priest from that temple, of that dove from that ark, of that soul from that body, that dissolution (which as an ordinary man he should have had in the grave, but that the decree of God, declared in the infallibility of the manifold prophesies, preserved him from it) had been but a slumber, in respect of these tortures, which he did suffer; the Godhead stayed with him in the grave, and so he did not corrupt, but, though our souls be gone up to God, our bodies shall.
Corruption in the skin, says Job; in the outward beauty, these be the records of vellum, these be the parchments, the indictments, and the evidences that shall condemn many of us, at the last day, our own skins; we have the book of God, the law, written in our own hearts; we have the image of God imprinted
M 1 Thess. iv. 17. s* Psalm Lxxxix. 48.
in our own souls; wo have the character, and seal of God stamped in us, in our baptism; and, all this is bound up in this vellum, in this parchment, in this skin of ours, and we neglect book, and image, and character, and seal, and all for the covering. It is not a clear case, if we consider the original words properly, That Jezabel did paint"; and yet all translators, and expositors have taken a just occasion, out of the ambiguity of those words, to cry down that abomination of painting. It is not a clear case, if we consider the propriety of the words, that Absalom was hanged by the hair of the head31; and yet the fathers and others have made use of that indifferency, and verisimilitude, to explode that abomination, of cherishing and curling hair, to the inveigling, and ensnaring, and entangling of others; Judicium patietur wternum, says St. Hierome, Thou art guilty of a murder, though no body die; Quia vinum attulisti, si fuisset qui bibisset; Thou hast poisoned a cup, if any would drink, thou hast prepared a temptation, if any would swallow it. Tertullian thought he had done enough, when he had writ his book De Habitu Muliebri, against the excess of women in clothes, but he was fain to add another with more vehemence, De Cultu Fwminarum, that went beyond their clothes to their skin. And he concludes, Illud ambitionis crimen, There is vain-glory in their excess of clothes, but, hoc prostitution is, there is prostitution in drawing the eye to the skin. Pliny says, that when their thin silk stuffs were first invented at Rome, Excogitatvm ad fwminas denudandas; It was but an invention that women might go naked in clothes, for their skins might be seen through those clothes, those thin stuffs: our women are not so careful, but they expose their nakedness professedly, and paint it, to cast bird-lime for the passenger's eye. Beloved, good diet makes the best complexion, and a good conscience is a continual feast; a cheerful heart makes the best blood, and peace with God is the true cheerfulness of heart. Thy Saviour neglected his skin so much, as that at last, he scarce had any; all was torn with the whips, and scourges; and thy skin shall come to that absolute corruption, as that, though a hundred years after thou art buried, one may find thy bones, and say, this was a tall man, this was a strong mau,
36 2 Kings ix. 30. 31 2 Sam. xviii. 9.
yet we shall soon be past saying, upon any relic of thy skin, this was a fair man; corruption seizes the skin, all outward beauty, quickly, and so it does the body, the whole frame and constitution, which is aaother consideration; After my skin, my body.
If the whole body were an eye, or an ear, where were the body, says St. Paul38; but, when of the whole body there is neither eye nor ear, nor any member left, where is the body? And what should an eye do there, where there is nothing to be seen but loathsomeness; or a nose there, where there is nothing to be smelt, but putrefaction; or an ear, where in the grave they do not praise God? Doth not that body that boasted but yesterday of that privilege above all creatures, that it only could go upright, lie to-day as flat upon the earth as the body of a horse, or of a dog? And doth it not to-morrow lose his other privilege, of looking up to heaven? Is it not farther removed from the eye of heaven, the sun, than any dog, or horse, by being covered with the earth, which they are not I Painters have presented to us with some horror, the skeleton, the frame of the bones of a man's body; but the state of a body, in the dissolution of the grave, no pencil can present to us. Between that excremental jelly that thy body is made of at first, and that jelly which thy body dissolves to at last; there is not so noisome, so putrid a thing in nature. This skin, this outward beauty, this body, this whole constitution, must be destroyed, says Job, in the next place.
The word is well chosen, by which all this is expressed, in this text, Nakaph, which is a word of as heavy a signification, to express an utter abolition, and annihilation, as perchance can be found in all the Scriptures. Tremellius hath mollified it in his translation; there it is but confodere, to pierce. And yet it is such a piercing, such a sapping, such an undermining, such a demolishing of a fort or castle, as may justly remove us from any high valuation, or any great confidence, in that skin, and in that body, upon which this confoderint must fall. But in the great Bible it is contriverint, thy skin, and thy body shall be ground away, trod away upon the ground. Ask where that iron is that is ground off of a knife, or axe; ask that marble that is worn off of the threshold in the church-porch by continual treading, and
881 Cor. xii. 17.
with that iron, and with that marble, thou mayest find thy father's skin, and body; contrita sunt, the knife, the marble, the skin, the body are ground away, trod away, they are destroyed, who knows the revolutions of dust 1 Dust upon.the king's highway, and dust upon the king's grave, are both, or neither, dust royal, and may change places; who knows the revolutions of dust I Even in the dead body of Christ Jesus himself, one dram of the decree of his Father, one sheet, one sentence of the prediction of the prophets preserved his body from corruption, aud incineration, more than all Joseph's new tombs, and fine linen, and great proportion of spices could have done. O, who can express this inexpressible mystery? The soul of Christ Jesus, which took no harm by him, contracted no original sin, in coming to him, was guilty of no more sin, when it went out, than when it came from the breath and bosom of God; yet this soul left this body in death. And the Divinity, the Godhead, incomparably better than that soul, which soul was incomparably better than all the saints, and angels in heaven, that Divinity, that Godhead did not forsake the body, though it were dead. If we might compare things infinite in themselves, it was nothing so much, that God did assume man's nature, as that God did still cleave to that man, then when he was no man, in the separation of body and soul, in the grave. But fall we from incomprehensible mysteries; for, there is mortification enough, (and mortification is vivification, and eedification) in this obvious consideration; skin and body, beauty and substance must be destroyed; and, destroyed by worms, which is another descent in this humiliation, and exinanition of man, in death; After my skin, worms shall destroy this body.
I will not insist long upon this, because it is not in the original; in the original there is no mention of worms. But because in other places of Job there is, They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them3'; The womb shall forget them, and the worm shall feed sweetly on them**; and because the word destroying is presented in that form and number, contriverint, when they shall destroy, they and no other persons, no other creatures named; both our later translations, (for indeed, our first
"Job xxi. 26. 40 Job xxiv. 20.
translation hath no mention of worms) and so very many others, even Tremellius that adheres most to the letter of the Hebrew, have filled up this place, with that addition, destroyed by worms. It makes the destruction the more contemptible; thou that wouldest not admit the beams of the sun upon thy skin, and yet hast admitted the pollutions of sin; thou that wouldest not admit the breath of the air upon thy skin, and yet hast admitted the spirit of lust, and unchaste solicitations to breathe upon thee, in execrable oaths, and blasphemies, to vicious purposes; thou, whose body hath (as far as it can) putrefied and corrupted even the body of thy Saviour, in an unworthy receiving thereof, in this skin, in this body, must be the food of worms, the prey of destroying worms. After a low birth thou mayest pass an honourable life, after a sentence of an ignominious death, thou mayest have an honourable end; but, in the grave canst thou make these worms silk worms? They were bold and early worms that eat up Herod before he died41; they are bold and everlasting worms, which after thy skin and body is destroyed, shall remain as long as God remains, in an eternal gnawing of thy conscience; long, long after the destroying of skin and body, by bodily worms.
Thus far then to the destroying of skin and body by worms, all men are equal; thus far all is common law, and no prerogative, so is it also in the next step too; the resurrection is common to all: the prerogative lies not in the rising, but in the rising to the fruition of the sight of God; in which consideration, the first beam of comfort is the postquam, after all this, destruction before by worms; ruinous misery before; but there is something else to be done upon me after. God leaves no state without comfort. God leaves some inhabitants of the earth under longer nights than others, but none under an everlasting night; and those whom he leaves under those long nights, he recompenses with as long days after. I were miserable, if there were not an antequam in my behalf; if before I had done well or ill actually in this world, God had not wrapped me up, in his good purpose upon me. And I were miserable again, if there were not a postquam in my behalf; if, after my sin had cast me into the grave, there
41 Acts xii. 23.
were not a loud trumpet to call me up, and a gracious countenance to look upon me, when I were risen. Nay, let my life have been as religious, as the infirmities of this life can admit, yet, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are, of all men, most miserable". For, for the worldly things of this life, first, the children of God have them in the least proportions of any; and, besides that, those children of God, which have them in larger proportion, do yet make the least use of them of any others, because the children of the world are not so tender conscienced, nor so much afraid, lest those worldly things should become snares, and occasions of temptation to them, if they open themselves to a full enjoying thereof, as the children of God are. And therefore, after my wanting of many worldly things, (after a penurious life) and, after my not daring to use those things that I have, so freely as others do, after that holy and conscientious forbearing of those things that other men afford themselves, after my leaving all these absolutely behind me here, and my skin and body in destruction in the grave, after all, there remains something else for me. After; but how long after I That is next.
When Christ was in the body of that flesh, which we are in, now, (sin only excepted) he said, in that state that he was in then, Of that day and hour, no man knoweth, not the angels, not the Son". Then, in that state, he excludes himself. And when Christ was risen again, in an uncorruptible body, he said, even to his nearest followers, Non est vestrum, it is not for.you, to know times, and seasons". Before in his state of mortality, Seipsum annumeravit ignorantibus", He pretended to know no more of this, than they that knew nothing. After, when he had invested immortality, per sui exceptionem, (says, that father) he excepts none but himself; all the rest, even the apostles, were left ignorant thereof. For this non est vestrum, (it is not for you) is part of the last sentence that ever Christ spake to them. If it be a convenient answer to say, Christ knew it not, as man, how bold is that man that will pretend to know it? And, if it be a convenient interpretation of Christ's words, that he knew it not, that is, knew it not so, as that he might tell it them, how indiscreet
are they, who, though they may seem to know it, will publish it? For thereby they fill other men with scruples, and vexations, and they open themselves to scorn and reproach, when their predictions prove false, as St. Augustine observed in his time, and every age hath given examples since, of confident men that have failed in these conjectures. It is a poor pretence to say, this intimation, this impression of a certain time, prepares men with better dispositions. For they have so often been found false, that it rather weakens the credit of the thing itself. In the old world they knew exactly the time of the destruction of the world; that there should be an hundred and twenty years, before the flood came4*; and yet, upon how few, did that prediction, though from the mouth of God himself, work to repentance? Noah found grace in God's eyes; but it was not because he mended his life upon that prediction, but he was gracious in God's sight before. At the day of our death, we write Pridie resurrectionis, The day before the resurrection; it is Vigilia resurrectionis; our Easter eve. Adveniat regnum tuum, Possess my soul of thy kingdom then: and, Fiat voluntas tua, My body shall arise after, but how soon after, or how late after, thy will be done then, by thyself, and thy will be known, till then, to thyself.
We pass on. As in massa damnata, the whole lump of mankind is under the condemnation of Adam's sin, and yet the good purpose of God severs some men from that condemnation, so, at the resurrection, all shall rise; but not all to glory. But, amongst them, that do, ego, says Job, I shall. I, as I am the same man, made up of the same body, and the same soul. Shall I imagine a difficulty in my body, because I have lost an arm in the east, and a leg in the west I Because I have left some blood in the north, and some bones in the south? Do but remember, with what ease you have sate in the chair, casting an account, and made a shilling on one hand, a pound on the other, or five shillings below, ten above, because all these lay easily within your reach. Consider how much less all this earth is to him, that sits in heaven, and spans all this world, and reunites in an instant, arms, and legs, blood, and bones, in what corners soever they be scattered. The greater work may seem to be in reducing the
"Gen. vi. 3.
soul; that that soul which sped so ill in that body, last time it came to it, as that it contracted original sin then, and was put to the slavery to serve that body, and to serve it in the ways of sin, not for an apprenticeship of seven, but seventy years after, that that soul after it hath once got loose by death, and lived God knows how many thousands of years, free from that body, that abused it so before, and in the sight and fruition of that God, where it was in no danger, should willingly, nay desirously, ambitiously seek this scattered body; this eastern, and western, and northern, aud southern body, this is the most47 inconsiderable consideration, and yet, ego, I, I the same body, and the same soul, shall be recompact again, and be identically, numerically, individually the same man. The same integrity of body, and soul, and the same integrity in the organs of my body, and in the faculties of my soul too; I shall be all there, my body, and my soul, and all my body, and all my soul. I am not all here, I am here now preaching upon this text, and I am at home in my library considering whether St. Gregory, or St. Hierome, have said best of this text, before. I am here speaking to you, and yet I consider by the way, in the same instant, what it is likely you will say to one another, when I have done; you are not all here neither; you are here now, hearing me, and yet you are thinking that you have heard a better sermon somewhere else, of this text before; you are here, and yet you think you could have heard some other doctrine of downright predestination, and reprobation roundly delivered somewhere else with more edification to you; you are here, and you remember yourselves that now ye think of it: this had been the fittest time, now, when everybody else is at church, to have made such and such a private visit; and because yon would be there, you are there. I cannot say, you cannot say so perfectly, so entirely now, as at the resurrection, ego, I am here; I, body and soul; I, soul and faculties: as Christ said to Peter, Noli timere, ego sum, Fear nothing, it is I; SO I say to myself, Noli timere; my soul, why art thou so sad, my body, why dost thou languish? Ego, I, body and soul, soul and faculties, shall say to Christ Jesus, Ego sum, Lord, it is I, and he shall not say, Nescio te, I know thee not, but avow me, and
i. e. not able to be conceived.
place me at his right hand. Ego sum, I am the man that hath seen affliction, by the rod of his wrath**; ego sum, and I the same man, shall receive the crown of glory which shall not fade*'.
Ego, I, the same person; Ego videbo, I shall see; I have had no looking-glass in my grave, to see how my body looks in the dissolution; I know not how. I have had no hour-glass in my grave to see how my time passes; I know not when: for, when my eyelids are closed in my death-bed, the angel hath said to me^ That time shall be no more'*; till I see eternity, the Ancient of Days51, I shall see no more; but then I shall: now, why is Job gladder of the use of this sense of seeing, than of any of the other? He is not; he is glad of seeing, but not of the sense, but of the object. It is true that is said in the school, Vicinius se habetit potentiw sensitive ad animam quam corpus**; Our sensitive faculties have more relation to the soul, than to the body; but yet to some purpose, and in some measure, all the senses shall be in our glorified bodies, in actu, or in potentia, say they; so as that we shall use them, or so as that we might. But this sight that Job speaks of, is only the fruition of the presence of God, in which consists eternal blessedness. Here, in this world, we see God per speculum, says the apostle, by reflection, upon a glass53; we see a creature; and from that there arises an assurance that there is a Creator, we see him in wnigmate, says he; which is not ill rendered in the margin, in a riddle, we see him in the church; but men have made it a riddle, which is the church, we see him in the sacrament, but men have made it a riddle; by what light, and at what window: do I see him at the window of bread and wine; is he in that; or do I see him by the window of faith; and is he only in that I Still it is in a riddle. Do I see him a priori, (I see that I am elected, and therefore I cannot sin to death.) Or do I see him a posteriori, (because I see myself careful not to sin to death, therefore I am elected.) I shall see all problematical things come to be dogmatical, I shall see all these rocks in divinity, come to be smooth alleys; I shall see prophecies untied, riddles dissolved, controversies reconciled;
48 Lam. iii. 1. 48 1 Pet. v. 4. M Rev. x. 7
51 Dan. vii. 9. 51 Aquin. sup. q. 82. ar. 4, 53 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
but I shall never see that, till I come to this sight which follows in our text, Videbo Deum, I shall see God.
No man ever saw God and lived; and yet, I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen him I shall never die. What have I ever seen in this world, that hath been truly the same thing that it seemed to me? I have seen marble buildings, and a chip, a crust, a plaster, a face of marble hath pilled off, and I see brick bowels within. I have seen beauty, and a strong breath from another, tells me, that that complexion is from without, not from a sound constitution within. I have seen the state of princes, and all that is but ceremony; and, I would be loath to put a master of ceremonies to define ceremony, and tell me what it is, and to include so various a thing as ceremony, in so constant a thing, as a definition. I see a great officer, and I see a man of mine own profession, of great revenues, and I see not the interest of the money, that was paid for it, I see not the pensions, nor the annuities, that are charged upon that office, or that church. As he that fears God, fears nothing else, so, he that sees God, sees everything else: when we shall see God, Sicuti est, as he is54, we shall see all things sicuti sunt, as they are; for that is their essence, as they conduce to his glory. We shall be no more deluded with outward appearances: for when this sight, which we intend here, comes, there will be no delusory thing to be seen. All that we have made as though we saw, in this world, will be vanished, and I shall see nothing but God, and what is in him; and him I shall see, In came, in the flesh, which is another degree of exaltation in mine exinanition.
I shall see him, in came sua, in his flesh: and this was one branch in St. Augustine's great wish, that he might have seen Rome in her state, that he might have heard St. Paul preach, that he might have seen Christ in the flesh: St. Augustine hath seen Christ in the flesh one thousand two hundred years: in Christ's glorified flesh; but it is with the eyes of his understanding, and in his soul. Our flesh, even in the resurrection, cannot be a spectacle, a perspective glass to our soul. We shall see the humanity of Christ with our bodily eyes, then glorified: but, that
M 1 John iii. 2.
flesh, though glorified, cannot make us see God better, nor clearer, than the soul alone hath done, all the time, from our death, to our resurrection. But, as an indulgent father, or as a tender mother, when they go to see the king in any solemnity, or any other thing of observation, and curiosity, delights to carry their child, which is flesh of their flesh, and bone of their bone, with them, and though the child cannot comprehend it as well as they, they are as glad that the child sees it, as that they see it themselves; such a gladness shall my soul have, that this flesh, (which she will no longer call her prison, nor her tempter, but her friend, her companion, her wife) that this flesh, that is, I, in the reunion, and redintegration of both parts, shall see God; for then one principal clause in her rejoicing, and acclamation, shall be, that this flesh is her flesh; In carne mea, in my flesh I shall see God.
It was the flesh of every wanton object here, that would allure it in the petulancy of mine eye. It was the flesh of every satirical libeller, and defamer, and calumniator of other men, that would call upon it, and tickle mine ear with aspersions and slanders of persons in authority. And in the grave, it is the flesh of the worm; the possession it transferred to him. But, in heaven, it is Caro mea, my flesh, my soul's flesh, my Saviour's flesh. As my meat is assimilated to my flesh, and made one flesh with it; as my soul is assimilated to my God, and made partaker of the divine natureTM, and Idem spiritus, the same spirit with it56; so, there my flesh shall be assimilated to the flesh of my Saviour, and made the same flesh with him too. Verbum caro factum, ut caro resurgeret'1; therefore the word was made flesh, therefore God was made man, that that union might exalt the flesh of man to the right hand of God. That is spoken of the flesh of Christ; and then to facilitate the passage for us, Reformat ad immortalitateni suam participes sui5S; those who are worthy receivers of his flesh here, are the same flesh with him; and, God shall quicken your mortal bodies, by his spirit that dwelleth in yous°. But this is not in consummation, in full accomplishment, till this resurrection, when it shall be caro mea, my flesh, so, as that
55 2 Peter i. 4. 56 1 Cor. vi. 17. 57 Athanasius.
58 Cyril. 59 Rom. viii. 11.
nothing can draw it from the allegiance of my God; and caro mea, my flesh, so, as that nothing can divest me of it. Here a bullet will ask a man, where's your arm; and a wolf will ask a woman, where's your breast. A sentence in the Star-chamber will ask him, where's your ear, and a month's close prison will ask him, where's your flesh? A fever will ask him, where's your red, and a morphew will ask him, where's your white? But when after all this, when after my skin worms shall destroy my body, I shall see God, I shall see him in my flesh, which shall be mine as inseparably, (in the effect, though not in the manner) as the hypostatical union of God, and man, in Christ, makes our nature and the Godhead one person in him. My flesh shall no more be none of mine, than Christ shall not be man, as well as God.