Obrazy na stronie

be so,

too good for the frequent text of a Pope,) Diligite justitiam qui judicatis terram. Still, o God, give thy judgment to the king, and thy justice to the king's son.

And, if any shall offer wrong to the Lord's Anointed, in his person, in his seed, the work of that injustice shall be war; yea, Bellum Domini, The Lord's War; 1 Sam, xxv. 28. Then let him, who is both the Lord of Hosts, and the God of Peace, rise up mightily for his Anointed, the true king of peace: that he, who hath graciously said all this while, Da pacem, Domine, " Give peace in our time, O Lord;” may superscribe at the last his just trophies, with, Blessed be the Lord, which teacheth my hands to mar, and my fingers to fight.

III. Ye have heard of the Spiritual Justice and Peace: ye have heard of the Civil: may it please you, to mix both of them together. My text alone doeth it; if you do but, with our most accurate Translation, read Righteousness for Justice. So shall you see the spiritual disposition of Righteousuess produce the civil effect of Peace. What is righteousness, but the sincere uprightness of the heart to God in all our ways? He is perfect with God, that would

What need I tell you, that this is the way to true inward peace, mil conscire; “ Not to be guilty of ill.” A clear heart will be a quiet one. There is no feast to a good conscience; this is meat, music, welcome.

It seems harder, that true spiritual honesty should procure even outward peace. Hear wise Solomon: By the blessing of the upright, the city is exalted ; Prov. xi. 11: When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him ; Prov. xvi. 7: Righteousness eralteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people; Prov. xiv. 24. It follows then, as a just corollary, That the honestest and conscianablest man is the best subject, He may perhaps be plain, perhaps poor, perhaps weak; but the state is more behalden to his integrity, than to the ablest purse, than to the strongest arm; whereas the graceless and vicious person, let him be never so plausible a talker, never so careful an officer, never so valiant a leader, never so officious a courtier, never so deep in subsidies, never so forward in actions, is no other than an enemy to the state, which he professes to adore,

Let no philosopher tell me of, Malra vir bonus civis; “An ill man a good subject,” I say, from better authority, that a lewd man can no more be a good subject, than an ill subject can be a good man. Hear this, then, wheresoever ye are, ye secret Oppressors, ye profane Scoffers, ye foul mouthed Swearers, ye close Adulterers, ye kind Drunkards, and whoever come within this black list of wickedness: how can ye be loyal, while you lodge traitors in your bosoms? protest what ye will; your sins break the peace, and conspire against the sacred crown and dignity of your Sovereign. What care we,

draw your sword, and vow your blood, and drink your healths to your Governors, when, in

that you

the mean while, yoų provoke God to anger, and set quarrels betwixt your Country and Heaven,

That I may wind up this clew; it were folly to commend to you, the worth of peace. We know that the excellency of Princes is expressed by “Serenity,” What good hath the earth, which God doth not couch under the name of peace? Blessed be God, and his Anointed, we have long and comfortably tasted the sweetness of this blessing. The Lilies and Lions of our Solomon have been justly worded with Beati pacifici.

Would we have this happiness perpetuated to us; to posterity? Oh, let prince and people meet in the ambition to be Gens justa, A righteous nation : righteous every way,

First, let God have his own; his own days, his own services, his fear, his love, his all. Let religion lead all our projects, not follow them. Let our lives be led in a conscionable obedience to all the laws of our Maker. Far be all blasphemies, curses, and ob. scenities from our tongues; all outrages and violences from our hands; all presumptuous and rebellious thoughts from our hearts, Let our hearts, and hands, tongues, lives, bodies and souls, be sincerely devoted to him,

Then, for men: Let us give Cæsar his own: tribute, fear, subjection, loyalty; and, if he need, our lives. Let the Nobility have honour, obeisance, observation, Let the Clergy have their dues, and our reverence. Let the Commons have truth, love, fidelity in all their transactions. Let there be Trutina juste, pondera justa, Just balances, just weights ; Lev, xix. 36. Let there be no grinding of faces, no trampling on the poor (Amos v. 11.), no swallowing of widows' houses, no force, no fraud, no perjury, no perfidiousness,

Finally, for ourselves: Let every man possess his vessel in holiness and honour; framing himself" to all Christian and Heavenly temper, in all wisdom, sobriety, chastity, meekness, constancy, mo, deration, patience, and sweet contentation,

So shall the work of our Righteousness be Peace of Heart, Peace of State; private and public peace; peace with ourselves, peace with the world, peace with God; temporal peace here, eternal peace and glory above: unto the fruition whereof, he, who hath ordained us, mercifully bring us, for the sake of him, who is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ the Righteous,





PSALM cvii. 34.

[He turneth) a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of

them that dwell therein.

Ye have here in my text, as in much of the world, a woeful change; wrought by a powerful author, and upon a just merit: the change of a fruitful land into barrenness; the author, God, the almighty arbiter of the world, He turneth; the merit, the wickedness of the inhabitants, These three then must be the measure of my tongue and

your ears; the CHANGE, the AUTHOR, the MERIT. I, In the CHANGE


shall see the act and the SUBJECT. 1. For the act: All these earthly things have their turns: the whole world is the proper region of mutability,

I know not whether I should exempt heaven itself, Even there, I find a change, of Motion, of Face, of Quality:

Motion: whether by consistence, or retrogradation ; Sun, stand thou still in Gibeon ; and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon ; Jos. X. 12:

there was a change, in not moving: and, for retrogradation, The shadow went back ten degrees in the dial of Ahaz; Isaiah xxxviii, 8.

A change of Face: The sun was darkened; Luke xxiii. 45; when the Sun of Righteousness was eclipsed, and shall be so again ere he break forth in full glory: Then shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall lose her light; the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken; Matth. xxiv, 29.

A change of Quality : what need I fear to ascribe that to this glorious frame, when the Spirit of God can tell us, They shall wax old as a garment; as a vesture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed?

In the mean time, our eyes can tell us, that the second of these greater lights, the Moon, is the very emblem of mutability; never looking upon us twice with the same face: there is no month passeth over us, wherein she is not both new and old; to the mak,

power which

ing up of a just and common riddle, that not exceeding the age of twenty-eight days, she is yet no less old than the world; ever. filling and waning, and, like the true image of all mutability, never so blotted as in her greatest brightness.

Yea, what need we doubt to ascribe some change to these material heavens, when, if we look to the inside of them, we shall find, that there hath been the greatest change in the very Angels? and, for their present condition, that though the essence of the glorious spirits there be immutable from within, having nothing in them that may work'their dissolution or change, yet that we cannot say they are immutable from without; since, if that

gave them being should withdraw his hand, they could not be.

It is the perfection of God only, to be absolutely inalterable; and, as to work freely, so to be necessarily: so as our subtle Bradwardine maintains, that ens necessarium is the first attribute of God, that can fall under our notion. And, even of this most Glorious, Infinite, and only Perfect and Absolute Being, we may safely, though in all awful reverence say, with Gregory, Mutat sententiam, non mutat consilium; " He changeth his threatened doom, but never his decree.” But, how high are we flawn, ere we are aware! Methinks I hear the angel speak to me, as to Esdras, Thy heart hath gone too far in this world; and thinkest thou to comprehend the ways of the Most High?

Cast we our eyes rather down to the lower orbs of elementary mixture: here is nothing to be seen, but in a perpetual gyre of mutation. The elements, that are partners in quality, interchange with each other in substance. The mixed bodies can no more stand still, than the heaven, whereby they are governed: for, as the sun never holds one minute in one place, never day walks the same round, no more do these inferior bodies continue one moment in the same estate, but ever altering; either growing up to their axuri', the “ vertical point" of their being, or declining towards their corruption: insomuch as physicians observe, that, every seven years, this body of ours is quite another from itself; and in a continual renewing of supplies, or degrees of decays.

And, if you look upon the greater bodies, the sea and the earth, ye shall see, that the sea is ever ebbing and flowing, and will want waves, ere it want motion: the earth, which of all visible things þath the style of constancy, terra quæ nunquam movebitur, yet sometimes feels the motion of trepidation in her vast body; The earth shook and trembled, and the foundations of the hills moved, and were shaken; Psalm xviii. 7; and always, in the surface of it, feels the motion of sensible mutation: the domestics whereof, as all vegetative and some sensitive creatures; and the lords thereof, rațional creatures; are ever as moving as the earth is still: ever breeding, born, growing, declining, dying. “And, if ye match these two together, ye shall see how the sea and the earth win of eachi other: 'it is full tide now, where there was a goodly crop; and where the ox grazed, there the whale swims. How have we seen steepies to stand in those liquid cemeteries, instead of masts; and, again, the plough to go, where the ship lately sailed!

And, as it is thus in the frame of Nature, so of Policy too. Those great and famous Monarchies of the world, whatever precious metal their head, shoulders, waist, have been of; yet their feet have been of clay, and are gone into dust. Civility, arts, sovereignty, have, in an imitation of the sun's course, gone from East to West; and will no where be fixed, till they be overtaken with the last revolution.

In vain therefore shall we look for constancy upon earth. Look how possible it is, for a man that stands, fortune-like, upon a round rolling stone in a smooth floor, ta be steady in his posture; so possible it is, for us to be settled in an unchangeable condition, while we are upon this sphere of variableness. Can we think, that the world shall move, and we stand still? Were the sun the centre of motion, and the earth whirled about in this vast circumference, could we make account of rest? and, if, in our own particular, we could either stay our foot or shift it at pleasure, notwithstanding that insensible rapture, as the ant may creep the contrary way to the violent circumvolution of the wheel; yet we must necessarily be swayed with that universal swing of mutability, wherewith all creatures are carried forcibly about. The most lasting kingdoms, therefore, have had their periods; and, of the most settled government, God's hand-writing upon the wall goes so far as to say, Mene, mene; Thy days are numbered.

Oh the tickleness of this earthly glory and prosperity! Oh the glassy splendor of all human greatness; cracked with a touch, with å fall broken! who would set his heart upon these unstable felicities? Do ye not smile at the child, which, when he hath raised a large bubble out of his walnut-shell, joys in that airy globe, and wonders at the goodly colours he sees in it? which, while he is shewing his own face and his play-fellows' in that slight reflection, vanishes away, and leaves nothing but a little frothy, spittle behind it? so ridiculous are we, while we doat upon these fugitive contentments. The Captive Prince in the Story noted well, when he looked back upon the chariot of his proud victor, that still one spoke of the wheel went down as another rose.

Think of the world as it is, Oye Great Ones: it turns round; and so do all things in it. Great Saladin caused it to be proclaimed, That he had nothing left him but his winding-sheet. The famous General, that thrice rescued Rome, came to Date obolum Belisario; "One single halfpenny to Belisarius.”. Take your turns, then, for these earthly pre-eminences; but look at them still as perishing: and, if you aim at rest, look for it above all these whirling orbs of the visible heavens. Say of that empyreal heaven, as God said of the Holy of Holies, which was the figure of it, Hic requies mea in æternum; Here shall be my rest for ever. “ There," as Bernard well, “is the true day that never sets;" yea, there is the perpetual high-noon of that day, which admits no shadow. Oh, then, over

« PoprzedniaDalej »