« PoprzedniaDalej »
come, he pointed at his coming; ours must needs be more glorious, because we see and point at him now come, and fully exhibited.
We will not contest with the Levitical Priesthood, for cost of clothes, for price of vessels: let the Church of Rome emulate this pomp; which cares not if she have golden vessels, though she have leaden priests; we envy it not: but, for inward graces, for learning, knowledge, power of teaching, there is no less difference, than betwixt the pots of the temple, and bowls of the altar. God says of them, in way of rejection, Non est mihi voluptas in vobis; Mal. i. 10. Hence the priesthood of the New Law is Levi refined; Mal. iii. 3. Et purgabit filios Levi; which Jerome not unlikely interprets of the Ministry of the Gospel: they are the sons of Levi, which signify Copulation; quia homines cum Deo copulant; but of Levi purged, and purged as gold: as much difference between them, as betwixt gold in the ore, and in the wedge. Hence is double honour challenged to the Evangelical Ministry, yea, and given. Te received me, saith St. Paul, as an angel of God, yea as Christ Jesus; Gal. iv. 14. Hence the angel, of himself to John, I am thy fellow-servant. Woe be to them therefore, which spit in the faces of those, whom God hath honoured! It is God's second charge, this of his Prophets: His first is, Touch not mine Anointed; his second, Hurt not my Prophets. And, if one disgraceful word, spoken but by rude children to a Prophet of the Old Testament, cost so many throats; God be merciful to those dangerous and deadly affronts, that have been and are daily offered to the Prophets of the New!
What can we say, but with the woman of Tekoah, Serva, ó rex! We bless God, that we may bemoan ourselves to the tender and indulgent ears of a gracious sovereign, sensible of these spiritual wrongs; who yet, we know, may well answer us with Jacob's
question, An loco Dei ego sum? It grieves me to think and say of ourselves, that, for a great part of this, Perditio tua er te,
Woe to those corrupted sons of Eli, which, through their insufficiency and unconscionableness, have poured contempt on their own faces! That proud fugitive Campian could say, Ministris illorum nihil vilius, &c. as falsely as spitefully. Let heaven and earth witness, whether any nation in the world can afford so learned, so glorious a Clergy. But yet, among so many Pots of the Temple, it is no marvel, if some be dry for want of liquor; others, rusty for want of use; others, full of liquor without meat; others, so full of meat that they want liquor, Let the Lord's Anointed, whose example and encouragements have raised even this divine learning to this excellent perfection, by his gracious countenance dispel contempt from the professors of it, and by his effectual endeavours remove the causes of this contempt.
But as every Christian under the Gospel is a Priest and Prophet, let the people be these pots; or the offerings of the people. That shall be, in respect of the Frequence or Fragrance, according to the double acception of that particle of comparison, pana, as the bowls; for number or quality.
: 1. For the Frequence. A few seething pots served the sacrifice; but bowls they used many : what for the use of the altar of incense, what for the receiving of the blood of the sacrifice, Solomon made a hundred of gold. Now then, saith God, in the days of the Gospel, there shall be such store of oblations to God, that the number of the pots shall equalize the number of the bowls of the altar: not unlike, because of the following words; Every pot in Jerusalem shall be fain to be employed to the sacrifices.
This frequence then, is either of the Officers, or Offerings; Persons, or Acts.
For the Persons; they were few, in comparison, under the Law. All Palestine, which comprehends all their officers, except some few proselytes, was but, as Jerome which was a lieger there reckons it, 160 miles long from Dan to Beersheba, and 46 miles broad from Joppa to Bethlehem. Now the partition wall is broken down, all nations under heaven yield frank offerers to the altar of God. There was no offering then, but at Jerusalem: now, Jerusalem is every where. So much therefore as the world is wider than Judea, so much as Christendom is larger than the walls of the Temple; so many more Officers hath the Gospel than the Law. And, it were well, if there were as many, as they seem. If but as many as all the world over offer their presence to God's service on God's day (leave those that spend it in the stews and taverns, to him whom they serve) were true offerers, how rich would the altar be, and the temple how glorious! But, alas, if God will be served with mouths full of oaths, curses, bitterness, with heads full of wine, with eyes full of lust, with hands full of blood, with backs full of pride, with paunches full of gluttony, with souls and lives full of horrible sins; he may have offerers as many as men: else, as Isaiah, relicta est in urbe solitudo; a few pots will hold our sacrifices: and what is this, but, through our wilful disobedience, to cross him, which hath said, that in this day the pots of the temple shall be as the bowls of the altar.
The Act or commodity is Offerings; whether Outward, or Ine ward.
The Outward fulfilled in those large endowments of the Church, by our devout and bountiful predecessors. What liberal revenues, rách maintenances, were then put into, mort-main, the dead-hand of the Church! Laws were fain to restrain the bounty of those contributions, the grounds whereof I examine not, instead of Moses's proclamation, Nequis facito deinceps opus ad oblationem Sanctuarii, satis enim est, adeoque superest; Exod. xxxvi. 6. Then mons Doc mini, nions pinguis: but now, the Church may cry with the prophet, My leanness, my leanness. For shame, why should sacrilege crowd in with religion? why should our better knowledge find us less conscionable? O injurious zeal of those men, which think the Church cannot be holy enough, unless she beg! It hath been said of old, That religion Øred wealth, and the daughter eat up the mother: I know not, if the daughter devoured the mother; I am sure these men would devour bath daughter and mother; men of vast gorges, and insatiable. Our Saviour cried out against the Scribes and Pharisees, yet they devoured but widows' houses, poor low cottages: but these gulphs of men, whole Churches; and yet the sepulchres of their throats are open for more. I can tell them of a mouth that is wider than theirs, and that is the prophet's Os Inferni: Therefore Hell hath enlarged itself, and hath opened his mouth, without measure; and their glory, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth in it, shall descend into it; Isaiah v. 14. In the mean time, Oh, that our Sampson would pull this honey of the Church out of the jaws of these lions; or, if the cunning conveyances of sacrilege have made that impossible, since it lies not now entire in the combs, but is let down and digested by these raveners, let him whose glory it is, not to be Pater Patriæ only, but Pater Ecclesie, provide that those few pots we have, may still seeth; and, that if nothing will be added, nothing can be recovered, yet pothing may be purloined from the altars of God.
2. But these outward offerings were but the types of the Inward, What cares God for the blood or Aesh of bullocks, rams, goats ? Non delectaris sacrificio ut dem, holocaustum non vis, saith David: what then? The sacrifice of God is a contrite spirit, a broken heart, Our humiliation is sacrificium pænitentiæ ; our new obedience is sacrificium justitiæ ; our thankful commemorations are sacrificium laudis. These are the oblations, which, as they shall be frequent under the Gospel, so most Fragrant unto God; and this is that last, and perhaps most proper sense, wherein the flesh-pots of the sacrifices eruni sicut aromata, shall be as perfumes in the bowls of incense. A lively sacrifice is well matched with holy and acceptable. When Noah sacrificed to God after the Deluge, it is said God smelt & savour of reșt; alluding to his name: but now, the sacrifices we offer are ócuri euwdías, a savour of sweetness; so that, the same savour that Christ's oblation had; Eph. v. 2. the same have our offerings; Phil, iv, 18. God's children, out of the conscience of their own weaknesses, are easily discouraged in the valuation of their own obedience: as, therefore, they can say of their persons, . with Mephibosheth, What is thy servant ? so of their services, as Philip said of the five loaves and two fishes, ámà THŪTA TÍ ÉSiv, Alas, what are these? But they and their offerings cannot be so base to themselves, as they are precious to God. : There is no sense, that gives so lively a refreshing to the spirits,
as that of smelling: no smell can yield so true and feeling delight to the sense, as the offerings of our penitence, obedience, praise, send into the nostrils of the Almighty. Hence, as the Church can say of Christ, He is as a bundle of myrrh bying between her. þreasts; so he again of her in that heavenly Epithalamion, Thy plants are as an orchard of pomegranates, with sweet fruits, as cypress, spikenard, saffron, calamus, and cinnamon, with all the trees of in çense, myrrh, and aloes, with all the chief spices; Cant. iv. 13, 14. Let this, therefore, comfort us against our imperfections: If we be pots of the Lord's house, those faint streams, that we send up,
shall be as sweet, as the best incense of the bowls of the altar; and God
says to us, as to Cornelius, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up ; Ačts x. 4. And how are they come up? Like pillars of smoke per. fumed with myrrh and incense, and with all the chief spices; Cant, iii. 6. I say, if we be pots of the Lord's house; for if we be Egyptian Aesh-pots, that reek of the strong-smelling onions and garlick of our own corruptions; if we be Ezekiel's bloody pots, whose scum or (as the Vulgate) whose rust is in them, Ezek. xxiv. 6; if we boil with lust, if with revenge, if with ambition; I can say no other of us, than the sons of the prophets said of theirs, Mors in olla, Death is in the pot; a double death, of body and soul. It is a true speech of Origen, Peccatum est putidi odoris : no carrion is so noisome.
Alas, what savours are sent up to God from those, that would seem not only pots of the temple, but bowls of the altar! How unsavoury is the pride, profaneness, riotousness, oppression, beast, liness of our times! It were happy if the Court were free: and, as it receives more sweet influences of favour, than all other places; so, that it returned back more fragrant obedience: that, as it is said of Mary's spikenard, wherewith she anointed Christ, that the whole house was filled with the savour of the ointment ; John xii. 3; so the whole world might be full of the pleasant perfumes of virtuous example, that might arise from hence. But, alas, the painted faces, and mannishness, and monstrous disguisedness, of the one sex; 'the factious hollowness, prodigal garishuess, wanton pampering, excess in our respect to ourselves,
defects in our respects to God, in the other; argue too well, that too many of us savour more like the golden sockets of the holy liglıts, than the bowls of the altar.
God cannot abide these ill scents. The five cities of the plains sent up such poisonous vapours to God, that he sent them down brimstone again with their fire. That, which hell is described by, is sent down from heaven; because that such hellish exhalations ascend from them, to heaven. How should the sins of Sodom not expect the judgments of Sodom! Well might the Jews fear, because they would not be serviceable caldrons unto God, that there. fore they should be the flesh, and their city the caldron; Ezek. xi. 3. Well may we fear it, who have had so sensible proofs, as of the favours, so of the judgments of God: and happy shall it be for us, if we can so fear, that our fear may prevent evils. Let these pots of ours therefore send up sweet fumes of contrition, righteousness, thanksgiving, into the nostrils of God; and the smoke of his displeasure, wherewith coals of eternal fire are kindled against his enemies, shall not come forth of his nostrils against us. He shall smell a savour of rest from us; we a savour of peace and life from him: which God for his mercy's sake, and for his Son Christ's sake, vouchsafe to grant us: To whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, one glorious God, be given all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
A FAREWELL SERMON;
PREACHED TO THE FAMILY OF PRINCE HENRY, UPON THE DAY OF
THEIR DISSOLUTION AT ST. JAMES'S, ON NEW YEAR'S-DAY, 1613,
REV. xxi. 3, 4, And I heard a great roice from heaven, saying, Behold the Taber
nacle of God is with men, and he will dieell with them, and they
shall be his people, and God himself shall be their God with them. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall
be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the first things are passed. And he, that sat
upon the throne, said; Behold, I make all things new, It is no wonder, if this place, as it is, for the present, the wellhead of sorrow to all Christendom, have sent forth abundance of waters of tears. And, perhaps, you may expect, that, as the trumpets of our late heavy funeral-solemnity sounded basest and dolefulest, at the last; so my speech, being the last public breath of this sad dissolving Family, should be most passionately sorrowful, And surely I could easily obtain of myself, out of the bitterness of my soul, to spend myself in lamentations; and to break up this assembly, in the violent expressions of that grief, wherewith our hearts are already broken: but I well consider, that we shall carry sorrow enough home with us, in my silence; and that it is both more hard and more necessary for us, to be led forth to the waters of comfort. And, because our occasions of grief are such, as no earthly tongue can relieve us, nor no earthly object, a voice from heaven shall do it; and a voice leading us from earth to heaven, And I heard a voice from heaven, &c.
This day is a day of note for three famous periods. First, it is the day of the dissipation of this Royal Family: then, the last day of our public and joint mourning: lastly, the day of the alteration and renewing of our state, and course of life, with the new-year, All these meet in this Text with their cordials and divine remedies; our dissipation and dissolution in these words, Behold the Tabernacle of God is with inen; our mourning, God shall wipe away all tears, &c.; our change of estate, Behold, I will make all things new'. I must crave leave to glide through all of these with much speed;