Obrazy na stronie

and that sometimes the Israelites did swear by the queen of Heaven, it was by the ill example and desires to comply with the neighbour nations, whose daughters they sometimes married, or whose arms they feared, or whose friendship they desired, or with whom they did negotiate. It is indifferent to us to love our fathers and to love strangers, according as we are determined by custom or education. Nay, for so much of it as is natural and original, we are more inclined tolove them than to disrepute them; and if we disobey them, it is when any injunction of theirs comes cross to our natural desires and purposes. But if, from our infancy, we be told concerning a stranger, that he is our father, we frame our affections to nature, and our nature to custom and education, and are as apt to love him who is not, and yet is said to be, as him, who is said not to be, and yet indeed is, our natural father.

7. And in sensual things, if God had commanded polygamy or promiscuous concubinate, or unlimited eatingg and drinkings, it is not to be supposed but that we should have been ready enough to have obeyed God in all such impositions: and the sons of Israel never murmured, when God bade them borrow jewels and ear-rings, and spoil the Egyptians. But because God restrained these desires, our duties are the harder, because they are fetters to our liberty, and contradictions to those natural inclinations, which also are made more active by evil custom and unhandsome educations. From which premises we shall observe, in order to practice, that sin creeps upon us in our education so tacitly and undiscernibly", that we mistake the cause of it, and yet so

rëvalently and effectually, that we judge it to be our very nature, and charge it upon Adam, to lessen the imputation upon us, or to increase the license or the confidence, when every one of us is the Adam, the “ man of sin," and the parent of our own impurities. For it is notorious, that our own iniquities do so discompose our naturals, and evil customs and examples do so encourage impiety, and the law of God

d Non enim nos tarditatis natura damnavit, sed ultrà nobis quod oportebat indulsimus : ità non tam ingenio nos illi superârunt quàm proposito.Quintil.

Ξενοκράτης φησίν, ευδαίμονα ειναι τον την ψυχήν, έχοντα σπουδαίαν, ταύτην γαρ εκάστα feveo daipova.-- Arist. ii. Top. c. 3.

“Ηράκλειτος έφη, ώς ήθος ανθρώπω δαίμων. - Stob. Serm, 250.

enjoins such virtues, which do violence to nature, that our proclivity to sin is occasioned by the accident, and is caused by ourselves ; whatever mischief Adam did to us, we do more to ourselves. We are taught to be revengeful in our cradles, and are taught to strike our neighbour, as a means to still our frowardness, and to satisfy our wranglings. Our nurses teach us to know the greatness of our birth, or the riches of our inheritance; or they learn us to be proud, or to be impatient, before they learn us to know God, or to say our prayers. And then, because the use of reason comes at no definite time, but insensibly and divisibly, we are permitted such acts with impunity too long; deferring to repute them to be sins, till the habit is grown strong, natural, and masculine. And because from the infancy it began in inclinations, and tender overtures, and slighter actions, Adam is laid in the fault, and original sin did all: and this clearly we therefore confess', that our faults may seem the less, and the misery be pretended natural, that it may be thought to be irremediable, and therefore we not engaged to endeavour a cure; so that the confession of our original sin is no imitation of Christ's humility in suffering circumcision, but too often an act of pride, carelessness, ignorance, and security.

8. At the circumcision, his parents imposed the holy name told to the Virgin by the angel, “ his name was called Jesus;" a name above every name. For, in old times, God was known by names of power, of nature, of majesty. But his name of mercy was reserved till now, when God did purpose

out the whole treasure of his mercy by the mediation and ministry of his holy Son. And because God gave to the holy Babe the name, in which the treasures of mercy were deposited, and exalted “ this name above all names," we are taught that the purpose of his counsel was, to exalt and magnify his mercy above all his other works ; he being delighted with this excellent demonstration of it, in the mission, and manifestation, and crucifixion, of his Son; he hath changed the ineffable name into a name utterable by man, and desirable by all the world; the majesty is all arrayed in robes of mercy, the tetragrammatons, or adorable mystery of the patriarchs, is made fit for pronunciation and expression, when it becometh the name of the Lord's Christ. And if Jehovah be full of majesty and terror, the name Jesus is full of sweetness and mercy. It is God clothed with circumstances of facility, and opportunities of approximation. The great and highest name of God could not be pronounced truly, till it came to be finished with a guttural, that made up the name given by this angel to the holy Child ; nor God received or entertained by men, till he was made human and sensible, by the adoption of a sensitive nature, like vowels pronunciable by the intertexture of a consonant. Thus was his person made tangible, and his name utterable, and his mercy brought home to our necessities, and the mystery made explicate, at the circumcision of this holy Babe.


Denique teipsum
Concute, num qua tibi vitiorum ivseverit olim
Natura, aut etiam consuetudo mala : namque

Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris.Horat. 1. s. iii. 37. Antè palatum eorum quàin os instituimus. Gaudemus, si quid licentiùs dixerint. Verba ne Alexandrinis quidem permittenda deliciis risu et osculo excipimus. Fit ex his consuetudo, deinde natura. Discunt hæc miseri, antequam sciunt vitia esse.-

--Quintil, lib. i. c. 2. Tanta est corruptela malæ consuetudinis, ut ab ea tanquam igniculi extinguantur à natura dati, exorianturque et confirmentur contraria vitia.Cicero, 3. T. Q. 2.

* Ειώθασι γάρ οι πλείστοι των ανθρώπων, ουχ όυτως επαινείν και τιμάν τους εκ των πατέρων των ευδοκιμουντων γεγονότας, ως τους εκ των δυσκόλων και χαλεπών, ήνπερ φαίνωνTar undèy ő0101 TOTS JoveūOWY ÖNTÉS. - Isocrates Ep. ad Timoth. p. 746. ed. Lange.

9. But now God's mercy was at full sea, now was the time when God made no reserves to the effusion of his

mercy. For to the patriarchs, and persons of eminent sanctity and employment in the elder ages of the world, God, according to the degrees of his manifestation or present purpose, would give them one letter of this ineffable name. For the reward, that Abraham had in the change of his name, was, that he had the honour done him to have one of the letters of Jehovah put into it; and so had Joshua, when he was a type of Christ, and the prince of the Israelitish armies : and when God took away one of these letters, it was a curse. But

& Nomen enim Jesn Hebraicè prolatum nihil aliud est nisi Tergayzáppator vocatum per Schin. Videat, cui animus est, multa de mysterio hujus nominis apud Galatinum. Ad eundem sensum fuit vaticinium Sibyllæ :

Δή τότε γάρ μεγάλοιo Θεού τούς ανθρώποισιν
“Ηξει σαρκοφόρος, θνητούς ομοιόυμενος εν γή,

Τέσσαρα φωνήεντα φέρων, το δ' άφωνον εν αυτώ.
h Isa. xxi. 11. in casu Idumeæ ; Duma vocatur, dempto H.

now he communicated all the whole name to this holy Child, and put a letter more to it, to signify that he was the glory of God, “the express image of his Father's person,” God eternal; and then manifested to the world in his humanity, that all the intelligent world, who expected beatitude, and had treasured all their hopes in the ineffable name of God, might find them all, with ample returns, in this name of Jesus, which God “ hath exalted above every name,

even above that, by which God, in the Old Testament, did represent the greatest awfulness of his majesty. This miraculous name is above all the powers of magical enchantments, the nightly rites of sorcerers, the secrets of Memphis, the drugs of Thessaly, the silent and mysterious murmurs of the wise Chaldees, and the spells of Zoroastres. This is the name, at which the devils did tremble, and pay their enforced and involuntary adorations, by confessing the Divinity, and quitting their possessions and usurped habitations. If our prayers be made in this name, God opens the windows of heaven, and rains down benediction : at the mention of this name, the blessed apostles, and Hermione, the daughter of St. Philip, and Philotheus, the son of Theophila, and St. Hilarion, and St. Paul the Eremite, and innumerable other lights, who followed hard after the Sun of Righteousness, wrought great and prodigious miracles : “ Signs and wonders and healings were done by the name of the holy Child Jesus.” This is the name, which we should engrave in our hearts, and write upon our foreheads, and pronounce with our most harmonious accents, and rest our faith upon, and place our hopes in, and love, with the overflowings of charity, and joy, and adoration. And as the revelation of this name satisfied the hopes of all the world, so it must determine our worshippings, and the addresses of our exterior and interior religion; it being that name, whereby God and God's mercies are made presential to us, and proportionate objects of our religion and affections.


Most holy and ever-blessed Jesu, who art infinite in essence,

glorious in mercy, mysterious in thy communications, affable and presential in the descents of thy humanity ; I

adore thy glorious name, whereby thou hast shut up the abysses, and opened the gates of heaven, restraining the power of hell, and discovering and communicating the treasures of thy Father's mercies. O Jesu, bé thou a Jesus unto me, and save me from the precipices and ruins of sin, from the expresses of thy Father's wrath, from the miseries and insufferable torments of accursed spirits, by the power of thy majesty, by the sweetnesses of thy mercy, and sacred influences and miraculous glories of thy name. I adore and worship thee in thy excellent obedience and humility, who hast submitted thy innocent and spotless flesh to the bloody covenant of circumcision. Teach me to practise so blessed and holy a precedent, that I may be humble, and obedient to thy sacred laws, severe and regular in my religion, mortified in my body and spirit, of circumcised heart and tongue ; that what thou didst represent in symbol and mystery, I may really express in the exhibition of an exemplar, pious, and mortified life, cutting off all excrescences of my spirit, and whatsoever may minister to the flesh, or any of its ungodly desires ; that now thy holy name is called upon me, I may do no dishonour to the name, nor scandal to the institution, but may do thee honour and worship, and adorations of a pure religion, O most holy and ever-blessed Jesu. Amen.


Of the Virtue of Obedience.

1. THERE are certain excellencies, either of habit or consideration, which spiritual persons use to call general ways ; being a dispersed influence into all the parts of good life, either directing the single actions to the right end, or managing them with right instruments, and adding special excellencies and formalities to them, or morally inviting to the repetition of them. But they are like the general medicaments in physic, or the prime instruments in mathematical disciplines : such as are the consideration of the Divine presence, the example of Jesus, right intention; and such also

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