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saith Eliphaz, in Job v. 11. The Lord lifteth up the meck, seith David, out of good proof; and needs must he rise, whom God lifteth.
What should we need any other precedent of this Virtue, or other example of this Reward, than our Blessed Saviour himself? all other are worthy of forgetfulness in comparison: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but maile himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a serrant, &c. ard being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
O God, what an incomprehensible Dejection was here! that the living God should descend from the highest glory of heaven, and put upon him the rags of our Humanity; and take on him, not the man only, but the servant, yea the malefactor: abasing himself to our infirmities, to our indignities; to be reviled, spat upon, scourged, wounded, crucified: yea, all these are easy tasks to that which follows; to be made a mark of his Father's wrath in our stead; so as, in the bitterness of his soul, he is forced to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? What heart of man, yea what apprehension of angels, can be capable of fathoming the depth of this Humiliation ?
Answerable to thy dejection, O Saviour, was thine Exaltation: as the conduit-water rises at least as high as it falls. Now is thy name above every name; that at the name of JESUS every knee should box, of things in heaven, in earth, under the earth. Neither meanest thou to be our Saviour only, but our Pattern too. I do not hear thee say, “ Learn of me, for I am Almighty, I am Omniscient;” but, Learn of me that I am meek.
If we can go down the steps of thine Humiliation, we shall rise up the stairs of thy Glory. Why do we not then say, I will be yet more vile for the Lord? Oh cast down your crowns, with the twenty-four Eiders (poc. iv. 10.) before the throne of God: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up; James iv. 10.
Indeed there is none of us, but hath just cause to be humbled; whether we consider the wretchedness of our nature, or of our estate. What is the best flesh and blood, but a pack of dust, made up together into a stirring heap; which, in the dissolution, moulders to dust again?
Il'hen I consider the heavens, and see the sun, the moon, and the stars as they stand in their order; Lord, what is man, that thou regardest hiin? what a worm! what an ant! what a nothing! who, besides his homeliness, is still falling asunder: for, even of the greatest and best composed, is that of the Psalm verified, Universa vanitas omnis horno, Every man is all vanity,
Alas, then, what is it we should be proud of?
Is it Wealth? What is the richest metal, but red and white earth? and that, whereof too we may say, as the Sons of the Prophets of their hatchet, Alas, Master, it was but lent. What speak I of this, when our very breath is not our own! The best praise of coin is, that it is current; it runs from us; yea, it is volatile, as
wise Solomou, Riches have wings: and, if they leave not us, we must them. We brought nothing hither, and, according to the proclamation of that great King, we must carry nothing with us, but our winding-sheet; yea, rather, that must carry us.
Is it our Land? How long is that ours? That shall be fixed, when we are gone; and shall change, as it hath done, many masters. But, withal, where is it? I remember what is reported of Socrates and Alcibiades. Ælian tells the story. Socrates saw Alcibiades proud of his spacious fields and wide inheritance. He calls for a map; looks for Greece; and, finding it, asks Alcibiades where his lands lay: when he answered they were not laid forth in the map. “Why,” said Socrates, “ art thou proud of that, which is no part of the earth?” What a poor spot, is the dominion of the greatest king? but what a nothing, is the possession of a subject ? a small parcel of a shire, not worthy the name of a chorographer. And had we, with Licinius, as much as a kite could fly over, yea, if all the whole Globe were ours, six or seven foot will serve us at the last.
Is it our Honour? Alas, that is none of ours: for Honour is in him that gives it, not in him that receives it. And, if the plebeians will be stubborn, or uncivil and respectless, where is Honour? And, when we have it, what a poor puff is this! how windy, how unsatisfying! Insomuch as the great emperor could say, “ I have been all things, and am never the better.” Have ye
Great Ones all the incurvations of the knee, the kisses of the hand, the styles of honour, yea the flatteries of heralds ? let God's hand touch you but a little with a spotted fever, or girds of the colic, or belking pains of the gout, or stoppings of the bladder, alas! what ease is it to you, that you are laid in a silken bed, that a potion is brought you on the knee in a golden cup, that the chirurgeon can say he hath taken from you noble blood? As Esau said of his birth-right, ye shall say, mutatis mutandis, of all these ceremonies of honour, 'What are these to me, when I am ready to die for pain?
Is it Beauty? What is that? or wherein consists it? Wherein, but in mere opinion? The Ethiopians think it consists in perfect blackness; we, Europeans, in white and red: and the wisest say, “ That is fair that pleaseth.” And what face is it, that pleaseth all? Even in the worst, some eyes see features that please: in the best, some others see lines they like not. And, if any beauty could have all voices, what were this, but a waste and worthless approbation? Grant it to be in the greatest exquisiteness, what is it but a blossom in May, or a flower in August, or an apple in autumn; soon fallen, soon withered? Should any of you, Glorious Dames, be seized upon with the nasty pustules of the small-pox, alas! what pits do those leave behind them to bury your beauties in! Or if but some languishing quartan should arrest you, how is the delicate skin turned tawny! How doth an unwelcome dropsy, wherein that disease too often ends, bag up the eyes, and mis-shape the face and body, with unpleasing and unkindly tumours! In short, when all is done, after all our cost and care, what is the best hide but saccus stercoruin, as Bernard speaks; which if we do not find noisome, others shall? Well may I therefore ask, with Ecclesiasticus, quid superbit terra et cinis? Why is this earth and ashes proud ? though it were as free from sin, as it is from perfection. But now, when wickedness is added to vanity, and we are more abominable by sin than weak by nature, how should we be utterly ashamed to look up to heaven, to look upon our own faces!
Surely, therefore, whensoever you see a proud man, say there is a fool: tão o ust povãv, &c. the heathen Menander could say so: for, if he were not a mere stranger in himself, he could be no other than confounded in himself. We see our own outward filthiness, in those loathsome excretions, which the purest nature puts forth: but, if we could as well see our inward spiritual beastliness, we could not but be swallowed
up of our confusion. It falls out with inen, in this case, as with some old foul and wrinkled dames, that are soothed up by their parasites in an admiration of their beauty; to whom no glass is allowed but the picturer's, that flatters them with a smooth, fair, and
young image. Let such a one come casually to the view of a Glass; she falls out first with that mirror, and cries out of the false representation: but after, when, upon stricter examination, she finds the fault in herself, she becomes as much out of love with herself, as ever her flatterers seemed to be enamoured of her.
It is no otherwise with us. We easily run away with the conceit of our Spiritual Beauty, of our innocent Integrity: every thing feeds us in our over-weening opinion. Let the Glass of the Law be brought once and set before us, we shall then see the shameful wrinkles and foul morphews of our souls; and shall say, with the Prophet, We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God; Jer. iii. 25. Thus if we be humbled in spirit, we shall be raised unto true Honour; even such Honour as have all his Saints. To the participation whereof, that God, who hath ordained, graciously bring us, for the sake of Jesus Christ the Righteous : To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one Infinite God, be all honour and glory now and for ever. Amen.
CHRIST AND CÆSAR.
A SERMON PREACHED AT HAMPTON-COURT.
JOHN xix. 15.
The chief priests answered, We have no King but Cesar. 'There cannot be a more loyal speech, as it may be used: one sun is enough for heaven, one king for earth: but, as it is used, there cannot be a worse. For, in so few words, these Jews flatter Casar, reject Christ, oppose Christ to Cæsar. First, pretending they were Cæsar's subjects; secondly, professing they were not Christ's subjects; thirdly, arguing, that they could not be Christ's subjects because they were Cæsar's. The first by way of AFFIRMATION, “ Cæsar is our King:" the second by way of NEGATION, “ No King but Casar:" the third by way of IMPLICATION, “ Christ is not our King, because Cæsar is.”
I. The AFFIRMATION was a truth: Cæsar was indeed now their King; but against their wills. Conquest had made his name unwelcome. They say true then, and
yet they flatter. Wonder not at this; a man may flatter, yea lie, in speaking truth, when his heart believes not the title that his tongue gives. So it was with these Jews; they called him King, whom they maligned as an Usurper. For they, feeding themselves with the conceit of being God's free people, wherein Judas Gaulonites and Sadducus the Pharisee had soothed them, hated him as an enemy, whom they were forced to fear as their King; holding it no better than a sinful vassalage, to stoop unto a heathen sceptre.
Ye know the question moved upon the tribute money; Matth. xxii. 17. Is it lateful to pay tribute to Cæsar? Lo, they say not, “Is it needful?" but Is it lawful? The Herodians were a faction, that had never moved this question, unless the Pharisees and their scrupulous clients had denied it. They make it a difficulty, not of purse, but of conscience; Licetne? Is it lawful? Yet here, Regem habemus Cæsarem, Cesar is our K'ing.
They liked well enough to have a king; yea, hereupon they were so ready to swagger with God and his Samuel. They had learned of nature and experience the best form of government, éis solcev: þut they would have had him of their own. As God said of the Great Prophet, so they are glad to hear him say of their King, De rrumero fratrum tuorum, From among thy brethren. Propriety is in nothing more pleasing than in matter of government. It is a joy to think we have a king of our own; our own blood, our own religion: according to the motto of our princes, ICH DIEN: otherwise, next to Anarchy is Heterarchy; neither do we find much difference betwixt having no head at all, and having another man's head on our shoulders. The bees love to have a king; but one that is of their own hive: if a hornet come in and otier to rule amongst them, (though stronger) they abide not the colour. It was Edomitish blood, that made Herod so hateful, though otherwise of no small merit.
Now Cæsar, though he were their king actually in regard of power, yet they held him no better than an intruder in regard of right. For, at first, here was no more but culpanic and Cinée, a partnership and league of love betwixt the Romans and Jews; as i Maccab. viii. 20: but after, when Pompey had vanquished Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, now Judea was glad to turn tributary, and of a friend became a vassal; as ye see in the taxation of Augustus; Luke ii. 1: and so continued, with no small regret. Cæsar therefore was to them a pagan for religion, a iyrant for usurpation; at the best, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel: and, therefore, as they imagined, not capable of being the head of Israel. This of the Romans is taken for that Regnum Gentium, The kingdom of the Gentiles, Hag. ii. 22. by an antonomasy; which was therefore so much more hated, as it was more prevalent and imperious. And ye know their fearful suggestion, l'enient Romani, The Romans will come ; John xi. 48.
It was observed of old by Jerome, and since by Galatinus and others, indeed who could look beside it? that the Talmud and the ancient Rabbins, wheresoever they find the name of Edom or Idumæa in the Old Testament, there they think straight Rome understood; and this was with them that Onus Dumah, in the Prophet Isaiah, ch, xxi. 11. A misprision that arises, as Jerome guesses aright, by occasion of the letters of Duma and Roma; for the Hebrew R and D are so like that they can hardly be distinguished, and the same letter in the Hebrew forms both O and U. Hence they gave out Cæsar for an Idumæan, and branded all that nation with the curses of Edom. Absurdly, as we well know; for Edom, or Esau, was Isaac's son, whereas we Europeans came of Japhet. But this shews their good will both to Cæsar and his country.
No nation under heaven was more odious to them; against whom they heartily prayed, in their sense, Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom; Psalm cxxxvii. 7. Yet here, Regem habemus Cesarem, Cæsar is our King. Neither was this the note of the chief priests only, which had learned to flatter by art; but of the hollow multitude, who had said, verse 12, If thou let this man go, thou art not Ca sar's friend: as if all were now grown fond of that sovereignty, which they hated.
This is enough to let our Cæsar see, that fair tongues are not always true. In the Psalm which our late Augustus, of ever-blessed