« ForrigeFortsæt »
they might but die. Even earthly distresses send men to sue for death: how much more the infernal! There are those, that have smiled in death; never any, but gnashed in torments.
That distinction is very remarkable, which our Saviour makes betwixt killing and destroying; Matt. X. 28: killing the body, destroying body and soul; arouleivers, and a tonéru. Men may kill: God only can destroy. There are gradations, even in the last act of execution, expressed in the Greek, which our language doth not so fully distinguish; aveíper is to kill ; Povećev implies violence in killing: dronleiverv, cruelty in that violence; but ainoaéoul, an absoluteness and eternity of torment. Killing is nothing to destroying : the body is but mere rubbish to the soul: and therefore, to put these together, killing the body is nothing to destruction of the soul.
Alas, here is every circumstance, that may add horror and misery to a condition : Suddenness of Seizure; Degree of Extremitys Impossibility of Release.
Suddenness: They shall soon be cut down as the grass, saith David; Psalın xxxvii. 2: yea, yet sooner than so; as the fire licks up the straw; Isaiah v. 24: and more suddenly yet; as the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more ; Prov. x. 25: shortly, they are brought to desolation in a moinent; Psalm lxxiii. 19.
As for the Degree of Extremity, it is far beyond all expressions, all conceptions of the creature. The wrath of God is, as himself, infinite. As the glory of his Saints is such, as St. Paul that saw it tells
us, that it transcends all conceit, and cannot come out of the mouth, cannot enter into the heart; so the vengeance prepared for his enemies is equally incomprehensible. The rack, the wheel, the gibbet, the fire are fearful things; but these fall within our thoughts. Woe unto that soul, that must suffer what it is not ca. pable to conceive! Even what we men can devise and do apprehend, is terrible: those very torments, that men prepare for men, are such as we shrink at the mention of; tearing, flaying, broaching, broiling, &c. What shall those be, which an angry God hath prepared for his enemies?
But, though the torment were extreme for the time, yet if at last it might have an End, there were some possibility of comfort. Alas, we shrug at the thought of burning, though in a quick fire : but to think of man's being a whole hour in the Hame, we abhor to imagine; but, to be a whole day in that state, how horrible doth it seem! Oh, then, what shall we say to those everlasting burnings? To be, not days, or months, or years; but thousands of millions of years, and millions of millions after that, and after that for all eternity, still in the height of these unconceivable tortures, without intermission, without relaxation ?
Oh, the gross atheism of carnal men, that do not believe these dreadful vengeances! Oh, the desperate security of those men, who profess to believe them; and yet dare run into those sins, which may and will plunge them into this damnation !
Is sin sweet? yea, but is it so sweet, as hell-fire is grievous ? Is it profitable? but can it countervail the loss of the beatifical vision of God?
O mad sinners, that, for a little momentary contentment, cast themselves into everlasting perdition! Let the drink be never so delicate and well-spiced, yet, if we hear there is poison in it, we hold off. Let gold be offered us; yet, if we hear it is red hot, we draw back our hands, and touch it not. On, then, why will we be so desperately foolish, as when a little poor unsatisfying pleasure is offered us, though sauced with a woeful damnation for ever and ever, we should dare to entertain it at so dear a rate ?
Have mercy upon your own souls, my Dear Brethren; and, when the motions of evil are made to you, check them, with the danger of this fearful damnation. From which, the God of all Mercies graciously deliver us all; for the sake of the Dear Son of his Love, Jesus Christ the Righteous : To whom, &c.
THE TRUE PEACE-MAKER:
LAID FORTH IN A SERMON BEFORE HIS MAJESTY, AT THEOBALD's,
SEPTEMBER 19, 1624.
ISAIAH xxxii. 17. Opus Justitia Pax. The work of Justice (or Righteousness) shall
My Text, you hear, is of Justice and Peace: two royal graces; and such as fiow from sovereigu majesty. There is a double Justice; divine and human: there is a double Peace; outward in the state, inward in the soul. Accordingly, there is a double sense of my Text; a spiritual, a civil sense: the spiritual concerning Theological Justice, and inward peace; the civil concerning Human Justice, and outward peace. The spiritual thus: the Messiah shall cause the fruit of his perfect justice to be our inward peace with God and ourselves: the civil thus; the Magistrate shall cause the work of civil justice, in his administration, to be outward peace with one another. In both or either, as Musculus well, there is an allusion in the Hebrew word to a field: the soil is the heart of the state, the seed is justice, the fruit peace: that which was waste ground is now a Carmel, a fruitful field; and the fruit of this field of Justice is Peace.
1. As there is good reason, we will begin with the SPIRITUAL JUSTICE AND PEACE.
The great King of Heaven will disforest that piece of the world, which he.calls his Church; and put it to tillage: it shall be sown with righteousness, and shall yield a sweet crop of peace. In this only, not in the barren heaths of the profane world, shall true peace grow.
At first, God and man were good friends, How should there be other than good terms betwixt Heaven and Paradise? God made man just; and just man, while he was so, could not choose but love the just God that made him, Sin set them at odds, In one act and instant, did man lose both his justice and peace. Now the world is changed. Now the stile of God is Fortis ultor, God the avenger; Jer. li. 56: and the stile of Men, Filii ira, Sons of wrath; Eph. ii. 3. There is no possible peace to be made betwixt God and man, but by the Perfect Justice of him, that was both God and man.
I would there were a peace in the Church about this
Justice: it is pity and shame there is not. But there must be heresies.
As there are two parts of Divinity, the Law and the Gospel; so each of these have their justice. There is a justice of the Law, and an Evangelical justice.
The Justice of the Law, when a mere moral man is justified, out of his own powers, by the works of the Law. Very Papists will give so much way to St. Paul, so much affront to Pelagius, as to renounce this; freely anathematizing that man, who, by the strength of human nature, or the doctrine of the Law, shall challenge justification: unless perhaps some Andradius have privilege to teach, that this ethica justitia, “ moral righteousness,” was enough to justify and save the old philosophers.
The Evangelical Justice is not without the intervention of a Saviour: to which claim is laid in two kinds, either as imputative or as inherent: the inherent wrought in us; the imputed wrought
How easy were it to lead you through a thicket of distinctions into a large field of controversy, concerning the nature, means, manner of our justification? No head in all Divinity yields either more, or more important problems. Insomuch as Cardinal Demonte, Vice-President for the time of the Council of Trent, in an Oration made by him in the eleventh session, professes, that when they meant to dispatch their Decree concerning Justification in fifteen days, it cost them seven months to finish, without one day's, intermission; and, when all is done, they have lett the world, which was before, as Pighius ingenuously, intricated by the thorny questions of Schoolmen, rather more unsatisfied and perplexed than they found it.
It is the main care of our lives and deaths, what shall give us peace and acceptation before the Dreadful Tribunal of God: what. but righteousness? what righteousness, or whose? Ours, or Christ's? Ours, in the inherent graces wrought in us, in the holy works wrought by us? or Christ's, in his most perfect obedience, and meritorious satisfaction wrought for us, applied to us? The Tridentine Faction is for the former: we are for the latter. God is as direct on our side, as his word can make him; every where blazoning the defects of our own righteousness, the imperfections of our best graces, the deadly nature of our least sins, the radical sinfulness of our habitual concupiscence, the pollution of our best works; every where extolling the perfect obedience of our Redeemer, the gracious application of that obedience, the sweet comfort of that application, the assurance and unfailableness of that comfort, and, lastly, our happy rest in that assurance. I instance
Open the book: see where your eyes can look, beside these. Satis apertè, saith their Cassander. The Scripture is clear ours: so is all Antiquity, if they believe that learned arbiter: so are their more ingenuous Doctors of the last age: so would they all be, if they had grace to know God, themselves, grace, sin, heaven, hell; God perfectly just, themselves miserably weak, pre
grace sensibly imperfect, sin unmeasurably sinful; lastly, if they knew that heaven is for none but the pure, that hell is for the sumptuous. Saviour, no man is just through thee, but he that is sanctified by thee. What is our inherent justice, but sanctity ? That we aspire towards; wé attain not to. Woe were us if we were not more just in thee, than sanctified in ourselves. We are sanctified, in part; according to the weakness of our receit: we are justified, thoroughly; according to the perfection of thine acceptation: Were we fully sanctified here, we should be more than men: were we not thoroughly justified, we should be no more than sinners before thee: while we stand before thee as sinners, we can have no peace. Let others trust in the chariot and horses of their own strength; we will remember the name of the Lord our God: The work of thy Justice shall be our Peace.
Peace is a sweet word. Every body would be glad of it, especially Peace at the last, as the Psalmist speaks. How have the politicly-religious held out twigs, for the drowning soul to catch at ! Due satistactions, undue supererogations, patronages of saints, bargains of indulgences, woolward pilgrimages; and, at last, after whips and hair-cloths, leave the dying soul to a fear of Heil, doubt of Heaven, assurance of Purgatory flames! How truly may it now say to these Doctors, as Job to his friends, Miserable con forters are ye all! Hearken, () ye Dear Christians, to a better voice, that sounds from heaven; Come to me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; Matth. xi. 28.
Is there any of you, whose unquiet breast boils continually with the conscience of any foul sin? whose heart is daily tyred upon by the vulture of his secret guiltiness? whose bosom is gnawed, beforehand, with that hellish worm, which can no more give over than die? It bouts not to ask thee, if thou wouldst have peace. Peace? Rather than life; Oh, I herewithal shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the Most High God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Micah vi. 6, 7. Hear, thou Distracted Heart. What talkest thou of giving to the owner? The world is his: thou art not thine own. Y ea, were these things thine, and not his; yet know, it is not giving, but taking, that must procure thy peace. An Infinite Justice is offended; an Infinite Justice hath satisfied; an Infinite Mercy hath applied it. Take thou hold, by the hand of faith, on that infinite merey and justice of thy Saviour: the work of his Justice shall be thy Peace.
Fly about whither thou wilt, O thou Weary Dove, through all the wide regions of the heaven and waters, thou shalt no where find rest for the soles of thy feet, but in this ark of Christ's perfect righteousness. In vain shalt thou seek it in schools of inorality, in learned libraries, in spacious fields and forests, in pleasant gardens, in sullen retiredness, 'in witty conversation, in wanton theatres, in drunken cellars, in tables of gluttony, in beds of lust, chests of