Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XXI. Atque Annuit Iile,

Qui, Per Eos, Clamat, Linquas Jam, Lazare, Lectum.

God prospers their Practice, and he, by them, calls Lazarus out of his Tomb, me out of my Bed.

XXI. MEDITATION.

IF man had been left alone in this world at first, shall I think that he would not have fallen? If there had been no woman, would not man have served to have been his own tempter? When I see him now, subject to infinite weaknesses, fall into infinite sin, without any foreign temptations, shall I think he would have had none, if he had been alone? God saw that man needed a helper, if he should be well; but to make woman ill, the devil saw that there needed no third. When God and we were alone in Adam, that was not enough; when the devil and we were alone in Eve, it was enough. O what a giant is man when he fights against himself, and what a dwarf when he needs or exercises his own assistance for himself! I cannot rise out of my bed till the physician enable me, nay, I cannot tell that I am able to rise till he tell me so. I do nothing, I know nothing of myself; how little and how impotent a piece of the world is any man alone! And how much less a piece of himself is that man! So little as that when it falls out (as it falls out in gome cases) that more misery and more oppression would be an ease to a man, he cannot give himself that miserable addition of more misery. A man that is pressed to death, and might be eased by more weights, cannot lay those more weights upon himself: he can sin alone, and suffer alone, but not repent, not be absolved, without another. Another tells me, I may rise; and I do so. But is every raising a prefer

K

merit ? or is every present preferment a station? I am readier to fall to the earth, now I am up, than I was when I lay in the bed. O perverse way, irregular motion of man; even rising itself is the way to ruin! How many men are raised, and then do not fill the place they are raised to! No corner of any place can be empty; there can be no vacuity. If that man do not fill the place, other men will; complaints of his insufficiency will fill it; nay, such an abhorring is there in nature of vacuity, that if there be but an imagination of not filling in any man, that which is but imagination neither will fill it; that is, rumour and voice, and it will be given out (upon no ground but imagination, and no man knows whose imagination), that he is corrupt in his place, or insufficient in his place, and another prepared to succeed him in his place. A man rises sometimes and stands not, because he doth not or is not believed to fill his place; and sometimes he stands not because he overfills his place. He may bring so much virtue, so much justice, so much integrity to the place, as shall spoil the place, burthen the place; his integrity may be a libel upon his predecessor, and cast an infamy upon him, and a burthen upon his successor, to proceed by example, and to bring the place itself to an undervalue, and the market to an uncertainty. I am up, and I seem to stand, and I go round, and I am a new argument of the new philosophy, that the earth moves round; why may I not believe that the whole earth moves in a round motion, though that seem to me to stand, when as I seem to stand to my company, and yet am carried in a giddy and circular motion as I stand? Man hath no centre but misery; there, and only there, he is fixed, and sure to find himself. How little soever he be raised, he moves, and moves in a circle giddily; and as in the heavens there are but a few circles that go about the whole world, but many

epicycles, and other lesser circles, but yet circles; so of those men which are raised and put into circles, few of them move from place to place, and pass through many and beneficial places, but fall into little circles, and, within a step or two, are at their end, and not so well as they were in the centre, from which they were raised. Every thing serves to exemplify, to illustrate man's misery. But I need go no farther than myself: for a long time I was not able to rise ; at last I must be raised by others; and now I am up, I am ready sink lower than before.

XXI. EXPOSTULATION.

MY God, my God, how large a glass of the next world is this 1 As we have an art, to cast from one glass to another, and so to carry the species a great way off, so hast thou, that way, much more: we shall have a resurrection in heaven; the knowledge of that thou castest by another glass upon us here; we feel that we have a resurrection from sin, and that by another glass too; we see we have a resurrection of the body from the miseries and calamities of this life. This resurrection of my body shows me the resurrection of my soul; and both here severally, of both together hereafter. Since thy martyrs under the altar press thee with their solicitation for the resurrection of the body to glory, thou wouldst pardon me, if I should press thee by prayer for the accomplishing of this resurrection, which thou hast begun in me, to health. But, O my God, I do not ask, where I might ask amiss, nor beg that which perchance might be worse for me. I have a bed of sin ; delight in sin is a bed: I have a grave of sin; senselessness of sin is a grave: and where Lazarus had been four days, I have been fifty years in this putrefaction; why dost thou not call me, as thou didst him, with a loud voice, since

1 John, xi. 43.

[graphic]

my soul is as dead as his body was? I need thy thunder, O my God; thy music will not serve me. Thou hast called thy servants, who are to work upon us in thine ordinance, by all these loud names—winds, and chariots, and falls of waters; where thou wouldst be heard, thou wilt be heard. When thy Son concurred with thee to the making of man, there it is but a speaking, but a saying. There, O blessed and glorious Trinity, was none to hear but you three, and you easily hear one another, because you say the same things. But when thy Son came to the work of redemption, thou spokesta, and they that heard it took it for thunder; and thy Son himself cried with a loud voice upon the cross twice3, as he who was to prepare his coming, John Baptist, was the voice of a crier, and not of a whisperer. Still, if it be thy voice, it is a loud voice. These words, says thy Moses, thou spokest with a great voice, and thou addedst no more*, says he there. That which thou hast said is evident, and it is evident that none can speak so loud; none can bind us to hear him, as we must thee. The Most High uttered his voice. What was his voice? The Lord thundered from heaven', it might be heard; but this voice, thy voice, is also a mighty voice6; not only mighty in power, it may be heard, nor mighty in obligation, it should be heard, but mighty in operation, it will be heard; and therefore hast thou "bestowed a whole psalm7 upon us, to lead us to the consideration of thy voice. It is such a voice as that thy Son says, the dead shall hear it8; and that is my state. And why, O God, dost thou not speak to me, in that effectual loudness? Saint John heard a voice, and he turned about to see the voice9 .. sometimes we

* John, xii. 28. 3 Matt, xxvii. 46, 50.

* Deut. v.22. 5 a Sam. xxii. 14. • Psalm Ixviii. 3S. 7 Psalm xxix. "• John, v. 25. ■ ReT. i. 12.

are too curious of the instrument by what man God speaks; but thou speakest loudest when thou speakest to the heart. There was silence, and I heard a voice, says one, to thy servant Jobi0. I hearken after thy voice in thine ordinances, and I seek not a whispering in conventicles; but yet, O my God, speak louder, that so, though I do hear thee now, then I may hear nothing but thee. My sins cry aloud; Cain's murder did so: my afflictions cry aloud; the floods have lifted up their voice (and waters are afflictions), but thou, O Lord, art mightier than the voice of many waters"; than many temporal, many spiritual afflictions, than any of either kind : and why dost thou not speak to me in that voice? What is man, and whereto serveth he? What is his good and what is his evil11? My bed of sin is not evil, not desperately evil, for thou dost call me out of it; but my rising out of it is not good (not perfectly good), if thou call not louder, and hold me now I am up. O my God, I am afraid of a fearful application of those words, When a man hath done, then he beginnethis; when this body is unable to sin, his sinful memory sins over his old sins again; and that which thou wouldst have us to remember for compunction, we remember with delight. Bring him to me in his bed, that I may kill himu, says Saul of David: thou hast not said so, that is not thy voice. Joash's own servants slew him, when he was sick in his bed1S: thou hast not suffered that," that my servants should so much as neglect me, or be weary of me in my sickness. Thou threatenest, that as a shepherd takes out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel, that dwell in Samaria, in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus, in a couch, be taken

10 Job, iv. 16. "Psalm xciii. 3, 4. is Ecclns. xviii. 8. ,J Ecolus. v. 7. "1 Sam. xix. 15. 1* 2 Chron. xxiv. 25.

« AnteriorContinuar »