Imágenes de páginas

justice, upon the woman's importunity63. Justice is no justice that is done for fear of an appeal or a commission. There may be found, that may do justice at first: at their first entrance into a place to make good impressions, to establish good opinions, they may do some acts of justice; but, after, either an uxoriousness towards the wife, or a solicitude for children, or a facility towards servants, or a vastness of expense, quenches and overcomes the love of justice in them: non habitat, in most it is not, but it dwells not in any. In our new heavens and new earth dwelleth justice: and that's my comfort, that when I come thither I shall have justice at God's hands. It was an act of mercy, merely, that God decreed a means of salvation, but to give salvation to them for whom Christ gave that full satisfaction, is but an act of justice. It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled, rest with usm, says the apostle. It is an act of the same justice to save the true believer, as to damn him who by unbelief hath made himself a reprobate.

Justice dwells there, and there dwells righteousness, of which there is none in this world, none that grows in this world, none that is mine own; for, howsoever we do dispute, or will conclude of inherent righteousness, it is indeed rather adherent than inherent, rather extrinsical than intrinsical. Not that it is not in myself, in my will, but it is not of myself nor of my will; my will was never able to rectify, to justify itself; but the power of God's grace calls in a foreign righteousness to my succour, the righteousness of my Saviour, and calls his, and makes his, my righteousness. But yet, non habitat, this righteousness dwells not unremovable in me here. Though I have put on 63 Lake, xviii. 2. 6* 2 Thes. i. 6.

that garment in baptism, and girt it to me closer in the other sacrament, and in some acts of holiness, yet my sins of infirmity slacken this garment, and it falls from me before I am aware, and in my sins of contempt and rebellion I tear it off and throw it away myself. But in this new state, these new heavens and new earth, justitia habitat, this righteousness shall dwell; I shall have an innocence, and a constant innocence; a present impeccancy, and an impeccability for the future. But in this especially is righteousness said to dwell there, because this righteousness is the very Son of God, the Son of Righteousness himself; and this day, the day of his second coming, is the last day of his progress; for ever after that day these new heavens and new earth shall be his standing house, where he shall dwell, and we with him; as himself hath said, The righteous shall shine forth as the sun itselfTM, as the Son of God himself, as the Son of Glory, as the Son of Righteousness himself: for God shall impart to us all a mysterious gavelkind, a mysterious equality of fulness of glory to us all. God shall not whisper to his own Son, a Sede a dextris, Sit thou at my right hand; nor a Hodie genui te, This day have I begotten thee; nor a Ponam inimicos tuos, I will make thine enemies thy footstool, and no more; but, as it is said of the armies of Israel, that they went forth as one man, so the whole host of God's saints, incorporated in Christ Jesus, shall be as one man, and as that one man who was so the Son of man, as that he was the Son of God too. And God shall say to us all, Sedete a dextris, Sit ye all on my right hand, for from the left hand there is no prospect to the face of God; and to us all, Hodie genui vos, This day I have begotten you all, begotten you in the confirmation of my first baptism, in the

"Matt. xiv. 43.

ratification of my first election; and to us all, Ponam inimicos vestros, I will make all your enemies your footstool; for God shall establish us there, ubi non intrat inimicus, nec amicus exit66, where no man shall come in that troubles the company, nor any whom any of the company loves go out; but we shall all not only have, but be a part of that righteousness which dwells in these new heavens and new earth, which we, according to his promise, look for.

And be this the end of our first text, as it is a text for instruction. Pass we now to our second, our text for commemoration. Close we here this book of life, from which we have had our first text, and Surge qua; dormis in pulvere, Arise thou book of death, thou that sleepest in this consecrated dust, and hast been going into dust now almost a month of days, almost a lunary year, and dost deserve such anniversaries, such quick returns of periods, and a commemoration in every such year, in every month; arise thou and be another commentary to us, and tell us what this new heaven and new earth is, in which now thou dwellest with that righteousness. But we do not invoke thee, as thou art a saint in heaven; appear to us as thou didst appear to us a month ago; at least appear in thy history, appear in our memory, that when every one of us have looked upon thee by his own glass, and seen thee in his own interest, such as thou wast to him, that when one shall have seen thee the best wife, and a larger number the best mother, and more than they, a whole town, the best neighbour, and more than a town, a large body of noble friends, the best friend, and more than all they, all the world, the best example, when thou hast received this testimony from the militant church, as thou hast the recompense of all this in thy blessed soul, in the triumphant, yet, because thy body is still within these walls, be still content to be one of this congregation, and to hear some parts of this text reapplied unto thee.

68 Augustine.

Our first word, Nevertheless, puts us first upon this consideration, that she lived in a time wherein this prophecy of St. Peter in this chapter was over-abundantly performed; that there should be scoffers, jesters in divine things, and matters appertaining to God and his religion: for now, in these our days, excellency of wit lies in profaneness; he is the good spirit that dares abuse God, and he good company that makes his company the worse, or keeps them from goodness. This being the air and the complexion of the wit of her times, and her inclination and conversation naturally cheerful and merry, and loving facetiousness and sharpness of wit, nevertheless who ever saw her, who ever heard her, countenance a profane speech, how sharp soever, or take part with wit to the prejudice of godliness? From this I testify her holy cheerfulness and religious alacrity (one of the best evidences of a good conscience), that as she came to this place, God's house of prayer, duly, not only every Sabbath, when it is the house of other exercises as well as of prayer, but even in those week days when it was only a house of prayer, as often as these doors were opened for a holy convocation; and as she ever hastened her family and her company hither with that cheerful provocation, " For God's sake let's go, for God's sake let's be there at the Confession;" so herself, with her whole family (as a church in that elect lady's house, to whom John writ his second epistle), did, every Sabbath, shut up the day at night with a general, with a cheerful singing of psalms. This act of cheerfulness was still the last act of that family, united in itself and with God. God loves a cheerful giver,

much more a cheerful giver of himself. Truly he that can close his eyes in a holy cheerfulness every night, shall meet no distempered, no inordinate, no irregular sadness then, when God, by the hand of death, shall close his eyes at last.

But, return we again to our Nevertheless. You may remember, that this word in our former part put us first upon the consideration of scoffers at the day of judgment, and then upon the consideration of terrors and sad apprehensions at that day. And for her, some sicknesses, in the declination of her years, had opened her to an overflowing of melancholy; not that she ever lay under that water, but yet had sometimes some high tides of it; and though this distemper would sometimes cast a cloud, and some half damps upon her natural cheerfulness and sociableness, and sometimes induce dark and sad apprehensions, nevertheless who ever heard or saw in her any such effect of melancholy as to murmur or repine, or dispute upon any of God's proceedings, or tp lodge a jealousy or suspicion of his mercy and goodness towards her and all hers? The wit of our time is profaneness; nevertheless, she that loved that hated this. Occasional melancholy had taken some hold in her, nevertheless that never eclipsed, never interrupted, her cheerful confidence and assurance in God.

Our second word denotes the person; we, nevertheless we; and here in this consideration, nevertheless she. This may seem to promise some picture, some character, of her person; but she was no stranger to them that hear me now, nor scarce to any that may hear of this hereafter which you hear now, and therefore much needs not to that purpose. Yet, to that purpose, of her person, and personal circumstances, thus much I may remember some and inform others, that from that worthy family whence she had her

« AnteriorContinuar »