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acceptation of the words, and those many and great persons that have adhered to him. In all these three lines, then, we shall look upon these words, first, as the God of power, the Almighty Father rescues his servants from the jaws of death; and then as the God of mercy, the glorious Son rescued us by taking upon himself this issue of death; and then, between these two, as the God of comfort, the Holy Ghost rescues us from all discomfort by his blessed impressions beforehand, that what manner of death soever be ordained for us, yet this exitus mortis shall be intro- tus in vitam, our issue in death shall be an entrance into everlasting life. And these three considerations; our deliverance d morte, in morte, per mortem, from death, in death, and by death, will abundantly do all the offices of the foundations, of the buttresses, of the contignation, of this our building; that he that is our God is the God of all salvation, because unto this God the Lord belong the issues of death.
First, then, we consider this exitus mortis to be liberatio d morte, that with Godthe Lord are the issues of death; and therefore in all our death, and deadly calamities of this life, we may justly hope of a good issue from him. In all our periods and transitions in this life, are so many passages from death to death; our very birth and entrance into this life is exitus d morte, an issue from death, for in our mother's womb we are dead, so as that we do not know we live, not so much as we do in our sleep, neither is there any grave so close or so putrid a prison, as the womb would be unto us if we stayed in it beyond our time, or died there before our time. In the grave the worms do not kill us ; we breed, and feed, and then kill those worms which we ourselves produced. In the womb the dead child kills the mother that conceived it, and is a murderer, nay, a parricide, even after it is dead. And if we be not dead so in the womb, so as that being dead we kill her that gave us our first life, our life of vegetation, yet we are dead so as David's idols are dead. In the womb we have eyes and see not, ears and hear not1. There in the womb we are fitted for works of darkness, all the while deprived of light; and there in the womb we are taught cruelty, by being fed with blood, and may be damned, though we be never born. . Of our very making in the womb, David says, I am wonderfully and fearfully made, and such knowledge is too excellent for me2, for even that is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful in our eyes3: ipse fecit nos, it is he that made us, and not we ourselves', nor our parents neither. Thy hands have made and fashioned me round about, saith Job, and (as the original word is) thou hast taken pains about me, and yet (says he) thou dost destroy me. Though I be the masterpiece of the greatest master (man is so), yet if thou do no more for me, if thou leave me where thou madest me, destruction will follow. The womb, which should be the house of life, becomes death itself if God leave us there. That which God threatens so often, the shutting of the womb, is not so heavy nor so discomfortable a curse in the first as in the latter shutting, nor in the shutting of barrenness as in the shutting of weakness, when children are come to the birth, and no strength to bring forth'.
It is the exaltation of misery to fall from a near hope of happiness. And in that vehement imprecation, the prophet expresses the highest of God's anger. Give them, O Lord, what wilt thou give them 9 gift them a miscarrying womb. Therefore as soon as we are men (that is, inanimated, quickened in the womb). though we cannot ourselves, our parents have to say in our behalf, Wretched man that he is, who shall deliver him from this body of death6? if there be no deliverer. It must be he that said to Jeremiah, Before I formed thee I knew thee, and before thou earnest out of the womb I sanctified thee. We are not sure that there was no kind of ship nor boat to fish in, nor to pass by, till God prescribed Noah that absolute form of the ark7. That word which the Holy Ghost, by Moses, useth for the ark, is common to all kind of boats, theball, and is the same word that Moses useth for the boat that he was exposed in, that his mother laid him in an ark of bulrushes. But we are sure that Eve had no midwife when she was delivered of Cain, therefore she might well say, Possedi virum a Domino, I have gotten a man from the Lord', wholly, entirely from the Lord; it is the Lord that enabled me to conceive, the Lord that infused a quickening soul into that conception, the Lord that brought into the world that which himself had quickened; without all this might Eve say, my body had been but the house of death, and Domini Domini sunt exitus mortis, To God the Lord belong the issues of death. But then this exitus a morte is but introitus in mortem; this issue, this deliverance from that death, the death of the womb, is an entrance, a delivering over to another death, the manifold deaths of this world; we have a windingsheet in our mother's womb which grows with us from our conception, and we come into the world wound up in that windingsheet, for we come to seek a grave. And as prisoners discharged of actions may lie for fees, so when the womb hath discharged us, yet we are bound to it by cords of hestae, by such a string as that we cannot go thence, nor stay there; we celebrate our own * Rom. vii. 24. 7 Exod. xxiii. 8 Gen. iv. 1.
1 Psalm cxv. 6. 2 Psalm cxxxix. 6. 3 Psalm cxviii. 23. * Psalm c. 3. * Isaiah, xxxvii.
funerals with cries even at our birth; as though our threescore and ten years' life were spent in our mother's labour, and our circle made up in the first point thereof; we beg our baptism with another sacrament, with tears; and we come into a world that lasts many ages, but we last not. In domo Patris, says our Saviour, speaking of heaven, multce mansiones, divers and durable ; so that if a man cannot possess a martyr's house (he hath shed no blood for Christ), yet he may have a confessor's, he hath been ready to glorify God in the shedding of his blood. And if a woman cannot possess a virgin's house (she hath embraced the holy state of marriage), yet she may have a matron's house, she hath brought forth and brought up children in the fear of God. In domo Patris, in my Father s house, in heaven, there are many mansions9; but here, upon earth, the Son of man hath not where to lay his head10, saith he himself. Nonne terram dedit Jiliis hominum ? How then hath God given this earth to the sons of men? He hath given them earth for their materials to be made of earth, and he hath given them earth for their grave and sepulchre, to return and resolve to earth, but not for their possession. Here we have no continuing city11, nay, no cottage that continues, nay, no persons, no bodies, that continue. Whatsoever moved Saint Jerome to call the journeys of the Israelites in the wildernessvi, mansions; the word (the word is nasang) signifies but a journey, but a peregrination. Even the Israel of God hath no mansions, but journeys, pilgrimages in this life. By what measure did Jacob measure his life to Pharaoh? The days of the years of my pilgrimage13. And though the apostle would not say morimur, that whilst we are in the body we are dead, yet he says,
9 Johnxiv.2. 10 Matt. viii. 20. "Heb. xiii. 14.
12 Exod. xvii. 1. "Gen. xlvii. 9.
perigrinamur, whilst we are in the body we are but in a pilgrimage, and we are absent from the Lord1*: he might have said dead, for this whole world is but an universal churchyard, but our common grave, and the life and motion that the greatest persons have in it is but as the shaking of buried bodies in their grave, by an earthquake. That which we call life is but hebdomada mortium, a week of death, seven days, seven periods of our-life spent in dying, a dying seven times over; and there is an end. Our birth dies in infancy, and our infancy dies in youth, and youth and the rest die in age, and age also dies and determines all. Nor do all these, youth out of infancy, or age out of youth, arise so, as the phoenix out of the ashes of another phoenix formerly dead, but as a wasp or a serpent out of a carrion, or as a snake out of dung. Our youth is worse than our infancy, and our age worse than our youth. Our youth is hungry and thirsty after those sins which our infancy knew not; and our age is sorry and angry, that it cannot pursue those sins which our youth did; and besides, all the way, so many deaths, that is, so many deadly calamities accompany every condition and every period of this life, as that death itself would be an ease to them that suffer them. Upon this sense doth Job wish that God had not given him an issue from the first death, from the womb, Wherefore hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye seen me! I should have been as though I had not been15. And not only the impatient Israelites in their murmuring (would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt16), but Elijah himself, when he fled from Jezebel, and went for his life, as that text says, under the juniper tree, requested that he might die,
"2 Cor. T. 6. l* Job, «. 18,19. 16 Exod. xvi. 3.