« AnteriorContinuar »
they whose climacterics we observe, employed their observation upon their critical days, the working of thy promise of a Messias upon them. And shall we, O my God, make less use of those days who have more of them? We, who have not only the day of the prophets, the first days, but the last days, in which thou hast spoken unto us by thy Son"? We are the children of the day", for thou hast shined in as full a noon upon us as upon the Thessalonians: they who were of the night (a night which they had superinduced upon themselves), the Pharisees, pretended, that if they had been in their fathers days (th ose indicatory and judicatory, those critical days), they would not have been partakers of the blood of the prophets12; and shall we who are in the day, these days, not of the prophets, but of the Son, stone those prophets again, and crucify that Son again, for all those evident indications and critical judicatures which are afforded us? Those opposed adversaries of thy Son, the Pharisees, with the Herodians, watched a critical day; then when the state was incensed against him, they came to tempt him in the dangerous question of tribute13. They left him, and that day was the critical day to the Sadducees. The same day, says thy Spirit in thy word, the Sadducees came to him to question him about the resurrection14, and them he silenced; they left him, and this was the critical day for the Scribe, expert in the law, who thought himself learneder than the Herodian, the Pharisee, or Sadducee; and he tempted him about the great commandment13, and him Christ left without power of replying. When all was done, and that they went about to begin their circle of vexation and temptation again, Christ silences them so, that as
10 Heb. i. 2. » 2 Thes. v. 8. "Matt, xxiii. 30.
13 Matt.xxii.17. "Matt. xxii. 23. 15 Matt. xxii. 3G.
they had taken their critical days, to come in that and in that day, so Christ imposes a critical day upon them; From that day forth, says thy Spirit, no man durst ask him any more questions16. This, O my God, my most blessed God, is a fearful crisis, a fearful indication, when we will study, and seek, and find, what days are fittest to forsake thee in; to say, now religion is in a neutrality in the world, and this is my day, the day of liberty; now I may make new friends by changing my old religion, and this is my day, the day of advancement. But, O my God, with thy servant Jacob's holy boldness, who, though thou lamedst him, would not let thee go till thou hadst given him a blessing"; though thou have laid me upon my hearse, yet thou shalt not depart from me, from this bed, till thou have given me a crisis, a judgment upon myself this day. Since a day is as a thousand years with thee18, let, O Lord, a day be as a week to me; and in this one, let me consider seven days, seven critical days, and judge myself that I be not judged by thee. First, this is the day of thy visitation, thy coming to me; and would I look to be welcome to thee, and not entertain thee in thy coming to me? We measure not the visitations of great persons by their apparel, by their equipage, by the solemnity of their coming, but by their very coming; and therefore, howsoever thou come, it is a crisis to me, that thou wouldst not lose me who seekest me by any means. This leads me from my first day, thy visitation by sickness, to a second, to the light and testimony of my conscience. There I have an evening and a morning, a sad guiltiness in my soul, but yet a cheerful rising of thy Sun too; thy evenings and mornings made days in the creation, and there is no mention of nights; my sadnesses for sins are evenings, but they 1' Matt. xxii. 46. "Gen. xxxii. 26. 18 2 Pet. iii. 8.
determine not in night, but deliver me over to the day, the day of a conscience dejected, but then rectified, accused, but then acquitted, by thee, by him who speaks thy word, and who is thy word, thy Son. From this day, the crisis and examination of my conscience, breaks out mjr third day, my day of preparing and fitting myself for a more especial receiving of thy Son in his institution of the Sacrament; in which day, though there be many dark passages and slippery steps to them who will entangle, and endanger themselves in unnecessary disputations, yet there are light hours enough for any man to go his whole journey intended by thee, to know that that bread and wine is not more really assimilated to my body, and to my blood, than the body and blood of thy Son is communicated to me in that action, and participation of that bread and that wine. And having, O my God, walked with thee these three days, the day of thy visitation, the day of my conscience, the day of preparing for this seal of reconciliation, I am the less afraid of the clouds or storms of my fourth day, the day of my dissolution and transmigration from hence. Nothing deserves the name of happiness that makes the remembrance of death bitter; and, O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee, to a man that lives at rest in his possessions, the man that hath nothing to vex him, yea unto him that is able to receive meat19! Therefore hast thou, O my God, made this sickness, in which I am not able to receive meat, my fasting day, my eve to this great festival, my dissolution. And this day of death shall deliver me over to my fifth day, the day of my resurrection; for how long a day soever thou make that day in the grave, yet there is no day between that and the resurrection. Then we shall all be invested, reapparelled "Ecclus. xli. 1.
in our own bodies; but they who have made just use of their former days be superinvested with glory; whereas the others, condemned to their old clothes, their sinful bodies, shall have nothing added but immortality to torment. And this day of awaking me, and reinvesting my soul in my body, and my body in the body d Christ, shall present me, body and soul, to my sixth day, the day of judgment, which is truly, and most literally, the critical, the decretory day; both because all judgment shall be manifested to me then, and I shall assist in judging the world then, and because then, that judgment shall declare to me, and possess me of my seventh day, my everlasting Sabbath in thy rest, thy glory, thy joy, thy sight, thyself; and where I shall live as long without reckoning any more days after, as thy Son and thy Holy Spirit lived with thee, before you three made any days in the creation.
O ETERNAL and most gracious God, who, though thou didst permit darkness to be before light in the creation, yet in the making of light didst so multiply that light, as that it enlightened not the day only, but the night too; though thou have suffered some dimness, some clouds of sadness and disconsolateness to shed themselves upon my soul, I humbly bless and thankfully glorify thy holy name, that thou hast afforded me the light of thy Spirit, against which the prince of darkness cannot prevail, nor hinder his illumination of our darkest nights, of our saddest thoughts. Even the visitation of thy most blessed Spirit upon the blessed Virgin, is called an overshadowing. There was the presence of the Holy Ghost, the fountain of all light, and yet an overshadowing; nay, except there were some light, there could be no shadow. Let thy merciful providence so govern all in this sickness, that I never fall into utter darkness, ignorance of thee, or inconsideration of myself; and let those shadows which do fall upon me, faintnesses of spirit, and condemnations of myself, be overcome by the power of thine irresistible light, the God of consolation; that when those shadows have done their office upon me, to let me see, that of myself I should fall into irrecoverable darkness, thy Spirit may do his office upon those shadows, and disperse them, and establish me in so bright a day here, as may be a critical day to me, a day wherein and whereby I may give thy judgment upon myself, and that the words of thy Son, spoken to his apostles, may reflect upon me, Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world20.
XV. INTEREA INSOMKES NOCTES, EGO DUCO, DlESQUE.
I sleep not Day nor Night.
NATURAL men have conceived a twofold use of sleep; that it is a refreshing of the body in this life; that it is a preparing of the soul for the next; that it is a feast, and it is the grace at that feast; that it is our recreation and cheers us, and it is our catechism and instructs us; we lie down in a hope that we shall rise the stronger, and we lie down in a knowledge that we may rise no more. Sleep is an opiate which gives us rest, but such an opiate, as perchance, being under it, we shall wake no more. But though natural men, who have induced secondary and figurative considerations, have found out this second, this emblematical use of sleep, that it should be a
20 Matt, xxviii, 20.