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not referred for the pattern of our purity (though we might be safely) to him that came from heaven, the Son, but to him which is in heaven, the Father. Nor to the sun which is in heaven (the sun, that is, the pure fountain of all natural light) nor to the angels which are in heaven, though they be pure in their nature, and refined by a continual emanation of the beams of glory upon them, from the face of God, but the Father which is in heaven is made the pattern of our purity ; that so, when we see the exact purity, which we should aim at, and labour for, we might the more seriously lament, and the more studiously endeavour the amendment of that extreme and enormous foulness and impurity, in which we who should be pure, as our Father which is in heaven is pure, exceed the dog that turns to his own vomit again ; and the sow, that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire .
Yet there is no foulness so foul, so inexcusable in the eyes of God, nor that shall so much aggravate our condemnation, as a false affectation, and an hypocrical counterfeiting of this purity. There is a pureness, a cleanness imagined (rather dreamed of) in the Roman church, by which (as their words are) the soul is abstracted, not only a passionibus, but a phantasmatibus, not only from passions, and perturbations, but from the ordinary way of coming to know anything; The soul (say they) of men so purified, understands no longer, per phantasmata rerum corporalium; not by having anything presented by the phantasy to the senses, and so to the understanding, but altogether by a familiar conversation with God, and an immediate revelation from God; whereas Christ himself contented himself with the ordinary way; he was hungry, and a fig-tree presented itself to him upon the way, and he went to it to eat'. This is that pureness in the Roman church, by which the founder of the last order amongst them, Philip Nerius, had not only utterly emptied his heart of the world, but had filled it too full of God, for, so (say they) he was fain to cry sometimes, Recede a me Domine, O Lord, go further from me, and let me have a less portion of thee. But who would be loath to sink, by being over freighted with God, or loath to over-set, by having so much of that wind, the breath
* 2 Pet. ii. 22.
• Matt. xxi. 20.
of the Spirit of God? Privation of the presence of God, is hell; a diminution of it, is a step toward it. Fruition of his presence is heaven; and shall any man be afraid of having too much heaven, too much God? There are many among them, that are over laden, oppressed with bishoprics and abbeys, and yet they can bear it and never cry, Retrahe Domine, Domine resume, O Lord withdraw from me, resume to thyself some of these superabundances ; and shall we think any of them to be so over freighted and surcharged with the presence, and with the grace of God, as to be put to his Recede Domine, O Lord withdraw thyself, and lessen thy grace towards me? This pureness is not in their heart, but in their phantasy.
We read in the ecclesiastic story of such a kind of affectation of singularity, very early in the primitive church. We find two sorts of false puritans then; the Catharists, and the Cathari. The Catharists thought no creatures of God pure, and therefore they brought in strange ceremonial purifications of those creatures. In which error, they of the Roman church succeed them, in a great part, in their exorcisms, and consecrations; particularly in the greatest matter of all, in the sacraments. For the Catharists in the sacrament of the body and blood of our Saviour, thought not the bread pure, except it were purified by the aspersion of something issuing from the body of man, not fit to be named here ; and so, in the Roman church, they induced a use of another excrement in the other sacrament, they must have spittle in the sacrament of baptism. For, in those words of Tertullian, In baptismo dæmones respuimus, In baptism we renounce the devil, they will admit no other interpretation of the respuimuso; but that respuere, is sputo detestari, that we can drive the devil away, no way, but by spitting at him; their predecessors in this, the Catharists, thought no creatures pure, and therefore purified them, by abominable and detestable ways.
The second sort of primitive puritans, the Cathari, they thought no men pure but themselves, and themselves they thought so pure, as to have no sin ; and that therefore they might and so did, leave out, as an impertinent clause in the Lord's prayer, that
. Durantius de citib. l. i. 19 n. 30.
petition, Dimitte nobis debita nostra, for, they thought they ought? God nothing. In natural things, monsters have no propagation ; a monster does not beget a monster. In spiritual excesses it is otherwise ; for, for this second kind of puritans, that attribute all purity to themselves, and spend all their thoughts upon considering others, that weed hath grown so far, that whereas those puritans of the primitive church did but refuse to say, Dimitte nobis, Forgive us our trespasses, because they had no sin, the puritan papist is come to say, Recede a nobis, O Lord stand further off, for I have too much of thee. And whereas the puritan of the primitive church did but refuse one petition of the Lord's prayer, the later puritan amongst ourselves hath refused the whole prayer. Towards both these sorts of false puritans, Catharists, and Cathari, derived down to our time, we acknowledge those words of the apostle to belong, Reprove, rebuke, exhort®; that is, leave no such means untried, as may work upon their understandings, and remove their just scruples; preach, write, confer; but when that labour hath been bestowed, and they sear up their understanding against it, so that the fault lies not then in the darkness of their understanding, but merely in the perverseness of the will, over which faculty other men have no power, towards both these sorts, we acknowledge those other words of the apostle to belong too, Utinam abscindantur, Would to God they, were even cut off that disquiet you': cut off, that is, removed from means by which, and from places, in which, they might disquiet you. These two kinds of false puritans we find in the primitive church; and Satan, who lasts still, makes them last still too. But if we shall imagine a third sort of puritans, and make men afraid of the zeal of the glory of God, make men hard, and insensible of those wounds that are inflicted upon Christ Jesus, in blasphemous oaths, and execrations, make men ashamed to put a difference between the Sabbath and an ordinary day, and so, at last, make sin an indifferent matter, If any man list to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the church of God". The church of God encourages them, and assists them in that sanctity, that purity, with all those means wherewith Christ Jesus hath trusted her, for the advancement of that purity; and professes that she prefers in her recommendations to God, in her prayers, one Christian truly fervent and zealous, before millions of lukewarm. Only she says, in the voice of Christ Jesus her head, Woe be unto you, if you make clean the outside of cups and platters, but leave them full of extortion, and excess within". Christ calls them to whom he says that, blind Pharisees, if they have done so; if they think to blind others, Christ calls them blind. But if their purity consist in studying and practising the most available means to sanctification, and in obedience to lawful authority established according to God's ordinance, and in acquiescence in fundamental doctrines, believed in the ancient church to be necessary to salvation, if they love the peace of conscience, and the peace of Sion, as Balaam said, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his"; so I say, let me live the life of a puritan, let the zeal of the house of God consume me, let a holy life, and an humble obedience to the law, testify my reverence to God in his church, and in his magistrate : for, this is St. Paul's puritan, to have a pure heart (the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart'3) and then to have pure hands (that we may lift up pure hands, without wrath or doubting) and to have pure consciences (having the mystery of faith, in pure consciences 15). The heart is the fountain from which my good and holy purposes flow; my hand is the execution and declaration of those good purposes, produced into the eyes of men; and my conscience is the testification of the Spirit of God with my Spirit, that I have actually made those declarations, that I have lived according to that profession. This is St. Paul's puritan, pure in heart, pure in hand, pure in conscience ; that I do believe I ought to do this; that really I do it; that my conscience tell me after, it was rightly done; for, a man may do good, ill, and go by ill ways, to good ends. And then, if our purity be but comparative and not positive, that we only look how ill other men be, not how good we should be, we shall become either Catharists, purifying puritans, quarrelling with men, with states, with churches, and attempting a purifying of sacraments, and ceremonies, doctrine and discipline, according to our own fancy; or Cathari, purified puritans, that think they may leave out the dimitte debita, they need ask no forgiveness. And then Cain's major iniquitas1, (My sin is too great for God to forgive) is not worse than this minor iniquitas, My sin is too little for God to consider ; I cannot have a pardon, and I do not need a pardon, it is impossible for me to get it, and it is unnecessary for me to ask it, are equal contempts against the majesty and mercy of God. But this first consideration (the nature of this pureness) enlarges itself by flowing into the second branch of this first part, that is, the place where this pureness is established, the heart; He that loves pureness of heart, the king shall be his friend.
7 i. e. owed.
9 Gal. v. 12.
8 2 Tim. iv. 2. 10 I Cor. xi. 16.
Absolute pureness cannot be attained to in via. It is reserved for us in patria; at home in heaven, not in our journey here, is that pureness to be expected. But yet here in the way, there is a degree of it, acceptable to God; of which himself speaks, and there it may be had ; Blessed are the pure in heart (so the pureness be placed there, all is well,) for they shall see God. Whether that sight of God be spoken De cognitione Dei, of that sight of God, which we have in speculo, in a glass's, in that true glass of his own making, his word explicated in the church; or de visione beatifica, of that beatifical vision of God, which is salvation, howsoever the reward (the sight of God) in the perfect fruition thereof may be reserved for the future (They shall see God) yet they are pure, and they are blessed already, Blessed are the pure in heart. This pureness then must be rightly placed ; for, in many things, the place qualifies and denominates the things; it is not balsamum if it grew not in Palestine. It is not pureness, if it grew not in the heart. The hypocrite is the miserablest of all other ; he does God service, and yet is damned, The shedding of our blood for God is not a greater service than the winning of souls to God; and the hypocrite many times does that ; his outward purity works upon them who cannot know it to be counterfeit, and draws them truly and sincerely to serve God. He does God service, and yet perishes, because he does it
18 Gen. iv, 13.
17 Matt. v. 9.
18 I Cor. xiii. 12.