« AnteriorContinuar »
only that he may know, or be known by others to know; he who makes not the end of his knowledge the glory of God, he offends in curiosity, says that father ; but that is only in the end. But in the way to knowledge there is curiosity too; in seeking such things as man hath no faculty to compass, unrevealed mysteries ; in seeking things, which if they may be compassed, yet it is done by indirect means, by invocation of spirits, by sorcery; in seeking things which may be found, and by good means, but appertain not to our profession ; all these ways men offend in curiosity. It is so in us, in churchmen, si iambos servemus, et metrorum siloam congerimus”, if we be over-vehemently affected or transported with poetry, or other secular learning. And therefore St. Hierome is reported himself to have been whipped by an angel, who found him over-studious in some of Cicero's books. This is curiosity in us, and it is so in you, if when you have sufficient means of salvation preached to you in that religion wherein you were baptized, you inquire too much, too much trouble yourself with the religion of those, from whose superstitions you are already by God's goodness rescued ; remember that he who desired to fill himself with the husks, was the prodigal. It was prodigality, and a dangerous expense of your constancy, to open yourself to temptation, by an unnecessary inquiring into impertinent controversies. We in our profession may embrace secular learning, so far as it may conduce to the better discharge of our duties, in making the easier entrance, and deeper impression of divine things in you: you may inform yourselves occasionally, when any scruple takes hold of you, of any point of their religion. But let your study be rather to live according to that religion which you have, than to inquire into that from which God hath delivered you; for that is the looking back of Lot's wife, and the distemper and distaste of the children of Israel, who remembered too much the Egyptian diet. If you will inquire whether any of the fathers of the primitive church did at any time pray for any of the dead, you shall be told (and truly) that Augustine did, that Ambrose did ; but you shall not so presently be told how they deprehended themselves in an infirmity, and collected and corrected themselves ever when they were so praying. If you inquire whether any of them speak of purgatory, you shall easily find they do; but not so easily, in what sense; when they call the calamities of this life, or when they call the general conflagration of the world, purgatory. If you inquire after indulgences, you may find the name frequent amongst them; but not so easily find when and how the relaxations of penances publicly enjoined, were called indulgences: nor how, nor when, indulgences came to be applied to souls departed. If thou inquire without a melius inquirendum, without a thorough inquisition (which is not easy for any man who makes it not his whole study and profession). thou mayest come to think holy men have prayed for the dead, why may not I? Holy men speak of purgatory and indulgences, why should I abhor the names or the things? And so thou mayest fall into the first snare, it hath been done, therefore it may be done; and into another after, it may be done, therefore it must be done : when thou art come to think that some men are saved that have done it, thou wilt think that no man can be saved except he do it: from making infirmities excusable necessary (which is the bondage the council of Trent hath laid upon the world) to make problematical things, dogmatical; and matter of disputation, matter of faith; to bring the university into Smithfield, and heaps of arguments into piles of fagots. If thou inquire further than thy capacity enables thee, further than thy calling provokes thee; how do those nations serve their gods ? thou mayest come to say, as the text says, in the end, Even so will I do also. • To end all, embrace fundamental, dogmatical, evident divinity; that is expressed in credendis, in the things which we are to believe in the creed. And it begins with Credo in Deum, Belief in God, and not in man, nor traditions of men. And it is expressed in petendis, in the things which we are to pray for in the Lord's Prayer; and that begins with Sanctificetur nomen tuum, Hallowed be thy name, not the name of any. And it is expressed in agendis, in the things which we are to do in the commandments; whereof the first table begins with that, Thou shalt have no other gods but me. God is a monarch alone, not a consul with a colleague. And the second table begins with honour to parents, that is, to magistrates, to lawful authority. Be therefore always
29 Hierome. VOL. VI.
far from disobeying lawful authority, resist it not, calumniate it not, suspect it not; for there is a libelling in the ear, and a libelling in the heart, though it come not to the tongue or hands, to words, nor actions. If it be possible, saith the apostle, as much as in you lies, have peace with all men, with all kind of men. Obedience is the first commandment of the second table, and that never destroys the first table, of which the first commandment is, Keep thyself, that is, those that belong to thee and thy house,
entire and upright in the worship of the true God, not only not · to admit idols for gods, but not to admit idolatry in the worship
of the true God.
PREACHED AT PAUL'S CROSS TO THE LORDS OF THE COUNCIL,
AND OTHER HONOURABLE PERSONS, MARCH 24, 1616.
It being the Anniversary of the King's coming to the Crown, and his Majesty
being then gone into Scotland.
PROVERBS xxii. 11.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be
That man that said it was possible to carve the faces of all good kings that ever were, in a cherry-stone, had a seditious, and a traitorous meaning in his words. And he that thought it a good description, a good character of good subjects, that they were populus natus ad servitutem, a people disposed to bear any slavish yoke, had a tyrannical meaning in his words. But in this text, as in one of those tables, in which, by changing the station, and the line, you use to see two pictures, you have a good picture of a good king, and of a good subject; for in one line, you see such a subject, as loces pureness of heart, and hath grace in his lips. In the other line, you see the king gracious, yea friendly to such a subject, He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend. The sum of the words is, that God
will make an honest man acceptable to the king, for some ability which he shall employ to the public. Him that proceeds sincerely in a lawful calling, God will bless and prosper, and he will seal this blessing to him, even with that which is his own seal, his own image, the favour of the king, He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend.
We will not be curious in placing these two pictures, nor considering which to consider first. As he that would vow a fast, till he had found in nature, whether the egg, or the hen were first in the world, might perchance starve himself; so that king, or that subject, which would forbear to do their several duties, till they had found which of them were most necessary to one another, night starve one another; for king and subjects are relatives, and cannot be considered in execution of their duties, but together. The greatest mystery in earth, or heaven, which is the Trinity is conveyed to our understanding, no other way, than so, as they have reference to one another by relation, as we say in the schools; for, God could not be a father without a son, nor the Holy Ghost Spiratus sine spirante. As in divinity, so in humanity too, relations constitute one another, king and subject come at once and together into consideration. Neither is it so pertinent a consideration, which of them was made for other's sake, as that they were both made for God's sake, and equally bound to advance his glory.
Here in our text, we find the subject's picture first ; and his marks are two ; first, pureness of heart, that he be an honest man; and then grace of lips, that he be good for something; for, by this phrase, grace of lips, is expressed every ability, to do any office of society for the public good. The first of these, pureness of heart, he must love ; the other, that is, grace of lips (that is, other abilities) he must have, but he must not be in love with them, nor over-value them. In the king's picture, the principal mark is, that he shall be friendly and gracious; but gracious to him that hath this grace of lips, to him that hath endeavoured, in some way, to be of use to the public; and not to him neither, for all the grace of his lips, for all his good parts, except he also love pureness of heart; but He that loveth pureness of heart (there
is the foundation) for the grace of his lips (there is the upper building) the king shall be his friend.
In the first then, which is this pureness of heart, we are to consider rem, sedem, et modum; what this pureness is, then where it is to be lodged and fixed, in the heart; and, after that, the way, and means by which this pureness of heart is acquired and preserved, which is implied and notified in that affection, wherewith this pureness of heart is to be embraced and entertained, which is love; for love is so noble, so sovereign an affection, as
that it is due to very few things, and very few things worthy of · it. Love is a possessory affection, it delivers over him that loves
into the possession of that that he loves; it is a transmutatory affection, it changes him that loves, into the very nature of that that he loves, and he is nothing else.
For the first, pureness itself; it is carried to a great height, for our imitation (God knows, too great for our imitation) when Christ bids us be perfect, even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect". As though it had not been perfectness enough, to be perfect, as the Son upon earth was perfect; he carries us higher, Be perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. The Son, upon earth, Christ Jesus, had all our infirmities and imperfections upon him, hunger, and weariness, and hearty sorrow to death, and that, which alone is all, mortality, death itself. And, though he were innocence itself, and knew no sin, yet there was no sin that he knew not, for, all our sins were his. He was not only made man, and by taking (by admitting, though not by commiting) our sins, as well as our nature, sinful man; but he was made sin for our sakes. And therefore, though he say of himself, Sicut ego, Keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments*, yet still he refers all originally to the Father ; and because he was under our infirmities and our iniquities, he never says (though he might well have said so) Sicut ego, Be pure, be perfect as I am perfect and pure, but Sicut Pater, Be pure as your Father in heaven is pure. Hand to hand with the Father, Christ disclaims himself, disavows himself, Non sicut ego, Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt, O Fathers. We are
* Matt. v. 48.
? John xv. 10.
3 Matt. xxvi. 39.