Writen in Latin by the most Illustrious Cardinall Bellarmine, of the Society of Iesus.

And translated into English by A. [...].

[seal of the Society of Jesus]
Seeke first the Kingdome of God, and the Iustice thereof, Matth, 6.

Permissu Superiorum. 1638.

The Epistle Dedicatory of the Translatour, to the Reader.

GOOD Reader.

I heere present thee with a Transla­tion of one of the spi­rituall Bookes of the learned, and pious Bellarmine, memorable in all future Ages. But before I proceed further, I would wish thee call to mynd, that two things necessarily concurre to the perfection, and consummation of a Good Christian. The first is a true and Orthodoxall fayth, residing in the vn­derstanding; The second a deuout and vertuous life, resting in the V [...]ill. Tou­ching the first, it is recorded in sacred Writ: That without faith it is im­possible [Page 4] to please God, Heb. 11. and of the other we thus read, Decline from euill and do good. Psal. 36. Now this Blessed deceased Cardinall (whose happy Soule I most humbly beseech to pray for me, his poore Client) en­deuouring to forestall (as it were) & surprize the contrary wayes leading to mans perdition, did first for the in­struction of Christians of this Age in true fayth, write his learned Tomes of Controuersies, for their worth de­seruing to be stamped in letters of Gould, and for their continuance to future ages, in Characters of Brasse, or Marble, threatning therin a totall prof [...]igation, or rather extinguishment of all present Nouellisme.

After this his labour accomplished, & himselfe growing into greater yea­res, then did he turne his penne to write certain spiritual Treatises who­ly breathing deuotion and Sanctity, & teaching the way of performance of the foresayd Precept of declining from Euill, and doing Good. Among which his deuout Discourses, he made one of the Ioyes of Heauen, entituling it: De aeterna Felicitate Sanctorum; The which booke translated into English, [Page 5] I do now present vnto thee. In thy se­rious perusing whereof, thou wilt rest astonished at the proceedings of most Worldlings, who are so wholy buried in Earth, as that wheras Man is borne Heyre to the Kingdome of Heauen (for wee reade to our comfort, that we are Heyres of God, and Coheyres of Christ, Rom. 8.) Neuertheles diuers of them do euen breathlesly labour & toyle in seeking to adde earth for their Sonnes to inherit; and yet are of such nicenes and delicacy themselues, as that they will not once stirre a foote, that (not their Sonnes, but) themsel­ues may inherit, not Earth, but the true Land of promise, I meane the kingdome of God; but in lieu thereof though their leading a wicked lyfe, become inheritours of Hell fyre and euerlastinge damnation. But to re­turne to the most worthy Bellarmine. In the reading of this his Booke thou shalt doublesly fynd him not to act Moyses, who was permitted only to shew the Israelites the way to the Lād of Promise, & not to enter with them therein; but rather Iosua, who con­ducted them into the Land, and also entred with them; which Land was [Page 6] but a Type or adumbration of the Ce­lestiall Land or Country heere discour­sed of.

Touching my course held in tran­slating this Treatise, thou mayst be aduertized, that I haue translated it faythfully and truly. Bellarmines gra­uity scorns to vse in his Writings any flowers of youthful Oratory; but only writes, whatsoeuer it pleased God to dictate vnto his spirit: Therefore I should haue wronged him, and his worke, in disuesting it of its owne pu­rity and easines of stile, by new cloa­thing it in forced and borrowed robes of speach. No, let Bellarmine be euer suffered to speake in the dialect of Bel­larmine, that is grauely, and persua­dingly; for since his wordes are dar­ted out of a fyery deuotion and chari­ty, they therefore are most persua­ding; and if he speaketh persuadingly, no doubt he speaketh eloquently; since Persuasion is the But, or scope of true Eloquence.

I know full well that Translations in this our fastidious age, are sleighted or little regarded; and that highly pri­zed, which commeth heat out of the forge, or mint of a Mans owne wit, [Page 7] and inuention. Let those men whome God and their owne endeauours haue enriched with such high Talents, hap­pily employ them to the good of Gods Church; I am not emulous of their due reputation▪ and deserued prayse gay­ned thereby: I content my selfe with the loely title of a poore Translatour, a [...] not being able to performe more: On­ly I desire to do good thereby. Neuer­theles to Apologize, and speake in de­fence of Translatours, I may be bould to say, that they in some sense may be sayd to be the Authours of other mens Works by them translated; seeing they are Authours and Causers, why diuers (ignorant in the Latin Tongue) though benefit of their Translations, do participate of the contents of the sayd Works translated, of which o­therwise they would neuer haue ta­ken notice. And thus a good Transla­tour is a good Enginer, since he ope­neth and [...]is [...]loseth the Mynes of the hidden, and goulden Treasure of other Mens learning.

And thus leauing thee to the perusing or rather meditating of this goulden Booke, If thou be Catholike, & reape any profit therby I intreat thy Prayers [Page 8] to God in my behalfe, for the remissiō of my infinite sinnes. This I speake not, by way of Ceremony, and for fashion sake, as it is often vsuall to di­uers in their Epistles Dedicatory to do; but most humbly & earnestly beseech of thee this fauour; & if it shall please his diuine Goodnes out of his boūd-les mercy, to call me (before thy death) to the most happy place of Eternal Fe­licity (of which this Booke intreateth) I will not there forget to requite this thy Charity shewed me.

Thine in Christ Iesus, A. [...].

The Preface of the Authour.

THE last yeare, I wrote a small Treatise (chiefly for my owne spirituall good) of the Ascending of the mynd to God, by consi­deration of certaine steps, or degrees of things created. Now, in that it hath pleased the diuine Maiesty, to draw out a little longer my feeble old age, it came into my thoughts, to make the Heauenly Citty (to the which all we Sonnes of Adam, who bewayling do inhabitate this Vale of mortality, do greedily seeke after) the subiect of my present meditations: and to cō ­mit the same to print, to the end they may not wholy perish. Therefore in the sacred Scriptures (which are, as it were, certaine Consolatory Epistles, sent from our Father in this our exile, [Page 10] or place of banishment) I fynd foure Names, by which the good and Feli­city of that place may in some sort be made knowne vnto vs.

The Names an these: A Paradise, a House, a Citty, a Kingdome, Of Para­dise S. Paul thus saith, 2. Cor. 12. Scio hominem in Christo &c. I know a man in Christ, aboue foureteene yeares ago, rapt euen to the third Hauen: And then a litle after: rapt into Paradise. And that we might not imagine, he spake of the earthly Paradise he did promise and set downe before those words; rapt euen to the third Heauen. Concer-a House, the Sonne of God himselfe thus speaketh: In my Fathers House, there be many Mansions, Ioan. 14. Tou­ching a Citty these be the wordes of the Apostle: You are come to the Citty of the liuing God, the heauenly Ierusa­lem. Hebr. 12. To conclude, of the Kingdome of Heauen, our Lord him­selfe thus in S. Matthew 5. Beatipau­peres spiritu &c. Blessed are the poore in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdome of Heauen: And no other name through out the whole body of the Scripture, is more frequently vsed, then this of the Kingdome of Heauen.

The Place of the Saints in Heauen is called a Paradise, because Heauen is a most pleasant place, abounding withall spirituall delicacies. But be­cause some Men may coniectu [...]e, that a Paradise is but a small Garden, pla­ced in some one corner of a House ca­pable to receaue but few Men; the Holy Ghost did adioyne in the Scrip­ture the Word & name of House, be­cause a Regall and Princely House is ac­customed to be a great Pallace, in which besides the Garden or Orchard, there are certaaine open Halls, or pla­ces of disport, diuers Chambers and roomes of repose and retirement, be­sides many others of different sort.

Now seeing a House (notwithstan­ding it be great) cannot containe ma­ny men; therefore, that wee should not thinke that they are but few, who belong to the Kingdome of Heauen, the Scripture doth annexe the Name of a Citty, which vsually comprehendeth in it selfe many Orchards, and many Pallaces of Pleasure. But seeing S. Iohn writeth in the Apocalyps 7. of the nū ­ber of the Blessed: Vidi turbam magnā &c. I saw a great multitude, which no man could number. And that there [Page 12] is no Citty, which is capable of an in­numerable multitude; therefore the Holy Scripture vseth the name of a Kingdome, and of the Kingdome of Heauen; then which place no other throughout the whole Vniuersity of things created, is more capacious.

But now againe, to shew other reasons in warrāt of the former foure different Appellations or Names. Be­cause in a most ample Kingdome, there are many Men, who neuer see nor know the Names of d uers inhabitāts of the same Kingdome; nor know not whether such Men are, or haue an Existence or Being; and also in that it is certaine, that all the Blessed doe see and know one another, and as friends conioyned in a strait bond of loue, do familiarly conuerse among themselues; therefore the Scripture, as not being content with the Name of a Kingdome, added the Name of a Citty; giuing vs to vnderstand thereby, that all those, who doe dwell in that (though most vast) Kingdome, are truly Citizens of the Saints, and are so conioyned in familiarity among themselues, as the Citizens of one small Citty are accustomed to be. And [Page 13] that we may be further instructed, that all those happy Men, are not on­ly the Citizens of the Saints, but also the domesticke friends of God, yea the Sonnes of God; therefore the same Holy Ghost, who had called it a Citty, calleth it also a House. To con­clude, in that all the Blessed in Hea­uen do enioy the same delights and pleasures in Heauen, therfore is that place, entituled by the Name of Para­dise. Thus these foure Wordes; to wit, a Kingdome, a Citty, a House, a Paradise do signify one and the same thing: And that Paradise heere men­tioned, is so spacious and large, as that it may be truly called a House, a Citty, a Kingdome.

Therefore I haue heere determined to commit to Print, whatsoeuer God sha [...]l vouchsafe to suggest and mini­ster to me (by way of meditation) in the secret Closet of my soule, of this most happy place. And this, first vn-the name of a Kingdome; next vnder the name of a Citty; then of a House; and lastly of Paradise. Towards the end of the discourse, I will subioyne six other Names (not of places, but of things) out of the Parables of our Lord▪ [Page 14] to wit, A Treasure hidden in a field; A precious Pearle or Margarite; The dayly Penny; The ioy of our Lord; A great supper; And a regall or Princely mariadge; As also two other Names out of the Apostle, which are, a Price or Reward, and a Crowne; so in all, there shalbe twelue distinct Conside­rations, by the which the Eternall Fe­licity of the Saints is described in the sacred Scriptures.

OF THE ETERNALL FELICITY OF THE SAINTS, Vnder the Name, or Title of the Kingdome of God. THE FIRST BOOKE.

Of the Amplitude, or largenesse of the Kingdome of God. CHAP. I.

OF what worth and dignity the doctrine of the King­dome of Heauen is, may partly be knowne, in that our Heauenly Maister did begin his Sermons to his Auditory frō those words of Matth. 4. De pennance, for the Kingdome of Heauen is at hand. And further, in that he made the [Page 16] Kingdome of Heauen, the Subiect of most of his Parables, saying (Matth. The Kingdome of Heauen is resembled &c. And after his Resurrection, in the time of those fourty dayes before his Ascension, ap­pearing to his Disciples, he discoursed of the Kingdome of Heauen, as S. Luke doth witnesse in the Acts of the Apo­stles. Therefore we see, the beginning progresse, and consummation or end of the speaches of Christ, were euer of the Kingdom of Heauē. Now we in this place will not vndertake to dispute of all points, touching the Kingdome of Heauen; but only so farre forth, as con­cernes the place and state of the Bles­sed Saints. And first, we will explicate, why the place and state of the Saints is named in the holy Scriptures, The Kingdome of Heauen.

Well then, the Habitation of the Saints for seuerall respects is entitled, The Kingdome of Heauen. First, be­cause Heauen is a most ample Region, and far more ample and large, then the narrow limits euen of Mans thought can comprehend. The whole Earth, which is but a Pricke or Point, in com­parison of the highest Heauen, doth [Page 17] containe so many, and so great King­domes, as that with difficulty they can be numbred. Of what immensenesse and huge Vastnesse then shall that Kingdome be, which is but one, and yet dispersed and spread throughout the whole latitude and breadth of the Heauen of Heauens? For the King­ [...]ome of Heauen doth not only containe through its owne capacity) the Cele­stiall Region, but also all this Vniuersity, [...]nd generall State of things, For that supercelestiall Region as I may tearme it, which is properly the Kingdome of Heauen is as it were the first Prouince of the Kingdome of God, in which the chiefe Princes (all which are the Sons of God) doe reside and dwell. The s [...] ­cond Prouince may be called Eternall; in which the Stars are seated. Which Starres, though they be inanimate, neuerthelesse they are so obedient and seruiceable to the will & beck of their Creatour as that they may be well said to haue life and sense, according to that of Ecclesiasticus: Come, and let vs adore the King, to whom all things do [...] liue.

The third Prouince is that of the Aire, wherein the Winds and Clouds, [Page 18] doe mooue to and fro: where also stormes, Raine, Snow, Hayle, and Thunder are ingendred; and in which the Birds of seuerall kindes doe liue and flie. The fourth Prouince is that [...]f the water, comprehending the Sea, Fountaines, Riuers & Lakes, in which the fishes are procreated, And which walke the paths of the Sea, Psal. 8. The [...]f Prouince is th [...]s of the Earth, which being (as it were) emulous of that of Heauen, is enriched with most noble Inhabitants, though not blessed, to wit, with men, indued with Reason, but yet mortall, and obnoxious to death; Who neuerthelesse haue do­minion of the beasts of the Earth, the birds of the Aire, and the fishes of the Sea.

The last Prouince is that, which may be called, subterranea, as being vnder the Earth; being (as it were) as other desert of Arabia, and producing no good fruits, but only thornes and bryars. In which the wicked Spirits do liue; who through their Pride deser­ued this punishment, and who aspi­ring to be the first, came thereby to be the last; And thus they endeauouring to aduance their Seates aboue the stars [Page 19] of heauen, were for such their attempt detruded from thence, and cast out to [...]he lowest Hell. And this place doth daily expect the arriuall of such Men, who (as being companions to the di­ [...]ells) wallow in all flagitious sinnes, [...]nd enormities; and who depart from the stage of this life without true re­pentance. All these seuerall Prouinces God doth hold within his Empire and Gouerment, according whereunto the Psalmist saith: All things doe serue thee. Psal. 118. All which most spatious Kingdomes God will communicate to such, as loue and serue him, as here­after we will shew.

Now, O Christian Soule, spread and dilate thy hart; suffer not thy selfe to be confined within the niggard and narrow boūds of things only that are present; why dost thou so incessantly sweat and toyle to obtaine some small part of this world, since if thou wilt, thou maist purchase it all? Certainly, if mortall men would with a serious and earnest thirst aspire to this King­dome, or would with mature reflexi­on of the soule, meditate thereon, they would euen blush to wage warre for any small, or narrow portion of [Page 20] the earth. God (O Man) offereth to thee the society and partage of his im­mense and eternall Kingdome; And thou for the defence or gaining of one little Towne; dost enter into warre and open hostility, by meanes whereof many rapines, bloudsheds, and other innumerable sinnes are committed: all which must iustly prouoke the King of Kings to wrath and indigna­tion. Where then is there any wis­dome in this thy proceeding? Where any iudgement, or true consideration? I speake not this, as if I were perswa­ded, it were vnlawfull for Christians to mooue warre in defence of their owne Townes and Citties; For I well know, that iust warres are maintained and allowed, not only by the holy Fa­thers (and particularly by S. Austin Ep. ad Marcel.) but also by S. Thomas (2.8. q. 40.) the chiefe of all Schoolemen. Yea the Precursour of our Lord (then whome not any was borne gteater of Women) Luc 3. admonisheth soul­diars, not that they should forsake a lawfull warre; but that, as being con­tent with their stipends and payes, should forbeare to wrong any man. And I my selfe in my Books of Contro­uersies [Page 21] of Religion. [...] defended law­ful warres: Therefore we [...] doe not [...]bsolutely forbid & di [...]a [...]low of warre, but we only exhort to that, which is more perfect, and (for the most part) more profitab [...]e, with the same inten­ [...]ion, with which Saint Paul speakech to the Corinthians cap. 6. It is a fault in you, that you haue iudgments among [...]ou: VVhy do you not rather take wrong? VVhy doe you not rather suffer fraud? And S. Iames in his Epistle (cap. 4.) From whence are warres & contentions [...]mong you? Are the not of your Concu­ [...]iscences, which warre in your mem­ [...]ers? You couet, and haue not; you kill [...]nd enuy, and cannot obtaine; you con­ [...]end, and warre, and you haue not, be­ [...]ause you aske not. Certainly, who is [...]ruly sollicitous of the Kingdome of Heauen would be little afflicted with [...]he losse of any one Towne or Citty; [...]ut rather would be desirous to vse [...]e mediation of others, for the com­ [...]ounding all depending Controuer­ [...]ies, without the calamities and dan­ [...]ers of warre. But let vs passe on for­ward.

Of the Concourse and Frequency of the Inhabitants in the Kingdome of God. CHAP. II.

THat supreme habitation is for [...] second respect called the Kingdom of God; to wit, because it containet [...] a greater multitude and diuersity of Inhabitants, within the capacity and largenesse of its owne Orbe, then any House or Citty, yea more then large & vast Kingdomes are accustomed to comprehend. For there is (as the A­postle speaketh in his Epistle to the Hebrewes cap. 22.) the entercourse of ma­ny thousand Angells. There is also a confluence of the Spirits and Soules of all iust and perfect men; vnder which number are comprized all those, who shall close vp their dayes of this life in the feare of our Lord, euen from the day of Abel the Iust, vntill the consum­mation of the world. Neither shall only the Spirits of lust men stay there after the ending of the world; but [Page 23] also their glorious bodyes, being reu­nited to their soules: All which and e­ [...]ery one of them shall shine (euen as the Sunne) in the Kingdome of their [...]ather, as our Lord assureth vs, Ma­ [...]hew 13.

Now, so much as appertaineth to the diuersity of the Angels, we during our [...]eregrination here vpon earth, are [...]carsely suffered to know any thing, [...]ut only their Names. For wee know out of the vision of Esay c. 6. that some of them are called Seraphims; [...]thers Cherubims out of the Prophet [...]zechiele, 28. others, Thrones, others Cominations; others, Principalities; [...]thers, Powers, from the Apostle to [...]he Colossians, c. 1. Others, Vertues, [...]rom the same Apostle to the Ephesi­ [...]ns, c. 1. Some, Archangels, from [...]he same Apostle 1. Thess. 4. and from [...]he Epistle of S. Iude. To conclude, others Angels, of whom most frequent mention is much celebrated in all the [...]acred Books of Scripture. From these [...]ifferent nine names and appellations, [...]he holy Doctors, with an vnanimous [...]onsent, doe proue, that there are nine different Orders of Angels, vnder [...]uery particular Order whereof many [Page 24] thousands of Angells are ranged, ac­cording to the words of Daniel, c. 7. Thousand of thousands ministred vnto him, and ten thousand hundred thou­sand assisted him: with whom Iob con­spireth, saying: Is there any number of his souldiers? And although the An­gells be doubtlesly most blessed, and shine with the splendour and bright­nesse of all vertues and diuine gifts; notwithstanding those are tearmed Se­raphims, who are more remarkable & preeminent for their ardour and zeale of Charity: Those Cherubims, who exceed in knowledge: Those Thrones, who enioy an ineffable and silent tran­quillity of Contemplation: Those Do­minations, to whome as to the Mini­sters and Deputies of the supreme Em­perour, the charge of this inferiour world is committed: Those Vertues, who at the command of God, are ex­ercised in the accomplishing of Signes and miracles: Those Powers, who haue the commandement and domination of the very powers of the vncleane Spirits: Those Principalities, who haue a soueraignty ouer the Kings and Princes of this world: Those Archan­gells, which are Adiutors and Assistors [Page 25] of the Prelates of the Church: Last­ly, those Angells, whose incumbency and charge is of euery particular man, whiles he liueth hereupon the Earth.

Neither are these seuerall Points sig­nified only by the seuerall Names of the Angels: but for more proofe ther­of, these very Names are certaine En­signes, or Images of Gods Omnipo­tency, or mirrours, wherein we may glasse his Puissance. For example; The Seraphims, as by a certaine marke, Image, or glasse, doe represent the infinit Charity of God, who moued only by the force of loue, did create the Angels themselues, men, and all other things; and being created, doth conserue them. The Cherubims by the like Standard, Image, or glasse, doe proclaime and shew the infinite wisdom of God, who hath ordained all things in number, weight, and measure. The Thrones doe in like manner demon­strate (as it were in a perfect Image) that secure Rest. which God sitting in his Throne doth enioy; Who not being moued, moueth and worketh all things; and resting in a continuall tran­quillity, doth dispose and gouerne all things. Dominations doe euen preach, [Page 26] that it is God, who truly and properly hath the full domination and gouer­ment ouer all Creatures; since it is in his power alone, eyther to conserue all things, or else to annihilate and re­duce them to nothing. The Vertues al­so doe signify, that it is God alone, who worketh mirabilia magna, great and stupendious wonders▪ and who hath reserued only to himselfe the power to renew or multiply at his pleasure such prodigious matters. The Powers by their name, doe figure out, how God is absolutely and truly Po­tent; to whom nothing is impossible, since in him alone all true Power doth reside. The Principalities doe import by their Enseigne, that God is the Prince of all Kings of the Earth, the King of Kings, and the Lord of all those who row at the oare of gouer­ment. The Archangells signify, that God is the true and supreme Prelate or President of all Churches. Briefely, the Angells doe manifest, that God is the true Father of Orphanes; And that although he hath bequeathed Angells, as Guardians to euery particular man; yet that himselfe is present to euery man, keepeth euery man, and pro­tecteth [Page 27] euery Man For that same Pro­phet who hath savd: He that giuen his Angels charge of thee, that they keep thee in all thy wayes, doth also intro­duce God thus speaking in the same place: VVith him I am in tribulation, I will deliuer him, I will glorify him. Psal. 90. And our Lord, who sa [...]d. Matt 18. Their Angels in Heauen al­wayes do see the face of my Father, who is in Heauen, sayd also Matt. 10. Are not two sparrows sould for a farthing, and not one of them shall fall vpon the ground, without your father? But the very hayres of your head are all num­bred; feare not therefore, better are you, then many sparrowes. And thus much of those few things, we know touching the Angels. If it please the [...]eader, he may peruse S. Bernard, frō whome I haue borrowed these few Points l. 5. de consider. To these nyne Orders of Angels, doth answere so great a multitude of Holy Men, as that no man (as we haue proued out of the Apocalyps) is able to number them: which multitude are also reduced to nyne Orders. For some are Patriarchs, some Prophets, some Apostles, Others Pastours and Doctours, Others Priests [Page 28] and Leuites, Others Monks, and Her­mites; To conclude, Others are holy Women, Virgins, Widowes, or those who haue continued till death in con­iugall State of Mariage.

And now, ô Christian Soule, I heere demaund of thee, how an ineffable Felicity shall it be, to interleague for all eternity with such holy Angels, and Saints? S. Ierome in his Epistle to Pau­linus, writeth; that many are accusto­med to trauayle into other forrayne Prouinces, to discourse with People of other Nations; as also to passe the ve­ry Seas, to the end, they might see and conuerse with such as were repu­ted most famous for learning and eru­dition. It is also recorded, 3. Reg 10. how the Queene of Saba came from the furthest parts of the Earth, to Sa­lomon; for the so great opinion, she had conceaued of his Wisdome. To one Antony (by profession of lyfe, a poore despicable Hermite) men of all parts, euen flocked, by reason of the report of his [...]anctity: yea Emperours themselues were ambitious of his friendship▪ and amity. What solace then wil [...] it be, no [...] only to see so great a confluence of Angels and most holy [Page 29] Men; but also dayly to conuerse and consociate with them, in most strict loue and participation of their felicity? If but one Angell should exhibite him­selfe in his full splendour to our sight now in our exile, who would not most willingly hasten to see him? What then will it be to behould all the An­gels togeather at one sight? And if any of the Prophets, Apostles, or Do­ctours of the Church should now des­cend from Heauen; with what a thir­stines of attention, would we, euen drinke vp his words and speaches? But in the Kingdome of heauen it shalbe lawfull for vs, to see and heare not only one, but all the Prophets, all the Apostles, all the Doctours, and to haue dayly intercourse and familiarity with them. How much doth one Sunne exhilerate & reioyce the whole Earth? What then will so many in­numerable Sunnes doe, being liuing Sunnes, vnderstanding Sunnes, and such as do make a continuall Iubiley in the Kingdome of God? I will euen vnbreast my selfe, and speake what I thinke; to wit, the consideration of this inward amity and familiarity with the Angels and holy Men (of which [Page 30] not any is foolish, not any wicked, but all most good, and most wise) is so pleasing and preuayling with me; as that it alone would seeme a most great happinesse; and for the obtaining only thereof, I would most willingly aban­done and shake hands for euer with all the comforts and delights of this world.

Of the true Monarchicall forme of the Kingdome of God. CHAP. III.

THe third reason, why that Cele­stiall habitation is called a King­dome, is, because in that Place is found the perfect forme of Gouerment. This is the difference betweene a Kingdome & a Cōmonwealth; whether the Cō ­monwealth consist of certaine and emi­nent men, or of the Communalty and more vulgar sort. To wit, that in a Kingdome all supreme Soueraignty is inuested in onely one; whereas in a Commonwealth it is shared and deui­ded among many. In these temporall Kingdoms of men, the supreme power [Page 31] doth not reside truly and properly in one man; For it may be, that a King without either the counsell or con­sent of others, may giue commande­ment, that such or such a thing shalbe done; but yet his directions cannot be put in execution, except his Subiects doe affoard their concurrency & aide. And often it so falleth out, that the King cannot command (at least dare not) the effecting of a thing, if so he stand in feare, to the multitude of his Subiects. For how many Kings and Emperours haue beene dethroned, whose authority the Sub [...]ects haue shaken off, and often with death to the said Kings and Emperours? Histo­ries are fraught with Examples of this subiect. Therefore that chiefe go­uerment in mortall Kings is languide and weake; since those Kings cannot performe any thing, or atcheiue any exploite, without the approbation, and allowance of the People. But the So­ueraignty of God, who alone is stiled (and truly is) The great King, hath no dependancy of any thing, but only of his owne VVill. The which his VVill (since it is Omnipotent) cannot brooke any resistance; neither standeth it in [Page 32] need of souldiers, warlike prouision, or any other endeauour out of it selfe.

And although God doth vse Angels, or Men, as also euen dead, and sense­lesse things, as his inferiour Ministers; yet this he doth not out of any necessi­ty, but because it so best pleaseth his diuine Will. For he, who without the ministeriall assistance of any, created only by the vertue of his VVord, Hea­uen, and Earth, and euery thing ther­in contained, and doth conserue them only by his VVill, may also no doubt gouerne all things so created, only by his owne imperiall dominion. Neither only is God said, most truly to rule, because supreme, or (as I may tearme it) superlatiue power remaineth in him alone; but also in that the chiefe mi­stery of gouerning is peculiar only to him. For God needeth not any Sena­tours, or others to consult withall. VVho hath knowne (saith S. Paul Rom. 11.) the mind of our Lord, or who hath beene his counsellour? And before the Apostle, Isay c. 40. thus contesteth the same, saying: VVho hath holpen the spirit of our Lord? Or who hath beene his counsellour, and shewed to him? VVith whom hath he taken counsell, and [Page 33] who hath instructed him, and taught him the path of Iustice, and taught him knowledge, and shewed him the way of Prudence? Therefore it followeth in­euitably from the Premisses, that a Monarchy (which is the best kind of gouerment) is not only found to bee in God; but it is found to be in him a­lone, true and perfect. For hee is not only formidable ouer all the Kings of the earth, as we reade, Psal. 75. but also is a most Maiesticall King ouer all the Gods, as is said againe in Psalm 94. For there are certaine false Gods, who are rather to bee called diuells, according to that of the Prophet: The Gods of the Gentils are diuells: Psal. 95. There are also other Gods by par­ticipation, as the Kings of the Earth, and the Angells of Heauen are, for we reade: Psal. 81. I haue said, you are Gods. But all these Gods stand subiect and obedient to that one ouerruling God, who reigneth in Heauen.

The refore it necessarily followeth from what is aboue said, that, that King is truly a King, and most puissant, whom Nabuchodonosor, that fastigious King of Babylon, (after his pride was iustly punished) in these words fully [Page 34] acknowledgeth: Dan. 4. Therefore after the end of the daies, I Nabucodonosor lifted vp mine eyes to Heauen, and blessed the Highest, and praysed him for euer, because his power is an euerlasting Power, and his Kingdome in gene­ration to generation. And all the Inha­bitants of the earth are reputed with him for nothing: for he doeth according to his will, as well in the Powers of Heauen, as in: he Inhabitants of the earth And there is none, that can resist hi [...] hand, and say to him: VVhy didst tho [...] it? &c. Now therefore I Nabuchodono­sor prayse, and magnify, and glorif [...] the King of Heauen, because all hi [...] VVorks are true, and his wayes Iudgements, and them that walke in pride, he can humble

Thus K [...]ng Nabuchodonosor confessed of himself: who may be an exāple to all others, that they doe humble and prostrate themselues, vnder the power­full hand of God, as S Peter admoni­sheth; And that they stand more pre­pared to serue the King of Kings, there­by to deserue his beneuolence and fa­uour, then through pride and cl [...]tio [...] of heart, to resist his Wi [...]l, by which their course, they are in the end forced [Page 35] to suffer condigne punishments vn­der his most rigorous hand, accord [...]ng to their iust deserts.

That all the Blessed in Heauen are Kings. CHAP. IV.

THE fourth and most principall reason why the place and state of the Blessed may be called the King­dome of Heauen, is, because all the Blessed in Heauen are Kings, and in that, all the conditions of Regall Au­thority doe most aptly agree to them. For although all the Saints in Heauen doe serue and obey God, as is said in the Apocalyps c. 22. yet with all, they gouerne and rule. For whereas, it is sayd: in the same place his seruants shall serue him; it is also there sayd: And they shall reigne for euer and euer. Neyther only doe all the B [...]essed serue togeather, and rule togeather; but withall they may be tearmed both Seruants and Sonnes; for thus God speaketh in the Apocalyps cap. 21 They [Page 36] who shall ouercome, shall possesse these things &c And I will be his God, & he shalbe my Sonne. Thus therfore, as the same Saints may be said to be Seruāts Sonnes; so, also may they be sayd to be Seruants and Kings They are Ser­uanes in that they are created of God, and do owe all obedience and vassala­ge vnto him, of whome they receaue them Being, lyfe, and other thinges for nothing created is excepted out o [...] this homage, euen by the testimony of Dauid, saying: All things do seru [...] thee, Psal. 118. They may be also called the Sonnes of God, because the [...] receaue their regeneration from God by water, and the Holy Ghost. Finally they are Kings, since Regal [...] Powe [...] and Dignity is communicated vnt [...] them by the King of Kings, who euer in th [...]s respect is styled in the Apoca­lyps cap. 19. The King of Kings, an [...] Lord of Lords.

Perhaps it may be heere vrged, that it is not repugnāt, that one & the same man should be a temporall King, and withall a Seruant of God; as it i [...] said accordingly in the 2. Psalme: An [...] now your Kings vnderstād, take instru­ctiō you that iudge the earth. But to be [Page 37] King of the Kingdome of Heauen, and withall to be a seruant of the King of Heauen, seeme to be incompatible togeather. How then can a man ap­prehend this difficu [...]ty, or belieue it? [...] answere, notwithstanding it is so, [...]nd facile to fayth both to conceaue, and to belieue it. Therefore the Iust [...]n the Kingdome of Heauen, shall a [...]so be Kings of the Kingdom of Heauen, because they shall participate of that Regall Dignity and power, as also of the spiritual riches & a [...]l other goods which are in the Kingdome of Heauen. The Verity of which point the Holy Ghost contesteth in three places of Scripture: One is, in the Ghospe [...]l of S. Matthew cap. 5. Blessed are the poore in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdome of Heauen. Another in the same Ghos­pell, cap. 15. Come yee blessed of my Father; possesse the Kingdome prepared for you, from the beginning of the VVorld. The third is in the Apocalyps cap. 3. He that shall ouercome, I will giue vnto him, to sit with me, in my throne, as I haue also ouercome, & haue sitten with my Father in his throne. What can be more clearely spoken, then this? We haue heare the King­dome [Page 38] of God prom [...]sed to vs; we haue the possession of the same Kingdome, assigned to vs in the day of Iudgment; We haue granted to vs seates in the Regall Throne of the Sonne of God, & of his Father the Eternall King. And what other thing is all this, then the participation of the same King­dome of Heauen, which God posses­seth from all Eternity?

We may heer adioyne the testimo­ny of S. Paul 2. Tim. 2. saying: If we shall sustaine, we shall reigne togea­ther. And of S. Iohn in the beginning of the Apocalyps: and of S. Iames in his Epistle c. 2 thus writing: God hath chosen the poore of this world, rich in fayth, and heyres of the Kingdom, which God hath promised to them that loue him. Neyther are we to feare, that be­cause the Kingdome of Heauen is com­municated to many, and almost innu­merable Angels and men, it is there­fore diminished or lessened; Since the Kingdom of Heauē [...]s not lyke to earth­ly Kingdomes which cannot brooke any corriualls, or participation; but if they be deuided, by diuision they are euer made lesse; and in the end are brought to nothing: I say, the King­dome [Page 39] of Heauen beareth no proportion [...] lyknes to these but being whole, it is entirely possessed of all; as a so be­ing whole▪ it is entirely possessed of e [...]ery particular. Euen as [...]he Sunne [...]s wholy seene of all men, and wholy [...]ene of euery particu [...]ar Man; And i [...] selfe doth no lesse [...]eate and illumi­n [...]e ech particular Man, then a l Men. Which [...]oint shalbe more clearely [...]l­l [...]trated in our explication of the G [...]ods of the K ngdome of Heauen. But now before we are heere to assi­gne the cond [...]tions and qualities, re­quired to be [...]n Kings; that no Man may re [...]t doubtfull, but that the Bles­sed Saints in Heauen are iustly called Kings, and Kings euen of Heauen.

There are two qualities, with which kings ought necessarily to be inuested: T [...] wit, VVisdome and Iustice. But with Wisdome the Scripture doth ioyne P [...]dence, Councell, & all other things [...]onging to Intelligence; with Iustice [...]ngeth Mercy, Clemency, and the [...] of the Vertues which do beauti­ [...] [...]nd perfect the VVill. Wisdome [...]efore is required, that a King may [...]w, how to gouerne his Subiects; [...]ice, how to gouerne them well. And [Page 40] according heerto, Salomon being ad­monished from God in the beginning of his Reigne, that he should demand, what he most desired, he demaunded Wisdome, which is the Queene of all good qualities, necessarily required in Kings; And this his pet [...]tion was so pleasing vnto God, as appeareth out of the third booke of Kings, that it was granted vnto him, as he desired. I could haue wished, he had demaunded also Iustice; for then perhaps he had not precipitated and cast himselfe into so many crimes, and sinnes, as afterward he did. But with more iudgement did Dauid pray for the good and prosperi­ty of his Sonne Salomon, in those words of the 71. Psalme, O God giue thy iudgment to the King, and thy Iu­stice to the Sonne of the King. In which words he may be thought to haue for­seene, that Salomon would aske for Wisdome; and that therefore himselfe prayed that Iustice & Iudgment might be giuen also to his Sonne; the which without Wisdome [...]annot be; wheras Wisdome (at [...]east s [...]ming and imper­fect) may be with out Iustice. In lyke sort, the Booke of Wisdome, which was principally written for the eru­dition [Page 41] and instruction of Kings, thus speaketh vnto them: Diligite Iustitiā, qui iudicatis terram &c. Sap 1. and it beginneth at the vertue of Iustice, because that alone and of its owne na­ture is not only necessary to Kings, but it is also a dispositiō to Wisdom [...]; for a litle after followeth; Because wisdome will not enter into a malitious soule. To conclude, pretermitting other testimo­nies, Ieremy prophesying of Christ the eternall King thus sayth: cap. 23. Behould the dayes do come (sayth our Lord) and I will rayse vp Dauid, a iust branch, and he shall reigne a King, and shalbe wife, and shall do iudgment and Iustice in the earth. From all this then it ineuitably followeth; that Wisdome and Iustice are the endowments▪ chie­fly required Kings.

That all the Blessed in Heauen (though many of thē perhaps▪ whiles they liued heere vpon earth; were but ignorant persons) do excell in Wisdom and Iustice, so as they may deseruedly be Kings of any K ngdome, is so eui­dent, that it can admit no contrad [...] ­ction: since there is not any one of the Blessed in Heauen, who doth not see the Essence of God, which is the first [Page 42] Cause of all things, and consequently, he draweth so much Wisdome out of that fountaine of increated Wisdome, as that neyther Salomon, not any other Mortall man euer had in lyke degree, our Lord Iesus Christ only excepted, who euen in the tyme of his mortali­ty did see God, and in whome were all the Treasures of Wisdom & know­ledge of God. Now, to the measure of Wisdome in all the Saints, is giuen a proportionable measure of Iustice; so as for the tyme after, neyther haue they a desire to sinne, neither can they sinne. For thus S. Austine speaketh hereof (de grat. & cor. cap. 12.) Prima libertas voluntatis &c. The first liberty of the will, was to haue power not to sinne: but the last liberty of the will shalbe farre greater, it being not to haue power to sinne. And who cannot sinne, cannot therefore become vniust. And since Charity is perfect, therefore Iu­stice is also perfect. And accordingly S. Austin affirmeth that he, who cā ­not loue God but w [...]th a supreme & perfect loue, cannot also but possesse supreme and perfect Iustice. They al­so who behould God their supreme, pure, and infinite Good, cannot diuert [Page 43] their eyes from him, neither can they but prosecute him euer with most ar­dent and burning Affection. From whence it is euicted, that all the Saints in Heauen are perfectly wyse, and per­fectly Iust; and are therefore most apt euer to reigne as Kings.

Now raise thy selfe vp, O Christian Soule, and ascend in spirit, as much as thou canst, and meditate, how great a felicity it is to reigne with God, and penetrate with the Wings of contē ­plation the very Heauens, & behould that sublime Throne, of which our Sauiour speaketh: Apoc. 3. He that shall ouercome, I will giue vnto him to sit with me, in my throne. O how in­effable a glory will it be for a Soule in the presence of an infinite multitude of Angells, to be placed in the Throne or seate it selfe of Christ, and God? And to be proclaimed by the iust iudg­ment of God, as conquerour ouer the World, ouer the gouernours or Lords of the world, and ouer all the inuisible Powers? And with how much ioy sh [...]ll that Soule exult, when she shall perceaue her to be freed of all danger and labour, and to triumph most hap­pily ouer all her enemies? And what [Page 44] is left more that she can defir whē she shall be made partaker of all the goods of her Lord and Creatour; yea euen to the par [...]icipation of his own Throne and Kingdome? O, with what alacri­ty doe those Men fight heere vpon Earth, and how easily doe they tole­rate and vndergoe all aduersities for Christ, who with a vigorous faith, and erected hope, behould with the eye of the vnderstanding, such magnificent and supreme honours in Heauen!

Of the goods of the Kingdome of God. CHAP. V.

THe fift reason of calling the hap­pinesse of the Saints, the King­dome of Heauen, may be taken from the similitude and resemblance of the Saints liuing in Heauen, to the goods, which terrene Kings do enioy: though those of Heauen doe so much ouer-ballance these of the earth, and are greater then they, by how much Hea­uen is more worthy and noble then [Page 45] the Earth. Therefore the Kingdome prepared for the blessed, is not simply, a Kingdome, but is called for more ful­nesse of speach, the Kingdome of Hea­uen; that thereby we may be instru­cted, that the like proportion here is of goods, to goods which is of the Earth to Heauen; that is, of a thing in it selfe narrow, base, sordid, tempo­rary, to that, which is most ample, most high, most noble, and (which is the chiefest) eternall and euerlasting.

The goods of a terrene Kingdome are accounted these, to wit, Power, Honour, Riches, Pleasures. A tempo­rall King may commaund ouer his su­bi [...]cts, & if they be found disobedient or stiffe-necked, he may punish them with bonds, imprisonment, banish­ment, penalty of money, whipping, or euen with death. And hence it is, that Kings become feareful to their Subiects, and are reputed (as it were) certaine Gods. Againe, Kings wilbe honored with a certaine height of ve­neration and worship, almost trans­cending mans Nature; for they expect the bowing of the knee; neither will they oftē vouchsafe to heare their Su­biects speake but with a submisse and [Page 46] humble coūtenance, and deportement of body: and if they passe through the streets, they looke that all men should go backe and giue them the way. A­gaine, kings couet to haue a most co­pious and rich Treasury, replenished with gould ane siluer: neither do they number their reuenews by hundreds or thousands, but by ten hūdred thou­sands; & this not without iust reason, since they are not to mantayne ten or twēty seruants, or followers, but great & powerfull armyes of soldiers against their enemies. Lastly, they are not content to recreate themselues, with accustomed sports, but they hould it as necessary to the splendour of their greatnes & maiesty to wast many poūds of gould and siluer, in banqueting, hū ­ting, and in publike shewes and sights. And these things aboue rehearsed are the sole goods almost belonging to tē ­porall Princes: which goods haue this one thing incident to them all; that is, that they are but momentary & fading beginning at the birth of the Princes, and ending with their death, except perhaps it may fall so out, that the lyfe of the Kings be of longer conti­nuance then their Reigne.

Furthermore these goods are not pure, but are accompanyed with their [...]tings. Thus power is oftentymes bal­lanced with infirmity and weakenes: Honour with ignominy: Riches with Pou [...]rty; and Ioy with griefe and la­mentation. True it is, that Regall Do­minion is such, as that the People do depend vpon the least intimation or signification of the King his mynd; yet this his power is mixed with infirmity since the Prince resteth vpon the strength and courage of his people. For what can the command of a Prince eyther in beseiging or defending a Citty effect, if his subiects eyther be not able, or not willing to encounter the Enemy? Neyther doth the autho­rity of the Prince rest only vpon the strength of his Subiects, but also in the walles of the Citty, of the Tren­ches; of weapons, of miliitary strata­gems, and of Money, which is vsual­ly called, the Sinew of Warre. There­fore the people rest at the commaund of the Prince; and are subiect to one man; But the Prince relyeth vpon the Wills of many Men, as also vpon di­uers other things, in all which he is forced in some sort to be seruiceable.

To conclude, it is in the Power of the King to chastize his subiects with bonds, imprisonment, banishment, yea with death: notwithstanding the King himselfe (I speake what actually may be done, not what by right ought to be done) lyeth open to bonds, im­prisonment, banishment, wounds, & death. The truth of this point is pro­ued from the pittifull examples of Iu­lius Caesar, Caius, Nero, Galba, Vitel­lius, Domitian, Commodus, Helioga­balus, and from diuers others. Ney­ther do these wicked Princes, but such as haue beene of great modesty and moderation in their comportement, witnes the same; as Alexander Mam­mēa, Gordianus the yonger, Pertinax, Tacitus, Numerianus Probus, Gratia­nus, Valentinianus the second. I could insist also in such Princes, which haue beene most remarkable for piety and Sanctimony of lyfe; as S. Edward, King of England, S. Wenceslaus, duke of Bohemia, S. Sigismundus King of Burgandy, S. Canutus King of Den­mark, and some others.

In this next place let vs discourse of Honour. Kings indeede in their owne presence, and in the presence [Page 49] of others, are much reuerenced; but in their absence they are often slaun­dered, and their Honours turne a­ [...]under with contumelious Inuectiues. In like sort in their owne presence, [...]hey are much flattered by such their Sycophants, who secretly beare to them a great contempt, and inward hatred. And if account should be ta­ken both of such, as extoll them in prayse, and of others their detractours, these later would be found far more in number. Therfore doubtlesly the glory of Kings is for the most part lesse, then their ignominy; since those who in the presence of a King, do ho­nour him, are but few; whereas the absent are many, of which some doe taxe the King with sordide auarice, some with cruelty, others with luxu­ry, and others with other vices.

To descend to riches. Perhaps some may thinke, that Kings haue no mix­ture of Pouerty adioyned to their ri­ches. Nothing lesse. For no men are found to be more wanting, and poore then Kings. They haue indeed great reuenewes and treasure, but withall they often are indebted more they their Treasure can discharge. And that [Page 50] man is not so poore who hath litle, as he who desireth much, because he wanteth much. And is it not a great argument of Pouerty, for Kings to ex­tort farthings or halfpēnies from their Subiects, being poore, since they ex­act small customes or payments of all those, who sell things necessary for mans sustenance and prouision? I speake not this, as reprehending such exactions, fot I well know that Kings may iustly require these Tributs, ac­cording to those words of the Apostle, in his Epistle to the Romans cap. 13. Be subiect not only for wrath, but for con­science; therefore giue you Tributs also, for they are the Ministers of God &c. Render therefore to all men their due; to whome tribute, tribute; to whome cu­stome, custome. Onely my intention heere, is to paint out the miserable state of mortall Kings; who of neces­sity are to abound with great affluence of riches, and yet are forced to gather no small part thereof from poore and needy men.

But now in this place what shal we say of the pleasures and delicacies, which Kings enioy? Kinges indeed haue their gardens, their bowers, their [Page 51] Orchards, most sumptuous tables of meate, their hunting sportes, their theaters, and other such pleasures for their recreation; but these are often attended on with the goute, the griefe or paine of the stom [...]ke, or Head, and (which is more violent) with most grieuous solicitude and cares of the mynd, which not seldome do depriue them of their nightly rest: such are sus­picious, feares, augours &c. Thus if their Bedchamber dore doe but open, or make the least noyse in the night, they instantly suspect treachery and treason. If newes be brought them, that there is seene a multude of armed men togeather, they feare a combi­nation of their Subiects against them. Thus▪ is there made a compound of their ioyes and griefs, of their repose and disquietnesse; which hath beene the Motiue, why diuers Kings, aban­doning all domination and Rule, haue finally chosē to liue vnder the hatches of a priuate lyfe.

But let vs heare S. Chrysostome, who discourseth of the Emperours of his tyme in these words, hom. 66. ad pop. Antioch. Ne diadema respicias, sed curarum tempestacem; neque purpuram [Page 52] intuere &c. Do not so much cast thy eye vpon the diademe or Crowne of Kings, as vpon the storme of their Ca­res; neyther behould the Purple garmēt and Robe, but the Soule and mynd, more blacke then the Purple. The Crowne doth no more incompasse the Head, then Care doth the mynd, Neyther thinke thou of the great company and traine of Officers and Attendants, but of the mul­titude of troubles. For thou shalt [...]ot find a priuate house so replenished with cares, as Kings Pallaces are. For in the day tyme death is feared, in the night the very soule seemes to leape out of the body, through apprehension of terrours. And these thinges happen in tyme of Peace. But if the trumpet be once soun­ded, and that VVarres rush on, what lyfe is more miserable, then the lyfe of Kings? How many dangers doe their fa­miliars and subiects threaten to them? For the very pauement and stones of Kings Courts doe euen flow with the bloud of their owne friends and kinred. This will be fully acknowledged, if I doe insist in some examples both of former times, and of our dayes.

This King (for example) hauing a [Page 53] wife suspected of Adultery, did tye her naked, leauing her to bee deuoured of beasts in the mountaines, though she became mother of many Princes. Now what kind of life may wee thinke this man did liue? For hee would neuer haue burst out into so great a reuenge, had he enioyed the true vse of Iudgment. This other Prince did throtle to death his owne Sonne. This third being suprised by his enemy, became his owne Homi­cide. Another muthered his owne Ne­phew, being Competitour to the Crowne. The fifth is reported to haue depriued his owne Brother of life. Another ended his life by taking Physicke being impoy­soned; and the eye of his Sonne was pul­led out, for the preuenting of future dangers, when as yet he had committed no wrong. The next Emperour (as a Man, breathing only misery and infe­licity) was burned with his horses, wa­gons, and other his furniture. VVords light short to expresse the calamities which the next Prince to the former, was forced to suffer. And as for this Empe­rour that now reigneth, is it not most euident, that after hee was crowned with the Diademe, he spent no short [Page 54] time in labours, in dangers, in disconso­lation, and secret endeauours? At non talis Caelorum Regia; but such is not the Court or Kingdome of Heauen.

Thus farre S. Chrysostome. Who how truly he concluded, what wee shall now relate, will fully proue. For it is certaine, that the Kings of the Kingdome of Heauen (and such are all the blessed, who doe liue with God) haue Power without weaknes, honour without ignominy, riches without Po­uerry, and pleasure without griefe. For of them it is said in the 90. Psalme: There shall no euill come to thee, and scourge shall not approach to thy Taber­nacle. And in the Apocalyps cap. 21. And God shall wipe away all teares from cheir eyes, and there shall bee no more death, neither sorrow, neither cry­ing, neither shall there be any more paine. Therefore the power of those celestiall Kings is most great, their im­becillity and weaknes none.

Wee reade in the 4. of Kings, that one Angell without any military for­ces, without any artillery, or svvords or launces did kill at one blow a hun­dred eighty thousand of Assyrians; neither did the Angell feare to receaue [Page 55] any wound from them. S. Gregory re­lateth in his third booke of Dialogues, cap. 36. how a holy man being assaul­ted by a bloody and mercilesse fellow, with his arme stretched out, and a na­ked sword in his hand, instantly cried out: O Saint Iohn, hould him, And presently thereupon his hand did grow stiffe, so as hee could not mooue it. Therefore Saint Iohn, did heare the prayer of his Client from Heauen; and with such celerity did punish that wicked Man, as that it preuented the blow, being already begun to be giuen. Such is the power of Celestiall Kings, as that neither almost an infinite di­stance of place, nor the solitarines of one poore iust man, nor the multitude of armed men, could hinder S. Iohn, from deliuering his Suppliant from imminent death. Infinite other ex­amples l [...]ke to this might be produ­ced.

Now concerning the Honour of those Kings of Heauen, it is so glorious, and great, as that not only the godly and vertuous, but euen the wicked, yea the very Diuells doe reuerence and giue veneration to them. Many doe contemne, and be trample vpon vertu­ous [Page 56] and holy men here liuing vpon the earth; whome, after that they be translated to Heauen & their sanctimo­ny celebrated by the publicke suffrage and decree of the Church, the former men doe worship and honour. And the Diuells themselues doe reuerence and feare the relicks and Images of such holy Saints in Heauen, whome whiles they liued in flesh, they vexed with their temptations; yea often times with stripes & blowes, through the permission of God.

What shall I say of the Riches of these Heauenly Kings? Their chiefest riches is to want nothing, since God to them is, All in al, 1. Cor. 15. for he is not rich, who possesseth many things, but he who desireth nothing, since he wāteth nothing. For it is the mynd, which maketh a man to be rich not his stored chests or coffers. We may add heerto, that Heauen and eatth, and what is therein contayned, belong to the riches of the Saints: for what do not they possesse, who are, the heyres of God, the coheyres of Christ? Rom. 8. And whome, the Father will consti­tute, the heyres of all things. Heb. 1.

There now remayneth to speake of [Page 57] Pleasure. Certainly the pleasure, which the celestiall Kings enioy, is most pure and cleare, not contaminated with any drosse of griefe or dolour. For we haue aboue learned out of the Apocalyps c. 21. that God shall wype away euery teare from their eyes, and that they shall not suffer any more lamentation. But touching Pleasure, we shal enlarge our selues more in discourse hereafter when we treate of Paradise. Now it is euident from what we haue aboue de­liuered, that the goods of the King­dome of Heauen shalbe common to all the Saints and Blessed; and that they are of that worth, as that they cannot brooke any comparison, with the goods of this world; especially since all terrene goods are temporary: but celestiall goods, euerlasting.


How much earthly Kingdomes are prized by Men; and how much the Kingdome of Hea­uen ought to be esteemed. CHAP. VI.

NOw let vs a little obserue, with what vehemency and heate of endeauour are earthly Kingdomes de­sired and sought after by men, though they be vncertaine, small in their own nature, and euen fraught with infi­nite feare and sollicitudes; that from thence we may gather, with what a thirsty desire & ardour the Kingdome of Heauen ought to be sought after. The greedines of Domination & Rule doth incomparably exceed all other humane desires: Since a Kingdome is not one only particular good, but it is a massing or heaping togeather of all the goods, which may be desired of men. For there is Power, Honour, Ri­ches, pleasure, as is aboue sayd. There also is found a liberty of liuing after ones owne will; which is incident & gratefull not only to men, but also to [Page 59] beasts. There is also a supereminency, and (as it were) a certaine Diuinity in respect whereof Kings haue no Equals in the Kingdome, but are aboue all, command all, and are worshipped of all. And hence it riseth, that when Kings wil promise any thing of great­nes, they are often accustomed out of a glorious boasting of their owne su­blimity and height, to promise the halfe of their Kingdome.

Thus we read of Assuerus, in Hester cap. 5. VVhat dost thou desire to be giuen thee &c. Though thou aske the halfe of my Kingdome, thou shalt obtaine. And in lyke fort of Herod to the daughter of Herodias Mar. 6. VVhatsoeuer thou askest, I will giue thee, though the halfe of my Kingdome. And from this groūd it riseth, that for the obtayning of a Kingdome, men hould it lawfull to peruert all lawes and right: neyther do they thinke any thing so sacred and holy, which they may not violate to satisfy their thirst of raigning.

Ninus was the first Man, who pro­uoked his friends and neighbours by vniust warres; that by that meanes (whether right or wrong) he might enlarge his Empire, as S▪ Austin rela­teth [Page 60] out of Iustin. lib. 4. de Ciuit. c. 6. Maximinus the Thracian hauing rece­aued many and great benefits from A­lexander the Emperour; notwithstan­ding caused him to be slayne by his owne Souldiers, that therby he might succeed in the Empyre The lyke fa­cinorous and vnheard of act did Philip of Arabia commit vpon Gordianus his Lord and Emperour. Neither this vn­quenchable lust of raigning hath cau­sed men to wash their hands in the bloud only of their Neighbours and Benefactours, but also of their Bre­thren, Nephews, yea their owne Fa­ther. Romulus killed Remus his brother, and Caracalla, Geta his brother, and both through desire of raigning. Atha­lia depriued of lyfe all the nephews of Ochozias King, that herselfe might after gouerne the sterne, as we read in the 4. Booke of Kings cap. 11.

Thus we see, that this greedines of Soueraingty inciteth not only men, but euen women, to commit most fla­gitious crymes, Sinochus (the Persian) procured the murdering of Cosdroas his Father, and Medarses his brother, that himselfe alone might sway the Gouernment. Yea which is more, the [Page 61] Mother of Nero hauing receaued ans­were from the Astrologers, that the Sonne should reigne, but the mother should perish, is reported to haue said, Interimat, dum imperet, Let Nero be the cause of my death, so that himself may raigne: So much did this ambi­tious Woman affect, that her Sonne should gouerne, as that in respect ther­of she nothing pryzed her owne lyfe.

Neyther doth this insatiable honger of raygning and gouerning make In­iustice only to seeme iust, and ouer­come the loue vvhich men vse to beare to Brethren, Nephews, and Parents; but withall it maintayneth, that euen any religious oath is to be violated for that end; which act of Religion was euer houlden most sacred in all Coun­tryes, and was thought most fit to be kept euen by the most fierce and cruell Souldiers though with dangers of life. And according to this (if we may be­lieue Cicero) Iulius Caesar had euer in his mouth those verses of Euripides: Si iusiurandum violandum est, regnandi causa violandum est; in caeteris pieta­tem colas. If an Oath be to be broken, it is to be broken for gouernment sake: in other respects thou oughtst to keep [Page 62] it religiously. Cic. l. 3. de Off. I pre­termit infinit examples, demonstra­ting that in all ages nothing hath been so much esteemed, as a Kingdome, though the Kings do not raigne long, and though the Kingdomes also do in a short tyme come to vtter ruine and dissolution; whereas the Kingdome of the Saints in Heauen shalbe establi­shed for all Eternity. Heare the Pro­phet Daniel of this point, say, cap. 2. In these dayes of those Kingdomes, the God of Heauen will raise vp a King­dome, that shall not be dissipated for euer; and his Kingdome shall not be de­liuered vp to another People; and it shal breake in peeces and consume all other Kingdomes, and it selfe shall stand for euer. This Prophesy is to be accom­plished in the consummation, and end of the world: at what tyme, not only greater monarchies; but also lesser Kingdomes, and Magistracies, and power of temporall Princes shall va­nish away, and resolue to smoake; & the Kingdome of Christ and his Saints shall remaine euerlasting, according to that of the Angell: Et regni eius non erit finis: and of his Kingdome there shallbe no end, Luc. 1.

Now if a Kingdome, which is to continue but for a moment; which of its one Nature is weake and vncertai­ne; which belongeth but to few; and which standeth obnoxious and subiect to many anxieties and troubles, be so [...]rdently loued and sought after, be to be preferred before all other things; yea to be acquired and obtained by slaughter, and great effusion of bloud: what is then the cause, why so few do loue the Kingdome of Heauen, but most negligently, and carelesly doe sleight it? And neuerthelesse it is eui­dent (if we belieue the Sacred Scrip­tures) that this Kingdome of Heauen lyeth open to all men; that the getting thereof may be had without suffering of blowes, or sheeding of bloud, and that it incōparably surpasseth all earth­ly Kingdomes?

If I should say to one; Contemne a whole Kingdome, that thou maist ob­taine a litle field, or vineyard, thou wouldest deseruedly eyther laugh, or wonder at me. But when I say, or ra­ther God sayth: Contemne a small earthly Kingdome, and seeke after [...] most precious, great, and eternall Kingdome; the which thou mayst pur­chase [Page 64] (if thou wilt) through the grace of God, which will neuer be wanting; why dost thou not raise vp thy spirits both for the desiring and gayning of it? Doubtlesly I cannot conceaue, what may be answered heerto, but that the glory of an earthly Kingdome as being present to the eye, may be (as it were) touched with the hand; whereas the Kingdome of Heauen cannot be seene, cannot be touched, nor scarse appre­hended by Fayth. This indeed is true; notwithstanding if a man will seriou­sly and intensly consider, what force and efficacy the Verity, Antiquity, Sin­cerity and grauity of the sacred Scrip­ture enioyeth, and how perspicuously, and cleerly the sayd Diuine VVrit spea­keth of this poynt; and how great a cloude of witnesses during already so many ages, not only with miracles, but euen with bloud, haue confirmed the authority of the sayd diuine wri­tings; doubtlesly he cannot but burst out with the Prophet, and say: Thy testimonyes (O Lord) are made ouer much credible. Psal. 98.

Wherefore we may conclude, that it is not the obscurity and darknes of Fayth, which withdrawes vs from see­king [Page 65] after the Kingdome of Heauen; but it is because our mynds are wholy absorpt in exteriour things, and bur­dened with the weight of custome; & therefore we do not take sufficient tyme and leasure to meditate and pon­der of such things as conduce to our Soules good, neyther do we (accor­ding to the counsell of our Lord, Mat. 6.) enter into the closet of our hart, and the dore being shut, we do not euen besiege God with our feruerous prayers, that in so great and wayghty [...] busines he would assist vs. Certainty [...]f once laying a syde all care of inferi­our and lesser matters, we would seri­ously and with due preparation take into our thought, what the Kingdome of Heauen is, and how easily, & cer­tainly it might be obtayned; and what infinite disparity there is betweene things euerlasting and temporall, be­tweene matters of greatest weight, and trifles; and briefly betweene the Kingdome of Heauen & earthly King­doms; without doubt so great a con­tempt of temporall Thrones, Crow­nes, and Scepters, would be ingen­dred in vs; and on the contrary, so ardent a desire of celestiall affayres [Page 66] would so inflame vs, as that we should without difficulty, yea with much ease and facility, bestow all our labour and diligence in pursuite of the King­dome of Heauen; to the which, as to one true and last end we are made by our Creatour.

The first path-way, or Tract, lea­ding to the Kingdome of God. CHAP. VII.

HEre we are now to know, what is necessarily to be done, that we may arriue to the most desired, and most happy Kingdome of Heauen. But to know this, is no great difficulty, since the King of Heauen himselfe to teach vs the same, did descend to the Earth; And being become our Master and Captaine, setteth before vs foure chiefe, and most safe wayes thereun­to. Of these the first is contayned in those words of Mat. 6. Seeke first the Kingdome of God, & the Iustice of him, and all these things shallbe giuen to you.

Morall doctrine beginneth from the end; our End is the Kingdome of God; which Kingdome shalbe ours, if so we [Page 67] will walke in that path, wherein our Captaine walked. Also the Iustice of the Kingdome of God is (as it were) [...]he scope, or marke, whereat we [...]re to [...]euell, if so we desire to enioy [...]he reward of the Kingdom of Heauen, For as Cassianus rightly teacheth, col. [...]. cap. 2. The End is one thing; the scope an other thing. The Scope is a signe or marke, vnto which arrowes [...]re directed in shooting; But the End, is the reward which those do take, who haue shot more neere the scope, or marke. In lyke manner, the Scope, of our Actions propounded by God, is [...]ustice; the Reward of those, who ob­ [...]aine this marke is the Kingdome of Heauen. But the Iustice of the King­dome of God, is not the Iustice of the Scribes and Pharisies, which was pla­ced in the externall obseruation of [...]he Preceps: Neyther it is the Iu­ [...]ice of the Philosophers, which did [...]ot transcend the light of natura [...]l [...]eason, corrupted by Sinne. But it [...]s the Euangelicall Iustice, which tea­ [...]heth to loue God with all our hart, withall our soule, withall our strength and to loue our neighbour (though our Enemy) as our selfe. Of this Scope & [Page 68] End S. Paul Rom. 6. speaketh, saying: You haue your fayth vnto Iustification; but the End, life euerlasting.

This is that, whereunto the Apostle admonisheth vs, that the first of all things, we do seeke the Kingdome of Heauen, and the Iustice therof; that is, that our earnest and chiefest thoughts be not caryed away to any temporall goods, but be directed to the gayning of the Kingdome of Heauen, and to a most diligent and inuiolable keeping of that first and greatest Precept; The which Precept being neglected, and broken by most men, therefore it is sayd, Matt. 22. Many are called, but few are chosen. For most men do so liue and comport themselues in their mā ­ners; as that their furthest thought, is to seeke, how they may come to this Kingdome of Heauen; neither is there anything, which they more couldly looke after, then the Kingdome of Hea­uen & the Iustice therof. As if our Lord had said: First seeke after the Kingdom of this world, and its iniustice and de­ceyt, and the Kingdome of God shalbe giuen vnto you. But that celestiall King­dome is not of that basenes and meane esteeme, as that it should be thrust vpō [Page 69] those, who do preferre all other things before the obtaining thereof. There­fore he that will learne a certaine and easy way for gayning the Iustice of the Kingdome of God, which leadeth dire­ctly to the Kingdome it selfe, let that man heare our forsayd Mayster and Lord, Christ Iesus, thus affirming: Matt. 5. Blessed be they, that hungar & thirst after Iustice, for they shall haue their fill.

But what, ô Lord, is the facility of fynding Iustice so great with thee, as that it is sufficient onely to be hungry or thirsty of it? Certainly all poore mē would be blessed, if only by thirsting after money, they should be so reple­nished therewith, as that they should not need to be satiated with any other thing. But the matter heere is farre otherwise, for it is one thing to be hungry and thirst after money, and o­ther thing after Iustice. For they who suffer hunger and thirst after Iustice, that is, who so greedily and anxiously seeke after Iustice, as men doe who thirst after water, and are hungry af­ter meate; those men certainly doe euer busy their mind with the thought of it, and breathlesly labour after it, [Page 70] and (which is the chiefest) do hum­bly beseech it of God with inutterable sighs, and lamentations. God doth willingly heare men praying in this manner, and is ready to replenish them with the guifts of Iustice, so as they be­ing satiated therwith, may euen breath nothing, but words and works of Iu­stice. But money or riches is not a good of this nature, as that who desireth or prayeth for it to God, is presently heard; Since many abuse the vse of money our riches, but of Iustice there can be no abuse. To conclude, Iustice is like to Wisdome, of which S. Ia­mes sayth, cap. 1. If any of you lack VVisdome, let him aske of God, who gi­ueth to all men abundantly, and vp­braydeth none.

O ineffable clemency of God, who is more ready and wi [...]ling to giue vs those things, which conduce to our Soules good, then we are eyther to demaund or desire them! Whosoeuer therefore wanteth the wisdome of Saints, or the guift of Iustice, which are the chiefe dispositions for the gay­ning the Kingdome of Heauen, let him most humbly beseech God by most earnest prayers, and deep sighs and cō ­plaints, [Page 71] and he shall infallibly obtaine his desire. For God giueth to men thus praying, and he do not repell or ex­clude any man; neither doth he giue sparingly and nigardly, but largely, a­bondantly & without any vpbraiding or delay, for God is not agrieued with mans importunity herein.

Now what may we heer say? With what colour of excuse can a man plai­ [...]ter ouer eyther his ignorance or wea­kenes, at the day of iudgement? On [...]y thirst after Iustice, and demaund it of God, and thou shalt fully drinke thereof to thy owne satiety; but do not thirst after the blandishments, or allurements of the flesh, neyther af­ter the empty smoake of Honours, nor [...]ny other earthly benefits; so shalt thou draw out thy dayes in this world in all iustice, sobriety, and Piety; & in the next thou shalt arriue to the e­uerlasting Kingdome of Heauen.

The second Path to the King­dome of God. CHAP. VIII.

ANother Tract, or Path of the Kingdome of God, the which our Captaine sheweth vs, is that of Matt. 5. Blessed are the poore in spirit. By which words we are not commanded to empty our chests and bags altogea­ther of money, but only to keep our harts voyde of all greedy affection and desire of earthly things. Our Lord doth offer to vs great wealth and abundāce of riches; but he will not giue them to vs, except we do bring an open hart, free, and estranged from all worldly couetousnes. The roote of all euils, is couetousnes. 1. Tim. 6. Which in the Greeke is called Philargyria, that is, loue of Siluer. The roote of all good, is Charity, which two things, cannot stand togeather. Therefore ex­cept a man become truly and wholy poore in spirit, so as whether he haue great or small store of riches, his mynd be not fixed vpon them; but [Page 73] that he be ready to distribute to them [...]hat want, and reserue to himselfe, [...]n [...]y what is necessary to his state; this [...]an I say, cannot fulfill the Iustice of [...]he Kingdome of Heauen; and conse­ [...]uently cannot obtaine that King­ [...]ome.

This is the true Tract to the King­ [...]ome of Heauen; & in this path Christ [...]imself did first tread, who for vs was [...]ade poore, that he might enrich [...]s through his Pouerty. And although [...]e had some money, yet he deliuered [...]t to Iudas to keepe, whome he knew [...]o be a thiefe; that thereby we might [...]nderstand, his mynd was not posses­ [...]ed with the desire of money. This Tract the Apostles also did follow, [...]ho might easily haue procured abun­ [...]ance of riches, since they were fa­ [...]ous for working of wondrous si­ [...]nes and Miracles, did speake the ton­ [...]ues of all Countries, and became ad­ [...]irable throughout the whole world [...]or their Wisdom. But they, who once [...]yd: Behould, we haue left all things, [...]nd followed thee, did tast the sweet­ [...]es of liberty, as being free from the [...]ares and loue of riches; and conten­ [...]ng themselues with meate, drinke, [Page 74] cloaths, did esteeme piety, and the Iu­stice of the Kingdome of God, to be the greatest riches.

This path not only Monks and Her­mites, but also Kings, and supreme Bishops haue walked in, who are ar­riued to the Kingdome of Heauen. Cer­tainly S. Lewis King of France was rich; but withall he was poore in spi­rit; for he did vse but ordinary cloa­thing, did much fast, was liberall and open-handed to the poore, and onely to himselfe most sparing; nor do we read, that he wasted any money in Playes, or Banquets. S. Gregory also, (being Pope) did possesse in diuers places great store of Ecclesiasticall Pa­trimony and riches; yet because he was poore in spirit, he was most pro­fuse, and bountifull in giuing Almes, and most sparing, yea euen almost co­uetous in bestowing any thing vpon himselfe, or his kinred: Thus he might well be thought to haue ex­ceeded the bonds of liberality towards others, and of sparingnes toward [...] himselfe, and his friends. But this is the way, which leadeth to life euer­lasting.

We will adioyne to the former Examples, [Page 75] two rare Women. S. Paula [...]e Roman, (whose lyfe was written [...] S. Ierome) was no lesse rich in pos­sessions and reuenues, then poore in s [...]irit; for being a Woman of most [...]ble extraction, she bestowed all her [...]ealth & riches in erecting of Mona­ [...]ries, and relieuing the poore, and [...]is with such feruour of charity, as [...]at she desired in soule, to be brought [...] that low degree of want as that the Charity and mercy of others should discharge her funeralls. Now how sparing in charges she was to her­selfe, appeareth, in that, she forbore to feed vpon flesh, or egs, or to drinke wyne; for linnen next to her body s [...]e wore a haire-cloath, she did lie vpō the ground, and did purge & cancell euen her smallest offences, with con­tinuall prayers, and teares.

To proceed to the next. Heduigis Queene of Polonia, was rich in tem­porall faculties, but more rich in po­ [...]erty of Spirit. She did content her­selfe with one poore gowne, and wore i [...] alone euen in the greatest frosts. She f [...]sted euery day, Sūdayes & great festi­uall dayes only excepted. She afflicted her tender body with sharpe discipli­nes, [Page 76] with great watching, and all mā ner of austerities. Now from this he course of lyfe, we may easely conie­cture, vpon what things she did spen [...] all her Regall wealth, and how smal an affection (or rather none) she bare to riches. Therefore we are not to wounder, that a woman so poore i [...] spirit, and so desirous to shake of al [...] temporall cares, did at the last through such spirituall endeauours, arriue to Heauen.

The third Path way to the King­dome of God. CHAP. IX.

THE third way appointed by ou [...] Spirituall Captaine is this, Ma [...] S. Blessed are they, who suffer persecuti [...] for Iustice, for theirs is the Kingdom [...] of Heauen. The wisdome of Iesas Chri [...] our Doctour is most admirable, yet al­together secret and vnknowne to th [...] wisemen of this world. For who woul [...] belieue (were it not that God auerret [...] it) that it is good & expedient for vs t [...] be poore in riches, & rich in pressur [...] [Page 77] and Afflictions? And notwithstanding [...]his is most true, nothing more con­ [...]uceth to the acquiring of true riches [...] which are the merits of the King­ [...]om of Heauen) then to haue a mind, [...]oyd of all affection to temporall be­ [...]efits, and withall to haue an ardent desire to suffer for Christ. Heare then our Lord himselfe saying, Luc. 6. VVoe [...]e to you, that are rich, because you [...]aue your consolation: VVoe to you that are filled, because you sh [...]lbe hungry: VVoe be to you that laugh, because you [...]hall mourne and weep. As also on the contrary syde: Blessed are you, poore; for yours is the Kingdome of God▪ Bles­sed are you that now weep; Blessed shall you be, when men shall hate and reuile you, and shall separate you, and vpbraid you: and abandon your name as euill, for the Sonne of Mans sake. Be glad in that day, and reioyce, for behould your re­ward is great in Heauen.

Heare also S. Iames, how he ma­gnifyeth Tribulation cap. 1. Esteeme it [...]ll ioy, when you shall fall into diuers temptations; knowing that the proba­tion of your faith worketh patience, and patience hath a perfect VVorke. Where[Page 78] we are to obserue, that the Apostle he [...] sayth not, Tolerate, sustaine, be you patient, when you fall in tribulation, be gaudete, reioyce, yea esteeme it to be [...] ioy. That is, take tribulation not as tribulation but as matter of all ioy, com­fort, and exultation. And as touching riches, obserue the iudgement of the same Apostle S. Iames cap. 5. Go too yo [...] Rich Men, weep, howling in your mise­ries, which shall come to you. And i [...] another place, the same Apostle saith of rich men: Be miserable and mourne, and weep; let your laughter be turne [...] into mourning, and ioy into sorrow. Iac [...] 4. But from whence commeth it, tha [...] persecution doth make a man blessed, the which rather should seeme to make him miserable? Many thinges might be alledged in proofe of this ve­rity, but I will content my selfe with one reason. To wit, that persecution is like to a forge of burning fire. For fire doth prepare and dresse meates, doth purge siluer, and proue gould: Euen so persecution, if it be patiently suffe­red, rectifieth, and disposeth Sinners, refineth the imperfect, and is a touch­stone to the Iust: And thus is persecu­tion become seruiceable to all sortes [Page 9] of men. A sinner is lyke to raw flesh, vvhich except it be rightly dressed, is cast forth to the beasts to be eaten, for [...] sinners is full of vnvvholesome and bad humours; to vvit, concupiscence of the flesh, vvhich is Luxury; concu­piscence of the eyes, which is Auarice; and pride of life vvhich is Ambition. But novv if persecution be at hand, threatning a sinner, then is he so pre­pared in that fire, as that he may be fit to be honourably brought to the table of our Lord. For persecution, or grieuous tribulation violently rushing vpon a sinner, he instantly forgetteth all lust, lucre, and ambition, and so becommeth transformed, and another man, from vvhat before he vvas.

A iust man (but weake and imper­fect) though hee doth not fall into any grieuous sinne; yet he is a fauourer of his flesh, followeth his pleasures, lo­ueth gaine and wealth, doth not de­test the vanities of the world; This man is like vnto siluer mixed with much drosse; but if once the forge of Persecution take hould of him, and that with patience hee entertaine it, then presently the refuse matter in him doth beginne to bee separated [Page 80] from the siluer. For then [...]e beginneth to gather his forces togeather, to me­ditate of things which are aboue, to abhorre and loath carnall desires, and to liue iustly, temperatly, and piously in this world, and to expect with great hope and alacrity the approach and comming of the glory of that great & puissant God. To conclude, a man per­fect in Charity is gold, yet he is to be tried in the fire of Tribulation, that both himselfe and others may be assu­red, that he is gold, and not copper. For after it is seene, that he is able to endure the fire of Peresecution with all patience and euennesse of mind; not only others take notice, what he in himselfe is, but also himselfe with a more erected conscience, hope, and security doth expect the wages and re­ward of the Kingdome of Heauen; ac­cording to that of the Apostle: Rom 5. Tribulation worketh Patience; and Pa­tience, Probation; and Probation, Hope; and Hope confoundeth not. And God himselfe doth daily more and more raise and exalt his seruant tryed in tri­bulation, vntill he maketh him parta­ker of his Kingdome and Felicity.

Behould here, how many goods Pa­tience [Page 81] in persecution doth ingender. And indeed it deserueth admiration to obserue, how few men there are, who haue the fruition of these goods of Persecution, although they doe lie open to all men, to be partakers of them; since persecution and affliction may bee found in euery place. For in euery place it doth [...]ffront vs, whether in our owne house, in the way, in in­tercourse with others, yea euen in the Church; because in euery place the wicked doe assault the good and ver­tuous; and that Sentence of the Apo­stle is most true, 2. Tim. 3. All, that will liue godly in Christ Iesus, shall suf­fer persecution. Notwithstanding we being ouer delicate and nice souldiers doe either flye from this trying-fire of Persecution wholy, or else, we retort, and beate backe the receaued iniury or wrong vpon our Aduersary. And thus wee doe not suffer persecution and wrong, but we commit it. And there are not wanting, A mans owne enemyes (being) they of his owne House, who doe prayse and commend him, that disburdeneth himselfe of the wrong offered, and doe transferre it vpon the Aduersary: And yet these men will [Page 82] be accounted Christians, who thus doe violate and contemne the Precepts of Christ.

The fourth Way to the King­dome of God. CHAP. X.

BVt because few men there are, who vnderstand aright these great difficulties aboue discoursed of, and more few, who will make triall of them by their owne practice; there­fore our Captaine Christ Iesus, hath shewed vs a fourth way (and that a most strait and narrow) leading vs to the Kingdome of God, saying: Matth. 11. The Kingdome of Heauen suffereth violence, & the violent beare it away. As if he would say; I well know, that it seemes a strange Paradoxe to men, that such as are blessed should be poore, and miserable men should bee rich; and that on the contrary, we ought to re­ioyce in Persecution, and weepe in Prosperity. Neither am I ignorant, that there are fevv, vvho vvould loose and exchange goods present, for the gayn­ing [Page 83] of goods future; and vvould im­brace and vvish for present euills, ther­by to auoid euills to come. But I, vvho am Truth it selfe, neither can I, nor ought to conceale the truth: and there­fore I haue here added, That the King­dome of God cannot be taken but by such, as offer great violence, so as only men of violence doe carry it avvay. Hence it is, that in another place I haue said, Luc. 18. How hardly shall they, that haue money enter into the Kingdome of God? For it is easier for a Camell to passe through the eye of a nedle, then a rich man to enter into the Kingdome of God. And againe: How narrow is the gate, and how straite is the way, that leadeth to life: And few there are, that find it?

I haue also compared the Kingdome of Heauen, to a Treasure hid in a Field, as also to a precious Margarite vvhich cannot be bought, vvithout the sale of all other things; intimating thereby, that a man must depriue himselfe of all things, vvhich he holds deare vp­on earth, if so he hope to possesse the celestiall Treasure, and precious Margarite in Heauen, I haue further­more perspicuously, and vvithout any [Page 84] ambiguity of vvords, protested, Luc. 1. VVho doth not renounce all things, which he possesseth, cannot be my disciple. And although this renunciation is to bee vnderstood of the preparation of the mind; Neuerthelesse seeing this pre­paration of the mind, to renounce all temporalities, vvhen either the health of the Soule, or the glory of God doth require it, is not easily performed; and the accomplishment thereof is found but in few: therefore I haue adioyned the similitudes of him, vvho vvill build a Tovver, not hauing sufficient proui­sion & meanes to performe the same; as also of that King, vvho thinketh of vvaging vvarre against another King, and yet hath not equall forces, vvher­by hee might hope for victory. Novv if the building of a Tovver vvithout good store of money; and the encoun­tring in vvarre and hostility against a potent King, be things most difficult, and almost impossible: Hovv much more difficult then is it to performe both these tvvo points together? But hee ought to performe them, vvho vvil besiege or lay battery to the King­dome of God.

For first, a Tovver is to be built, [Page 85] vvhich may reach to Heauen; That is, merits and the price of good vvorks, are to be procured, vvhich may deserue eternall life. And with all he is to fight vvith very many and most potent ene­mies, to vvit with the vncleane & vvic­ked Spirits; vvho shall labour by their subtile endeauours to hinder the build­ing of the foresaid Tovver. The Tipe or figure herof happened to the Isra­elits, vvho endeuouring to reedify and build vp the Citty of Ierusalem, then ruined and beaten to the ground by the Chaldeans, were hindred by their neighboring Countreyes, vvarring a­gainst them; so as they vvere forced to vse incredible sollicitude and care in building vvith one hand, and fighting vvith the other. From all vvhich the Conclusion is, that the Kingdome of Heauen cannot without great paynes and sweat be purchased by such men, who become a prey to earthly and mo­mentary pleasures and benefits; not knowing how to bridle and tame the Concupiscence of the flesh, or to fight with an inuisible enemy. Neuerthe­lesse, whosoeuer, being assisted by the the grace of God, shall seriously giue his mind to Christian Perfection, and [Page 86] shall most attentiuely consider the words of Christ, following the ex­amples of him and all other Saints; to this man by little and little the way and Tract shall be enlarged, the gates shall be opened, the vigour and cou­rage of the mind shall increase, the enemies shall be enfeebled; and thus through the charity of God in Christ Iesus, increasing in him, the burden shall beginne to be light, and the yoke sweet. And those words of Esay c. 40. shall be verified: They that hope in our Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall take wings as Eagles; they shall runne, and not labour, walke and not faint. And this man shall say with the Royall Prophet: I did runne the way of thy commandements, when thou didst dilate my heart. Psal. 118.

Certainly, it was not grieuous to S. Antony to spend whole nights without sleepe; yea the night did seeme most short to him, in respect of the sweet­nesse of diuine Contemplation; as well appeared, when he complained of the Sunne it selfe in these words: Quid me impedis, Sol, &c. VVhy dost thou h [...]nder me, O Sunne, which risest so soone, to the end, thou maist withdraw [Page 87] me from the splendour and brightnesse of the true light? Cass. Col. 9. cap. 31. Neither seemed it any difficult matter to this Saint, and such like holy men, to cōtinue their fasts by whole weeks, when they euen fed vpon, and were refreshed with the reading and medi­tating of the sacred Word of God, as with a celestiall & supernaturall bread. Neither was it painfull to S. Austin to weane himselfe from the sweetnesse of worldly pleasures (to the which euen from his youth he had beene en­thralled) after he once had tasted the sweetnesse of diuine loue, and of in­ternall Contemplation. Therefore let no man be disanimated or let his heart and courage fall, but cast himselfe with an immoueable Hope into the Armes of Gods most holy assistance, who, as he made vs for himselfe, so will he draw vs to himselfe; And who will vouchsafe to place all those in his King­dome, whome hee vouchsafed to re­deeme with the precious bloud of his only begotten Sonne,

Now in regard of all this (O Chri­stian Soule) thou oughtest not through the asperity of the way to rest disheart­ned, but to trust in our Lord; who [Page 88] would neuer haue inuited vs to seeke after his Kingdome before all other things whatsoeuer, had he not beene prepared to strenghthen vs in this our iourney, with his most powerfull and puissable help.

Therefore enter into this Path, or tract-way towards the Kingdome of Heauen, with all cherefull animosity of mind. Here is no place left for a wauering mind or iudgement. For if the labour be great, which here pre­sents it selfe to thee, yet the reward propounded for this thy labour, is in­comparably farre greater; and if the forces of thy enemies hindering thee in this thy voyage, be powerfull, yet the hand of God vvhich leads and con­ducts thee, is more povverfull; And if many of all Ages and Sexes could by this vvay arriue to the Kingdome of God vvhy vvilt thou be so faint-harted and deiected in spirit, as to despaire by the same vvay, to arriue to the same Kingdome?

Their bodies vvere not made of stone or iron, but of flesh, and they vvere mortall and fraile; And therfore vvhat they atcheiued, vvas not through their ovvne strength, but through the [Page 89] strength of our Lord. Why therefore mayst not thou (though vveake and infirme) accomplish the like attempt? Cast thy selfe vpon God (faith S. Austin l. 8. confess. c. 11.) and be not afraid; He will not withdraw himselfe from thee, that thou shouldest fall: Cast thy selfe vpon him confidently, He will re­ceaue thee, He will help thee. God is faithfu [...]l, hee cannot deny himselfe. Two things are required at thy hands; The one, that most firmely and vnal­terably thou wouldst resolue, to pre­ferre the glory of God, and saluation of thy ovvne Soule, before all other things vvhatsoeuer. The other, That thou vvouldst repose all thy hope and confidence, not in thy ovvne strength, neither in thy ovvne vvisdome, but in the Omnipotency and infinite Charity of God. Which tvvo Points if thou do performe, Crooked things shall become straight, and rough wayes plaine. Esa. 40. And thou shalt serue our Lord vvith ineffable comfort. ioy, and exul­tation; And thou shalt sing, in the wayes of our Lord, because the glory of our Lord is great. Psal. 137.


Of the Beauty of the Citty of God. CHAP. I.

GLORIOSA dicta sunt de te, Ciuitas Dei. Glorious things are said of thee, O Citty of God. Psal. 86. In regard her­of, I much couet to be­hold thy Beauty by way of meditatiō, though it be (as it were) by a glasse, [Page 91] in a dark manner. And among other things this first occurreth to be consi­dered, why the Felicity of the Saints, which in the holy Scriptures is called the Kingdome of Heauen, is also called the Citty of God. One chiefe reason thereof seemeth to be, because as it is called a Kingdom in respect of its am­plitude & largnes: so it also deserueth to be called a Citty with reference to its splenstour and beauty. When one heareth any speach of a most large and vast Kingdome, he may easily thinke, that in the same there are many soli­tary and vnpleasing places, left onely for beasts to inhabit, many hills vn­cultiuated, many Vales ouergrowne with wood, many Rocks inaccessible, wayes vneauen and vnhaunted, and finally most deepe precipices, and the lyke.

But because all this infelicity of place ought to be most distant and re­mote from the felicity of Saints; Ther­fore the holy Ghost doth instruct vs in the Scriptures, that the Kingdome of Heauen is like to a most fayre and adorned Citty; and though this King­dom be of a most immense and almost infinite Circuite; yet that it doth euen [Page 92] shine, and appeare fayre, as any Citty that is most populous and most rich, is accustomed to doe. For in the chie­fest and greatest Citties there are to be seene most sumptuous and adorned Temples or Churches, most stately and haughty Pallaces, most pleasant Or­chards, most large places for resort of the Citizens, most replenished houses with people; besids goodly fountaines Columnes, Pyramisses, Theaters, Towers, and shops fraught with all things necessary for the vse of Man. What had beene the splendour of I­taly, if (wanting the barraine Apen­nines) it all should shyne, not as Rome as this day, but as it was vnder Augu­stus Caesar, who turned its Mud-wals into edifices of Marble? And how beautifull had Syria beene long since, if all of it had beene lyke to Ierusalem, before Ierusalem had come to deso­lation by the Romans? For Iosephus describeth the magnificence of it with all wounder, so as the Prophet might not without iust cause say thereof, Gloriosa dicta sunt de te, Ciuitas Dei, and yet euen then, it was not brought to that height of eminency, to the which after Dauid and Salomon, Herod [Page 93] the great had aduanced it. Of what luster had Chaldaea, and all Assyria and Mesopotamia, or rather all the East beene, if the Citty of Babylon could haue contained all the parts thereof within the compasse of its owne Wal­les? For both Pliny and Strabo des­cribe that Citty in such manner, as that the largenes and beauty thereof may seeme to be incredible. And ther­fore the Citty of Babylon was wor­thily ranged among the seauen Mira­cles of the World.

But now to parallell things togea­ther: What kind of Citty then, shall that heauenly Citty, that supernall Ie­rusalem be, which possesseth, or con­taineth the whole Kingdome of Hea­uen? I meane that Citty, which ma­keth, that great Kingdome of Heauen so to cast forth its splendour and light, as if it all were but one most faire and glorious Citty, in the which there is no vacancy of place, no deformity, nothing vile or base. Doubtlesly the supernall Citty is of such nature, as that no man can seriously and with due at­tention meditate thereof, but that he must instantly burne with desire of so great a matter: And no man can trul [...] [Page 94] burne therewith, but that abandoning all things, he must thirst after it, and neuer cease, till he hath found it.

Obserue, what Tobias the yonger, reioycing in spirit, speaketh of this Citty c. 13. Thou shalt shine with a glo­rious light, and all the coasts of the earth shall adore thee &c. The gates of Ierusalem shall be built of Saphire and Emerauld, and all the compasse of the walls, of precious stones: VVith white and cleane stone shall all the streetes thereof be paued, and in the streets Al­leluia shalbe sung. And S. Iohn accor­deth to Toby herein, saying, Apoc. 21. And the building of the wall thereof was of Iaspar-stone, &c. And the Citty was pure gold, as it were transparent glasse &c. And the foundation of the Citty was adorned with all precious stones; and the seuerall gates thereof were of seuerall margarites, and the streetes of the Citty, pure gould. Now heere we are not to imagine, that the heauenly Ierusalem shalbe seene, as adorned with gould and precious sto­nes, such as are heere vpon the earth; [...]ut these things are so deliuered in holy Writ, that thereby we may vn­derstand, that the Heauenly Citty is so [Page 95] farre more noble then any earthly Cit­ty, by how much gould is better then mud or dyrt, Margarites then common stones, starres then lights, the Sunne then a torch or lampe, Heauen then the earth; and finally God the im­mortall Workeman, then any mortall Architect. But because we are heer­after more fully to discourse of the beauty of all the parts of the Citty of God, I will heere forbeare further speach thereof.

Of the Concord and Peace of the Citty of God. CHAP. II.

ANother reason, why the King­dome of God may be called the Citty of God, seemeth to be, in that a Kingdome is accustomed to compre­hend within it almost an infinite mul­titude of persons being among them­selues distinct in language, Manners, and Lawes; of which number (though all of one Kingdome) many did neuer see one another, much lesse euer con­tracted any mutuall friendship or fami­liarity. [Page 96] Now a Citty contayneth onely those which speake one and the same tongue, who are of lyke manners, and are gouerned by the same custo­mes or lawes. Thus the same thing is called both a Kingdome, and a Citty, because the inhabitants of the Heauen­ly Kingdome, are so many, as that they can hardly be numbred; and as S. Iohn sayth Apoc 7. they are gathe­red togeather of seuerall Nations, of seuerall Tribes and People, and of se­uerall tongues; as also of Angels, Ar­changels, Principalities, Powers, Ver­tues, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubims, and Seraphims, who exceed men in number; of which euery one of them do differ from another, not in Coun­try, people, language, but in diuersity of nature, I meane in a specificall dif­ference: And yet neuertheles they are all true Cittizens, all of vnanimous consent, and are gouerned only by the law of Charity. And hence it is, that they are all one Hart, and one Spirit. And since charity cannot brooke Ha­tred, Enuy, Contentions, discord, and the lyke; therefore all such dissentiōs, & iarres are most remoted frō that ho­ly Citty of Ierusalem; and only Charity [Page 97] there raigneth being attēded on with [...]ustice, peace, & ioy, in the Holy Ghost.

In the beginning of the Creation of things there was a great wa [...]re in Hea­uen, betweene S. Michael the Arch­angell, and the Dragon; But S. Michael and the other Angells, who ranged themselues with him, and remayned in the Truth, and performed their loy­alty and obedience to their Lord, ob­tained victory ouer the Dragon and his Associats, who breathing nothing but pride, reuolted from their common Lord, and Soueraigne: And the great Dragon was cast forth, the old Serpent, wh [...]ch is called the Diuell, and Satan, which seduceth the whole world; and he was cast into the earth. Apoc. 12. From which time the Holy Citty (the hea­uenly Ierusalem) did border it selfe within the limitts of Peace; Neither hath any warlike Trumpet beene hard therein, neyther shall hereafter be heard, and this for a [...]l Eternity.

Now to reflect vpon what is aboue said: What can be reputed more plea­sing or happy, then this Citty? Such men, who by their owne experience haue tryed the euills of warres, robbe­ries, slaughters, Rapines, deuastation [Page 98] of places by Lies, sacriledges and the like, may easily and truly preach of the great pleasure and sweetnes of peace. But passing ouer publike warres and Hostility; who hath not made triall in his owne Citty, yea in his owne house, how distastfull and vnpleasing it is, dai­ly to conuerse with men of an irefull, and froward disposition, who doe in­terprete euery thing in the worst [...]art? Depart from the wicked, and euill shall fall from thee, saith Ecclesiasticus c. 7. But whither can we fly where we shall not be encountred with wicked men? And if euery place doe swarme with such men, then doubtlesly must many euills, discontents, and vnquietnes at­tend vpon vs, during this our tyme of exile. Giue eare to what the foresaid Ecclesiasticus pronounceth of an euill wife: It shall be more pleasant to abide with a Lion and Dragon, then to dwell with a wicked woman. c. 25. And if she, who is the fellow and companion of mans l [...]fe, be through wickednesse, turned into a Lyon, or Dragon, to how great angours and infelicities are ma­ny men exposed? All, that will liue godly in Christ Iesus (faith the Apostle) [...]Tim. 3. shall suffer persecution.

Therefore how vnhappy is the Citty of this world, in vvhich a man of ne­cessity must be affronted vvith Aduer­saries, and vvage vvarre? For if thou vvilt liue piously and godly, thou shalt suffer persecution at the hands of men; And if thou vvilt giue the bridle to all impiety, thereby to decline and auoid persecution of men, thou shalt then fall into the wrath and indignation of that most high and powerfull King, who shall persecute and punish thee, both liuing and dead; whose anger no man can resist. Most vnfortunate ther­fore and calamitous is that Countrey in which no man can escape warre, no man can fly from persecution, no man can find true peace. What then re­maineth, but that euen from the bot­tome of our heart, we doe prosecute with a I loue and prayse the Heauenly Citty, wherein no persecution can be found, no warres, broyles, or discord can take place.

Of the liberty, or freedome of the Citty of God. CHAP. III.

THe third Reason, why the King­dome of God, may be called a Cit­ty, is, in that a Kingdome hath a Mo­narchicall forme o gouerment, which seemeth to be opposed to liberty; whereas all the Cittizens of Heauen, are free, and our Mother, which is the supreme Ierusalem, is also free, as S. Paul witnesseth to the Galathians c. 4. Which blessed Apostle did well know, what he did speake, since he being once taken vp in spirit into the third Heauen, was thereby acquainted with the manners, and lawes of that Cit­ty. Therefore seeing a Kingdome doth seeme to include seruitude, and a Citty liberty; that Kingdome may well be called a Citty, in wh [...]ch all, who serue the King, are free. Now among the holy inhabitants of Heauen, there is not one only liberty, but a liberty of seuerall kinds. For first, all the Citti­zens of Heauen are free from the bon­dage [Page 101] of sinne, seeing the first liberty, which was in the terrestriall Paradise, was to haue power not to sinne; wher­as the second liberty in the celestiall Paradise is far greater; to wit, not to be able to sinne, as S. Austin teacheth. lib. de correp. & gra c. 11.

Another kind of liberty consisteth in being free from death, being like to the former liberty. For Adam vvas so free in the terrestriall Paradise, as that it vvas in his povver not to dye: And the Sonnes of Adam are so free in the celestiall Paradise, as that they cannot dye. Neyther must it seeme strange, that vve p [...]ace liberty in that, vvhich consisteth in not being able to doe; seeing not to be able to sinne, and not to be able to dye, imply an e­minency of freedome from the capti­uity of sinne, and thraldome of mor­tality. For vvho hath not povver to sinne, is not only free from sinne; but also is so farre from the bondage thereof, as that he remaines secure, that sinne shall neuer haue any soue­raignty ouer him. In like sort, he vvho cannot dye, remaines not only free from death, but is so farre distant from death, as that he is ascertained, that [Page 102] death shall neuer make any assault to­vvards him: Which liberty only God through his owne Nature enioyeth, ac­cording to those words of the Apo­stle 1. Tim. 6. VVho alone hath immor­tality. For although the Angells and rationall soules be said to be naturally immortall, because they haue no Prin­ciple, or cause of Corruption in their [...]ature; Neuerthelesse, God who first created them, can at his pleasure, re­duce them to Nothing. But the An­gells, and the blessed Saints are most secure, that they shall for neuer after sinne, nor dye; and are in this respect most free from the seruitude of sinne or death; which priuiledge is a most honorable participation of the diuine liberty of God.

The third kind of liberty, is to be free from Necessity; and this liber­ty, is also of seuerall sorts. For now mortal men are forced (through a cer­taine constraint of necessity) to eate, to drinke, to sleepe, to labour, some­tymes to stand, another time to walke, or to lye downe, and repose them­selues. But the Saints in Heauen stand subiect and thra l to no such necessity, but are freed from all corporall neces­situdes; [Page 103] And this is the liberty of the glory of the Sonnes of God, of which the Apostle speaketh in his Epistle to the Romans. Now of what dignity this liberty is, first poore men, se­condly spirituall men, lastly rich men, & such as are louers of this world, do fully testify. Men oppressed with pe­nury and want in the highest degree, what indefatigable paynes d [...] they vn­dergoe, thereby to prouide for them­selues and theirs, meate, drinke, cloaths, and other necessaries? And how much would they acknowledge themselues to be obliged to such men, who would disburden and free them from all such seruitude of Want & Necessity? And hence it is, that many of them practise theft, and other pro­hibited courses, for the maintayning of their liues; for they say with that wicked Steward in the Ghospell Luc. 16. To dig I am not able, to beg I am ashamed, I know what I will do: To witt, I will deceaue my Lord; I meane, I wil free my selfe by theft and rapine from this burden of want and necessity. But the close or end of this is to fall into a necessity far more grieuous; that is, into the seruitude [Page 104] of sinne and the diuell, mans greatest enemy.

To come to holy men who greed­ly thirst after Heauen; these men ac­coūt it a great burden, to haue the care of prouiding al things n [...]cessary for the body, standing in need of so many things, and spending much tyme ther­in, which they would bestow willing­ly vpon more noble employments. Eusebius l. 2. hist. cap. 16 recordeth out of Philo, that the first Christians of Alexandria in Egypt, liuing vnder the gouernm nt of S. Marke the Euan­gelist, were so wholy deuoted to their accustomed heauenly meditations, as that they neuer refreshed their. Bo­dies with meate, till after the Sunne was set, that so they might spend the whole day, and a great part of the night in such celestiall studies; so allot­ting but a small part of the night for their Bodies ease and cherishment. Yea he relateth, that diuers, for the space of three whole dayes, others for six dayes togeather, abstayned frō meate. In like sort Ioannes Cassianus in his Collations, and Theodoret in his history, do affirme, that the same long [...]bstinence from meate was much pra­ctized [Page 105] by many holy [...]rmites. There­fore from hence we may gather, that the seruitude of corporall necessities was a great clogge to these men; they complaining and crying out with the Apostle: Rom. 7. Vnhappy man that I am, who shall deliuer me from the body of this death?

Now to descend to the Cittizens of this World, and particularly to rich men (who breath nothing but temporall gaine and pleasures:) To these this seruitude of necessity is not vngratefull; neuertheles if they wei­ghed the matter in an euen ballance, they would censure it to be most grie­uous. Meate, drinke, and sleep are pleasing to them, but if these benefits of nature be taken in a superfluous de­gree, they fill the body w [...]th a trou­blesome ouercharge of bad humours & diseases; which after to expell they are forced to drinke diuers better po­tions; and to suffer no sleight paines. Agayne such men are violently con­strayned eyther to professe open em­nity to God, and thereupon to vnder­goe his most dread [...]ull wrath and in­dignation; or els most couragiously to wage Warre against concupiscence of [Page 106] the flesh for the obtayning of tempe­rance and sobriety; which kind of feight is accustomed to be most labo­rious, and most dangerous. Therefore I conclude, that both the poore, the rich, the godly, and the wicked, are disburdened and freed of a most fasti­dious wearisom necessity and vassilage, when they are freed from the serui­tude of this miserable and manifold Necessity.

The fourth kind of liberty consi­steth, in being free and vnobliged to the Law, and the Precepts; since the Law was instituted not for the iust, but for the iniust, as the Apostle teacheth. Now there are none more iust, then the Blessed; for they are confirmed and corroborated in Iustice, neither can they possibly become iniust. True it is, that the threatning and pressing Law is not ordained for iust men, liuing in this World; since of their owne ac­cord, they are obedient to the Law; neuerthelesse it cannot be denied, but the Law doth oblige and direct euen them to do that, which the law com­mandeth, and to flye that, which the Law prohibiteth.

But the iust, who doe enioy the li­berty [Page 107] of the glory of the Sonnes of God, doe stand in need of no Law, for they contēplate all Iustice in the VVord; and as being strenghtned and fortified in perfect Charity, they cannot deflect or decline from the will of God. This liberty indeed is of great moment, which dischargeth one of all sollicitude and anxiety; and it is wholy opposite to that captiuity & thraldome of those vnfortunate Soules, who hauing their hands and feete bound, shalbe cast in­to exteriour darknes, and into a furnace of fire; So as they shall not be able either to tolerate, or to auoid those torments. And yet there is not any man, but of necessity he must vnder­goe one of these two contrary lotts or fortunes. Notwithstanding men are so blinded with the empty smoake of present Honour, and the dust of terrene Benefits, as that they make no cogi­tation, no introuersion of iudgment vpon these matters, vntill a sudden ouerthrow and calamity doe rush vpon them; and thus doth irreuocable pu­nishment open their eyes, vvhich sinne had before shut, and closed vp.

Of the Situation, and forme, or structure of the Citty of God. CHAP. IV.

BVT let vs returne to the Heauen­ly Citty; & let vs attentiuely cō ­consider the situation, forme, founda­tion, gates, walles, and streets therof. And to beginne with the situation: This Citty is placed in Holy mountai­nes; for thus we read: Psal. 86. The foundations thereof are in holy moun­taines: With whome agreeth S. Iohn Apoc. 21. And he tooke me vp in spirit to a Mountaine great and high, and shewed me the holy Citty. Now Citties are seated vpō Hils or moūtaines, both for healthfulnes of the ayre, as also for strength. But what mountaines are higher then Heauen? And which is that mountaine that is exalted aboue all mountaines, if not the Heauen of Heauens, of which Dauid thus singeth: Ps [...]l. 113. Caelum Caeli Domino. This is that mountaine, to the which the sayd Prophet coueted to aspire, when he said againe, Psal. 23. VVho shall af­cend [Page 109] into the mount of our Lord, or who shall stand in his holy place? And from whence he implored & expected aide, saying: Psal. 120. I haue lifted vp mine [...]yes vnto the mountaines, from whence helpe shall come to me Therefore from all this we may gather, that the Seate of the Citty of God, is most sublime & high, and transcendeth al [...] things, which may in any sort disturbe the peace and tranquillity of the said Citty: for it is erected to a greater height then any dust, myre, thornes, the bi­tings of venemous beasts of the earth can reach vnto. It is more high, then any vapours, darknes of the ayre, hayle, thunder, or lightning can terri­fy, or annoy. Briefly it is more high, then those vncleane, and rauenous Birds, which the Apostle Eph. 6. cal­leth, Spiritualia nequitiae in caelestibus, can ascend vnto. He meaneth spirituall wickednes in heauenly places.

The forme of the Citty of God is foure square; for thus speaketh S. Iohn, Apoc. 2 [...]. And the City is situated quadrangle wise; and the length thereof is as great, as the breadth. This signi­fieth no other thing, but an admirable & most perfect Iustice, which reigneth [Page 110] in that Citty, in which there is no In­iustice, no obliquity, or distortion of mens Actions; which point S. Austin toucheth in explicating that of the Psalm. 64. mirabile in aequitate, that is, wonderfull in Iustice. And doubtlesly it vvill deserue admiration, to behold so many almost innumerable Cittizens of that Citty, all of them enioying a most exact freedome of Will, and yet not any one (for all eternity) to be noted for any exorbitancy or miscari­adge either in vvorke, vvord, or thought. Therefore vve may truly say, that that Citty is placed in a square, so as the length and breadth thereof are equall.

Furthermore, this foure-squared forme, may also figure out, that the latitude of the Heauenly felicity is e­quall to the longitude; I meane, be­cause as the store or abundance of ce­lestiall Goods shalbe infinite, so also shall their continuance be infinit, and interminable. For according to the Dialect of holy Scripture, Latitude is accustomed to be applyed to the mul­titude of things, and Longitude to their con [...]inuance. According heereto vve read, that the manifold vvisdome of [Page 111] Salomon is called in the booke of the Kings, the Latitude of the Heart, like vnto the sand, which is in the sea shore; and in the Psalmes, duration or conti­nuance of time, is tearmed the length of dayes. Therefore it followeth, that in the Citty of our Lord, the Latitude shalbe equall with the Longitude, be­cause there shalbe an immensity of good things, ioyned with an eternity of their fruition. S. Iohn addeth, a little after the place aboue alledged, that the height of this glorious Citty shalbe of the same dimēsion with its breadth, so as the Citty may be foure square euery way; the meaning whereof is, that the goods of the Celestiall Ierusa­lem shall not be only many and euer­lasting, but also most noble, and most sublime or high. Neither doth it im­port any thing, that Vitruuius and Vi­getius doe not allow in Citties a foure-square forme; seeing they speake of Citties, which stand in feare of the enemy; Whereas the Holy Scripture celebrateth in words, that Citty whose borders and limitts are Peace; and to which, in regard of its height, no euill can make approach, as the holy Pro­phet hath auerred. Psal. 90.

Of the foundations and gates of the Citty of God. CHAP. V.

THE foundation of the Citty of God is of that sort or manner, a [...] that it alone may deseruedly be said to haue a foundation or worke; for thus doth the Holy Apostle speake: Heb. 11. He expected that Citty, that had foun­dations; whose artificer and maker is God. For the Apostle doth in these words giue a reason, why Abraham did not build a Citty in the Land of Promise, nor so much as any house, or place of habitation, but did there liue as a stranger. The cause being, in that he was instructed, that, that Land of Promise was but a figure of a greater Land of Promise: and therefore he was vnwi [...]ling to erect a house or Citty, which was after to become a ruine & desolation; as expecting a Citty built vpon a firme and stable foundation, whose Architect or builder is God. Therefore from hence it resulteth, that the Heauenly Citty is only that Citty, [Page 113] which truly and properly hath a foun­dation, and which, as being bu [...]lt by God, shall last for euer.

The Citty which Cain, Nembroth, Ninus, Nabuchodonosor, Romulus, and others haue built, in that they were af­ter subiect to ruine, & shall all of them at the end of the world come to vtter desolation, doe euen proclaime, that they had no foundation; And from hence we may gather, how much more wise and prudent were the auncient Prophets, then we are; for they, al­though they l [...]ued as long againe, as we doe now liue, and were to expect for certaine thousands of yeares, be­fore they could enter into the Heauen­ly Citty; neuerthelesse they vouchsa­fed not to build either Citties or houses, but liued only in Tabernacles, as strangers and Pilgrims; comforting themselues with a certaine and liuely Faith and Hope, that since all things vpon earth doe finally come to decay, they at last should enioy the eternall Citty of Heauen. Whereas we, who doe liue but few yeares, and may (if our selues will) presently after our death, enter into that most b [...]essed Cit y, do so sweat and labour in build­ing, [Page 114] and adorning Ci [...]ties, and state­ly Houses, as if we were neuer to dye, or neuer expected to arriue to Heaue [...]; In which our proceeding, we doubles­ly imitate not the bel [...]euing Patriarchs, but the misbelieuing Heathens: And yet we are Christians, and doe well know, that neither Christ nor any of the Apostles had here vpon Earth any Citty, Pallace, or so much as an house; much lesse, that they did build any of these.

I would not heere be vnderstood to reprehend Princes of this world (al­though Christians) for erecting of Cit­ties, and priuate men for building con­uenient houses for themselues & their Posterity; for we well know, that Da­uid (a pious King) did much inlarge the Citty of Ierusalem, and did in the same Citty build himselfe a most Re­gall Pallace, as we read in the second Booke of Kings. We likewise know, that S. Lewis (King of France) repay­red at his owne peculiar charges, cer­taine much ruined Citties of the Chri­stiās in Palestine. Neither are we igno­rant, that Princes should liue in more magnificent Buildings, then priuate men; and in lyke sort men of worth & [Page 115] dignity, then men of the common and vulgar sort. All this [...]e know; but but we on [...]y require and allow a me­diocrity in these things; the extreme we codemne, especially when we see that Priuate men couet to haue Palla­ces fi [...]ting for Kings; and Kings not content with Pallaces, do buyld for themselues huge masles and heights of Edifices, equalling euen townes in greatnes: To conclude, we con­demne an ouer-affectionate desire to these temporal chings, as if we were to repose and place our chi [...]fe felicity in them; and we prayse and allow the contempt of the world, and the hu­mi [...]ity of Christ.

Now touching the Ports or Gates of the Citty of Heauen; they are sayd by S. Iohn in the place aboue alledged to consist of Margarites and Pearles. In lyke sort, the structure of the walls is of Iaspar stone, & the streets of the Citty, as also the whole Citty of pure gould. All which desc [...]iption doth si­gnify, that that holy Citty is mo [...]t pre­cious, and withall most bright & shin­ing. For it is well knowne, that the Margarite or Pearle is precious, and lightsome. Now, the Iaspar is eyther [Page 116] greene or whyte; and therefore for the better distinction of these two co­lours, S. Iohn addeth, Et lumen eius simile lapidi precioso, and the light thereof, lyke to a precious stone, as it were to the Iaspar stone, euen as Cristal. Where he adioyneth the words, euen as Cristall, to signify that he spake not of the greene, but of the whyte and transparent Iaspar: So also, where he sayth; that the streetes are of pure gould, he annexeth these wordes lyke to pure glasse; that is trasparent▪ and of a whyte colour, lyke vnto Cristall.

From this it followeth, that the whole Citty, whether you respect the gates, the wall, or the streets, is most precious, which hath not within it any ordure, or any thing that is base, abiect sordid, or of small continuance. And withall the Citty is sayd to be whyte, and plainly lyeth open to the eye; for therin is nothing couered. All the Ci­tizens then see all things; neither is there any suspicion, or any imposture, or deceyte. And perhaps this is the reason, why S. Iohn subnecteth in the same place this short passage: An [...] the Gates thereof shall not be shut; because there shalbe no darknes, no theeues, [Page 117] no Enemies, for feare of whome the Gates should be shut. Neither is this repugnant to the wordes of the Psalmist, who celebrateth the prayse of his Heauenly Ierusalem in these words: Psal. 147. O Ierusalem praise our Lord, because he hath strengthened the locks of thy Gates. Since both the Prophe [...] & the Euangalist do insinuate one and the same thing; to wit, that there are not any enemies or theeues, who can threaten danger to this hea­uenly Ierusalem. For the Prophet, by the Gates being euer shut, sign fyeth that Gods holy Protection will not suf­fer the enemy at any time to inuade or enter into that Citty, so much be­loued by him. The Euangelist by the gates being open, sheweth, that that Citty is so secure and free from all ho­stile incursions, as that it needeth n t to shut its Gates; much lesse to keep any Watch, or Centinall.

But let as proceed, and shew, what the Gates, the VValls, and the Streetes of his Citty do import? The Gates (by their standsng euer open) declare, that now after the Passion of our Sauiour, entrance into this Citty of God and Angels, is giuen to men, since Christ [Page 118] himselfe, after he had suffered death, did open the Kingdome of Heauen to the faithfull. Neither is there one on­ly Port or gate, but twelue, by which the faythful may enter into this Citty: for thus S. Iohn speaketh: On the East side three gates, on the North three, and on the South three, and on the VVest three. Since not only the Iewes (as themselues dreamed) doe enter into that Citty, but men euen from [...]ll the most remote and discosted parts of the whole World. Yea, so few Iewes do enter there into, as with reference to men of other Nations, they may be said to be almost none at all: for thus did our Lord (speaking to the Centu­rion) prophesy of them. Matth. 8. I haue not found so great faith in Israel; And, I say vnto you, that many shall come from the East, and the VVest, and shall sit downe with Abraham, and I­saac, and Iacob, in the kingdome of Hea­uen; but the children of the Kingdome shalbe cast out into exteriour darknes. In like sort, in the Parable of the Vine, our Lord thus saith, Matt 21. The King­dome of God shalbe taken away from you, and shalbe giuen to a Nation yiel­ding fruit thereof. And the same point [Page 119] is inculcated most clearly in S Luke. VVhen you shall see Abraham, & Isaac, and Iacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God, & you to be thrust out. And there shall come from the East, and the VVest, and the North, and the South & shal sit down in the Kingdom of God.

Now there are said to be three Gates from euery part of the World, (& so in number twelue) because en­trance sha be giuen not only to those comming from the East, the South, the West, and the North; but also from the beginning or first entrance of the East, from the middle of the East, and from the end of the East; the lyke may be sayd of the three other Parts of the World. Except this other construction following of the foresaid number of the Gates, may be perhaps more pertinent to the purpose, to wit, that three gates are assigned to seue­rall parts of the Heauenly Citty, with reference to the mistery of the Blessed Trinity, and the three most necessary Vertues; since they all, from all the foure parts of the World, doe enter into this Heauenly Citty, who being baptiz [...]d in the name of the three di­uine Persons, haue perseuered to their [Page 120] last end in Fayth, Hope, and Cha­rity.

Of the Wall, and streetes of the Citty of God. CHAP. VI.

TO proceed. The VVall of the Citty signifieth nothing els, then Gods holy Protectiō & custody, which one thing alone is sufficient, to pre­serue this Citty, without any watch, forces, or fortresses. I will be to it (saith God by the mouth of Zachary) A wall of fyer round about; and I wilbe in glory in the middest thereof. Zach. 2. A most wonderfull Promise He saith, I will be a wall of fyer round about, that I may hinder the entrance of E­nemies; and I will be a glory in the middest thereof that I may enlighten the Cittizens: as if he would say; Fyer burneth, and shyneth; therefore I will consume the enemy with fyer, & and will illuminate and comfort the Cittizens. So I shalbe a wall of fyer round about, and a light of glory in the middest: which very point S. Iohn a [Page 121] little after doth explicate, when he saith: Apoc. 21. And the Citty needeth not Sunne nor Moone to shine in it; for the glory of God hath illuminated it, and the Lambe is the Lampe thereof. The clarity and brightnesse of God, as a Sunne, doth enlighten the minds, and Christ being the Lambe of God, as a Lampe, doth illuminate the bodyes of the blessed. Now Christ is here called a Lampe, not as if this Lampe were ne­cessary in the night time, but is so cal­led in comparison of the Diuinity. For if the faces of the Saints shall shine as the Sunne in the Kingdome of God (as our Lord himselfe testifieth Matth. 13.) then how much more shall the face of Christ, not as a Lamp, but as a chiefe Sunne, enlighten the Citty of God? And hence it is, that S. Iohn doth there subioyne, that there shalbe no Night in that Citty.

Here yet remaineth the street of this Citty to be discoursed of. This street cōprehendeth the whole space, wh [...]ch is within the compasse of the walls. And this street is the common habi­tation of all the Celestiall Cittizens; The which is all of pure gold; that is, of a fiery and bright Charity, which [Page 122] shall containe all those Cittizens; and through force of which one of the In­habitants shall euen liue in another, through the vertue of pure Loue. Nei­ther only shall one liue in another, but all of them shall liue in God, and God in thē all; for who remayneth in Cha­rity, remaineth in God, & God in him. 1. Ioan. 4. The which point, that it might be affected Christ our Lord as­ked of his Father in that praier which, ready to goe to his Passion, he made in the hearing of all of his Apostles, say­ing: Ioan. 17. Not for them alone doe I pray, but for thē also, who by their word shall belieue in me, that they all may be one, as thou (Father) in me, and I in thee, that they also in vs may be one.

O most blessed Citty, which being seated vpon a most high mountaine, dost enioy a most pure ayre! Which art founded vpon a Rocke, as being supported with eternall stability and firmenes! Whose gates doe shine like Margarites, and euer stand open for Holy Soules to enter into! Whose wall is God, encompassing thee about with his vigilancy and protection, and as a precious Ia [...]per-stone doth adorne thee! Whose street is Charity, more [Page 123] bright and glorious, then all gould, more white then any Crystall! Which maketh all the inhabitants to be of one heart, of one mind! replenishing them with an inutterable ioy, and placing them in an interminable and euerlast­ing tranquillity and peace! Concupis­cit, & deficit anima mea; my soule co­ueteth, and euen fainteth, vnto thy streets. Psal. 9 [...]. What is more grate­full, and more wished for, by our la­bouring, and lamenting in the midst of a wicked Nation, among false bre­thren, and in that world, which is wholy placed in malignity & wicked­nes, then euen in all hast to flye to that place, in which only Charity reigneth? VVhen shall I come, and ap­peare before the face of God? Psal. 41. What greater consolation and com­fort can be to a s [...]ule louing our Lord, then to see his beloued, and to be seene of his beloued, and through an inward and most sweet connexion re­ciprocally to dvvell the one in the other? It is insufferable bouldnes (O Holy Citty) that dust and ashes should dare to aspire to thy Pallaces; and it is greater bouldnes, that a vile and deie­cted soule should dare to approach to [Page 224] the fruition of his Creatour. But he vvill excuse and pleade for this bold­nes, vvho gaue it, vvhen he prayed to his Father, that vve all might be one; and that as the Father is in the Sonne, and the Sonne in the Father; so vve may be but one, in one another.

Of the Temple of the Citty of God. CHAP. VII.

VVE are heer further to inlarge our discourse of the Citty of God, in shewing the Temple therein to prayse God, & the meate & drinke, which there is to be eaten and drunkē; for as for cloathing the Inhabitants need not to be sollicitous. For if Adam and Eue needed not any cloathing in the terrestriall Paradise, much lesse shall the Saints in the celestiall Para­radise need any such; who shall be all cloathed with splendour and light, as with a vestment. Now concerning meate & drinke, Adam and Eue could not want them; neyther doe the An­gells themselues want them, accor­ding to those words of the Angell Ra­phael: [Page 125] I vse an inuisible meate & drin­ke, which cannot be seene of men. Tob. 12.

And first touching the Temple, S. Iohn thus speaketh in the Apocalyps 21. And temple I saw none therein, for our Lord God omnipotent is the Temple thereof, and the Lambe. That S. Iohn did not see any Temple in the Citty, may not seeme strange; since Temples are erected in the Militant Church for foure ends; to wit, that the Word of God may be preached in them to the faythfull; that the Sacraments and Sa­crifices may be celebrated in them; that Publike Prayer may be in them offered vp to God; And finally that due praises with singing & ioy may be performed to him. Now the preaching of the Word of God shall cease in Heauen; seeing there the increated VVord himsefe shall manifestly speake to all; And according to the preaching of Ieremy the Prophet. cap. 31. Man shall no more teach his neighbour, or his brother, saying, Know our Lord: for all shal know me from the least to the grea­test.

Sacraments in lyke manner and Sa­crifices shall not be necessary in that Citty; since neither Sins shalbe there [Page 126] expiated, neither shall signes be there required, where things signifyed shall manifestly appeare. Prayers and Laudes to God are heer vpon earth, perfor­med in Churches and Temples, dedi­cated vnto God, because himselfe hath promised, that in such sacred places his eyes shalbe open, & eares attēt; for thus he speaketh to Salomon: Paral. 7. Myne eyes shalbe open, and mine eares erected to his prayer, that shall pray in this place. But now seeing in the Ce­lestiall Citty, God wilbe openly seene and heard of all men, therefore not a­ny Temple seemeth to be necessary in that place. Hence then we may easily gather, why S. Iohn said, And I saw no Temple in the Citty.

But h [...]er it may be demaūded, why S. Iohn subioineth these words: The God omnipotent, is the Temple thereof, and the Lambe? For if no Temple be re­quired in that Citty, why then is God himselfe said to be the Temple there­of? and not only the Temple, but also the Lambe? Or what explication can it haue; to say, that God and the Lābe shalbe called Temples in Heauen? Or to what vse shall this Temple be in Heauen? In answere heerto, we are [Page 127] to recurre to the custome of the holy Scriptures, where one text or sentence doth comment, and explaine another, and the more darke and obscure pas­sage receaues its illustratiō from that which is more perspicuous and cleare. Well then, we thus reade in the 90. Psalme: He that dwelleth in the help of the highest, shall ab [...]d [...] in the Protectiō of the God of Heaue [...] [...] sense and meaning of which Words is this: Who by a firme Confidence & Hope is ioyned with God, he (as it were) maketh to himselfe a house in God, in the which he may securely liue, as be­ing exempt and free from all euill. The same may be said of Prayses and Pray­ers to God. For he that, through an inward reuerence, is conioyned with God, doth in lyke sort build to him­selfe a place of Habitation in God, the which he inhabitating in that sort as he ought to doe, may therein pray, and offer vp his prayses vnto God,

So heer we say, that our Lord (the Omniporent God of Heauen) is the Temple of the holy Citty; because all those holy Cittizens most intensly and with a strong bent of feruour, medi­tating on the omnipotency of God [Page 126] [...] [Page 127] [...] [Page 126] [...] [Page 127] [...] [Page 128] (and so by this meanes ioyned to him, by an inward reuerence) do dwell in him, and exhibit to him due prayses; and when they pray for vs, they are heard with a most willing and ready care. In lyke manner, when they seriously contemplate the merits of Christ, who, as an innocent Lambe, de­liuered himself vp in oblation and Sa­crifice to God [...] odour of sweet­nes; they being firmely vnited by loue, and dwelling in him, as in a Temple, doe powre out their Prayers, and im­petrations for vs, and doe doubtlesly find the eyes of God open, and his eares attentiue, that they may obtaine in our behalfe any thing, for which they pray.

But if those blessed Cittizens be ac­customed to dwell in God & in Christ, as in a Temple, thereby to offer vp their prayses and prayers for vs; what are we (poore men) to doe, who nei­ther see God nor Christ? O would to God, that we might be so happy, out of the immense fauour of God, as to approach neere, to magnify and pray to God, as that now through true Hu­mility and perfect reuerence, proceed­ing out of the consideration of his su­preme [Page 129] Maiesty, we being with God, might dwell in him, as in a most sacred Temple.

For then would we not performe our prayses and prayers with a yaw­ning & heedles attentiō, our thoughts being then fixed vpon other things; but with all serious and recollected de­uotion we would exhibite gratefull Prayses to God, and profitable Prayers for our selues and our Brethren. And then would be accomplished and ful­filled that sentence: The Sacrifice of praise shall glorify me; and there is the way, by which I will shew him the sal­uation of God. Psal. 49. For diuine prayses offered vp as an Holocaust vp­on the Altar of the Heart, and heated with the fire of Charity, doe ascend vp, in an odour of wonderfull sweet­nes, and doe obtaine, that a way may be opened to vs, by the illustration of the hart, to behold that true health or saluation, which God hath prepared for all that loue him. All which bene­fitts those poore soules loose, who performe their Prayers with a wan­dring of the mind, and a voluntary drinesse of the Heart. And thus doe these men partake of the labour and [Page 130] paines with others, who pray, and sing Laudes to God; but of the diuine consolation, and tast before hand of the Heauenly Beatitude, they partake not at all.

Of the meate and drinke of the Citty of God. CHAP. VIII.

TOuching the Meate and drinke of the celestial Inhabitants, we thus read in the Apocalyps cap. 22. And he shewed me a riuer of liuing water, cleare as christall, proceeding from the seate of God, and of the Lambe. In the middest of the streete thereof, and of both sides of the riuer, the tree of lyfe, yielding twelue fruits, rendring his fruit euery moneth, and the leaues of the tree for the curing of the Gentils. I partly feare that some who read this passage, may wonder at the parcimony of the su­pernall Citizens, and may be persua­ded that better prouisiō of meate may be had in this our peregrination: for heere in Heauen we heare nothing concerning meate, but of the fruite [Page 131] of one tree; and concerning drinke, but of the water of a riuer But let such Men (who thus talke) call to mynd, that in the terrestriall Paradise (where no doubt there were better meats, thē are in this our exile and banishment) Adam had nothing els granted him, but fruites and herbs for his meate, & water for his drinke; and neuertheles those fruites, herbs, and water excee­ded the most delicious meates and wynes of this life, and yet were ma­ny degrees inferiour to the tree of life and liuing water of the Heauenly Pa­radise.

In this vale of misery, all Men are sicke, and haue their sense of Tast corrupted, through a certaine bitter sharpnes; therefore to take avvay all kind of loathing, they haue found out diuers sorts of meates; But yet this de­licate variety of meates so diminisheth the loathing, as that it engendreth many diseases. In the earthly Paradise all men were sound and healthfull; & the salubrity and sweetnes of those fruites, and of that water was of that vertue, as that it could with incredi­ble delectatiō, perfectly nourish them (without any nauseous saciety) and [Page 132] conserue them in their health: We may add heerto, that they had their meate and drinke euen abundantly, & this without any labour or paine of the body taken therfore. But howso­euer these matters were in the earth­ly Paradise; doubtlesly the liuely VVa­ter and the tree of lyfe in the Citty of God are not meate and drinke commō to Beasts with men (as the Waters & fruites heere in the vale of our pere­grination are) but they are of such worth, and in nature so diuine, as that the Prophet not without cause thus speaketh: Psal. 33. They shallbe ine­briated with the plenty of thy house; & with the torrent of thy pleasure thou shalt make them drinke; for these meats and drinke are not corporall, but spiri­tuall and diuine things. The VVater of life is VVisdome, which we thus read: Eccles. 15. She shall giue him VVater of wholsome VVisdome to drinke; And the tree of lyfe is that bread, of which in the same place we lykewise read: She shall feed him with the bread of lyfe, & vnderstanding. For as S. Austin teach­eth; in corporall nourishments one thinge is meate, and another thinge drinke; but in spirituall nourishments [Page 133] one and the same thing is both meate and drinke; to wit, VVisdome, Vnder­standing, or intelligence; since wise­dome is meate, as it nourisheth; it is also drinke, as it quencheth thirst.

Notwithstanding what is heere sayd, I grant also, that as by the wa­ter of lyfe; VVisdome may be signifyed so by the tree of life Chaeity; for thus we fynd in S. Iohn, He who loueth not, remayneth in death, 1. Ioan 3. And a­gaine; VVe know, that we are trāslated from death to life, because we loue the brethren And ceriainly as well to vn­derstand, as to loue, are vitall Acti­ons. Therfore it followeth, that the drinke in the Citty of God, is to drinke of that liuely riuer, which streameth from the fountaine of lyfe, which is God; to wit, to enioy the participation of that wisdome, by the which God is wise; the w [...]ich wisdom is most high, and not to be expressed in words. And the meate of those Saints, is to eare of the tree of lyfe; that is, to enioy the participation of that ineffable Loue, with the which Goodnes it selfe (be­ing clearely seene) may be loued, and with the which God (who is infinitly good, and the fountaine of all good­nes) [Page 134] doth loue himselfe. What these things are, may after a sort, come within the compasse of our coniecture but of our Vnderstanding they cānot, nor euer shall, vntill we arriue to that Citty it selfe.

Now where S. Iohn sayth, that the tree was vpon eyther syde of the riuer; and that seuerall moneths it yielded forth fruite; all this is to be vnderstood figuratiuely, that so by the similitude, or resemblance of corpo­ral things, we may better apprehend spirituall things. For the Blessed Euan­gelist his scope was, to paint forth in words a tree of supreme goodnes and fertility, the which to performe, he describeth a tree, which groweth at the banke of a Riuer, & which throgh its owne goodnes, and through a cō ­tinuall irrigation, bringeth forth fruit (not euery yeere only, as other trees vsually do, but) euery moneth. Ney­ther doth the Euangelist meane, that there is only one tree in the Heauenly Citty, but many trees of the same kind, which grow vpon both sides of the riuer, running though the middst of the Citty; so as betweene one tree & another, the distance was not great, [Page 135] but of that conuenient space, as that the whole Citty may enioy both the benefit of the W [...]ter, and the fruite of the tree. The goodnes of the tree is intimated and signifyed, in being called The tree of lyfe. The fertility thereof is shewed, in that it bringeth forth fruit euery moueth. Thus it fal­leth out, that the Inhabitants of that Citty haue euer new & rype fruit▪ new (I meane) of the present moneth, & rype of the moneth next past; so as the fruit is neuer rotten, neuer dry, neuer vnpleasing to the tast. All which descriptions and circumstances do si­gnify, and figure out the meate and drinke of the Blessed; to wit, VVisdom, by the which they perfectly vnderstād God, and Charity by the which they perfectly loue God; And this meate and drinke of the Saints being of chie­fest worth, are neuer wanting.

Now where the Euangelist spea­keth of the leaues of that tree condu­cing to the health of Nations, he may be thought to signify thereby, that during our banishment in this world, the fruites themselues of the tree of life are neuer sent to vs, but only cer­taine leaues of that tree; the which al­though [Page 136] they do not conferre eternall lyfe, neuertheles they are very medi­cinable to cure our diseases, to wit, the Concupiscence of the flesh, Concupis­cence of the eyes, Pryde of life, and other such maladies, of which all of vs eyther in a high, meane, or low degree, are sicke. These Leaues are the diuine word of God, brought to vs, by the Prophets and Apostles from Heauen, that is, by diuine Reuelation. O how sweet an odour do these lea­ues breath forth to such, as haue the spirit of our Lord! Reade the Pro­phets, reade the Psalmist, reade the Gospe [...]ls, read the Apostles, Peter, Paul Iohn, Iames, and Iude, all these leaues do euen breath forth Humility, the Charity of God, Virginity into the Readers hart; of all which the Philo­sophers are wholy silent: but this we are not to wounder at, seeing these leaues are the leaues of Paradise; those of the Philosophers, the leaues of the Earth. Therefore (O Christian Soule) gather these Leaues most diligently, and make to thy self of them a daily medicine; and from the worth of these leaues, make a coniecture what the fruit is; and loathing the draffe of [Page 137] swine, aspire with a breathles and in­cessant desire, to this fruite of Eternall lyfe which is aboue: of this meditate and let the remembrance thereof be euer deeply fixed in thy mynd.

Of the Mysticall foundation of the Citty of God. CHAP. IX.

VVE haue already taken into our consideration the stru­cture of the supernall Ierusalem, we will now intreate of another structure thereof. For a Citty doth not onely containe the foūdations, the wals, the streets, but also the multitude of the Citizens, who in regard of the di­uersity of their functions and offices, are also said in a figuratiue sense, to be the Foundations, Ports, or Walls, and the lyke. And perhaps the gathe­ring, and liuing togeather vnder the same Lawes, is more properly called a Citty, then a continuation of a mul­titude of houses vnder the same walls; for thus doth Tully (in somni [...] Scipionis) speake heereof: Concilia coetusque ho­minum &c. The familiarityes, and com­panies [Page 138] of men, linked togeather within one Law, are called Citties. Of this ce­lestiall Citty, which consisteth of Ci­tizens, not only S. Iohn, but also S. Peter, and S. Paul do speake. In the Apocalyps cap. 21. we read: that in the twelue gates, were seene twelue An­gels, and the inscription of their Na­mes were the twelue Tribes of the children of Israel; and in the founda­tions were written twelue names of the twelue Apostles of the Lambe.

In S. Peter we thus reade: Vnto whome approching, a liuing stone, of men indeed reprobated, but of God elect and made honourable, 1. Pet. 2. And you as liuing stones, be you made &c. To come to S. Paul: he thus writeth Ephes. 1. Now therefore you are not strangers, and forreners, but are Citizens of the Saints, & the domestiks of God, built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Iesus Christ himselfe being the highest Corner-stone. Therfore from all this we gather, that the Citty of God hath for foundation or ground worke▪ the Apostles and Prophets; for the doctrine of the A­postles and the Prophets doth support the whole fabrick thereof. For fayth [Page 139] is the beginning of sa [...]uation. Now fayth is [...]e [...]aled by the Apostl [...]s and Prophets, eyther by writing, or prea­ching the mysteries of the Trinity, the In [...]arna [...]ion, the Resurrection of the dead, the glory of the Saints, Eternall punishments, and other poin [...]s trans­cending humane reason; all which we haue learned from the Prophets and Apostles, to whome God hath vouch­safed to reueale these Mysteries. For although Fayth hath no place in the blessed Soules, because that which they did belieue, they [...]ow see (bu [...] what is seene is not belieued, but knowne;) notwithstanding the Pro­phets and Apostles are sayd to be the foundation of the supernall Citty, be­cause Faith is the beginning of salua­ [...]ion, and therefore the beginning of Beatitude.

But because S. Peter teacheth 1. Pet. 2. That we (as liuing stones) are [...]uilt vpon Christ: And S. Paul 1. Cor. [...]. sayth: Other foundation no man can [...]y besides that which is layd, which [...] Christ Iesus: Therefore there is one [...]oundation, and there are also twelue [...]oundations, as S. Austin (in explic. Ps. [...]6.) teacheth, because in the twelue [Page 140] Apostles Christ was: for he, or his Spi­rit did speake and teach by thē. Heare the Apostle himselfe, 2. Cor. 13. Doe you seeke an experiment of him, that speaketh in me, Christ? Heare Christ himselfe saying; VVho so heareth you, heareth me. And in another place: It is not you that speake, but it is the spi­rit of your Father, that speaketh in you. And it is not to be doubted, but that one and the same spirit is of the Holy Ghost, of the Father, & of the Sonne. From whence we may further learne, that by the twelue foundations, not only the twelue Apostles are vnder­stood, but also all those, who first prea­ched the same fayth with them; since otherwise S. Paul himselfe, Barnabas, and the seauenty disciples (all who were not of the number of the foresayd twelue disciples) should not hau [...] belonged to these foundations; ye [...] neyther the Prophets thēselues shoul [...] appertaine thereto; And thus (whic [...] God forbid) we should make the Apostle lyar, who said, that we ar [...] built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets.

But here occurreth no small doub [...] to wit. How Christ can truly be calle [...] [Page 141] the foundotion of this Edifice or buil­ding, since he is the chiefe Corner­stone thereof, as the Apostle speaketh, and is exalted aboue the head of the Angle, or Corner, as the Prophet af­firmeth. For how can the same stone be in the highest and lowest place? be in the foundation, and in topp of the building? But he that shal call to mind, that these words are vsed in a Meta­phoricall sense, will easily conceaue, how by reason of diuers functions or offices, contrary words may be applied to one and the same person. For not only Christ, who is both God and Mā, but euery Prelate in his owne Church, is both the foundatiō, & height; because as he is the foundation, he ought to sustaine the burden or weight of the Edifice; to tolerate the infirmities of all; and in this respect to be vnder all; And yet the same Prelate, as being the Summity, or height of the building, ought to be aboue all, to cōmaund all: & to be obeyed by All Therfore with much more reason, may Christ, as the foūdation of the Church, be of Power to beare all vp, through his authority and vertue: And withall, as he is pla­ced in the head of the angle, may cō ­ioyne [Page 142] two Wall [...] togeather, and con­stitute one People of the Gentils and the Iewes; and so preside ouer All, and commaund ouer All.

Of the mysticall Port, or Gate of the Citty of God. CHAP. X.

IT now followeth, that we consi­der the ports or gates of this Cele­stiall Ierusalem. The common exposi­tion of Interpreters, is, that by the Ports are vnderstood the Apostles; which expositours doe herein follow the iudgement of S. Austin, in exposit. Psal. 86. But the Euangelist, Apoc. 21. speaking of the Gates, maketh mētion of twelve Angells, & twelue Tribes of the Childrē of Israel, whose names (he said) were written in the twelue gates of the Citty of God; but of the twelue Apostles he there speaketh not at all, Yet from hence it followeth not, that the sentence of S. Austin, (and of o­thers following him) is false; since S. Iohn speaketh mystically, and not as the Words doe sound, and there [Page 143] speaketh as a Prophet, not as an Hi­storian; and all that description of his is euen most redundant of mysticall significations.

The Land of Promise was (by the ioint consent of all) a figure of this Heauenly Citty. Abraham was the first to whom Promise of that Land was made, for thus doth God speake to A­braham: Gen. 13. All the Land which thou seest, will I giue to thee, and to thy seed for euer. And the Apostle conspi­r [...]ngly saith the like: Gal. 3. To Abrahā, and his seed the Promises were made; And a little after: God gaue is to Abra­ham by Promise, Isaac was the sole heyre to Abraham, Ismael (who was the Sonne of a handmaid) being ex­cluded, the Scripture thus speaking thereof: The Sonne of the Handmaid shall not be heyre, with the Sonne of a Freewoman The Sonne of Isaac, was only Iacob, Esau being excluded, who sould his birth- [...]ight; Of whome the Prophet Malachy thus speaketh: I lo­ued Iacob, and hated Esau. Which sen­tence the Apostle speaketh to the Ro­mans cap. 9. The Heyres of Iacob, were all his Sonnes, which were twelue, not any of them being disin­herited; [Page 144] And thus the Land of Promise was deuided among the twelue Tribes of Israel, as appeareth out of the Book of Iosue.

Now this therefore is the cause, why S. Iohn in the Apocalyps said, that the names of the twelue Tribes of Is­rael were written vpon the twelue Gates, to wit, because the Port or Gate of entring into the Land of Promise, was that Heredita [...]y right, which be­longed to all, and only the Sonnes of Israel. But as I noted a little aboue, the Apostle S. Iohn speaketh mystically; and by the twelue Tribes of Israel, are vnderstood true Israelits, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spi­rit, and Faith; and consequently the twelue Apostles, and their spirituall Children are vnderstood thereby. For as S. Paul expresly teacheth: Rom. 9. Not all that are of Israel, be Israelites: Nor they, which be the seed of Abra­ham, all be children. Which Apostle [...] little after compareth Israel to a Tree, of which many boughes are broke [...] through incredulity; and others inser­ted and implanted through faith. In this sense the Gentills, being conuer­ted to the faith, did begin to become [Page 145] the children of [...]srael; and many of the Iewes did cease to be true Israelits.

Saint Austin d [...]monstrateth and expli [...]ateth all th [...]se points very [...]arge­ly, thus writing: Ep ad As [...]l. Are not these great wounders, and a deep mystery, that many not borne of Is­rael, should be Israel, and man [...] should not be the Children, who are the seed of Abraham? But how commeth it to pass [...], that they are not? and how commeth is to passe, that the other [...]re? I will shew, Those are not the Sonne [...] of the Promi [...]e▪ who do not belong to the grace of Christ, but are the Sonnes according to the fles [...] ▪ so enioying an empty name or title; and th [...]fore they [...]re not Israel, as we are. Neither are we Israel, as they are; for we are Israel ac [...]ording to spirituall re­generation; the [...] are Israel, in respect of carnall generation. And a little after the said S Austin thus further enlar­geth himselfe, saying; Euen among the Nephewes of Abraham, the Sonnes of Isaac, those two brethren (I meane) Esau, and Iacob who after was called Israel, this great and deepe mystery ta­keth place; of which point the Apostle speaketh, when by Isaac he maketh mention of the children of the Promise, [Page 146] belonging to the grace of Christ. Cer­tainly this Apostolicall and Catholik [...] doctrine euidently sheweth, that accor­ding to the origine of the flesh, the Iewes did belong to Sara, the Ismaelits to A­gar; But according to the mystery of the Spirit, the Christians did appertaine to Sara, and the Iewes to Agar. In like sort, according to the origine of the flesh, to Esau (who is also called Edom) the ofspring of the Idumeans belongeth; and to Iacob (who was also called Israel) the Progeny of the Iewes appertaineth. Lastly according to the mystery of the Spirit, the Iewes belong to Esau, and to Israel the Christians.

Thus far S. Austin; Who fully in­structeth vs, that Christians are true Israelits, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and con­sequently are the true Heyres of the Land of Promise, which is in Heauen, And thus it appeareth, that the Gates of heauenly Ierusalem haue the Names of the twelue Tribes of Israel written vpon them: because the Port or Gate by the which entrance is made into that Heauenly Land of Promise, is the right, or title of the inheritance of the Sonnes of God; who alone are true [Page 147] and sincere Christians, being the Sons of the Holy Apostles, which are vnder­stood by the name of Israelits, that is, by the Sonnes of Iacob the Patriarke. Now where S. Iohn addeth, that in those gates were twelue Angells; this signifieth, that the Angells are the keepers or warders of the gates; their office being to take care, that not any doe enter therein, who haue not right of Inheritance: And perhaps for this reason, S. Michael (the Archangell) is pictured with a paire of ballance or weights in his hand, in that by the Mi­nistery of the Angells, subiect vnto him, he doth examine and weigh the meritts of those, who doe seeke to aspire to this Heauenly Citty. Thus much touching the Gates.

Of the Mysticall stones of the Citty of God. CHAP. XII.

THE rest of the Edifice consisteth of stones, which are all the faith­full, that are built vpon the founda­tion, as the Apostles S. Peter, and S. [Page 146] [...] [Page 147] [...] [Page 148] Paul haue perspicuously expounded. Now since this part of the building extendeth it selfe to all men, I hould it a thing conu [...]nient, to consider the conditions and qualities, which are r [...]quisite for all those, who couet to be [...]u [...]t vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, vnder the supr [...]me Corner stone, Iesus Christ; so as they may not only be in the Cit­ty of God, but themselues may be that high, and most happy Citty of God

Three things concurre to the end: man may be built vpon so noble and worthy a foundation. First, that he be a stone; Secondly, that he be a liuing ston [...]; lastly, that this stone be curiously polished, and squared. First then we ought to be stones, not Wood, not Hay, not straw, that so we may make a so­lid and firme Wall; that is, we ought to be graue and stab [...]e Men, perseue­ring in Fayth, in Charity, in Humili­ty, in obedience of the Commande­ments, and not suffer our selfs to be carryed away and blowne to and fro with euery wind of doctrine, as Heretiks are accu [...]tomed to be; neyther violently to be possessed with [Page 149] seuerall desires and Passions as some light and vnsteddy Catholiks are wont to be. For not any of these Men are admitted by the builders of the eternal Citty, but only serue to make poore and weake cottages, which are after presently ouerthrowne and ruines. We ought also to be liuing stones, as S. Peter admonisheth, that is, to be full of Charity, of the Spirit of lyfe, as the Corner stone Christ is; who though he once dyed in flesh, yet he euer liued in Spirit, and accord [...]ng to the flesh did reuiue, after he had tasted death, and is neuer after more to dye. Dead stones do buyld and make dead howses, I meane corporall howses; whereas the spirituall howse or rather the Citty of the great King (wh ch is both spirituall and Heauenly) requi­reth spirituall stones, and in this res­pect liuely stones.

To conclude, it is necessary, that we be stones artificially wrought and squared; not stones vnpolished, and without forme, because such building is best sorting to the most noble Citty of all Citties. So we read, in Iudith 1. that Arphaxad (the King) did build the Citty Echatanis, of squared and [Page 150] cut stones. And if King Salomon built the Temple of our Lord heere vpon earth, of polished, carued, and curious stones; what stones then ought to be vsed for the building of that Eternall Citty, which infinitly is exalted aboue all other Citties? But this squaring & working is to be performed in this life and not in Heauen; The figure, or Type wherof, was the building of the Temple of Salomon; for thus we read in the third of the Kings cap. 6. VVhen the House was building, neyther ham­mer, nor hatchet, nor any toole of Iron was heard in the House. Because the stones were hewed, cut, and so perfe­ctly and euenly squared far from the house of the Lord, as that when they were brought to the Temple, they were put in their place, without any noyse, or sound of the Hammer. Ther­fore we gather from hence, that no sound or blow of the striking Hammer shalbe heard in the Celestiall Ierusa­lees; for ther shalbe no persecution, no tribulation, no pen [...]tentiall labour, no complayning, no dolour, no heauines; And therefore the stones designed to the glory of this Heauēly house, ought in this vale of misery and teares to be [Page 151] polished with strokes and pressures; for thus the Church singeth.

Tunsionibus, pressuris
Expoliti lapides,
Suis cooptantur locis
Per manus artificis,
Disponuntur permansuri
Sacris edificijs.

That is, The stones being polished with knockings & pressures, are made apt for their places by the hands of the VVorke­man; And so they are disposed for euer to remaine in the sacred buildings.

Thus heer in this world the bur­den of pennance is necessarily to be vndergone, since we all offend in ma­ny things, as S. Iames affirmeth cap. 3. Heer our carnall concupiscences are to be tamed; Here our proper Wills are to be ouercome; Heer our Body is to brought into seruitude; Heere the buckler of fayth through an indefati­gable labour is to be interposed against the fyery darts of vncleane Spirits: Since otherwise if we cannot endure the stroke of the Hammer, how can we then expect to be admitted by the Heauenly Architect, vnto the structure of the Celestiall House? O! that Men would vnderstood and conceaue, of [Page 152] how great a good they depriue them­selues, whiles they do auoyd and de­cline the Hammer of persecution, and cannot (at least will not) suffer any incommodity or losse, any asperity, a­ny thing bitter and aduerse vnto them; they would then, doubtlesly change their courses; they would ruine ban­quettings and good fellowship into fasting; delicate and costly apparell in­to hayre-shirts; and idle discourses and vnnecessary words into watching, and prayer. And if they suffered any iniustice or wrong at the hāds of false Brethren, or open and professed ene­mies, they would not (in requitall) meditate vpon reuenge; but they would giue thanks to God, and pray euen from their heart for their Ca­lumniatours & Persecutours, because The sufferings of these tymes are not cō ­digne to the glory to come, that shalbe reuealed to vs. Rom. 8. And in that; Our Tribulation, which is now momen­tary and light, worketh aboue measure exceedingly an eternall weight of glory in vs. 2. Cor. 4.

And certainly if we cast our eye backe vpon those liuing stones, who are gone before vs towards the stru­cture [Page 153] of this Heauenly edifice, we shal behould ech one of them to haue b [...]n hewed with knockings or strokes, and polished with seuerall pressures. Christ himselfe (the most precious Corner­stone, who did not stand in need of a­ny hammering or working vpon) did so suffer for vs, as that by such a suf­ferance he did leaue to vs an Example, who, when he was reuiled, did not re­uyle, and when he suffered▪ he threatned not 1. Pet. 2. In like sort, all the Apo­stles could say with S. Paul: vntill this houre we do both hunger and thirst, & are naked; and are beaten with buffets, and are wanderers, and labour working with our Hands; we are cursed, and do blesse; we are persecuted, and sustaine it: we are blasphemed, and we do be­seech; we are made the out-cast of this VVorld, the drosse of all. 1. Cor. 4. What may we relate of the Martyrs; did not they all, being cut and wrought by many tribulations, calamities, and most bitter deaths, ascend to the edi­fice of the Heauenly Ierusalem? I passe ouer the Holy Confessours, Ancho­rets, Virgins, Widdowes, and all o­thers, gratefull to God; who had not beene admitted to this Celestiall buil­ding, [Page 154] if they had not crucifyed their flesh with their vices, and had not pro­claimed open warre and hostility euen against themselues.

Neither this refining and polishing of the liuely stones was necessary only after the comming of Christ; but it was practised euen from the beginning of the world. The first liuing stone was Abel, who was cruelly slaine by his owne brother Cain. The holy Patri­arke Ioseph was sould by his Brethren, Tobias receaued these words from the Angell: Because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary, that temptation should proue thee. Tob. 12. The Angell said not; because thou wert a sinner, and hatefu [...]l to God, it was needfull that thou shouldst be punished with blindnes and pouerty; But the Angell said: Because thou art gratefull to God, as being a iust and holy man, there­fore as a liuing stone, designed to the celestiall edifice, it was necessary, that thou shouldst suffer the hammer of Persecution. Which of the Prophets escaped Persecution and Iniuries com­ming from the wicked? What tor­ments did not the blessed children of the Machabees endure? But let vs [Page 155] heare the Apostle (touching this point) preaching of the Saints of the Old Te­stament: They had triall of mockery and stripes, and also of bands and pri­sons: They were stoned, they were hewed, they were tempted; they died in the slaughter of the sword: They went a­broad in Sheep-skins, in Goate-skins, needy, in distres, afflicted, of whome the world was not worthy; wandering in deserts, in mountaines, and dennes, and in the Caues of the earth. Heb. 11.

And now, ô Christian Soule, what canst thou reply hereto? If the hammer of the builder did not spare those Men, of whome the world through their eminent sanctity, was not worthy, that thereby they might be squared, laboured, and made fit for the celestiall Edifice: what then shall become of thee, and such as are lyke to thee; to whome sinne is plea­sing and gratefull, but all pennance & satisfaction for sinne, most grieuous and vngratefull? One of these two fortunes perforce thou must vndergo, to wit, eyther thou must be hamme­red in this life, or in Purgatory; or els thou shalt not haue any place in that sublime building, but in lieu thereof [Page 156] the hammer of Hell, for all eternity shalbe striking vpon thee Why then (O poore Soule) wilt thou not rather suffer to be wrought fayre & polished in this life, through a short and sleight tribulation, then in the next lyfe to be reprobated, and cast into that place, where thou must suffer an euerlasting and intollerable pressure, and bruising of the hammer?

Neither oughtest thou to sleight or litle regard the Purgatory-refyning and hammering in the lyfe to come, since that punishment (though not e­ternall) is most grieuous and often­times of longer continuance then any Paine of this life. Heare S. Austin in Psal 37. discoursing of this point. Di­citur, suluus eris, sic tamen quasi per ignem &c. It is said. Thou shalt be sa­ued, as it were by fyar: And because it is sayd, thou shalt be saued, therefore this fyar is contemned; and yet is more insupportable, then any thing which man can suffer in this lyfe. Thus this holy Father, who further addeth, that the paines of Purgatory do exceed all punishments inflicted vpon Theeues and other malefactours, as also all the torments of the Martyrs; There­fore [Page 157] such men are euen fooles, and depriued of all true Iudgement, who contemne the fyre of Purgatory, and do abhorre all tribulations of this pre­sent lyfe.

But obserue how other fathers con­spire with S Austin herein. S Bernard thus writeth: Know you this that such sinnes which are in this lyfe neglected, shall be punished a hundred tymes more in the purging places, euen till the very last farthing be payed. serm. de obitu Humberti Monachi. To conclude, S. Anselm in these words agreeth with the former father: Sciendum est, quia grauior est ille ignis &c. VVe are to know that this fyre is more insufferable, then any thing, which man can endure in this lyfe. For all the torments heere vp­on Earth, are more sufferable and easy: And yet men for the auoyding of those paynes here, will performe any labour whatsoeuer imposed vpon them. How much better then is it & more profitable to do those things, which God commāds vs, that thereby we may not suffer those other paines, farre more horrible and grieuous? Ansel. in explicat cap. 3. ad Cor. 1.

Of flying from the Citty of the World. CHAP. XII.

NOw hauing explicated the stru­cture and building of the Citty of God; it remaineth that we briefly shew, what is chiefly requisite, that men may be ascribed, and admitted Citizens into this most happy Citty. This may be declared euen in one word; to wit, that we doe renounce and disclaime from the Citty of this World, and that in the meane time we liue here, as strangers or pilgrims, for it is impossible for vs, to be both Ci­tizens of this world, and Citizens in the Heauenly Citty. And a man no sooner giueth (by disclayming from it) his last farewell to this World, but that he is instantly admitted into the bosome of the Citty of God. But let vs stir more fully the earth, or mould, about the roote of this point.

Well then, there are two Cit­ties set downe and declared to vs in the Holy Scripturs; The Earthly Citty, [Page 159] which began in Cain, who first vpon earth builded a Citty, as we reade in the booke of Genesis cap. 4. And the Celestiall Citty, taking its beginning in Abel; of which Citty not Abel, but God was the Builder and Workman, as a­boue we haue shewed out of the Apo­stle, Heb. 11. Babylon the Great (which signifieth the Confusion) was a figure of that Citty of the world: And Ieru­salem (which is called, Vifio Pacis) was the type of this Heauenly Citty, which is the Citty of the supreme King. The Cittizens of the earthly Citty are those, who not only in body, but in soule doe inhabite the earth; who euen adore the earth; who gape after earthly pleasures and profitts; who tumultuously fight and striue for them; finally who are wholly drow­ned in the pursuite thereof.

The Prince of this Citty is the Diuell, who being cast out of the Celestiall Citty, first possessed the Tyranny of the earthly Citty: for though our Lord, approaching were vnto his Pas­sion said, Ioan. 12. Now is the iudgment of the world; Now the Prince of this world shall be cast forth; and accor­dingly our Lord did truly driue him [Page 160] forth with the staffe of his Crosse; and through the said Crosse did triumph ouer him, according to those words of the Apostle Coloss. 2. Spoyling the Principalities and Potentates, haue led them confidently in open shew, triumph­ing ouer them in himselfe; notwith­standing this is not so to be vnder­stood, as if the Diuel were wholly cast out of this world, or had lost all Prin­cipality thereof; but that he is ca [...]t out from all those, and among all such hath lost his dominion and Empyre, as haue ranged themselues vnder Christ; and who flying out of the terrene City, are designed to the Heauenly

That the Diuell exerciseth his rule and gouerment yet in this Citty of the world, the Apostle teacheth, when he saith: Our wrestling is not against flesh and bloud, but against Princes and Potentates, against the rulers of the world of this darknesse: Ephes. 4. There­fore as yet Sathan with his ministers hath h s rule and gouerment in this world, and is Prince thereof, I meane, of worldly men, and Cittizens of the earthly Citty; of which world S. Iohn saith cap. 5. The whole world is set in wickednesse. As if he would had said: [Page 161] The world adhereth to its head, who is called maligne, or wicked transcen­dently; or, the world is vnder the gouerment and power of the wicked Diuell.

But to proceed further. The Citti­zens of this Heauenly Citty, are those, who being already blessed, doe reigne in the Kingdome of Heauen; as also all those, who remaining yet in mortall body, doe inhabitate the Earth; yet this not in Heart, but only in Body; since in heart and soule their Conuer­sation is in Heauen, and they couet to be dissolued, and with Christ, who is the King of the Celestiall Citty. But now because the celestiall Cittizens are pro­miscuously mixed with the earthly Ci­tizens, therefore the holy Scriptures say (for greater distinction) That the Cittizens of Heauen are in the VVorld, but not of the VVorld; And that they are in the World, not as Cittizens there­of, but as strangers and Pilgrims, for S. Peter speaketh: I beseech you, as Strangers and Pilgrimes, to refraine from carnall desires: 1. Pet. 2. But of the Citizens of the earth the Scripture changeth its style, and thus speaketh of them: They are strangers of the Testa­ment, [Page 162] hauing no Hope of the Promise, and without God in this world, Ephes. 2. Now these things being thus, Let no man deceaue himselfe, nor dreame, that he can be a Cittizen of the world, and withall a Cittizen of Heauen. The Cittizens of the World, are of the World; The Cittizens of Heauen, are not of the World. To be of the world, and not to be of the world, are con­tradictory, and incompatible togea­ther; and therefore cannot brooke any conuinction; In regard whereof let those men then, (to whom the world and earthly matters are grate­full) not perswade themselues, that they can haue any place in the Heauen­ly Citty, except they first goe out, and (as it were) wholy forsake the world, voyding their iudgements and wills of all earthly Pleasures, and Bene­fitts.

But because these Points are high mysteries, and are vnderstood by few, at least not thought and meditated on as they ought to be; therefore to the end, that no man at the last day may pretend ignorance, there is not any thing, which the Apostles and Euan­gelists doe more often inculcate and [Page 163] repeate, then this one point; Heare our Lord: Ioan. 8. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Againe, he thus speaketh to the Apostles: If you had beene of the world, the world would loue its owne; but because, you are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Heare S. Paul 2. Cor. 3. The wis­dome of this world, is foolishnesse with God. And againe: You ought to haue gone out of this world. And yet more; That we may not be damned with this world. Heare S. Iames: cap. 4. Know you not, that the friendship of this world, is the enemy of God? VVhosoeuer there­fore will be a friend of this world, is made an enemy of God. Heare S. Peter: Fly the corruption of the concupiscence which is in the world. 2. Pet. 1. Heare S. Iohn: Doe not you loue the world, or those things in the world: 1. Ioan 2. And againe: If any man loue the world, the charity of the Father is not in him; And yet more cap. 5. The whole world is set in wickednes. To conclude heare our Lord himselfe, speaking in prayer to his Father: Ioan 17. For them doe I pray, not for the world doe I pray, but for them, whom thou hast giuen me. And the world doth hate them, because [Page 164] they are not of the world, as also I am not of the world.

Now from hence we may gather most euidently, that the world is so (as it were) excommunicated and cursed by God, as that Christ thinketh it not conuenient to pray for it. Yet may it be here obiected, that if Christ doth not pray for the world, how is it said: Ioan. 3. God so loued the world, as that he gaue his only begotten Sonne? what, doth the Father loue the world, and the Sonne hate the World? Or how doth the Sonne exclude the world from his prayer, which the Father doth not exclude from his loue? S. Austin expounding this later place, saith, that the world for whom Christ denyed to pray, signifieth only the wicked; according to which accep­tance, the Apostle saith, so that w [...] may not be damned with this world: 1. Cor. 11. But we may here furthe [...] say, Christ did not pray for the world because such things, as he then praye [...] for his Apostles, did not in any so [...] agree to the world. For he prayed fo [...] the gift of Perseuerance; Keepe the [...] (saith our Sauiour, Ioan. 17.) in m [...] Name; And withall he [...], that [Page 165] they might obtaine eternity of glory, saying: I will (Father) that where I am, they may be also with me, that they may see my glory. But these things are not agreeable to the world for neither is the world (except it be afore cleansed of its filth a [...]d ordure) apt for the Kingdome of H [...]auen euen as it is not fitting, for a man that is be­my [...]ed with dirt in riding, to enter in­to the bedchamber of a K ng. God doth truly loue the world, and for it gaue his only Sonne, thereby to clense and purge the world, tha [...] it may be fit for his Kingdome; And so Christ prayed for his Crucifiers, not, that they should perseuere in that state, in which they then were; bu [...] t [...]at his Father might pardon them, and in p r­doning of them, might cause them to leaue, and goe out of the world. An [...] therefore though Christ did say, I do not pray for the world; yet he adioyne a little after these words: That [...] world may belieue, that thou h [...]st [...] me. Thus the closure of all [...] Christ prayed for his owne Discip [...] not for the world; because exce [...] man doe first goe out of the world, b [...] fore he goe out of his Body, he can neuer [Page 166] arriue to the Kingdome of Hea­uen.

Whosoeuer therefore doth thirst after that supreme and high Citty, let him hasten to goe out of the world, for feare least his last day may sudden­ly and vnexpectedly surprize him, and take him out of this life, when he shall be depriued of all hope of his conuer­sion. But if he be once happily gotten out of the world, then let him forsake the same with all its concupiscences, that he may daily meditate only of the Citty of our Lord, and that he may euen protest with the Holy Prophet: If I shall forget thee, O Ierusalem, let my right Hand be forgotten; let my tongue cleaue to my mouth, if I do not re­mēber thee, if I shall not set Ierusalem in the beginning of my ioy. Psal. 136. For this is the true Character, or Note of the Cittizens of the Eternall Citty; to wit, to be more desirous to want both tongue and hands, then to speake, or attempt any thing against the loue of God their Father, and their Celestiall Countrey; that so the beginning of their ioy, may be the Citty it selfe, which replenisheth its Cittizens with such beatitude, as that no worldly fe­licity [Page 167] can delight them; and thus the only remembrance and expectation of future ioyes, is sufficient in this their banishment to comfort them.

I hold it conuenient, to close vp this Booke with the words of S. Austin, that such, who will not perhapps be­lieue me, may not doubt to giue cre­dit vnto so great and worthy a man. This Father in these following words doth expresse, which is the true note of the inhabitants of the Citty of the world, and of the Citty of God; Thus he then writeth: Omnes qui terrena sapiunt &c▪ All those, who are wholly immersed in earthly affayres; All, who doe preferre a temporary felicity before God; All, who seeke after their owne things, not after those of Iesus Christ, doe belong vnto th [...]t one Citty, which mystically is called Babylon, and which hath the Diuell for their King. But all such others, who bend their labours to things, which are supernall and aboue; who are euen absorpt in the meditation of Celestiall matters; who liue in this world with all sollicitude and care, that they doe not offend God, or sinne; who sinning, are not ash [...]med to confesse their offences; finally who are humble, meeke, [Page 168] holy, iust, pious, good: All such (I say) belong to that one Citty, which hath Christ for its King. Thus fa [...]re Saint Austin, in explicat. Psal 61.


That all the Blessed are the Do­mesticks, and Sonnes of God. CHAP. I.

I Reioyced in these thinges, which were said to we: VVe shal go into the House of our Lord sayth the Royall Pro­phet, Psal. 121. Certainly it is a great and ineffable cause of reioycing for a good and faithful seruant after he hath [Page 170] painefully laboured in the Vineyard, or hath multiplyed his Talents, through negotiation and trafficke, or (as first) hath gained the Prize in the race; or hath deserued the Crowne in warre & spirituall fight; or hath diligently fed the sheep committed to his charge, couragiously and valiantly defending them from wolues; for then such a man, after the accomplishment of all these his labours, doth with all alacri­ty & cheerfulnes enter into the House of his Lord. But let is first consider, why that is called a House, which a litle before was called a Citty. Truly we cannot thinke, that the cause of this appellation is, that this House is strait, or narrow, and therefore doth deserue the name of a Citty; since in­deed it is of that largenes, as that in greatnes, it giueth not place to any Citty, or Kingdome. Giue eare to what the Prophet Baruch. cap. 3. (by way of acclamaaion) speakes hereof: O Israel, how great is the House of God, and how great is the place of his Posses­sion! It is great, and hath no end. Why then may not so great a House iustly be called a Citty.

The first reason heerof then is, be­cause [Page 171] the blessed, though they be spred throughout the Kingdome of Heauen, are the domesticks and familiars of our Lord. For perhaps a man might ima­gine, that if mention were made on­ly of a Kingdome, or of a Citty, that ma­ny might be in the Kingdome of Hea­uen, and in the Citty of God, who did neuer see God, nor were euer admit­ted to speake or haue any entercourse with God but onely by the mediation of other greater Saints. But because the matter standeth farre otherwise; and that all the Sa [...]nts do euer see God do cōuerse with him, and do speake to him face to face; whether they be the supreme Seraphims and Cherubims, Patriarches, Apostles, Prophets, inferi­our Angels, and the lowest Saints. For euen of our Angels Gardians, who be­long to the least degree of Angells, our Lord thus saith: Matth. 18. Their An­gels in Heauen alwayes do see the face of my Father, which is Heauen. And the Apostle writing to the Ephesians cap. 4. auerreth, that all the Saints are not only the Citizens of God, but euen the domestick friends of God. There­fore from hence I inferre that the ha­bitation of the Saints is not only cal­led [Page 172] a Citty, but also a House. There are doubtlesly diuers Māsions in Hea­uen; to wit greater, and lesser; there are also seuerall Crownes, some more illustrious, others not so illustrious, according to the disparity and inequa­lity of merits; neuertheles all those Cittizens are blessed and happy, and are cleane in hart, and replenished with Charity. We may then from hence cōclude, that there is no Saint, who is not in that ce [...]estiall house, and who seeth not God, and conuerseth not with him, as a domesticall and fa­miliar friend; howsoeuer contrary heerto in other Kingdomes and Cit­ties, there are many, who neuer see the King, and most few they are, to whome he vouchsafes any speach, or familiarity,

Another reason, why the Citty of God is called a House, may seeme to be, in that in a Citty many do see the King, and do speake to him; yet all those are not the Domesticks, Sonnes & heyres of the King; but only those, who dwelling in the Kings Pallace, are acknowledged by the King, for such. But now in the Kingdome of Heauen and in the Citty of God, all the Saints, [Page 173] whether o [...] higher or low degree, are truly the Domestickes of God, and Brethren of Christ; & by reason heer­of they are linked togeather in the strait coniunction of fraternity or bro­therhood; so as the Superiours among them do not contemne their inferi­ours, neither with them is any cōten­tion or malignity. For when our Lord did teach the Pater noster, that chiefe Prayer, which is daily to be recited; he in these words excluded not any man; and when at the day of Iudge­ment he shall say: Come you Blessed of my Father, possesse you the Kingdome, prepared for you from the foundation the VVorld. Matth. 25. he shall not ex­cept any out of this most confortable inuitation. And when the Apostle said to the Romans, cap. 8. whosoeuer are gouerned with the spirit of God, those are the Sonnes of God; and if Son­nes, Heyres also; Heyres truly of God; and Coheires of Christ: He in these words shutteth out no man, whether great or litle, so that he enioyeth the Spirit of God, and will suffer him­selfe to be sterned and guided there­with. Which one Point is doubtle­sly common to all the regenerate in [Page 174] Christ, perseuering in Fayth, Hope, Charity. In like sort S. Peter, 1. Pet. 1. promiseth to all the regenerate, an in­corruptible inheritance, incontami­nate, and not decaying, being reser­ued in Heauen. To conclude S. Iohn without any exception thus preacheth to all the iust: See (I pray) what man­ner of Charity the Father hath giuen vs, that we should be named, and be the Sonnes of God. 1. Ioan 3.

From all this then we gather that the Place of habitation of the Saints is a House, and not only a Citty or King­dome; in which house all are Dome­stickes, Sonnes and heyres of the great King, and all of them are beloued of God, as Sonnes, and of Christ as bre­thren; & that they may by good right say with the Prophet: Psal. 132. O how good and pleasant a thing it is, for bre­thren to dwell in one? For what greater consolation and comfort can be ima­gined to a man, then to conuerse with innumerable Angels, with men of all degrees, eyther superiour, equall, and inferiour to him, and he to be beloued of them all with most sincere affectiō, as a brother, to be vsed as a brother, & imbraced & entertained as a brother?

Of the greatnes, and Beauty of the House of God. CHAP. II.

ANother reason, for which the Habitations of the Saints is cal­led a House, may be taken from that, Houses (especially the houses of Kings) haue many ornaments in their Hals, in their Bedchābers, in other withdraw­ing roomes, which the rest of the Citty doth want. For who can recoūt the Arras, Tapestry, precious vestmēts, plate of Gold and Siluer, with the which the Palaces of Kings do glitter and shine? Neither are these interiour ornaments only of great worth and pryce; but also the externall and out­ward building it selfe is accustomed to be most admirable for the goodly marble, stately Pillars, guilded Por­ches, hanging gardens, and such o­ther delicacies, which is ouer long to relate,

Salomon King of Ierusalem, after he had built a Temple to our Lord, with such cost and charges, as was fitting, [Page 176] did make a Pallace for himselfe with such profuse cost, as that he spent thir­teene yeares in the building of it; al­though he had many Maisters and O­uerseers of the whole Fabricke, and had (at hand, with small labour) great store of precious and curious marble, and other stones, and abun­dance of Cedar-trees. And not with lesse charge and magnificence did he erect a Pallace for his vvife, being the daughter of the King of Egypt, so sumptuous, as it seemed incredible. Therefore when the Sacred Scripture calleth that Habitation, the House of God, which in other passages therof, it calleth the Citty of God, and the Kingdome of Heauen, it seemeth to in­sinuate, that all that Citty, and King­dome is as resplendent and glorious, as any Regall house or Pallace. For as we haue learned aboue, out of the Prophet Baruch; the House of God, is of that largenesse and extension, as that it is able to comprepend and con­taine the whole Kingdome of Hea­uen.

It seemed (a little aboue) a thing worthy of admiration, if any whole Kingdome should appeare to be of [Page 177] that splendour and fayrenesse, with which its chiefe Citty is adorned: Who then will not rest astonished, [...]en he shall thinke, that the whole Kingdome of Heauen is styled the House of God, in that, it is all stately, all fayre, all precious, as beseemeth the House of God to be? Therefore with good reason did the Prophet Da­uid burst forth into those words: Psal, 83. My soule euen coueteth, and fain­teth vnto the Courts of our Lord. For who doth not thirstingly desire to see and possesse a most noble Kingly house, which in its spacious greatnesse may equall any Kingdome? As on the con­trary, to see and enioy a most ample and large Kingdome, which for orna­ments, splendour, and magnificence may contend and compare with any Princely house or Pallace? Neither would our soule only desire the fruiti­on of such a House & such a Kingdom, if attentiuely it did thinke thereof, and confidently belieue the same; but it would be wholy absorpt, and euen faint, and transgresse its owne limits through the incredible beauty, and worth of so great a matter.

But (alas) we, who lie vpon the [Page 178] ground, and are become thrall to tem­poralities and earthly things, and doe admire so much what we here see, doe little busy our thoughts with inuisible matters; we bearing our selues here­in, like to little children, who neuer going out of their Fathers house, doe so loue that poore Cottage, as that they neuer once thinke of the Pallaces of Kings. In like sort, we imitate here­in the Countrey-pesants, who neuer saw any Citty, but are busied in tilling their ground, and in repayring their poore wodden, and clayie house; ne­uer thinking on Pallaces, Towers, Theaters, Honours, dignities, increa­sing of siluer, chargeable banquets, and the like. And perhapps these Ru­sticks and Children are more happy, then many rich Cittizens, and great Princes; because those things which are in this world much prized and highly esteemed, are commonly atten­ded on with more anxiety, care, and danger, then with solid profit and dignity. But the goods, which are in that Heauenly house of our Father, are inestimable; neither are they accōpa­nied with any sollicitude, discontent, or perill; but are exempted from all [Page 179] griefe and molestation; and this, not for any short time, but for all Eter­nity.

Therefore S. Paul, who was nei­ther a Ch ld, nor a Rusticke, and who well knew the goods and commodi­ties of this wor [...]d; for he was a man most learned, and conuersed with most wise men; He also had beene in the House of God, and had perused and viewed the Heuenly Citty, as being rapt into the third Heauen, doth thus speake of himselfe: 2. Cor. 4. VVe not considering the things which are seene, but which are not seene; for the things that are seene, are temporall; but the things that be not seene, are eternall.

And againe: Phil. 3. Our conuersa­tion is in Heauen And according here­to he exhorteth vs all: Colloss. 3. To seeke the things, which are aboue; where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God. And to mind the things which are aboue, not the thinges which are vpon the Earth.

Of the Dyning Chamber of the House of God. CHAP. III.

ANother reason, why that, which is cal ed a Citty, and a Kingdome, is also called the House of God, may be taken from those words of our Lord, Ioan. 14. In my Fathers House there be many mansions: Thus we see, that in Houses, there be Chambers or Par­tours to dine and sup in; Chambers al­so for men to take their repose and sleepe; Halles, and other spacious roomes for the exercise of seuerall Actions, which out of the House are not accustomed to be done. But to be­gin with the Great Chamber (as I may say) or place of Refection: Certainly there is a place in the House of our Lord, in which all the Saints are not only fed w [...]th Princely viands, but (which is wonderfull, and scarcely credible, were it not that the Holy Ghost teacheth vs so much) where the King himselfe shalbe girded and pre­pared to minister and serue the Table. [Page 181] For thus doth our Lord himself spea­ke: Luc. 12. Blessed are those seruants, whome when our Lord commeth, he shal find watching: Verily I say vnto you, that he will gird himselfe, and make them sit downe▪ and will come forth, & minister vnto them. What kind of bā ­quetting House is this? Who euer heard of the lyke? The Lord standeth, the seruant sitteth downe; the Lord is girded, that without any hinderance or let, he may wayte; The Seruant is vngirded, that so more freely and cō ­modiously he may sit at Table: The Lord goeth vp and downe, to bring in and serue the meates; The Seruant quietly feedeth vpon those Princely viands. O, if we would seriously take these things into our consideration, how loathing and cloying would all earthly pleasures seeme vnto vs?

Our Lord did sometime gird him­selfe with a towel, that he might wash his Disciples feete. Peter was affrigh­ted at this sight, and could not endure that his feete should be washed by his Lord. But Peter was iustly affrighted, because he saw therein maiesty hum­bled, to the end to giue an Example of Humility to his seruants. But in that [Page 182] Celestial Mansion, thi [...] ministery of our Lord, is not of humi [...]iation, but of dignation or vouchsafing; for the ser­uants of God in Heauen shall not need any example of humility and submis­siuenes, since not one of them shall be once touched with any pryde of mind, but they all shall be confirmed and strengthened in all kind of vertue. Therefore that girding of our Lord doth signify, that he shall so freely, so readily, and without any delay be pre­sent to euery one of his Seruants and Brethren; euen heaping vpon them all goodnesse, as if there were no o­ther imployment remayning for him, but only this.

O Christian Soule, what thing is this? would to God, thou wouldst once truly conceaue and vnderstand, what honours and true pleasures our Lord will abundantly bestow vpon his ser­uants for eu [...]r. For certainly if the thought and cogitation heereof did deeply descend into thy Hart, thou as euē boyling in feruour of spirit, woul­dest gird thy loynes togeather, and wouldest prostrate thy self most cheer­fully in all obsequy and seruice before our Lord. And if any one of thy bre­thren [Page 183] (oppressed with want) did meete thee, thou wouldest not onely not disdaine him with a scornefull and side-cast eye, but euen dilating thy Bowells of Charity, thou wouldst with all willingnes refresh and feed him; sollacing thy selfe with those wordes of the Ghospell, Matth. 25, Amen, I say vnto you, as long as you did it to one of these my least Brethren, you did it to me, Now where it is sayd, that our Lord shall make all his seruants to sit downe, this sheweth, that they being admitted into the House of his Father, may most safely, and without any dā ­ger, or sollicitude repose and rest thē ­selues, and enioy all those goods, with the which the House of our Lord is re­plenished: for there shall not be any after, who eyther by force, or by de­ceite shall depriue them of the fruition of the same.

To conclude, where further it is said, that our Lord himselfe passing vp and downe, shall minister and serue; the meaning hereof is, that the chiefest dainties and meates of the Saints are in our Lord himselfe; for He, is the Bread of life: He is the fountaine of VVisdome; He is that hidden manna, [Page 184] which no man knoweth, but he who receaueth and tasteth of it. Therefore our Lord passeth through all, he mi­nistreth to all, vnspeakable Viands and Banquets, the which doe satiate with­out fastidiousnesse, and fill without saciety.

Of the Bed-chambers of the House of God. CHAP. IIII.

LEt vs passe from the Chamber of Repast, to the Chambers of Rest and repose. Dauid saith: The Saints shall reioyce in glory, they shalbe ioyfull in their Bedds. This Bed is nothing els, then a full and continuall Repose of the Saints; and of that sleepe which the same Prophet Psal. 126. thus praiseth, VVhen he shall giue sleepe to his Belo­ued, behold the inheritance of our Lord. Of which point he thus speaketh: Psal. 4. In peace, in the selfe same, will I sleepe and rest. To conclude, This is that Rest, of which it was thus said to S. Iohn. Apoc. 14. VVrite: Blessed are the dead, which dye in our Lord; for [Page 185] hence forth, saith the spirit, they shall rest from their labours, for their works follow them.

This is a great felicity, and peculiar only to the Blessed For in this life there is no man wholy disburdened of all labour; and euen those men, who seeme most to be at rest and quietnes (to wit, noble and rich men) are com­monly pressed with greater anxieties. And therefore not without cause did our Lord cōpare Riches vnto Thornes in the Parable of the Sower: Matth. 13. And Iob saith cap. 7. The life of man is a warfare vpon the Earth. And one of his fellowes conspiringly thus auer­reth, Iob. 5. A man is borne to labour, and a bird to flye. But Ecclesiasticus more copiously doth inlarge himselfe vpon this point, thus preaching: cap. 4. Great trauell is created to all men, and a heauy yoke vpon the chil­dren of Adam, from the day of their comming forth of their Mothers wombe, vntill the day of their burying into the mother of all. Their Cogitations and feares of the Heart, imagination of things to come, and the day of their end­ing, from him that sitteth vpon the glo­rious Seate, vnto him that is humbled [Page 186] in earth and ashes; from him, that weareth Hyacinth, and the Diademe, euen to him that is couered with rude sackcloth. Thus Ecclesiasticus. In which words he teacheth vs, that no mortall man is at any time made entirely par­taker of Rest.

But to the end, that all men may vn­derstand, of what worth and moment the sleep, that is, the sweet Repose of the Saints, is to be respected, there­fore I will (as it were) lay open the seuerall points of the former sentence. First then he saith: Great trauell is created to all men, and an heauy yoke vpon the children of Adam. Here oc­cupation & busines is opposed to rest; But because many are busied in things comfortable and pleasant, as in hun­ting, playing, singing, and the like; therefore Ecclesiasticus addeth, an heauy yoke; thereby to shew, that he speaketh of a laboursome, vnpleasant, and toylesome occupation, with which no man is delighted, and which All endeauour to decline and auoid. And this most troublesome occupation, or negotiation he affirmeth to be created for men; that is, adioyned and assig­ned to man, euen from his Creation, [Page 187] as an indiuiduall and inseparable Com­panion, Which point he further ex­plicateth (that men may better vnder­stand his meaning) by adioyning these words, From the day of their comming forth of their mothers wombe, vntill the day of their burying into the mother of all. Therefore a more mild and gentill course is taken with Oxen, which beare the yoke in the day-time, and rest in the night, then with men, who both day and night are forced to beare the yoke of labour, and sollicitude. And after this, Ecclesiasticus briefly toucheth vpon particular troublesome molestitions, which like vnto a most heauy yoke, doe presse and bow down euen the necks of mortall men, saying: Their cogitations, and feares of the hart, imagination of things to come, and the day of their ending.

Thus we see, that the first part or Scene of their laborious and painefull trauell, is a cogitation of thinges to come. For a worldly man is euer an­xious and carefull of the day to come, saying to himselfe: VVhat shall heer­ter fall out? Shall we lose the smal good which we now enioy? And from this ri­seth a continuall feare of the Hart, [Page 188] which neuer suffereth a Man to re­maine and quiet. Now this intense co­gitation is two-fold. For one part is that, which the mynd frames and figures out to it self. The other is ne­cessary, and such as no man can auoyd. Of the first, he saith, Imagination of things to come; of the other, the day of their Ending. A man doth imagine, that is, he doth frame to himselfe di­uers expectations of future things and perils, which do no lesse torment him, then if it were certaine they should come to passe, and take effect. But the greatest torment to man, is the cogi­tation and feare of death, which Eccle­siasticus aboue calleth, the day of mans ending; the which day all men haue in so great an a horrour, as that the A­postle, Heb. 2. calleth it a continuall seruitude: since the ineuitable expe­ctation of death doth make better, and (as it were) put wormewood, into all the sweetnesse and delicacies of this life.

To conclude, Ecclesiasticus addeth, that this laborious occupation and tra­uell is so common to all the Sonnes of Adam, as that euery one of them from the first to the last (euen from him, [Page 189] who sits enthroned in the Chayre of Soueraignty, and weareth the Dia­deme, and Hyacinth, to the poore & despicable man, who liueth vpon the ground, and weareth sackcloth) is made thrall thereto. Thus in all these things men after the sinne of Adam, are made more vnhappy then beasts. For beasts liue without feare; are not sollicitous and forecasting for the mor­row; neither doe they remember the labour once passed; neither are they affrighted with expectation of things to come. And therefore the foresaid wise Ecclesiasticus doth heere teach, that this burdensome yoke is layd vpō the Sonnes as Adan; partly to ex­clude beasts, as exempted from this yoke; and partly to shew the cause of this misery; which is, the first sinne of the first Man.

But this is the height of all misery, to those who labour, and couer not to ascend to the Celestiall House or man­sion; to wit, that in this life they suf­fer a grieuous yoake, but a farre mo [...] grieuous shall they find in Hell. For here in this life no man is free from labour; yet is his labour eased, being ioyned with some consolation; but af­ter [Page 190] this life in Hell, all labour and do­lour is without any comfort or repose: Only in the blessed House of God, Rest is without any labour, and consolation without any dolour. Therefore the Prophet Psal. 149. iustly pronounceth; The Saints shall reioyce in glory, they shalbe ioyfull in their beddes. Be­cause they shall not rest, as men slee­ping, who do not feele or perceaue their rest; but they shal rest with great exultation and ioy: well knowing and acknowledging with an eternall gra­titude the good of their most happy rest and quietnes; it being most free from all labour, griefe, feare, or mo­lestation. Certainly if no other good were in the House of our Lord, but on­ly this euerlasting Rest, were it not (thinke you) worthy to ouer-ballāce & weigh downe all the labours, paines, and dolours of this life? And if in Hell there were no other torment, then an euerlasting and vnquiet watching, did it not deserue to be redeemed with all daily and nighly Prayers, & other pen­nance whatsoeuer?

O how pleasant and gratefull will it appeare to the Saints, at their depar­ture out of the world, to behould an [Page 191] end of their labours, and other their paines; and on the other syde, how bitter will it be to the wicked, at their lyke leauing this world, to see, that neuer after they are in hope for any relaxation or ease of their labours, and dolours? Death is said to be the grea­test, and last of all terrible things; yet because death seemeth to haue some respiration or rest from paines, therefore those miserable wretches, who shall descend into Hell, shall seeke for death, and shall not find it, & they shall desire to dye, and death shall fly from them. Apoc. 9. Therefore the want of al Rest shalbe iudged a greater euill and infelicity, then the last and greatst of all terrible things. And yet neuer­thelesse such is the blindnes of Men in this world, as that they repute in no­thing, to lose euerlasting rest & quiet­nes, and to descend to that place, where torments shall admit no ease, rest or intermission whatsoeuer.

Of the Princely Court of the House of God. CHAP. V.

IN a House there are seueral roomes, designed for seuerall businesses and negotiations; but in that supernall & blessed House there shalbe but one Office or businesse, common to all the Saints, to wit, the praysing and lauding of the King of Heauen. Here in this life diuers doe busy themselues to ga­ther and heape vp money and riches; others to aspire to honour and digni­ty; others to adorne themselues with learning, that so they may be able to teach; others againe apply themselues to mechanicall Arts, thereby to pro­uide things necessary, for the susten­tation of their life. But in that region and habitation of Immortality, there shalbe no penury or want, no igno­rance, no necssity, no amb [...]tion; since all, being contented with their pre­sent state, shall desire nothing more; but shall be wholy occupied and bu­sied in the fruition, loue, and prayses of [Page 193] their chiefe and supreme good.

But it may be, some men will say, that the office of praysing God in Psal­mes and Hymnes, and especially in reciting the Canonicall Houres, is ac­companyed with labour, and of the Spirits; and heerupon perhaps some will auerre, yea accomplaine, that a heauy burden is imposed vpon them, in that they are commanded to spend daily so many houres, in singing in the Church, and in praysing of God. To this I answere, that to performe lau­des and prayses to God by Prayer, is in this lyfe a Merit; & in the Eternall lyfe a Reward; and from hence it cō ­meth, that the exhibiting of laudes & prayers, is heer laborious and painful to many, which in Heauen shalbe most pleasant and ioyfull. For now we read and sing many passages, which we do not vnderstand: besides during our tyme of prayer, we are not a little troubled in driuing away idle & vaine cogita [...]ions, as so many most impor­tune fl [...]s To conclude, the Body, which now stands subiect to corrup­t on, cannot long be intent to the fū ­ctions of the Soule without wearisom­nes: but in that blessed Country, the [Page 194] Body shalbe immortall, it shallbe im­pass [...]ble, the flyes of d stractions and vnnecssary thoughts shallbe absent; A [...]d (which is the chiefest) the per­formance of diuine seruice and pray­ers shalbe nothing els, then the exer­cise of Felicity: and therefore if eter­nall Felicity shall not be troublesome, then shall not the eternall praysing of God become troublesome. That our prayses and laudes exhibited in Hea­uen to his d [...]uine Maiesty sh [...]llbe the exercise of our Beatitude, the Prophet teacheth Psal 82. saying: Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord; for euer and euer they shall prayse thee.

For as it appertaineth to Beatitu­de, euer to loue, and haue the eye fi­xed vpon the chiefest good; so also it belongeth to the exercise of Beatitude euer to admire and prayse the pulchri­tude & beauty of the said chiefe good. And as no mā shalbe tired wi [...]h louing God, so also be shall not be tired in praysing of God. We may adde heer­to that we shall not on [...]y be not weary of louing and seeing God; but neither shall we be weary in contemplating and praysing the workes of God; all which workes shall euer be present in [Page 195] our sight, and shal be manifesting their owne admirable splendour & beauty. And we cannot prayse the workes of God, as very fayre; but withall we must prayse and offer vp incense of laudes to the [...]uthour of those wor­kes, which shall euer proclaime, Ipse fecit nos, & non ipsi nos; He made vs, and not we our selues. To conclude, as we shall neuer be able to forget the benefitts, with the which God doth daily, euen ouerwhelme vs, and hath tyed vs to him by certaine indisoluble knots (as it were) of loue; so also we cannot, but euer be prest and rea­dy to spend our voices and breath in the praises & lauds of so great a bene­factour. Therefore let vs conclude with S. Austin l. 22. de Ciuit cap. [...]0. and let vs burst forth with him in like feruour of speach, saying: VVhat other thing shalbe there performed, where neither it shall be intermitted through any sloth, nor vndertaken through a­an want? God himselfe who is the end of our desires, shalbe seene without end, shalbe loued without irksomnes, and shalbe praysed without wearisomnes▪ This functiō, this affection, this exercise shall doubtlesly be common to all, as euen [Page 196] eternall lyfe is common. For there we shalbe at leasure, and we shall see, and and we shall loue we shall loue; and we shall prayse. Thus behould, what shall be in the end, without end. For what other end shalbe assigned to vs, but to come to that Kingdome, [...]f which there is no End▪ Thus S. Austin.

Of the first Part of the Port, or Gate of the House of God, which is Fayh. CHAP. VI.

THese former Points being alrea­dy explicated, one thing yet re­maineth to be consi [...]e [...]ed; that is, to shew the Gate, by which we may be able to enter into this mo [...]t happy House. But our Lord himselfe doth not only shew in the Ghospell, what this Port, or Gate is, but with all hath foretould, that it is very strayt & nar­row; admonishing vs thereby, that we labour and striue to enter the rat. For he being thus demanded: Luc. 13. Lor [...] be they few, th [...]t are saued? He replied saying: striue to enter by the nar­row [Page 197] gate; because I say vnto you, ma­ny shall seeke to enter, and shall not be able. But, when the goodman of the House shall enter in, and shut the dore, and you shall beginne to stand without, and knocke at the dore, saying, Lord open to v [...]; and he answering shall say to you: I know yoe not &c. depart from me, all you VVorkers of iniquity; there shallbe weeping and gnashing of teeth. Thus our Lord. By which wordes he euidently inough teacheth that the Gate of the House of God, which is in Heauen, is very narrow, although the House it selfe be most ample and large; and that through the straitnes therof many shall nor enter, who otherwise willingly wou [...]d; and t [...]refore they are not to enter, because they couet indeed to enter, but they are loath to suffer any thronge, or pressure

But let vs explicate, from whence it proceedeth, that the Gate of so ample and great a house, is strait. Well then, a Gate consisteth of foure parts; That is, of the Threeshould, the Transome ouer the dore, and two side-stones; thus a Gate consisteth of foure stones; One below, another aboue, and two on the sides. These foure stones in this [Page 198] our Gate, are foure vertues altogea­ther necessary, for a mans entrance in­to the House of God; to wit, Faith; Hope, Charity, Humility, Faith, and Hope, are the laterall, or side-stones; Charity the Transome-stone aboue, Humility, the threeshold, which is worne and troden vpon with feete. But all these stones, I meane all these vertues haue in themselues but a small longitude, and latitude or breadth; so as they are narrow in themselues, and doe make a most strait entrance.

Let vs begin with Faith. The Chri­stian and t [...]ue Faith doth suffer such straits, as that except mans iudgment doe offer to it selfe violence, and en­dure it selfe to be brought into capti­uity, and (as it were) enthralled; no man is of power to enter by it, into the Celestiall house. And this is the meaning of those words which the A­postle writeth to the Corinthians 2. Cor. [...]0. Bringing into Captiuity all vnderstanding, vnto the obedience of Christ. For the Fayth of Christ pro­poseth many things to be belieued, the which do so farre transcend a [...] reason, as that it is most hard to giue assent vnto them; & yet the sayd Fayth doth [Page 199] command these points so constantly & vndoubtfully to be belieued, as that a man ought to be ready rather a thou­sand tymes to spend his l [...]fe, then to deny but any one A [...]ticle thereof. Cer­tainly great are these straits, & there­fore the lesse wonder it is, if but few mē do ouercome such diffi ulties. And this is the rea [...]on, why so many do apostate from the truth, to the Maho­metans and Heretikes; for all these haue taken away the straits of Fayth, and in lieu thereof haue made the Gate more large and spacious; by the which notwithstanding a man goeth not to lyfe, but to perdition, according to that sentence of our Lord, Matth. 7. Broade is the Gate, and large is the way that leadeth to perdition; and ma­ny there be, that enter by it. Certainly euery Man is carryed with a naturall propension and desire to know, as the Philosopher writeth in his metaphy­sicks, & therfore he is slow in giuing any credit to such speculations, except eyther they can be demonstrated, or at least fortified with strōg probabilities.

The Apostle S. Paul had experience hereof in himselfe, who though he preached, as being instructed therein [Page 200] both by infused, & laboured doctrine, as also by the miraculous guyft of the tongues; yet when he was to teach the Resurrection of the dead, there were not wanting some, who did de­ride and scorne him therefore; and others, who in plaine words thus re­prehended him, what is it, that this VVord sower would say? In lyke sort, when he preached Christ crucifyed, he was reputed a foole with the Gen [...]ils, and the Iewes did suffer a scandall therein, as himselfe witnesseth. 1. Cor. 1. And from this source it streamed, that the old Heretickes by dilating & enlarging this narrow gate, did set abroach diuers errours. For some of them tooke away the mystery of the Trinity, as the Sabellians and Arians; others the mystery of the Incarnation, as the Nestorius and Eutichians; others againe the Resurrection of the dead, as the Origenists &c. But all these ports or Gates (and almost 200. more) because they were builded by humane and weake Architects, and did want a solid and firme foundation, did de­cay, and became so ruinous (as I may say) in a short tyme, as that scarcely their Names are now extant; neither [Page 201] should we at this day take notice of their names, had they not beene re­corded in the Bookes of Catholike Writers, who first impugned them, as Irenaeus, Philastrius, Epiphanius, Au­stin, Theodoret, and the lyke.

Now the Mahometans who so long and so wide, haue so spread ab [...]oad their Sect, that they haue destroyed and expunged almost all the most dif­ficult po [...]nts of Christian Faith; as the Trinity of the Diuine Persons, the In­carnation of the diuine VVord, the death and Resurrection of the Sonne of God, the Sacraments of Pennance and of the Eucharist. All which mysteries being taken away, all straitnesse touching Faith, is taken away. And thus the Gate being enlarged, admitteth en­trance for an innumerable multitude. But those men, who say, they preach the Gospell of Christ in these our dayes, haue entred in by another way; and those straites they haue wholy taken away, which doe not so much conduce to the Vnderstanding, as to the VVill, and Practice. Christian Faith teacheth, that all sinnes are to be auoided, and that an account must be rendred of euery idle word. And that [Page 200] [...] [Page 201] [...] [Page 202] if a man doe fal into mortall sinne, he must confesse the same to a Priest, and wash it away by a vehement Contri­tion and satisfaction; That good works (though laborious and difficult) are to be performed, being prescribed and enioyned by the spirituall Pastours of mans soule; That the Kingdome of Heauen may be obtained and purcha­sed by good works, as the Crowne of Iustice, and reward of labour; That single and vnmaried life is to be led by Ecclesiasticall Persons, and such others of the Clergy; That the Vowes of Monks and Nuns are religiously to be obserued.

These Catholike and Christian Ar­ticles, and such others, as seemed to straiten the Gate of the Celestiall house, our Aduersaries in Faith haue so ouer­throwne, as that they haue opened a most large and wide Gate to Heauen; teaching in all these points the contra­ry to vs Catholicks. But to proce [...]d. Neither haue haue all Catholiks ouer­come all the straites of Faith. For al­though they belieue a [...]l those points, which Faith teacheth; yet whiles they liue otherwise, then their Faith in­structeth and bindeth them, they range [Page 203] themselues in the number of those, of whom the Apostle speaketh, Tim. 1. saying: They confesse they know God, but in their works they deny him. And so by this manner themselues doe fly from the straites of Faith, and enter into the broad Gate, which lead [...]th to the most deadly ouerthrow of their Soules. Therefore so farre forth as concerneth Faith, the answere to the question propounded to our Lord, VVhether they be but few, that are sa­ued? is, That they are but few; and therefore men ought to labour and striue to enter in, by the narrow Gate.

Of Hope, which is another part of the gate of the House of GOD. CHAP. VII.

NOw touching Hope, it also is straitned, and narrow on all sides, whether we consider the great­nesse of the reward, or our basenesse, and littlenesse. For if one should com­mand an vnlearned clowne, vnexperi­enced in humane affayres to hope, for [Page 204] that in a short time he should arriue to the wisdome of Salomon, or at least of Plato & Aristotle; & withall should haue the Empyre of Alexander the Great, or of Augustus, deliuered vp to him; when would this poore silly fel­low be persuaded, that from his dung­hil state he should aspire to such height of Wisedome and Soueraignty? Yet this is far more easy, then that a mor­tall man should hope for the Wise­dome and Power of Angells, who are in Heauen, and are pure Intelligences, For that poore Countrey Pesant, and Alexander, and Aristotle were of the same nature, and all were mortall men, And the wisdome of Aristotle did not transcend humane wisdome; and the Empyre of Alexander did not compre­hend within it the third part of the world. But the Hope of the faithfull commands them, to hope for the equa­lity of the Angells, our Lord himselfe thus saying: Luc. [...]0. They, who shall be counted worthy of that world, and the resurrection from the Dead, neither marry, nor take wiues; neither can they dye any more for they are equall to An­gells, and are the Sonnes of God.

In like sort, if a man, who only cree­peth [Page 205] vpon the earth, should be com­manded to hope, that w [...]thin few dayes, he should be ab e to fly in the ayre, or to continue a long time vnder the water; when could he be brought to hope for these things? And yet Birds (though great) as Cranes, Storks, Eagles, doe most swiftly fly through the aire▪ and most huge and loaded sh [...]pps doe subsist in the waters, passing to and fro with great speedines, as the Saylers shall gouerne them. But the Hope of Christians, without the least doubt or wauering commandeth, that a Christian man shall Hope, euen with his body to ascend aboue the Heauens; and that he shall descend from Heauen to earth, without any danger of ruine or fall; and that in his po [...]ing from the Ea [...]t to the West, he shall striue euen with the Sunne, and shall doubt­lesly ouercome it in swiftnesse. To conclude, if any poore man, who is depriued of his Parents, should be commanded to Hope, that a great King (altogeather vnknowne to him) should adopt him for his Sonne; no doubt be would much struggle with his owne iudgement, before he could be induced to hope for the true euent [Page 206] thereof; And yet Christian fayth tea­cheth, that euery Man, who is bapti­zed in Christ, and keepeth the Com­mandements of Christ, shall haue the spirit of Adoption from God; shalbe coadopted into his Sonne; shalbe tru­ly heyre of all those goods, which God himselfe possesseth; shalbe the Coheyre of Christ; who is the natura l and p [...]oper Sonne of God, & whom the Father hath constituted Heyre of a [...]l things whatsoeuer.

This vigorous Fayth, if according to its owne worth, it were imbraced by Christians, would make them so fearlesse and resolute, as that they would yield to no peri ls, and dan­gers; but would confidently say with the Prophet; Psal. 117. God is my Hel­per, I will not feare, what Man can do against me. And: Yf whole armyes should stād against me, my hart shal not feare. And with the Apostle: Phil 4. I can do all things in him that strenghn th me. And againe, Rom 8. Ys God he for vs, who is against vs? But there are very few, who do hope for such high and hard matters, as they ought; since there are many who do expect to re­ceaue only temporall and small mat­ters [Page 207] from God; but for the gayning of them doe confide and trust in, their owne subtilties, in thefts, and lyes, ra­ther then in the help of the Highest. Our Lord him elfe in Mathew 6. and Luke 12. admonished the faythfull by most forcing and mouing similitu­des, tha they should not be ouer sol­licitous in seeking of meate and cloa­thing, but that they should euen an­ker their hope and confidence vpon Gods good Prouidence; becau e (sayth he) our Heauenly Father doth nou­rish the litle B [...]rds, which do neither sow nor gather, and cloatheth the lyl­lyes of the fie d, which neither la­bour, nor spinne. Therefore much more will he prouide for his owne Sonnes, for whom he hath reserued the kingdome of Heauen; And yet not­withstanding all this, there is so sma [...]l, or els no confidence in God found in many Christians, as that in their ne­cessities, they rather flie for their san­ctuary to the fraudes and impostures of men, or to diabolicall Arts, then to God. Therefore we may bouldly con­clude, that if such men do not hope for these things from God, which God affordeth euen to the Birds of [Page 208] the field, and which himselfe promi­seth to giue to those who place their trust and Hope in him; that then all these men haue not that Hope, which is peculiar to the sonnes of God, and which all such ought to haue, who hope from God, to be partakers of the kingdome of Heauen. And hence it commeth, that seeing no man with­out an inexpugnable and liuely Hope (which is a part of the gate of this supernall House) can obtayne his sal­uation, that therefore they are not many who are saued.

But there are yet remayning some greater straytes in the Vertue of Hope. For, Christian Hope commandeth to sl [...]ight, or rather contemne things present which are seene; to Hope for things future which are not seene. For example, it commandeth to di­stribute a mans substance to the Poore, to the end that it being mu [...]tiplied, may be restored to the giuer in Hea­uen, where no man hath beene, who could see, or thincke, what are those goods, which shalbe restored to vs in Heauen, if so we sow and di [...]perse our goods here vpon earth. We see, that a Countrey Plowman is easely per­suaded, [Page 209] that in sowing of wheate, it multiplieth vpon the earth; And of this the vse and obseruation of many yeares hath warranted the truth; to wit, that what is sowed with labour, is reaped with comfort; But that ri­ches distributed among the poore, should be gathered and reaped with great multip [...]ication therof in Hea­uen, no experience hath yet taught vs. Therefore it seemeth a difficult and harsh course to relinquish things pre­sent, which are seene, and to hope for things future, which are not seene. To conclude, it is a great Argument, that a firme and vnshaken Confidence in God, is a most narrow and strai [...]e Gate; in that we find in euery plac [...], al­most such a multitude of miserable, la­menting, exclayming, blaspheming, and despayring Men. For God doth either take away the Miseries from those who do trust in him, or at least giueth patience, conioyned with so great consolation, as that they may well say with the Apostle. 2. Cor. 7. I am filled full with consolation; I do ex­ceedingly abound in ioy, in all my tri­bulation. Therefore that confused Multitude of disconsolate, and beway­ling [Page 210] Men in their Miseries, is an eui­dent argument and demonstration, that (as S. Basill writeth in Psal 45.) there are many, who haue in their mouth; Deus refugium nostrum & Virtus; but most few, who in their se­cret hart and mind, do truly hope, and trust in God.

Of Charity, which is the third part of the Gate. CHAP. VIII.

LEt vs come to Charity, which is the Transome, or highest stone of the Heauenly Gate. Charity is the Queene of Vertues, which on the one syde, seemeth to be of a greater breadth and Latitude, in that it exten­deth it selfe to God, to Angels, to Men; yea such as be vnknowne to vs, or our Enemyes. On the other syde, it is made more narrow, in regard of the incre­dible difficulty, which doth accompa­ny it, in our passing through by it; since not only in word and tongue, but in worke, and truth, the Precepts therof are to be fulfilled. For what [Page 211] doth this Queene impose by Com­mand vpon her Seruants? First, she commandeth, that we loue God with all our Hart, with all our soule, with all our strength. Matth. 20. Luc. [...]0. Cer­tainly, Man is brought into great straits, when he prepares himselfe to the accomplishment hereof. For what other thing is it to loue God withall our strength, then to loue him with a true and supreme Loue? That, (with our Harte and soule) signifyeth, that the Loue towards God, shou [...]d be sin­cere, not counterfayted; not in word and Tongue, but as S Iames sayth, in worke and Verity. That other (with all our strength, with all our forces, as an­other Euangelist hath) sheweth, that our Loue of God ought to be most in­tense and great. Therefore the force of this Precept is, that we loue God with a true and chiefe loue; and that by no ballancing therof, we either prefer or equall any thing before, or with him; but that all things be cast backe, and set in a lower degree, in respect of our Loue to him; So as a Christian man o [...]ght to be prepared with he Patriarch Abraham (if so it conduceth to the glory of God) not to [Page 212] spare the life of his ow [...]e, and only b [...]gotten, and most louing Child.

Neyther is this onely exacted, but man is obliged to hate (as our Lord commaundeth Luc. 14.) Father, Mo­ther, VVife, Children, Brothers, Sisters, yea also his owne Soule, and to renoū ­ce & disclayme from all things which he possesseth; that is, he ought to be ready (with that promptitude of mind) to be depriued of all his kinred, his owne life, all his wealth and dig­nity, with the which promptitude he should be depriued of them, if so he truly and from his hart did [...]ate all these things. Doubtlesly, these are great straits; and who is prepared and ready to penetrate and passe through them? And how more easely can we fynd Men (and those not few) who are pressed, and (as it vvere) ready char­ged to abandon and renounce euen God himselfe, and all his Promises, ra­ther then riches and temporall Ho­nours, much lesse their owne life, and the life of their Children? Witnes hereof is S. Cyprian in Tract. de lapsis, who writeth, that euen in the primi­tiue Church (at what tyme the heate of Charity was more boyling in Mens [Page 213] breasts then in these dayes it is) for a small number of Martyrs, very many were forsakers of the Christian sayth, who preferred their temporall states (much more their liues) before their Charity, and Loue of God. The same Point is in like sort testified by Euse­bius, in hist. Eccl. l. 8, c. 2.

Now what shall we speake of Cha­rity towards a Mans neighbour? What doth Charity prescribe to performe to our Neighbour? It teacheth, that we must loue him, as well as we loue our selues. And what proceeding in matters we do expect from him, the same, we should practise towards him. Who is he, if he much labour vvith pouerty, but that he vvisheth part of the superfluities of rich men might be giuen to him? And yet it is no suffi­cient excuse for the rich-man to say, that he taketh money vp at rent; or that he hath lately bought a Farme at a great price; Or that he hath beene at charges of buylding a stately House, and of buying costly hangings for the roomes; For perhaps all these are needles expences; and Charity doth not suffer, that a man should abound and flow in all opulency of state, and [Page 214] his poore Neighbour should want things necessary to the sustentation of his life. Of which point the Reader may peruse S. Basil, orat. ad diuites, and S Bernard sup. illa verba, Ecce nos reliquimus. For he shall there see, and vvithall rest terrifyed a [...] the danger of those, vvho neuer thinke, that they are to giue an account, how they do spend their ovvne goods, but thinke that they may (vvithout all impuni­tie) vse them accord [...]ng as they are svvayed by their o [...]vne Passions, and not according to the rules of Charity tovvards their Neighbours. But let such be afraid; for if vve must ansvvere for euery idle Word (Math 12.) vvhy then not much more, for the bad ex­penses of our riches?

But let vs heare the Apostle S. Iohn, and let vs learne of him, how far the due of Charity extendeth its limits who thus writeth, 1. Ioan 3. In this we haue knowne the Charity of God, because he hath yielded his life for vs, & we ought to yield our liues for our Brethren Christ (being God) [...]ayed downe lis lyfe for his seruants; what great matter then is it, if we lay dow­ne ours for our Brethren? Where [Page 215] we are to obserue, that the Apostle sayth not, we may, but we ought to lay downe our liues for our Brethrē; nei­ther saith he, I do Iudge, thinke, or I do counsell; but he saith, and pronon­ceth ab [...]olutely, we ought to lay downe our liues for our Brethren. And if we ought to spend our liues for our neig­bour, then much more our goods: And therefore S. Gregory thus truly concludeth, Hom. 14. in Euang. Seeing that the lyfe, by which we liue, is in­comparably far better, then the earthly substance and riches which we exter­nally possesse; he therefore, who will not giue his riches, when will he giue his lyfe? And the lyke inference we may deduce touching other thinges. For He, that ought to lay downe his lyfe for his brethren, ought much more to pardon, and remit an iniury or offence to his Brethren. Agayne, He, that ought to lay downe his lyfe for his brethren, ought with all di­ligence to be wary and eautelous, that he do not hurt his Brethren ey­ther in word or deed. Now seeing the Precept of Charity towards God and our Neighbour, is enuironed with such straitnes, as few men do ouercome it, [Page 214] [...] [Page 215] [...] [Page 216] therefore our Lord being demanded, If they be few who are saued, might with iust reason answere, that they were but few; and consequently that we ought with all our forces striue, to ouercome the straitnes of that celestial Gate with those few.

Of Humility, which is the fourth Part of the Gate. CHAP. IX.

VVE vvill heer descend to Hu­mility; which also hath no small straites. What doth our Mai­ster command, who most truly thus speaks of himselfe, Matth. 11. Learne of me, because I am meeke and humble of hart? Go in the lowest place. Luc. 14. And vvhat he spake in wordes, he practised in vvorkes. For he com­ming into the vvorld, did first lye in a manger; and then dying, did hang vpon the Crosse. So as we see, neyther in his byrth, nor in his death, could he find a more humble, and louer place. And vvhiles he li­ued, [Page 217] he vvas more poore not only then men, but euen then vnreasonable crea­tures, For the Foxes haue their holes, and the birds of the Ayre their Nests Luc. 9. but he had no place to repose his Head. But vvhat meaneth those vvords, Sit downe in the lowest Place? They signify, th [...]t vvhosoeuer thou art, or of what greatnes soeuer, yet repute thy selfe to be vvorthy only of the lovvest Place. Of vvhich point the Apostle giueth a resaon, saying: Gal▪ 6. For if any man esteeme himselfe to be something, whereas he is nothing, he se­duceth himselfe. Heere the Apostle sayth not: Who thinketh himselfe to be great, or greater then others either in Wisdome, Power, or Vertue; nei­ther sayth he; Yf any man esteeme himselfe not to be great, neither grea­ter then others, but only like to o­thers; But the Apostle plainly said: Yf a man esteeme himselfe to be something. To conclude, He did not say: vvhereas he is but poore, or vnlearned, or con­temptible; but he said, whereas he is no­thing. Therefore the Apostle could not descend more by his Pen, to de­signe the lowest place, then he did, and to giue a true Commentary of the [Page 218] Words of our Lord▪

But against this it may seeme to be vrged, that some Men ought to be in high degree, and sublimity of state; as Prelates, Princes, Kings, Emperours, Po­pes. This indeed is true, yet euery one of these ought to sit in the lowest place, and expect till our Lord sayth: Arise and sit higher: Of which matter we haue a Notable Example in S. Au­stin of himselfe, whose words I thinke good here to set downe. Thus then he writeth in serm. de com. vita Clerico­rum▪ Ab ijs, qui diligunt saeculum, se­gregaui me &c. I haue separated my selfe from those, who loue the World; and with those, who haue a presidency and charge ouer the common People, I haue not equalled me. Neither in distri­buting the banquet of our Lord haue I chosen any high place, but that which is inferiour and abiect. And it pleased our Lord to say to me: Ascend aboue: I did much feare to vndergoe an Episcopall state, after my name did once begin to spread it selfe: I did decline that digni­ty as much as I could, to the end, that my poore soule might be saued in a low and humble place, and not indangered in a high place. But as I said, the ser­uant [Page 219] ought not to withstand or contra­dict his Lord and Maister. Thus this Holy Father. And I would to God, all men vvould be emulous of S. Austin herein; for then we should haue many good Prelates, many good Princes, many good Magistrates. But because there are many, who thrust themsel­ues vp into high places, and do not vouchsafe to expect the calling of our Lord thereto, therefore God is some­times offended thereat, and for the example of others, he forceth many of them to sit in the lowest place; to the end, that all may vnderstand and confesse, that honours, riches (as o­ther temporall and spirituall goods) do depend vpon the distribution of Gods hand. And hence it is, that we often see, men most rich, in a short tyme, to be brought to the extremity of all want and penury; and great Princes to be dethroned, and cast out of their seates of Maiesty.

But it is not sufficient only to ex­pect the calling of God, but a man ought to beare himselfe in his Prela­ture or Principality without any pride or elation of mind; but according to the counsell of the Wiseman Eccl. 3. by [Page 220] how much a man is greater, by so much to humble himselfe the more to all; and this not in Body, but in Hart also, as S. Gregory teacheth. Past. l. 2 c. 6. & more perspicuously S. Austin, Ep. 109. saying: Let Gouerment before men be in Honour with you; but before God let it become euer prostrate to your feete: Since euery one ought to belieue, that all others are better then himselfe; and therefore grea­ter then himselfe; For that man is tru­ly and simply greater, who is greater with God. Now with God he is grea­ter, who is better; and he is better, who more excelleth in Vertue, not­withstanding their Gouerment, riches, titles, crownes, or diademes; Since they are Vertues (not Prelacy, Riches, Honours, and the like) which make a man good. And if Vertues do make man good; then the greater Vertues he hath, make him better; and the most Vertues make him best; and conse­quently they who are inuested with Vertues in a more high degree, do the more excell others. Now that Humili­ty is one of these Great and prime Vertues, appeareth, from that our Lord giueth exaltation and aduance­ment to Humility, in that (so often [Page 221] by him repeated) sentence: Matth. 23. Euery one that humbleth himselfe shalbe exalted. Which sentence the Blessed Virgin followed in her Canticle Luc. 14. He hath deposed the mighty from their Seate, and hath exalted the Hum­ble. In like sort, S. Peter saying, 1 Pet. 5. Be you humbled vnder the m [...]ghty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the day of Visitation. And S. Iames cap. 4. Be you humbled in the sight of God, that he may exalt you. And to con­clude. S Paul, Philip. 2. thus speaketh of Christ himselfe: He hath humbled himselfe, for which thing God hath exalted him.

Now because Vertues (and espe­cially Charity and Humility) do make men truly Good before God, and so proportionably better, and best of all; And because no man knoweth cer­tainly, how he stands in the sight of God, and how he now is, or others are, or hereafter may be; therefore it is dangerous to prefer himselfe before others, and most profitable to humble himselfe after others; Therefore our Lord absolutly pronounceth; Sit downe in the lowest place. But who is he, th [...] obserueth our Lords Precept her [...] [Page 222] For about vvhat matter is there grea­ter contention and distast among men, then about Precedency of place? And what paynes do men take, who la­bour to reduce to peace and friend­sh [...]p such, as contend about Points of Honou [...]? [...]ovv may haue we heard alledging that sentence of Scripture, Isa. 4: or rather vsurping it: I will not giue my Glory to another? But let such remember, that the Prophet speaketh these words in the Person of Almigh­ty God, to whom alone Glory iustly agreeth. For God alone ought not to be humble; since Humility is a Ver­tue, which bridleth the desires of a man, and will not suffer him to as­cend aboue himselfe; But God, who is most high, hath nothing aboue him. Therefore it is an insufferable pryde, that a poore Worme of the Earth dare contest and say; I will not giue my glory to another. And yet we may ob­serue, that these poore Wormes, vvhom winde and pryde do so puff vp, as that they say with God, I will not giue my Honour to another, do neuer­thelesse so debase and cast themselues [...]wne, as that confessedly they be­ [...]e thrall, and slaues to Honour; I [Page 223] meane, to a wyndy estimation, consi­sting in the breath of oth [...]r men. And thus they do so faythful [...]y serue this their Lord, or rather Idoll, as that they rather chuse, in [...]ingle fight, or Duel­lisme, to be cruelly slayne, and so (by descēding to Hell) to loose both eter­nal and temporall life, then that their Honour should suffer any disparge­ment forsooth, or disgrace from them-O Vanity of Vanities! and how won­derfully doth this smoake of Honour blind the eyes of the soule? And yet, notvvithstanding this, we are Chri­stians, and vve know, that Christ him­selfe did heare from the mouths of his Enemyes, these ensuing reproaches: Behould a man, that is a glutton, and a Wine-drinker. Matth. 11. And againe: Thou art a Samaritane, and hast a De­uill. Ioan. 8. And more: He casteth forth Deuills in Belzebub the Prince of Deuills: And yet in answere to all this, no man did heare from the mouth of our Lord this Word; Thou liest, or the like. But what was the reason here­of? to wit, because he was meeke and humble of H [...]rt, and, when he was re­uiled, did not reuyle, and when he suf­fered, he threatned not; As S. Peter [Page 222] [...] [Page 223] [...] [Page 224] sayth, 1 Pet. 2.

Now from these Points aboue discussed, it appeareth, that the Gate of Eternall life is encompassed with great straites, and penetrable but vnto few; and this no lesse in regard of Humility, then of the Theologicall Vertues, Fayth, Hope, and Charity; And therefore if it be demanded, whether They be few, that are saued; it may most truly be replyed, That they are but few: because there are but few, who (as they ought to doe) do la­bour with all their force and endea­uour, to enter by the strait way of that Heauenly Gate.

A second Discourse of Fayth, which is the first Part of the Gate of the House of God. CHAP. X.

TO the end, that we may not be thought, through ouer much ter­rour and feare, to auert men frō their entrance into this Gate, since our only drift and scope throughout this booke is, to inflame the minds of the fayth­full to desire and seeke after our most [Page 225] sweet, and most blessed Country; I will therefore briefly shew, that that Gate, which by reason of the eminen­cy and perfection of the former ver­tues, is most narrow & strait may al­so (through the Omnipotency, truth, and mercy of God) be sayd to be most wyde and large, and easy for entrance; if so a man do truly desyre to enter thereinto. And that we may beginne with Fayth. True it is, that fayth teach­eth Articles and Points most hard, far transcending all sense and reason, and farre aduanced aboue the naturall ca­pacity euen of the Angells: yet when we are admonished by fayth it selfe, that we are to belieue those points or sp [...]lations, through the authority of God (who cannot lye) of Angels, or of men; then the straytnes of this Port of Gate begins to be delated and enlarged.

If Fayth should command & say: Belieue, that there are three Persons▪ and one God; belieue, that the Sonne of God is made the Sonne of a Virgin; belieue, that Christ did rise after three dayes from the dead by his own vertue and power, after being im­mortall. And belieue all these things [Page 226] most firmely and vndoubtedly, because S. Peter, S. Paul, S. Iohn, Isay, Ieremy, & Ezechiel haue deliuered these points for true, I should without doubt wa­uer and rest doubtfull therein, neither could I be easily induced to giue cre­di [...] thereto, only for the authority of Men, lyke vnto my selfe; Because it is written, Psal. 115 Euery man is a lyar; and therefore so many Oaths & Sure­ties are exacted, that we may credit men. But whereas Fayth sayth: All these former articles of beliefe God hath first reuealed; and that neyther Peter, nor Paul, nor Iohn, nor the rest of the Apostles and Prophets taught these Points of their owne Authority; but they were instructed therin of God himself, & they did preach the word of God, not their w [...]e word; thē presen­tly is the Hart dilated, and prepared to belieue, without the least doubt or wauering in fayth.

Now that it was God, who taught and spake by the Apostles and Pro­phets, is made manifest from his working of so many manifest, & stu­pendious miracles; so as it were not only simplicity, but great temerity to rest diffident and distrustfull of the [Page 327] Truth. For thus doth the Apostle speake to the Hebrews cap. 2. VVhich when it was begun to be declared by our Lord, of them that heard was confirmed on vs, God withall testifying by signes and wonders, and diuers miracles, and distributions of the Holy Ghost, accor­ding to his VVill. But what things God speaketh, who dare deny to be true, seeing God cannot possibly lye; for if he could iye, then were he not God? Yet is it vrged: what things are propoūded to vs to belieue are aboue reason. This is true; but they are not aboue the Power and Wisdome of God. And therefore S. Iohn sayth, 1. Ioan. 3. God is greater then our Hart: because he is able to do, and which we are not able to vnderstand: And his Essence and Existence is more per­fect and worthy, then mans Soule can possibly comprehend, or take the true height thereof. If an vnlearned and ignorant man be ready to belieue the Philosophers and Astrologers, discour­sing of the greatnes of the Sunne and the starrs (vvhich seeme incredible;) Why then may not man with the like promptitude and facility giue credit to God himselfe touching those points [Page 228] of fayth, which it shall please him to reueale, and the rather, seing the Wis­dome and power of God, do by infi­nit degrees differ from that sparke of Reason, with which men are endued? Those men therfore, who haue a true apprehension of these reasons, do not suffer any straitnes or difficulty in be­lieuing those dogmaticall Points, which the Church propounds to vs to belieue.

A second discourse of Hope, which is the second Part of the Gate of the House of God. CHAP. XI.

VVHat we haue said of the Ver­tue of Fayth, the same we may bouldly pronounce of the Vertue of Hope; for if we should say, that what we expect in the life to come, we do expect to proceede from the bounty and liberality of men, we might be de­seruedly reiected, as vayne Impostours; since men may lye; and it is not in their power to afford & distribute so great [Page 229] and transcendent Rewards: But we teach not, that they are to be hoped for from man, but from God; Who neither can lye, since he is Truth; nor deceaue, since he is Goodnes; nor can promise any thing impossible, since he is Omnipotent. Therefore a Rusticke fellow might deseruedly thinke him­selfe to be mocked and derided, if any man should promise to him the Wis­dome of Salomon, or the Greatnes of Augustus; because that man, who thus should promise, should be reputed as a Lyar. But why ought not a Christian, to whom God hath promised eternall life, the kingdome of Heauen, the Pa­radise of all Pleasure, assuredly hope for the same? Is there perhaps wan­ting an Earnest, or Pledge of Gods most bountifull Good Will to vs? Not so. For did not God by way of figure and adumbration of things Present, lead his People without any step, or print of vvet, through the Red Sea? did he not rayne Manna from Heauen? did he not draw Water from out a Rock? To conclude, did he not bring his Ser­uants, by the Conduct of Iosue, into the Land of Promise? And must so re­markable a figure be reputed, as emp­ty, [Page 230] and of no force?

Furthermore, If God so loued the World, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, Ioan. 3. Hath be not then giuen with him all things to vs? Rom. 8. What great thing do we hope for, to be gi­uen vs from God, the which is not in­feriour to that guift, which already he hath giuen to vs; we neither hoping for it, nor demanding it? Yf God gaue to sinners, and his Enemyes the Death of his owne Sonne; will he not giue to the lust, and his friends, the life of his Sonne? Neither satisfying himselfe herewith, he gaue and adioyned the Holy Ghost, as a pledge of our Inheri­tance, who cryeth in our Harts; Abba Pater. And the spirit giueth testimony to our spirit, that we are the Sonnes of God; and if Sonnes, Heyres also of God, and Coheyres with Christ. Rom. 8. Wherefore if the greatnes of the things promised may seeme to ouer­come our Hope; yet can they not ouer­come the greatnes of him, that pro­miseth. Which greatnes, since it is in­finite, may so easely strengthen our Hope, as that without any fearefull doubtfulnes, it may arriue, and attaine to the things promised. Which Pro­mise [Page 231] (as the Apostle proueth Heb. 6.) God hath euen confirmed with a most solemne Oath: That so by force of two inexpugnable and immoueable forts (to wit, the Promise of him who can­not lye, and his annexed Oath) we may haue Hope, as a s [...]me and safe Anker leading vs to those Penetralia, into which Christ entred for vs, who is made a Priest for euer, according to the Order of Melchisedech.

A second discourse of Charity, which is the third part of the Gate of the House of God. CHAP. XII.

NOw, what shall we speake of Charity? This Vertue, as in re­gard of the difficulty of fulfilling its precepts, is of a most narrow and strayt extent; so in respect of the ex­cellency of the Diuine Goodnes (wher­vnto Charity hath reference) it may be said to be of a most great breadth. For why ought it to seeme hard, to loue God with all our Hart, with all our [Page 232] soule, with all our strength, when as he is most sayre, most good, & most worthy of infinite Loue? It is not a hard matter here vpō Earth, to loue things that are fayre and good; but it is hard not to loue them at all, or not to loue them too much. Therefore God▪ see­meth (after a certaine manner) to of­fer vs wrong, in commanding, vnder so seuere punishments to loue him, as if of our owne accord and willingly we ought not to loue him. But some may reply, saying: Those things, which are good, & fayre here vpon the Earth, are so ardently loued, and affected, be­cause they are clearely seene, as being subiect to the sense; But God no man euer saw. Ioan. 1. It is true indeed, we see not God; neuerthelesse we haue seene, and do dayly see his workes, which are very fayre: of which works the VViseman thus sayth, Sap. 13. Yf with whose beauty being delighted (meaning with the beauty of the Sunne and the Moone) they thought them Gods let them know, how much the Lord of them, is more beautifull then they; for the Authour of Beauty made all those things. We in like sort do make triall and tast of the sweetnes of God, [Page 233] in his daily Benefits conferred vpon vs. To conclude, we haue the testimo­ny of him, who sayth, and cannot lye; to wit, of the Holy Ghost, who prea­cheth by the Apostles and Prophets in the Holy Scriptures, that God is so good, and so fayre, as that He alone deserueth to be styled Good, and Fayre.

But here some will insist, and say, It is very hard, and euen incompatible with our Nature, to be forced (for Gods sake) to lose our substance and ri­ches, our nearest friends, yea some­times our owne liues. I confesse, that this is hard to men not louing God; but to such, as do loue him; and couet to enioy him, say it is light and easy; especially seing in recompence of our contempt of these tempora [...]l goods, there are prepared for vs, goods in­comparably far more in number, and better. O! obserue the disparity. Thou losest corruptible and fading riches; thou shalt gaine an euerlasting King­dome. Thou losest Father, and Bro­thers and friends; thou shalt gaine God to be thy Father, and Christ thy Brother, and all the Angells & Saints thy friends and Companions. Thou [Page 234] losest a temporall life, euen ouerchar­ged with misery; thou shalt gaine an eternall life, fraught with all felicity. Heare then this Canticle or song of di­uine Loue: Yf a man shall giue all the substance of his house for loue, as no­thing shall he despise it. Cant. 8. And a litle afore: Many VVaters (meaning of tribulatiōs) cānot quēch Charity, neither shall flouds ouerwhelme it. Heare a so one of those, who loued God, Rom. 8. Who then shall separate vs from the Charity of Christ? tribulation? or di­stresse? or famine? or nakednes? or dan­ger? or persecution? or the sword? But in all these we ouercome, because of him that hath loued vs.

But some do yet further vrge: So to loue my neighbour, as to commu­nicate and impart my goods to him, yea though he were my deadly Ene­my, and had much iniured me, so as I ought not only to pardon him, but to heape benefits vpon him; this ap­peareth to be very harsh and repug­nant to Humane Nature. This perhaps may be truly said, being spoken of mās Nature, as it is corrupted by sinne; but not of Nature repayred through the Grace of Christ. Doth not God him­selfe [Page 235] communicate his goods and be­nefits, euen to his Enemies? And doth he not duly pardon his enemies, ren­dring to them by way of a strange ex­change Good for Bad, whiles he ma­keth the sunne to shyne vpon the good & the euill, and rayneth vpon the Iust & Vniust? Matth. 5. Now if God do so beare himselfe towards his Enemies; it then followeth, that it is not con­trary either to the Nature of God, or of man (who is created to the Image of God) to loue our Enemies, or to do them benefits; but it is only contrary to the nature of Beasts, and of those men, who, when they were in Ho­nour, did not vnderstand: they were compared to Beasts without vnder­stāding, & became like to them. Ps. 48.

A second Discourse of Humility, which is the fourth Part of the Gate of the House of God. CHAP. XIII.

IN this last place I come to Humility, which is like to its Sisters, the [Page 236] which Vertue, as it begetteth great straits to the proud and arrogant, so with ease it beginneth to be dilated and made larger, to such who wilbe taught in the Schoole of Christ. For first, we ought to humble our selfes vnder the potent hand of God, as the Chiefe of the Apostles hath admoni­shed vs, 1. Pet 5. and as his Coapostle S. Iames confirmeth, cap. 4. Now what difficulty can be imagined, to be in the humiliation of a mortall man, to the immortall and Omnipotent God? Furthermore, we ought also to make choise of the lowest place among men, as presuming them to be better then our selues are, as the Apostle counsel­leth vs, saying, Philip 2. Ech one coun­ting others better then himselfe. There­fore who know themselues, and are priuy to their owne imperfections, but knovv not what secret Vertue may lye hid in the breast of others, do suffer no difficulty to repute others superiour to themselues, and do wil­lingly honour them, and giue to them the higher and more worthy place. For as Pryde groweth from the igno­rance of a man no knowing himselfe, so Humility from the true knowing [Page 237] of himselfe.

A proude Hart quickly penetra­teth into the Vices▪ which it selfe hath not, but which others haue, because all these are out of him: yet his proper Vices, though often far greater and knowne to all other men, this man seeth not, because they are within him: Euen as the Eye, which seeth not what is within it selfe, but only what is without it. The Pharisy Luc, 18. may be an example hereof to vs, who gaue thanks to God, that he was not, as other men were, to wit, Rob­bers, Iniust; Adulterers; for he did see, that the Vices of Rapine, Iniustice, A­dultery were not in him; but he did not see the more grieuous Vices vvhich did lye lurking within him, I meane, Pryde, blindnes of mind, and impeni­tency; and therefore he preferred him­selfe before the Publican, praying in the same Temple. But the Publican, who was of a more cleare sight, did see the Vices in himselfe, but not the Vertues; and therefore he tooke the lovvest place, standing a far off, bea­ting his breast, and imploring the mer­cy of God: And so the euent was, that by the iudgment of God, this poore [Page 238] humbled man departed iustified, that other, reprobated. Wherefore if a man (voyding his iudgment of all selfeloue) vvill labour diligently to knovv his ovvne imbecillity and im­perfections, he vvill not suffer any straits, in entring into the Gate of the hovvse of God.

To all these precedent discourses, it is needfull to adioyne this one Consi­deration. That vvheras the Port or Gate of the House of God seemeth most narrovv, and almost impenetra­ble to those vvho come to is heauily burdened and loaden, or vvho are of a grosse and corpulent body, or cloathed vvith many garments, or labour to en­ter therin, lifting themselues vp in their full height and stature; So is the same Gate become large, and easy for entrance to those, vvho come vnto it, without burden, naked, leane, and crooked, or bending themselues: and therefore the fault is in vs, why vve may not easily enter by that Gate, through the vvhich many Saints vvith­out any difficulty, and trouble haue already passed.

Therefore let a Christian man lay dovvne the burden of his Riches: Let [Page 239] him knovv, that riches are giuen by God to him, to be a Dispenser, and not an absolute Lord therof, that so he do distribute them to the needy & poore, and not reserue them to himselfe a­lone. And then it shall to fall out, that his mind being free from the loue of riches, and he lightned of the great burden thereof, shall fynd the Gate wyde inough for his entrance; In like sort, let him free, and deliuer himselfe of that ouermuch fatnes (as I may terme it) of carnall delights; or rather let him cast out the hurtfull and dan­gerous Humour of seuerall Concu­piscences; which engender a spiri­tuall Dropsy, and puffe vp the Body. To conclude, let him disuest himselfe of all proper estimation and selfe loue; let him put on the Humility of Christ, let him incline and bend his necke to the obedience of the Commande­ments; and then let him complayne (if he can) if with all conuenient fa­cility and ease, he cannot passe through the Gate of Saluation.

That it is absolutely necessary to enter through the Gate, though it be strait, if so a man will be saued. CHAP. XIV.

BVt whether this Gate, be large, or strait, we ought w [...]th all our endeauour labour to enter thereinto. For there is no other place left vs af­ter this life (which flieth away like a shadow) where we can well repose our selues, but within this Port, and Gate. Therefore our Lord exhorteth vs saying, Luc. 13. Striue to enter in by the narrow Gate. Because as himselfe in the same place subioyneth, all those who remaine without, shalbe cast downe into those places, where there is an euerlasting weeping, & continuall gnashing of teeth. Which words do import extremity of dolours, with despayre of remedy: from whence then riseth certaine fury or madnes, which impatiently suffereth those torments, which it cannot but suffer, and must be forced for all eternity to [Page 241] suffer How much more secure there­fore is it, to striue to enter by the nar­row Gate, where (after some small paynes and labour endured) euerla­sting rest and felicity is found?

If so the matter did st [...]nd, as that men might to auoyd the straitnes of the Gate, & withall the paines of Hell; perhaps the weaknes and imbecillity of them might in part seeme excusa­b [...]e, who haue not the courage to lay battery to the narrownes of that Gate; but since of necessity men most here for a short tyme labour to enlarge this Gate, or otherwise irreuocably fall into eternall paynes and torments, what kind of iudgment is that, or how can it be styled Reason, which dicta­teth, that lesser and shorter labours are to be auoyded, that more intolle­rable paynes therby must after be suf­fered? But admit for the tyme, that no torments were ro seyze vpon men af­ter this life, but only they should be depriued of the House of God, wherein there be euerlasting, and endles ioyes; yet these very ioyes alone ought to be a sufficient inducement to encourage vs, with all alacrity to enter into the House of God; not only through the [Page 242] straitnes of the Gate, but euen through thornes and bryars, yea through sword and fyer.

And although during our peregri­nation here, we cannot feelingly con­ceaue, what it is to be depriued of euerlasting Beatitude; yet after the se­paration of the soule from the Body, then shall the Eyes of the mind be in­stantly opened, that they may most clearly see, how great a detriment, yea how infinit a losse and ouerthrow it is, not to arriue to that last End, to the which we are created. And this desire is signified by those Words, which being related in the Gospell, are re­peated by those who shall remayne excluded out of the Gate: Math. 22. Lord, Lord, open vnto vs. Which de­sire truly of the Last end, shall euer torment and afflict those miserable Wretches, and their remorse of Con­science shall neuer cease; And so that sentence shalbe fulfilled, Marc. 9 Their worme shall not dye, and their fyer shall not be quenched.

O, if we could novv seriously con­sider and thinke with what a greedy desire, such men shall say: Lord, Lord, open vnto vs, as if they would say and [Page 243] complayne: Without entrance into this House of God, we cannot liue; and yet to dye, is not granted to vs: there­fore we liue, not to the end we may liue, but to the end we may be euer miserable. Open to vs therefore, O Lord; for we are prepared to vndergoe any torments so that we may enter in. But it shalbe answered them: Matth. 25. I know you not; The yeare of Iubily is now expired: When you might haue entred, you would not; now therefore it is but reasonable, that when you would enter, you can­not. Thus these men being irremedia­bly excluded, shall neuerthelesse cease to cry out (pricked thereto through a naturall desire) Lord, Lord, open vnto vs. But because in this life they were deafe to the exhortatiōs of our Lord, crying out and saying: Luc. 13. Striue to enter by the narrow Gate; Therfore after, they shall cry to the deafe eares of our Lord: Lord, Lord open to vs. To conclude, if we haue any spatke of true iudgment, let vs prouide and take care for the state of our owne soules; whyles we haue tyme; Let vs do that now when it is lawfull, and in our power; the which doubtlesly, then [Page 244] from our hart we shall couet to doe, or to haue done, and yet it shall not be then lawfull, nor in our power to do it.


That in Heauen there are true Ioyes. CHAP. I.

PAradise is a name of Plea­sure and Delight: For it signifieth▪ most pleasant Garden or Orchard, most apt for recreation and pleasure. In the Booke of Genesis (cap. 1. & 3.) where speach is made of the Terrestriall Pa­radise, it is called oftener then once, The Paradise of Pleasure. But in Eze­chiel cap. 28. touching the Celestiall [Page 246] Paradise it is said to the chiefe Angell, who after fell, and became a Deuill: Thou wast in the delicacies of the Para­dise of God. Now because we find no­thing in the Holy Scriptures touching Paradise, but that in it there were ma­ny trees, and a fountaine of liuing wa­ter; Therefore I thought good through occasion of the Title, or Name of Pa­radise, to explicate the pleasures & fe­licity, which the Blessed do enioy in Heauen. It will be (I trust) a profi­table contemplation to stir vp and in­cite mens minds, to seeke and medi­tate vpon those things, which be a­boue; and consequently so to gouerne and order our liues, that when we are to leaue this our earthly habitation, we may remoue, not to lamentation and darknes, but (by the assistance of God) to light and euerlasting consola­tion. Most men (some few excepted) are accustom [...] to be drawne more with pleasure, then with any other good or benefit; and accordingly the Church in one prayer sayth: Let our Harts be fixed there, where true ioyes are.

First therefore, we vvill consider vvhat the Holy Scriptures do teach vs [Page 247] touching the celestiall Paradise; from whence we shall be able to proue, that there are true ioyes therein. That done, vve vvill attempt to explicate vvhat those Ioyes may be. In the last place vve vvill demonstrate by many reasons, or rather comparisons, that those Ioyes be far greater, then vve can either apprehend, thinke, or but once coniecture. First then, the name it selfe of Paradise doth euen sound Pleasure, and Delight, as vve haue shevved before our of the Booke of Genesis. And that there is a Paradise in Heauen, Ezechiel testified as aboue is said. The same doth our Lord in the Ghospell vvitnesse, when he said to the good Theefe hanging with him vpon the Crosse, Luc. 23. To day thou shalt be with me in Paradise: For by the vvord Paradise our Sauiour did vn­derstand the Kingdome of Heauen, and essentiall Beatitude. For when the Theefe had said: O Lord, remember me, when thou shalt come into thy King­dome; our Lord promising to him the participation of his Kingdome, did answere: To day thou shalt be with me in Paradise. The same is also witnes­sed by S. Paul, when he said, 2. Cor. 12. [Page 248] I know a man in Christ, rapt euen to the third Heauen; he was rapt into Para­dise. S. Iohn doth witnesse the same in his Apocalyps cap. 2. where he brin­geth in our Lord thus speaking: To him, that ouercommeth, I will giue to eate of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God. Now from these passages of Scripture it is euident, that the Region of the Blessed is a place of delight and Pleasure.

Furthermore when our Lord said to the good and faythfull seruant, Math. 25. Enter into the ioy of thy Lord; doth he not most openly declare, the House of God, or the City of God, to the which all the good and faythfull Ser­uants are admitted after their passing out of this world, to be a place of Ioy? And where in many places be com­pareth the Kingdome of Heauen to a Supper, as in Luc. 14. A certaine m [...]n made a great supper. And againe cap. 22. where he sayth: And I dispose to you, as my Father disposed to me, a king­dome, that you may eate and drinke vpon my Table, in my kingdome. To conclude in the Apocalyps [...]t is said: cap. 19. Blessed are they; who are called to the supper of the Mariage of the [Page 249] Lambe. Certainly the Scripture by the Metaphor of a supper, signifieth dele­ctation and pleasure; except we will maintayne, that in the sense of Tasting there is no pleasure. And we may an­nex hereto, that in the Gospell, and in the Apocalips, the Kingdome of Hea­uen is compared to a Regall or Princely Supper; as is euident out of that King, VVho made a mariage for his sonne; and out of the Parable of the Wise & foo­lish Virgins; of which, the Wise Virgins did enter with the Bridegroome to the Mariage, but the Foolish Virgins were shut out. We also fynd in the Apocalyps many things to be spoken of the Mariage of the Lambe in the Kingdome of Heauen, being celebrated with all magnificent preparation. Fur­thermore, the felicity of the Saints is compared to Princely Mariages, at what tyme all kind of pleasures almost are enioyed; of which point we are further to discourse in the next en­suing Booke.

To conclude. S. Iohn in the Apoca­lyps did see a Company of Virgins, who did follow the Lambe where­soeuer he went, and did sing a new song which no others could sing: [Page 250] Which place S. Austin expoundeth of certaine holy ioyes and pleasures, which the Virgins (either men, or Women) do enioy. His words are these: You shall bring to the Mariage of the Lambe a new song, which you shall sing vpon your Citherns: that is, you shall sing prayses in your Harts; not such as the whole Earth singeth, but such, as not any can sing but your selues. Aug. de sancta Virgin. c. 27. And then after: Whither may we thinke this Lambe will goe? Where none shalbe able, or dare to follow him but your selues? Whi­ther may we thinke him to goe, into what gardens or other pleasant places? Thither I belieue, where the grasse is ioyes, not the vayne ioyes of this VVorld being but lying Madnes; neither the ioyes, which are graunted in the king­dome of God to others not being Virgins; but they are ioyes, distinguished from all other kind of ioyes. And then againe a little after: The rest of the multitude of the faithfull shall see you, which can­not follow this Lambe; They shall see, but the shall not enjoy; and reioycing with you that which they haue not in themselues, they shall haue in you; for they shall not be able to sing that new [Page 251] song peculiar to you, but they shalbe able to heare it, and to be delighted in your great delight. But you, who shall both sing and heare this new song, because in that you shall sing it, you shall heare it, you shall with more felicity exult or re­ioyce, and with more pleasure reigne. ibid. c. 29. Thus from all aboue expres­sed it is manifest, that in the Heauenly Kingdome, and City, or House, there be many true Ioyes, and most true, and most great Pleasures.

Of the Ioy of the Vnderstanding. CHAP. II.

SEing aboue we haue proued out of the Holy Scripture, that there are true Ioyes in the Kingdome of Hea­uen, we wi [...]l now explicate what those Ioyes be. And first we will vn­dertake to shew, what the Ioyes of the Vnderstanding, VVill, and Memory be, all which do belong to the spirit or soule; next, what the ioyes of the seue­rall senses be, which do appertaine vnto the Body. VVe do not inten [...] her­by to maintayne, that the Vnderstan­ding, [Page 252] the Memory, and the s [...]nses of the Body are the proper seats of Ioy; for we are not ignorant that Ioy (as also desire) do properly belōg to the will in the su­periour part, and to the Appetite in the inferiour. But we heare speake, as men do vulgarly speak, who forbeare not to say, that the Eye is delighted with the beauty of Colours▪ and the Eare with sweetnes of sounds. Therefore we vn­derstand by the Ioy of the mynd, or of the Memory, or of the Externall senses, a delectation or pleasure, which a man taketh from those things, which ei­ther he doth vnderstand, or remem­ber, or which he doth draw from the externall senses.

The first Ioy then of the Blessed, shalbe to see with the eyes of the mind, God, euen face to face, as S. Paul speaketh, and as S. Iohn sayth; to see him, as he is. Now how great a Ioy this wilbe, we may in part coniecture, in that the Prophet Isay, and the Apo­stle do witnes, that it exceedeth all the Ioyes, which any mā hath either seene, heard, desired, or euer imagined: The eye hath not seene, nor the eare hath heard, neither hath it entred into the har [...] of man, what things God hath [Page 253] prepared for them that loue him. (Isa. 64. 1. Cor. 2) For the Scripture here speaketh of the chiefe, and Essentiall Beatitude or Happines, which is pla­ced in the vision and sight of God him­selfe, according to that saving of our Lord: Matth. 5 Bless [...]d are the cleane of Hart, for they shall see God. And; This is life euerlasting, that they know thee, the only true God, and whome thou hast sent Iesus Christ. And truly there se­meth in the former VVords a great amplification; to wit, That no man hath either seene, or heard, or desi­red, or thought, what kind of ioy con­sisteth in the Vision of God; Notw [...]th­standing it is no amplification, but a simple Truth; because the Eyes, the eares, and the harts of men are accu­stomed to perceaue only ioyes that haue end; but the Vision of God is a Vision of an inaccessible light, and of a Good which hath no end, and which comprehendeth in it selfe All Good, according to the words of our Lord to Moyses: I wil shew thee all good, when Moyses a litle afore thus desired of Ged, Shew me thy fa [...]e. Exod. 33.

But to proceed, and that we may proue the truth of this point by force [Page 254] of Reason. We are to learne out of S. Thomas (p. 2. q. 31. a. 5.) that delecta­tion, which is taken from knowledg, requireth three things; to wit, an In­telligent or sentient Power; an Obiect, sorting to that Power; and an Vnion of the Obiect with that Power. Now by how much the power is more apt to know, and the Obiect more noble, and the Vnion more intrinsecall & inward; by so much the delectation frō thence proceeding, is greater. That the Vnder­standing, or the mynd is more pure, more high, more noble, and more liue­ly (as I may say) and therein more apt for knowledge, then the externall sense, is so euident, as it needeth no proofe. Now that God is a more high, and more noble Obiect, not only a­boue all the Obiects of the Senses, but euen aboue all the Obiects of the soule or mind (since he is an Infinite Good, all good, or rather Goodnes it self) no man can doubt. That the Vnion of the Intelligence, by an open & cleare Vision, is an Vnion so inward, as that the Essence of God doth penetrate the vvhole mind of the seer, and the mind is euen trāsformed into God himselfe, as into a great sea, is likewise certaine.

Who therefore is able to com­prehend or coniecture, how great that Ioy is, or what kind of kisse is that of the supreme good, or what imbrace­ment is it of a Spouse of an infinite Beauty? Certainly in the coniunction of a fayre Colour with the sense of seeing, or of a sweete sound with the sense of Hearing (and the like is to be said of other sensible Obiects, with their senses) we receaue great plea­sure, and often so great, as that diuers men by this meanes do almost become madd; Neuerthelesse the Powers of the senses are materiall, and common to vs with Beasts: And the Obiects of them, are things Corporall, and some­tymes do no lesse hurt, then delight & please. To conclude, the Vnion is but superficiall and external [...]; And in some senses, there is no Vni [...]n at all of the Obiect it selfe, but only of its image or likenes with the Power. VVe may add hereto, that spirituall Vnion, and the Vnion of God with the Intelligence or mind by Vision, is more firme, more durable, and altogether entyre; wher­as corporall delectations, which are taken by the senses, because they are subiect to change, they cannot conti­nue [Page 256] long; neither are they wholy ta­ken togeather, but are instilled by de­grees, and as it were, by drops: VVher­fore the infallible Conclusion of all this is, that the delectation and plea­sure of the mind, is incomparably greater, then the Pleasure of the sense.

Now (O Man) gather thy selfe togeather, and weigh in a true bal­lance, and with a steedy hand, the Plea­sure, which the VVorld prostituteth and offereth to thee, with that Plea­sure, which God doth promise, when he promiseth the sight & Vision of him­selfe to those that loue him; And then in this thy ballancing make choyce of that pleasure thou most doest couet. Certainly if thou louest Pleasure, the which thou canst not deny thou lo­uest, then wilt thou make choyse, of that Pleasure, vvhich is greatest, rather then of that which is least, and of that which is for all eternity, then of that which is momentary and fading.

But neither the only Vision of God is promised to holy men in Heauen, but also the Vision and sight of all things, which God hath made. Heere vpon the Earth we behould by the sense of our sight, the Sunne, the [Page 257] Moone, the stars, the sea, riuers, liuing Creatures, Trees, and Mettalls; but our mind seeth nothing hereof; that is, it perfectly seeth no substance, no es­sentiall differences, or proprieties: nei­ther truly doth it see its owne soule, but only after the manner of blind men, it gropeth after the effects, and so by discourse of Reason it gaineth some knowledge. What then shalbe that Ioy, when the face of things be­ing vnueyled, our Vnderstanding shall clearely see the Nature of all things, their differences, proprieties, & forces? And with how great an exultation, & comfort will it be euen astonished, when it shall behould a whole Army of innumerable Angel [...]s (all differing one from another, in specie) and shall perspicuously obserue the differences of all and euery one of them?

O Good God, what a Theater and Cōtemplation will it be, how delight­full, how much to be loued, when we shalbe admitted to behould, and view all the Holy men, and women, vvhich haue beene from the Creation of the VVorld, to the End thereof, gathered togeather, with all the Angels, as also their merits, Palms, and Trophies of [Page 258] Victory? Neither shall we see & con­sider the Wickednes and torments of the reprobate, without some pleasure, in whom the Sanctity of good men, and Iustice of God shall wonderfully shyne: For then the Iust shall wash their hands in the bloud of sinners, as the Prophet so long since foretould. For what other thing is it to wash the hands in the bloud of sinners, but that the works of the Iust shall more clearely appeare, as being compared with the Works of Wicked men? Certainly at that tyme the Virginity & Chastity of some men shalbe more resplendent and remarkable, when it is compared with the Adulteries of others, their Equalls. In like sort the Fastings & Almsdeeds of some, when they are ballanced with the Epicu­risme, drunkennes, and cruelty of o­thers: I meane, when it shalbe truly said; This young man was comely and pleasing of Body, yet neuerthelesse he euer professed Virginity or Chastity: That other yong man was also fayre; and of a good presence; yet not conten­ting himselfe with his wyfe, he often de­fyled himself with Adultery and sacri­ledge.

Againe, that man was rich and no­ble, and fasted, and prayed much, and most bountifull in Alms deeds; This man being as rich; and noble by byrth, was so wholy giuen ouer to dainty fayre, drinking, and Iouiallisme, as that con­suming all his substance and riches in voluptuousnes▪ he did leaue nothing for the reliefe of the poore. And thus from hence it shall arise, that the Ioyes of the Iust shall receaue an increase, from their Knowledge of the wicked de­portment and cariage of the Iniust; & consequently, their Ioy shalbe aug­mented from the contemplation of Gods Iustice, which shall wonderfully shyne in the rewards of the Blessed, and punishments of the Wicked. For now in humaine proceedings, a great deformity or irregularity appeareth; in that offence and sinne is often ac­compained vvith Revvard, and Vertue vvith Punishment; so as the Iustice of God may somevvhat seeme to be obs­cured or darkened in the Eye of men; But then all Punishment shalbe con­ioyned with Sinne, and all Reward vvith Vertue: And so the cōformity or beauty of Iustice shall stir vp an incre­dible ioy in the minds of the Blessed.

Of the Ioy of the Will. CHAP. III.

BEsides that Pleasure, vvhich the Will taketh from the good of the Vnderstanding, there are three things, vvhich shall properly beget and cause Ioy in the VVill it selfe. One of these is, a most ardent Loue of God, and of our Neighbour: For Loue is a principall sauce, or seasoning of all things that are to be beloued. He that loueth, iudgeth all those things which he loueth, to be most fayre and good; and therefore he much reioyceth at the presence and sight of them: As contrary-wise at their absence he greatly lamenteth. We see that Pa­rents, who out of a naturall affection loue their Children dearely, do be­lieue, that they are most fayre, most witty, and most wyse; although often they be deformed, and but shallow-witted; & if choyce were giuen them, they vvould not change them for any others, though in an impartiall Eye far better and fayrer. In like sort, we see, that men either through VVitch­craft, [Page 261] or some vnexpected accident, are taken and surprized with the Loue of deformed persons; houlding it a most pleasant thing to conuerse with them; and most infortunate to be separated from their company and familiariry. Which proceeding only Loue causeth, being (as aboue we said) a sauce to all things, which are the subiect of Loue.

Now seeing these thinges stand thus, what, and how ineffable shall the pleasure of the Saints be, euer to con­uerse with God, and all the Blessed whom they shall most ardently loue; who are truly most fayre and most good, euen in a cleare and vnpartiall iudgment, and from whom they shall know, that they are neuer to be sepa­rated? As on the contrary, it shalbe one of the greatest punishments of Hell, to be forced euer to be in the Company of those damned spirits, whom they extremely hate, and by whose diuers stratagems and deuises they know, themselues to haue beene circumuen­ted and abused.

An other Consideration, which shal much increase the ioy of the Blessed in the will, shalbe an vnspea­kable [Page 262] rest, and satiety without cloying, vvhich shall make them on all sydes satisfyed and content. Heere vpon Earth no man liues contented with his state; There is no man, but he co­ueteth many things which he cannot obtaine. And hence it riseth, that there are so many hungry and thirsty men in the pursuit of temporall Bene­fits in the VVorld. Neither is this to be much wondred at; since our mind is capable of an infinite and euerla­sting Good; wheras the things created are small in themselues, of a fading na­ture, and cannot long continue. There­fore what exultation and ioy shall it be to that man, who shall see himselfe seated in that place, where he shall liue in all contentment and sweete repose of mind; vvhere nothing shalbe wanting, nothing shall affright him, nothing shalbe desired, nothing more shalbe sought after? O Peace surmoun­ting all apprehension of sense, the which the VVorld cannot affoard, and vvhich is found only in the heauenly Ierusalem, the City of the peacefull & most great King. To thee, this our Pe­regrination doth greedily bend it self; VVe are here loaden vvith tempta­tions [Page 263] and sollicitudes, and we greatly appease and quiet our selues only in the thought and expectation of thee.

The third thing, which shall bring great Ioy to a Blessed VVill, is Iustice; and this perfect, and more perfect, then was the Originall Iustice in A­dam. The Iustice of him did subiect the inferiour part of the soule to the superiour, as long as the superiour was subiect to God: But this Iustice subiecteth the inferiour part to the superiour, and the superiour to God, by a most firme and indissoluble band and connexion: That was (as it were) a wollen or linnen Garment, this a silken, or goulden Vestment which maketh the VVill most fayre & amia­ble to God, to the Angells, & all Bles­sed soules. This is that perfect Iustice, which admitteth no spot, nor any ve­niall blemish. So as of a soule cloathed with this Iustice, it may be said: Thou art all fayre, O my Loue, and there is no spot in thee. Cant. 4. This comprehen­deth all Vertues, as they are vnmixted with the drosse of any imperfection. Now how great ioy and pleasure this Iustice may bring to a soule in Hea­uen, the VViseman doth witnesse, say­ing: [Page 264] A secure mind is as it were, a conti­nuall feast. Prou. 15.

Heere only that mind is secure, which is neuer gnawed with the worme of Conscience; in that through a perfect Iustice it is so established in good, as that euen for any short mo­ment it cannot slyde. Of which point the Apostle is also witnesse, saying: Rom. 14. The kingdome of God is not meate and drinke, but Iustice, and peace, and ioy in the Holy Ghost. In which words, the holy Apostle clearely tea­cheth, that the Kingdome of Heauen contayneth in it selfe great Pleasure, consisting not in delighting the thtoat, and repletion of the Belly (as carnall and sensuall men perhaps could wish) but in Iustice, which engenders in the soule a firme Peace, and true Ioy. For who is perfectly iust, hath nothing in his hart, which may vpbraid or re­prehend him: neither any thing in his Actions, at which other men can take exceptions. And from hence springeth a most constant and sweete Peace bet­weene God himselfe, and all others: From hence also riseth an ineffable ioy in the Holy Ghost; with which ioy no earthly or temporall pleasures can be compared.

Of the Ioy of the Memory. CHAP. IV.

NOw the faculty of Memory through remembrance of things past, shall minister no small matter of Ioy. For first the calling to mind the benefits of God, either touching spiri­tuall or corporall matters, naturall or supernaturall, temporall or eternall, throughout our whole life, shall bring an incredible Ioy, when the iust soule shall call to mind by how many wayes it was preuented in the benedictions of all sweetnes. Againe, the remem­brance of the perills and dangers, out of which God by strange meanes hath euen snatched vs, throughout all our life, how great a comfort will it af­foard? Among other dangers I put in the first place, That a man being very neere vnto committing of a mortall sinne, and so thereby neere vnto Hell, God moued only through his benig­nity and loue, did hinder the commit­ting therof. Certainly this mercy of God being so great, and often exten­ded [Page 266] to the Elect, when it shall be cal­led to mind in that most safe and most peacefull Region, shall affoard most great Ioy. VVhich remembrance, if it were wanting to the Saints in Hea­uen, how then could it be said of them in the Psalme 88. I will sing the mercyes of our Lord for euer? Then which Can­ticle (sayth S. Austin) being song in the glory of the grace and fauour of Christ, nothing shalbe more pleasant to that Heauenly Citty. l 22. de ciuit. c. 30.

What may I speake of the deuolu­tion and current of Tymes and ages, euen from the beginning to the End? What pleasure will the remembrance of so many Vicissitudes of things, and of so great Variety bring, which the Prouidence of God hath gouerned so wisely, and brought to their due ends? And perhaps this is that mayne cur­rent of that Riuer, which so wonder­fully exhilerateth the Citty of God. Psal. 45. For what other thing is the Order of ages passing away with such speede, and neuer intermitting their course, then the great swiftnes of the Riuer, running without any cessation, till it be wholy absorpt in the mayne Ocean? And now truly, whiles the Ri­uer [Page 267] is in running, and the Times slip­ping away, many do dispute of the Prouidence of God; yea some euen of Gods seruants are much troubled with this impetuosity of the streame; for seing that it is often hurtfull to good men, but commodious and beneficiall to the Wicked, whi [...]es it carieth away the good earth, taken from the fields of the Vertuous, vnto the fields of the Wicked, thus they often suffer great Temptations, and seeme to complayne of Gods Prouidence.

Heare of this point the Royall Prophet, thus moaning: Psal 72. My feete were almost moued, my steps almost slipped, because I had zeale vpon the wicked, seing the peace of sinners. And a little after: Loe the sinners themselues; and they that abound in the World, haue obtayned riches; And I said, then I haue iustified my hart without cause, and haue washed my hands among In­nocents, and haue bene scourged all the day. Heare also Ieremy the Prophet thus expostulating cap. 12. Thou (O Lord) art iust if I dispute with thee; but yet I will speake iust things to thee: Why doth the way of the impious pros­per? And why is it well with all, that [Page 268] transgresse and do wickedly? Thou hast planted them, & they haue taken roote; They prosper and bring forth fruite: thou art nigh to their mouth, and far from their reynes, To conclude, Heare the Prophet Habacuc, c. 1. Why lookest thou vpon them that do vniust things, and houldest thy peace, when the im­pious deuoureth him that is more iust then himselfe? Thou wilt make men, as the fishes of the Sea, and as the creeping Beast, not hauing a Prince. Thus these former Prophets.

But after the reuolution of tymes, and after the forsaid Riuer hath dis­gorged it selfe into the sea, when the Saints in Heauen shall cleerely see & read the reasons of all those vicissitu­des, or alterations, as written in the Booke of the diuine Prouidence; then VVords will light short to expresse the ioye, which the City of God shall receaue thereby. There they shall read, why God suffered the first Angell, and the first man to sinne; and why the Mercy of God did restore the man, but would not restore the Angell. There they shall see, why God did make choyce of the sonnes of Abraham for his peculiar people; whome notwith­standing [Page 269] he did foresee, to be after of a most stubborne necke, and what good through their obstinacy he was after to prepare for the Gentills. And that I may pretermit the Vniuersall Proui­dence of God, there they shall see why he did permit many iust Men (or ra­ther almost a [...]l) to suffer pressures and [...]fflictions in this World, and to be­come balls to their Enemies, that ther­by he might after crowne them most gloriously. And from this remembrāce the Saints shall with great ioy euen blesse all those Crosses, which they suffered in the VVord, when they shall see them changed into euerla­sting Crownes, and shall say with the Prophet, Psal. 93. According to the mul­tude of my sorrowes in my hart, thy Consolations haue made my soule ioy­full.

Of the Ioy of the Eyes. CHAP. V.

LEt vs now take into our conside­ration the ioyes of a glorified Bo­dy. And first the Ioy of the sense of seeing presenteth it selfe; which sense [Page 270] among the senses of the Body is most noble, and in its office and vse dila­teth it selfe most largly. This sense in the Celestiall Country shall first re­ioyce at the splendour of its owne proper Body, changed by Christ, and configured, or made like to the Body of his Glory, as the Apostle speaketh. Phil. 3. Neither shall its brightnes be lesse then the splendour of the sunne. For the same Apostle Act. 26. affirmeth, that Christ (according to whose bright­ne [...] we are to be cōformed) was seene of him, to exceed the brightnes of the sunne. And our Lord himselfe thus speaketh in the Ghospell. Then the iust shall shyne as the sunne, in the kingdome of their Father. Matth. 13. How plea­sing and gratefull a spectacle will it be, when the Eyes of the Blessed shall be­hould their hands, their feete, and all their mēbers so to send forth beames of light, as that they shall not neede any more the light of the sunne, or of the moone (much lesse the light of a Candle) to dispense all darknes? And they shall see not only their owne bo­dy, to shyne like to the sunne, but also the bodies of all Saints, and especially of Christ himselfe, and of his Blessed Mother.

How much doth one Sunne at its rising, reioyce the whole Earth? What then will it be, to behould innumera­ble sunnes togeather, not resplendent only in light, but also most fayre for their variety and proportion of mem­bers? Neither in that place shall the Eyes shut themselues, for feare least they be oppressed, and hurt with ouer much brightnes; for those Eyes shall be Blessed, and in this respect impassi­ble and immortall. For he, who shall so comfort the Eyes of the mind, with the light of Glory, as that they behoul­ding God face to face, shall not be op­pressed by his Glory; he shall also com­fort the Eyes of the body with the guift, or priuiledge of Impassibility; so as without any danger they shalbe able to looke vpon, not one only sunne but, innumerable sunnes.

This further shalbe adioyned to increase the glory of the Eyes, as S. Austin teacheth; l. 22. de Ciu. c. 20. to wit, that the most Blessed Martyrs shall beare most fayre and beautifull prints, or signes of Vertue, euen in those particular partes of the Body, wherein they suffered their torments. What solace to the eye then shall it be, [Page 272] to behould S. Stephen, shyning with as many precious stones, as he suffered dints of stones in his Body? In like sort what pleasure wil it be to see S. Io. Baptist, S. Iames the elder S. Paul, & almost infinite others (whose heads were cut of for professing Christ) to shyne vvith a most rich chayne, more precious then any gould? What to see S. Bartholomew (whose skinne was fleaed off) so illustrious in body, as that it may seeme to exceed all Pur­ple, though neuer so precious? What shall it be (to omit all others) to be­hould S. Peter, S. Andrew, and many o­thers (who suffered death vpon the Crosse) to represent, or beare most shi­ning stars (as it were) in their hands and feete, with incred [...]ble Beauty? Concerning Christ, the king of Mar­tyrs, who for his glory, and our com­fort will haue the signes, or marks of the nayles and the Lance preserued, no tongue is able to expresse, with what radiant splendour & light those most holy impressions shall shyne, se­ing all the glory of Saints compared to the Glory of Christ, is lesse then the Beauty of the starrs, with reference to the Beauty of the sunne.

But now what shall I speake of the Pleasures, which the Eyes of the Blessed shall take in behoulding that most spacious and large City, which Tobias, and S. Iohn (as aboue we haue proued) as not hauing Words worthy inough to set out and proclaime its beauty, said, That it was all made of gould, and garnished with rich Iewels. Margarites, and other precious stones? Tob. 13. Apoc. 21. What lastly may I say of the New Heauen, and the New Earth, the which the Holy Scriptures do promise to vs after the day of Iudg­ment, and of the renouation of all things into a better state? For these things, as they are vnknowne to vs, so they shall delight the Eyes of the Bles­sed with a new and admirable ioy, when their Beauty shall begin to be seene.

Of the Ioy of the Eares. CHAP. VI.

THat the sense of Hearing, and the Instruments of speach shalbe in the Kingdome of Heauen, no man may [Page 274] doubt: For the Bodies of the Blessed shalbe true and liuing Bodies, and in euery part perfect. And such was the Body of Christ after his Resurrection, as all the Apostles, many disciples, and others haue testified. For they did heare him speake, and he did answere to their demaunds: And S. Paul himself did heare Christ speaking to him from Heauen; & he answered to Christ hea­ring him. That there shalbe Canticles, and songs, and chiefly of that Word Alleluia, the aforesaid Toby and S. Iohn do witnes. From hence then we may gather, that in that Heauenly City, there shall not be wanting many most sweet Sonnets, with the which God may be praysed, and the Blessed eares of Holy men may be wonderfully de­lighted. And if these things ought to be performed in proportion and mea­sure, thē doubtlesly those songs ought to be the more sweet, & harmonious, by how much the singers shalbe more skilfull, and he that is praysed, more noble and sublime, & the place where the Musicke is made, more high, and the Company or presence of the Au­ditours more intelligent, and in grea­ter number.

What consolation therefore will it be, in that most high peace, and in the concord of soules, and in that ar­dour and heate of Charity towards their supreme Benefactour, to heare the most cleare voyces of those, which shall sing Alleluia? If S. Francis (as S. Bonauenture hath left written) was so rapt and moued at the sound of a Ci­therne, played vpon but a very short tyme by an Angell, as that he thought himselfe to haue beene in a new World; what delights then shall our Eares enioy, when millions of musi­tians with most concordant and sweet voyces shall with full accord and con­sent prayse God; and other Millions with like melody and feruour, shall many tymes repeate the said Prayses? And perhaps in that Heauenly Citty, not only the prayses of God shalbe ce­lebrated with Musicall voyces; but also the Triumphs of Martyrs, the Honour of Confessours, the Glory of Virgins, and the victories of all the Saints a­gainst the Deuill, shalbe extolled with Celestiall Musicke. For we thus read Eccl. 31. Who is proued therein and per­fect, shall haue eternall Glory: He that could transgresse, and hath not trans­gressed; [Page 276] and do Euill, and hath not done it; therfore are his good things establi­shed in our Lord, and all the Church of Saints shal declare his Almes. Although this may be vnderstood of the prayses of mortall men, in the militāt Church here vpon Earth; yet withall it may be meant of the immortall Citizens, and of the triumphant Church in Heauen; Since there the Saints shall haue truly eternall glory, and that is truly and properly the Church of Saints.

And whereas our Lord in the Gos­pell sayth, that the faythfull and pru­dent seruants shalbe praysed of God in the Heauenly Kingdome Matth. 28. Well farre thee, good and faythfull seruant, because thou hast beene fayth­full ouer a few things, I will place thee ouer many things: Enter into the ioy of thy Lord; Why may we not thinke, that those words of our Lord shalbe celebrated with the singing of the whole Celestiall Court, & shall againe and againe be most sweetly repeated? Certainly the Catholike Church doub­ted not thus to speake of S. Martin: Martinus hic pauper & modicus, diues Caelum ingreditur, hymnis caelestibus honoratur. Martin being but poore and [Page 277] temperate, did enter into Heauen rich; and is honored with Celestiall Hymnes. To conclude, S. Austin affirmeth the same point in expresse Words, l. 22. de Ciu. c. 30. saying: There shalbe true glory, where no man shalbe praysed through the errour, or adulation of the Prayser. True Honour, which shall not be conferred vpon any, not worthy; Nei­ther shall any vnworthy seeke after that Honour, where none but he that is wor­thy, shall be permitted to be. O therefore thrice Happy Soules, who in that place, where all flattery is banished and exi­led, and no lye is found to be, shall heare their owne Prayses and Trophees to be celebrated without danger of Pryde, but not without increase of ioy, and com­fort.

Of the Ioy of the sense of smelling. CHAP. VII.

TOuching the other senses, litle is to be said; not in that they want their great Pleasures; but because what Pleasures those shalbe, the Holy Scripture hath not declared. Neuer­thelesse [Page 278] this is euident to vs, that ma­ny Bodies of Holy Saints haue after their deaths braathed out a most sweet Odour. This S. Ierome testifieth of the Body of S. Hilarion. For he af­firmeth, that ten Months after the Bo­dy was interred, it was found entyre, as if it were then liuing, and did cast from it such a fragrant smel, as if it had beene imbalmed with sweet oynt­ments. The like doth S. Gregory witnes of the body of S. Seruulus, the Palsey­man; His words are these: l. 4. Dial. c. 14. The soule departing, such a fragran­cy of smell did rise, as that all there pre­sent were replenished with incredible sweetnes. And a litle after: Till the Body was buried, the sweetnes of that smell did not depart from their Noses. Nei­ther are there wanting many other such like Examples both of former & later tymes: from all which we may gather, that if the Bodies of the dead Saints (after the Soule is glorifyed) do send forth such sweet smells, then much more the liuing and glorifyed Bodies of the saints shall breath forth a most delicious and sweet Odour.

I will adioyne hereto that, which the said S. Gregory relateth of the li­uing [Page 279] and most glorious Body of our Sauiour. Thus he writeth: lib. 4. c. 16. & hom. 38. sup. Euang. Tarsilla the Vir­gin then looking vp, sow Iesus comming; and suddenly there was (as it were) sprinkled such a fragrancy of a woun­derful Odour, as that the sweetnes ther­of did assure all, that the Authour of sweetnes was thither come. But if the glorifyed Body of our Redeemer did breath an odour of such sweetnes, then it is altogether credible, that all the Bodies of the Saints shall send forth in Heauen a wonderfull sweet­nes: For it is fitting, that the members should be conformable to the Head, not only in splendour, but also in sua­uity of Odour. Those men therefore, who are delighted with Odours, let them thinke, with what sweetnes they are to be replenished, when they shall draw into their glorified sent, the diuerse, and most sweet, odours of so many thousands of Celestiall flowers, on euery syde breathing forth in that diuine garden.

Of the Ioy of the senses of Ta­sting, and Touching. CHAP. VIII.

COncerning the Sense of Tast, Deuines do write that the Bles­sed shall not vse any mortall meates: Notwithanding they shall haue some delight in that sense, that it may not seeme to be superfluous. But concer­ning the Sense of touching; or Feeling, all do agree, that the Vse thereof shall not be wanting in Heauen. Since the Bodies of the Blessed (as being true bodies with life) may doubtlesly be touche; Our Lord thus speaking: Touch and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to haue Luc. 24. Yet all impure touching shalbe most remote from their bodies, for they shall haue no desire of Generation: And therefore our Lord speaketh thus: Math. 22. In the Resurrection neither shall they marry, nor be mar­ryed, But are as the Angels of God in Heauen. But we will not heere stay a­bout these things, which are daily dis­puted [Page 281] in the Schooles. This one thing we affirme, that the Sense of Touching shall receaue no small pleasure from the perpetu [...]ll and most excellent ha­bitude, or disposition of a Glori­ous Body, through its qualities; of which the Apostle thus speaketh: 1. Cor. 15. The body is sowen in Cor­ruption, it riseth in Incorruption; It is sowen in Dishonour, it shall ryse in Glory; It is sowen in Infirmity, it shall rise in Power; It is sowen a natu­rall Body, it shall rise a spirituall Bo­dy.

Of these foure qualities, or priui­ledges of a glorified Body, that of glo­ry or splendour belongeth to the sense of Seeing, as aboue we haue said; the other three seeme properly to belong to the sense of Touching. For euen as, when the Body is oppressed with strokes, diseases, or wounds endange­ring the life, the Sense of Touching is that, which suffereth and grieueth; so in like manner, when the Body en­ioyeth perfect health, is sound, and of a strong constitution, the Sense of Tou­ching doth reioyce. Therefore this sense shall haue great ioy in Heauen, vvhen after the Resurrection it shalbe [Page 282] clad with Immortality, Impassibility, and Health in the highest degree, and this for all Eternity. What charges would not men willingly be at (espe­cially Princes, and others of great esta­tes) to be freed all their life time, from the dolours of the Goute, or of the Heade, the stomack, or the reynes? What ioy shall it then be in Heauen, from whence not only death, but all diseases and griefs shalbe altogeather exiled? Furthermore, those Qualities, through the which a corruptible bo­dy doth rise incorruptible, and a body that is infirme, riseth impassible, do belong to the ioy of the Sense of Tou­ching.

In like sort, the qualities of Agili­ty, or Subtility, by which a Naturall Body shall rise spirituall, seeme to be­long to the same Sense of touching: since that Body sha [...]l be called spiri­tuall, and shalbe a glorious Body, not in that it hath not truly flesh and bo­nes; but because it shalbe so subiect to the spirit, as that at the very beck and pleasure of the spirit or soule, it shalbe able without any difficulty, toyle, or wearines, to be moued most swiftly, to ascend and descend, to goe and re­turne, [Page 283] to penetrate and pierce all pla­ces; and this in such sort, as if it were not a Body, but a spirit. Therefore euen as the Sense of Touching grieueth and beareth it selfe not well, when a heauy and weighty body is forced to ascend high, or with great swiftnes & speed to be remoued from place to place; so also on the contrary, it much reioyceth and exulteth, when a Body without any toyle, or wearines, ei­ther ascendeth aboue, or passeth most speedily from place to place.

Behould therefore from what ser­uitude of Corruption the Blessed shal­be freed, when as they sha [...]l no more stand in neede of Horses, Coaches, Gards of men, Weapons, nor any o­ther thing; but those Blessed Bodies euen by their ovvne forces shall passe, and goe, into what places themselues Will; and they shall be euery where most safe and exempt from all dan­ger, yea in the middest and thickest troupes of armed men. I would to God, that such men, who cannot tast or resent spirituall delights, in that they haue an inuenomed and corrup­ted palate or Tast; at least would en­tertayne with due consideration these [Page 284] most great and perpetuall Corporall Goods and Pleasures; and that they would labour, with all endeauour, & bent of Will, for the purchasing ther­of; For thus it might come to passe, that by litle and litle they would as­pire to higher Matters; and so by these degrees they might at length, through the assistance of God, arriue to euerla­sting Ioyes.

Of the Comparison of the Ioyes of the Earth, with the Ioyes of Heauen. CHAP. IX.

VVE haue vnfoulded and ex­plicated (according to our small ability) what Ioyes are prepa­red in Heauen for those that loue God. Now we will endeauour to demon­strate by certaine externall Argumēts, how great, and transcendent those Ioyes are. Our first argument shalbe taken from the comparison of the Ioyes, which God often in this World, giueth euen to his professed Enemies, and to the Reprobate. And certainly [Page 285] there is such a confluence of Ioyes consisting in Riches, Honours, Power, and diuers pleasures, which God im­parteth to sinners, to his Enemies, ei­ther blaspheming against his dignity, or not belieuing in him, as that of most men they are judged to be Blessed and most happy, according to the vvords of the Prophet: Psal. 143. They haue said, it is a happy People, which hath these things. Which of the Louers of this world doth not enuy and grudge at Salomons Prosperity, who reigned fourty yeares, abounded with all af­fluence of riches and delights, & had seauen hundred wyues, and three hun­dred Concubines? Who neuerthelesse (according to the iudgment of S. Au­stin) was a Reprobate: for thus this Father writeth, in Psal. 126. Euen Sa­lomon himselfe was a louer of VVomen, and was reprobated of God. And in his booke de Ciuitate Dei c. 20. he sayth the same of Salomon, which Salust did of Cataline: This man had a good beginning, but an euill ending. S Gre­gory followeth S. Austins iudgment herein, thus writing: l. 2. moral. cap. 2. Hence it is, that Salomon (though re­ceauing VVisdome) did not perseuere in [Page 86] Gods fauour &c. Neither are the Kings, or Emperours of the Turks, the Persians, those of China, and Tartary, vnlike to Salomon herein; all who en­ioy most vast and large Kingdoms, and are so deuoted, or rather become sla­ues, to all sorts of pleasure of the flesh, as that they giue all liberty to the Hart, to the Eyes, to the eares, to their tast, vnto Lust, wallowing in all such voluptuousnes, and sensualities, as may content any of these Parts.

But to passe ouer these Ioyes, of which but few are partakers: How great are the consolations and Ioyes, which God giueth to all men in Com­mon, of whom the Greatest part ei­ther know not God, or at lest do not adore him with that Honour & feare, with which they oxght? Doth he not giue all the Earth, with all its riches, delights, liuing Creatures, flowers, Mettals to men in generall? Doth he not giue the seas, the fountaynes, Ri­uers, Lakes with so seuerall sorts of fish to all men promiscuously? Hath he not created Heauen (which is, as a Couer of this great House, and beauti­fied with so many starrs) for the gene­rall vse of Man? Hath not this our most [Page 287] gratious and most bountifull Lord commanded the sunne to rise, and the Clouds to rayne vpon both the Iust & Iniust? Now, if he be so profuse (as I may say) in distributing so great bene­fits & comforts to reprobate sinners, (being his vngratefull bondslaues, & worthy all punishment) in this life; Is it then not most iust and reasonable, that he should reserue incomparably far greater Ioyes for his friends, and his sonnes? Heare what S Austin me­ditateth hereof, saying: in Psal. 10. Se­ing God giueth to sinners (dayly blas­pheming him) the Heauens, the Earth, the Fountaines, Fruits, Health, Chil­dren, Ri [...]hes, abundance of all temporall Benefits; VVhat then dost thou thinke, he layeth vp, and prouides for his seruants, who giu [...]th all these former ioyes and Comforts to sin [...]ers?

It is written of S. Fulgentius in his life, that he once behoulding the glory and magnificence of the Senate of Rome, did burst forth into exclama­tion, saying: How specious & illustrious may the Celestiall Ierusalem be, if Ear­thly Rome, do thus shyne? And if in this world so great dignity and Honour be ascribed to the Louers of Vanity, what [Page 288] Honour and Glory shalbe due to the Saints, contemplating the Truth? Cer­tainly S. Austin (who made a prudent and true estimation of things) affirmed all earthly pleasures whatsoeuer, to be so far short and inferiour to Celestiall, as he doubted not to say, that it were more to be wished for a man to en­ioy Heauenly pleasure, but for the space of one day, then to enioy all temporall pleasures for many thou­sands of Ages. His words are these l. 3. de lib. arbit. c. vit. So great is the plea­sure of eternall Light, as that if it were permitted for one, to remayne and stay therein, no more, then the space of one day; yet euen for so short a space of the fruition therof, innumerable yeares of this life, (though fraught with all de­lights and affluence of temporall goods) are deseruedly to be contemned. For it is not said through any false or mistaking iudgment, Psal 83. Better is one day in thy Courtes, aboue thousands. Thus S. Austin.

Novv what shall we from all this conclude? If these things be true (as they are most true) haue we not rea­son as length to begin to be wise, and open our eyes? Hitherto we haue [Page 289] beene accustomed to say, that earthly pleasures are to be contemned, be­cause they are but short and momen­tary; and that Celestiall are to be lo­ued, because they are euerlasting: But we haue heard S. Austin (a most wise Doctour) inueighing against this our manner of speach, and earnestly con­testing, that if earthly matters were euerlasting, and Celestiall but momen­tary, that neuerthelesse in a cleere iudgment, Heauenly goods and benefits were to be preferred before Earthly. Are we not therefore deafe, are we not blind, are we not fooles and stupid, if for earthly benefits & pleasures, which are not only base and ignoble, but also fading and momentary, we do con­temne or sleight Celestiall, which are most precious, and shall continue for all Eternity? O most mercifull Lord, dissolue this our deafnes, enlighten our blindnes, dispell our stupidity, & cure our madnes. To what end hast thou signed vpon vs the light of thy Countenance, Psal. 4. if we cannot dis­cerne, and see these so great and so ne­cessary matters? And why hast thou giuen vs iudgment of Reason, if we do not penetrate points so euident?

A Comparison of the Terrestriall Paradise, with the Celestiall. CHAP. X.

VVE haue aboue compared the Ioyes of this World with the Ioyes of the kingdome of Heauen. In this next place we will briefly paral­lel togeather the Ioyes of the Terre­striall Paradise. How great the Ioyes of the Earthly Paradise were, may be knowne from that it was (as it were) a Garden of Delights, allotted to men who were created to the image & si­militude of God, whereas the rest of the Earth was giuen to Brute Beasts. And hereupon when Adam by sinning did lose his Honour, in which God had constituted him, and was made like to Beasts without Vnderstanding, Psal. 48. he was then cast out of that Place, and banished into this. S. Alcuinus surna­med Auitas writing vpon Genesis, doth liuely describe this Terrestriall Para­dise▪ and sheweth it to haue byn a Re­gion most pleasant and most tempe­rate, where the Heate of the sommer [Page 291] did not scorch or burne, nor the cold of the Winter annoy or hurt; but a perpetuall spring of flowers did exhi­lerate, & refresh; and the Autumne to abound with all kind of fruits. His words are these: Hic ver assiduum &c. In this place the mildnes of the Aire cau­seth a continuall spring; the tēpestuous Southwind is absent; the Cloudes do flye away from vnder the cleere firmament, giuing place to a continuall serenity. Neither doth the nature of the Soyle re­quire any showers; since the buds, and the young plant are content with the falling dew. Thus seing neither Winter to hurt, nor Sommer to burne, the Au­tumne furnisheth the yeare with all fruits, and the spring-tyme with flowers. Thus he,

S. Basill in like manner (lib. de paradiso) thus describeth this Terre­striall Paradise, saying: Illic plantauit Deus &c. God placed Paradise there, where no violence of wynds, nor vnplea­santnes of times, nor Hayle, nor light­ning, nor thunder, nor frost, nor moy­sture, nor scorching eate, nor drines is to be found: But there is a peacefull and temperate agreement of all times amōg themselues &c. And S. Austin agreeth [Page 292] with the former doctours in descri­bing this Terrestriall Paradise lib. 14. de Ciuit. cap. 10. Quid timere vel do­lere poterant illi &c. VVhat should those men feare or grieue at, who were euen incompassed about with such an afflu­ency of so great goods, where neyther death, nor any euill disposition of the Body was to be feared; neither was there any thing absent, which a vertuous will could desire; nor any thing there present which could displease or offend the flesh, or mynd of a man, liuing happily &c. And then a litle after: How happy ther­fore were our first Parents, who were not troubled with any perturbations of the mynd, nor hurt with any discom­modities of the Body? So happy should all mankind haue beene, if they had cō ­mitted no euill which after they did cast vpon their children, nor any of their posterity had perpetrated iniquity, which should deserue damnation, Thus S. Austin.

But howsoeuer these particulari­ties of the pleasantnes and frutfulnes of this Terrestriall Paradise went; we infallibly gather from the holy Scrip­ture, that it was a farre more happy place, then this our Habitation is; [Page 293] since it is said to Adam by way of pu­nishment of his sinne, Gen. 3. Because thou hast heard the voyce of thy VVyfe, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I cō ­manded thee not to eate, cursed he the Earth in thy worke; with much toyle & labour shalt thou eate thereof all the dayes of thy lyfe; thornes and thisles shall it bring forth to thee. And to the Woman it was sayd: I will multiply thy sorrowes, and thy childbearings in trauel; thou shalt be vnder thy Husbāds Power, and he shall haue dominion ouer thee. Thus we see, that in Paradise there was not any barrenes of Earth, nor was it to be inhabited with any labour or paines; neyther did it bring forth any thornes or thisle. In lyke sort the Women there should neuer haue conceaued in vaine, but their cō ­ceauings should euer haue beene ac­companyed with most happy byrths. And although they had beene subiect to their Husbands; yet this not after any Lord lyke authority ouer them, but after a ciuill and moderate māner: Therefore men should there haue led a happy lyfe, voyd of all feare, griefe, or labour.

Now if the Terrestriall Paradise [Page 294] wanted all Euill, and abounded with many and great goods and commodi­ties, what then may we conceaue of the Celestiall Paradise▪ which ought to be so much the more high, and so much the more good, by how much the persons for which it is ordayned, are better? But the Height of the Heauen of the Blessed, is without any comparison, more sublime and high, then the Paradise of Adam; and the Blessed men in Heauen, who can nei­ther sinne▪ nor dye, are by infinit de­grees better, then the inhabitants of the Terrestriall Paradise, who could both sinne and dye: Therfore we may ineuitably inferre, that the Heauenly Paradise doth not only want all Euill, but that it is replenished with Pleasu­res, Goodnes, and Felicity; and this incomparably greater in worth, and more in number, then the Earthly Pa­radise did abound. Now these things being most certaine, let vs burst out into thanks and gratefulnes to God, who for the Terrestriall Paradise, ta­ken from vs through the malice and enuy of the deuill, hath by the Redem­ption of his Sonne prepared for vs the Celestiall Paradise, farre more bles­sed, [Page 295] and happy. And to the end, that we may not be vnthankfull to so great a Redemer, and also that we may not seeme to be enemies to our selues; let vs striue vvith all our endeauour and forces, to fynd a way to the Celestial Paradise, and to enlarge the way ther­to by an entyre Fayth, sincere Hope, perfect Charity, and good VVorkes.

A Comparison of the goods of this World, & the goods of the Ter­restriall Paradise ioyned toge­ther, with the goods of the Ce­lestiall Paradise only. CHAP. XI.

BVT let vs proceed further in this our ballancing of things; and let vs cōpare all the goods of this world, as also all the goods of the Earthly Pa­radise (ioyned togeather) with the goods only of the Celestiall Paradise; and so see, whether of these do pre­ponderate, and weigh downe the o­ther. This we shall more easily effect if we conceaue, that Riches, Empy­res, Pleasures, and all the glory of Sa­lomon, [Page 296] and of all other lyke most hap­py men, could be obtained without labour, and retained and kept with­out feare; as also if we further suppose such most fortunate men neuer to sin, nor neuet to dye; yet so, as that they might sinne, and might dye: Now all this by supposall being granted, I most confidently affirme, that the goods of the Celestiall Paradise only, do infinit­ly surpasse all the goods of this world, and of the Terrestriall Paradise toge­ther, From whence it will appeare, that those goods being ioyned togea­ther cā neither satisfy the mynd; nor satiate the desire of the mynd; since the Hart of Man is capable of an infi­nit and boundlesse good. Therefore that shall euer stand for a true & maine Position, which S. Austin hath left recorded lib. 1. Confess. cap. 1. Thou hast O Lord made vs for thy self, and to the lykenes of thy selfe; yet our Hart is vnquiet, till it rest in thy sclfe, And so true also is that, which the Prophet speaketh, Psal. 16. I shall be filled, whē thy glory shall appeare. Now so long as the Hart shalbe vnquiet, it shalbe miserable; and if it be miserable, so long it cannot be blessed or happy.

But the Celestiall Paradise enioyeth this priuiledg, that, it is of power to sa­tiate the soule, and to exile and expell all vnquietnesse and solicitude. For what can that man want, who shalbe lyke to God, Because he shall see God, as he is, 1. Ioan. 3.? What can he wāt, whome God shall constitute or appoint ouer all goods. Matth. 24.? What can he want, who shall reigne with God, shalbe coheyre with Christ, whome the Father hath appointed heyre of all. Heb. 1.? I say, what can this man want, except he will dreame, that God him­selfe is miserable? Furthermore, those goods of the world, and of the Terre­strial Paradise (how great, or of what Nature soeuer they might be) in that they stood obnoxious to be lost, were not perfect goods; neither could they satiate the mynd, or giue to it a full repose, or rest; and for this respect they did not, nor could make a Man Blessed or happy: but the goods of the Celestiall Paradise are on euery syde perfect & stable; neyther are they in a­ny sort subiect to losse, or dimunition: for the Saints placed in those most happy Seates, can neither dye, ney­ther can they sinne; and of their euer­lasting [Page 298] felicity they are most secure. Therefore let mortall men open their eyes, let them often call to mynd, of what moment it is, not to loose the Celestiall Paradise. For heare the busi­nesse toucheth the maine matter of all others, and is not about trifles, or fa­ding vanities, And therefore the Wis­dome of God, euen through a diuine Iudgement, hath pronounced: VVhat doth it profit a man, if he gaine the whole VVorld, and sustaine the domage of his soule? Matt. 16. Marc. 8. Luc. 9.

A Comparison of the price of the Celestiall Paradise, and the Paradise it selfe. CHAP. XII.

THe last Comparison shalbe of the Pryce, with the which Christ did buy Paradise, and with the which it ought to be bought of vs, with rela­tion to the greatnes and dignity of Paradise it selfe. Christ with effusion of his owne most precious bloud did buy Paradise for vs, which the Enuy of the Deuill had afore violently ta­ken [Page 299] from vs, not that himselfe might enioy it, but only that we might be depriued of it. For to this end the De­uill seduced Eue, and by her he caused Adam to sinne, that so they might be Consorts and fellowes in punishment. Christ therefore is that prudent Mer­chant, (Matth. 13.) who gaue all his goods, that he might buy this precious Margarite; by the which he clearely inough did teach, that the Kingdome of Heauen is signified: for it is he, of whom the Apostle speaketh, when he sayth, 1. Cor. 6. You are brought with a great Pryce. And the Apostle S. Peter: Not with corruptible things, gould, or siluer are you redeemed, but with the precious bloud (as it were) of an im­maculate and vnspotted Lambe, Christ, 1. Pet. 1. And againe; They deny him, that bought them, the Lord. 2. Pet. 2. For Christ (at one and the same tyme) did buy Paradise for vs, and did buy vs. For we before were made Capti­ues, and had lost Paradise by sinne: But Christ redeeming vs from sinne, and from the Captiuity of the Deuill, did withall adopt vs the Sonnes, and heyres of God; and in so doing, did re­store Paradise vnto vs. From hence [Page 300] therefore the greatnes and vvorth of the Celestiall Paradise may be concea­ued; to wit, that in the Wisdome of God, it is thought to be vvorthy of an infinite Pryce.

If heere among men a prudent & rich merchant should be content to giue all his vvealth for the buying of a precious Pearle; certainly no man vvould once doubt, but that the Ievvell vvere of so inestimable Worth and valew, as that it could hardly fynd a sufficient pryce. Of what account and estimation then (if vve haue any sparke of true iudgment) ought the Posses­sion of the Kingdome of Heauen seeme to vs to be, the vvhich the VVisdome of God, the VVord Incarnate, vvith all his labours, toyles, and dolours, for the space of thirty three yeares, and lastly vvith his owne bloud and most pre­cious death, did purchase, and buy? VVe are vvholy stupid, yea mad, if vve vvill sell our interest and title of that thing, for a base and most vile price of temporall Good, vvhich Christ our Lord rated at an infinite Pryce and valevv.

But vvhat? Not only Christ vvas content to buy Paradise with the ef­fusion [Page 301] of his owne bloud; but all Saints being herein taught by him, did most willingly expose whatsoeuer they had, with all their force & strength, for the gayning of the said Paradise. Yea the Blessed Apostle thus bursteth out in words: Rom. 8. The Passions of this tyme are not worthy of the glory to come, that shalbe reuealed to vs. And if any of the Martyrs were demanded, whether they did willingly buy Para­dise vvith such Torments; as also if the Holy Confessours were questioned, whether they did in like sort promp­tly and readily buy Paradise with their so many Watchings, Fasts, Prayers, Almes deedes, and Persecutions; no doubt they would all cry out in one voyce with the Apostle: The Passions and sufferings of this tyme, are not wor­thy of the glory to come, which shalbe reuealed to vs. For although the Bloud of Christ was not only a worthy price of Paradise for vs, but also (as I may speake) more then a worthy Pryce, as being supereminent, and exceeding the dignity of the thing which was bought; neuerthelesse Christs good pleasure was, that we also should buy Paradise, thereby the more to honour [Page 302] and exalt vs. The Glory of man is great, in that he obtayneth Paradise, not only from the merits of Christ; but also from his owne merits, strea­ming from the Vertue and force of Christ his merits. And if a man will not (when it is in his povver) do good, and suffer euill, for the buying of Paradise, he is worthily expelled from the buying of Christ, as an euill and slouthfull seruant, as Christ himselfe admonisheth in the Parable of the Ta­lents, Matth. 25. and the Apostle vehe­mently counselleth, Rom. 8. when he sayth: Yf sonnes, Heyres also; Heyres tru­ly of God, and Coheyres of Christ; yet if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

And to preuent, that whereas some men may perhaps complayne, they haue not a sufficient Pryce for the buy­ing of Paradise; let such take notice, that nothing more is asked of vs here, but what our selues haue. For thus S. Austin speaketh: The kingdome of God is worth so much, as thou hast. Which point the same Father proueth from examples of diuine Scripture, thus he writing tract. in Psal. 49. Quid tam vile &c. What is so vile, what is so ter­rene [Page 303] and earthly, as to breake and giue a peece of bread to the Hungry? So much the kingdome of Heauen is worth. For it is written. Possesse the kingdome prepa­red for you, for I was hungry, and you gaue me bread. The VVidow did buy it with two mytes. Peter bought Paradise by leauing his nets: and Zacheus by gi­uing the halfe of his Patrimony. Thus far S. Austin discourseth. To whom Venerable Bede is heerein agreable, when he sayth, that he, who hath no­thing besides himselfe, yet in giuing himselfe, he buieth Heauen. His words are these Serm. 19. de Sanctis: Regnum caeleste &c. The kingdome of heauen, re­quireth no other price then thy selfe. Tantum valet, quantum es tu; te da, & habebis illud. Certainly Lazarus the beggar, had nothing, which he could giue, but only his patience in suffering his griefes and paynes; and yet he was carryed by the Angells into the bosome of Abraham. And the good thiefe had nothing in this World that was his, but only a free & ready voyce, with vvhich he cryed out: Remember me, when thou shalt come in­to thy kingdome; and yet he presently did heare, To day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.

O most truly great liberality of God! O ineffable felicity of man, who can so easily make bargaine (as it were) with his Lord, for the price of a thing, most precious aboue all other things! Dost thou (O man) couet of God, and thirst after the enioying of Paradise, the height of all delights & pleasures? Giue thy selfe in pryce, & thou shalt obtaine it. But what is the meaning of these Words, Giue thy selfe? To wit Loue God from the depth of thy hart; Humble thy selfe vnder his potent & mighty hand; Prayse him at all tymes; Submit thy selfe with all promptitude of mind to his will, whether it shalbe his pleasure, that thou shalt be rich or poore; glorious or ignoble; finally in Health, or in sicknes: for his Will in euery thing is good, and all his Iudg­ments are iust. Say to God: I am thyne, dispose of me according to thy best plea­sure and Will. I do not resist, I do not re­clayme, I do not with-draw my selfe out of thy iurisdiction: My Hart is prepared and ready (O my God) my hart is pre­pared; Let not my VVill, but thy VVill be done.

This Holocaust of Obedience did Christ daily offer vp to his Father, as [Page 305] himselfe doth testify, vvhen he said: The things that please him, I do al­wayes, Ioan. 8. And the like did the Apostle, the true imitatour of Christ, saying, 2. Cor. 5. We striue, whether we be ahsent, or present, to please him. This perfect renunciation, and disclayming from all things which a man posses­seth, or desires to possesse; this abne­gation of a mans selfe, that he may serue only God, is the true Pryce of Paradise. Neither followeth it, that who giueth himselfe away after this manner, that he may buy Paradise, doth loose himselfe: but most truly & most happily he doth find himselfe, according to those words of our Lord Matth. [...]0. He that loseth his life for me, shall find it; He that hateth his life in this VVorld, doth keep it to life euerlasting. But because this Wisdome is hidden from the wyse and prudent men of this wor d; who truly are foo­les in the sight of God; and because the number of fooles is infinite; there­fore many are called, but few are cho­sen. Matth. 22.


Of a Treasure hidden in the field. CHAP. I.

HITHERTO I haue writ­ten so far forth, as God hath vouchsafed to dictate to me in my Meditations, of the fe­licity of the Saints vnder the name of those places which they do inhabit; I meane, vnder the places of the king­dome of Heauen; of the Citty of God; of [...]he House of our Lord; and of the Para­ [...] [...] [...]elights and Pleasures. I will in [Page 307] this next place add something concer­ning the same Felicity, vnder the name of such Things, to the which our Lord in Parables hath compared the Felici­ty of Saints. And heere in the begin­ning, it is to be aduertized, that those Words of our Lord, The kingdome of Heauen is like &c. (the which our Lord doth commonly vse) are not euer referred to the Words immediatly following; As where our Lord sayth: The kingdome of Heauen is like vnto a Merchant man; he meaneth not, that the Kingdome of Heauen is like vnto a Merchant man, but he referreth those words to the whole Narration, in which by way of similitude, the way to the Kingdome of Heauen is de­monstrated. And further, we are to obserue, that the Kingdome of Heauen, is sometimes in the Parables described more obscurely, at other tymes more clearely, and sometimes not touched at all. I wil explicate the seuerall mem­bers of this diuision.

Whereas our Lord in S. Matthew, setteth downe the Parable of the sower, he describeth the fruite, which the Preaching of the Ghospell bringeth forth, according to the diuers disposi­tions [Page 308] of the earth: and this he calleth the Mistery of the Kingdome of God: but touching the Beatitude of the Saints he speaketh nothing. But where our Lord in the same place, doth add the Parable of the Cockle, he briefly toucheth the felicity of Saints, when he sayth, that the good Seede, or wheat is to be gathered vp into the barne of our Lord, and the Cockle to be tyed togeather and burned. But when in the same Chapter he relateth the Parables of him that sought for good Pearles, and of him that did find the Treasure hidden in the field, then more perspicuously he compareth the Kingdome of God to a Pearle, and to a Treasure: And of this third kind, a­mong the Parables of our Lord, I find only six. One of a Treasure hid­den in a field; another of a precious Margarite or Pearle; The third of the daily Penny; the fourth of the Lord, or Mayster distributing the Talents; The fift, of a Great supper; the sixt of a Ma­riage. To the which we will adioyne two similitudes out of the Apostle; the one of those who runne in a race; the other, who fight, or stryue for the Maistery: So as there shalbe eight [Page 309] Considerations touching the Blessed life of the Saints, deduced from Para­bolicall Names, or Titles.

The first Parable then is taken from S. Mathew: cap 13. The kingdome of hea­uen is like to a Treasure, hidden in a field. VVhere our Lord teacheth, how it may be gotten, when he sayth: Which when a man hauing found, did hide it, and for ioy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Treasure signifieth a great aboun­dance of gould, siluer, and precious stones; as Paulus the Ciuill Lawyer teacheth (de acquir. rerum dom. L. Nunquam) & this Treasure ought to be so ancient, as that there remayned no memory therof before; and ther­fore it hath no proper Lord, but be­longeth by right to him, that findeth it. This Treasure in S. Mathew, is the Diuinity it selfe, which is hid in the field of the Humanity of Christ, as S. Hilarius and S. Ierome (in Com. cap. 13. Matth.) do rightly expound. For in Christ (as the Apostle sayth) all the Treasures of the knowledge and VVis­dome of God are hidden. Now the Di­uinity is the most true Treasure of all goods, and is indeed so ancient (since [Page 310] it is eternall, and did precede all Ages) as that there can be no former memo­ry of it extant. Neither had this Infi­nite Treasure any proper Lord to own it, for it selfe is the Lord of all things. Neuerthelesse this Treasure of the Diuinity is said to belong to the right of them that find it; because God gi­ueth himselfe freely to those, who by selling all their substance and Goods, earnestly labour to acquire & purchase him.

It is further said to be had, as it were, and digged in a field, to wit, in the Humanity of Christ; for although the Diuinity be euery where, yet it is in no place so properly and peculiar­ly, as in the Humanity of Christ, to the which it is so vnited▪ as that one and the same Person is both God and Man. And therefore the Apostle sayth, 2. Cor 5. God was in Christ, reconciling the VVorld to himselfe. And though the Diuinity be in no place more, then in the Humanity of Christ; notwithstan­ding it seemeth to be so hid there­in, as that it is needfull to vse a light or candle, to demonstrate and shew God to be in Christ. And this light was S. Iohn Baptist, who, as S. Iohn writeth [Page 311] cap. 5. was the lampe burning & shi­ning; Of whom Dauid in the Person of God the Father, did thus prophesy, Ps. 131. I haue prepared a Lampe vnto my Christ. For S. Iohn Baptist did ma­nifest Christ, and did shew, that he was God, and the only begotten sonne of God, when he said Ioan. 1. God no man hath euer seene; the only begotten sonne, which is in the bosome of the Fa­ther, he hath declared. And againe: He that commeth from Heauen, is aboue all. And a litle after: The Father loueth the Sonne, and he hath giuen all things in his hand: he that belieueth in the sonne, hath life euerlasting; but he that is in­credulous to the sonne, shall not see life, but the wrath of God remaineth vpon him. Ioan. 3.

But although this burning and shining Lampe did manifest Christ openly to be the Sonne of God; neuer­thelesse the blinded Iewes could not (at least would not) acknowledge the Diuinity to be hidden in Chrisi. For if they had knowne so much, then, as the Apostle sayth, 1. Cor. 2. they would neuer haue crucified the Lord of Glory. VVho therefore being enlightened from God, doth find this Treasure, [Page 312] doth hide it, and for ioy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field. To hide the Treasure being found, is nothing e [...]s, but to conceale and couer the receaued Grace of God, vnder the veyle of Humility, and not to vaunt▪ of diuine Consolations and Reuelations, for feare that vayne and aery glory do corrupt true Glory. Therefore Esay cap. 24. was accusto­med to say: My secret is to my selfe: And the Apostle 2. Cor. 12. If I must needs glory (it is not expedient indeed) I will come to the Visions and Reuela­tions of our Lord. I know a man in Christ, aboue foureteene yeares agoe &c. For that most remarkable Reuelation, which the Apostle being rapt into Pa­radise, receaued, he concealed for the space of foureteene yeares, and would haue concealed it, but that the necessi­ty of disclosing the same, forced him thereto. And he plainly pronounceth, that it is not expedient to publish and make knowne such guifts or priui­ledges; and therefore he did discouer it vnder an vncertaine name, well shewing thereby, how anxiously he suffered the manifestation thereof. The like fell out vnto S. Francis, when [Page 313] the sacred Prints or wounds were from aboue impressed vpon his body, as S. Bonauenture in his life relateth; For at other tymes he was accustomed to conceale his diuine reuelations, and to say with Esay: My secret is to my selfe &c. But when he saw the matter could be concealed no longer, he related with great feare the whole order of his Vision to his Brethren demanding him therof.

But to proceed. To buy with ioy that field, wherein the Treasure did lye hidden, signifieth only, that he, who will enioy God and Cbrist in the Kingdome of Heauen, ought to suffer in affection, renouncing and casting a­way of all temporall thinges, and to bequeath both himselfe, and what he any way hath, vnto the seruice and obedience of God: and this not with any painefull reluctation of Will, or necessity, but with all alacrity and ioy, seeing that God loueth a chereful giuer. 2. Cor. 9. But he who truly knoweth, how immense a Treasure it is, to en­ioy Christ in the Eternall Country, to behould his Diuinity with the Eye [...] of his Soule, and his Humanity with the Eyes of his Body, and to participate of [Page 314] all the goods of God and Christ, and to be sure and certaine of so great a Possession for all Eternity, will thinke it no great matter to spurne at, and contemne all temporalities whatsoe­uer, yea his owne lyfe, for the loue of God, and euerlasting felicity. Witnes to vs of this Point may be S. Ignatius Martyr, thus writing to the Romans: Fyar, the Crosse, cruelty of beasts, cut­ting asunder my Body, breaking of my bones, a rending of all my members, the extinguishment of all my Body, yea all the whips, and scourges of the diuell, let shem full vpon me, so that I may de­erue to obtaine, & purchase Christ. Now he, who out of the fulnes of his Charity towards Christ, thus speaketh, doubtlesly would litle feare want, po­uerty, ignominy, exile, prisons, so that he might not lose that incōparable Treasure. Whoseuer therfore earnestly coueteth to gaine the Treasure of Eter­nall life, let him most seriously thinke & cōsider with himself, whether he be prepared with an immoueable resolu­tiō, to contemne & betrāple vnder his feet all other goods: since other­wise, neither a liue, nor dead, shall he euer obtaine that Treasure, without [Page 315] the which he shall eternally be most miserable and poore.

But I heere will demaund, what is the reason, why so many men in such heate of desire, do seeke after the Treasures of Gould and siluer: and not content to vse herein humane diligēce, they flye, by most execrable Arts, to the help of the Deuill, with immi­nent danger both of their reputation and life? And yet thy Treasure (O Lord my God) so few do seeke, which alone is able to enrich a man, and which they may easely purchase with­out labour, charge, or perill? Truly I do see no other Cause hereof, but either want of fayth in thy People, or their ouermuch negotiation in temporall affaires, which leaueth them no tyme to thinke, and meditate of thy diuine Promisses made vnto men. Therefore (O Blessed Lord,) increase our Fayth and beliefe concerning thy Promisses, and extinguish our thirst in the pur­suite of temporall riches. For so it may come to passe, that with greater and more feruerous bent of desire, we shall seeke after thy Treasure; and fin­ding it, with sale of all we haue, may resolue to purchase it.

Of the precious Margarite, or Pearle. CHAP. II.

AN other Parable like to the for­mer, and which also next fol­lovveth in S. Mathew cap. 13. is of the Precious Pearle, or Margarite. For in that there was a Treasure; in this a Pearle, which may be esteemed, as a Treasure. In that it was needfull by selling of all a man possesseth, to buy the field in which the Treasure was hid; In this in like manner it is necessa­ [...]y to buy the Pearle, with the charges and expences of all we haue. There­fore it is conuenient only to explicate, in what points these two Parables do diff [...]r. They differ in two things; to wit, that in the first a Treasure is men­tioned, in this a Pearle. Againe, that the Treasure was found by chance; where­as the Pearle, was d [...]ligently sought af­ter by the Merchant. And truly in this place the Celestiall Beatitude, or Christ himselfe is vnderstood by the Pearle, as S. Ambrose, serm. 6. S. Gregory [Page 317] Nazianzen. orat. 49. Ruffinus and o­thers do interprete. That is called the Pearle in this Parable, which in the former Parable was called a Treasure, to giue vs to vnderstand, that the Di­uinity of Christ (which is the Obiect of Eternall felicity, or, the Vision whereof (to speake in the Deuines dialect) is the formall Beatitude or Fe­licity, is indeed a Treasure, but not deuided into seuerall kinds of gould, siluer, and precious stones; but is one thing, which contayneth in it selfe the price of an infinite Treasure. Whereas the Pearle is but one only thing, con­tayning in it selfe (according to the iudgment of Pliny) (lib 9. c. 35.) the perfection and height of all Precious things.

Furthermore, a Treasure may con­sist of only money or goods, though in very great quantity, which Treasure respecteth only profit, & not pleasure, or outward Pompe. Wherefore to preuent, that a man do not gather out of the former Parable, that Celestiall Beatitude is only profitable, and not specious and honourable, our Lord did adde this other Parable of the Pearle: in which he teacheth, that the [Page 318] Diuinity of Christ, and our felicity is lyke to the Pearle; which (besides the profit of a Treasure) hath also in it fayrenes and splendour which doth a­dorne & delight. We may adde heer­to, that the Pearle is the Symbole, Character, or signe of Christ, both as he is the Sonne of God, & also as he is the Sonne of the Virgin. For as the Pearle is ingendred of the light of the Sunne, and of the dew of Heauen (as Pliny in the place aboue cited, and o­thers do teach) so also the Sonne of God according to his Deity, is begot­ten of the Father of lights, who is an increated Sunne, and therefore it is said in the Creed, Light of Light, True God of true God. And the same Christ according to his Humanity, is begotten of the dew of Heauen; because he was conceaued of the Holy Ghost, and not of the seed of man. To conclude, the Pearle is whyte, cleare, solid, pure, light, and round; In like sort the Hu­manity of Christ (much more incom­parably his Diuinity) is whyte through its innocency, lucid or cleare, through its wisdome, solid for its cōstancy, pure as being without spot, light in regard of its sweetnes and mildnes, round in [Page 319] that it is of ech syde perfect.

Now the Pearle in the Gospell is not found by chance, but it is sought after diligently by the prudent Mer­chant. Neither doth this Parable con­tradict the former, in which the Trea­sure is said to be found by chance; for both these Points are true, but in di­uers persons: And therefore our Lord euen out of a diuine prudence, did ad­ioyne this later Parable to the former, lest it might be thought to happen to all men, to light vpon the Trea­sure vnexpectedly, and casually. For God doth illuminate some men vpon a sudden, with singular or speciall grace; so as they neither seeking, nor coueting, nor thinking thereof, do notwithstanding arriue to truth of Fayth, to a most ardent Charity, yea to a certaine hope of obtayning eternall lyfe. And these men may be said to find this Treasure by chance; although God, not by chance, but through his Eternall Prouidence, did preordayne them to this grace, and to future Glo­ry. Now other men God doth indeed preuent with his Grace, but he doth not presently show to them the Trea­sure, but as it were breaths into them a [Page 320] desire of seeking the Truth, making them carefull Merchants, and helping and directing them, vntill they find the Precious Pearle.

We may glasse this different pro­ceeding of God in S. Paul and S. Austin, S. Paul did not seeke the true Trea­sure, which is Christ; but did persecute Christ as a seducer, and the Christians as men seduced. And when he was in his iourney, Breathing forth threat­nings and slaughter, against the disci­ples of our Lord, Christ did appeare vn­to him, and withall did blynd the eyes of his body, that he might illuminate the eyes of his hart; and this with so great a splendour and brightnes, as that instantly he became of a Persecu­tour a Preacher. And although this by a happy chance did fall vnto him; yet that which was chance to S. Paul, was Prouidence in God. For thus himselfe speaketh to the Galatians, cap. 1. You haue heard of my conuersation sometime in Iudaisme, that aboue measure I per­secuted the Church of God, and expug­ned it: and profited in Iudaisme aboue many of myne Equalls in my Nation, being more abundantly an Emulatour of the Traditions of my Fathers. But [Page 321] when it pleased God, that separated me from my Mothers wombe, and called me by his Grace, to reueale his Sonne in me, that I should Euangelize him among the Gentills, incontinently I condescen­ded not to flesh and bloud &c. There­fore S. Paul euen from the wombe of his Mother, was separated by diuine Prouidence, that he should preach the Ghospell of Christ notwithstanding he did not find the precious Pearle, or the Treasure in the field; but the Treasure did of it selfe offer it selfe vnto him, & caused it to be beloued of him with so an inflamed Charity, as that he spared no labour, but exposed himselfe to all dangers, prizing all things, as dung, so that he might gaine Christ. Phil 3.

But now S. Austin did tread con­trary steps to the Apostle herein; for euen from his youth he began to burn with desire of fynding out this preci­ous Pearle, that is, true wisdome, & eternall Felicity. For when he fel into the Sect of the Manichees, he much laboured with himselfe, in searching, and disputing with others, how he might fynd the Euāgelicall Truth. And whē as he found nothing in that Sect, but fabulous and lying Narrations, h [...] [Page 322] almost despayred of finding the Truth, though he had spēt many yeares in the search therof. For thus himselfe spea­keth, lib. 6. Confess. c. 6. I descended euen into the depth of the sea, and I did di­strust and despayre of fynding out the Truth. Yet it pleased God, that at length he should find out the precious Pearle. And then without any delay, selling all his substance; that is aban­doning the desire of mariage (with which he was most forcibly with-houl­den) and contemning all lucre, and honours (to which he afore had ensla­ued himselfe) he vvholy for euer af­ter espoused himselfe to the obedience and seruice of God: this therfore is the cause, why our Lord in the first. Para­ble, compared the Kingdome of Hea­uen to a Treasure, found without la­bour and by chance; and in the later Parable resembled it to a Pearle, found out by the merchant, with great la­bour, trauell, and study.

Now this one thing remaineth▪ I meane, that a Christian Soule do se­riously ponder with it self, in the sight God setting aside all other businesse for a tyme, what kind of traffique this is, how profitable, and easy, during [Page 323] this time; and how difficult, or ra­ther impossible vvill it be, if once the occasion of the present Market be let slip & lost. Doubtlesly, the children of this VVorld would not pretermit occa­sion of buying a Pearle, vvhich might be sould for many thousands of Crovv­nes of gold, and yet novv at the pre­sent Fayre might be bought for one hundred only of siluer; although they should be forced to take vp the mo­money at excessiue Vse. And shall then the Children of light be so imprudent, and negligent, as that they cannot be induced to buy that Pearle, vvhich shal enrich and beautify them for all Eter­nity; vvhen as they need not neither take vp siluer at vse, nor yet run vp and dovvne for enquiry of the price of the Pearle, but it may beholdē as sufficiēt, freely to giue that, vvhich they haue, although all their substance arriue not to two Myres? Therfore (O Lord God) let thy light shyne in our Harts, giue to vs a desire to know the valuable pryce and Worth of this thy Pearle, and withall the vtility of that pryce, which is exacted of vs, that so we may obtaine the Pearle. Adde (O Lord) to our Mercies, that thou wilt not in [Page 324] vaine shew to vs so rich a Pearle. And thou, who hast said: Cast not your Pearles before Swyne (Matth. 7.) so worke in vs by thy grace, that if at any tyme, we haue beene like to swyne, in not knowing the dignity and worth of this thy Pearle, but preferring ac­kornes, and husks before it, we may now be illuminated by thee, to ac­knowledge and seeke after the same, and by the selling of all that we haue, with ioy may purchase and buy it.

Of the daily Penny. CHAP. III.

HEere followeth the third Para­ble, touching the daily Penny, promised by the Househoulder to such as labored in his Vineyard▪ Which Pa­rable we find in S. Mathew cap. 20. At the first sight, the reward of eternall life seemeth to be much extenuated, and lessened in this Parable, since it is here compared but to a daily Penny, which before was compared to a Treasure, and precious Pearle. But this extenuation is annexed▪ that the re­ward [Page 325] may be sutable with the labour [...]nd the Worke: For the similitude would seeme incongruous, if a huge Treasure, or a Pearle, or a Scepter, or Regall Crowne should be promised to laboring men only for the space of one day. Now that this penny is not a penny of some few brasse peeces, but a Celestiall Penny, which sufficeth for the procuring of all necessary things, and this for all Eternity, may be ease­ly demonstrated: seing the wages or reward ought to be answerable to the labour. Now the labour of those, which worke in the Vineyeard of Christ, ought not to be prized & estee­med, only according to the substance of the Worke; For in this sense we all ought to say with the Apostle Rom. 8. The passions of this tyme are not con­digne to the glory to come, that shalbe reuealed in vs. But it is to receaue its valew and estimation from the grace of God, inhabitant in the harts of the Iust, which is a fountaine of liuing Water, springing vp vnto life euerla­sting. Ioan. 4.

Al [...]o it is to be weighed from the Ve [...]tue of Charity, which is infused into vs by the Holy Ghost, who is gi­uen [Page 326] to vs; for the Crowne of eternall life is prepared of God for all that loue him, as S. Iames writeth cap. 1. It is in like sort to be prized from the Cōiunctiō the labour hath with Christ, who giueth a valew and chiefe estima­tion to the fruites of the liuing bran­ches, as a true Vine; and to the works of the liuing members of his mysticall Body, of which he is the Head, and to whom himselfe said, Matth. 5. Be glad and reioyce, for your reward is very great in Heauen. To conclude, shall not our Lord at the day of Iudgment say, when the reward shalbe giuen to all that haue laboured in the Vine­yard: Come you blessed of my Father, possesse you the kingdome, prepared for you from the beginning of the World; For I was hungry, and you gaue me to eate &c. seing the Works of Charity belong chiefly to labour, by the which we toyle, and sweat in the Vineyard of Christ(

Behould therefore how precious and inestimable is that Penny, which of our Lord himselfe is called a King­dome. Neither can this Penny vndeser­uedly be called a Kingdome, since it doth represent and figure out Christ, [Page 327] no lesse then a Treasure, or a Pearle doth. For in a Penny is ingrauen the Image of the Prince; in it are also writ­ten certaine words, and the forme of it is round. Now Christ is the Image of the inuisible God, as we learne from the Apostle, Coloss. 1. He is also the VVord of the Eternall Father, as S. Iohn the Euangelist sayth; and he hath no beginning of dayes, nor end of life, as the Apostle teacheth Hebr. 7. which is signified by the roundnes of the fi­gure. To conclude, the most wise Sa­lomon sayth: All things are obedient & subiect to money: and Christ is the Lord of all riches, as S. Peter witnesseth. Act. 13. Therefore it followeth, that the Penny, which is giuen to those that labour in the Vineyard, is Christ, true God, and therein Eternall life; ac­cording to that of S. Iohn: That we may know the true God, and may be in his true Sonne, this is the true God, and life euerlasting. 1. Ioan. 5.

But let vs see, to whom this pre­cious Penny is to be giuen; the which who haue once obtayned, shall not stand in further neede of any thing. Our Lord sayth, Math. 20. Call the VVorkmen, and pay them their hyre. [Page 328] Therefore it is to be giuen vnto those, that labour in the Vineyard without intermission, without cessa­tion, without negligence. It shall not be giuen to those that stand idle in the Marketplace, or to those who spend their tyme in hawking, hunting, playes, or sports. For the Reward or hyre is giuen onely to them that me­rit; it is not giuen gratis, much lesse is it giuen to those that do demerit. Which point the Apostle confirmeth saying, Rom. 6. The stipend of sinne, is death; but the grace of God, is life euer­lasting. The Apostle thus speaketh, because without the precedent Grace of God no man can worke well, so, as the reward of Eternall life may be due to him; But Grace being receaued (I meane that Grace, which is giuen Gratis, & not by reason of any works) then the reward of Good workes shalbe Eternall life. And according hereto S. Austin thus speaketh: As death is giuen as a reward for the me­rit of sinne; so Eternall life is giuen, as a reward or stipend for the merit of Iu­stice, Ep. 105. ad Sixtum.

Neither are we heere to imagine, that because the same Penny is giuen [Page 329] indifferently to all the Workemen & Labourers, that therefore in the King­dome of Heauen the Rewards are alike to all. For thou this Penny doth signify Eternall life, or God, or Christ; & that Eternall life, and God, and Christ shalbe common to all: Yet here we are to obserue, that euen as the same sunne is more clearely seene of an Ea­gle, then of any other Bird; and the same fyer doth more heate those who stand neere to it, then those who are further distant: Euen so among those, who shall see God and Christ, one shall see more clearely, and in seeing shall reioyce with greater pleasure, then another. And as the merits of men shalbe different, so also shall their Revvards be different. But here one doubt may be vrged, why the Lord in distribution of his revvards, did change the order, saying: Pay them their hyr [...] beginning from the last, vnto the first; So shall the last be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few Elect. But here we are to conceaue, that this belongeth to the grace and priuiledge of the new Testament▪ that therby we may vnderstand ourselues to be more happy, then the Fathers of the Old [Page 330] Testament; and that in this respect we may be more gratefull to God, and may with more diligence and alacrity labour in his Vineyard.

The Holy Fathers, who before the Ascension of Christ, did cultiuate the Vineyard of our Lord, were Adam, Noe, Abraham, Moyses, and the rest of the Patriarchs, and Prophets. They were called in the first, the third, the sixt, the nynth hower; they not only laboured a long tyme, because they li­ued long; but euen after their deaths for the space of many Centuries of yeares, and some thousands, they ex­pected not to receaue their hyre, or vvages, that is, their Peny. But the Apo­stles, the Martyrs, and other labou­rers, who came to the Vineyard at the eleauenth hower (that is, as S. Iohn ex­poundeth, at the last hower) wrought therein but few yeares, and presently vpon their death, entring into the Kingdome of Heauen, they receaued their Penny. Now how great and wor­thy is this grace, that a Christian Man (if himselfe wil [...]) may through his vn­dergoing a most short labour, ascend to that place, to the which the holy Patriarchs and Prophets for a most [Page 331] long tyme earnestly desired to arriue? Therefore not without cause, did those ancient Fathers, say with a cer­taine murmure (which might seeme to signify rather admiration, then complaint) Matth. 20. These last haue continued but one hower, and thou hast made them equall to vs, that haue borne the burden of the day, and the heat. But our Lord did apologize, and answere for vs thus: Friend, I do the [...] no wrong, diddest not thou couenant with me for a penny? take that is thyne, and goe; I will also giue vnto this last, as vnto thee. Which answere doth not imply, that men of the New Testa­ment receaued from Grace or fauour, and not from Iustice the same reward with them; but it only importeth, that they of the new Testament had grea­ter abundance of Grace, by vertue wherof in a short tyme they laboured no lesse, but rather more in the Vine­yard, then the Patriarchs and Prophets did in a long tyme; and therein recea­ued iustly the like reward, or rather greater.

Certainly the Apostles laboured but a short tyme, yet they brought great Profit to the Vineyard of our [Page 332] Lord. When euer did the Patriarchs, or the Prophets, abandoning all tem­poralities, make a perlustration of al­most the whole Wor d, and did draw whole Prouinces of Heathens to the true Worship of God? When in those ancient tymes, was there so numerous an Army of Martyrs, suff [...]ring for the fayth of the true God, all torments & most cruell deaths whatsoeuer? When in the Old Testament were found so many Companyes of Holy Virgins, who following the immaculate Lambe did deuote, and render themselfes in all integrity of mind, and Body to God? Where were there in that anciēt time so many Pastours and Doctours, who vsing all Vigilancy and care ouer their flock, most valorously by their learned Writings, resisted and oppugned the Wolues, I meane, the Heretiks and Heathens? To be short, where was then that nūber of Hermites, Monkes, and other religious Persons, who be­ing vertuously emulous of the life of the Angell [...], did spend both day and night in the prayse of God, & Prayers to him? These and other like Examples of most eminent and remarkable Ver­tue, do belong to the Grace of the [Page 333] New Testament; in regard of which Grace our Lord did rightly conclude his Parable in those vvords: So shall the last be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few are chosen. That is, many are called throughout all the ages of the VVorld, to worke in the Vineyard, euen at the eleauenth hower; but few are chosen, that is, not few in number, but that few men of one hower, and that the last hower are ele­cted to the grace of the New Testa­ment; by vertue and force wherof they made to themselues great benefit by their labouring, and receaued in a short tyme, most great Rewards.

Neither are we to thinke, that all those, who were called at the elea­uenth hower, did receaue the Penny, but only those, who in that short time, with all their forces euen breathlesly and incessantly laboured in the Vine­yard of our Lord. For there are many Men, who knowing this hower to be the last, and that there is but a short tyme left them, do not say (as they haue reason to say) Our life is short therefore let vs labour couragiously, that so in a small tyme we may [...]eap great fruit; but they say with the foo­lish [Page 334] men, which we read in the Booke of Wisdome: cap. 2. They haue said, thinking with themselues not well: Little and tedious is the tyme of our life; and in the end of a man there is no recouery, and there is none knowne who hath re­turned from Hell. And a little after: Come therefore, and let vs enioy the good things that are; let vs quickly vse the Creatures, as in youth. Let vs fill our selues with precious VVynes and oint­ments, and let not the flower of our time passe Let vs crowne our selues with ro­ses, before they wither: Let there be no meadow, which our ryot shall not passe through. Let none of vs be exempted from our riotousnes: Euery where let vs leaue signes of ioy, because this is our portion, and this our lot.

These be the vvords of those, who eyther know not God, or saying they know him; do neuerthelesse deny him in their deeds, and Works. VVhich men indeed are so many in number, as euen to them may be extended that Conclusion. Many are called, but few chosen. Woe therefore be to vs, who being called in the last hower, do con­sume a great part of that hower in playing and sleeping; whereas we [Page 335] ought to be so sollicitous and carefull, of euery litle moment thereof, as that we should not suffer any one minute to slip from vs idly, and without fruite, since of these Moments all Eter­nity of rewards, or punishments do depend. And without all doubt, by how much the Grace of the New Te­stament, granted to Christians, is grea­ter; by so much the more grieuously shall they be punished, vvho receaue that grace in vayne. And as of those, who painefully laboured in the last hower, the last shalbe the first, in re­ceauing of hyre or reward; so of those who refused to labour manfully in the last hower, the last shalbe the first, in suffering of punishment.

Of the Talents, and Ioy of our Lord. CHAP. IV.

THE fourth Parable is that, in the which our Lord in S. Matthew cap. 25. speaketh of the reward of Bea­titude: VVelfare thee, good and fay h­full seruant; because thou hast beene [Page 336] faythfull ouer few things, I will place thee ouer many: enter into the ioy of thy Lord. In which place two things are promised to fayhfull seruants; to wit, most ample Power, and most great & ineffable Ioy: I will place thee ouer many things: And which those many things are, he explicateth in another place, when he sayth. Ibid. cap. 14. Blessed is that seruant, whome when his Lord commeth, shall find so doing, for ouer all his goods he shall appoint him. Now what other thing is it, to be ap­pointed ouer all the goods of our Lord then to receaue power ouer all infe­riour things, and to be made partaker of that Empyre & Soueraingty which God hath, ouer all the vniuersall Wolrd? Who is able to comprehend, how great this Power is? What King or Emperour on Earth can be compa­red with the least Saint in Heauen? But because so great power and do­mination in man is commonly atten­ded on with much sollicitude, care, and perturbation of mynd, therefore our Lord (as it were) to alleuiate & ease such supposed paines, adioyneth thereto: Enter into the ioy of thy Lord. As if he should say; As I haue made [Page 337] thee consort and fellow of all supreme Power; so also will I make thee parta­ker of all desired rest and pleasure; the which no anxiety, toyle, or labour shall be of force to take away, or di­minish. Certainly how great this Ioy is, which is promised to the Iust in Heauen, is altogether inexplicable; neither can we know it, before vve haue tasted it by Experience. In the meane tyme, we may make some coh­iecture out of three VVords of this ve­ry sentence, that this ioy is most great.

The first word is, Intra, or Enter into. It is not said: Let the ioy of thy Lord enter into thee, but contrarivvise, enter thou into the ioy of thy Lord: An euident Argument, that, that ioy is greater, then vve are able to contayne wholy in our selues. Therefore we shall enter (as it were) into a great Sea of euerlasting and diuine Ioy, which shall replenish vs both within and without, and shall haue in it selfe a redundancy on all sydes. Therefore in so great an affluency of Ioy, what place can be left for care, or sadnes? The second word is, In gaudium, Into the Ioy. Where is not promised this or that ioy, of this good, or that good; [Page 338] but euen ioy it selfe is absolutly pro­mised, to wit, pleasure it selfe, sweetnes it selfe, Contentment it selfe. And how then can it be otherwise, but that the whole soule shall euen melt, and be dissolued, being thus replenished with so great a sweetnes? And the third word, which doth mightely exagge­rate this point, is, Domini tui, Of thy Lord. For we shall not enter into a Ioy, at which men or Angells do re­ioyce, but with which God himselfe (in whome all things are infinite) doth reioyce. What Vnderstanding can comprehend, of what nature the Ioy of God is, who knoweth perfectly his owne infinite goodnes, and who doth enioy the same, and reioyceth thereat after an infinite manner? And yet notwithstanding all this, it is in thy power (O Christian) to enioy, & tast, and to haue the fruition of that for euer, the which now thou art not able to conceaue in thought, if so thou wilt be a good and faythfull seruant.

But now let vs consider, to what men such great Promises do belong. To them no doubt, who haue beene carefull to multiply the Talents deli­uered to them by God. For this simili­tude [Page 339] is borrowed from a Rich man, who deliuered his goods to his Ser­uants; entrusting one of them with fiue talents, an other with two, a third with one; strictly commanding them, that by their carefull and prudent ne­gotiation they should labour to mul­tiply the same. Now what these Ta­lents may figuratiuely signify, the Iudg­ments of the learned Interpretes are various. For some do by the Talents vnderstand Gratiam gratis datam, which is, Grace without any interue­niency on our part, freely giuen; O­thers do vnderstand thereby the holy Scriptures; Others will haue the fiue Talents to signify the knowledge of ex­ternall things, which is gotten by the mediation of the fiue senses: And the two Talents to signify the Vnderstan­ding, and the Operation; and the one Talent alone, to denote only the Vn­derstanding. But notwithstanding this their disparity of iudgments, they all iointly conspire in this, That to multi­ply the Talents, is to worke well, and painefully, for the good of their owne Saluation, and of others. There occur­reth to me another Exposition, not repugnant to the former, and seemeth [Page 340] to be fitly accommodated to all those things, the which our Lord did speake of the Talents. And first, the Talents in this place are called the Goods of the Lord, for it is said: He deliuered his goods vnto them.

Furthermore, it is commanded, that the Talents by negotiation be multiplyed in the same kynd: Fiue ta­lents thou didest deliuer me, behould I haue gayned other fiue besids. Thirdly, the Talents are said to be giuen to eue­ry one, according to their proper ver­tue and ability; Lastly, the Talent is taken away from the naughty and slouthfull seruant. Therefore I, by the Talents, do vnderstand the Soules of faithfull and pious men, which are cō ­mitted to the trust and diligence of Prelates. For these are truly the goods of our Lord, the which he doth not giue to vs, but only committeth them to our care and multiplication of thē: Therefore according heerunto, our Lord did not say to S. Peter: feede thy sheep, but my sheep, Ioan. 21. Other things are our goods (though giuen to vs by our Lord) as Wit, Iudgment, the Scriptures, Grace freely giuen, & all the rest: but faithfull and pious Sou­les [Page 341] our Lord calleth his Goods, his Vineyard, his Family, his Spouse: For these he came into the World; for these he shed his bloud to gaine these he sent his Apostles, to whom he said: I will make you to be fishers of men. Matth. 4.

Furthermore faythfull soules are said to be multiplied in the same kind, when the Prelate by word and exam­ple conuerteth sinners: Which thing S. Peter performed; for when Christ had committed in the beginning, to his charge, a hundred and twenty faythfull persons, when he said, Feede my sheep; S. Peter vpon the day of Pente­cost euen by his first Sermon, conuer­ted three thousand men, Act. 2. and af­ter that, fiue thousand. Act. 4. and after that againe many thousands more. In like sort S. Gregorius Thanmaturgus, when he was first created Bishop of Neocasarea, did find only seauenteene faythfull Belieuers in that Citty; but he so multiplied this small number, as that being neere to his death, he had left before his departure, in so popu­lous a Citty, only seauenteene Infidels, or misbelieuers; which point S. Grego­ry Nyssene relateth in the life of the [Page 340] [...] [Page 341] [...] [Page 340] [...] [Page 341] [...] [Page 342] said Thaumaturgus, which he had ful­ly and diligently written.

But to proceed. These Talents are committed to euery one according to his proper Vertue and Ability. For God, who knoweth the strength, that is, the prudence, knowledge, Charity, and Fortitude of all men, doth not commend soules to any, but to such whom he knovveth to be fit, and cou­ragious inough to sustaine that bur­den. And therefore no man ought to intrude, and thurst himselfe into the care of soules, especially into an Epis­copall charge, except he be first called thereto by him, who distributeth the Talents according to the power, and sufficiency of euery one: Since other­wise it vvill not seeme strange, if many do fall vnder the Burden. Neither shall they find any excuse with God, if they say, their shoulders were not able to beare so great a Burden: For it shall be ansvvered them: Who forced thee to vndertake a burden aboue thy strength? Wast not thou willing ther­to, didst thou not petition for it, and la­bouredst by seuerall meanes and en­deauours to obtaine it? Therfore now suffer thy selfe with thy hands & feete [Page 343] bound together, to be cast into exte­riour darknes.

To conclude, the Talent commit­ted to the slouthfull seruant, is taken from him. And this point also most aptly agreeth with my former exposi­tion, in teaching that the Talents are the soules of the faythfull. For he that taketh one talent, that is, the care of his owne only Soule, if he do not gouerne it rightly, he will lose his owne Soule: for it shalbe made the bondslaue of the Deuill. For as the Blessed do acquire, and obtaine the li­berty of being the sonnes of God, by the which they remaine in all free­dome where they will, and do what they will; so on the contrary syde, the Reprobate do lose all Liberty, and be­ing bound hand and foote, neither can they vvalke vvhere they will, nor do what they desire; but are forced to re­maine vvhere they vvould not, and to do nothing of those things which they would: and this is to lose a mans ovvne Soule. So as this sentence, ac­cording to which, by the Talents, are vnderstood Faythfull soules, is altoge­ther agreable to the Parable. Our Lord therfore did commit his Talents to [Page 344] three kinds of men; To those, who were perfect (and such ought Bi­shops to be) he gaue fiue talents; that is, the charge of many people to be vn­der them; To others, lesse perfect (as the Parish Priests are wont to be) two talents, that is, a lesser number of soules, and such as are vsually contai­ned within one Parish. To others yet more weake and infirme (vvhich are the common People) he gaue to eue­ry one, one talent, that is, the care of his ovvne soule only: Yet neuerthelesse such men ought to conuert other men by priuate exhortation, & exam­ple of an innocent life, from their sin­nes to the vvay of Iustice; and so after that manner, to multiply the talent de­liuered to him.

And vvhat is said of Bishops and Parish Priests, the same is to be vnder­stoode of Princes, and of secular Ma­gistrates, and of Maisters of families. For thus S. Austin writeth, tract. 51, in Ioan. Euery Maister, or Father of a House, or family (euen by this Name) ought to acknowledge a paternall affe­ction and care to his family. It is his of­fiec in the feare of Christ, and for the hope of Eternall life, to admonish, teach, [Page 345] exhort, and correct them; in like sort to exercise his beneuolence, and discipline towards them; so as he shall fulfill and practize a certaine Ecclesiasticall, or Episcopall duty, or function in his owne House. And in this sense Constantine the Greae was accustomed to say, that himselfe was a Bishop, extra Eccle­siam, out of the Church; because he was most vigilāt (as far as he could) that the Church of Christ should be preserued and propagated; and yet he did not vsurpe, or trench vpon Eccle­siasticall Offices, or Orders.

But to preuent, that it may not be thought, that one only man, or one on­ly kind of men is reprehended in this Parable, because we read, that he on­ly, who had but one talent, is repre­hended and punished; therefore we are to know, that our Lord from this one, would haue vs to vnderstand the dangers of greater Nature. For as at the day of Iudgment, in that he will reward those, who giue corporall Almes, and will punish such, as giue none; we vnderstand thereby, greater rewards to be giuen to such as giue spirituall Almes, and greatest to the Blessed Apostles, Martyrs, and Virgins, [Page 346] exercising Heroicall Vertues; and on the contrary, that theues, periured and sacrilegious Persons ate to vndergoe greater Punishments, then those, who did not relieue the poore and needy with Almes: Euen so in this place, in that he who receaued one talent, the which he might easily haue multi­plied, and yet did not, is most grieuous­ly punished, vve may learne, that so much the more easy it is for Bishops, Pastours, Princes, and Magistrats to of­fend in this kind, by how much they do exercise a more weighty and dan­gerous function; and that they are so much the more to be punished in the last iudgment, by how much the losse of many soules is greater, then the losse, and ouerthrow but of only one.

Let vs heare, what S. Austin spea­keth of the danger of an Ecclesiasticall state or degree, Epist. 147. He thus wri­teth to Valerius Bishop; I desire before all other things, that thy religious Pru­dence would call to mind, Nothing in this lyfe, and especially at this present, is more easy and more acceptable to men, then the Office of a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, if they exercise their autho­rity though but negligently, or sleightly. [Page 347] But in the sight of God, nothing is more fearefull, miserable, or damnable. In like sort, there is nothing in this lif [...], and particularly in these dayes, more hard, laborious, perilous, then the Office of a Bishop, Priest, and Deacon; but with God nothing more blessed and happy, if so we serue in that War, as our Em­perour & Generall commands vs. Thus S. Austin, who writeth further of this very Argument, through all that his Epistle to the aforesaid Valerius Bi­shop, as that it is to be wished, that all Ecclesiasticall Persons would with at­tention and reflection vpon themsel­ues, read the same; especially such men, who rashly aspire to the function of a Bishop, or Priest; and when they haue obtayned what they desire, and found what they haue sought for, do either forsake their flock, or being bu­sied with other affayres, do trouble their thoughts with nothing lesse, then with the care of increasing the num­ber of pious and faithfull Christians.

Truly the Shephards, vpon the Night of the Birth of our Lord (the prince of all Shephards) did watch all the night ouer their flock. And if this was done vpon a flock voyde of rea­son [Page 348] by those who figure out the Pa­stours of the Church; how much more then ought it to be performed by Pa­stours, for their sheepe, indued with reason, for whō Christ himselfe, vvhen he was conuersant vpon Earth, did watch whole nights? And if the Pa­triarch Iacob wasted himselfe away with such labour for the care he had of the sheepe of Laban his Father in law, as that he said: Day and night was I parched with heat, and with frost, and sleepe did flie from my eyes; what inde­fatigable paynes then ought the Pa­stours of the sheep of Christ to en­dure? And if the Deuill, as a roaring Lyon, goeth about, seeking whom he may deuoure; is it not then fit, that a good Pastour should also daily goe a­bout, seeking whom he may free and set at liberty?

But here it may be vrged, that the busines & affaires of the Church, of which a man is Pastour, may some­times force him to leaue his flock. I do not deny, but if such necessituds be of great importance, and can be brought to an end in a short tyme, that then a short leauing of the flock is pardona­ble; Otherwise I say, let greater nego­tiations [Page 349] be preferred before lesser, And such as are greater to be perfor­med by the Pastour himselfe; whereas the lesser may be vndertaken by some others. For if busines doth force a man to depart from his flock; then greater busines, yea euen bloudy Warrs do force a man not to depart from the defence of his flock. The Apostolicall Trumpet thus soundeth in our eares. Ephes. 6. Our wrestling is not against slesh and bloud; but against Princes, and Potentates, against the Gouernours of this darknes, against the spiritualls of wickednes, in the Celestialls. And if the Captaine be absent, who shall teach the souldiers how to avoid the Wea­pons of their Enemies? Certainly our Lord said to S. Peter, and in him to all Pastours: Feede my sheepe: Of other things he spake nothing, that we might vnderstand thereby, that the feeding of the flocke is the principall charge, incumbent vpon a Pastour.

In like sort in the Consecration of a Bispop it is said: Vade, praedica populo tibi commisso; Goe preach vnto the peo­ple committed vnto thee. But touching temporall busines nothing is added or spoken; thereby to admonish the Bi­shop, [Page 348] [...] [Page 349] [...] [Page 348] [...] [Page 349] [...] [Page 348] [...] [Page 349] [...] [Page 350] that Temporall things are not to be ballanced and equalled with spiri­tuall, and much lesse to be preferred.

To conclude, in the fourth Coun­cell of Carthage Can. Bishops are earnestly commaunded, that they shall not vndertake the go­uerment of Widdowes, strangers, Pupils by themselues, but by the mea­nes and labour of the Arch-Priests, & the Arch-Deacons. In like sort, that Bishops shall not vndergoe the defence of Wills, or Contentions, for any transi­tory matters, and that they shall not ingrosse to themselues the care & dea­ling about other mens states; but that they shall wholy, and only deuote their labours to reading, praying, and preaching of the Word. Therefore the Councell of Africa, consisting of two hundred and foureteene Bishops (at which S. Austin was present) com­manded, that Bishops should nego­tiate and execute all temporall affayres & occasions (though otherwise pious and necessarie) by the ministery, and labours of other men, that so themsel­ues might more freely spend their dayes in defending and multiplying of their flock.

Therfore this Parable, as it shew­eth, that Eternall Felicity is chiefefly to be desired, as containing most great power, accompained with most great Pleasure; so also it demonstrateth, that the way to this felicity is continuall & indefatigable labour, placed in seeking and procuring the Health of a Mans owne Soule, and of other mens also. Which labour whosoeuer doth seeke to decline and auoyd, shall not onely be depriued of that felicity, and of that most excellent Power and Plea­sure; but being damned to Hell, shall there suffer eternall Punishments. For thus doth our Lord speake Matth. 25. The vnprofitable seruāt cast you out in­to vtter darknes; there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth. And heer we are diligently to note & obserue, that the seruant in this place eondemed to such punishment, is not called wicked, or facinorous, but vnprofitable only; for admitting that a Bishop, a Parish Priest or Prince, or Magistrate, or Father of a family, or any other may be free frō other vices; yet in this respect onely, that he is vnprofitable, that is, he doth not procure and labour (according to his power) his owne health, & the [Page 352] health of others subiect vnto him; in this respect (I say) he shall be cast out into vtter darknes, where shalbe wee­ping & gnashing of teeth, which shall neuer haue End. And if the vnprofita­ble seruant shall suffer these insuffera­ble calamities, what portion then is allotted to the wicked seruant, who is couetous, malignant, proud, luxurious and wholy drowned in all kind of vi­ces? Yf the vnprofitable Seruāt be re­iected, what account and reckoning then, must he who is wicked render to our Lord, touching the talents de­liuered vnto him? Truly they who dee­pely & intensly consider these things, will not ambitiously seeke after Ho­nour, or Authority; and if it be for­cedly imposed vpon them, let them euer watch with feare and trembling, since they are to render a most exact and strict account for the soules, com­mitted vnto their Charge.

Of the great Supper. CHAP. V.

THe fift Parable (which is in Luke 14.) resembleth the felicity of the Saints to a Great Supper; and this truly not without iust reason. In a Great, Nuptiall, or Regall Supper all things are there found, which may de­light the Senses of men, or which may shew the Power, riches, and glory of this World. Truly King Assuerus, who gouerned ouer an hundred, twenty & seauen Prouinces, desiring in great vaunting, to shew the riches, and glory of his Kingdomes, and the largenes of his power, did not find a more fitting and conuenient meanes thereto, then to make a most sumptuous, and mag­nificent Banquet. For first at a great supper the Eyes are delighted in the most costly furniture and hangings of the Place, in the order of Officers, in costly and courtlike Apparell, in the golden and siluer plate, wherin the Meate is serued. The Eares are much delighted with melodious musicke. [Page 354] The sense of smell is satisfyed with the odour of flowers, of precious perfu­mes, and with other things, breathing forth fragrant and sweet smells. The sense of Tast is rauished with the cu­rious seasoning of the meates of all sorts, and with delicious Wynes.

To conclude, the sense of Touching is greatly contented with reposing v­pon most soft and downy Beds. Ther­fore at a Regall Supper all corporall goods do meet togeather in the grea­test affluency this World can afford. So as our Lord willing to represent that Felicity, which comprehends in it self all sort of Goods, would compare it to a Great Supper; Of which Supper we also thus reade in the Apocalyps: Blessed are they, who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lambe Apoc. 19. Furthermore, the greatnes of that supper of our Lord may be know­ne, in that the Glory of all the glorified bodies shalbe (as it were) the last Ta­ble, vpon whome all delicates & dain­tyes shall be placed. Now the sweet­nes of these Dainties is so great, as that S. Peter once seeing the Body of our Lord, to shine like to the Sunne, said; Matth. 17. It is good for vs to be [Page 355] heare. And if the dainties of Banquets be of so great worth; of what dignity then shall the substance of the supper be, which is placed in the fruition of the Diuinity?

Finally, All the goods of this vvorld are nothing els, then as barks, or hus­kes of the fruites of Paradise. And if these husks be of that force, as to en­chant men with the loue and desire thereof; what then are the fruites themselues able to worke in mens soules? And if the fruites be of such Vertue, what then may we conceaue the more solid and substantiall meates of this Great Supper to be? Doubtles­ly they shall be such, as that they may be euer eaten, and euer desired with­out any fastidious satiety. Neither are we to imagine, that there shalbe a Supper in Heauen, such as great Prin­ces haue in the celebration of their Mariage, seing in Heauen we shalbe as the Angells are, who neither marry, nor feed on Meates necessary to the mantaining of a mortall life. There­fore that Supper shalbe full of riches, full of delights, full of Ornaments, & full of glory, agreable to the state of the Blessed. These materiall things [Page 356] are spoken vnto vs in this our exile, because we do not here see better, or greater Matters. But from these we ought to learne, that that Celestiall Supper shall so much excell our suppers vpon earth (though neuer so dainty, or curious) by how much Heauen is better then the Earth, and by how much God, who shall prepare this Supper, doth transcend and surmount mortall Kings in power and riches.

But heare it may be questioned, why the felicity of the blessed is compared rather to a supper, then to a dinner? of this point the reason is, in that the tyme of Dinner is about the midst of the day, and the tyme after dinner till supper is commonly spent in exe­cuting of busines; whereas Supper is prepared at the end of the day, when as all negotiations are finished; after which Supper followeth Rest and Re­pose. And therefore in another Para­ble, which is in Matth. 22. where mē ­tion is made of the Incarnation of our Lord, the time of Dinner introdu­ced for the Mariage with the Church his Spouse, is begunne in the midle of the day; that is, long before the consummation of the World. After [Page 357] which time of Dinner, many matters of greatest importance, especially the Redemption of the world, and the reconciliation of Mankind with God, are treated. But after all businesse and sollicitudes shall cease, then the brin­ging of the Spouse to the House of the Bridegrome, and the Nuptiall Supper shall follow; that is, Eternall Repose at the close of the day, and end of the World.

But yet it will be worthy of obser­uation to knovv vvhat is to be done, that vve may be admitted vnto this Supper. And of this our Lord himself hath byn pleased to instruct vs in this Parable, saying: Luc. 14. A certaine Man made a great Supper, and called many: but they began all at once to make excuse. The first said, I haue bought a Farme, and I must needs goe forth and see it, I pray thee haue me ex­cused. And another said. I haue bought fiue yoake of Oxen, and I goe to proue them, I pray thee hold me excused. The third said, I haue maryed a Wyfe, and therefore I cannot come. A wonderfull matter! Men are inuited by God to a Nuptiall and Regall Supper, and they refuse to come: what then would they [Page 358] do, if they vvere called to the labour of Warre, or to a long and perillous iourney? But this is humane blindnes, which can hardly be brought to be­lieue any thing, but what it seeth. But what is that which mortall men pre­fer before the Diuine Supper, which is our supreme and eternall good? Three things our Lord setteth downe, as maine impediments of our Saluation, which of their owne nature are not e­uill; and yet through an affection to them not vvell gouerned, they hinder mans Saluation. To buy a farme, to trye Oxen, and to marry a Wife, are no sinnes; but to aduance and prefer them before the kingdome of God, is incre­dible stupidity and blindnes. And yet there be found many Christians in e­uery place, who do affect and seeke af­ter these temporalities with a wonder­full thirst and hunger, cōsuming whole dayes and nights in pursuing of Ho­nour, which is noted in buying of the farme; and of Lucre or Gayne, which is signified in manuring of ground, or drawing of Oxen; and of Pleasure, or Voluptuousnes, which it taken throgh new Mariage. Yea they are so absort in the depth of these earthly matters, [Page 359] as that they remayne wholy forget­full of the eternall and most great re­wards, which God hath promised to them that loue him.

Neither are many men content to buy farmes, to proue their Oxen, to marry wiues, but, that they may the further depart from hope of Salua­tion, they seare not to inuade other mens farmes, to steale Oxen, and to maintayne Concubins, and prostituted women; neuer euer thinking (much lesse maturely considering) what hurt and domage it is for such triffles, to suffer the losse of the Supper of our Lord. Certainly if God did not promise vnto vs (being but poore Wormes of the Earth) a Supper of infinite sweetnes in Heauen, but only did promise the crums falling from that table, or the refuse of the meates; yet it vvere most profitable for vs to contemne all tem­porall things whatsoeuer, that so we might feed vpon those Offalls. What madnes then is it to aduance small, de­caying, and fleeting pleasures aboue the Supper of our Lord himselfe, vvhich abounds with all sempiternall goods, and at the which we shall sit downe in the Heauenly Kingdome with the holy [Page 360] Angells, and with him, who is the Lord of Angells?

To proceed. After our Lord had shevved vvhat might hinder our en­trance vnto this great Supper, he ther­pon adioyneth certaine remedies to remoue those lets and impediments, for thus he goeth forvvard in his Pa­rable: Then the Maister of the House being angry, said to his seruants; Goe forth quickly into the streets, and lanes of the Citty, and the poore, and feeble, and blind, and lame, bring in hi­ther. Because rich men being occu­pied in buying of farmes, of Oxen, and in mariage, refused to come to the supper of this great Lord, he cal­leth in the Poore, Weake, and Lame, who neither haue money to buy Far­mes, or Oxen, neither can easely get wyues, as wanting meanes to main­taine them. These men therefore, as free from all intanglements, where­with the others vvere ensnared, are admitted to the Great Supper; who may deseruedly congratulate their ovvne fortune and state, that God would haue them to be Poore, weake, blynd, and Lame.

Many heere in this life do much [Page 361] complaine, that they ar [...] borne Poore, or that they are often sicke, or de­priued of sight, or are lame in their lymmes; and for these imperfections they hould themselues most infortu­nate and miserable; not knowing what good God doth prouide for them in the World to come, euen for this ve­ry cause, which many men repute as an Infelicity: But if they did know Gods sweete proceeding herein, they would doubtlesly exult and reioy [...]e. Th [...]rfore no man ought to complaine of the Prouidence of God, but in all things to loue him▪ with due thanks (who hath a care and vigilancy ouer vs) and euer to rest quiet▪ and reposed in his good Will, & pleasure. But how true soeuer these things are in a lite­rall sense; yet in this Parable, those are said prop [...]rly to be poore, who are poore in spirit, not in riches and those weake, not in strength, but in confi­dence and trust of themselues; those blynd, not in their bodily eyes, but in subtilty and craft; those lame, not in their feete, but in their affections. I wil speake more plainly.

The Poore, who are admitted to the Supper of our Lord, are those, who hea­ring [Page 362] the Apostle (1. Tim. 6. desire not to be rich▪ and if they haue riches, they haue them not to heape vp togeather, and so to conserue them, neither to wait and dissipate them in Vanities; but to performe and exercise that, vvhich the Holy Ghost speaketh of, by the mouth of Dauid Psal. 111. He distri­buted, and gaue to the poore; his Iustice remayneth for euer and euer And those are he [...]r said to be weake & feeble, who do not confide and trust in their ovvne force, nor glory in their owne strēgth; The blind are those, who truly belieue those things they see not; especially touching the rewards of the Vertuous, and punishmnents of the Wicked. For vvho assuredly persuade themsel­ues, that the rewards of the Iust, are most great and sempiternall, and the punishments of the malignant & wic­ked; most rigorous and interminable; these men do not lye groueling vpon the Earth, neither do they much pryze any thing which [...]s vnder the Moone, but there their Harts are fixed, where are true ioyes To conclude, those men are happily lame, and may most hope­fully aspire to the Supper of our Lord, vvhose right foote is much lōger then [Page 363] the least; that is; whose affections to­wards God and euerlasting Beatitude, are far greater, then their sinister affe­ctions and desires tovva [...]ds their ovvne flesh, and temporall goods or Plea­sures.

But let vs heare the Sentence of the great Maister of the Howse against those, who inconsiderarly & foolishly contemned his Supper; Thus then he sayth: I say vnto you, that none of those men, that were inuited, shall tast of my Supper. For our Lord vvell knoweth, that it shall fall out vvithin a short tyme, that those who were inuited, and contemned, and sleighted future goods, as vayne (their soules euen cleauing, and fastened to present Be­nefits) shall after the dissolution of their Body, and after their departure from all vvorldly matters, euen hun­ger after that Supper, through an in­credible desire. For as the Prophet Da­uid speaketh: Psal 58. they will returne at Euening, and they shall suffer f [...]mine, euen as dogs, and shall comp [...]sse the Cit­ty. Then at the Euening (the day of this present life being ended) they shall returne, and acknovvledge their folly, vvhen their repentance shalbe, [Page 364] vnprofitable; and they shall suffer hun­ger like rauenous dogs, and they shall incompasse the Citty of our Lord, if perchance they may be suffered but to feed only vpon the Crums of that supper. But that Sentence stands vnal­terable, and irreuocable: None of th [...]se men shall tast of my Supper.

O Christian Soule, that thou didest but know, what it is to say: Thou shalt not tast of my Supper, Or that thou couldst possibly conceaue, how great the hunger of reprobate sinners shal­be, and of how sweet a meate they shalbe for euer depriued; and what they would giue, that they might but tast of that, vvhich they shall couet most ardently? But they shall gaine nothing, though they had the vvhole world at their command, and though they were ready to renounce and dis­claime from it, with all promptitude of mind. Now then since these things are thus, let vs returne from our sins, whyle we haue tyme, whyle the day lasteth, and while our Pennance and Repentance is fruitfull and profitable. Now let vs hunger after that most sweet Supper, let vs suff [...]r famine for it, not as vncleane and greedy doggs, [Page 365] who in eating, thinke nothing but of the pleasure of their tast and belly; But as men indued with Reason, let vs hunger after the meate of Eternall L [...]fe, the Bread of Angells, yea that hidden Manna, which no man knoweth, but he that receaueth; and which God himselfe enioyeth from all, and for all Eternity. By this meanes we shall so liue in this our banishment, as that we shall not loue the same, but shall most earnestly couet, and euen breath after our Heauenly Country; to the which after we are once arriued, we shall haue no need, to compasse about the Citty, but we may enter by the open Gate; and being freely admitted to the Supper of our Lord, we may feed and satiate our selfs vpon most pleasing meate and drinke; that is, vpon the Bread of lyfe, and Water of Wis­dome.


Of the Mariage; and of the Wise, and Foolish Virgins. CHAP. VI.

THe last Parable is that, which re­sembles the felicity of the Saints to a Kingly mariage, to the which are inuited ten Virgins, of which number fiue were foolish, and fiue prudent. And first is to be explicated, what the Bridgrome is, what the Bride or Spouse: Next is to be shewed, how great a Good is intimated by the name of the Mariage; Lastly what is required, that we may be able to come to so infi­nite▪ and inestimable a Good.

And first it is not be doubted, but that the Bridegrome here is Christ. For this S. [...]ohn Baptist in expresse words affirmeth, when he sayth: He, that hath the Bride, is the Bridegrome; But the friend of the Bridegrome, that standeth and heareth him, reioyceth with ioy, for the voyce of the Bridegrome. Ioan. 3. The same doth our Lord himselfe in­sinuate in the Parable of the King, who made a Mariage for his Sonne. [Page 367] And the same a [...]so the Apostle most e­uidently confirmeth, when he said to the Corinthians (2. Cor. 11. I haue des­pous [...]d you to one Man, to present you a chast Virgin to Christ. To be short, S. Iohn in his Apocalyps signifieth the same, thus saying cap. 19 Let vs be glad and reioyce, and giue Glory vnto him, because the Mariage of the Lambe is come, and the Bride hath prepared her­selfe. And againe, Blessed are they who are called to the supper of the Mariage of the Lambe.

Now concerning the Bride or Spouse; it is certaine, that by her is meant the Church; For the Apostle in the Epist e to the Ephesians cap. 5. eui­dently sayth: As the Church is subiect to Christ, so also Women to their Hus­bands, in all things. Husbands, loue your wyues, as Christ also loued he Church, and deliuered himselfe for it. And after againe: For this cause, shall man leaue Father and Mother, and shall cleaue vnto his Wyfe, and they shalbe two in one flesh: This is a great Sacrament, but I speake in Christ, and in the Church.

But a [...]though the Church be the Spouse of Christ, and the faithfull are said to be Sonnes of the Church, be­cause [Page 368] the Church after a certaine mi­ner by the Sacramēt of Baptisme doth beget them to Christ; neuerthelesse, because the Church is nothing els but the company of the fa [...]thfull, there­fore all faithfull Soules are so many particular Spouses, as the Church it selfe is the Vniuersall Spouse. For she doth not vntruly thus celebrate the dignity of Virgins: Veni Sponsa Christi &c. Come thou spouse of Christ, receaue the Crowne which our Lord hath prepa­red for thee, for all Eternity. And al­though the Holy Virgins after a pecu­liar manner are called the Spouses of Christ, beca [...]se they refused Carnall Wedlocke, that they might spiritually espouse themselues on y vnto Christ; Neuerthelesse other Christian soules are the spouses of Christ; since they being (as it were) betrothed to him by Fayth, and vnited by Charity, do earnestly thirst after a spirituall Con­summation, in the Kingdome of Heauen.

Now if one could comprehend, or but worthi [...]y imagine, hovv great a good it is, for a Christian Soule to be espoused vnto Christ, euen as he is God; perhaps he could find nothing [Page 369] more honorable, more profitable, more sweet neither in this world, nor in the next It is a great Glory, & plea­sure, to serue the King of Kings; It is a greater to be numbred among his friends, and to be ranged (as I may say) in the role of his Domesticks, It is the greatest, to be stiled the Sonne of God, and Brother of Christ: But to haue the Honour to be called the Spouse of God, the Consort, or partaker of his throne, the Consort of his Chamber, of his Crowne, of all his Titles, seemeth to be more, then the greatest Good, if it be lawfull so to speake. For this is that, which our Lord speaketh in Esay of spirituall Eunuchs: I will giue vnto them in my house, a Name better, then Sonnes, and daughters; That is, I will giue to them the Name of a Spouse, or Wyfe. Isa. 56. Who can conceaue, how sublime, how honorable, and how pleasant it is, not only to see God, but to conuerse and liue with him? What is it then to be made one spirit with God, that is, to be transformed and changed into the Supreme Good? The Words of the Apostle are these 1. Cor. 6. He that adhereth to a Harlot, is made one Body, for they shall be two in [Page 370] one flesh; But he that adhereth to our Lord, is one spirit. And againe: But we all [...]ehoulding the glory of our Lord, with face reuealed, are transformed in­to the same Image, from Glory vnto Glory, as our Lords spirit. What p [...]ea­su [...]e shall it be, when we being vnited to God, and receauing our beames from the splendour of his Counte­nance, shalbe transformed into the splendour of God, that so we may be made most like to God? S. Iohn sayth: We shall belike vnto him, because we shall see him, as he is. 1. Ioan. 3. We shall not be only like to him, as we are Images created to his similitude, but like in glory, in beatitude, in felicity. The Apostle S. Paul in that great Ex­tasy, which he suff [...]red, when being rapt vp into Paradise, did heare those secret words, which were not lawfull to speake to Man, was not as then Blessed, and yet he was so absorpt in God, as that be obserued not, whether he was in Body, or out of Body. How g [...]eat then shall that most happy V­nion of a Soule with God be, & how shall that Soule (which shalbe one spi­rit with God) be euen drowned as it were, in sea [...]s of such inexplicable [Page 371] sweetenesse? Tru [...]y this ioy shall be such, as that (according to S. Bernards words Epist. 14.) in comparison there­of, All other pleasure is griefe, all sweet­nes dolour, euery pleasant thing bitter, all Beauty foule, and finally all that may any way delight, troublesome and molestious.

But since this imbracement of the most beautifull Bridegrome with a bless [...]d soule, is ineffable; let vs seeke out of the propounded Parable▪ w [...]at is necessari [...]y requi [...]ed of vs, that we may be admitted [...]ully to this most happy Mariage. This we know from the qual [...]ties of the wise Virgins, seing these alone (the folish being exclu­ded) did enter into the Nuptialls of the Heauenly Bridegrome. There are fiue Conditions, or Quali [...]ies which are exacted hereunto. The first, that the sou [...]e be a Virgin. Next, that she be Wyse; Then, that she haue light in her Lampe, and Oyle in her Vessell. Lastly, that she be watchfull, diligently atten­ding and obseruing the comming of the Bridegrome. Concerning the first Condition: The spouses of Christ ought all to be Virgins; but this not ne­cessarily through Virginity of the [Page 372] flesh, but through Virginity of fayth and manners, as S. Austin (in serm. de verb. Dom. 13.) truly expoundeth, ac­cording to that of the Apostle: I haue despoused you vnto one Man, to present you a chast Virgin vnto Christ. Where, by the chast Virgin, he vnderstood the whole Church of the Corinthians, in which it is euident, that all were not Virgins according to the flesh; since the same Apostle in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, admonisheth the faythfull matried Persons of their Du­ty. Therefore those men and Women are Virgins in this Parable, who are not corrupted touching manners and Fayth, and flying from all Euill, do not contaminate their soules therewith.

But because it sufficeth not to the perfection of Iustice, to decline from euill, but it is necessary also to do Good according to the Propheticall King. Psal. 36. Decline from Euill, and do good; therefore the second Condition is ad­ded; to wit, that the Virgin be wyse, not foolish; Neither let her thinke it to be inough, if she hurt no man, do not kill, do not steale, do not beare false witnes; but she is to vnderstand, that she ought to proportion, and ordaine [Page 373] means to her End. And because Eter­nall life is the End, and the merit of good Works are the Meanes; there­fore there is annexed a third Condi­tion; that is, that the Virgin haue light in her Lampe, or, a sbining Lamp, which are good VVorks, as S. Austin teacheth in the place aboue noted; Which very point our Lord himselfe taught, when he said: Let your light so shyne before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in Heauen.

Now for that good Works do flow from Charity, as from their sourse; neither can they be preserued, except they haue their cherishment from the same Charity, euen as a light is infalli­bly extinguished in a Lampe, if it be not nourished, and fedd with Oyle; Therefore a fourth Condition is re­quired, which is, that the VVise Virgin euer haue Oyle in her Vessell. By Oyle, Charity is signified, as S. Austin in the place aboue alledged doth teach. For as Oyle doth swim (as it were) aboue all Humors, so Charity is supereminent to all vertues, the Apostle saying: Emi­nentiorem viam &c. I show you a more eminent, or more excellent way. And a [Page 374] litle after: Nun autem manent fides, spes Cha [...]itas &c. Now there remaine, Fayth, Hope, Charity. These three; but the greater of these is Charity. There­fore if a man doth either prefer or e­q [...]a l any thing in his Hart with Cha­rity, she instantly departeth; for she will haue either the precedency and fi [...]st place in our Harts, or els she goeth away. Oyle is a Humour most subtill, aëry, and fiery, which ascendeth aboue all o [...]her Humours, And so great is the force of the oyle of Charity in ascending vpward, as if it were part in­to a soule o a Publican, or Common strumpet, it would instantly draw it vp, making it of sinfull to become Ho­ly, and of Carnall spirituall. Yea, I dare be bould to say, that if this Oyle of Cha [...]ity could be distilled into the soules of damned men, or into the ve­ry Deuils, we should presently behould all the damned either Men, or Deuils, to ascend vpward: As on the Contra­ry if this Oyle should forsake the Ho­ly A [...]g [...]lls, and the soules of the Apo­stles, Martyrs, Vi [...]gins, they thereupon would become lumpish and Heauy, & wou [...]d descend to the lower Parts. Behould therefore of what excellency [Page 375] and vertue this Oyle is, and how de­seruedly those Virgins were cal [...]ed Fooles, who did want this Oyle.

But there yet remaineth another Reason, why by Oyle, Charit [...] is signi­fied; to wit, becau [...]e Oyle doth lenify and sotten things; making them of hard and sharpe, smoth, supple, and sweet. This Oyle maket [...] the yoake sweete, of which our Lord said: Iugum meum suaue est: My yoake is sw [...]et▪ and as Esay sayth, the yoake being annoyn­ted with the force of Charity, shall pu­trify at the face of oyle. What made the yoake o [...] Obedience sweet in the Apostles, when they made a peragra­tion and trauaile through [...]ut the whole World, to preach the Gospell to euery Creature, but the Oyle of Cha­rity? What in like sort sweetned the yoake of Patience in Martyrs i [...] suffe­ring of many Torments, neu [...]r before that tyme heard of, but the Oyle of Charity? what hath made the yoake of Pouerty, Continency, and Obediēce so pleasing [...]o so many thousands of Religious Men and Women, but the Oyle of Charity? For there is nothing more sweet to a Louer then to mani­fest his loue to the Party beloued, and [Page 376] to worke, or suffer for him great and hard matters; euen as our Sauiour de­clared his loue towards mankind, in nothing so much, as in suffering for vs.

I haue discoursed more fully of Oyle, because the reason is not ob­uious, and facill to euery one, vvhy it should figure out and signify Charity. The fift Condition, vvhich is the chie­fest, and principally intended by our Lord in this Parable, is Vigilancy, or Watchfulnes; for thus is the Parab [...]e concluded: Matth. 25. Watch you ther­fore, because you know not the day, or the houre. Which Sentence our Lord frequently repeateth, that he may fir­mely print it in the Harts of the fayth­full. In S. Mathew c. 24. he thus sayth: Watch therefore, because you know not, what houre your Lord will come. In S. Mark cap. 13. Watch therefore, for you know not when the Lord of the house commeth, at Euen, at midnight, or at the Cock-crowing, or in the Morning; lest comming vpon a sudden, he find you sleeping? And that which I say to you, I say to All, Watch. In S. Luke c. 12. Bles­sed are those Seruants, whome when their Lord commeth, he shall fynd wat­ching. [Page 377] And in an other place: VVatch therefore, praying at all tymes. In like sort, by the Apostle, S. Peter: Be wyse therefore, and watch in prayer. 1. Pet. 4. By the Apostle S. Paul: Let vs not sleep, as others do, but let vs watch; and be so­ber. 1. Thess. 5. By the Apostle S. Iohn: Behould I come as a Thiefe, Blessed is he, that watcheth. Apoc. 26.

All these sacred authorities signify, that the cōming of our Lord to Iudg­ment (whether the iudgment be vni­uersall at the Consummation of the World, or particular at the death of euery one) is vncertaine; and that ther­fore God requireth of vs, that we be alwayes watching, and expecting his Comming, that so he may find vs pre­pared, and that he may not be forced to exclude vs (with the foolish Virgins) from his Mariage. Therfore to sleepe, is nothing els, then to forget death and Iudgment, or to liue so heedlesly, as if we neuer thought, or tooke care of that so great a Matter, whereupon E­ternall Saluation dependeth. For we are not to thinke, that corporall sleepe is forbidden to the faythfull; other­wise it would not haue beene said in the Parable: They slumbered all, and [Page 278] slept; but only Forgetfulnes and Incon­sideration, is forbidden.

Therefore euery good Christian, who hath a care of his owne soule, ought euery day both morning and euening (the dore of his hart being shut from all other busines) attently to thinke, and certainly to persuade him­selfe, that that day or night may easily be his last; and therefore ought se­riously to prouide, that he be not found, and taken vnprepared, so that he shall lose, through such his great ne­gligence, his owne soule, & all goods attending on it. Some men haue alto­gether a horrour to thinke, and medi­tate of death, and willingly they diuert their minds to other cogitations. But let such remember, that the sicke man hath a loathing to take his prescribed physicke; and yet for the loue of his owne life, he willingly taketh it. In like sort the eyes haue a horrour to looke vpon a dangerous and deadly wound in their body; and yet they looke vpon it earnestly, and couet to receaue a medicinable playster there­to: So is it needfull, that a prudent man do make a greater estimate of the de­triment, and losse of his owne Soule, [Page 279] then of the dread & horrour of death. And therefore let him often, and of­ten reuolue in his mind, that there is no age, no hower, in which he may not d [...]e. Since the meditation hereof, vvhen it en [...]eth deepely into the en­tralls of the Ha [...]t, is accustomed easily to change the vvhole Man; so as of Car­nall he may become spirituall, of a sin­ner, Holy; not any more fearing, but louing, and expecting the Comming of our Lord.

Not without iust Cause therfore doth our Lord so often exhort vs to watch: neither in vayne do we thus read in Ecclesiasticus cap. 7. In all thy VVorkes, remember thy last end, and thou wilt not sinne for euer. For what man knowing, that he is to hasten towards a Iudge, and that he must speedily be conuented before his Tribunall, dare yet in the meane tyme offend against the said Iudge? And yet we euery mo­ment, euen posting towards our Iudg­ment, do in our iourney thereto ( [...]uch is mans blindnes) prosecute the Iudge with iniu [...]y, and iustly prouoke his wrath and indignation against vs. And who already condemned to death, would, whiles he is ledd to the place [Page 380] of Execution, laugh, and sport, or would vaunt of his adulteries, or of his gaining of Honour, or of his en­creasing his temporall riches by his trafficke, except he were wholy distra­cted, and besides his wits? And not­withstanding we are truly condemned to death; for not any of the Sonnes of Adam did euer escape the sentence of death; and our mortall life is nothing els, then a pace to death; yet neuerthe­lesse in this our iourney (which cannot be long) what do the greatest part of Christians? What do they thinke of, what do they discourse of, about what do they negoriate and busy themsel­ues, if not about gaine, Honour, Plea­sures, I may well say, about all wic­kednes, and flagitious Crimes, as though the way to death would neuer haue end? And what other thing is this, then to sleep, concerning matters serious, and of the greatest impor­tance, and to watch and be vigilant a­bout toyes and triffles? Or els to sleep, and in sleeping dreame?

Therefore with good reason our Lord crieth out: Watch, O watch: And happy are those men, who are stirred vp at this his Voyce; and do of­ten [Page 381] thinke and meditate, where they are, and whither they are going, and in the meane tyme do labour, that their Lamps may shine, and oyle a­bound in their Vessells; As that when the noyse, or Watchword shalbe heard: Behould the Bridegrome com­metg, goe you forth to meete him, Math. 25. they with incredible ioy may pre­sently run to meete him, and enter in­to the Mariage place with him. But woe to them, who being forgetfull of so great a Busines, and are deafe to the words of holy Srciptures, & who hauing their Lamps put forth, are found sleeping; and thereby being ex­cluded from the most pleasing and most delightfull Mariage, they shall in vayne cry out, Lord, Lord, open to vs. Matth. 25.

Of the Price, or Reward. CHAP. VII.

THe Parabolicall Names, which do occur in the Ghospell being ex­plicated, it remayneth, that we vnfould the Names vsed by the Apostle in [Page 382] his first Epistle to the Corinthians, which are Brauium, A Pryze, or Re­ward; & Corona, a Crowne. Of Bra [...]iū, or Prize, the Apostle thus then spea­keth: They that runne in the race, all do runne indeed, but one receaueth the Prize: So runne you, that you may ob­taine. And that in this place by the Word Prize; or Reward the celestiall Beatitude is vnderstood, the same A­postle teacheth in his Epistle to the Philippians cap. 3. saying Forgetting the things that are behind; but stretching forth my selfe to those that are before, I pursue vnto the marke, to the praise of the supernall vocation of God, in Christ Iesus. Therefore we see, there is a Prize, or Reward in Heauen, to the which God doth call vs, through Christ Iesus, Now although the Prizes, which the Princes of the vvorld, are accusto­med to propose be of no extraordina­rie valew or worth; Notwithstanding the Celestiall Prize must of necessity in euery respect be of greatest estima­tion; And this, whether thou conside­rest God, who doth propose the Prize, he being of infinit Power and magni­ficence, of whom the Prophet thus speaketh: Psal. 8. Thy magnificency hath [Page 383] ascended aboue the Heauens; or els the Persons that do runne and striue, to whom the Pryze is set forth; who are his Sonnes, and the Brethren of Christ, vvhome doubtlesly the King their Fa­ther would not haue inui [...]ed to runne, if the Prize, or Reward were not of that Worth and dignity, as that the Sonnes of God might worthily desire and couet it.

But it importeth mu [...]h to shew, what it is to runne for the Prize, and with what art and skill we may so run, as we may wynne, or obtaine the same, To runne for the Prize is entirely to obserue and keep the Commande­ments of our Lord God. For stadium, or a Ra [...]e heere signifieth the Law of God, euē as Dauid witnesseth in those words Ps. 118. Blessed are the immacu­late in the way, which walke in the law of our Lord &c. I ran the way of thy Commandements, when thou didst di­late my hart. Therefore they who run the way of the Commandements, do runne in a Race for a Prize or Re­ward. To proceede, the skill of run­ning so, as that vve may arriue to, and obtaine the Prize, comprehendeth three Documents. The first is, that we [Page 384] do not decline, or depart any vvay from the Race; for he vvho leaueth the Race, although he may runne speedily, yet he shall neuer gaine the Prize; since not to the Prize or reward, but to some other Vnce [...]taine scope he directeth his Course; The which er­rour the Apostle testifi [...]th, that he di­ligently auoyded, saying 1. Cor. 11. I do so runne, not (as it were) at an vncer­taine thing. VVhat then is it to runne out of the place of the Race? It is not to runne in the way of the Comman­dements; but in running to decline ei­ther to the right or left hand.

To instance this. The Law sayth, Thou shalt loue thy neighbour as thy selfe. Leuit. 19. VVho so loueth his neighbour as himselfe, runneth in the Race, and runneth for the Pryze. But who so passionatly and vehemently lo­ueth his Neighbour, as that for his sake, he is not affraid to offend God, thus making of a man an Idoll; this man declineth to the right hand, and running out of the Race, runneth not for the Pryze, but for some vncertaine thing. And by how much he more swiftly runneth in heaping benefits and fauours vpon that Person, whome [Page 385] he hath erected to himselfe as an Idol; so much the more he erreth, and fur­ther departeth from the Prize, or Re­ward. But he, who lesse loueth his Neighbour, then he ought to do; as when he seeth him to be oppressed with want and penury, and yet shut­teth his bowells of mercy, and com­miseration from him (as S. Iohn spea­keth) this man strayeth to the left hand, and neither doth he runne in the race, neither runneth he for the Pryze; although many other good Workes he may seeme to do. There­fore we ought to loue our neighbour as our selfs; That is, we ought so to beare our selfs towards our Neigh­bour, as we expect our neighbour should comport, and beare himselfe towards vs; And this is to loue our neighbour, neither more, nor lesse then our selfs. For thus doth our Lord God, who gaue this Precept, explicate the same, Math. 7. Luc. 6.

And what I haue here spoken of loue of our Neighbour (being an af­firmatiue Commandement) the same vve may speake of Negatiue Comman­dements. For who stealeth another Mans goods, declineth to the right [Page 386] hand of that Commandement, Thou shalt not steale, and strayeth from the race. But he vvho doth not steale ano­ther mans Goods, but maketh profu­sion and wast of his owne Substance and state, such an one declineth to­wards the left hād, & in like sort goeth out of the race. For a Iust man, who only remaineth in the race, doth no lesse depart from the race, if he vio­lently take other mens goods, as if he did vainly wast his owne; Because the Vertue of Liberality (which belon­geth to Iustice) is encompassed with two opposite Vices, being extremes, to wit, Auarice, and Effusion or Prodi­galitie. The summe and Conclusion of all this is; that he who will remaine in the Race, ought altogeather to a­uoyde mortall sinne.

Another document is, that he vvho desireth to obtaine the Prize, do runne swiftly, and constantly. He runneth swiftly or speedely, vvho with an ar­dent and feruerous vvill, keepeth the precepts, according to that of the Pro­phet: Psal. 111. Blessed is the man, that feareth our Lord, he shall haue great delight in his Commandements; As also of that other sentence of the Apostle: [Page 387] In spirit feruent, seruing our Lord. Rom. 12. He runneth Constantly; vvho is ne­uer weary with running, nor euer cea­seth from running; knowing, that it is written: He that perseuereth vnto the End, shalbe saued. Matth. 10. And truly these tvvo actions, I meane to runne spedily, and not to be weary, or not to intermit running, seeme to be meere Contraries, and hardly compatible to­geather. For he who runneth speedi­ly, is quickly tyred. But he who will not be vvearied, runneth a slow space, and vvith moderate gate perseuers in his running. This thing is true, and therefore few they are, who do ar­riue, and gayne the Pryze, or Reward. For it is most necessary, that he who coueteth to gaine the Prize, doth runne speedely and incessantly; since the tyme allotted here for running, is short, and the iourney long.

Neuerthelesse if Christians would imitate men, running and aspiring but for a corruptible and small Reward or Prize, they might be of power and hability to runne both speedily, and without vvearisomnes, to the gaining of an incorruptible and sublime Prize or Reward, What course take they, [Page 388] vvho runne for the purchasing of a corruptible and tempora [...]l Pryze: They depose and lay aside all Heauy bur­dens; they cast of all their superfluous cloaths, that they may runne vvith greater expedition, and vvillingnes. The same let Christians do, let them disburden themselfs of the heauy vveight of the Cares of this VVorld; Let then put of the Cloathes of Car­na [...]l desires, and Cupidities; or at least, let them put of all inordinate affectiōs to earthly commodities, and Pleasures. VVhen they haue performed this, let them not vaunt of their owne strength and forces, but let them trust in God; All which being accomplished, then let them complayne, if through spee­dy running, they be wearied in their Course.

This doctrine is not myne, but it is the doctrine of the Proph [...]t Esay & S. Paul. Esay thus saith cap. 4. They that hope in our Lord shall runne, and not labour. And the Apostles words are these 1. Cor. 7. This I say Brethren; the time is short, it remaineth, that they also, who haue wiues, he as though they had not; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that re­ioyce, [Page 389] as though they reioyced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that vse this VVorld, as though they vsed it not. In which wor­des the Apostle forbiddeth not, that Christian men should haue no wyues, and that they do not lament in time of aduersity, & reioyce in prosperity, and that they should not buy thinges necessary, or vse the goods and bene­fits of this World; but he only admo­nisheth, that in the prosecution of all these matters, men should vse a me­diocrity therein, and should so curbe their owne immoderate Appetites in the fruition and practise of the forsaid Points, as if they did not in any sort belong vnto them.

S. Melania (a most noble Roman Matrone) may be to vs an exāple, of whom S. Iero. thus writeth in Epitaph. Blesillae. S. Melania being of these tymes, and of true Nobility among the Christi­ans, when as sbe had lost at once two Sonnes, and this immediatly before the dead Body of her husband was cold, or interred, did in this manner beare these her griefes: I am heare to relate an in­credible matter, but I call God to wit­nes, that it is very true. VVho would [Page 390] noe haue thought, but that she would haue stroken her breast after an enra­ged manner, with tearing of her hayre, and rending asunder her cloaths? But she stood immouable, and kneeling at the feete of a Crucifixe did not sheed a teare▪ but as it were (taking hould of Christ) smyled, and thus said: I am now to serue thee heerafter with greater carefullnes and expedition, in that th [...]u hast freed me of so great a burden. Thus S. Ierome; vvho by this example, as by a most vvorthy Commentary hath explicated, what it is, that those who haue wyues, children, and other goods of this VVorld, should be, as though they had them not, that there­by they with greater speed, and celeri­ty runne vnto the Prize.

But of this point we haue a more wonderfull and astonishing example in Iob; who in one day lost all his Son­nes and daughters, and his whole sub­stance and riches, and being full of Vlcers, lay vpon a dunghill, who but a litle before, was the most happy man among all those of the East. And yet as if all these losses had nothing con­cerned him, he thus brake out in Words, full of Wisdome. Iob. 1. Naked [Page 391] came I out of my Mothers wombe, and naked spall I returne thither: Our Lord gaue, and our Lord hath taken away; as it pleased our Lord, so is it done: the name of our Lord be blessed. To conclude, S. Peter with the rest of the Apostles (who were the first that followed Christ, running after the Prize) that they might teach vs, vvhat is required to run both speedily and constantly, thus say. Matth. 19. Behould, we haue left all things, and haue followed thee, what therefore shall we haue? And our Lord approuing this their demaund, by his answere clearely promised to them a Prize or Reward, saying: Amen, I say to you, that you who haue followed me, in the regeneration, when the Sonne of man shall sit in the seate of his Maie­sty, you also shall sit vpon twelue Sea­tes, iudging the twelue Tribes of Israel.

There remaineth yet the third do­cument, which teacheth vs, that who desire in running to gaine the Goale▪ ought to be ioyned with Christ; for as the Apostle sayth. 1. Cor. 9. All indeed do run but one gayneth the Prize. But by this One, doubtlesly is vnderstood Christ; who, ad currendam viaem, re­ioyced as a Gyant to the race; And of [Page 392] whom it is said in S. Iohn: No man hath ascended into Heauen, but he that des­cended from Heauen; the Sonne of man, which is ln Heauen, Ioan. 3. But Christ doth not ascend alone, but with all those, who are liuing and true mem­bers of his Body, of which himselfe is the Head. Therefore all those who run, though they distribute all their goods vpon the poore, and deliuer vp their bodies euen to the fyer, do but toyle and labour in vayne, except they be ioyned with Christ, by fayth and Charity, and be made one with him, as himselfe sayth: Ioan. 17. As thou (Fa­ther) in me, and I in thee; that they also in vs may be One.

But there is yet another manner of Coniunction with Christ, which in a wondefull sort doth aduantage vs both to rūne for the Price both swifly, and constantly. This manner consisteth in the vnion of the interiour Eye of the Soule with Christ himselfe, as Christ is the Price. For Christ, as Man did runne for the Price; and as he is God, so himself in the Price; For Christ is true God, and eternall life, as S. Iohn witnesseth; which point our Lord himselfe insinuated, when he sayd: [Page 393] I am the way, the truth, and the lyfe: For Christ as the Truth, doth leade vs; as the VVay, doth draw vs by himselfe; as the lyfe, doth bring vs to himselfe. Therefore it followeth, that nothing is more profitable, or more conducing to the gaining of the Prize, then neuer to diuert our eyes frō the Prize it self, and to say with the Prophet Psal. 24. Myne Eyes are alwayes to our Lord. For that man, who hath the Eye of his hart vnited, and conioyned with the Prize, neyther seeth, nor heareth, nor regardeth what the behoulders do ey­ther say or doe, whether they do de­ride, prayse, or dispraise him; but sayth with the Prophet. Psal. 17. I am become, as a man not hearing; & with the Apostle. 1. Cor. 4. To me, it is a thing of least account, to be iudged of you, or humane day.

But to passe on forward. By how much a man draweth more neare to the Prize, by so much he better know­eth the greatnes of the Prize, which greatnes inspireth strength and cau­seth, that a man (though spent & tired out) do not intermit his Course. Who­soeuer therefore aspireth to the Cele­stiall Prize, let him not depart, or de­cline [Page 394] from the race of the Precepts of our Lord; let him run ardently, and constantly; and he being Vnited with Christ, by true Fayth and Charity, let him neuer turne the Eye of his Hart, from the Pryze it selfe.

Of the Crowne. CHAP. VIII.

THe last Name, or Appellation of eternall Felicity, is the Crowne of Iustice; of which Crowne the Apostle speaketh thus in the same place, where he speaketh of the Prize, saying: 1. Cor. 9. Euery one, that striueth for the Mai­stry, refraineth himselfe from al things, that he may receaue a corruptible Crowne, but we an incorruptible. Nei­ther can it be heere doubted, whether by the word, Agon, the Maistry, Race or Course may be vnderstood; So as this similitude should be the same with the former; or rather that a con­flict, or contētion be to be vnderstood thereby. Now those words a litle after following do demonstrate, that by the word Maistry, a Fight, or Contention [Page 395] is meant, to vvit: I therfore do so runne, not as it were, at an Vncertaine thing; do so fight, not as it were beating the ayre. The same do those words of the Apostle shew. 2. Tim. 4. I haue fought a good fight, I haue consummated my Course, I haue kept the Fayth; concer­ning the rest, there is laid vp for me a Crowne of Iustice. For in both S. Paul distinguisheth a Course from a Fight; vsing in the one the name of Brauium, in the other the name of Corona, which two words are in sense eui­dently distinct, and diuerse.

Certainly by the name of a Crowne, eternall felicity is signifyed, which by the Apostle is called 2. Tim. 4. The Crowne of Iustice, because it is giuen, as a Reward for workes proceeding from Iustice. With S. Iames it is sty­led, Corona vita. Iac. 1. in that it cō ­taineth euerlasting lyfe. With S. Pe­ter, An incorruptible Crown. 1. Pet. 5. seeing it comprehendeth in it selfe the splendour and beauty of Eternall Honour. To conclude in Esay, God himselfe is sayd to be heereafter, A Crowne of glory to the residue of his Peo­ple. Esa. 18. From which place of Scripture, we are to vnderstand, that [Page 392] [...] [Page 393] [...] [Page 394] [...] [Page 395] [...] [Page 296] the Crowne, whereof S. Paul speaketh, and which is allotted for the Ouercō ­merrs, or Maisters in the fight, is most honourable, & most sublime, since God himself vouchsafeth to be the crowne, encompassing, adorning, and glorify­ing the heads of the residue of his People; that is of those few of his People, who in their spirituall Warre haue become victorious. For (as often I haue sayd out of the testimonies of the Scripture) Many are called, but few elected, and at the day of Iudge­ment the Crowne of the Saints shall so much the more become glorious, by how much the fewer can iustly entitle themselues thereto.

In this place we must to obserue, in what kind of fight we are to exer­cise our selues, and what is incumbent to vs to doe, whereby to gaine the vi­ctory. And without doubt the fight (which we are to all vndergoe) is most cruell, and fraught with danger; especially if comparison therewith be made to the fight, which men heere vpon the earth do sustaine for a corru­ptible Crowne. For the Apostle spea­keth of a sportfull fight, openly per­f [...]rmed in the eye, and sight of the [Page 297] People. Therfore the Agonists, or Chā ­pions heere did fight with men lyke vnto themselues, with equall weapons and but for a base Crowne, and becam [...] subiect eyther to a popular applause, or ignominy. But Christians are to en­ter in combat, with those enemies, whome they see not, & yet by whome themselues are seene, and who are in number many, being most strong, and most subtile; who fight with vnlyke weapons, in the sight of God and his Angells, and for a Crowne of eternall lyfe; and this vnder the danger of eter­nall Damnation. To conclude▪ Chri­stiās here fight not in a sportfull game, but in a most true, most fierce, and cruell Warre. Our Antigonists, or E­nemies in this battell, are the Diuells, whome the holy Scripture sometimes calleth Lyons, sometimes Dragons, at other tymes Basilisks; who haue Tray­tors euen within our owne houses; I meane, the Concupiscences of the flesh, vvhich are our Bodies, & which do wage war against our soules in be­halfe of our Enemies, as S. Peter tea­cheth, saying: 1. Pet. 2. I beseech you as strangers and pilgrimes, to refrayne your selfes from carnall desires, which war [Page 398] against the Soule. We may add here­to (which is most miserable and cala­mitous) that this fight is to be vnder­taken euen at that very tyme, at vvhich the Course in the Race is to be per­formed; And therefore the Apostle hath conioyned these two different Points togeather; that therby we may vnderstand, that those who are run­ning for the Pryze, or Reward, are hin­dered throughout their whole Course by their Enemyes; and [...]at therefore it is necessary, that such men, do at one and the same tyme, run with their feet, and fight with their hands.

O if Christian men would haue a full resent and feeling of these things, and of their owne dangerous estates, they would not so willingly rauell out their time in trifles, sports, & playes; in banquetting, and good fellowship, in heaping vp togeather of riches, in seeking after Honours and digni­ties; as if the mayne matter of all were secure and in safety; But let such men heare the Apostle preaching, and cry­ing out in these words: Eph. 6. Take the armour of God, that you may resist in the euill day, being cloathed with the Breastplate of Iustice, in all things ta­king [Page 399] the shield of fayth, wherewith you may extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked One. And, Take vnto you the Helmet of Saluation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God: In all prayer, and supplication, praying at all tymes in spirit, and in the same watching in all instance. Good God, vvhat an Exhortation is this, how full of feare, terrour, and vehemency, es­pecially if a man do throughly ponder these former words, In all prayer, & supplication; at all tymes; in all instance! And yet many of vs do beare our selfs in leading our liues, as if vve had no occasion either to run in the Race, nor fight in the Conflict.

But alas, what are we to doe, that in this dreadfull ware we may come of with victory against our ene­mies? The Apostle dispatcheth, and declareth this very point in few wor­des, whē he saith, 1. Cor. 9. Euery one, that striueth for the maistry, refrai­neth himselfe from all things; & they, indeed that they may receaue a corrup­tible Crowne; but we an incorruptible. Of which Words the sense and mea­ning is this: All those Champions, that they may gaine a corruptible Crovvn, [Page 400] do abstaine from al such things vvhich may debilitate or weaken the Body, & make it lesse apt for fight; to wit from ouer much gorging themselues with meate and drinke, from accompanying their Wyues, from domesticall nego­tiations; and briefly from all things (through othervvise pleasant or pro­fitable) vvhich may hinder the Victory in this their sportly Strife & Conten­tion. Therefore we, who do euen sweat, and labour in a true Warre, for an incorruptible and eternall Crowne, ought much more to forbeare, and withdraw our selues from all those things, which may weaken the Soule, and cause it to be lesse prepared to vn­dergoe this great and serious Warre, and withall to continue its Course & running in the spirituall Race. But vvhat are those things, vvhich weaken the Soule? Euen those very things, vvhich seeme to make the Body strōg: To wit; much meate, much sheep, fre­quent exercise, myrth, sporting, sing­ning, hauking, hunting; to pray litle, to auoyde meditation, not to bewaile a mans owne sinnes; finally not to do works of Pennance; from all vvhich courses he ought to abstaine, who co­ueteth [Page 401] to haue his sou [...]e strong, that it may be apt to runne in the [...]a e, and to fight for the Maistry. Our Lord sayth Luc. 21. Looke well to your selues, least perhaps your harts be ouer [...]harged with surfet and drunkennes, and cares of this life, and that they day come vpon you suddenly.

Novv on the contrary part; The meate of the Soule, making it vigo­rous is fasting; the refection and reso­cillation of the soule, is Prayer. The sheep of the soule, is a healthfull Con­templation of things diuine. The pur­ging of the soule from all dangerous humours, is Confession of our sinnes. The ioy and delight of the soule, is Teares. The triumph and Victory of the Soule, is the crucifying of our flesh and Concupiscences therof. For the A­postle sayth. Gal. 5. They that be of Christ, ha [...]e crucified their flesh togea­ther with their vices, and co [...]cupiscen­ces: And in like sort he thus speaketh in the place aboue alledged: I do so fight, not as it were beating the ayre: but I chastise my Body, and bring it in­to seruitude; best perhaps when I haue preached to others, my selfe become repro­bate. Behould here a true Paraph [...]aze, [Page 402] or Explication of those former words He abstayneth from all things. For the Apostle sayth. 1. Cor. 9. I do so fight in this warre, as that I do abstaine from those things, which please the Body, in which do reside carnal concupiscences which do fight against me, euen in be­halfe of my Enemies: And I do reduce my Body into seruitude, by chastizing it with Fasting, Watching, and other mortifications of the flesh, that so it may not rebell against the Empire, and Command of the Soule, or ioyne in Combat with myne Enemies against me.

But whome are not those wordes (lest perhaps when I haue preached to o­thers, my selfe become reprobate) able to affright, and cause to tremble and feare? If a vessell of Election, an Apo­stle created and chosen by God him­selfe, One who was rapt into the third Heauen, feared that he might become a Reprobate, if he did not punish his Body, & reduce it into seruitudes; Who then of vs hath not iust reason to feare Reprobation, except he crucify and mortify his flesh, with all its Vices and Concupiscenses? Certainly this Apo­stolicall Example is of force to admo­nish [Page 403] all men, that they dare not pre­sume to hope for Victory and the Crowne, except euen in the depth of their Hart they make a serious & im­partiall reflection of their owne State. doing works worthy of Pennance, and subduing in euery sort the fl [...]sh to the spirit. Therefore the madnes & blind­nes of the Hart of many is wonderful, who though they performe none of these points so necessarily exacted; yea vvho are so far from abstaying from things lawfull, as that they will not abstaine from things vnlawfull and prohibited, do neuerthelesse liue in such security and ioillity of mind, as if they had already receaued a most cer­taine and infallible promise of God, touching their Saluation and Crowne of Glory. But this is a demonstration (as often we haue said) that they are but few, who shalbe saued; and that, Many are called, but few Elected.

Within the armes therefore of thy goodnes (O Blessed Lord) do I cast my selfe, I am thy Seruant, and the sonne of thy Hand-maid. Euen with all de­sire of my soule I do greedily thirst af­ter that Heauenly reward, and most shyning Crowne, vvhich thou hast pre­pared [Page 404] and promised to those that loue. thee. I do acknowledge the greatnes of the Warre and Conflict, as also I do acknowledg the lēgth of the Race: I also [...]aily feele, and am guilty of my owne imbecilli [...]y and weaknes; and I do confesse before thee, vvho searchest the reines and harts of m [...]n, that the Vertue which is n me, is very small, and almost nothing. And I am not ig­norant of the great forces, and crue [...]ty of my inuisible Enemies, who cannot brooke or disgest, that we poore sou­les are called to that vnspeakable Glo­ry of the which Pryde hath depriued them. Enlighten (Sweet Iesus) my eyes, that I may neuer sleep in death; Increase my strength, that I may not fayle in the Way; Let thy Grace fight for me, least at any time my Enemy do say, I haue preuayled against him. And what I here a [...]ke for my self, the same also I aske and beseech for all my Bre­thren, but principally for those (whe­ther Ecc [...]esiast ca [...]l, or secular) who are placed by thee, in sublimity and height of Authority; Whose danger is so much the greater, by how much their P ace and Function is more eminent and high, and vvhose Crowne of Glo­ry [Page 405] shall be so much the more illu­strious, if so with care and sol [...]icitude they rightly performe their Duty; by hovv much their damnation will be the greater, if the soules which thou (O Blessed Sauiour) hast redeemed with thy precious bloud, do perish through their owne fault, and care­lesse negligence.

The Conclusion of the whole▪ Worke. CHAP. IX.

THe twelue Considerations tou­ching the Eternall felicity of the Saints being explicated, and vnfoul­ded, this Conclusion may seeme iustly to be gathered the rout. To wit, That the Felicity of the Saints is in it selfe a most great and supreme thing; as al­so that it is chiefly to be desired and sought after by all men. But notvvith­standing that the Way to fynd and gaine the same, is most narovv, and la­borious; so as, except a man come vvith an immoueable resolution (casting off the care of all other things) to labour [Page 406] with all his forces and endeauour; he shall neuer be able, to passe or pene­trate that way; much lesse to arriue & come to his desired end. And that I may briefly make this more euident to the Reader, I will in place of a Con­clusion, repeate all the forsaid Cōside­rations, and their chiefest difficulties.

1. In the first place then we did consider Eternall Felicity, vnder the name of the Kingdome of Heauen; yet; hauing this most great difficulty out of the Word of God, annexed vnto it, to vvit: The kingdome of Heauen suffe­reth violence, and the violent beare it away. Matt. 11.

2. We after considered the same felicity vnder the name of the Citty of God, or the Heauenly Ierusalem; and there also we found no small difficul­ty, because those, who are Cittizens of this World, cannot be Citizens amōg the Saints; for it is most hard to liue in the VVorld, and not to be of the VVorld.

3. In the third place, we conside­red the same Felicity vnder the name of the House of God, in the vvhich there are many Mansions; and we aduerti­sed, that the Port, or Gate of this House [Page 407] is most strait, and that it cannot be pe­netrated or entered into, without great Labour.

4. Fourthly, we did consider the same place of Beatitude, vnder the name of Paradise; but with all, we considered, with how high a price (not of gould or siluer, but) of teares and bloud, our Lord himselfe, the Martyrs, Confessours, & all the Saints both Men and VVomen, did buy this Paradise; For we read Luc. 24. Christ ought to suffer, and so to enter into his glory.

5. In the fift place, we considered the same Felicity vnder the name of a Treasure, hidden in a field; and we no lesse shevved, that this Treasure could not be possessed of him that found it, except for the purchasing thereof, he did sell all things, which he had, Matth. 13.

6. Sixtly, we considered the same vnder the name of a precious Pearle, or Margarite; for the obtaining whereof, the Buyar also ought to spend all the goods he hath, that so he may purchase the same.

7. Seauenthly, vve considered the same vnder the name of a daily Penny, [Page 408] vvhich is not giuen, but only to such, vvho labour in the Vineyard diligent­ly, and daily.

8. Eightly, we considered, the same vnder the title, or Name of a Great Supper; and we saw, that those were not reputed worthy of that Sup­per, whose affectiōs were enthralled vnto Temporall benefits, and plea­sures.

9. Ninthly, we haue considered the same vnder the appellation of the Ioy of our Lord; to which they onely were admitted, who with great pay­nes & labour did multiply the Talents deliuered vnto them; such others, as did not performe the same, being cast into vtter darknesse.

10. Tenthly, we considered the same vnder the title of a Princely Mar­riage; from the which a [...]l those were excluded, who were giuen to Slouth and Idlenes, and who did not daily watch in the exercise of good workes, and expectation of the Celestiall Bri­degrome.

11. In the eleauenth place, we considered the same vnder the name of a Prize or Reward; which they only tooke hould of who did runne in the [Page 409] race towards the Prize speedily, and constantly, and this not without great [...]oyle and labour.

12. In the twelft & last place, we did cōsider it vnder the name of a Crowne, which they onely did deserue, who most couragiously in fight did ouer­come their enemies.

Novv what way soeuer thou dost turne thy selfe, and vnder what name soeuer thou dost consider Eternall Fe­licity, thou shalt find, that it cannot be obtayned, except in pursuite thereof, thou dost labour withall thy forces both of mind and Body. Therefore he who desires to become Blessed, (which no man if he be in his Wits but wisheth to be) let him shake off all drowsynes and Slouth, let him labour and sweat for the gaining of so great a reward, by doing of good VVorkes, and suffering of Euills: And let him not prefer any tempo­rall affaires, before this so great and only necessary Busines. And let him euer retaine in memory those words of S. Paul and S. Barnabas: By many tri­bulations we must enter into the King­dome of God, Act. 14.


AN APPENDIX, OR Short discourse, of the Torments of Hell, taken out of another spiritual Booke of the forsaid Card. Bellarmine, entituled, Of the Mourning of the Doue. lib. 2. cap. 2.

The Translatour to the Reader.

THe Common Axiome in Philosophy is, that Con­traries compared one to the other, do affoard a greater illustration; and do imprint in the Vnderstanding a more markable difference, and disparity betweene them. Which Consideration hath cau­sed me now, after the former Transla­tion [Page 411] of the Eternall felicity of the Saints, and the Ioyes of Heauen, to ad­ioyne heerevnto (as an Appendix) a briefe discourse of the euerlasting Mi­sery of damned soules, and of their tor­ments in Hell; translated out of ano­ther spirituall Booke of the Learned Bellarmine, entituled, de gemitu Co­lumbae. By which meanes the grieuous­nes of the paines of Hell hereafter de­clared, may the more stir vp the Chri­stian Reader to be sollicitous in auoy­ding the same Paines, and thereby be­get a greater desire in him, of gaining the Ioyes of Heauen.

There are but two Landing places of the soule, for all Eternity, after its departure from the Body; And these two are Heauen, and Hell. Either Hea­uen or Hell must be its Lot; There is no Medium betweene them; A man cannot lose the one, and yet auoyd the other, This then being a most assured Verity; and seing Heauen is made for Man, and Hell for the Deuill; why will men so much trench (as I may say) v­pon the Deuills right, as to share with him in his Vnfortunate Inheritance, and to remaine with him in euerlasting fire, and so become the vessells of Gods [Page 412] wrath, rather then to seeke their owne designed inheritance of Heauen, vnto the which Man after his Baptisme is borne Heyre?

Well, We are men, and therefore endued with freedome of Will, and consequently with freedome of Ele­ction, and it is engrafted in Man, euen naturally, to desire what is good and propitious, as also to decline from what is domageable, and euill. How then commeth it to passe, that most men will needs cease to be themsel­ues; and in a most retrogade manner, will choose Eternity of Torments, be­fore Eternity of Ioyes; the daily vpbrai­ding of the Infernall Spirits, before the continuall society and familiarity of the most Holy Angells and Saints; the Enemy of Man, before the Crea­tour of Man; the Deuill, before God; & Hell, before Heauen? O most deplora­ble bewitching, and enchantment!

Yf any of you, Idolatours of this World, were put to his choyce, whe­ther he would be created a great Prince, or Potentate, liuing in all Rega­lity and supreme soueraingty; or to be­come a Bondslaue for euer, and to suf­fer daily torments and rackings: he [Page 413] vvould no doubt presently dispatch the Election, and choose the Better. Here then the choyce is giuen you (to speake with the Prophet Iosue c. 24.) vvhether after the day of Iudgment, by your vertuous life you will reigne in the Kingdome of Heauen both in soule and body, and so participate of all the Ioyes thereof; Or, through your wickednes, lye fast bound Hand and foote in Hell, there suffering euerla­sting Torments, and Conflagration of fyre? Where then, by your vnderua­lewing of Heauen (as most of you do) is your Iudgment? Where is that light of Vnderstanding, which the Euangelist sayth, doth illuminate euery man? But (alas) it is darkened, or rather ex­tinct; yea so wholy extinct, as that for want of your true vse therof (throgh your owne negligence) diuers of you are to be sent and relegated into vtter darknes, for all Eternity, where shall be nothing but weeping, and gna­shing of Teeth. Matth. 22. & 25.

Most men I say are so vvholy drovv­ned in the pursuite of worldly Bene­fits, and Pleasures, as that it hides from them all true consideration of their Soules spirituall Good. O blindnes of [Page 414] mans Nature! Woe therefore be to those, who breath nothing but Earth, and dunghill-Pleasures. Woe, Woe, to those, who through their greedy thirst of these Trifles, sleight, or rather con­temne the Ioyes of Heauen. But Woe, Woe, Woe, be to all such, who not only, through their inordinate concu­piscence, and affection of floating and transitory things, neglect the ioyes of Heauen; but with all, by their sinfull life, do incurre the iust indignation of him, who is called the God of Iustice & reuenge, Psal. 46. and thereby purcha­sing to themselues insufferable tor­ments, and irreuocable damnation. Therefore, all those vvho are thus blinded, I remit vnto the reading of what immediatly followeth, in vvhich they may glasse their ovvne future ca­lamitous states. But let them read it with horrour and feare, as the weight of the busines requireth, that so, (to speake with S. Bernard) they may tru­ly feare death, feare Iudgment, feare Hell. (lib. de primordijs, medijs, & no­uissimis nostris.)

The Words of learned Cardinall are these.

HAuing aboue considered of ma­lum culpae, the euill of the Offēce, we will now take into our considera­tion malum poenae, the euill of the punishment, due for the said offence, or preuarication. For this considera­tion may well be called the second Fountaine of Teares, And although the feare and griefe of the Punishment be lesse perfect, then the feare and griefe of the Offence; notwithstanding both kinds of this feare and griefe is good and most profitable: And the one of them becommeth a Meanes to beget the other. Certainly our good Lord and Maister (Christ Iesus) saith in ex­presse words: Luc. 12. Be not afrayd of them that kill the Body, and after this, haue no more to doe: but I will shew you whome you shall feare. Feare him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell; yea I say vnto you, Feare him. And agayne, tou­ching vveeping, Christ thus spake vnto those holy Women, vvho fol­lovved him vvith teares to the mount [Page 416] Caluary vvhere he vvas crucified: Luc. 12. Daughters of Ierusalem, weep not vpon me, but weep vpon your selues, and vpon your children; for behould the dayes will come, wherein they shall say: blessed are the barren, and the wombes that haue not borne, and the Paps that haue not giuen sucke. Then shal they be­ginne to say to the mountaines, fal vpon vs; and to the Hills, couer vs; For if in the greene wood they do these things, in the drye what sball be done?

Our Lord vvas not offended, ney­ther did he prohibit the Office of Pie­ty, by the vvhich those Women did bevvaile his Passion; but only he signi­fied in his former vvords, that those Women had greater cause of lamen­ting, vvho had brought forth vvicked Sonnes; & such of them diuers vvere, vvho openly cryed out: Tolle, Tolle, crucifige eum, Away, away with him, crucify him; And, let his bloud be vpon vs, and vpon our children. Io. 19. For these men shall say [...] the day of iudg­ment to the mountaines, Fall vpon vs, and to the Hills, Couer vs. For if in the greene wood, that is, if in Christ flori­shing vvithall kind of Vertue, the fyer of his Passion hath so burned for the [Page 417] sinnes of others, what thē shal become of the dry wood, that is, of wicked men, in whome all humour of Chari­ty is spent and exhausted?

To these two sacred Text of Scri­pture, in the which Feare, and Wee­ping, to auoyde the paynes of Hell, is praysed, or commended by our Lord, vve will adioyne tvvo other places of the ancient Fathers. S. Basill explica­ting that of the Psalme, Timorem Do­mini doceh [...] vos; thus writeth: Cogita profundum Barathrum &c. Call to mind the depth of Hell, the inextricable darknes there; the fyer wanting light, yet hauing the force of burning. Then thinke of that kind of Wormes, casting out their venome, and deuouring the flesh, insatiably feeding vpon the same, and fastening intollerable griefes and paines through their gnawing. In the last place (which is most grieuous of all) remember that shame and euerla­sting Confusion which shall there fall vpon then. Feare this, and through thy feare therof, withdraw thy soule, and bridle it from all Concupiscences of sinne; This feare of our Lord the Pro­phet promised, that he would teach. Thus far S. Basill.

Let vs novv heare S. Bernard, thus speaking in serm. 16. in Cantica. Vt pa­ue [...] Gehennam &c. How much do I feare Hell, and tremble at the teeth of the infernall Beast, at the hollownes & concauity of the place &c. I much feare that gnawing VVorme, and the broyling fyer, the smoake, and the Vapour, the sulphurious spirit of stormes. I feare those vtter darknesses. Who shall giue to my head VVater heere, and to myne eyes a fountaine of teares, that so I may preuent that weeping and stridour, or gnashing of the teeth there? But doubt­lesly neither S. Basill, nor S. Bernard (of which the one was of the Greeke Church, the other of the Latin) were such sinners, who only through feare did cease from sinne: but they were men, perfect, learned, graue, able to in­struct others, and actually did instruct, not only the common People, but the Clergy and Monkes, reducing them to the rule of Perfection: Yet notwith­standing vve see, they do not only ad­mit, or permit weeping for the feare of the paines of Hell, but they also commend it, exhorting all men to conceaue Feare, and to powre out Teares, euen at the thought of the [Page 419] Horrour thereof.

Now this foundation being laid, we will briefly shew, what, and of what Nature the torments of Hell are. And because we will not wander in our discourse, in groping (as it were) at vncertaine or coniecturall points, least we may be thought to suggest vaine feares, thereby to force Teares from the eyes of the simple and igno­rant; therefore we will produce and insist only in those things, which are fully and clearely deliuered in the ho­ly Scriptures. We find then, that eight seuerall kinds of Torments are read in the Booke of God, which be­long to Hell, to wit, Priuation of eter­nall Beatitude, which is called by the deuines, Poena damni, the paine of the Losse; Darknes, Fyar, the VVorme, Im­mobility, the Company of the Deuils, of which paines in the damned weeping and gnashing of the teeth do proceed, the which torments are called Poena sensus, the Paine of sense or feeling; and lastly an euerlasting, and intermi­nable duration of all these Torments.

1. Well then the first, is Paena damni, the Payne of the Losse, it be­ing a deuiation and straying from our [Page 420] last End. A want of the Vision and sight of God, an euerlasting banishmēt from our Celestiall Country, an a­mission, or depriuation of our heredi­tary right to the kinhdome of Heauen: To conclude a losse of all, vvhat is good, and this for all Eternity. Are not then these names, and words alone, forcing inough, to extort teares euen from our stony Harts? But where are these names read in the Booke of God? Giue eare to the King of Heauen, pronouncing his Sentence at the last Iudgment. Matth. 25. Depart you Cur­sed, Come you Blessed. That is said to the Reprobate, This to the Elect. Heare the said King of Heauen againe. Luc. 13. Striue to enter by the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, shall seeke to enter, and shall not be able. But when the goodman of the House shall enter in, and shut the dore, and you sball begin to stand without, and knock at the doore, saying: Lord, open vnto vs; and he ans­wearing sball say to you; I know your not whence your are; depart from me all you Workers of Iniquity. Heare the Pro­phet Esay Cap. 26. Let vs haue mercy on the impious, and he will not learne Iustice; in the land of the Holy he hath [Page 421] done wicked things, and he shall not see the glory of our Lord.

To conclude, if the Vision of God be promised ōly to the cleane of Hart, our Lord saying: Math. 5. Blessed are the cleane of Hart, for they shall see God; then followeth it, that those who are not cleane of Hart, shall not see God: Neither only shall they not see God, but neither the Citty of God, which is the supernall Ierusalem, fraught with all abundance of Good, according to those words of S. Iohn: And there shall not enter into it any pol­luted thing, nor that doth abomination, and maketh a lye. And againe: Blessed are they, who wash their stoles in the bloud of the Lambe, that their power may be in the tree of Lyfe, and they may enter by the Gates into the Citty. VVith­out are doggs, and Sorcerers, the Vn­chast, and murtherers, and seruers of Idolls, and euery one that loueth and maketh a Lye. Apoc. 21. & 22. To pro­ceede: Those Men, who are enthral­led to the Loue of Temporall things, and who haue not tasted Heauenly sweetnes, do litle prize this paine of Losse: But such, whose eyes of the Mynd are pure and eleuated, and who [Page 422] haue receaued but some smal deliba­tion and feeling of Celestiall affayres, assure thēselues that this Payne of Losse is far more grieuous and insufferable, then any Corporall torments.

Heare I pray you S. Iohn Chryso­stome discoursing of this poynt in these words, Hom. 24. in Matth. Qui in gehenna vritur &c. VVho burneth in Hell, wholy loseth the kingdome of Hea­uen: which payne is doublesly greater, then that conflagration of flames can be &c. I know well, that many do much feare Hell; Neuerthelesse I affirme the losse of that Glory to be far more heauy and insupportable, then the punishment of Hell can be. Yf I cannot demonstrate and proue the truth hereof by speach, it is not to be wondered; For as yet we haue not knowne the beatitude of those Rewards, that thereby we might make a iust proportion of the Infelicity, pro­ceeding from the Losse of them. But this we shall infallibly learne, when expe­rience shall teach vs therein. For then shall the eyes of men be opened, then shal the veyle be drawen away, then shall the wicked with inutterable dolour see, how great the disparity is betweene Goods eternall or supreme, and goods [Page 423] decaying and temporary. Thus much S. Chrysostome. Therfore whiles we can­not learne experimentally, how much the Losse of Beatitude doth exceed all corporall punishment, let vs in the meane tyme giue credit to the words of so graue and worthy a man. And when by experience we haue learned, that the burning of the flesh is plainly intollerable, we may then prudently gather and conclude, that the losse of eternall felicity, is (if it be lawfull so to speake) more then intollerable. Therefore whiles the tyme is accep­table, and whiles that losse may be re­deemed with the price of teares, let vs not be sparing of profitable teares, for feare that we after doe deplore that losse, but vnprofitably.

2. Another punishment of Hell is exteriour Darknes; for thus we read in the Gospell. Matth. 8. The children of the kingdome shalbe cast out into ex­teriour darknes. And againe, it is said of him, who was found without his nuptiall garment: Cast him into vtter darknes. In like sort, of the seruant who did not multiply his talents: Cast you out the improfitable seruant into vtter darknes; Which very thing Iob [Page 424] seemeth to signify, when he calleth the place of the damned, A land of misery and darknesse, where is the sha­dow of death, and no Order, but euer­lasting horrour inhabiteth. Iob. 10. And the force of Reason seemeth to euict the same, since the place of the Reprobate is in the Center of the Earth, to wit, in a place most discosted and remote from the Seates of the Blessed; vvhich place is called in the Scriptures Psal. 85. Infernus, the infe­riour, or the lower Hell; Cor terrae, & Abyssus, the Hart of the Earth, and an Abisse▪ Luc. 8. For since this place is vn­der the Superficies of the Earth cer­taine thousands of myles; it followeth that it is not penetrated of the sunne, neither receaueth it any light from the Moone or the starrs. And although there be fyer (and that Corporall) as hereafter vve will shew: neuerthelesse it appeareth from the Sentence of S. Basill aboue cited, that that hellish fier hath the power of burning, but not of shining. And if perhaps some sulphu­rious and duskish light be in it, it shall serue only to the end, that those mise­rable VVretches shall see (by the help of it) part of their Calamities, to wit, [Page 425] their children, Brethren, and other their neere friends (through their fault) damned with them: Or also it may serue, that they may see the Hor­rible f [...]ces and visages of the Deuills, from whome (if they could) they would most willingly auert and turne their Eyes.

Now this darknes in Hell is called Exteriour, or vtter Darknes, that it may be distinguished from the interiour darknes, which the VVicked do suffer in this life. For now the vvicked and the Idolatours of this world haue their eyes both of mynd and body open to behould the felicity of the world, and therefore they repute nothing to be good, neither do they affect any thing, but what lyeth open to the senses of the flesh: As on the contrary, they loath and hate nothing, but the Cala­mities and miseries of this life, wholy laboring with the strongest bent of Endeauour to decline the same. But how Eagle-eyed soeuer they are to externall and corporall things, they are possessed with a Meale-like blind­nes to interiour and spirituall matters, of which men the Apostle thus spea­keth, Rom. 1. Their foolish hart hath [Page 426] beene darkened. And Ephes. 4. That now you walke not, as also the Gentills do walke, in the Vanity of their sense; ha­uing their Vnderstanding obscured with darknes, alienated from the life of God by the Ignorance that is in them, be­cause of the blindnes of their Hart.

Therefore euen as the Reprobate haue, during this present tyme, inte­riour darknes, and exteriour light; so in the tyme to come they shall suffer exteriour darknes, and interiour Light; I meane not interiour light towards the knowledge of God, but towards their owne Miseries; so as that light shall bring to them a greater torment; for then they shall vnderstand, that all tēporalities haue vanished away with tyme, and then they shall vndergoe an improfitable and fruitlesse Penance. Of which Persons the VViseman thus spea­keth Sap. 9. They repenting, & sighing through anguish of spirit, shall say within themselues: VVe haue therefore erred from the VVay of Truth, and the sunne of Iustice hath not shined to vs. Therefore the Reprobate shall haue interiour light, so far forth, as thereby they may see and acknowledge their Errours; but they shall suffer interiour [Page 427] darknes, so as they shalbe able to see & discerne nothing, which may bring them any solace, or may in any sort af­foard the least ease or lessning of their Infelicity.

VVhat this torment may be, espe­cially to those, who are accustomed to please and delight their Eyes with sights of thinges, Tobias the elder may well testify, who, when the An­gell said to him. Tob. 5. Let Ioy be euer vnto thee, answered: Quale gaudium mihi erit &c. VVhat manner of ioy shalbe to me, who sit, in darknes, and sea not the light of Heauen? But if good Toby persuaded himselfe, he could not be partaker of any Ioy, whiles he re­mained blind, vvhat may we conceaue of them, who for all Eternity shall lye in darknes? They shall looke for light, but they shall not see it, neither shall they see the rising morning. VVhen any of vs lyeth alone in the darknes of the Night, troubled with some sharpe paine, which banisheth all sleepe, how long and wearisome see­meth all the Night to be? And how anxiously do we count the Howers, and expect the end of the night? What then do those Miserable Creatures [Page 428] suffer, who are assured, they shal watch in euerlasting darknes and dolours, & shall neuer find any Consolation.

3. But now in this next place, what shall we say of the torment of Fyer, which is the third payne of the dam­ned? That the Wicked shall suffer a horrible punishment of perpetuall fier, the Scripture is so plentifull in proofe, (and this so euident & cleare) as that no euasion can be excogitated against the said diuine Authorities, S. Iohn Baptist speaking of Christ, thus sayth, Matth. 3. VVhose fanne is in his hand, and he will gather his wheate in­to the barne, but the chaffe he will burne with vnquencheable fier. And Christ himselfe speaking of the darnell or Cocle in Corne, to wit of sinners, saith: Cast them into the furnace of fire. And againe: Get you away from me (you eursed) into euerlasting fyre, which was prepared for the Deuill and his Angells. Matth. 25. And further our Lord saith: It is good for thee to enter into euerla­sting life, lame, rather then hauing two feete, to be cast into the hell of vnquen­chable fyre, Mar. 9. Also in Luke cap. 3. Euery tree, that yieldeth not good fruite, shalbe cut downe, and cast into [Page 429] the fire. To conclude our Lord in S. Iohn sayth. Yf any abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither; and they shall gather him vp, and cast him into the fyer, and he burneth. Ioan. 15. And accordingly we thus read in the Apocalyps, cap. 20. He that was not found written in the booke of life, was cast into the lake of fyar. And there a litle after: To the fearefull and incre­dulous, and execrable, and murtherers, and fornicatours, and sorcerers, and I­dolaters, and all Lyars, their part shalbe in the lake, burning with fier and brim­stone, which is the second death. Apo. 21. Therefore touching the punishment of Fyer there can be no doubt.

Neither are we here to coniecture, that the fyre of Hell is a fyre only Me­taphoricall, or spirituall, because it is prepared for the Deuill and his An­gels, as we read in S. Mathew; For S. Gregory affirmeth in direct words, that fyre to be corporal [...], and hereafter to burne the Bodies with the spirits. The same is vnanimously taught in the Schoole of the deuines. Now how spi­rits can be tormented and afflicted by corporall fyre, is a large disputation; though S. Austin solueth this doubt in [Page 430] one Word, when he writeth; that it is performed by a wonderfull, yet true manner. l. 22. de Ciuit. cap. 10. Which same answere may serue, if any ouer, curiously should demaūd, from whēce this continuall fyre doth receaue its nourishment and supply, and how are the bodies of the Reprobate, euer burning, and yet neuer finally consu­med? That all these things are accom­plished by wōderfull, yet true meanes, the Catholike Church belieueth, and securely belieueth; because he, that doth this, is Omnipotent, and who first reuealed it, is Infinite Wisdome it selfe, and the first Truth. But these things omitted, it is more incumbent vpon vs, most attentiuely to thinke, what a punishment it wilbe for a mans Body (truly indued with the sense of fee­ling) to be tormented with sulphu­rious fyre, and extremity of dolour, and yet neuer to be consumed; That thus, in whose Will sinne would ne­uer haue an End, in his soule and flesh torments shall neuer haue an End.

There are many punishments in­vented by Men; but not any more sharpe, more vehement, more insuffe­rable then fyre, And as there is no [Page 431] torment, which tortureth more cruel­ly, and more intollerably then fyre; so there is none, which sooner consu­meth, and ceaseth to afflict then fyre. In what lamentable plight then are those poore Wretches, who are tor­mented with Fyre, which most intol­lerably and most cruelly doth burne, and yet shall neuer cease to burne? Certainly if these points were atten­tiuely considered, and withall firmely belieued, no man, who is guilty of mortall sinne, could refraine from la­mentation and teares. I would to God, at least, that those who are touched with the guilty Conscience of their Crimes, would ponder againe and a­gaine those words of Esay, as spoken to themselues by the spirit of God: VVhich of you can dwell with deuouring syre? VVhich of you shall dwell with euerlasting burnings? Isa. 35. As if the Prophet would say to sinners: Do not take vpon you a burden, which you are not able to beare: make triall, if you be able to dwell with deuouring fyre: stretch out your hand into the fyer, & see how long you can endure the bur­ning thereof. And if you be not of a­bility to suffer it for the space but of [Page 432] one hower; how then can you be able to dwell with euerlasting fyres and ardours? Keepe therefore your hart from wicked Concupiscences, bridle your tongue from ill Words, with­draw your hand from euill Works; & if you haue already sinned in hart, word or worke, wash your sinnes a­way with teares, confession, Fasting, and Almes-deeds; for this is the way of escaping the deuouring fyre, and a­uoyding of euerlasting Ardours.

4. There followeth the Fourth Paine of Hel; to wit, a gnawing VVorme; which worme Esay the Prophet, and S. Marke the Euangelist do reckon vp among the other torments of Hell. Esay his words are these, ca. 66. Their worme shall not dye, and their fyre shall not be extinguished. VVhich sentence our Lord disputing in S. Marke cap. 9. of the Paynes of Hell, doth thrice re­peate, saying: VVhere the worme dieth not, and the fyer is not extinguished. And truly S. Basill affirmeth, that this VVorme is to be Corporall; to wit, a kind of worme casting out venome, & deuouring the flesh, insatiably eating without saturity, & through gnawing causeth intollerable paynes. Notwith­standing [Page 333] S. Austin with more proba­bility teacheth, that the fyre which is not extinguished, belongeth to the Body, and the Worme which dyeth not, appertaines to the Soule; which Sentence the Deuines do commonly follow. Therefore this Worme which neuer dyeth, is a guilty Conscience of sinne, which as a mad and raging dog, is euer barking, and as a venomous worme, euer gnawing. For it alwayes calleth to mind, how imprudently and foolishly a mā hath carryed himselfe, by losing the kingdome of Heauen, for the gaine of some most base and earthly Pleasure; and by buying the most sordid, and short delight of the flesh, with the price of suffering the intollerable torments of Hell.

Truly here in this life, we do mi­tigate, and as it were ease the like re­prehension of a barking Conscience, by seuerall meanes, as one while by sleeping, another while by reading, or doing of some other Worke: But in Hell, where there shalbe no rest of sleepe, no reading, no operation or working, that worme of Conscience both day and night, without any in­termission, shal gnaw the very bowells [Page 434] of the soule: and the soule shall euen fret against [...]t selfe, euen withering a­way, without finding any ease, or re­pose. For thus shall those wicked sou­les say, and discourse with themselues: O that goulden tyme now is past, and shall neuer returne. O blynd fooles, th [...]t we were! VVho hath thus depriued vs of all Vnderstanding? Who hath closed our eyes! Who hath shut vp and stopped our eares, so as we did neuer once thinke of these present paines and torments? And yet there haue not men beene wanting, who haue admonished vs both by their publike, & priuate exhortations. What do those thinges, which the deceitfull World did afford and proffer, now ad­uantage vs, that for them we should prouoke so terrible a God to wrath and indignation? But if the VVorld had prof­fered vs Kingdomes, and Empyres, ac­companied with all Affluency, Riches, and Delectations, and that it had beene lawfull for vs to haue enioyed them for the space of many thousands of yea­res; could the fruition of all this stand in any equall ballance with these our paines, and torments, which are to en­dure for all Eternity? O no, Seing then, [...] Kingdomes and Empyres to conti­nue [Page 435] any long tyme, but only are empty shadows of a most bitter and short Plea­sure the world hath afforded vs, who hath thus cruelly enchaunted and be­witched vs, that we should neuer till this present cast an eye vpon our most Calamitous state, but euer reiect and sleight the wholesome counsell and ad­uice giuen to vs by others? These and the like words shall those wretched Catiffes (whose worme shall not dye, nor fyre be extinguished) breath out, and repeate againe and againe, but without any ease, or least mitigation.

5. The Fift Payne of Hell, are those Bonds, with the which the Re­probat being fast tyed & shackled, can­not moue themselues; for thus we re­member our Lord speaking in the Gospell of that man, who was found without his wedding garment, to say: Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into vtter darknes. Matth. 22. And the same thing doth the Apostle S. Iude write in his Epistle, of the wicked An­gells, when he sayth: The Angels which kept not their Principality, he hath re­serued vnder darknes in eternall bon­des. This tying, or binding of hands and feete signifieth no other thing, [Page 436] but that the Reprobate in Hell shall not haue faculty and power to walke or moue whither they will, but shall for euer remayne in one, and the same place. And certainly if liberty were giuen to the Inhabitants of Hel to rest, and be eased of their torments, it were perhaps tollerable still to remaine, and stay in one place; but when they shalbe on ech syde pricked with the bitings of wormes, and tormented with the flames, of Fyre, it shalbe most insup­portable to them, when they see they cannot stir or moue a hand or foote. What paines do sicke men endure, when they are vexed with but bur­ning feuers, and cannot moue them­selues? How cruell a torment did the impiety of the Gentils excogitate, vvhen they did expose Marcus Are­tusius the Martyr, fast bound naked to the sunne, being annointed all ouer with honny, and his hands tyed that so the bitings of the VVaspes and the flies (the which he could neither by remouing out of his place, nor with his hands driue away) might more af­flict him?

S. Gregory Nazianzen orat. 1. in Iulian, relateth this passage, to shew, [Page 437] how far the subtilty and craft of the Deuill did extend it selfe in torturing of Martyrs. But the shortnes of the tyme, in which he was forced to en­dure this vexation, and the eternity of ioy, which he was after to haue in Heauen, did comfort this Martyr. And perhaps that saying of the Apostle a­mong his paines might occur vnto his mind: This our Tribulation, which for the present is momentary and light, worketh aboue measure exceedingly an eternall weight of Glory in vs. 2. Cor. 4. But (alas) the miserable soules in Hell, who are to be bewayled with a whole fountaine of teares, and whom their owne wickednes hath thrust and detruded into that vnfortunate Place, being bound hand and foote, and set open to the bitings of the wormes, and to the incendious fyrebrands, can neither driue away the VVormes, nor put by the Heate; nor procure any re­laxation of those torments (much lesse any comfort,) and this for all Eter­nity.

6. The sixt torment of the damned shalbe the Society and daily accompa­nying of the Deuill and his Angells. For thus doth our Sauiour speake in the [Page 438] Ghospell: Matth. 25. Get you away from me (you cursed) into euerlasting fyre, which was prepared for the Deuill, and his Angells. The which thing we also read in the Apocalyps cap. 20. the words are these: And the Deuill, which seduced them, was cast into a lake of fyre and brimstone, where both the Beast and the false Prophet shalbe tor­mented day and night. And a litle af­ter is aided, that all those are to be sent to that Lake of fyre and brim­stone, vvho are not writtē in the Booke of Life. Neither only the sacred Scrip­ture (which alone were sufficient) but also the holy Fathers do vnanimously teach the same, to wit, S. Basill, S. Au­stin, S. Bernard and many others. Now how great a punishment it is, for euer to remayne, & dwell with most cruell Enemyes, who do persecute mankind with such a deadly hate, and who for their Hate and Malice are compared in the Scriptures to Lyons, Dragons, Serpents, and Basilisks, it is easy to iudge. It is a great part of the felicity of the Saincts, to be daily conuersant and in the company of the holy An­gels, who are many in number, friends among themselues, and shyning with [Page 439] the splendour of all wisdome and ver­tue. Therefore by the same reason it shalbe no small vnfortunatnes, and misery of the Reprobate, continually to remaine in the company and sight of vncleane Spirits, who are many, enemies to man, and most deformed and vgly.

7. 8. VVherefore it is no wonder, if the VVicked in the lowest depth of Hell do daily weepe, and gnash with their teeth; the which are the two last paines of the damned, according to the words of our Lord: The Children of the kingdome shalbe cast out into exte­riour darknes; there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth. And againe: Depart from me all you workers of Iniquity; there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth. And more: Those that worke ini­quity, he shall cast into the furnace of fyer, there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth. And yet more: Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into vtter dark­nes, there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth. To conclude in another place we thus reade: The vnprofitable ser­uant cast you out into vtter darknesse; there shalbe weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Not without iust cause did our Lord so often repeate this sentence; to wit, that by the frequent iteration thereof, as a most vvholesome veri­ty it might be more firmely printed in the hart of Men. Since continuall wee­ping and euerlasting gnashing of the teeth, do (as it were in an Epilogue, and closure of all) containe and com­prehend all the torments of Hell. For weeping discouereth dolour or griefe, and gnashing of the teeth sheweth horrour: both which do rise from the losse of Beatitude, from the broyling fyre, from the gnawing VVorme, from a darksome Prison, and to conclude from the cohabitation of infernall Beasts. Therfore the Reprobate, who here on earth, will not bewayle their sinnes but for a short tyme, shall here­after inconsolably bewayle them for all eternity: And because they would not haue a horrour of offending their Creatour in this World, as they ought to haue had; they shall haue in Hell a perpetuall Horrour of the incredible acerbity of their paines. The Apostle did cry out: It is horrible to fall into the hands of the liuing God. Hebr. 10. but they were before deafe to this voyce; [Page 441] now they shall testify the truth of it, [...]ith the gnashing of their teeth.

All these things are written for [...]ur good, who yet are in the vvay of Heauen, or Hell. Those wretches who [...]re arriued at their End, can haue no [...]ope of health, though they should e­ [...]uall the waters of the mayne Ocean, with teares of Pennance. Wherefore [...]O Christian soule) now vse the price [...]nd worth of Teares, whiles they are of force, and whiles they are accepta­ [...]le to our Lord God. Do not expect and [...]ayte for tyme, since Time will not wai­ [...]e for thee. Obserue, how many are [...]arried and snatched away to Hell, [...]hrough sudden death, who if they would haue bewailed and lamented [...]heir sinnes, and haue had a horrour of Hell when tyme was, they should not haue beene at this present in that place, where weeping and gnashing of [...]eeth, (that is, euerlasting Horrour) [...]oth inhabitate and dwell.


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