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

And translated into English by A. B.

Foderunt manus meas & pedes meos.

Psal. 21.

They haue digged my hands & my feet.

Permissu Superiorum. 1638.

The Translatour to the Reader.

GOod Reader, in place of a Ceremonious and formall Dedicatory E­pistle, I send thee these few lines. The worke heere translated is one the spirituall Treatises of the most Learned, and Vertuous Bellarmine of Blessed Memory, being entituled, Of the seauen VVords spoken by Christ v­pon the Crosse. Prize the Contents of those words, as thou prizest thy owne soule; they being in number few, in force and weight many. Take them, as so many rich Legacies, left by our cha­ritable Testatour, immediatly before his death, to mankind. And vvho is he that neglecteth the Legacies of his dy­ing Lord and Friend?

Most men do much regard & pon­der the last words of a dying man, at that tyme hauing his senses and me­mory vnperished, who during the whole course of his life had gained a­mong others a great name, & reputa­tion of VVisdome. Of what estimate [Page 4] then ought we to make the VVords of Christ, vttered in his dying state, who w [...]s not only wise, but VVisdome it selfe; VVho is the VVord it selfe: VVho is God himselfe. These VVords hereaf­ter following in this Treatise, Christ spake being nayled vpon the Tree of the Crosse, a Tree infinitly more high (as reaching from Earth to Heauen) then the highest Cedar in Libanus. Tast of the fruits, which may be gathered from thence; since arbor bona fructus bonos facit, Matth. 7.

Vpon this Tree death became dead vvhen life thereon did dye. This Tree was the Chayre, from whence our spi­ritual Doctour dictated his Precepts to vs Christians; It was the Pulpit, out of which our Heauenly Ecclesiastes prea­ched to mankind; Briefly it was, and is the true Ladder of Iacob (adumbrated and shadowed by that Ladder spoken of in Genesis) by which the soule of Man ascendeth vp to Heauen. Thus not enlarging my selfe further, and humbly intreating the charitable re­membrance of all good Catholiks in their Deuotions, I leaue thee to the perusing of what followeth.

Thine in Christ crucifyed. A. B.

The Preface of the Authour.

BEhould now the fourth yeare is passed, when as preparing my selfe to my End, I retire to a place of quietnes and rest, exempt from negotiations, and throng of Busines; but not exempt from the meditation of the sacred Scriptures, and from the writing of such things, which to me in tyme of meditation do occur; That if I be not able to profit others either by my owne speaches, or by composing of any large and voluminous Booke; at least that I may be of power to ad­uance my Brethren in their spirituall Good, by some small deuout Treatise.

Now calling to mind, of what sub­iect I might chiefly make choyce, which might dispose me towards dy­ing well, & might profit my Brethren towards liuing well; The death of our Lord presented it selfe to me, and that last Sermon of his, which consisting of seauen most short (but most graue) sen­tences, the Redeemer of the World from [Page 6] the Crosse, as from a high and eminent Chayre, deliuered to all Mākind: Since in that Sermon, or in those seauen Words, all those Points are contained, of which the said Lord thus speaketh, Luc. 18. Behould, we go vp to Ierusa­lem, and all things shalbe consummate, which were written by the Prophets, of the sonne of Man.

Those things, which the Prophets did foretell of Christ, are reduced to foure Heads, or branches. To wit, to his Preaching and Sermons made to the People; To his Prayer directed to his Father; To the most grieuous Euills which he was to suffer; To su­blime and admirable Works perfor­med by him. All which seuerall Points did admirably shine in the life of Christ. For first, our Lord did most fre­quently preach in the Temple, in the Synagogues, in the fields, in desert & solitary places, in priuate Houses, and to conclude euen out of the ship, to the People standing vpon the shore.

Furthermore, He spent for the most part, whole nights in Prayer to God; for thus the Euangelist speaketh: Luc. 6. He passed the whole night in Prayer to God, Now his admirable and [Page 7] astonishing working of Wonders, of which the holy Gospells are very full, doth concerne the expelling of the Deuils, curing the sicke, multiplying of bread, and in appeasing or allaying tempests or stormes all sea. To con­clude, the Euills that, in recompence of the Good which he had done, were perpetrated against him, were many, not only in contumely of Words, but also in stoning of him, and in endea­uoring to cast him headlong dovvne from a fearefull Precipice.

But all these seuerall Points were consummated and perfected most tru­ly vpon the Crosse. For first, He so mo­uingly & persuadingly preached from the Crosse, as that many returned from thence, knocking their Breasts. And further, not only the harts of men (but euen the stones, as it were, through a secret compassion) were ri­uen and torne a sunder. He in like manner so prayed vpon the Crosse, as that the Apostle sayth thereof, Heb. 5. Cum clamore valido, & lachrimis, exau­ditus est pro sua reuerentia, With a strong Crye, and teares, he was heard for his reuerence. Now what he suffe­red vpon the Crosse, was of so high a [Page 8] nature, in reference to those things which he had suffered through the rest of the life; as that they alone may be thought peculiarly to belong to the Passion.

To conclude, He neuer wrought greater Prodigies and signes, then when lying vpon the Crosse, he was brought to extreme imbecillity and weaknes. For at that time, he did not only exhibite Miracles from Heauen, (the which the Iewes had before im­portunely demaunded of him) but also a litle after, he wrought the greatest Miracle of all; When being dead and buried, by his owne proper force and Vertue, he returned from Hell, and re­suming his Body, restored it againe to life; yea to an immortall life. Therfore we may conclude, that vpō the Crosse all things were truly performed and accomplished, which were written by the Prophets of the Sonne of Man.

But before we descend to write of the particular Words of our Lord, I hold it conducing to our purpose, to speake some thing of the Crosse it self, which was the Chayre or Pulpit of the Preacher, the Altar of the Priest sacri­fizing; the race, or place of him that [Page 9] did combat and feight, the shop (as it were) of working miraculous things. First then, touching the forme of the Crosse, the more common Opinion of the Ancients is, that it consisted of three seuerall parcels of Wood; One long, vpon the which the Body of our Lord crucified, was laid or extended; another ouerthwart, in which the hāds were fastened; the third was affixed and ioined to the lower part, vpon the which the feet did rest, but so nailed thereto, that they could not be moued from thence. This is the Opinion of the two most ancient Fathers, S. Iusti­nus, & S. Irenaeus: Who clearely shew, that both his feete did rest vpon the Wood, & that the one foote was not lying vpon the other. From which posture of our Lords Body it follow­eth, that there were foure nayles of Christ, and not only three, as many do imagine, who out of that conceit do paint Christ our Lord, so vpon the Crosse, as if he had the one foot vpon the other. But Gregorius Turonensis (l. de glo. mart. c. 6.) most euidently im­pugneth this, and fortifieth his Opi­nion from ancient Pictures of Christ crucified. And I my selfe did see at [Page 10] Paris in the Kings Library, certaine most ancient Manuscripts of the Gos­pells, in diuers places wherof Christ was painted Crucified, but euer with foure Nayles.

Furthermore, the long Wood did somwhat appeare aboue that parcell of Wood, which was ouerthwart, as S. Austin, and S. Gregory Nyssenus do write; And this seemeth also to be ga­thered from the words of the Apo­stle, who writing to the Ephesians, c. 3. thus sayth: That you may be able to comprehend with all the Saintes, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, (to wit of the Crosse of Christ.) By which wordes he clearly describeth the figure of the Crosse, which hath foure extremities; to wit, Latitude in the ouerthwart or trāsuerse Wood; Longitude in the long Wood; Altitude, in that part of the lōg Wood which appeared aboue the ouerth­wart; and Profundity in that part of the long Wood, which was stucke into the ground.

Our Lord did not vndergoe this kind of Torment by chance, or vnwil­lingly; but made speciall choice and e­lection of it euen from all Eternity, as [Page 11] S. Austin teacheth from that Apostoli­call testimony of the Acts c. 2. Him, by the determinate counsell and prescience of God, being deliuered, by the hands of wicked men you haue crucified & slaine. And accordingly Christ himselfe in the beginning of his preaching said to Nicodemus Ioan. 3. As Moyses exalted the serpent in the desert, so must the Sonne of Man be exalted; that euery one, which belieueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euerlasting. In like sort our Lord often speaking to his disciples of his Crosse, did counsell them to imitation, saying: Matt. 16. He, that will come after me, let him deny himselfe, and take vp his Crosse, and follow me.

Why our Lord did choose this kind of punishment, he only knoweth, who chose it: Notwithstanding there are not wanting some Misteries ther­of, the which the holy Fathers haue left to vs in Writing. Saint Irenaeus writeth, that the two armes of the Crosse do agree vnder one Title, in the which was written, Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum, that we might vnder­stand thereby, the two People (to wit the Iewes and the Gentils) which be­fore [Page 12] vvere deuided, in the end were to be ioyned togeather into one Bo­dy, vnder one Head which is Christ. S. Gregory Nyssene writeth, that part of the Crosse, vvhich looketh towards Heauen, to signify, that by the Crosse, as by a key, Heauen is opened to man; and that part of it, which declineth towards the Center of the World, to denote that Hel was spoiled by Christ, when he descended thither. The two armes of the Crosse, which are stret­ched towards the East, and West, to shaddow, that the repurging of the whole World was after to be perfor­med by the Bloud of Christ.

But S. Ierome, S. Austin, and S. Ber­nard do teach, that the chiefe Mistery of the Crosse is briefly touched in those vvords of the Apostle: Quae sit latitudo, longitudo, sublimitas, & pro­fundum; Since (say these Fathers) that first the Attributs of God are sig­nified in these Word, to wit, Power in height; In depth wisdome; in Latitude goodnes; in Longitude Eternity. A­gaine the Vertues of Christ suffering, are adumbrated and Typically figured therein; As in Latitude Charity; in Longitude Patience; in Altitude Obe­dience; [Page 13] in Profundity Humility. Lastly the Vertues, vvhich are necessary to those, who are saued by Christ, are al­so here signified: In depth Faith; in height Hope; in breadth Charity; in length Perseuerance. From the which we are to be instructed, that Chari­ty (vvhich deseruedly is called the Queene of Vertue) euery where hath place in God, in Christ, and in vs. But touching other Vertues, some of them are in God, others in Christ, and others in vs. And therefore it is lesse to be ad­mired, if in those last Words of Christ, which vve now vndertake to explaine, Charity do obtaine the first Place.

First therefore we will explicate the three first Words or Sentences, which were spoken by Christ about the sixt houre, before the Sunne was obscured, and darknes couered the whole Earth. Next we will discourse of the then defect of the Sunne. That done, we vvill explaine & vnfould the rest of the Words of our Lord, which were spoken about the ninth houre, as S. Mathew writeth; to wit, when the darknes did depart [...], and the death of Christ drew neare, or rather was euen at hand.

OF THE THREE FIRST WORDS spoken by Christ vpon the Crosse. THE FISRT BOOKE.

The first Word, to wit, Father, forgiue them, for they know not what they do, is literally explicated. CHAP. I.

CHrist Iesus, being the Word of his Eternall Father, and of whom the Father himselfe thus clearely speaketh: Ip­sum audite, heare him, Matth. 17. and vvho of himselfe manifestly pronoun­ceth, One is your Maister, Christ, Math. 23, to the end that he might fully per­forme [Page 15] the office taken vpon him, not only liuing, neuer ceased from tea­ching; but euen dying from the Chaire of his Crosse, [...]reached and deliuered certaine fevv vvords, but those most fiery, most pro [...]able, and most effica­cious; and such as are truly vvorthy to be imprinted in the depth of the Hart of all Christians, that there they being reserued & meditated on, might ansvverably in their actions be put in executiō. The first Sentēce is this. Luc. 23. Father forgiue them, for they know not what they do. Which sentence as being truly new & vnaccustomed, the Holy Ghost would haue it foretould by the Prophet Esay. c. 53. in these words: He hath prayed for the Trans­gressours. Now hovv diuinely S. Paul said, 1. Cor. 13. Charity seeketh not her owne, may easely be euicted euen from the order of these Sentences of our Lord: since of these Sentences, three of them belong to the good of others; Other three to a peculiar and proper Good; and one of them is promiscuous or common. Thus the first care & sol­licitude of our Lord vvas touching o­thers, the last touching himselfe.

Novv, so far forth, as concernes the [Page 16] three first Sentences, vvhich belong to others; the first is directed to our Lords Enemies, the second to his friends, the last to those of his kinred and affinity. The reason of this Order or Method is this: Charity first relie­ueth and helpeth such as be in want; And those, who at that tyme suffered most spirituall wāt, were his Enemies; and we also as being the disciples of so great a Maister vvere in want, as standing in neede of being instructed hovv to loue out Enemies. Which pre­cept is far more difficult, thē to know how to loue our friends or allies; since this is most easy, being (after a sort) be­gotten with vs, and increaseth with vs, and doth often preuaile more then reason requireth. Therefore the Euan­gelist saith: Iesus autem dicebat, where the word (autem) designeth the time and occasion of praying for his Ene­mies, and implyeth an Antithesis, or opposition of words with words, and vvorkes with workes. As if the Euan­gelist would haue said: They did cru­cify our Lord, and deuided his garments in his ovvne sight; and others derided, traduced, and defamed him, as a sedu­cer and Lyar. But he seing and hearing [Page 17] these passages, and suffering most ve­hement paines, by reason of his hands & feete most cruelly pierced through vvith nailes, did render good for euill, and said: Pater dimitte cis, Father for­giue them.

He heere calleth him Father, not God, nor Lord; as vvell knowing, there vvas need of the benignity of a Father in this busines, but not of the seuerity of a Iudge. And because to appease God (doubtlesly offended through such perpetrated impieties) it was conuenient to interpose the comforta­ble Name of a Father; Therefore that vvord, Father, seemeth thus much in this place to signify: I am thy Sonne, vvho now suffer; I pardon them, par­don them also O Father. For my sake remit them this their offence, though they do not deserue it. Remember al­so, that thou art a Father vnto them by Creation, through the which thou hast made them to thy owne likenes and similitude; therefore impart to them thy paternall Char [...]ty; since though they be wicked, yet are they thy sons. Dimitte, forgiue them: This word comprehendeth the summe of the Petition, vvhich the Sonne of God, [Page 18] as an Aduocate for his Enemies, doth exhibite to his Father. Novv this VVord, Forgiue, may be referred both to the Punishment and to the offence. Yf it be referred to the punishment, then his prayer was presently heard: because whereas the Ievves t [...]rough this vvicked Crime, deserued to be in­stantly penished, as either to be con­sumed vvith fire falling from Heauen, or to be ouervvhelmed vvith Water, or to perish through svvord and fa­mine; yet was the Punishment due for this offence and sinne, prolonged and delayed for the space of forty yeares, vvith [...]n vvhich compasse of time, if that Nation had done Pennance, it had remained safe and in security. But be­cause it neglected all performance of Pennance, God did send against them the Army of the Romans, Vespasian then being Emperour; vvho ouer­throvving the chiefe Citty, destroyed the Ievvish Nation, partly through fa­mine in beseiging the City, partly in putting to the svvord many after the Citty vvas taken; partly by selling and leading them Captiues; and partly by dispersing and relegating them into seuerall Countries and Places. VVhich [Page 19] very point first by the Parable of the Vine, of the King causing a Mariage to be solemnized for his Sonne, and of the barren and vnfruitfull fig tree; and after in most expr [...]sse words our Lord vpon Palme-sunday by his owne wee­ping and lamentation did foretell.

Now so far as belongs to the fault and offence, his prayer was also heard; because through the merit and vertue of his Prayer, Grace of Compunction was giuen to many from God. Among whom those were, Who returned knocking their breasts; as also the Cen­turion, who said: In very deed this was the Sonne of God: And many others more, who after the preaching of the Apostles were conuerted, and there­vpon confessed him, whom afore they had denied, & worshipped him whom they had despised, The Reason, why Grace of Conuersion was not giuen to all, is, because the Pra [...]er of Christ was conformable to the VVisdome and Will of God; VVhich point S. Luke writeth in other VVord [...], in the Acts of the Apostles, c. 13. saying: As many belieued, as were preordinate to life euerlasting.

Illis, them: By this word those are [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] vnderstood, for whom Christ prayed, that they might obtaine Pardon. And truly they seeme to be the first, who actually nayled Christ vnto the Crosse, and who deuided his garments among themselues, and then all those are vn­derstood, who were the Cause of our Lords Passion; for example Pilat, who pronounced sentence against Christ, The People who cryed, tolle, tolle, cru­cifige eum, away, away with him, cruci­fy him; The chiefe of the Priests and the Scribes, who falsly accused him; And to ascend higher, euen the First Man himselfe, and all his Posterity, who through sinne, gaue occasion of Christ his Passion. Therefore our Lord prayed for pardon, from the Crosse, for all his Enemies. All of vs were in the number of his Enemies, according to that of the Apostle. Rom. 5. When we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Sonne. There­fore euery one of vs, euen before we were borne, are numbred in that most sacred Memento (so to speake) in the which Christ (the supreme Bishop [...]) prayed in that most holy Masse, which he performed vpon the Altar of the Crosse. VVhat retribution therefore, O [Page 21] my Soule, wilt thou giue to him, for all those Benefits, which he gaue to thee, before thou hadst Being? Our Blessed Lord did see, that thou once wast in the number of his Enemies, neuerthe­lesse he prayed to his Father for thee (neither seeking after him, nor desi­ring him so to pray) that this thy mad­nes should not be imputed to thee. Is it not then thy duty, euer to haue euer imprinted in thy hart, the remem­brance of so benigne and louing a Pa­trone, and not to let slip any occasion of seruing of him? And is it not in like sort reasonable, that thou, as being in­structed by so great an example, shoul­dest not only learne to pardon thy ene­mies and to pray for them, but also that thou shouldest perswade all o­thers to do the same? Say therefore, O my Soule, this is most iust and fit­ting, and I do much couet and deter­mine to accomplish the same, and the rather, seing he, who hath left this most remarkable Exāple, is ready out of his goodnes to affoard his effica­cious hand and help, to the effecting of so great a VVorke.

Non enim sciunt, quid faciunt, For they know not what they do. That [Page 22] this Intercession of Christ may seeme more reasonable, he doth extenuate & excuse the Offence of his Enemies, in such sort as he can. Certainly he could not excuse the Iniustice of Pi­late, neither the Cruelty of the soul­diers, nor the malice of the Chiefe of the Priests, nor the foolishnes and vn­thankfulnes of the Common People; nor finally the false testimonies of those, who swore against him. Only this remained, that he did excuse the Ignorance of them all; For truly (as the Apostle speaketh 1. Cor. 2.) If they had knowne, they neuer would haue crucified the Lord of glory. But although neither Pilate, nor the Chiefe Priests, nor the People, nor the Ministers of his Passion, did know Christ to be the Lord of Glory; yet did Pilate know, that Christ was a iust and holy man, and deliuered ouer to him through the malice of the Chiefe Priests; As also those high Priests did know, that he was the true Christ which was pro­mised in the Law, as S. Thomas tea­cheth; because they could not deny, neither did they deny, but that he did worke many miracles, which the Pro­phets foretould the true Mes [...]ias was after to doe.

To conclude, the People did know, that Christ was condemned without iust cause, since Pilate openly cried out, saying: I find no cause in this Man; I am innocent of the Bloud of this iust man. And although the Iewes, or the Chiefe of them, or the People did not know, that Christ was the Lord of Glory; Yet they might well haue knowne the same, had not Malice blinded their Harts; For thus S. Iohn speaketh, cap. 12. VVhereas he had donne so many mi­racles before them, they belieued not in him, because Esay the Prophet said: He hath blinded their eyes, and hardned their Heart, that they may not see with their eyes, nor vnderstand with their Heart, and be conuerted &c. But yet this blinding doth not excuse the man blinded, since it is Voluntary, though not precedent; euen as those, who do sinne of malice, do labour indeed with some Ignorāce, which Ignorance doth not excuse them, in that it doth not precede, or goe before but only ac­company the sinne. For the VViseman truly sayth, Prou. 24. They do erre, who worke Euill; And the Philosopher ac­cordeth therto, teaching, that, Omnis malus, ignorans. And vpon this ground [Page 24] it may be truly said of all sinners: Non sciunt, quid faciunt. For it is impossi­ble to desire or will Euill, with refe­rence to Euill; since the Obiect of the will, is not a thing either good or Euil, but only that which is good; VVhere­fore those, who choose what is euill, do euer choose it, as it is represented vnder the shew of Good; yea vnder the colour of the chiefest good, that then can be obtained.

The reason hereof is the pertur­bation of the inferiour part of the soule, which doth darken reason, and causeth it to discerne that seming Good only, which is in the thing, that is desired. For who chooseth to cōm­mit Adultery or Theft, vvould neuer chuse the same, except his mind were bent vpon the Good of the delight or gaine, which is in Adultery or Theft; as also except he had shut his eyes a­gainst the euill of Turpitude or Iniu­stice, vvhich is in Adulterie or Theft. Therefore euery sinner is like vnto a man, who desiring to cast himselfe dovvne from a great height into a Ri­uer, doth first shut his eyes, and then after cast himselfe into the Riuer. In like sort, vvho doth Euill, doth hate [Page 25] the light, and laboureth with volunta­ [...]y Ignorance, vvhich Ignorance doth not excuse, in that it is Voluntary. But heere it may be demanded, if this Ig­norance doth not excuse, why then doth our Lord say; Forgiue them, for they know not what they do? To this it may be answered, that the words of our Lord may be vnderstood chiefly & first of them, who crucified him; whome it is probable to haue beene then ignorant not only of the Diuini­ty of Christ, but also of his Innocency, and that they simply performed the worke or charge imposed vpon them. Therefore for these Men our Lord did most truly say: Father, forgiue them, for they know not what they do.

Furthermore, if the Words be vn­derstood of vs, before we had a Being, or of many sinners absent, which tru­ly were ignorant of what was then done at Ierusalem, our Lord with iust reason said: They know not what they doe. To conclude, if the words be vn­derstood of those, who were present, and were not ignorant, that Christ was the Messias, or an innocent Man; then it is to be said, that the Charity of Christ was so great, as that he was [Page 26] willing to lessen the sinne of his Ene­mies, in such manner as he could. For although that Ignorance doth not simply and absolutely excuse, yet it seemeth to pretēd some reason (though weake) of excuse; because they had more grieuously sinned, if they had wholy wanted all Ignorance. And al­though our Lord was not ignorant, that that excuse was not a reall excuse, but only a shaddow of an excuse, yet it pleased him to alledge it for an ex­cuse; that from thence we might be in­structed of the good Will and dispo­sition of our Lord towards sinners; & how desirous he would haue beene to haue taken and alledged a better ex­cuse euen for Caiphas and Pilate, if a better and more warrantable could haue been found, or pretended.

Of the first fruite of the first Word, spoken vpon the Crosse. CHAP. II.

VVE haue explicated & vnfoul­ded the construction & Sen­tence of the first Word pronounced [Page 27] by Christ vpon the Crosse. Now we will vndertake by way of meditation, to gather frō the said VVord, certaine fruits, and those most holesome and profitable to vs All. The first then of these fruits is, that we are instructed from this first part of the Sermon or preaching of Christ, from the Chayre of his Crosse, that the Charity of Christ was more ardent & fiery, then we can either vnderstand or imagine. And this is that, which the Apostle writing to the Ephesians cap. 3. sayth: To know the Charity of Christ, surpas­sing knowledge. For the Apostle doth intimate in this place, that from the Mistery of the Crosse, we are able to learne the greatnes of the Charity of Christ to be so immense, and of that measure, as that it doth surpasse and transcend our knowledge, so as we are not able to comprehend it in our [...]hought or cogitation.

When any of vs is afflicted with any vehement griefe, either of the Teeth, the Eyes, the Head, or of any other Member; our mind is so busied and fixed in suffering that one paine, as that we cannot extend our thought to any other thing or negotiation; and [Page 28] therefore we cannot their admit Vis [...] ­tation of friends, or entercourse of men for the dispatch of any busines, But Christ being crucifyed, did weare a Crowne of thornes vpon his Head, as most ancient Fathers (to wit, Tertul­lian of the Latin Church, and Origen of the Greeke) do clearely teach, and therefore he could not stirre or mooue his Head without dolour and griefe. His Hands and Feete were fastened to the Crosse with nayles, through the piercing of which our Lord endu­red most sharpe and intermitted tor­ments. His naked Body being tired & spent through much whipping, and long iourneys, and openly exposed to ignominy and cold, and with its own weight, [...]larging the wounds of his Hands and feete, with an immane and incessant dolour, did offer seuerall pai­nes, and (as it were) seuerall Crosses to our Blessed Lord. Yet neuerthelesse (O wonderfull Charity and surmoun­ting our apprehension) all these his af­flictions sleighed by him and not wei­ghed, as if he had suffered nothing, he was sollicitous and regardfull only of the health and good of his Enemyes; and desiring to auert from their heads [Page 29] the impendent danger, cried to his Fa­ther: Father, forgiue them. VVhat would he haue donne, if those flagi­tious men had iniustly suffered perso­cution, and not exercised it? I meane if those men had beene friends, or of his kidred, or Sonnes, and not Enemies, Traitours, & most wicked Patricides?

Truly, most mercifull Iesus, thy Charity hath ouercome our Vnder­standing; for I behould thy hart tossed to and fro among the stormes of so many iniuries and griefes (as a rocke beaten vpon with waues on ech side) to remaine immoueable. For thou lookest vpon thy Enemies, who after so many mortall wounds by them in­flicted vpon thee, did deride thy Pa­tience, and reioyced at their owne per­petrated iniuries against thee: Thou lookest vpon them (I say) not as an Enemy vpon his cruell En [...]mies, but as a Father vpon his be wayling Sōnes, or as a Physitian vpon his sicke and languishing Patients: Therefore thou art not offended at them, but thou ta­kest pitty of them, & commends them to thy most powerfull Father, to be cured and made whole. For this is the force and Vertue of true Charity; to [Page 30] wit to haue peace with all men, to re­pute not any for Enemies, but to liue peaceably with those who hate peace.

And this is that, which in the Can­ticles is verified of the Vertue of per­fect Charity. Cant. 8. Many waters cannot quench Charity, nor flouds shall ouerwhelme it. These many VVaters are many Passions, which the Spiri­tuals of wickednes, as so many hellish stormes by the Iewes and Gentills (as by cloudes full of hate) haue showred downe vpon Christ; and notwithstan­ding, this deluge of VVaters (that is, of paines and vexations) could not ex­tinguish the fier of Charity, which did burne in the breast of Christ. There­fore the Charity of Christ did (as it were) swim aboue that inundation of many waters, & burning said: Father, forgiue them. Neither only were those many VVaters not able to extinguish the Charity of Christ, but also the fol­lowing flouds of Persecution could not ouerwhelme & drowne the Cha­rity of the members of Christ. And therefore a litle after, Christian Chari­ty euen boyling in the breast of S. Ste­uen, could not be extinguished by the shower of stones cast at him; but in­creased [Page 31] its heat, crying: O Lord, lay not this sinne vnto them. Act. 7. And after this the perfect and inuincible Chari­ty of Christ, being dilated and spread in the Harts of many thousands of Martyrs and Confessours, did so fight and striue against the flouds both of inuisible and visible Persecutours, as that it may be truly pronounced: Ne­uer to the end of the world shall the flouds of Persecution put out, or ex­tinguish the fyer of Charity.

And that we may ascend from the Humanity of Christ to his Diuinity: Great was the Charity of Christ, as being man, towards his Crucifiers; But the Charity of Christ, as God, and of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost towards men, was, and euen to the consummation of the world, shalbe far greater; I meane, towards such men, who with God himselfe did wage emnity and malice, and who (if it had layn in their power) would haue de­truded and thrust him out of Heauen, and haue killed him. Who therefore but in thought can conceaue the Cha­rity of God, towards vngratefull and wicked men? God spared not the An­gels sinning, neither gaue he them [Page 32] place of Repentance: Yet he patiently tolerateth men, who are sinners, Blas­phemers, reuolting to the Deuill the Enemy of God. And which is more, he doth not only tolerate them, but in the meane tyme doth maintaine and nourish them; yea sustayneth and sup­porteth them. For as the Apostle spea­keth, in him we liue, and moue, and be. Act. 17. Neither doth our mercifull Lord only nourish, feed, and sustayne his Enemies; but withall euen heapeth benefits vpō them, graceth them with wit, furnish them with riches, aduan­ceth them to honours, placeth them in the Throne of Regall Soueraignty; euer expecting in the meane time their returne from the Way of iniqui­ty and perdition.

But to forbeare to wander in that large field of discourse, which manife­steth the Charity of God towardes wicked men; and Enemies of his di­uine Maiesty; we will heare consider only the benefit and fauour of Christ. Do we not lead, God so loued the world that he gaue his only begotten Sonne? Ioan. 3. The world is an Enemy to God, For in malign [...] positus est, as S. Iohn sayth, and, He who loueth the [Page 33] World, the Charity of the Father is not in him. 1. Ioan. 2. Againe, as S. Iames contesteth, cap. 4. The friendship of the world is the Enemy of God; And againe: Whosotuer wilbe a friend of this world, is made an Enemy of God. Therefore God louing the world, did loue his Enemy, thereby to make it his friend. For to that end God did send his Sōne into the world, who is Princeps pacis, that by him the world might be re­conciled to God. And therefore at the byrth of Christ, the Angels did sing: Glory in the highest to God, & in earth Peace to men. Therefore God loued the world (his Enemy) that through Christ he might procure reconcilia­tion and atonement with it, and that it being reconciled, might auoyde the punishment due to his Enemy.

The world did not admit or re­ceaue Christ, It did augment its of­fence; It became rebellious against the Mediatour; God inspired into the Me­diatour, that he should render good for euill, and that he should pray for his Persecutours, He prayed, and, was heard for his reuerence. Heb. 5. The Pa­tience of God expected, that the world through the preaching of the Apostles, [Page 34] do pennance, and those who perfor­med pennance, receaued pardon; but such who would not repent, after lōg patience of God, were exterminated by the iust iudgment of God. There­fore we truly learne from the first word of Christ, the Charity of Christ surpassing knowledge; We also learne the Charity of God the Father, surpas­sing knowledge, Who so loued the world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne, that euery one, who belieueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euer­lasting. Ioan. 5.

Of another fruite of the same first Word, spoken by Christ vpon the Crosse. CHAP. III.

AN other fruite (and that very healhfull to all tasting the same) is, if men will learne to pardon easily Iniuries offered vnto them, and by this meanes to make friends of Enemies. Now for the persuading hereto, the Example of Christ and God ought to be a most forcible argument and indu­cement: [Page 35] for if Christ did pardon his Crucifiers, and prayed for them, why should not a Christian man do the like? Yf God (the Creatour of all) in whose power it is, as being Lord & Iudge, to take present reuenge vpon sinners, doth neuerthelesse expect, that a sin­ner should returne to Pennance, and doth inuite him to peace and reconci­liation, and stands prepared to pardon all those, who haue offended his Ma­iesty; Why should not a Creature be ready and willing to performe the same? Adde hereto, that the pardon­ning and remitting of an Iniury wan­teth not a great Reward. It is written in the history of the life and death of Saint Engelbertus, Arch-bishop of Cullen, that when he was entrapped by his Enemies in his iourney, and slayne by them, and he then saying in his Hart, Pater ignosce illis, O Father pardon them; It was reuealed of him, that for this one act (being in a high manner gratefull to God) his soule was not only instantly taken vp by the Angels to Heauen; but that being pla­ced in the Quyre of Martyrs, obtained the Crowne of Martyrs, and after his death was illustrious for many mira­cles. [Page 36] Apud Sur. die 7. Nouemb.

O! if Christians did know, how ea­sily (if themselues would) they might be enriched with inestimable Trea­sure, and might be aduanced to high Titles of Honour and glory, if so they would suppresse and curbe the pertur­bations and passions of their mind & with a true fortitude would spurne at small Iniuries against them commit­ted, they would not be of such a flinty and inexorable disposition, to remit, or suffer wrongs and offences. But they will reply; It semeth to be aduerse & euen incōpatible with the law & right of Nature, that a man should suffer himselfe to be betrampled and trod­den vpon by other men, offered wrōgs and disgraces, either in word or deed: For we see euen brute Beasts, who are carryed only by the instinct of Nature, to assault other Beasts their Enemyes, with great fiersnes, and do labour to kill them. In like sort, we haue expe­rience in our selfes, that if vnexpected­ly we meete or fall vpon our Enemy; instantly our Choler is inflamed, our Bloud begins to rise and boyle, and that we haue a desire euen naturally of Reuenge.

But he is greatly deceaued, who thus disputeth, and he doth pro­miscuously confound a iust defence, with an iniust reuenge. A iust defence is not subiect to reprehension; and this i [...] that, which euen nature instructeth vs; to wit, vim vi repellere, to repell and withstand force by force; but she teacheth vs not, to reuenge an iniury receaued. No man is forbidden to re­sist, that a wrong be not offered him; But to reuenge an Iniury already com­mitted, the diuine Law prohibiteth: since this belongeth not to any pri­uate Man, but to the publike Magi­strate. And because God is the King of kings, therefore he crieth out, & sayth: Reuenge to me, and I will reward. Deut. 32. Now that Beasts with a maine fiercenes rush vpon other Beasts their Enemies, this procedeth, in that Beasts cannot discerne betwene Nature, and the Vice, or imperfection of Nature; but men, who are endued with Rea­son, ought to make a distinction bet­weene Nature or the Person which is created good by God, and the Vice or sinne which is euill, and proceedeth not from God. Therefore a man recea­uing an Iniury, ought to loue the per­son, [Page 38] but to hate the Iniury; and not so much to be offended with his Enemy, as to communicate and pity him; imi­tating herein Physitians, who loue their sicke Patients, and therefore en­deauour to cure them; But do hate their disease and sicknes, laboring with all their skill and art to expell it.

And this is that which our Maister and Physitian of our Soules, Christ Ie­sus, did teach, when he said: Loue your Enemies, do good to them, that hate you, and pray for them that persecute and abuse you. Matth. 5. Neither was our Maister Christ like vnto the Scribes & Pharisees, who sitting vpō the Chaire of Moyses, did teach, but did not ans­werably thereunto; But he sitting in the Chaire of the Holy Crosse, did ac­cordingly as he taught and preached. For he loued his Enemies, and he prayed for them, saying: Father for­giue them, for they know not what they doe. Now whereas the Bloud begin­neth to rise and boyle in men, when they see them of whom they haue re­ceaued an iniurie; the reason of this, is, because such men are Homines ani­males, and haue not yet learned to re­straine with the bridle of Reason the [Page 39] motions of the inferiour Part of the Soule, which is common to them with Beasts. But such men, as are Spirituales, to wit, spirituall, and know how not to yeald to their owne Passions, but to maister and ouerule them, are not of­fended at their Enemies; but pitying the [...], do labour by curtesies and be­ [...]s to reduce them to peare and concord.

But this (many men say) is ouer harsh and vngratefull, especially to such, as being nobly borne, are solici­tous (and so ought to be) of their Ho­nour. To this I answere; that the point here enioyned is easy, for the yoake of Christ, who imposed this Law to his Disciples and followers, is sweet, and his burden easy, as we read in the Gos­pell, and his Commandements are not heauy, as S. Iohn affirmeth; Now if they seeme more difficult and burdensome to vs, then we expect, this falleth out through our owne default, in that there is but litle Charity of God in vs, or none at all. For nothing is difficult to Charity, according to that of the Apostle. 1. Cor. 13. Charity is patient, is benigne, suffereth all things, belieueth all things, hopeth all things, heareth all [Page 40] things. Neither did Christ alone loue his Enemies (though he did in a far more eminent degree; then any other) for euen in the Law of Nature, holy Ioseph the Patriarch, did wonderfully loue his Enemies, by whom he was sold. And in the written Law, Dauid did patiently beare his Enemy Saul, who sought his death a long tyme. And yet when Dauid had oportunity to kill Saul, he euer did forbeare the same. Againe in the law of Grace; S. Steuen, the Prot [...]martyr, did follow the example of Christ, who, when he was stoned, prayed saying: Lord, lay not this sinne vnto them. Act. 7. In like sort, S. Iames, who was cast downe from a great height, by the Iewes, and being most neare to his death, cried out: O Lord, pardon them, for they know not what they doe. And the Apostle S. Paul, speaking of himselfe and of his fel­low Apostles, thus sayth: 1. Cor. 4. We are cursed, and we do blesse; we are per­secuted, and we sustaine it, we are blas­phemed, and we beseech. To conclude, many Martyrs and infinite others fol­lowing the Example of Christ, haue easily fulfilled this Precept.

But some others do further vrge, [Page 41] saying; I grant, we are to pardon our Enemies; but this is to be performed in due tyme; to wit, vvhen the memo­ry of the receaued iniury is partly for­gotten, and the mind returneth to it selfe, as voyde of Passion. But what, if it fall out, that in the meane tyme, thou be snatched out of this life, and happen to dye, and thou art found without the vestment of Charity, and it be said vnto thee. How camest thou in hither, not hauing a wedding gar­ment? Matt. 22. Wilt thou not be then dumbe, when thou shalt heare the Sentence of the Lord, saying: Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into vtter darknes; there shalbe weeping & gna­shing of teeth? Therefore I wish thee to be diligent and attent, and to imi­tate the Example of thy Lord, vvho in that very instant, wherein he had re­ceaued the iniurie, and vvhen his hands and feete did yet distill dovvne abundance of Bloud, and when his whole Body was tormēted with most bitter paines, said vnto his Father, Fa­ther forgiue them. This is the true and only Maister, whom all men ought to heare, vvho vvill not be drawne into any Errour. Of this our Maister, God [Page 42] the Father thus pronounced from Hea­uen; Ipsum audite, Heare him. In him are all the Treasures of Wisdome, and knowledge of God. Certainly if thou vvouldest take counsell of Salomon, thou mightest securely inough anker thy selfe vpon his aduice or iudgment: E [...] ecce plus quam Salomon, hic; And behould; more then Salomon, heere. Math. 12.

But yet I heare some refractory man or other, still impugning this do­ctrine, and saying: If we should render good for euill, benefits for iniuries, & louing words for Contumelies; the Wicked by this meanes would grovv insolent, and the Transgressours more bold, the iust should be oppressed, & Vertue betrampled vpon, and con­temned. But the matter standeth not so. For often, as the wiseman spea­keth: Prou. 15. A soft answere breaketh anger; and very often the Persecutour doth so admire the patience of the Iust man by h [...]m wronged, as that thereby of an Enemy he becomes his friend. Neither are there wanting here vpon earth Politike magistrates, Kings, and Princes, vvhose office and charge is, to chastize according to the seuerity of [Page 43] the Lavves, the procacity and insolen­cy of the Wicked, that so the Iust and Vertuous may lead a quiet and pea­ceable life. And if Humane Iustice should sometimes conniue, or winke at such euill deportment; yet the Pro­uidence of God is euer vigilant, which vvill not leaue any Iniustice vnpuni­shed, nor any good vnrewarded; and vvhich by a vvounderfull course pro­cureth, that the Wicked whiles they thinke to oppresse the Iust, do therein exalt them, and make them more res­plendent and glorious. For thus S. Leo speaketh, Serm. de S. Laurentio. O per­secutour, thou hast byn cruell against the Martyr, thou hast beene cruell, I say; but thou hast increased his Palme, whi­lest thou increasest his paines; for what hath not thy wit inuented for the grea­ter glory of the Victour, when both the Triumphs, and the very Instruments of his Punishments do proclaime his Ho­nour? The which sentence may be iu­stifyed of all Martyrs, as also of the ancient Saints. For nothing hath made Ioseph the Patriarch, more celebrious & famous, then his Persecution com­ming from his owne Brethren; for whiles through enuy they sould him [Page 44] to the Madianits, they were thereby become the Cause, that he was made Prince of all Egypt, & of his Brethren.

But passing ouer these points with a gentill touch; Let vs briefly gather togeather the many and great detri­ments, which men suffer, who, that in the eye of man they may decline but the shadovv of disgrace, do endeauour with all stifnesse, and resolution of mind, to reuenge the Iniuries recea­ued from their Enemies. First, they discouer and betray their owne folly, whiles they seeke to cure a lesser Euill by a greater. For it is a Principle ac­knowledged by all, and taught by the Apostle. Rom. 3. That Euill is not to be done, that Good from thence may rise; Euen as greater Euills are not to be perpetrated, for the preuention of les­ser. Who receaueth an iniury, falleth into Malum Poenae: Who reuengeth an Iniury, falleth into malum Culpae: But malum Culpa is incomparably for greater, then malum Poenae, seing this later maketh a man miserable but not wicked; the other maketh one both miserable and wicked; This ma­lum poena depriueth a man of a tem­porall Good, but malum Culpa, depri­ueth [Page 45] him both of temporall and Eter­nall Good. Therefore that man who to be freed of the Euill of Punishmēt, falleth into the Euill of Offence, may well resemble him, who to make his shoo (being ouer short) fitting to his foote, is content to cut of part of his foote, which is euident madnesse.

But there is not any man to be found so grosly exceeding the limits euen of naturall Reason in temporall matters; Neuerthelesse many are to be found so blinded, & seeled vp in iudg­ment, as that they feare not most hei­nously to offend God, that thereby they may auoyd the shaddow (as a­boue I said) of disgrace among men, or that they may conserue the smoake of Honour with them. These men do fall into the indignation and hate of God, and if they do not recall and make a serious introuersion of their owne state in tyme, and performe great Pen­nance, they shalbe punished with sem­piternall shame and disgrace, & shall lose all eternall Honour and renowne. Furthermore such men by their re­uengefull proceedings, do a most gra­tefull office to the Deuill and his An­gels; vvho incite and stirre vp their [Page 46] Enemies to offer to them Wrongs & Iniuries, to the end that Emnity, and want of Charity may rise amōg them. Now how foule and vnworthy a thing is it to seeke rather to gratify the most cruell Enemy of mankind, then Christ Iesus, I leaue to the iudgment & con­sideration of all pious men.

But to proceed: it often falleth out, that he who hath receaued an in­iurie, and seeketh reuenge, doth dan­gerously wound or kill his Enemy, and then by the sentence of the Prince, all his goods being confiscated, he is ei­ther to suffer death, or forced to fly his Country, to the vtter ruine & de­struction of himselfe, his Children, and his whole House, and Family. Thus doth the Deuill play with, and delude such men, who couet more to be Ves­salls and slaues to false Honour, then to become seruants and brethren to Christ, our supreme King, and Cohe­ryes with him in his most ample and euerlasting Kingdome. Wherefore since so great and heauy a losse doth expect, and waite for those foolish men, who contrary to the Precept of our Lord, refuse to be reconciled to their Enemies; let all others, who haue [Page 47] true Iudgment, heare & follow Christ (the Maister of vs all) teaching in his Gospell, and confirming this his do­ctrine in workes, euen from the Crosse.

The second Word, which is: Amen, I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in Pa­radise. Luc. 23. CHAP. IV.

AN other Word, or rather ano­ther Sentence spoken by Christ vpon the Crosse, as S. Luke witnes­seth, was that bountifull and magnifi­call promise to the Thiefe, hanging v­pon the Crosse with him: This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise. The occa­sion of this speech of Christ was, that vvhen two theeues vvere crucified with him (the one on his right hand, the other on his left) the one of them increased the heape of his former sin­nes by blaspheming of Christ, and vp­brayding him with imbecillity and weaknes, saying: Yf thou be Christ, saue thy selfe and vs. I grant S. Mathew and [Page 48] S. Marke do write, that the Theeues crucifyed with Christ, did exprobrate to him his weaknes▪ But it is most pro­bable, that S. Mathew and S. Marke did take the plurall number for the singu­lar number; Which manner of speach is frequent in the sacred Scriptures, a [...] S. Austin obserued in his booke of th [...] Consent of the Euangelists. l. 3. c. 16. For the Apostle writing to the Hebrews, sayth: They stopped the mouthes of Lyons, they were stoned, they were hewed, they went about in sheepskins, in Goate-skins; and yet who stopped the mouth [...] of Lyons, was but one Da­niell, and who was stoned, was but one Ieremy, and vvho was hewed in peces vvas but one Esay; Add hereto, that S. Mathew and S. Marke do not so ex­presly say, that both the Theeues did vpbraid Christ, as we find S. Luke ex­presly to vvrite: Vnus autem de his &c. One of the theeues, that were hanged, blasphemed him.

For the greater probability of truth, we may further say, that ther [...] cā be no reason alledged, why the same theefe should both blaspheme, and praise Christ. And whreas some do re­ply, that this theefe, who afore did [Page 49] blaspheme, did after change his Iudge­ment, and praysed Christ, when he heard him say: Father forgiue them, for they know not what they do: is eui­dētly repugnant to the Gospell; for S. Luke relateth, that Christ prayed for his Persecutours to his Father, before the wicked Theefe begunne to blas­pheme. Therefore the iudgements of S. Ambrose and S. Austine are to b [...] imbraced heerin, who mantaine, that of the two theeues, the one did blas­pheme, the other did prayse and de­fend Christ. Therfore the other thiefe did answere to the thiefe blasphe­ming, thus: Neyther dost thou feare God, whereas thou art in the same dā ­nation? Luc. 23. This good and happy thiefe, partly from the vertue of the Crosse of Christ, and partly from diui­ne light and inspiration, which then did begin to shyne to him, vnder­tooke to correct his Brother, and to draw him to a more safe mynd & iud­ment. The meaning of whose words is this: Thou wouldest imitate the blas­pheming Iewes; but they as yet haue not learned to feare the iudgment of God, because they are persuaded they haue ouercome; and they do vaunt & [Page 50] glory of their Victory, when they seē Christ nayled to the Crosse, and them­selfes to be free and at liberty, suffe­ring no euill. But thou, who for thy offences, hangest vpon the Crosse, and hastest towards death, why dost thou not begin to feare God? Why heapest thou sinne to sinne? And further, this happy Thiefe increasing in his good VVorke, and seconded vvith the light of the Grace of God, confesseth his sinnes, and preacheth the Innocency of Christ: saying: Et nos quidem iustè, and vve are iustly (to vvit condemned to the Crosse) but this man hath done no Euill. Luc. 23.

Lastly, the light of Grace more resplendently shining, he addeth: Do­mine memento mei &c. Lord remem­ber me, when thou shalt come into thy kingdome. Certainly the Grace of the Holy Ghost, which vvas in the hart of this Thiefe, is most wonderfull, S. Pe­ter the Apostle denieth Christ; the Thiefe nayled to the Crosse confesseth him: The disciples going to Emaus, say, But we did Hope; the Thiefe confi­dently speaketh, saying: Remember me, when thou shalt come into thy king­dome. S. Thomas the Apostle denied [Page 51] to belieue in Christ, except he saw that Christ had risen frō death; The Thiefe being vpon a Crosse and seing Christ fastened to the Crosse, doubteth not [...]o acknowledge, that after he was to [...]e a King. But who had taught this [...]heefe so high Mysteries? He calleth that man Lord, whom he did behould [...]aked, wounded, lamenting, openly derided and contemned, and hanging with him. He further sayth, that Iesus after his death, was to come into his kingdome. From which point we vn­derstand, that the Theefe did not [...]reame of any future temporall king­ [...]ome of Christ here vpon earth, (such [...]s the Iewes do expect) but belieued that Christ after his death, was to be an Eternall King in Heauen. Who had instructed him in such sublime Sacra­ments? Certainly only the spirit of Truth, which did preuent him in the benedictions of sweetnes. Christ after his Resurrection said to his Apostles: Christ ought to suffer these things, and so to enter into his glory. But the Theife did foreknow this after a wounderfull manner, and did confesse it at that tyme, when there appeared no likely­hood in Christ to raigne. Kings do [Page 52] reigne vvhen they liue, and when they cease to liue, they cease to reigne. But the Theefe openly affirmed, that Christ by death was to come into his King­dome.

The vvhich point our Lord did explaine in one of his Parables, vvhen he said: Luc. 19. A certaine Noble man went into a farre Country, to take vnto himselfe a kingdome, and to returne. This our Lord said, being most neare vnto his Passion; signifying that by death, himselfe was to goe into a far distant Country or Region, that is, to an other life, or vnto Heauen, which is most remote from the Earth; and to goe, to the end to receave a most lar­ge and euerlasting kingdome; and after to returne at the day of iudgment, that he might make retribution ei­ther of reward or punishment to all men, according as they had deserued in this lyfe. Therefore of this king­dome of Christ, which presently after his death he was to receaue, the wyse Theefe said: Remember me, when thou shalt come into thy kingdome. But was not Christ a king before his death▪ Certainly he was; and therefore the Magi cryed out; Vbi est, qui natus est, [Page 53] Rex Iudaeorum? Where is he that is borne king of the Iewes? Math. 2. And Christ himselfe said to Pilate: Thou saist, that I am a King; For this was I borne, and for this came I into the world, that I should giue testimony to the Truth. Ioan. 18. Neuerthelesse he was a king in this world, as a stranger among his Enemies, and therefore he was acknowledged as a king only of few, but contemned and badly entrea­ted by many. And in regard thereof he said in the Parable aboue cited, that he was to goe into a far Country, to take vnto himselfe a kingdome; He said not, to seeke, or to gaine a Kingdome which did not belong to him, but to receaue his owne kingdome, and to returne; therefore the Theefe wisely said: VVhen thou shalt come into thy kingdome.

To proceede; The kingdome of Christ signifieth not in this place any Regall Potency or So [...]raignty: For this euen from the beginning he had, according to that of the Psalme 2. I am appointed king by him ouer Sion, his Holy Hill; And in another place! He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the Riuer euen to the ends of the world. [Page 54] Psal. 71. And Esay sayth: cap. 9 A litle one is horne to vs, and a sonne is giuen to vs, whose Principality is vpon his shoulder. And Ieremy, cap. 23. I will rayse vp Dauid, a Iust branch, and he shall reigne a king, and shalbe wise, and he shall do iudgement and iustice vpon the earth. And Zacharias cap. 9. Reioyce greatly O daughter of Sion, make iubi­lation O daughter of Ierusalem: Behold thy king will come to thee, the iust and Sauiour, himselfe poore, and riding vpon an Asse, and vpon a Coult the foale of an Asse. Therefore of this kingdome Christ did not speake in the Parable a­boue, neither the good thiefe, when he said, Remember me, when thou shalt come into thy kingdome: but both did speake of perfect Beatitude, by the which a man is exempted and freed from all seruitude and subiection of things created, and only is become subiect to God, whom to serue is to reigne, and he is constituted by God himselfe ouer all his Workes,

This Kingdome, so farre forth as it concerned the Beatitude of the Soule, Christ receaued euen from the beginning of his Conception; but as it concerned his Body, he had it not [Page 55] actually, but only by right, vntill af­ter his Resurrection. For whiles he was a Pilgrime or stranger heer vpon Earth, he was subiect to wearines, fa­mine, thirst, iniuries, wounds, and to death it selfe: yet because the glory of the Body was due to him, therfore after his death he did enter into his glory, as due to him. For thus our Lord himselfe speaketh after his re­surrection: Ought not Christ to haue suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? Which glory is called his glory, because he is of power to communicate it to others, and in this respect he is said to be, Rex gloriae, Do­minus gloriae, and, Rex Regum: And he himselfe saith to his disciples. I dispose for you a Kingdome. It is in our power to receaue glory, or a Kingdom, but not to giue; and accordingly it is said to vs: Matth. 2 [...]. Enter into the ioy of thy Lord, and not into thy owne ioy. Therefore this is that Kingdome, of which the good Thiefe sayd: when thou shalt come into thy Kingdome.

But heer the great Vertues, which shine in the prayer of this Holy Thiefe, are not to be passed ouer in silence; that therby we may the lesse wonder [Page 56] at the answere which Christ our Lord made to him: he saith, Lord remem­ber me, when thou shalt come into thy Kingdome. He calleth Christ Lord; by which title he acknowledgeth him­selfe to be his seruant, or rather his redeemed bondslaue, and confesseth him to be his Sauiour. He adioyneth: Remember me, which is a word full of hope, Fayth, Loue, Deuotion, & Hu­mility. He sayth not, remember me, if thou canst, because he belieued Christ could doe all things; neither saith he, if it pleaseth thee, because he was con­fident of Christs charity and goodnes. He saith not, I desire the consort and participation of thy Kingdome, because his Humility would not beare this kind of speach; to conclude, he desi­reth nothing in particular, but onely saith, rmember me, which is as much, if he had said, If thou wilt vouchsafe only to remember me; if thou wilt be pleased to turne the Eye of thy Beni­gnity towards me, it is sufficient for me; because I am assured of thy Power and Wisdome, and vpon thy goodnes and Charity I wholy anker and stay my selfe. He lastly addeth this, when thou shalt come into thy Kingdome; to [Page 57] shew that his desire was not fixed vpō any weake and temporary benefit, but that it aspired to thinges sublime and eternall.

Heere it followeth, that we consi­der the Answere of Christ: he sayth; Amen, I say vnto thee, this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise. That par­ticle, Amen, is a word graue and so­lemne with Christ, the which he was occustomed to vse, when he would affirme any thing earnestly and vehe­mently. S. Austin was not afraid to say, that this word Amen, was (as it were) the oath of Christ, tract. 41. in Ioan. Properly it is no oath, since when our Lord said in S. Mathew; I say to you, not to swere at all. And a litle after: Let your speach be, yea, yea, no, no: And that, which is ouer and aboue these, is of Euill. Mat. 5. Novv it is no way pro­bable, that our Lord should haue sworne so often, as he pronounted Amen, since he vsed this word, Amen many tymes; And in S. Iohn, he sayth not only, Amen, but Amen, Amen. Therefore S. Austin truly said, that Amen, was as it were an Oath, but he said not that it was an Oath. For this word, Amen, signifieth Truly; And [Page 58] when one sayth, I say truly to thee, he affirmeth earnestly, and an earnest af­firmation is peculiar to an Oath Ther­fore Christ with good reason said to the Thiefe, Amen I say to thee; that is; I truly do affirme, but do not sweare.

And indeed there were three emer­gent Reasons, which might cause the Thiefe to wauer and rest doubtfull of the Promise of Christ, except he had auerred it with so earnest an asseuera­tion. The first may be drawne from the person of the Thiefe, who seemed not in any sort worthy of so great a Reward, or so great a guift. For who would imagine, that a Theife should from the Crosse presently passe to a kingdome? The second Reason is taken from Christ promising, who at that in­stant seemed to be reduced & brought to extremity of want, weaknes, & ca­lamity. For the Thiefe might probably thus reason and discourse with him­selfe: Yf this man during his life tyme, was not able to performe any thing in behalfe of his friends, shall not he be lesse able, being dead? The third rea­son may haue reference to the thing promised. For here Paradise is promi­sed: but Paradise (as then all men [Page 59] tooke notice) did belong not to the Soule, but to the Body; since by the Word, Paradise, a terrestriall Paradise was vnderstood by the Iewes. It had beene more credible to the Thiefe, and subiect to his beliefe, if our Lord had answered: To day thou shalt be with me in the place of repose and refresh­ment with Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob. For these Reasons therefore did our Lord premise those words: Amen, Di­co tibi.

Hodie, to day. Our Lord sayth not, In the day of Iudgment, when I shall place thee with the lust vpon my right hand: Neither sayth he, After some yeares of thy being in Purgatory, will I bring thee to a place of rest; Nor doth he say: I will comfort thee after certaine Months, or Dayes; but he sayth, This very day, before the sunne shall set, thou shalt passe with me from the gibbet of the Crosse, to the delights of Paradise. A wonderfull Liberality or Bounty of Christ, and a wonderfull happines of the sinner. With iust rea­son therefore S. Austin (following S. Cyprian herein) is of Opinion, that this good Thiefe might be reputed a Martyr, and therefore escaping Purga­tory, [Page 60] did passe from this World im­mediatly to Heauen. The Reason, why the good Thiefe might be called a Martyr, is, in that he publikly confes­sed Christ, at such tyme, when his Dis­ciples were afraid to speake a word in Honour of him; therefore in regard of this his free and ready Confession, his death with Christ, was reputed with God, as if he had suffered for Christ.

Those words: Mecum eris, Thou shalt be with me; though no other thing should be promised, then what these words only import, yet had it bene a great benefit and reward vnto the Thiefe: For as S. Austin writeth: tract. 5. in Ioan. Vbi malè poterat esse [...]um illo, & vbi bene esse poterat sine il­lo? VVhere could the good thiefe be euill being with Christ; and where could he be well being without Christ? For no small reward and remuneration hath Christ promised to those that follow him, when he said, Ioan. 12. Yf any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. But our Lord promised to the thiefe not only his presence or company, but further added, that the Thiefe should be in Paradise▪

What the word Paradise, in this place may signify (notwithstanding the different opinions of some) nee­deth not be disputed of. For it is cer­taine, that Christ the same day after his death, was with his Body in the Sepulcher, with his Soule in Hell: for thus much the Creede of our Fayth deliuereth to vs. It is also no lesse cer­taine, that the Name either of Cele­stiall or Terrestriall Paradise cannot be ascribed either to the Graue, or to Hell. Not to the Graue; because that was a most narrow & strait place, only fitting to receaue and containe dead Bodies (to omit, that the Body of Christ & the Body of the good Thiefe were not put in one and the same graue;) Therefore it followeth, that if the Graue had beene vnderstood in this place, that promise had not bene fulfilled, To day thou shalt be with me. Neither can the Name of Paradise be aptly applyed to Hell; seing Paradise doth signify a garden of delights. And certainly in the terrestriall Paradise, there were trees, bearing fruite and flowers; there were also most cleare Waters, and an incredible sweetnes of Ayre. And in the celestiall Paradise [Page 62] there were, and are immortall plea­sures, an inextinguible Light, and the seates of the Blessed. But in Hell, euen in that place, where the soules of the holy Fathers did stay, there was no light, no sweetnes, no delight. True it is, that those soules were not tormen­ted, but rather contrariwise, seeing the hope of their future Redemption, and the Visitation of Christ to come to them, did exhilerate & comfort them: yet notwithstanding this, they were detayned (as Captiues) in an obscure and darke Prison. For thus doth the A­postle, (expoūding the Prophet) speak: Ephes. 4. Christ ascending on high, led Captiuity captiue. And Zachary sayth, cap. 9. Thou in the bloud of thy Testa­ment, hast let forth thy Prisoners out of the Lake wherein is no Water. Where those words, thy Prisoners, and, out of the lake in which there is no water, do not intimate any sweetnes of Paradise, but the darknes of a Prison. Therefore the name of Paradise signifieth no o­ther thing, then the Beatitude of the Soule, which is placed in the Vision of God: for that is the true Paradise of delights; not corporall or locall, but spirituall and Celestiall.

And this is the reason, why the Theefe beseeching and saying: Remem­ber me, when thou shalt come into thy kingdome. Christ did not answere and say: To day thou shalt be with me in my kingdome, but, in Paradise; For Christ himselfe vvas not to be that day in his kingdome; that is, in perfect felicity of Body and soule; but he was to arriue thereto vpon the day of his Resurre­ction, when his Body was to become immortall, impassible, glorious, and not obnoxious or subi [...]ct to any serui­tude. Neither would Christ haue the good Theefe to be partaker of this kingdome before the common Resur­rection of all Bodies, and the day of the last Iudgment. Notwithstanding our Lord most truly and properly said to him, To day thou shalt he with me in Paradise, because that very day he was to communicate to the soule of the good thiefe, as also to the Soules of all the Saints in Limbo Patrum, the glory of the sight of God, which himselfe had receaued from his Conception. For this glory, or felicity is essentiall, and it is the supreme Good in the Hea­uenly Paradise. And certainly the pro­priety of the words of Christ is to be [Page 64] admired. For he said not: VVe shall be to day in Paradise, or, to day we will goe into Paradise; but, To day thou shalt be with me in Paradise; as if he would haue said: Thou art this day with me vpon the Crosse, but thou art not with me in Paradise, in which I am, accor­ding to the supreme portion of the soule; but a litle after, yea this very day, thou shalt be with me, not only freed from the Crosse, but euen in Para­dise.

Of the first fruite of the second Word. CHAP. V.

FRom the second Word spoken v­pon the Crosse, we may gather certaine fruits of great worth. The first fruit is, the Consideration of the immense mercy & liberality of Christ, and how behoofull and profitable a thing it is, to serue him. Christ being oppressed with dolours, and paines, might not haue heard the Theefe pray­ing to him; but Charity made choyce rather to forget the sharpnes of his [Page 65] torments, then not to heare a misera­ble sinner, so confessing himselfe to be. The same Lord, who was altoge­ther silent at the maledictions and ex­probrations of the Chiefe Priests, and the souldiers, would not through his Charity be so, to the cryes of a poore and penitent suppliant. He was silent to the reproaches vttered against him, because he is patient, he would not be silent to the confession of the Thiefe, because he is mercifull.

But vvhat shall we may say of the Liberality and Bounty of Christ? He vvho serueth temporall Lords, doth often take great paines, and gaine but litle. Certainly we may daily see not few, who haue rauelled and spent out many yeares in Princes Courts, and yet in their old age they returne home, [...]lmost Beggars. But Christ our Prince [...]s truly liberall, truly magnificall; He [...]eceaued nothing from the Thiefe, but [...] few good Words, and a prompt de­ [...]ire of seruing and following him; and [...]et behould, with how great a reward [...]e vvas recompensed. For first eue [...] [...]hat day all his sinnes were fully par­doned, which he had committed du­ [...]ing the course of his whole life. Next, [Page 66] he vvas adioyned to the Princes of his People, to vvit, to the Patriarchs and Prophets: To conclude, he was taken vp and aduanced to the participation and fruition of Christ his Table, of his dignity, of his Glory, and finally of all his Goods. Our Lord said: To day thou shalt be with me in Paradise. And vvhat our Lord had said, he presently performed: for he did not defer this his reward to another tyme; but that very day Christ enriched the Theefe vvith a great reward, an aboundant Reward, and a Revvard amassed and heaped together of all the goods of Celestiall Happines.

Neither did Christ proceede in this manner of munificence only with this Thiefe. The Apostles only left their small boates, their places of re­ceauing Tole or Tribute, and their poore Cottages, that they might serue Christ. But in recompence of this, Christ made them, Princes ouer the whole Earth. Psal. 44. He also subiected to their power, the Deuill, Serpents, & all kind of diseases. Matth. 10. A man hath giuen to the poore (for the ho­nour and loue he beareth to Christ) [...] litle bread, or but some old cloaths, o [...] [Page 67] ragges, and yet in recompence hereof he shall heare Christ say at the day of Iudgment: I was hungry, and you gaue me to eate; I was naked, and you couered me; Therefore take and possesse an euer­lasting kingdome. Matth. 25. To con­clude, that I may pretermit all other points of this Nature, Heare, and take notice of the incredible bounty and li­berality of our Lord: but we must re­member, He was God who thus pro­mised: Euery one, that hath forsaken house, or Brethren, or sisters, or Father, or Wyfe, or Children, or Lands, for my names sake, shall receaue an hundred fould, and shall possesse life euerlasting. Matt. 19.

S. Hierome, and other holy Do­ctours do explicate this promise in this sort; To wit, that who sha l suffer losse of any temporal [...] matter for Christ in this present life, shall receaue a dou­ble reward, and incomparably greater, [...]hē the thing which is left for Christ. For first, he shall receaue spirituall ioy (being a spirituall guift) in this life, vvhich is an hundred fould greater & more precious, then is that which is left for the loue of Christ. So as a man of a cleare and perfect Iudgment, [Page 68] would sooner make choyce to retaine and keep that spirituall good to him­selfe, then to change it for an hundred houses, Lāds, or other such like things. Againe, as if this reward vvere but small, and not to be much prized, that happy Marchant or Negotiatour shall receaue in the world to come eternall Life, by vvhich word is signified an im­mense abundance, or boundles hea­ping togeather of all goods. But this is the vnlimited liberality of Christ our supreme Lord, towards those who are not afraid, or delay to bynd themsel­ues seriously to his Seruice. Are not then such men euen distracted and de­priued of their Wits, who abando­ning Christ, make themselues thral, & Vassals to Mammon, Epicurisme, and Luxurie?

But some men will contest against what we heere teach, and auer, as ne­uer hauing tasted of the Riches of Christ, saying: All which is hitherto spoken, are but naked Words, since we daily see many seruants of Christ to be poore, abiect, contemptible, and in state deplorable. This Hundred fould which is here so greatly magnified, vve see not. To this I answere. It is so [Page 69] indeed; for a Carnall man neuer seeth that Hūdred fould promised by Christ; because his eyes are not capable of such a sight; neither doth this man at any time tast that solid and true ioy, which a pure Conscience, and Sera­phicall Charity towards, God is accu­stomed to tast. But here I will produce an Example, from the which Carnali­ty, and Sensuality may in some sort make a cōiecture of spirituall delights, and riches.

We read in the Booke of Exam­ples (distinct. 3. exempl. 26.) of the most famous men of the Cistercian Order, that one Arnulphus (noble by byrth, and of great riches) leauing the World, and abandoning from him all temporall cares, became a Monke of the forsaid Order, vnder the famous Abbot S. Bernard. This man God did exercise and trye with diuers most sharp scourges of many corporall In­firmities, especially tovvards the later end of his life. But at one time, when his paines began to seize vpon him with greater violence then vsually afore, he cryed out with a great voyce, and said: Vera sunt omnia, qua dixisti Domine Iesu. O Lord Iesu &c. all those [Page 6] things are true, which thou hast said. And when as those, who were about him, demaunded why he spake these Words, he replied: Dominus in Euan­gelio suo dicit; Qui reliquerit diuitias &c. Our Lord hath said in his Gospell, He who hath left his riches, and all o­ther things for Christ; shall receaue an hundred fould in this life, and afterwards life euerlasting. Ego vim huius promissionis nunc demum intelligo &c. I now at length do see and acknowledge the truth and force of this promise; and do confesse, that now I do receaue an hundred fould of all things, or goods, which I haue left. For the great bit­ternes of these my paynes is so pleasant and gratefull to me, through my hope of Gods good mercy of which these dolours are a pledge, as that I would not haue wanted this Hope and Comfort for so much riches of the world, though a hun­dred tymes doubled, as I haue left and forsaken. For certainly the spirituall ioy, which now is but in hope and expe­ctation, doth a hundred thousand times exceed al worldly ioy which now actual­ly, and in possession is. Thus far the for­said Arnulphus his words. And I would desire the Reader maturely to [Page 71] weigh and consider of them, and then let him iudge, how much is to be esteemed and pryaed a certaine, and firme hope (infused by God) of the present obtayning of eternall Beati­tude and Felicity.

Of the second fruite of the second Word. CHAP. VI.

ANother fruite of the former se­cond Word or Sentence, is an acknowledgment of the power of the Grace of God, and of the imbecillity and weaknes of mans Will. From the knowledge whereof we may learne, that it is a chiefe matter greatly to confide in the help of God, and great­ly to distrust in our owne proper force and strength. Dost thou couet to know the power of the Grace of God? Be­hould the good Thiefe. This man was a notorious sinner, continuing in that most wicked state, till he came to suf­fer punishment vpon a Crosse, that is, almost till the instant of his death: And in so great a perill of Eternall [Page 72] damnation, there vvas not any who would relieue him either with coun­sell, or with other help or ease. For although he was placed neare to our Sauiour; yet he did heare the High Priests, and the Pharisees, affirming him to be a Seducer; ambitious, and to affect the kingdome of another man. He heard his fellow Thiefe vpbrayding Christ with the same men. There was not any man in all that Presence, who would speake one word in defence of Christ; neither did Christ himselfe seeke to refute those blasphemies and maledictions. Yet notwithstanding all this through the most gracious & ad­mirable fauour of God, whē the Thiefe seemed to haue no helpe for his Sal­uation; and being thus most neere to Hell, and most distant from eternall life, he being in a moment illustrated, and enlightned from aboue, and loa­thing his former vvickednes, confes­seth Christ to be innocent, and to be the king of the future World; And thus being made (as it were) a Prea­cher, he reprehendeth his fellow, per­suadeth him to repentance, and in the eye of them all doth deuoutely and humbly commend himselfe to Christ. [Page 73] To conclude, he did so beare himselfe herein, as that his penall torments v­pon the Crosse, inflicted iustly vpon him, for his offence, was accepted and taken for his paines due in Purgato­ry, and thus instantly vpon his death, he entred into the ioy of his Lord.

From this then we may learne, that no man ought to despaire of his Salua­tion, seing this poore man, who came into the Vineyard almost at the last hower, receaued the revvard vvith those who came at the first. Contrari­wise, the other Thiefe (that humane infirmity might more appeare) tooke no correption, or admonishment from that notable Charity of Christ, who prayed for his Crucifiers in so louing a manner, neither from his owne pro­per punishment; nor from the counsell and example of his fellow; nor from the vnaccustomed darknes, and clea­uing of the stones; nor from the Exam­ple of those, who (after Christ was dead) returned back beating & knoc­king their Breasts; All vvhich things did fall out after the Conuersion of the good Thiefe, that from thence we might be instructed, that the one Thiefe without these helps could be conuer­ted, [Page 74] the other with all the sam [...], could not, or rather would not.

But thou wilt heere demaund, why God did inspire and giue the grace of Conuersion to the one Thiefe, and did not inspire it to the other? I answere, that sufficient Grace vvas not wanting to either. And if the one of them did perish, he perished through his owne fault; if the other vvas conuerted, he was conuerted through the Grace of God, but not without the cooperation of his owne free will. But thou will re­ply; Why did not God giue to both the Theeues that efficacious Grace, which is not refused, and reiected euen of hard and stony Harts? This belon­geth to the secrets of God, the which it becommeth vs to admire, but not to search into: since it is s [...]fficient for vs to know, that there is no Iniquity with God, as the Apostle speaketh, and that the Iudgments of God may be se­cret, but iniust they cannot be, as S. Austin teacheth. It behoueth vs ra­ther to learne from this proceeding of God, not to deferre or prolong our Conuersion, till the end of our Life. Since though it happen to one man, to find the Grace of God at the last [Page 75] hovver, yet to another it falleth out, to find Iudgment.

And i [...] any man will reuolue or looke ouer Histories, and obserue the daily euents and chances, he shall cer­tainly find them to be very few, vvho haue fortunatly and happily passed out of this World, if so they liued wicked­ly throughout the vvhole course of their life; but rather after their life ne­gligently led, haue bene sent to euer­lasting Punishment▪ As on the contra­ry, most few can be numbred, who haue liued piously and saintly, and yet haue perished vnhappily and misera­bly: but many may be rekoned, who after a vertuous and godly life haue arriued to sempiternall ioyes. Certain­ly they are ouer bold and ouer rash, who in a matter so much importing (to wit, life Euerlasting, or torments euerlasting) dare defer to remaine in deadly and mortall sinne but one day; since they may be receaued and de­priued of this present life euery mo­ment; and that after death there is no more place left for Pennance, and no Redemption in Hell.

Of the third fruite of the second Word. CHAP. VII.

THe third fruit of the same Sen­tence of our Lord may be gathe­red from that, if one will consider, that ther were three Persons crucified in the same place, & at the same houre: One, that was Innocent (to wit, Christ) an other Penitent, the good Thiefe; the third, obstinate and obdurate in his sinnes, the bad Thiefe. Or otherwise we may say, There were three Per­sons crucified at one time; Christ, who was euer excellētly good; One Thiefe, euer notoriously wicked; Another Thiefe, who was sometimes wicked, sometymes holy. From this now vve may inferre, that no man in this life can liue without his Crosse, and that those labour in vaine, vvho hope and endeauour to auoyde the same; but those are wise, who receaue their Crosse from [...]he hand of our Lord, & do suffer the same euen till death, not only pati [...]ntly, but also resignedly and [...]llingly.

That all good and Vertuous men are to haue their Crosses, appeareth from those words of our Lord: Math. 16. Yf any man will come after me, let him deny himselfe, and take vp his Crosse, and follow me. And in another place: He that doth not beare his Crosse, and come after me, cannot be my Disci­ple. Luc. 14. The which point the Apo­stle clearely teacheth, saying, 2. Tim 3. All who will liue godly in Christ Iesus, shall suffer persecution. To whom are concordant the holy Fathers, both La­tin, and Greeke. For greater breuity I will insist only in two. S. Austin who writeth: Vita ista &c. This life is a litle Tribulation; Yf it be not a tribulation, it is not a peregrination; but if it be a pe­regrination, either thou litle louest thy Country, or without doubt thou suffe­rest Tribulation. in Psal. 137. And the same Father in another place: Si putas te &c. If thou be persuaded, that as yet thou hast suffered no tribulation, then thou hast not begun to be a Christian, in Psal. 11.

S. Iohn Chrysostome thus accordeth with the former Father: A Christiani vita &c. Tribulation is an indissolu­ble bond from the life of a Christian, [Page 78] hom 67. ad Pop. And againe: Non potest dicere &c. Thou canst not alledge any one, who is exempt from tribulation, be­cause he is Iust. hom. 29. in Ep. ad Heb. To conclude, the force of Reason ma­nifestly euicteth this point. Things cō ­trary without a mutuall concertation and fight cannot stand togeather. Fier and Water, so long as they remayne in seuerall & remote places, rest quiet, and without iarring; But when they meet together, then instantly the Wa­ter begins to euaporate and send forth smoke, to leape (as it were) and to make a noyse, vntill either the water be spent and consumed, or the fire ex­tinguished. Ecclesiasticus sayth, cap. 33. Contra malum, bonum est; contra mor­tem, vira; Sic & contra virum iustum, Peccator. Against Euill, is good; against death, Lyfe, so also against [...]iust man, is a sinner. Iust men are like to fire; they shyne, they burne, they ascend high, & whatsoeuer they do, they do it effica­ciously, vigorously, and sparkily: Bu [...] the Iniust resemble Water, they are could, they [...]de vpon the earth, cau­sing in euery place dirt & filth. What vvonder then is it, if all good men do suffer persecution at the hands of the [Page 79] Wicked? But because euen to the con­summation of the World, the wheate and the Darnell shall grow in the same fi [...]ld; the chaffe and the Corne in the same Barne; good and bad Fish in the same Net; that is, Vertuous & wicked men not only in the same World, but euen in the same Church; therefore it cannot be otherwise, but that vertuous and holy men shall receaue from the wicked and impious, Iniuries, and Tribulations.

But neither the wicked do liue in this world, voyde and exempt from the Crosse. For although they do not suffer persecution from the Iust; yet they do suffer from other wicked men; they suffer from their owne Vices; they suffer from a guilty and selfe tor­menting Conscience. Certainly the most wise Salomon, who was thought and reputed most happy (if any man could so be) could not deny, but that he suffered his Crosse, when he said: Vidi in omnibus &c. I saw in all things Va­nity and affliction of mynd. And a litle after: I haue beene weary of my lyfe, seing all things vnder the sunne to be euill, and [...]ll things Vanity, and affli­ction of spirit. Eccl 3 And Ecclesiasti­cus [Page 80] also cap. 40. (a man very wise) hath deliuered this generall Sentence: Great Busines and trauell is created to all men, and an heauy yoke vpon the children of Adam. S. Austin sayth: In­ter omnes tribulationes &c. Among all Tribulations not any is greater, then the Conscience of a mans sinnes. in Psal. 45. S. Chrysostome in his 3. Homily vpon Lazarus, teacheth, that the wicked do not want their Crosses. For if he be poore, Pouerty is to him a Crosse; if Pouerty be absent, then his owne vn­bridled Cōcupiscence doth afflict him more vehemently; Yf he keep his bed for any disease, he lyeth vpon a Crosse; if he be free from diseases and infirmi­ties of the Body, then is he inflamed with anger, which also is a Crosse.

But S. Cyprian demonstrateth, that euery man euen from his natiuity is borne to his Crosse, and to tribula­tion; and that he doth fortell & pre­sage the same by his weeping, as soone as he is borne; For thus that Father writeth, serm. de patientia. Vnusquis­que nostrum &c. Euery one of vs, when he is borne, & receaued into the World, taketh his beginning from teares; And although as yet he be ignorant of all [Page 81] things, he knoweth no other thing euen at his first birth and natiuity, then to weepe; through a naturall prouidence he bewaileth the anxieties and labours of a mortall life; and the poore ignorant soule presently in the beginning doth protest, and foretell with lamentation and crying, the stormes of the world, in­to the which he is ready to enter and suffer. Thus S. Cyprian. Since then these things are so certaine, who can deny, but that the Crosse is common both to good and euill men?

It yet remaineth to make it eui­dēt, that the Crosse of vertuous men is [...]ort, light, and profitable; and con­tinually the Crosse of the wicked, hea­uy, barren, and continuall. And tou­ching the Crosse of Godly men; That it is short it cannot be denied, seing it cannot be extended beyond the terme or tyme of this lyfe. For iust men dy­ing: Now sayth the spirit, they rest from their labours. Apoc. 14. And that, God shall wype away all teares, from their Eyes. Apoc. 21. That this present lyfe is most short, though whiles it is flowing avvay, it seemes long and tedious, the sacred Scripture doth not obscurely signify, when it sayth: Iob. 14. Breues [Page 82] dies hominis sunt &c The dayes of man are short; and man borne of a Woman, liuing a short tyme. And yet more: What is your lyfe? It is a vapour appearing a litle while, and after it shall vanish away. The Apostle, who may be thought to haue suffered a most heauy Crosse, and this for a long time; to wit, from his youth vnto his old age, yet doth thus speake hereof: 2. Cor. 4. Our tribulation, which is mo­mentarie and light, worketh aboue mea­sure exceedingly an eternall weight of glory in vs. Where he compareth his tribulation (suffered aboue thirty yea­res) to an indiuisible moment of time; and he styles it but a small tribulation; to wit, to be hungry, to be thirsty, to be naked, to be stroken and buffeted, to suffer a daily persecution; to be thrice beatē with roddes by the Roma­nes; fiue times to be whipped by the Iewes; to be once stoned; to suffer ship­wrack thrice; To conclude, to be con­uersant in many labours, to be much in prison, subiect aboue measure to stroks and wounds, and to be often at the pit-brimme of death.

Now what Tribulations are to be accounted heauy, if these of the Apo­stle [Page 83] be truly light and easy? But what If I should add & auer that the Crosse of lust men it not only light, but sweet and pleasant, in regard of the supera­bundant cōsolation of the Holy Ghost, accompaning it? Christ himselfe thus pronounceth of his yoake, which may be said to be a Crosse: Matth 11. My yoake is sweete, and my burden light. And in another place: You shall weepe and lament, but the world shall reioyce; you shalbe made sorrowfull, but your sorrow shalbe turned into ioy; and your ioy no man shall take from you. Ioan. 16. And the Apostle crieth out: I am replenished with all Consolation, I do exceedingly abound in ioy, in all our Tribulation. 2. Cor. 7. To conclude, that the Crosse of the Iust, is not only short and light, but also fruitfull and most profitable, it cannot be denied, since our Lord plainly thus speak [...]th in S. Mathew cap. 5. Blessed are they, that suffer persecution for Iustice, for theirs is the kingdome of Heauen. And the A­postle in his Epistle to the Romans. cap. 8. bursteth out, saying: The Pas­sions of this tyme, are not condigne to the glory so come, that shalbe reuealed in vs. With whome agreeth his Co [...] ­postle [Page 84] S. Peter, when he sayth: Commu­nicating with the Passions of Christ, be glad, that in the reuelation also of his glory, you may be glad, reioycing. 1. Pet. 6.

Now that the Crosse of the wicked is most tedious, most heauy, and de­priued of all reward or fruit, is easily demonstrated. Certainly the Crosse of the wicked Theefe ended not with his temporall life, but continueth euen to this day in Hell, and shall continue for all Eternity; for the worme of the Wicked (in Hell) shall not dye, and their fire shall not be extinguished. And the Crosse of the Rich Glutton, which consisted in heaping together of Riches (the which our Lord most truly compared to thornes) was not ended in his death, as the Crosse of Lazarus the poore beggar was; but accompanying him euen to Hell, doth burne, and torment him, and forceth him to say: I would to God, that a drop of Water might coole my tongue, be­cause I am tormented in this flame. Thus we see, that the Crosse of the wicked neuer findeth end. And in this very time and life, how heauy and sharpe their Crosse is, the words of [Page 85] them, whom the Booke of Wisdome introduceth as lamenting, do fully witnesse, Sap. 5. We are wearied out in the way of iniquity and perdition, & haue walked hard wayes. What? Are not Ambition, Couetousnes, Luxury, hard wayes? Are not those hard wayes, which inseparably attend v­pon Vice; to wit, Anger, Dissentions, Enuy? Are not the workes, which spring from these (that is to say, trea­cheries reproaches, contumelies, Wounds, and death it selfe) hard wayes? Certainly, these are of that vvorking Nature, at that not seldome they force men (as being desperate) to become their owne Parricides and Butchers; and thus by flying from one Crosse, they fall vpon an other farre more insupportable, and dreadfull.

But let vs see, if the Crosse of the wicked do bring forth any gayne or fruit. Doubtlesly it cannot produce any thing, that is good, since Thornes do not bring forth grapes, nor Thisles figs. The yoake of our Lord maketh a man quiet, and reposed, according to his owne Words: Take vp my yoake vpon you, and you shall find rest vnto your Soules. Matth. 11. But the yoake [Page 86] of the Deui [...]l (which is contrary to the yoake of Christ) what can it en­gender, but sollicitude and anxiety? And which ballanceth all other res­pects, the Crosse of Christ is a degree or step to euerlasting Happines: Ought not Christ to haue suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? Luc. 24. Whereas the Crosse of the Deuill af­fordeth a passage to eternall punish­ment: Goe you into euerlasting fire, which was prepared for the Deuill and his Angels. Matth. 25. Such men, who are carefull of their soules health, let them not couet to descend downe from their Crosse, if so they be cruci­fied with Christ, as the Euill Theefe la­boured to doe; but rather let them with the good thiefe adhere, & cleaue willingly to the syde of Christ; and let them pray to God, that they may obtaine Patience, but not a descen­ding from the Crosse. For thus suffe­ring together with Christ, they shall reigne together with him: Si compati­mur, & conglorificabimur. Rom. 8.

But they who suffer the Crosse of the di [...]ll (if they wilbe carefull of their owne good) let them labour in all hast & speed to change their Crosse. [Page 87] Let them change the fiue yoake of Oxen, for one yoake of Christ. The fiue yoake of Oxen seeme to signify the labours and molestations, which the wicked vndergo, thereby to satisfy the pleasure of the fiue Senses. But these fiue yoakes are changed for that one sweet and light yoake of Christ, when a man doth turne those labours, which before he suffered for the com­mitting of sinne, through the grace of God, into labours and workes of Pen­nance. Happy is that soule, which knoweth how to crucify his flesh frō all vice and concupiscence; and what riches or charges he hath heererofore wasted, in nourishing and feeding his sensuality, so much to bestow after in Almes deeds; and what time he hath lost in attending, or visiting great Per­sons, or in affecting of Ambition, to redeeme the same tyme, by spending so much in Prayer, reading of deuout Bookes, and in seeking the fauour of God, and of the Princes of the Hea­uenly Court; for by this meanes th [...] Crosse of the euill Theefe, may be chā ­ged for the Crosse of Christ; I meane, a Crosse, which is grieuous and bar­raine, for a Crosse which is light and fruitfull.

Most wisely (as S. Austin relateth) did a noble Commander in the wars, discourse with his fellow souldier, touching the commutation & change of his Crosse, his words are these: Dic quaeso te &c I pray thee tell me, where do we intend to arriue by all these our labours? VVhat end do we proiect in our thoughts, or seeke after? To what end do we thus warre and play the soul­diers? Can there be any greater hope for vs in the Court, then to become the Em­perours friēds? But what is there, which is not fragile, vncertaine, and full of dangers; and by how many dangers do men there ascend to greater dangers? And how long shall this our state conti­nue? If I wilbe a friend of God, behould I am so made at this instant. Thus much S. Austin recordeth. Lib. 8. Confess. c. 6. Heare we may see, how wisely this worthy souldier (in accounting the la­bours spent in seeking the fauour of the Emperour, to be most trouble­some, and painfull, and often vnprofi­table) did proceed; and in endeauou­ring to change them into labours more sweet, more short, and more profita­ble, for the purchasing of the friend­ship and loue of God. And thus accor­dingly [Page 89] these two happy Souldiers did presently turne the Current of their life; for both of them abandoning their secufar Warfare, began to be spiri­tuall souldiers only to God. And which did more redouble their ioy, was, that both of them had wyues, who hea­ring of this vnexpected chāge of their Husbands, did themselues most wil­lingly and chearefully dedicate their Chastity to God.

The third Word, to wit, Ecce mater tua, Ecce filius tuus. Behould thy Mother, Behould thy Sonne. Ioan. 19. is litte­rally explicated. CHAP. VIII.

THe last Sentence of those three, which belong to the Charity of our Neighbour is this: Ecce mater tua, Ecce filius tuus. Behould thy Mother, Behould thy Sonne. But before we des­cend to these VVords, certaine prece­dent words of the Euangelist are to be explicated; for thus S. Iohn spea­keth: [Page 90] There stood by side the Crosse of Ie­sus his mother, and his mothers sister Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magda­len. VVhen Iesus therefore had seene his mother, and the disciple standing, whom he loued, he sayth to his mother: VVo­man behould thy sonne. After, he sayth to the disciple: Behould thy Mother; And from that hower the disciple tooke her for his owne. Ioan. 19. Of the three wo­men, which stood neere to the Crosse of our Lord, two were most eminent and w [...]ll knowne; to wit, Mary the Mother of God, and Mary Magdalene; Touching Mary of Cleophas, there is some question or doubt. The common opinion is, that Mary of Cleophas was German-sister to the B Virgin Mother of God, borne of S. Anne by a second husband: to which two Maries, some do adde a third sister, called Mary Sa­lome. But this last Opinion is wholy to be rei [...]cted, since it is not credible, that three sisters should be called by one, & the same name. Againe, the constant sentence of learned and pious men, is, that S. Anne was the mother only of the Blessed Virgin; neither is there any mention of Mary Salome in the Gos­pells. For where S. Marke writeth: [Page 91] Mary Magdalene, Mary of Iames, and Salome bought spices; The word, Salo­me, is not of the second Case, as if it signifi [...]d Mary of Salome, as before it is said, Mary of Iames; but it is of the first Case, and of the feminime Gen­der, as appeareth from the Greeke word [...].

To conclude, Salome was the wife of Zebedeus, and mother of S. Iames and S. Iohn the Apostles, as appeareth out of S. Mathew, and S. Marke: as Ma­ry of Iames, or Cleophas, was the wyfe of Cleophas, and mother of S. Iames the yongar, and of S. Iude, or Thaddaeus. Therefore the truth of this point is, that Mary of Cleophas was called the sister of Mary the mother of God, be­cause Cleophas was the Brother of S. Ioseph, spouse to the B. Virgin Mary: for the wyues of two Brethren may rightly be called sisters betweene themselues. In which respect also S. Iames the yonger, is called the Brother of our Lord; to wit, the sisters Sonne, as aboue we said of S. Ioseph. This Hi­story Eusebius Caesariensis recordeth, and produceth a faythfull and most credible Authour Egesippus who liued in the later end of the dayes of the A­postles. [Page 92] The truth also of this point is confirmed by S. Ierome.

There is also an other literall doubt, which here occurreth, to be solued; How S. Iohn can say, that these three women did stand iuxta crucem Domini, by side, or neare to the Crosse of our Lord, seing Marke and Luke, do write, that they did stand farre of from the Crosse. S. Austin reconcileth these seeming different testimonies; saying that these holy women might be said to stand aloofe from the Crosse, and neare to the Crosse. A farr off, if their standing be compared to the souldiers and other Ministers, who were so neare to the Crosse, as that they did touch it. Neere to the Crosse they may be said to stand, because through their neerenes they might easely heare the voyce and words of Christ; the which the common People could not in re­gard of their greater distance. It also may be further said, that those three holy Women, during the Passion did stand farre of the Crosse, as being hin­dered by the common People and the souldiers; but a litle after the Cruci­fixion was accomplished, & many de­parting away, those three womē with [Page 93] S. Iohn did draw more neere vnto the Crosse. But against this may be vrged; that supposing this construction, how could then the Blessed Virgin and S. Iohn vnderstand, that those words of our Lord, This is thy Sonne, This is thy Mother, were spoken of them, seing a great company of persons were there present, and Christ did not call either the Virgin, or the Disciple by their proper name, or appellation?

To this I answere, that those three Womon and S. Iohn did stand so neere vnto the Crosse, as that our Lord might easily designe and point out with his eyes the persons, to whom he did speake; especially seing it is certaine he directed those words to such as were his friends, and not to strangers. Now among those, who were his owne friends, there was no other man there present, to whom he could say, This is thy Mother, then S. Iohn; nor any other VVoman, who through death was depriued of her sonne, then the B Vir­gin. Therefore he said to his Mother: Behould thy Sonne, and to his Disciple: Behould thy Mother; Of which words this is the sēse & meaning I now passe out of this VVorld to my Father and [Page 94] because I know thou art my Mother, and that thou hast neither parents, nor husband, nor brethren, nor sisters; therefore not to leaue thee destitute of all humane comfort and ayde, I do commend thee to the charge and care of Iohn my most deare Disciple. He shalbe to thee in place of a Sonne, and thou to him in place of a Mother. Which wholsome counsell, or com­mand of Christ did greatly please them both, and ech of them (as is credible) accepted thereof with a yealding sub­mission of head and body. And S. Iohn speaking of himselfe sayth▪ And from that houre, the Disciple tooke her for his owne: Ioan. 19. That is, he presently obeyed the words of Christ, accoun­ting her among those Persons, whose charge, care, and prouision did belong to him, and such were his Parents be­ing old, Zebedeus, and Salome.

But now here ariseth another li­terall doubt, S. Iohn was one of those who said: Ecce nos relinquimus omnia &c. Behould, we haue left all things, and haue followed thee, what therefore shall we haue? Matt 19. Now among those things, which they had forsaken, our Lord himselfe rekoneth Father & [Page 95] Mother, Brethren and sisters, House & Lands. And of this S. Iohn himselfe, & of his Brother S. Iames, S. Mathew thus writeth, c. 4. Illi autem relictis retibus & patre, secuti sunt eum &c. And they forthwith left their nets and Fa­ther, and followed him. What? did he, who left one Mother, presently re­ceaue another Mother? But the Ans­were here is obious and facil: For the Apostles, that they might follow Christ dismiss [...]d and parted w [...]th Fath [...]r and Mother, so far forth, as they might be any hinderance to them for the prea­ching of the Gospell, as also so far forth, as might concerne any profit or humane delight, to be taken by con­uersing with them. But the Apostles did not shake of the Care, which by force of Iustice they were bound to exhibite vnto their Parents, or which touched the direction and instruction of their Children, or helpe & succour of the needy and distressed.

And this is the Reason (as Doctours generally affirme) why a sonne cannot ent [...]r [...]nto a Religious Order, who hath his Father, or Mother spent or wasted through old age, or so oppres­sed with pouerty, as that they be not [Page 96] able to maintaine their life without the sustentation & help of their Son­ne. In this sence therefore S. Iohn did leaue Father and Mother, when they did not stand in neede of his labour and care; But he did vndergoe the charge and sollicitude of the Blessed Virgin the Mother, at the command of Christ, because she was depriued of all humane help and consolation. God in­deed could easily without mans la­bour, haue prouided by the ministery of his Angels, all things which were necessary for maintayning of her life: (for to Christ himselfe the Angels did minister in the desert) yet it was his good pleasure thus to proceed with S. Iohn, that so he might leaue this mea­nes of succour to the Blessed Virgin, & also thereby honour S Iohn. For God sent Elias to prouide and take care of the Widow, not that he could not nourish and feede her by the Help of the Crowes, as before he had done, but that God might thereby more blesse the Widow, as S. Austin admo­nisheth. So it pleased our Lord to com­mit the sollicitude of his Mother to his Disciple, thereby to manifest, that S. Iohn was more beloued of him, [Page 97] then any of the rest of his Disciples. For in this mutation & change of the Mother, is fulfilled that Sentence: He who hath left his Father and Mother &c. shall receaue an hundred fould, and shall possesse life euerlasting. Math. 19. For he truly receaued an hundred fould, who left his mother, being the wyfe of a poore fisher, and receaued to his care, as Mother, the Mother of the Creatour, the Lady of the World, being full of Grace, and blessed among all Women, and after to be exalted to the Celestiall Kingdome, aboue all the Quyres of Angels.

Of the first fruit of the third Word. CHAP. IX.

FRom this third Word, or sentence seuerall fruits may be gathered, if all points thereof be diligently ponde­red. And first is collected and manife­sted from thence Christs infinite de­sire of suffering for our Saluation, that so our Redemption might be made most full and copious. Other men are very [Page 98] wary in their death, especially in a vio­lent death, being full of dishonour and contumely, that their neerest friēds be not present thereat, for feare that their owne dolour and griefe through their friends sight be augmented. But Christ not content with his owne sufferings (and those most cruell, and attended on with all reproach and contumely) would haue his owne Mother and his Disciple whom he loued, to be pre­sent, and to stand neere to the Crosse; that so the griefe of the Compassion of his owne friends, might giue an in­crease to the griefe of his Passion. Christ being vpon the Crosse, resem­bled (as it were) foure fountaines of Bloud abundantly streaming; For his will and pleasure was, that his owne Bl. Mother, his beloued disciple, Mary the sister of his Mother, and Mary Magdalene, who most ardently aboue all other VVomen loued him, should be present at his death, that from them, foure foūtaines of teares should burst out; so as he should be almost no more troubled at the effusion of his owne bloud; then he was at that co­pious showre of teares, which the griefe of them then present did ex­tort, [Page 99] and force from their eyes and Ha [...]ts.

It seemes to me, that I heare Christ saying: The sorrowes of death haue com­passed me. Psal. 17. For that sword fore­told of good old Simeon, which should pierce the soule of my most innocent Mother with incredible griefe and anxiety, doth euen wound my hart. But o bitter death, doest thou separate not only the soule from the body, but also the mother, from such a Sonne? Therefore dolour would not suffer me to say: Mother, but, VVoman behould thy Sonne. God so loued the World, that for the redeeming therof, he was content to giue his only begotten Sonne; and the Sonne so loued the Fa­ther, as that for his honour he was ready to shed, & powre out his owne most precious bloud. And not being content only with the dolour of his Passion, he added thereto the dolour of Compassion, that so he might become a most abundant satisfaction for our sinnes. Therefore from hence it ap­peareth, that both the Father and the Sonne do commend their Charity to vs after an ineffable manner, that thereby we may not perish, but that [Page 100] we may obtaine life euerlasting. And yet mans hart doth hitherto resist so great a Charity, & maketh choyce ra­ther to try the wrath and indignation of the Omnipotent liuing God, then once to tast the sweetnes of Mercy, & to yield to the Charity of diuine Loue.

Verily we are most vngratefull, & worthy of all punishment, that since Christ loued vs with such an ardēt af­fection, as that he was content to suf­fer for vs much more, then necessity vrged. From whereas one drop of his bloud was sufficient for our Redemp­tion, he neuerthelesse would spend it all, and suffer innumerable other pu­n [...]shments besides: And yet notwith­standing all this, we are loath and for­bearing (for his loue, and for our owne health, and good of our soule) to endure and suffer euen so much, as is but needefull. The cause or source of so great a sluggines and madnes is, in that we do not ponder and meditate on the Passion and Charity of Christ, with that serious introuersiō of mind, with wh [...]ch we [...]ught, and that we do not appoint, or designe times and pla­ces, so [...]ting to so great a busines; but only read, or heare the passion of [Page 101] Christ briefly, negligently, and cursori­ly. Therefore the holy Prophet admo­nisheth vs, saying Thren. 1. Behould & see, if there be any griefe, like to my griefe. And the Apostle sayth: Thinke vpon him, who endured of sinners such contradiction against himselfe, that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. Hebr. 12. But the tyme shall hereafter come, when fruitlesly, and in vaine we shall repent our selfs of so great ingra­titude towards God, and of supine ne­gligence of our owne Saluation.

There are many, who at the last day, repenting, and sighing for anguish of spirit, shall say; The sunne of Iustice hath not shined to vs. Sap. 5. Neither shall they first then begin thus to la­ment, but before the day of Iudgmēt; I meane, that as soone as they shall shut and close the eyes of their body by death, the eyes of their soule shalbe opened to them, and then they shall see those things, the which when time and oportunity was, they would not once behould.

Of the second fruite of the third Word. CHAP. X.

AN other fruit growing from the roote of this VVord, may be ta­ken from the Consideration of the mistery of the three Women, which stoode neere vnto the Crosse of our Lord. For Mary Magdalene did beare the person of the Penitents, & therin of those, who did begin to serue God. In Mary of Cleophas may be figured the state of those, who do go on for­ward and profit in Vertue. In Mary the Mother of Christ and a Virgin, may be personated the state of those, vvho are Perfect; with whom we may deser­uedly ioyne S. Iohn, who was a Virgin, and was vvithin a short tyme to be­come Perfect, if at that present he were not. All these, and only these are found to stand neere vnto the Crosse of our Lord: for those, who liue in state of sinne and neuer thinke of doing any pennance for their wicked liues, stand far off from the Crosse, which is the [Page 103] scale or ladder to Heauen.

Furthermore, all those not with­out cause stand neere vnto the Crosse, who need the ayde of him, that was crucified; for such as be Penitents and Beginners in the way of Iustice, do wage Warre with Vices and Concu­piscences, and stand greatly in need of the assistance of Christ our Captaine, that they may be encouraged to fight, whiles they behould him combat [...]ing with the Old Serpent, and not descen­ding from the Crosse, vntill most hap­pily he had triumphed ouer him. For thus doth the Apostle speake to the Collossians cap. 2. He spoyled the Prin­cipalities and Powers, leading them con­fidently in open shew, and triumphing ouer them in himselfe. And a litle be­fore: Fastening to the Crosse, the hand­writing of the Decree, which was a­gainst vs.

Those, who do profit in the way of our Lord, signified by Mary of Cleo­phas, who was a Woman maried, and brought forth sonnes, which were called [...]he Brethren of Christ; do also need the help of the Crosse; lest other­wise the cares and anxieties of this world, with the which they are neces­sarily [Page 104] entangled do choke the good seede; or that they labouring by night, do catch nothing. Therefore such Persons ought to goe on forward in spirituall profit, and to behould Christ vpon the Crosse; who not satisfying himselfe with those good works (being many and great) which before he had done, would by the meanes of the Crosse, proceed to works of a higher Nature; from whence he would not descend, till he had ouercome, and put to fight his Enemy. For nothing is more dead­ly or domageable to those who are in progresse of Vertue, then to become wearie in their course, and to cease to goe forward, since as S. Bernard sayth Ep. ad Garinum. In via Virtutis non progredi, regredi est; In the way of Vertue not to goe forward, is to goe backward; who putteth the example of the Lader of Iacob, vpon which all do ascend or descend, but not any doe stand still.

To conclude, those who are in state of Perfection, liuing a single and vnmaried life (especially if they be Virgins) as the B. Virgin the Mother of Christ, and S. Iohn the Disciple of Christ, and beloued of him aboue o­ther [Page 105] in regard of his Virginity were; these perfect Persons (I say) stand in great necessity of the aide and suppor­tance of Christ crucified; since such, as are placed in a more eminent & high degree, ought greatly to feare the blasts of Pryde, except they be foun­ded and rooted lowly in Humility. For although Christ did often shew himselfe to be a Maister of Humility, as where he said: Learne of me because I am meeke and humble of Hart: Math. 11. As also in teaching vs, To sit in the lowest place: & where he repeateth so often: who so exalteth himselfe, shalbe humbled, and who humbleth himselfe shalbe exalted. Luc. 18. Yet he neuer manifested himselfe to be a Maister of Humility in a more high degree, then when he was seated in the Chayre of his Crosse. Which point the Apostle will declared in those words: He hum­bled himselfe, made obediēt vnto death; euen the death of the Crosse. Phil. 2. For what greater humility could be imagi­ned, thē that he who was omnipotent, should suffer himselfe to be bound, & nayled to the Crosse? Or that he, in whom are all the treasures of Wis­dome and knowledge of God, should [Page 106] be content to be reputed, as one m [...]d or distracted, by Herod and his army, and through scorne to be cloathed with a whyte garment? Or lastly, that he, who sitteth vpon the Cherubims, should brooke himselfe to be crucified in the middst of theeues? Truly who will seriously glasse himselfe in the mirrour of the Crosse, will proue ouer indocible, if he do not learne and con­fesse, that as yet he is most farre from obtayning true Humility; howsoeuer he may be thought to haue made some progresse & aduancemēt therin.

Of the third fruite of the third Word. CHAP. XI.

IN this third place we learne from the Chayre of the Crosse, and from the words of Christ spoken to his Mother, and his Disciple, what is the duty of God Parents towards their S [...]nes, and reciprocally of good son­nes towards their Parents. We will begin with the first. Good Parents ought to loue their Sonnes, yet to re­straine [Page 107] and proportion their loue to them, as that it may be no impediment to the Loue of the Parents towards God. And this is that, vvhich our Sa­uiour teacheth in the Gospell; He that loueth his Sonne or his daughter more then me, is not worthy of me. Math. 10. This Precept the B. Virgin most preci­sely obserued. For she stayed neere to the Crosse with great Griefe, and with great Constancy. Her Griefe did wit­nesse the extremity of her loue to­wards her Sonne, hanging vpon the Crosse: her Constancy did testify her great obseruance and duty towards God, reigning in Heauen. She did be­hould her innocent sonne with great anxiety and care of mind (whom she so dearely loued) suffering most bitter dolours and paines, yet did she not la­bour either in words or action to hin­der those his afflictions (though she could) because she did well know, that her Sonne was to vndergoe all those torments, by the defined Counsell, & prouidence of God the Father.

Loue is the Measure of Griefe; therefore the Mother did much la­ment, to behould her sonne to be so cruciated and afflicted, since she loued [Page 108] him much. And how could it other­wise be, but that the Virgin (the mo­ther of Christ) should most ardently loue her sonne; since she was well pri­uy, that her sonne did exceede all the sonnes of men, in euery degree of Prayse, and that her sonne was in a more strict bond to her, and did more nearely belong to her, then any other sonnes do belong vnto their Mothers. The reason why Women do loue their sonnes, is accustomed to be two­fold. The one is, in that they bare and brought their sonnes forth into the World; The other in that the sonnes become famous for their deportment and good deserts For otherwise there are not Mothers wanting, who do but litle loue, or rather hate their sonns, if either they be of any deformity in bo­dy, or do proue wicked, or vngratefull and vnnaturali towards their Parents,

Now the B. Virgin (the mother of Christ) loued her Sonne for both these respects in a more intense and high degree, then any other Mother euer loued her sonne. For first, Other wo­men alone do not generate children, but in the generation of them they haue their husband for their Compa­nion [Page 109] in that Act. But the Blessed Vir­gin alone did generate her sonne; Since a Virgin did beget, and a Virgin did bring forth. And as Christ (our Lord) in his diuine generation had a Father without a Mother; so in his humane generation he had a Mother, without a Father. And although it may be truly said, that Christ was conceaued of the Holy Ghost, yet the Holy Ghost is not the Father of Christ, but the Effectour and maker of the Body of Christ. Neither did the Holy Ghost frame the body of Christ, of his owne proper substanee, which peculiarly belongeth to a Father; but he formed it of the most pure bloud of the Virgin. There­fore the most Holy Virgin alone, with­out the company of a Father, did be­get and bring forth her Sonne. And she alone doth challenge her Sonne, as whole to herselfe; and thereupon did more loue him, then any other Mo­ther euer loued her Ospring.

Novv so far forth as belongeth to the second Reason: The sonne of the Blessed Virgin was, and is specious, and beautifull aboue the sonnes of men; and doth excell both men and Angels in all manner of prayse. Therefore it fol­loweth, [Page 110] that the Blessed Virgin, who loued her Sonne aboue all others, did also condole and deplore his death & passion more, then all others. This point is so vndeniable, as that S. Ber­nard is not afraid to say, that the Griefe of the B. Virgin, conceaued tou­ching the Passion of her Sōne, might be called the Martyrdome of her Hart, according to that of S. Simeon; Thy owne soule shall a sword pierce. And be­cause the martyrdome of the Hart see­meth more intollerable, then the mar­tyrdome of the Body; S. Anselme wri­teth, that the dolours of the B. Virgin were more sharpe and insufferable, then any corporall martyrdome. Cer­tainly our Sauiour, when praying in the garden of Gethsemani, he suffered his hart to be martyred, and strongly apprehending all the paines and tor­ments which the next day he was to vndergoe, and withall giuing (as it were) the reines and liberty to griefe and feare, began so vehemently to be cruciated and afflicted, as that a bloudy sweat distilled from his whole Body; The which is not read to haue fallen out in his corporall Passion.

Therfore the B, Virgin doubtles­ly [Page 111] suffered most bitter paine, and acer­bity of affliction, through the sword of Dolour penetrating her soule. And yet in that she was most willing, that the honour and glory of God should ouer weigh the loue, which she did beare to the flesh of Christ; therefore she stood neere vnto the Crosse, full of all constancy and spirituall resolution, looking without any shew of impa­tience vpon her Sonne then suffering. She did not fall vpon the Earth, halfe dead (as some do imagine;) she did not teare the hayre from her Heade; she did not after a womanish manner bewaile and crye out; but she entertai­ned & welcomed with all eauennesse and serenity of mind, what was to be tollerated, as proceeding from the good pleasure and Will of God. She greatly loued the flesh of her sonne; she more loued the honour of the Fa­ther, & saluation of the World; which two points the Sonne himselfe did more loue, then the safety and health of his owne Body. Furthermore, the assured Fayth of the Resurrection of her Sonne, to be after the third day (of the which she neuer doubted) did so animate her, and minister new spirits [Page 112] of Constancy, as that she did not [...]tand in need of humane Consolation. For she knew well, that the death of her Sonne, was like vnto a most short sleepe, according to that of the Pro­phet: I haue slept, and haue bene at rest; and I haue risen vp, because our Lord hath taken me. Psal. 3.

All good & pious Christians ought to imitate this Example; I meane, they ought to loue their Children; but not to prefer them in loue before God, who is the Father of all, and who lo­ueth them better, and in a more per­fect manner, then we know how to loue. And first Christiās ought to loue their Sonnes with a manly & prudent loue; not boulstering or encouraging them when they do euill; but bringing them vp in the feare of God; and cor­recting them not only with words, but euen with strokes, if either they offend God, or neglect their studies, and lear­ning. For this is the will of God, re­uealed in the Holy Scriptures, as Eccle­siasticus speaketh, cap. 7. Hast thou children? Instruct them, and bow them from their childhood. And we read of Toby, that, he taught his Sonne from his infancy to feare God, and to abstaine [Page 113] from all sinne. And the Apostle Ephes. 6. admonisheth Fathers, that they do not prouoke their Children to anger, but do bring them vp in discipline & correction of our Lord; that is, that they vse them not as seruants, but as freemen. For those who beare them­selues ouer seuerely, and austerely to­wards their Children, continually checking or striking them for the least fault, do treate them as bondsl [...]ues; so causing them either to be of a base and d [...]iected disposition, or els to fly away from their Parents. Now those, who are ouer indulg [...]nt, do make their Children wicked; nourishing & brin­ging them vp, not for the kingdome of God, but for Hell.

The true way for the education of Children, is, that Parents do in­struct them in discipline, so as they may learne willingly and promptly to obey their Parents and maisters; and when they do erre and offend, that they do correct them paternally, that so the Sonnes may vnderstand themselues to be chastized out of Loue, not out of Hate. Furthermore, if so it shall please God to call any of them to the Clergy, or to some religious Order, let not the [Page 114] Parents resist so good a resolution, for feare they may resist God, who is the first Father of all men; but let them say with holy Iob. Our Lord gaue, and our Lord hath taken away; The name of our Lord be blessed. To conclude, if children be taken from their Parents by vntimely death (the which thing did c [...]i [...]fly happen to the Blessed Vir­gin) let them consider & ponder the iudgments of God; who often taketh some out of this World by death, to preuent that malice and sinne do not change their good and vertuous mind, and so perish eternally. Certaine­ly if Parents did sometymes know, [...]pon what counsell and inducements, G d thus worketh, they vvould not o [...]ly not bewayle the death of their C [...]ld [...]n, but they would euen re­io [...]ce therea [...]. And if the fayth & hope of the R [...]surrection did feelingly, and liuely worke in vs (as it did in our B. Lady) we should no more grieue, when any of our sonnes or friends do dye before they arriue to old age, then when any of them begin to sleep before it be night; since the death of a faythfull and pious man is a kind of sleepe, as the Apostle admonisheth vs, [Page 115] saying, 1. Thess. 4. I will not haue you ignorant concerning them that sleep, that you be not sorrowfull, as others are, that haue no Hope. Heere he mentio­neth rather Hope, then faith, because he speake [...]h not of euery Resurrection, but of a blessed and glorious Resurre­ction, which leadeth to true lyfe; and such was the Re [...]urrection of Christ. That man therefore, who firmely be­lieueth, that there shalbe a Resurre­ction of the flesh, and hopeth, that his Sonne taken away by immatu [...]e death, shall after rise to glory; hath no reason of griefe, but rather of ioy because the health of his sonnes Soule is placed in great security and safty.

I heere come to the duty of a Sonne towards Parents, the which Christ dy­ing, performed in a most full and am­ple manner toward his Mother. It is the duty of children, to render mutuall duty to their parents. 1. Tim. 5. Now, Sonns do render mutua [...]l duty to their parents, when they procure all things necessary for their parents being in age: Euen as the Parents haue proui­ded for their children being yong, or not able to get things touching dyet or apparell, Christ therefore did commit [Page 116] the charge of his mother (grow­ing aged, and hauing not any one to take care of her, after the death of her Sonne) to S. Iohn, adopting him (as it were) for her Sonne, saying to her, Behould thy Sonne, & to S. Iohn, Behold thy Mother. Now he [...]re our Lord accomplished the function of a Sonne most fully towards his Mother; and this seuerall wayes. For first he assigned to her a Sonne who being of the same age with Christ (or rather a yeare yonger) was most fitting to vn­dergo the charge and care of the Mo­ther of our Lord.

He furthermore out of the twelue Apostles, made choice of him to this incumbency and labour, whome our Lord himselfe chiefly loued, and of whome he also did know himselfe to be greatly againe beloued; therefore he might well repose greater confi­dence and trust in him, touching his diligence towards his Mother. Againe, our Lord assigned him, whome he knew was to liue very many yeares, and therefore without any doubt to ouer liue his Mother. To conclude, our Lord was not wanting in his duty to his Mother euen at that tyme, when [Page 117] his thoughts were to be busied, tou­ching his owne anxieties and dolours. For at that tyme a man might proba­b [...]y thinke, that his cogitations were only fixed vpon the suffering of his corporall dolours, and iniuries of his enemies, and in tasting the most better cup of his neare approching death, so as he could not turne his thoughts to any other affaires. Neuertheles his charity towards his mother ouercame him, and so litle regarding his owne state, his care was touching the conso­lation and comfort of his mother; nei­ther did the expectation of the prom­ptitude and fidelity of S. Iohn deceaue him; for from that houre the disciple tooke her for his owne. Ioan. 19.

This Prouidence, which Christ had towards his Parent, ought with grea­ter reason to be performed by other Sons towards their Parents. For Christ did lesse owe to his Parent, then other men do their Parents. Other men are so obliged to their Parents, as that they are neuer able to requite it. For they owe their life to them, for which the Sons cannot make any iust satisfaction. Ecclesiasticus saith: remember that thou hadst not beene borne, but for thē. Eccl. 7. [Page 118] But Chri [...]t (and he alone) is exempted from this generall rule. For he recea­ued life from his mother (I meane, a humame lyfe;) but in lieu heerof he gaue to her three liues: an Humane life, when with the Father & the holy Ghost he created her; the lyfe of gra­ce, when preuenting her in the Bene­dictions of his sweetnes, he did iusti­fy her in her creation, and created her in iustifying of Her: he finally gaue to her the lyfe of glory, when he did ad­uance her to eternall glory, and exal­ted her aboue the quyre of Angells. Wherefore if Christ, who gaue mo [...]e to his mother, then he in his bi [...]th had receaued of her, would obserue the law, to wit, to render mutuall du­ty to her, as his Parent; how much more then are other men obliged to performe this duty towards their Pa­rents.

Add hereto, though in honoring of our Parents, we performe no more then duty tyeth vs to; Neuerthelesse the benignity & goodnes of God hath added to it a reward, saying in the Law: Honour thy Father and thy Mo­ther, that thou maist be long liued vpon the Earth; Exod. 20. And the Holy Ghost [Page 119] addeth by Ecclesiasticus: He that hono­reth his Father, shall haue ioy in Chil­dren, and in the day of his Prayer, he shalbe heard, Eccl. 3. Neither hath God only annexed a reward to those, who honour their Parents; but also hath ad­ioyned a Punishment to such, that do not honour them. For we read: God sayth; He that shall curse Father or Mo­ther, dying let him dye. Matth 15. And Ecclesiasticus addeth: He, who exaspe­rateth his Mother, is accursed of God. Eccl. 3 And hence it appeareth, that the Malediction, and cursing of the Parents against their Children, hath a great force, in that God cōfirmeth the same. Of which point no few Examples are extant in Histories; of which, one most notorious and remarkable is recorded by S. Austin, the summe and contents whereof is this: In Caesaria a Citty of Capadocia, there were ten Children (to wit, seauen sonnes, and three daughters:) who being accursed by their Mother, instantly, euen by the hād of God, they were surprized with such a payne and dolour, as that all of them were horribly strooken and sha­ken with a trembling of their Mem­bers: In which most loathsome state [Page 120] they, not brooking the daily sight of their owne Cittizens, wandred vp and downe throughout the Roman Em­pire; Two of these at the length were cured in the presence and sight of S. Austin, by the Relicks of S. Steuen the Protomartyr. Aug. l. 21. de Ciuit. c. 8.

Of the fourth fruite of the third Word. CHAP. XII.

THe burden & yoake imposed by our Lord vpon S. Iohn, that he should sustaine the Care of the B. Vir­gin his Mother, was truly a sweet yoake, and an easy burden. For who would not most willingly remayne & dwell with that mother, which did beare nyne Monthes in her Wombe the Word Incarnate, and which did cohabitate with him most deuoutely and sweetly for the full space of thirty yeares? Or who would not enuy the beloued of our Lord, who in the ab­sence of the Sonne of God, enioyed the presence of the Mother of the Sonne of God? But if I be not decea­ued, [Page 121] euen we our selfes, through the benignity of the Word Incarnate for our sake, and through the great loue and charity of him, who was crucified also for our sake, may obtayne in our prayers, that he would say euen to vs; Behould thy Mother; and to his mother concerning vs; Behould thy Sonne.

Our mercifull Lord is no Niggard of his fauours, so long as we do ap­proach to the Throne of his Grace, with fayth, confidence, and a true and sincere Hart. He that is desirous that we should become Coheyres of the kingdome of his Father, will not cer­tainly disdaine to make vs Coheyres or Competitours of the Loue of his Mother. Neither will the most gra­cious Virgin hardly, or displeasingly brooke the multitude of her Sonnes; since she hath a most ample bosome, and greatly coueteth, that not any of them should perish, whom her Sonne hath redeemed with his precious Bloud and Death. Let vs therefore come with firme & immoueable hope to the Throne of the Grace & Fauour of Christ, And let vs most suppliantly, and euen vvith teares demaund & be­seech him, [...]at of euery one of vs he [Page 122] would say to his Mother; Behould thy Sonne, & to euery one of vs, he would say of his Mother; Behould thy Mother. O! how well would it be with vs, to be vnder the protection of such a Mother? Who would be of power, to draw vs from out her Bosome? What tribula­tion could be so potent and strong, as to ouercome vs, confiding & trusting in the Patronage of the Mother of God, and of our Mother?

Neither shall we be the first in the obtayning of so great a Ben [...]fit: Man [...] haue gone before vs: Many (I say) haue cast themselfes into the armes of her Patronage and defence; and yet not any one euer returned back, confoun­ded or frustrated of their expectation; but all cheerfull and reioycing, as se­curely ankering themselues vpon the assistance of so great a Mother. For of her it is written. Gen. 2. She shall bruys [...] thy head in peeces. And those, who trust in her shall fearelesly walke vpon th [...] Adder and Basiliske, betrampling vn­der their feete the Lyon & the Dr [...] ­gon. Psal. 90. Out of a great multitude let vs heare the testimonies and ac­knowledgments of some few; espe­cially of those, who haue confidently [Page 123] reposed themselues in the protection of the B. Virgin, the Mother of our Lord; and then we shall credibly con­iecture them to be of the number of those, to whom it is said by our Lord: Behould thy Mother; and of whom it is said to the Mother, Behould thy Sonne.

Let S. Ephrem the Syrian be the first, an ancient Father, and of so great celebrity, as that (as S. Ierome witnes­seth) his Bookes were publikly read in the Churches, after the reading of the Holy Scriptures. This Father thus speaketh: Intemerata, prorsus pura, Virgo deipara &c. Intemerate, and al­togeather pure is the Virgin Mother of God. Serm. de laud. Deipara. And after: Tu portus procellis &c. Thou art the Hauen of those, who are tossed with stormes, the Comfort of the World; the setter at liberty of those who are in Pri­son; the Patronesse of Orphans; thou art the Redemption of the Captiue; the exul­tation and Comfort of the sicke, and the Health of All. And againe: Sub alis tuis &c. Vnder thy wings keep me, and pro­tect me, take mercy on me, who am con­taminated and defiled with dirt. And yet more after: Non mihi alia [...]iducia &c. There is no other hope for me, O Bles­sed [Page 124] Virgin; All hayle to thee, who art the peace, the ioy, and health of the World. To this Father let vs adioyne S Iohn Damascene, who was one of the first of those, that worshipped the most holy Virgin, and placed their Hope in her. This Doctour thus wri­teth, Orat. de Natiu. B. Virg. O Ioa­chim & Anna, Filia & Domina, &c. Receaue the prayer of a sinner, yet ar­dently louing, and worshipping thee; houlding thee, as the hope of his ioy, the defendour of his lyfe, reducing him in­to fauour with thy Sonne, a firme and earnest pledge of saluatiō; vnloose and dissolue the burden of my sinnes, sup­presse my temptations, gouerne my life piously and holily, and procure, that (thou being my guyde) I may come to the celestiall Beatitude.

I will add to the former, two of the Latin Fathers, of which S. Anselme shalbe one, who thus writeth, l. de Ex­cell. Virg. c 3. Itaque cui saltem ita con­cessum fuerit &c. I do coniecture, that it is a great signe to him of obtayning Saluateon, who with a sweet cogita­tion can often thinke of the B. Virgin. And after: Velocior est nonnumquam [Page 125] salus &c. Oftentimes Health is sooner obtained, by calling vpon the name of the B. Virgin, then by inuocating the name of our Lord Iesus her only Sonne, But the reason hereof is not, because she is greater or more powrefull then he (for he is not grsat and potent by her, but she is great and potent by him:) Why then is health often sooner recea­ued by the inuocation of her, then of her Sonne? I will shew my iudgment of this [...]oint. Her sonne is the Lord and Iudge of all men, discerning the merits of eue­ry One. Therefore whyles he is inuoca­ted (by his owne name) of euery man, he presently heareth not, and this he doth iustly. But the name of his Mo­ther being inuocated and implored, if the merits of him that inuocateth do not deserue that he should be heard, yet the merits of the Mother do so inter­cede, as that he may be heard.

But S. Bernard doth after a won­derfull manner, describe the pious, and indeed motherly affection of the most Blessed Virgin tovvards men deuoted to her; as also the extraordinary and fi­liall piety of such, who do acknow­ledge the Virgin, as their Mother and Patronesse. Thus this Doctour sayth, [Page 126] Serm. 2. super Missus est. O quisquis te intelligis &c. O thou, who perceauest, that in the inundation of this VVorld thou art more tossed among the stormes and tempests, then thou dost quietly walke vpon the earth, do not turne thy Eyes from the brightnes of this starre (I meane of Mary the star of the Sea) if so thou couetest not to be ouerwhelmed with these stormes. Yf thou be tossed with the waues of Pryde, if of Ambi­tion, if of Detraction, if of Emulation, turne thy selfe towards this starre, and inuocate Mary Yf thou be afflicted with the dreadfulnes of thy owne sinnes, if thou be confounded with the guiltines of thy owne Conscience, if thou be afraid through feare of thy Iudge, if thou be­ginnest to be absorpt in the Hell of sad­nes, and in the abisse of Desperation, thinke vpon Ma [...]y. In thy dangers, in thy straits, in thy necessities, meditate vpon Mary, inuoke Mary; thou follow­ing her, dost not goe abstray; thou pray­ing to her, dost not despaire; thou thin­king of her dost not erre. And the same Father in another Booke, thus further discours [...]th, Serm de Nat. B. M. siue de aquae ductu. Altius intuemini &c. Call [Page 127] more deeply into mind, with what af­fection of deuotion he, who hath placed all plenitude of goodnes in Mary, would haue Mary to be honoured of vs; so as if there be any hope in vs, if any Grace, if any health, we are to acknowledge, that it proceeds from her. And after. T [...]t is ergo medullis &c. With all the forces and desires of our Harts, let vs worship Mary, for this is the will of him, who will haue vs to receaue all, by the me­diation of Mary. And againe; Filioli, haec peccatorum scala &c. My Sonnes, this (meaning the B. Virgin) is the Lad­der of sinners, this is my greatest Confi­dence; this is the cause of all my Hope.

To these two most holy Fathers, I will annexe other two holy men, out of the Schoole of Deuines. S. Thomas Aquinas in his litle Worke of the sa­lutation of the Angell thus sayth, in opusc. 8. Benedicta tu in multeribus &c. She (meaning the Virgin Mary) it blessed among all Women, b [...]cause she alone hath taken away Malediction, & hath brought in Benediction, and hath opened the Gate of Paradise. Therefore the name of Mary (which is interpre­ted the starre of the Sea) doth well agree to her: for as those who are sayling, are [Page 128] directed to the Port, or hauen by the starre of the Sea; so Christians an dire­cted to Glory by the help of Mary.

S. Bonauenture most fully discour­seth of this subiect, thus writing, in sua Pharetra l. 1. cap. 5. Sicut, O beatissima, omnis à te &c. O most B. Virgin, as of necessity euery one, that is in mind a­uerted from thee, and not respected by thee, must perish; so euery one, that is conuerted to thee, and by thee regarded, cannot possibly be damned. The same holy Father in another of his bookes, thus writeth of the confidence of S. Franc [...] [...]n the B. Virgin (in vita D. Fran.) Matrem Domini nostri &c. S. Francis did prosecute the Mother of our Lord Iesus Christ, with an inutterable Loue, in that she made the Lord of Ma­iesty to become brother to vs, and by her we haue obtained Mercy. He confiding in her next to Christ, made her his Ad­uocate; and in her Honour he did fast most deuoutely from the feast of the A­postles S. Peter and S. Paul, vntill the feast of her Assumption.

To all these Holy Fathers I will range Pope Irnocentius the third, who was a great Worshipper of the Mo­ther of God; and who not only in his [Page 129] Sermons did much magnify & prayse her, but also in her Honour did buyld a Monastery. And which is more to be admired; He stirring the People vp to repose their Hope in the most holy Mother of God, as foreknowing the euent of things to come, did vtter ma­ny things, which he after confirmed with his owne happy experience and triall. Thus he writeth of the B. Vir­gin: Quis iacet in nocte Culpae &c. He who lyeth in the night of Offence and sinne, let him behould the Moone, let him pray to Mary, that she through her Sonne may illuminate his hart with compunction: For who euer did inuo­cate her in the Night tyme, and was not heard of Her? Let the Reader peruse those things, which we haue written of Innocentius the third, in the second booke and nynth Chapter, Of the mourning of the Doue. Now from all this aboue set downe, it is euidently collected, That of the signes of Ele­ction to Glory, a singular deuotion borne to the Mother of God, the most B. Virgin, is not the last. For it should seeeme, that he cannot perish eter­nally, of whom it is said to the B. Virgin, by Christ, Behould thy Sonne; [Page 130] So as that man doth not heare with a deafe care, what Christ shall say to him, Behould thy Mother.

The End of the first Booke.


The fourth Word, to wit: Deus, Deus meus, vt quid dereli­quisti me, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matth. 27. is litteraly expla­ned. CHAP. I.

IN the former Booke we haue explicated the three first words, which our Lord pronounced frō the chaire of the Crosse, about the sixt houre, when but a litle before he [Page 132] was nayled to the Crosse. We will in this second Booke expound the other foure Words; which our sayd Lord af­ter the darknes of three houres, from the same Chayre, and most neere to his death, did with a great and ferue­rous voice pronounce. But it seemeth expedient, first briefly to declare, what kind of darknes that was, how it was occasioned, and to what end it was di­rected. The mention of which dark­nes happened betweene the vttering of the former three Words, and the foure other Words heerafter to be dis­coursed of. For thus S. Matthew spea­keth. cap. 27. From the sixt houre, there was darknes made vpō the whole earth, vntill the nynth houre: And about the ninth houre, Iesus cryed with a mighty voyce, Eli, Eli, Lamma-sabacthani. That is, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? That this darknes was occasioned through the defect & Eclips of the Sun, S. Luke expressely expressely obserueth, saying; Et obscu­ratus est sol, and the sun was darkned.

But now three d [...]fficulties are in this place to be discussed, and solued: for first the Sunn is accustomed to suf­fer Eclipse of its light, in the New [Page 133] moone, when the moone is found to be betweene the Sunne and the earth; the which could not be at the time of the death of Christ; seeing the moone at that tyme was not in coniunction with the Sunne, which falleth out in the new moone; but was in the oppo­sition which happeneth in the full moone. For all that tyme the Pascha, or Feast of Easter was celebrated by the Iewes, which according to the Law, began vpon the foureteenth day of the first Month. Againe admitting, that at the Passiō of Christ, the Moone had beene in coniunction with the Sunne; yet from hence it followeth not, that there could be darknes for the space of three houres, that is, from the sixt houre to the nynth: since the Eclipse of the Sunne cannot continue long, especially if it be a full Eclipse and such as may hide the whole: Body of the Sunne, so as the obscurity of it may be accounted darknes. For the moone is more swift in motion, then the sunne, in regard of the moones proper motion; and consequently can darken the sunne but for a very short tyme. For the Moone instantly doth begin to goe backe, and leaueth the [Page 134] sunne free, that so it may illuminate the Earth with its accustomed light & splendour. To conclude, it can neuer so fall out, that through the coniun­ction of the Moone, the sunne should leaue the whole Vniuersall Earth in darknes. For the Moone is lesser, then the sunne, yea then the Earth; & ther­fore it cannot by the interposition of its Body, so couer the whole Sunne, as that the Vniuersall Earth should be left in darknes.

Now if any heere should obiect & say, that the Euangelist speaking of the Vniuersall Earth, meaneth only of the vniuersall Earth of Palestines, and not of the vniuersall Earth absolutely. This Obiection may easely be refelled by the testimony of S. Dionysius Areo pagita, who in his Epistle to S. Poli­carpe testifieth, that himselfe did see that defection of the sunne, and most horrible darknes in the Citty of Helio­polis, which is in Egypt. And Phlegon (a Greeke Historian, and a Gentil) ci­ted by Origen and Eusebius, maketh intention of this Eclips of the sunne, saying, lib. 2. Quarto anno ducentesi­ma secundae Olympiadis &c. In the fourth yeare of the two hundred and se­cond [Page 135] Olympiade, a great and notorious defection of the Sunne, in comparison of all others which afore had hapned, was made; for the day at the sixt hower, was so turned into darknes, and to an obscure night, as that the stars in Heauen were then seene. Now this Historiographer did not write in Iudaea, as all affirme. The same Wounder is testified [...] by Lucianus the Martyr, saying: [...]erquiri­te in Annalibus vestris &c. Reuolue your Annals, and you shall find, that the day was interrupted with darknes, in the tymes of Pilate, the sunne abando­ning the Earth. These words of S. Lu­cian are related by Ruffinus, in hist. Eccl. Euseb. In fine Tertullian, Paulus Orosius, and all others (touching this Eclypse) do speake of all the parts & coasts of the World, and not only of Iudaea.

But these difficulties may easely be explicated. For first, where it is said in the beginning, that the Eclypse of the sunne is accustomed to be in the New moone only, & not in the full moone, this is true, when a Naturall defect of the light of the sunne happeneth. But at the death of Christ, the defect of the sunne was vniuersall and prodigious, [Page 136] which could be wrought only by him, who made the sunne, the Moone, Hea­uen, and Earth. For S. Dionysius wri­teth in the place aboue noted, that the Moone was seene by himselfe, and by Apollophanes about the midtyme of the day, after an vnaccustomed & most swift motion to come to the Sunne, and lying vnder it, there remained af­ter this māner, vntill the ninth hower, and then returned backe towards the Orient, to its owne place.

To that, which is added aboue; to wit, that the defect of the sunnes light could not so remaine for the space of three Howers, as that during all that tyme the Earth should be in darknes; it may be answered hereto, that this is true, if we speake of a naturall, and vsuall defect of the sunne. But this E­clypse of the sunne was not gouerned by the lawes, or setled course of Na­ture, but by the Will of the Omnipo­tent Creatour, who as he could bring the moone after a wonderfull manner from the East, in a most rapid and swift motion to the sunne, and after three howers ended, could bring it back to its owne place in the Orient; so also was of power to cause, that the [Page 137] moone should remaine immoueable vnder the sunne for those three how­ers; and that it should not mooue ei­ther more slowly or more swiftly, then the sunne it selfe.

To conclude, where aboue is ad­ded, that the Eclypse and defect of the sunne could not be obserued & seene through out the Vniuersall Earth, in regard that the Moone is lesser then the Earth, & farre more lesse in quan­tity then the sunne; I grant this to be most true, with reference to the inter­position of the moone, only. But what the moone could not performe here­in, the Creatour of the sunne & moone performed, only in not cooperating with the sunne in illustrating & ligh­ning the Earth: For things created can­not worke or performe their fun­ctions, except the Creatour do assist & cooperate with them. And whereas some men say, that darknes might thē be made throughout the whole Earth, through a condensation, and thickning of blacke and misty Cloudes; this can­not be truly auerred, since it is eui­dent from the testimonies of the An­cients, that in the tyme of that Eclyps and darknes, the stars were seene to [Page 138] appeare and shine in Heauen: But thick [...] and misty Cloudes cannot only yea they are accustomed to) obscure [...]he sunne, but also the moone, and the stars.

Now why God would haue this signe of Darknes to happen at the Passion of Christ, seuerall Reasons are accustomed to be alledged, but two chiefly. The first may be to demon­strate the most great excecation and blindnes of the Iewish People; which Reason is brought by S Leo Pope, and which blindnes of theirs doth yet con­tinue, and shall continue, according to the Prophecy of Isay, who thus spea­keth of the beginning of the Church: Surge, illuminare Ierusalem &c. Arise, be illuminated Ierusalem, because thy light is come, and the glory of our Lord is ris [...]n vpon thee; because (loe) dark­nes shall couer the Earth, and a myst the People. Isa. 60. To wit, most thicke and palpable darknes shall couer the Land of the Iewes; and that darknes, which is not so grosse, but may easely be dis­sipated and disp [...]lled, shall couer the People of the Gentills. The second Cause o [...] Reason of the forsaid darknes at our Sau [...]ours Passion, may be to de­monstrate [Page 139] the great off [...]nce and sinne of the Iewes, as S. Ierome teacheth. In former tymes wicked men did perse­cute, molest, and trouble, yea and kill good men. But now men are arriued ro that degree of Impiety, as that they dare persecute euen God himselfe, in­uested with mans flesh and nayle him to a Crosse. In former tymes suites and contentions falling out among Citti­zens, they fell to Words, from words to blow [...]s, Wounds, and murther it selfe; But now Vassalls and Bonsl [...]u [...]s haue entred into insurrection and [...] ­bellion against the King of men and Angels; nayling, with incredible boldnes, his sacred hands and feete with piercing Nayles to the hard wood of the Crosse. Therefore the whole World was amazed, and through hor­rour of the fact trembled; And the sunne it selfe as vnwilling to lend its light to the furtherance of perpetra­ting so flagitious a Crime, did with draw in its beames, couering the whole ayre with blacke and dreadfull darknes.

But let vs now descend to the words of our Lord: Eli, Eli, lamma sabactani, These words are taken from [Page 140] the beginning of the one & twentith Psalme, where we thus read: Deus, Deus meus, respice in me, quare me de­reliquisti? O God, my God, haue respect to me, why hast thou forsaken me? Where those words, respice in me, vvhich are in the middest of the Verse, were added by the Septuagint Inter­preters; for in the Hebrew Text, there are no other words, but those, which our Lord did speake. In this one point the words of the Psalme, and of Christ do differ; in that the Words of the Psalme are all Hebrew words, whereas those spoken by Christ, are partly Sy­riach words, which kind of tongue the Iewes did then much vse. For those words: Talitha cumi, id est, puella surge and, Ephetha, that is, ad apetite, and some others in the Ghospels, are Sy­riake words, and not Hebrew. But to proceed. Our Lord complaineth, that he is forsaken of God, and he complai­neth crying out with a great and ve­hement voyce; Both which Points are to be ex [...]lained.

This dereliction and forsaking of Christ by his Father may be vnderstood in fiue seuerall senses or wayes, of all waith but one is true. There were fiue [Page 141] coniunctions of God in the Son. One naturall and eternall; to wit, the con­iunction of the Person with the Person of the Sonne in Essence. Another, that is, a new coniunction of the Diuine nature, with the Humane nature in the Person of the Sonne; or, which is all one, a coniunction of the diuine Per­son of the Sonne, with the humane Nature. The third, was the Vnion of Grace and of will; for Christ being mā was full of grace and truth, Ioan. 1. And, the things that do please God, he did allwayes, as himselfe witnesseth in S. Iohn. cap. 8. And the Father more then once said of him: This is my bele­ued Sonne, in whome I am well pleased. Matth. 3. The fourth coniunction was the Vnion of Glory; for the soule of Christ did see God, euen from his Cō ­ception. The fifth was the Vnion of Protection, of which himselfe spea­keth, when he saith: He that sent me, is with me, and he hath not left me a­lone, Ioan. 8.

Now the first Vnion is altogether inseparable and perpetuall; because it is an Vnion in Diuine Essence, of which himselfe speaketh: I and my Father are on [...] And therefore Christ did not say, [Page 142] my Father, why hast thou left me? For the Father is not called the God of the Sonne, till after the Incarnation, and by reason of the Incarnation. The second Vnion is neuer dissolued, ney­ther can it be dissolued; for what God once assumed, he neuer did leaue; for the Apostle saith: He spared not his own Sonn, but for vs all deliuered him. Rom. 8. And the Apostle Peter: Christ suffe­red for vs; And, Christ suffering in flesh. 1. Pet. 2. and 4. All which sacred testi­monies demonstrate, that he, who was crucifyed, was not pure man, but the true Sonne of God, and our Lord Christ. The third Vnion doth in lyke sort euer remaine, and euer shall re­maine: The iust dyed for the vniust, as S. Peter speaketh 1. Pet. 3. And the death of Christ would haue profited vs nothing, if the Vnion of Grace should be dissolued. The fourth Vnion could not be dissolued, because the Beatitude of the Sou [...]e cannot be lost, since it comprehendeth an aggregation and heaping together of all goods. For the soule of Christ according to the supe­riour part, was truly Blessed; of which Point see S Thomas 3. p. q. 46. art. 8. Therefore there remaineth onely the [Page 143] vnion of Protection, which for a short tyme was broken, that the Oblation of the bloudy Sacrifice should take place, for the redemption of mankind.

True it is, that God the Father could haue protected Christ many waies, and hindred his Passion; for according heerto Christ said in his prayer, which he made in the garden: Father, all things are possible to thee, transferre this Chalce from me; but not that which I will, but that which thou. Marc. 14. And to S. Peter Christ saith: Thinketh thou, that I cannot aske my Father; and he will giue me present­ly more then twelue legions of Angels? againe, Christ might, as God, haue pro­tected his flesh that it should not suf­fer; and therefore he saith, Ioan. 10. No man taketh my lyfe from me, but I yield it vp of myselfe, The which E­say prophecyed, when he said. cap. 53. He wat offered, because himselfe would. To cōclude, the blessed foule of Christ could haue trasmitted, and powred in­to its body the guift of impassibility and incorruption; but it pleased the Father, it pleased the Word, it pleased the Holy Ghost to suffer (for the exe­cution of the common Decree) that [Page 144] mans force should for a tyme preuaile against Christ. For this was that houre, of which our Lord spake to those, who came to take him: This is your houre, and the power of darknes. Luc. 22. In this manner therefore God did leaue his Sonne, when he suffered, that the humane flesh of his Sonne should suffer most bitter griefes with­out consolation.

Furthermore, Christ crying with a great voice, did manifest this dereli­ction, that all men thereby should ac­knowledge the greatnes of the pryce of the Redemption of man kind: for till that very houre he suffered all things with such incredible patience, and indifferency of mynd, as if he had wanted all sense and feeling: for fyn­ding himselfe agrieued and wronged by the Iewes, he did not charge Pilate, who prononced sentence against him, nor the souldiers who nayled him to the Crosse He did not lament, he did not bewayle, or shew any signe of dolour. Therefore when he was ap­proching neere to his death, to the end that mankind should vnderstand, and particularly that we (his seruants) should not be vngratefull for so great [Page 145] a fauour; and that we should magnify the pryce and worth of our Redemp­tion, he was willing that the dolours of his Passion should publikely, and openly be knowne. Wherefore those words, My God, why hast thou forsa­ken me? are not words of accusation, or indignation, or complaint; but (as I haue said) they are words declaring with most iust reason, and in a most fit tyme, the greatnes of Christ his Passion.

Of the first fruyte of the fourth Word. CHAP. II.

VVE haue briefly expounded those things, which belong to the fourth Word, according to the History. Now we will gather some fruits from the tree of the Crosse. First that consideration doth present it selfe vnto vs; to wit, that Christ would drinke vp the whole Chalice of his Passion, euen to the last drop. He was to remaine vpon the Crosse three hou­res, from the sixt houre to the ninth. [Page 146] He remained full three whole houres and aboue; for before the sixt houre he was nayled to the Crosse, and af­ter the ninth houre, he gaue vp the Ghost. This point may be made eui­dent by this Reason; the Eclyps of the Sunne began in the sixt houre, as three Euangelists do teach, Matthew, Marke, and Luke. And Marke in expresse wor­des sayth: when it was the sixt houre, there was made darknes vntil the ninth houre. The first tree VVord [...] of our Lord were spoken vpon the Crosse, before the beginning of the darknes; the o­ther foure were vttered after darknes and therefore after the ninth houre, Furthermore S. Marke explicateth this point more cleerly, when he saith: And it was the third houre, and they crucifyed him &c. And then after he subioyneth: And when it was the sixt houre, there was made darknes, cap. 14. Now where he saith, our Lord was crucifyed in the third houre he signifyeth, that the third houre, was not then complete, when our Lord was crucifyed, and consequently that the sixt houre was not as then begun. For S. Marke numbreth three princi­pall houres, which are accustomed to [Page 147] containe three ordinary houres. And according to this acceptance and con­struction the Houshoulder called the workmen to his vineyard, at the first, the third, the sixt, the ninth, and elea­uenth houre. Matth. 20. And we doe number the Canonicall houres, to wit, the first, the third, the sixt, the ninth, and the Vespers, which is the elea­uenth houre. Therefore in S. Marke our Lord is said to be crucifyed at the third houre, because as then the sixt houre was not come.

From hence then it followeth that our Lord would drinke the chalice of his Passion in a most full and copious manner; thereby to teach vs to loue better the cup of Pennance & labour; and not to loue and affect the cup of secular consolations and delights. We by the law of the flesh and the world, do desire and vvish for little Pennance and great Indulgence, small labour and much consolation, short Prayer and long chatting, or discourse. But certainly vve knovv not vvhat vve de­sire, since the Apostle admonisheth vs; euery one shall receaue his reward, ac­cording to his labour. 1. Cor. 3. And: He shal not be crowned, except he striue law­fully. [Page 148] 2. Tim. 2. Euerlasting felicity is doubtlesly worth euerlasting labour; but because, if euerlasting labour had beene absolutly necessary thereto, we should neuer haue attained to euerla­sting felicity; therefore our mercyfull Lord was content, that onely in this life (which flyeth away like a shadow) we should labour according to our strength, in good workes, and in ob­sequy and obedience towards him. And therefore those men are without hart or courage, without vnderstan­ding, without iudgment, and are ra­ther infants, and children, who con­sume and wast this short tyme in idle­nes, and which is farre more detesta­ble, in grieuously offending, and pro­uoking Gods wrath and indignation a­gainst them. For, if Christ ought to suffer, and so to enter into his glory? how then can we enter into the glo­ry of another, only by disporting, and spending the tyme in pampering and solacing of our flesh? If the Ghospell vvere very intricate and obscure, and could not be vnderstood vvithout great paines, and fatigation of mynd; perhaps we might shadow our negli­gence by some Excuse: but the Ghos­pell [Page 149] is cleerly expounded (as it were) & explained frō the example of his lyfe, who first gaue & promulgated the gos­pell; so as to the very blynd, it cannot lye hidden or concealed. Neither haue vve it explicated only by Christ him­selfe; but there are so many cleare Commētaries of it, which do lay open the sense, as there are Apostles, Mar­tyrs, Confessours, Virgins; and finally Saints, vvhose prayses and triumphes, vve celebrate almost euery day; since all these vvith an vnanimous cōsent cry out, that not by pleasure, good fellovv­ship, and humane delights, but, by ma­tribulations, we must enter into the Kingdome of Heauen, Act. 14.

Of the second fruite of the fourth Word. CHAP. III.

ANother fruit may be gathered frō the consideration of the silence of Christ in those three houres, which was from the sixt houre to the ninth. O my soule, vvhat did thy Lord in those three houres? Horrour & dark­nes did inuolue the vniuersall World: [Page 150] And thy Lord did not repose himselfe vpon a sof bed; but did hang vpon the Crosse, naked, full of dolours, & with­out any comforter. Thou O Lord, who only didst know, and try this, teach thy poore Seruants, that they may vn­derstand how much they are obliged and indebted to thee; that at least they may compassionate thee with their teares, and learne in this their exile, sometimes to want all consolation for thy Loue, if so thou shalt thinke it ex­pedient.

Say to such: O my Sonne, Neuer during the whole course of my mor­tall life (which was nothing, but la­bour and paine) did I suffer greater & more vehement straits, desolation, & anxiety, then during the space of those three houres. And neuer did I tolerate any paines with greater willingnes and promptitude of mind, then I did at that tyme. For then by reason of the weight and wearines of my Body, my wounds were more inlarged, and the sharpnes of my gri [...]fe more increased. Then, euen through the absence of the heate of the sunne, the coldnes of the ayre more insufferably augmented the torments of my Body, being on [Page 151] ech syde naked. Then the very dark­nes it selfe, which did take away from myne eyes the sight of Heauen, Earth, and all other things, forced my soule in a sort, more vehemently & intensly to thinke vpon the paines and angui­shes of my Body: so in regard of these aggrauating Circūstances, those three Houres did seeme to me to be three yeares. But because the ardour & de­si [...]es of my Fathers Honour (with the which my breast was inflamed) and of fulfilling my Obedience to him, and of the procuring the health of your sou­les, was so great, as that by how much the paines of my Body were increa­sed, by so much that fire of my desires was mitigated. So as those three Hou­res (in regard of the greatnes of my desire of suffering) appeared to be to me but three small moments of Time.

O most Blessed Lord, if the matter standeth thus, then are we most vn­gratefull, to whom it seemes painfull to spend but one short houre in medi­tating of those thy dolours; when to thee it was not painfull, to hange v­pon the Crosse for our Redemption three whole houres, in a horrour of darknes, in cold, and nakednes, in [Page 152] extreme thirst, and in most bitter and cruell torments. But, O Louer of man­kind, tell me, whether the vehem [...]ncy of thy dolour, was so forcible, as to cause thee to desist in hart frō prayer, during thy long silence of those three houers? For we being in anguish and tribulation (especially if the members of our Body labour with any violent paine) cānot without great endeauour apply our mynd to pray. But I heare thee say; Not so my Sonne; for euen in the infirmity of my flesh, I disposed my spirit prompt to prayer; yea during those three howers, in which I spake nothing, I was still praying with the mouth of my Hart to my Father for you. Neither did I pray only in Hart, but euen in woundes and bloud. For behould, how many wounds there were made in my body, so many cry­ing Voyces there were to my Father for you. And how many drops of Bloud there were, so many tongues they were, beseeching and begging Mercy for you, at the hands of my foresaid Father, and yours.

But now, O Lord, thou dost euen confound the impatience of thy Ser­vant, who if perhaps wearied out with [Page 153] labour, or griefe of Body, he do pre­pare himselfe to Prayer, can scarsly lift vp his Soule to God to pray for him, or if through thy Grace he be able to raise himselfe to so pious an Exercise; yet he is not able to maintaine his at­tention therin for any long time; since his mind is euer reflecting backe to his labour & paine. Therfore O pitti­full Lord, take mercy of thy Seruant according to the great Mercy, that hauing so great an Example of thy Pa­tience set before his Eyes, he may learne to tread thy steps, and may at least ouercome his small troubles and molestations in tyme of Prayer.

Of the third fruite of the fourth Word. CHAP. IV.

VVHen our Lord crying out v­pon the Crosse, said My God, why hast thou forsaken me? he did not so say, as if indeed he were ignorant, why God had left him; for what could he not know, who knew all things? For answerably hereto S. Peter answe­red [Page 154] our Lord thus d [...]manding: Simon of Iohn, louest thou me? (O Lord (sayth he) thou knowest all things; thou know­est that I loue thee. Ioan. 2. And the A­postle S. Paul speaking of Christ, ad­deth: In whom is all the treasures of wisdome and knowledge. Collos. 2. Ther­fore our Lord did not demaund, ther­by to learne, bu [...] to coūsell vs to seeke, that by seeking and finding, we might learne many things profitable, or ra­ther necessary vnto vs. Now why God did forsake his Sonne in molestations and most bitter dolours, fiue Reasons seeme to occur to me, the which I will here produce, that I may giue occa­sion to others of greater sufficiency, to find out better Reasons of Christs dereliction.

1. The first then may seeme to be, the greatnes and multitude of the of­fences of mankind against God, the which the Sonne did vndertake to expiate in his owne Body. S. Peter sayth: Christ did beare our sinnes in his body, vpon the tree, that being dead to sinne, we might liue to Iustice; by whose stripes you are healed. 1. Pet 2. Now the Greatnes of the Off [...]nce, which Christ did cancell by his Passion, is in some [Page 155] respect Infinite; to wit, in regard of the Person offended, who is of infinite dignity and excellency. In like sort, the Person satisfying (who is the Sonne of God) is also of infinite Dignity and Excellency; and by reason hereof eue­ry payne willingly endured by the Sonne of God (though it were only a drop of bloud) might be sufficient for the satisfaction. This assertion is most true; neuerthelesse that mans Redem­ption might be full and copious; and because it was not one Offence, but al­most innumerable Offences (for the Lambe of God, vvho taketh away the sinnes of the world, did take vpon him not only the first sinne of Adam, but all the sinnes of all men) therefore it pleased God, that his Sonne should to­lerate innumerable paines, and those most grieuous. And this is signified in that dereliction, of which the Sonne speaketh to the Father: Why hast thou forsaken me?

2. Another reason or cause was, the greatnes and multitude of the tor­ments of Hell, the which to make more knowne and euident to vs, the Sonne of God would abate and extin­guish the he [...]te of those flames with [Page 156] so mighty a shoure of his own paines. How great and dreadfull the fyar of Hell is, the Prophet I say teacheth, say­ing, that it is altogether intollerable: which of you can dwell with deuouring fyre? which of you shall dwell with e­uerlasting heates? Isa. 33. Therefore let vs render thankes to God with all our Hart and powers of our Soule, who would forsake his only begotten Sonne being in most great griefes for a time, that he might free vs from e­uerlasting heates of fire. In like man­ner, let vs render all due thankes and gratefull a [...]knowledgment to the lābe of God, who had rather be left of God vnder the killing sword, then that he would leaue vs vnder the teeth of the deuouring and infernall beast; who is euer feeding, and yet is neuer with feeding satisfyed.

3. The third cause is the greatnes of the price of the diuine grace, which is that precious pearle, the which Christ (the most wise merchant) with sale of all he had, did buy, and restore to vs, The grace of Christ, which was giuen to vs in Adam, & which through the sinne of Adam we lost, was so pre­cious a Pearle or Margarite, as that it [Page 157] did wonderfully adorne vs, and made vs most aceptable to God, and was a pledge of eternall felicity. There was not any, who could recouer this Pearle, being the summe of our ri­ches, and taken from vs by the sub­tilty of the Serpēt, but only the sonne of God, who through his Wisdome ouercommeth the malice of the deuil; but this with most great inconuenien­ce to himselfe, by being exposed to many labours and paines. Thus did the Piety and Charity of the Sonne o­uercome, who committed himselfe willingly to a most laboursome iour­ney, and most wearisome peregrina­tion, thereby to redeeme the Pearle for vs.

4. The fourth Cause was the most eminent greatnes of the Kingdome of Heauen, to the which the Sonne of God opened a way, and passage for vs, by his immense labours and paines; of which point the Church of God with a gratefull remembrance thus spea­keth: Tu deuicto mortis aculeo, ape­ruisti credentibus regna caelorum. Thou, the sting of death being ouercome, hast opened to the faythfull the kingdome of Heauen. And that he might ouercome [Page 158] the sting of death, it was needfull, that he should striue, and fight in a most cruell War with death; in which War the Father did forsake him, that with greater glory he might triumph.

5. The fifth Cause was the immense Loue, with the which the Sonne did affect his Father; for the Sonne did wish & couet, that in the redemption of the World, and abolition of sinne, he might satisfy the Honour of his eternall Father most copiously, and most abundantly. But this could not be effected, except the Father had for­saken his Sonne; that is, except the Fa­ther had suffered him to endure all those torments, which could be exco­gitated by the Deuill, and tolerated by man. Therefore now if it be demaun­ded, why God did (as it were) abandon his Sonne, suffering all Extremities vpon the Crosse? it may be answered, that this was done to the end, that the greatnes of sinne, the greatnes of Hel, the greatnes of diuine Grace, the great­nes of Eternall life, and the greatnes of the Charity of the Sonne of God towards his Father, might more co­piously and manifestly appeare.

From the consideration of which [Page 159] reasons, another Question tak [...]th its solution; That is, why God to many Martyrs did temper the Cup of their Passions and death, with so great a­bundance of spirituall consolation, as that those Martyrs had rather drinke the Cup of their sufferings with the mixture of those internall Comforts, then without those comforts to want the Cup of their Passions and Tribu­lations; And yet contrarywise he suffe­red his most beloued Sonne to drinke vp euen to the dregs (as I may say) his most bitter Cup, without any Con­solation whatsoeuer? The reason of the disparity of Gods proceeding her­in is, in that in the holy Martyrs not any of the former Causes did take place; which in the Passion of Christ we haue aboue mentioned.

Of the fourth Fruite of the fourth Word. CHAP. V.

ANother fruite may be added to the former, not so much pro­ceeding from the fourth VVord, as frō [Page 160] the circumstance of the tyme, in which it was spoken, to wit, of the horrible darknes, which immediatly went be­fore the pronouncing of the said word. Since such darknes is most strong to il­luminate and enlighten the Iewish na­tion; as also to confirme the Christiās themselues in true fayth, if so they wil diligently apply their mynd to the for­ce of the demonstration, which we will heere set downe. The demonstra­tion necessarily resulteth out of foure Truths.

The first Truth is, that when Christ was crucifyd the Sunne was so wholy obscured that the starres vvere then seene in the Heauens, as they are ac­customed to be seene in the night. This truth is warrāted and confirmed by fyue witnesses, most worthy of cre­dit and beliefe; who being of seuerall nations, liuing at seuerall tymes, and in seuerall places, when they wrote their bookes, could not write what in those tymes happened out of any se­cret conuention or mutuall agreement among themselues. The first is S. Mat­thew, an Hebrew, who did write in Iewry, & was one of those that saw the Sunne obscured. And certainely this [Page 161] man being graue and wise, would ne­uer haue written this in Iewry (and as it is credible euen in the Citty of Ieru­salem) if it had not beene most true: since otherwise, in setting downe thin­ges, vvhich all men did knovv to be false, he might deseruedly be repre­hended, and derided of all the inha­bitants of Ierusalem, and of all Iewry.

The second vvitnes is S. Marke, vvho vvrote at Rome; and he also savv the Eclyps, because then he vvas in Iewry with other disciples of our Lord, when it happened. The third is S. Luke, who vvas a Grecian, and vvrote in Greece; and he in like sort was an cy-vvitnes of the Eclyps at Antioch in his own Country. For vvheras Diony­sius Areopagita did see the Eclyps at Heliopolis in Egypt, S. Luke might more easily see it at Antioch, as being more neere to Ierusalem, then Heliopolis vvas. The fourth and fifth vvitnesses are S. Dionysius, and Apollophanes, both Grecians, & at that tyme Gentils, vvho in expresse vvords do testify, that the Eclips vvas seene by them vvith a stupendious admiration. These are those fiue vvitnesses, vvho do vvarrant the truth of that Eclyps, euen from [Page 162] their eyes, and sight thereof. To these vve may adioine the Annalls of the ancient Romans, as also Phlegon the Historiographer to Adrian the Empe­rour, as aboue vve noted in the first Chapter. Therefore this first Truth cannot be denyed eyther by Ievves or Pagans vvithout notorious temerity and [...]ashnes. For as concerning Chri­stians, this verity belongeth to the Catholike sayth.

2. Another Truth is, that the forsaid Eclyps cou [...]d not be effected, but by the omipotency of God; and therefore that it proceeded not in any sort from the diuels, or from men se­conded vvith the ayde of diuels, but only from the speciall Prouidence and vvill of God, the Creatour and Gouer­nour of the vvorld. This verity is thus demonstrated. The Sunne cannot faile in its light, but by one of these three vvayes. [...]yther by interposition of the moone betvveene the Sunne and the Earth; or through a most thicke and mighty grosse cloude; or through the retraction, vvith dravving, or extin­ction of the b [...]amee of the Sunne. Af­ter the first manner that interposition could not naturally be; because at that [Page 163] time (being the Pascha of the Iewes) the moone was found to be opposite to the Sunne; and therfore it f [...]llovv­eth, that that Eclypse vvas vvrought vvithout any interposition of the moone; or that through an vnvsuall and an astonishing Miracle the moone did moue as much in fevv houres, as at other times it vvas to moue in four­teene dayes; and againe that vvith the like miracle it returned backe vvith so great svviftnes that in the space of ree houres it performed its motion of fourteene dayes. Novv those cu [...]nts vvhich proceed from the Celestiall Orbes, cannot be accōplished but by God; since the povver of the diue [...]s is limited vnder the moone: and there­fore the Apostle calleth the diuell. The Prince of the Power of this ayre. Eph. 2.

The Eclypse could not be occasi­oned after the second manner; because (as vve haue said aboue) a thick and grosse cloude is not of force to take from vs the sight of the Sunne, except vvith all it take from vs the sight of the Starres. But it is euident from the te­stimony of Phlegon, that the Sunne vvanting its light at the Passion of Christ, starres vvere seene in Heauen [Page 164] after the same manner, as they are seen in the night. Touching the third mā ­ner, it is indisputrbly most true and acknovvledged, that the beames of the Sunne could not be dravvne backe, or extinguished, but only by the Power of God, who created the sunne. From all this it then followeth, that this se­cond Verity is no lesse irrefragable and certaine, then the first; neither can it be impugned with lesse temerity and want of Iudgment, then the first.

3. The third Verity is, that that da [...]knes, of which we in this place do speake, was occasioned by reason of the Crucifixion and Passion of Christ, and did proceed from the diuine Pro­uidence. This Truth taketh its demō ­stration from the tyme this darknes continued in the Ayre; for it continued as long as Christ our Lord did hang aliue vpon the Crosse; that is from the sixt hower vntill the ninth. This is wit­nessed by all those, who haue made mētion of this defection of the sunne. Neither can it be ascribed to chance, that this darknes (full of Miracles▪) could casually happen to be at the Pas­sion of Christ; since Miracles are not wrought by chance, but by diuine Pro­uidence. [Page 165] Neither hath there bene any Authour (that I know) that euer would attempt to ascribe this so won­derfull an Eclyps to any other cause. For those, who did know Christ, did confesse this Miracle to be wrought for his sake; and such, as did not ac­knowledge Christ, remayned astoni­shed at it, confessing their ignorance of the cause thereof.

4. The fourth Verity is, that this so prodigious a darknes could intimate and signify no other thing, but that the Sentence of Caiphas and Pilate was most iniust, and that Iesus was the true & proper Sonne of God, and the true Messias promised to the Iewes. For this was the chiefest and most vrging cause, why the Iewes thirsted after, and plotted the death of Christ. For in the Councell of the High Priest, Scribes, & Pharisyes, when the high Priest dis­cerned, that the testimonies produced against Christ preuayled not, nor pro­ued any thing, he rose vp, and said, Matth. 26. Adiuro te per Deum viuum, &c. I adiure thee by the liuing God, that thou tell vs, if thou be Christ the Sonne of God. But Christ cons [...]n [...]ing thereto, and confessing himselfe so to [Page 166] be, the high Priest, rent his garments, saying, He hath blasphemed; what need we any further witnes? Behould you haue heard the blasphemy, what thinke you? And they answering said: He is guilty of death.

And againe in the presence of Pi­late, who coueted to free our Lord from death, the High Priests and Mi­nisters said: we haue a law, and accor­ding to the law he ought to dye, because he had made himselfe the Sonne of Cod. Ioan. 19. This therefore was the chie­fest cause, why our Sauiour was con­demned to the Crosse. Which very Point was prophesied by Daniel, say­ing: occidetur Christus &c. Christ shall he slaine, and it shall not be his People that shall deny him. Dan. 9. And this was the maine motiue, why God at the Passion of Christ, did power downe such dreadfull darknes vpō the world, that thereby it might be most abun­dantly witnessed, the High Priests to haue erred, the People to haue erred, Pilate to haue erred, Herod to haue er­red, and him who hanged vpon the Crosse, to be the true Sonne of God, and the Messias who was promised. The truth whereof, the Centurion ob­seruing [Page 167] the Heauenly signes & woun­ders, testifyed in those words: Verè filius Dei erat iste. Indeed this was the Sonne of God. Matt. 27. And againe, Inded this man was iust. Luc. 23. For the Centurion did know that those ce­lestiall and astonishing Prodigies, were (as it were) the Voyce of God, retra­cting and condemning the Sentence of Caiphas and Pilate, and affirming, that that man (contrary to all Iustice) was deliuered ouer to death; seing he was the Authour of Life, the true Sonne of God, and Christ promised in the Law. For what other thing could that Darknes, being accōpained with the cleauing of the stones, & renting of the veyle of the Sanctuary, import, but that God was auerted from a People (before his) & that he was highly offended; in that the People did not know the tyme of their Visitation. Luc. 19.

Certainly if the Iewes did matu­rely consider these things, and withall obserue, that they are euen from that tyme dispersed and scattered among many Nations, not hauing any King, or High Priest, or Altars, or Sacrifices or diuine Miracles, or the Answers of [Page 168] Prophets among them; they would clerrely perceaue themselues to be a­bandoned and forsaken by God, and (which is far more miserable) to be deliuered ouer into a reprobate sense; and that to be accomplished and ful­filled in them, which Esay did prophe­cy, when he introduced our Lord thus speaking: Goe, and thou shalt tell this People: Heare you that heare, and vn­derstand not: and see a Vision, and know it not. Blind the hart of this People, and make their eares heauy, and shut their eyes, lest perhaps they might see with their Eyes, and heare with their eares, and vnderstand with their Hart, and be conuerted, and I heale them. Isa. 6.

Of the fifth fruite of the fourth Word. CHAP. VI.

IN the first three words or Senten­ces, Christ our Maister did recom­mend vnto vs three notable Vertues; Charity to our Enemies, Mercy to the Miserable, and Piety or duty to our Pa­rents. In the foure following Words [Page 187] he exhorts vs to foure Vertues, not more worthy, then the former, but to vs no lesse necessarie; to wit, Humility, Patience, Perseuerance, and Obedience. Tou [...]hing Humility. It may be truly called the Vertue of Christ (since there is no mention made thereof, in the Writings of the Wisemen of this World) for Christ throughout the whole course of his life, did really, & in his actions, practise this Vertue; and furthermore professeth himselfe to be a Maister thereof, in plaine and direct Words, saying: Learne of me, because I am meeke, and humble of Hart. Math. 11. But he neuer more perspicuously and clearely did commend this Vertue vnto vs (and withall Patience, which cannot be disioyned from Humility) then when he said: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? For in these words Christ sheweth, that through the permission and sufferance of God, all his glory and excellency in the sight of men was wholy obscured, the which point also that darkenes or E­clyps did demonstrate. Now our Lord could [...]ot without wonderfull Humi­lity and Patience tollerate so great an obscuration.

The glory of Christ, of which S. Iohn speaketh in the beginning of the Gospell, when he sayth: We saw the glory of him; glory as it were of the only begotten of his Father, full of grace and Verity. Ioan. 1. was placed in the Power, Wisdome, Probity, Princely Maiesty, Beatitude of the soule, and in the Diuine Dignity, which he had, as he was the true and naturall Sonne of God. All this glory his Passion did cloud, and obscure, and the darkning thereof those words do plainly signi­fy, My God, my God, why hast thou for­saken me? The passion did obscure his Power; because being nayled to the Crosse, he seemed to be of no power or ability; and therefore the chiefe Priests, souldiers, and the Thiefe did exprobate to him his impotency and weakenes, saying: Yf thou be Christ, come downe from the Crosse &c. And againe: He saued others, himselfe he cannot saue. Now how great Patience, how great Humility was required, that he who was truly Omnipotent, should be wholy silent to such vp­braydings?

The Passion did darken his Wis­dom [...]; when before the chiefest of the [Page 189] Priests, before Herod, before Pilate he answered nothing to many Interroga­tories and Questions, as if he had bene depriued of iudgment; by which his silence it was occasioned, that Herod & his Company contemned him, and cloathed him in a white vestment by way of derision. How great Patience, how great Humility was heer also re­quired for him to tolerate these in­dignities, who was not only wiser then Salomon, but was the very Wis­dome of God?

His probity and Innocency of life the Passion obscured; who being cru­cified vpon the Crosse, did hang bet­weene two thiefes, and was reputed a seducer of the People, and Vsurper of an other mans kingdome. And the splendour of this his Innocency, that dereliction of God, which himselfe confessed, saying, Why hast thou for­saken me, might well seeme more & more to obscure; Since God is accusto­med to forsake not pious men, but such as be wicked. Certainly haughty and proud men are very cautelous to speake any thing, wherby those who heare them, may suspect that they con­fesse any thing against their owne [Page 190] Worth: but humble and patient men (of which sort Christ was the King) willingly take bould of all occasion of Humility and Patience, so as they speake nothing, which is false. How great Humility, how great Patience here againe is required of him to suf­fer these things, of whom the Apostle thus speaketh: It was fit, that we should haue such a Priest, holy, innocent, im­polluted, separated from sinners, & made higher then the Heauens. Heb. 7.

Furthermore the Passion did so obscure the Regall Maiesty of Christ, as that it gaue to him, for a goulden diademe, a Crovvne of thornes; for a Tribunall, a gibbet; for Princely atten­dance, two Thieues. Therefore I say a­gaine; How great Humility, how great Patience was necessary for him, who vvas truly the king of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the Prince of the kings of the Earth?

Now vvhat shall I say of the Bea­titude of the soule, which Christ truly had from his Conception? And the vvhich he was b [...]th of povver and of Will to transfuse into the Body? How vehemently did the Passion darken this glory, since it made Christ, A man [Page 191] of sorrowes, and knowing infirmity; despised, and the most abiect of men. Isa. 53. and caused him through the a­cerbity of his sufferings, to crye out; My God, why hast thou forsaken me? To conclude, the Passion did so ouer­cloud the dignity of his diuine Person, as that he, vvho sitteth aboue all (not only men, but Angels) in regard of his Passion, said: I am a worme, and no man; A reproach of men, and the outcast of the People. Psal. 21.

To this lowest place therefore Christ did descend in his Passion; but this his descending was accompanied with great merit and exaltation. For what our Lord did often promise in words, saying: Euery one that humbleth himselfe, shalbe exalted, the same was performed in his Person, as the Apo­stle witnesseth: He humbled himselfe, made obedient vnto death; euen the death of the Crosse: for the which thing God hath also exalted him, and hath giuen him a Name, which is aboue all Names; That in the name of Iesus, euery knee bow, of the Celestials, terrestrials, and Infernals. Phil. 2. Therefore he, who was the last, is pronounced and declared to be the first; and a most [Page 192] short Humiliation resolued into an e­u [...]r [...]a [...]ting Exaltation. The which change we also find to haue happened to all the Apostles, and to all Saints. For S. Paul w [...]iteth, that the Apostles were, The refuse of the World, and the drosse of all, meaning, most base & vile things, which are cast out by euery one, and betrampled vpon. This was the Humility of the Apostles; But what was their Exaltation, S. Iohn Chrysostome teacheth (hom. 32. in Ep. ad Rom.) and sheweth it, when he sayth, that the Apostles are now in Heauen, and do assist neere to the Throne of Christ, where the Cheru­bims do glorify Christ, where the Se­raphims do fly; that is, they haue their place with the chiefest Princes of the kingdome of Heauen, from whence they shall neuer fall or depart. Cer­tainly if men would attentiuely consi­der and ruminate, how honourable a thing it is, to imitate the Humility of the sonne of God heere vpon the Earth; and with all, would make to themselues some cōi [...]cture, how great that exa [...]tation is, to the which humi­lity it selfe ad [...]anceth them, we should find very few proud men. But because [Page 193] most men do measure all things by the false yard of the senses of the flesh, & humane cogitation, therefore it is no wonder, if Humility can so hardly be found vpon the Earth, and that the Multitude of proud men be infinite.

The fifth Word, Sitio, I thirst, is explicated according to the Letter. CHAP. VII.

THe fifth Word followeth, which we read in S. Iohn. And indeed it is but one Word, to wit Sitio, I thirst. But that it should be truly (according to the present purpose) vnderstood, it is needfull to adde the words of the Euangelist, both going before and af­ter For thus S. Iohn speaketh: Postea sciens Iesus &c. Afterward Iesus know­ing, that all things were now consum­mate, that the Scriptures might be ful­filled, he sayth, I thirst. A Vessel there­fore stood there full of Vineger; & they putting a sponge full of Vineger about Hysope, offered it to his mouth Ioan. 19. Of which words this is the meaning: [Page 194] Our Lord would haue all things ac­complished and fulfilled, which the Prophets (being full of the Holy Ghost) did foretell of his Life & death, and because all other Predictions be­ing then already performed, this one yet remained; That is, that he should tast Vineger in his thirst, according to those words of the Prophet, Psal. 68. In my thirst they gaue me Vineger to drinke; Therefore he said with a cleare voyce) I thirst; and those, who were present, did offer to his mouth a spōge full of Vineger, put vpon a Reede, or Cane. Thus our Lord said, I thirst, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And why to the end the Scripture should be fulfilled? Why did he not say, I thirst, because he was really, thirsty, & desired to allay his Thirst? For the Prophet did not foretell it to the end that that should fall out which he had foretould; but he did therefore fore­tell it, because he did foresee it after to be. And he did foresee it after to be, because the thing was truly to be, al­though it had not beene foreseene. Therefore foresight or prediction is not the cause of a thing after to come to passe, but the thing, which is after to [Page 195] be, is the cause why it may be fore­seene or foretould.

Now a great Mystery is in this place reuealed. Our Lord did truly la­bour with extremity of thirst, euen from the beginning of his Crucifixion; and his thirst increased more & more; so as it was one of his chiefest tor­ments which he suffered vpon the Crosse; since sheeding of much bloud doth drye the body, and procureth thirst. I knew a Person, who being wounded in seuerall parts of his bo­dy, from which great store of bloud did flow, desired nothing but drinke; as if his most raging thirst had bene the only euill or payne he then suffe­red. The like is read in the life of S. Emmerammus Martyr, who being tied to a stake, and hauing receaued many wounds, only complayned of thirst. (Sur. die 22. Sept.) Therefore how could it otherwise be, but that Christ who after long wearines, had shed much bloud in his whipping; and after being crucified, had opened (as it were) foure fountaines in his body, from which great abundance of Bloud did for a long tyme streame, should be cruciated and vexed with a most bur­ning [Page 196] thirst? And notwithstand ng he conc [...]aled in silence this his long tor­ment for the space of three howers, and could haue concealed it euen to his death, which was present at hand: For what other reason then did our Lord hyde in silence (for so long a tyme) this his vehemency of Paine, & now being ready to dye, did manifest it, saying, I thirst; but because it was the will of God, that all of vs should know this torment of thirst not to be wanting vnto Christ? And therefore the same heauenly Father would haue it foretould by a Prophet in the Per­son of Christ, and did inspire it into our Lord Iesus, to make this new and most bitter paine knovvne to his faith­full seruants, for an example of Pa­tience. He said therefore, I thirst; that is, all my moisture in my flesh is spent, my veynes are dry, my tongue is dry, my pallate is dry, my iawes are dry, all my invvard parts are dry; if any man vvill comfort and refresh me, let him giue me to drinke.

Novv let vs heare, vvhat drinke they brought him vvho vvere present at the Crosse: Erat vas aceto plenum &c. There was a vessell full of Vineger; [Page 197] and they putting a sponge full of Vin [...] ­cre about Hysope, offered it to his mouth. O strang consolation and refreshment! There vvas a vessell full of Vineger, vvhich is pernicious and hurtfull to wounds, and is accustomed to hasten death, and to that end it vvas brought, thereby to hasten the death of those, vvho vvere to be crucifyed. S. Cyrill (cap 35. in Ioan.) vvith reference to this passage thus vvriteth: Pro iuuante & iucundo potu &c. For a medicinable and pleasant drinke, they proffered him that, which was hurtfull and bitter. And by reason hereof that thing is made more credible, vvhich S. Luke vvriteth in his Gospell: The souldiers mocked him, comming to him, and offe­ring him Vineger. Luc. 23. And although S. Luke doth write this of Christ la­tely nayled to the Crosse; yet it is very credible, that the souldiers themselues when they heard him crying, I thirst, did giue him Vineger in a sponge vpon a reede, the vvhich they before in a mocking manner, had offered vnto him. The summe and closure of all is, that as in the beginning, a litle before he vvas nailed to the Crosse, they offe­red him wyne mixt with gaule; so in [Page 198] the end of his life they brought him Vineger, dangerous to his wounds; so as from the beginning to the end, the Passion of Christ vvas a true & vehe­ment Passion, as not accompained with any alleuiation, or comfort at all.

Of the first fruite of the fifth Word. CHAP. VIII.

THe Scriptures of the Old Testa­ment are for the most part ex­plained by the Scriptures of the Nevv. But touching this Mystery of the thirst of our Lord, the vvords of the sixty eight Psalme may vvell paraphraze, & comment the Ghospell. We do not find clearely in the Ghospell, vvhether those vvho offered Vineger to our Lord thirsting, did it to gratify him, or rather the more to afflict him; that is, vvhether this their action proceeded from Loue or Hate. We vvith S. Cyrill do interpret in a bad sense the fact of those vvho gaue to our Lord (suffe­ring thirst) Vineger to drinke. But the vvords of the Psalme are so cleere and [Page 199] euident as that they need not any ex­position; And from those vve vvill ga­ther this fruit, that vve may learne to thirst vvith Christ after those things, vvhich truly and healthfully are to be thirsted after. These are the Words of the Prophet: I expected some body, that would be grieued with me, and there was none, or that would comfort me, and I found not any. And they gaue me gaule for my meate, & in my thirst they gaue me Vineger to drinke. Psal. 68. There­fore those men vvho gaue to Christ our Lord a litle before he vvas mayled to the Crosse, vvine mingled vvith gaule, and those vvho offered to our Lord aftervvard Vineger to drinke, vvere of that number of vvhom it is said: I expected some body, that would be grieued with me, and there was none; and that would comfort me, and I found not any.

But some may here demaund, did not the most Blessed Virgin (the Mo­ther of our Lord) and Mary of Cleo­phas sister of his mother as also Mary Magdalen vvith the Apostle S. Iohn, standing neere vnto the Crosse, truly and from their hart grieue and lament for our Lord? In like sort, did not those [Page 200] Women, who weeping followed our Lord to the Mount Caluary, truly con­dole vvith him? To conclude, were not all the Apostles much agrieued, & la­mented in the tyme of the Passion, when as Christ himselfe foretould of them. Ioan. 16. The world shall reioyce, but you shall be gladde? All these did truly contristate and lament; but they did not lament together with our Lord, in that there was not the same reason of Griefe in Christ, and in the others. For our Lord sayth: I expe­cted some body, that would be sory with me, and there was none; and that would comfort me, and I found not any. Those persons abouesayd did grieue tou­ching the Passion and corporall death of Christ: But Christ did not grieue touching this point, but only for a short tyme in the garden, to shew himselfe to be true Man: Yea he said, Luc. 22. With desire I haue desired to eate this Pasche with you, before I suf­fer; And in another place: Yf you loued me, you would reioyce, because I goe to the Father, Ioan. 4.

What cause then of griefe was there in our Lord, in which he did not find others grieuing vvith him? To [Page 201] wit, the losse of soules, for which he did suffer. And vvhat cause of Conso­lation, in which he had not another to comfort and reioyce with him, except the sauing of soules, after which he thirsted? This one Consolation he did seeke, this he desired, of this he was euen hungry and thirsty: but gaule is giuen to him for meate, and Vineger for drinke. For the bitternes of gaule doth signify and figure out sinne, then the which nothing is more bitter to him, that hath the sense of Tast not in­fected, or depraued; The acrimony or bitternes of Vinager representeth ob­stination in sinne: Therfore Christ de­seruedly did lament, because he did see for one Thiefe conuerted, not only an other thiefe remayning in his obsti­nacy; but also many others continuing in the like peruersity of mind; And euen then among the Apostles them­selues suffering scandall, he saw S. Peter to haue denied him, and Iudas to haue despayred.

Yf therefore any man vvill com­fort and bemoane Christ, oppressed vvith hunger & thirst vpon the Crosse, and from thence greatly grieuing; first let him present himselfe, as truly pe­nitent, [Page 202] and loathing all his former sinnes. Next, let him conceaue with Christ a great heauinesse and sorrow in his hart, that so great a multitude of soules do daily perish, since so easely all men may be saued, if so they will take the benefit of the price of mans Re­demption. Doubtlesly the Apostle was one of those, who deplored with Christ, seing he thus s [...]yth: Psalm. 9. Ve­ritatem dico in Christo &c. I speake the Verity in Christ, I lye not, that I haue great sadnes and continuall sorrow in my hart: for I wished my selfe to be an Anathema from Christ for my Bre­thren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelits, whose is the adoption of sonnes. The Apostle could not more amplify & enlarge his desire of sauing soules, then by this exagge­ration, of wishing himselfe to be an A­nathema from Christ; For this sen­tence, according to the iudgment of S. Iohn Chrysostome, is ro be interpre­ted, that the Apostle was so vehement­ly troubled and afflicted touching the damnation of the Iewes, as that (if it could haue bene) he desired to be se­parated from Christ, for Christ his sake; meaning herby, he did not couet [Page 203] to be separated from the Charity of Christ, of which point he had spoken a litle before saying, Who shall separat [...] vs from the Charity of Christ? but to be separated from the glory of Christ; as making choyce rather to be depri­ued of the Heauenly glory, then that Christ should be depriued of that great fruite of his Passion, which would ap­peare in the conuersion of so many thousand of Iewes. Therefore the A­postle did truly grieue with Christ, & did giue comfort to the griefe of Christ.

But we haue few men in these dayes, who are emulous, or imitatours of him. For there are no few Pastours of soules, who more lament, if the an­nuall rents of their Church be dimini­shed or lost, then if a great number of soules vnder their charge, through their absence or negligence do perish. Patientiùs ferimus Christi iacturam, quàm nostram (sayth S. Bernard.) VVe suffer with greater patience the losse of Christ, then our owne losse; We make great search into our daily expences; but of the daily losses of the flocke of Christ we rest ignorant; Thus this holy Fa­ther l. 4. de consid. c 9. It is not sufficient [Page 204] for a Prelate if himselfe liue piously, and labour priuatly, to imitate the Vertues of Christ, except withall he do make his owne subiects (or rather his owne sonnes) vertuous, and by the footesteps of Christ, bring them to e­ternall life. Therefore if such men do couet to suffer, and grieue with Christ, & to bemoane his dolours, let them watch ouer their flock diligently, let them not forsake their poore sheepe, but let them direct them by Words, and go before and leade them the way, by good Example.

But Christ may deseruedly com­plaine of priuate men, that they do not condole with him, or with his do­lours. For if Christ hanging vpon the Crosse, did iustly complaine of the per­fidy and obstinacy of the Iewes, by whom he saw all his great labour, & griefe to be contemned, and so pre­cious a medicine of his bloud to be by them (as by fanaticall and mad men) reiected and vilifyed; what now may he say, when he doth see (not from the Crosse, but euen from Heauen) his owne Passion to be valewed at no worth; and his sacred Bloud to be be­trampled vpon, by those men who do [Page 205] belieue in him, or at least say they do belieue in him; and who offer to him, nothing but gaule and Vineger that is, who do multiply their sinnes without consideration of the diuine Iudgement, or without feare of H ll? We read in S. Luke c. 15. that; There shalbe ioy in Heauen, vpon one sinner, that doth Pennance. But if that Man, who by fayth and Baptisme was borne in Christ, and by Pennance was recalled from death to life, do presently againe dye by sinning; is not the ioy then tur­ned into sorrow and griefe? and is not the Milke changed into gaule, and the Vine into Vinager?

Certainly, A woman, when she tra­uaileth hath sorrow, (if she bring forth her child with life) she remembreth not the payne for ioy, that a man is borne into the world. Ioan. 16. But if it happen that the child do instantly dye, or be borne deade, is not the mother affli­cted with a double griefe? Euen so, ma­ny do labour and take paines in con­fessing their sinnes, and perhaps put in practise fasting and Almes-deeds not without some difficulty; yet because through an erroneous Conscience, or through an vnwarrantable Ignorance, [Page 206] they do not arriue to perfect Pardon; do not these men euen labour in Child-byrth, and bring forth an Abor­tiue, and afflict their Pastours with a double griefe? These therfore resem­b [...]e a man that is sicke, who hasteneth his owne death by taking of most bit­ter Physick from whence he hoped for health: Or els a Husbandman, who af­ter much labour spent in cultiuating his Vineyard, or ground doth through an vnexpected Hayle showred downe, loose all his profit, that is all his labour and toyle. These Euills therfore ought with great reason to be deplored with inconsolable griefe; And who beway­leth them, and is sory for them, he doth condole with Christ vpon the Crosse; And when with fortitude and strength he laboreth to expell & driue away these Euills, he wonderfully compassionateth the afflictions of Christ suffering on the Crosse, & shall (in recompence thereof) reioyce with Christ reioycing in Heauen, and raigne with him, there reigning for euer.

Of the second fruite of the fifth Word. CHAP. IX.

VVHen attentiuely I ponder & consider the thirst of Christ hanging vpon the Crosse, another fruite (and no lesse profitable) is pre­sented to my iudgement. For our Lord seemeth to me to haue said, Sitio, I thirst, in the same sense, when vnto the Samaritan woman he said, Giue me to drinke; for a litle after opening the mystery of this his Word, he thus subioyneth. If thou didest know the guift of God, and who he is, that saith vnto thee, giue me to drinke, thou per­haps wouldest haue asked of him, and he would haue giuen thee liuing water, Iohn 4. Now how can he thirst, who is the fountaine of liuing water? Did not our Lord speake of himself, when he said. Ioan. 7. If any man thirst, let him come to me and drinke? And is not he that Rock, of which the Apostle speaketh. 1. Cor. 10. They dranke of the spirituall Rock, that followed them, [Page 208] and the Rocke was Christ? To con­clude is not this he, who thus spea­keth to the Iewes by Ieremy the Pro­phet cap. 2. They haue forsaken me the fountaine of liuing water; and haue digged to themselues Cesternes, broken Cesternes, that will not hould water? Therefore it seemes, I behould our Lord vpon the Crosse, as vpon a high Turret, casting his eyes vpon the whole earth [...]u [...]l of men, thirsting, and langiuishing through thirst: who through occasion of his owne corpo­rall thirst, doth commiserate the com­mon thirst of mankind, and saith: Si­tio, that is, I am truly thirsty, since all the humidity and moysture of my bo­dy is already spent and dried vp; but this my thirst wil quickly haue an end: Therefore I do now thirst that men would beginne to know from fayth, me to be the true well-spring of liuing water, and that they would come to me and drinke, that so they need not to thirst for all Eternity.

O how happy and blessed might we be, if with a most attent hart, we would heare this Sermon of the VVord Incarnate. Doe not almost all men thirst with a most burning thirst of [Page 209] concupiscence, and with an insatiable thirst after the fading & troubled wa­ters of transitory and floating thinges, which are vulgarly called goods, Riches, Honours, Pleasures? And who is he, that drinking of this water, hath his thirst thereby extinguished? And who euer hearing Christ our Maister, did beginne to tast and relish the liuing water of Heauēly wisdom & of diuine charity, but that (the thrist of terrene things being presently asswaged, he begun to breath hope of eternall lyfe; and laying aside all gnawing care of getting and heaping together earthly treasures, did not begin to thirst af­ter Heauenly? This water of lyfe (not rising out of the earth, but descending from Heauen) which our Lord (be­ing the fountaine of the water of life, if so we will demand it with most ar­dent prayers, and a fountaine of tea­res) will giue to vs; this water (I say) will not only quench the thirst of ter­restriall pleasures, but also will be to vs neuer fading meate and drinke, du­ring all the time of our Peregrination. For thus the Prophet Esay speaketh: All you that thirst, come vnto the wa­ters. Isa. 55. And to preuent that thou [Page 210] maist thinke not thinke it to be plaine & simple water, or to be bought with a great Price, the Prophet subioyneth: Make hast, come away, buy without money, without any change, wine and milke. Water is said to be bought, be­cause it is not obtained without la­bour, that is, without a true disposi­tion of mynd; but yet it is bought without money or any exchange, be­cause it is giuen freely, neyther can any equall price for it be found. And that, which the Prophet a litle afore called water, he presently after termeth wine and milke; since it is a most precious and inestimable thing, as comprehen­ding in it selfe the perfection or vertue of water, wyne, and milke.

This is true wisdome and charity, which is called water, because it doth refresh and coole the heate of concu­biscence. It in also wine, in that the mynd of man is therewith heated, and (as it were) become drunke with a sober ebriety; finally, it is said to be milke, because it nourisheth with a sweet and gentill food especially such, who are but infants in Christ, accor­ding to those wordes of S. Peter the Apostle: As infants newly borne, desire [Page 211] you milke. 1. Pet 2. This true wisdome and Charity being incompatible with the Concupiscence of the flesh, is that sweet yoake, and light burden, the which whosoeuer willingly and hum­bly vndergoe, do purchace true and stable rest to their soules; so as they shall not neede to draw water from earthly and muddy Wels. This most sweet repose of mynd gaue way to so­litude, to an Heremiticall lyfe, filled Monasteries, reformed the Clergy; yea reduced married Persons to no small moderation and continency.

Certainly the Pallace or Court of Theodosius the yonger, being Empe­rour, did much resemble a great Mo­nastery; And the House of Elzearus (the Earle) bare the show of a small Monastery. For in neither of these two places were to be heard any conten­tions, or disagreements, but insteed thereof the singing of spirituall Hym­nes and Canticles did most frequently resound. All this we owe, as due to Christ, who hath extinguished our thirst with his thirst; and as a liuing fountaine, hath so watered the fields of our Harts with flowing streames, as that they need not feare any drought, [Page 212] except our Harts depart from the fountaine it selfe (which God forbid) through the instigation of the Enemy.

Of the third fruite of the fifth Word. CHAP. X.

THe third fruite, which may be ta­ken from the words of Christ, is the imitation of the Patience of the Sonne of God. For although Humility (conioyned with patience) did shine in the Fourth word, or sentence; yet in the Fyfth word, as in its proper and re­serued place, the wonderfull patience of Christ seemeth most eminently to manifest it selfe Patience is not only one of the chiefe Vertues; but among the rest it is very necessary. For thus S. Cyprian speaketh, Serm. de bono Pa­tientia. Non inuenio inter caeteras &c. Among the seuerall wayes of Celestiall discipline, I do not find any thing more necessary to mans life, or more condu­cing to true Glory, then that we, who la­bour to obserue the precept of our Lord with feare & deuotion, should carefully [Page 213] deuote our selfes to the practice of Pa­tience. But before we discourse of the Necessity of Patience, it is needfull, that we distinguish betweene true and false Patience.

Well then, that is true Patience, which commandeth vs to suffer the Euill of payne, or punishment, to the end we may not be forced to suffer the Euill of Fault, or sinne. Such was the patiēce of the Martyrs, who made choyce rather to vndergoe the tor­ments of their Persecutours, then to yeald vnto an abnegation of their Fayth in Christ, and to suffer the losse of all their temporall goods, then [...]o exhibite worship and honour to false Gods. But counterfaite and false Pa­tience is that, which persuadeth a man to suffer all Euills and Inconueniences, thereby to giue satisfaction to the Law of Concupiscence, and to loose euerla­sting Goods for the conseruation of temporall and momentary. Such is the Patience of the Martyrs of the Deuill (so to style them) who easily endure hunger, thirst, cold, heate, the losse of their reputation and good name, and (which is more to be admired) the losse of the Kingdome of Heauen, that [Page 214] so they may increase and heape toge­ther Riches, may glut and satisfy their owne Carnality, and aspire to certaine steps and degrees of Honour.

Now this is incident and peculiar to true Patience, to perfect and con­serue all Vertues. And this is that, which S. Iames euen preacheth in the prayse of Patience, saying, cap. 1. Pa­tience hath a perfect worke, that you may be perfect and entire, failing in no­thing. For other Vertues in regard of their difficulty, except they be suppor­ted and gouerned with Patience, can­not subsist or continue long; but when they are accompained with Patience, they easely commaund and ouer-rule all opposition and resistance whatsoe­uer. For Patience doth conuert, and maketh crooked things straight, and rough wayes plaine. Isa. 42. And this is so indisputably true, that S. Cy­prian thus discourseth of Charity the Queene of Vertues, Serm. de Patientia: Charitas fraternitatis &c. Charity is the bond of fraternity, the founda­tion of Peace, the knitting togeather of Vnity; It is greater then Fayth, or Hope; It euer goeth before martyrdome. It shall euer remaine in vs with God in [Page 215] the Heauenly kingdome; Yet spoyle and depriue it of Patience, it becomes deso­late, and endures not; take from it the vertue of sustaining and tolerating, and then you do pull it quite vp by the roote. The which very point (I meane the necessity of Patience) the same S. Cy­prian more easily proueth to be in Chastity, Iustice, and Peace with our neighbours, for thus he heerof dis­courseth: Let thy Patience be strong & immoueable in thy hart; let not thy san­ctifyed Body, and Temple of the Holy Ghost be polluted with adultery; neither let thy Innocency (deuoted to Iustice) be contaminated with any contagion of deceyt; nor after thou hast receaued the most reuerend Eucharist, let thy hand be dishonoured with the sword, or im­brued in bloud. Ibid. Thus this Doctour; who intimateth from a contrary sense, that Chastity without the support of Patience, is not able to resist Adultery, nor Iustice can be voide of fraud, nor the taking of the Eucharist can free a man from Homicide.

This, which S. Iames aboue tea­cheth, touching the vertue of Patience, is also taught in other words by the Prophet Dauid, by Christ himselfe, and [Page 261] by the Apostle. Dauids wordes are these, Psal. 9. The patience of the poore shall neuer perish. Beacuse it is a perfect worke, and in this respect its reward shall not consume or wast away. Pa­tience also is said not to perish, because it is recompenced for all eternity, in regard of its fruite: after this manner we are accustomed to say, that the la­bours of a Husbandman doe perish, when they beare no fruite; and not perish, when they beare fruite. Now the word, Poore, is heer added, be­cause in this place it signifyeth one, that is humble, who acknowledgeth himselfe to be poore, and that he can­not eyther doe, or suffer any thing, without the concurrency and ayde of God; and thus is this point expoun­ded by S Austin lib. de patient. cap. 15. Neither only the poore, but the rich, and such as do abound with affluency of temporall wealth, may haue the vertue of patience, so that they do not confide and trust in their riches, but in God; of whome, as being truly poore in all diuine guifts, they pray for Pa­tience, and obtaine it.

This said point, our Lord himselfe signifyed, when he sayd in the Ghos­pell, [Page 217] Luc. 21. In your patience, you shall possesse your soules. For he onely doth truly enioy his soule, that is his lyfe, of which no man can be bereaued, who will tollerate patiently all affli­ctions, yea the very death of the bo­dy, so that he sinneth not against God. For although by dying he may seeme to loose lyfe, yet he looseth it not, but keeps, and reserues it for all Eternity. Since the death of the iust is not death, but a sleep, and a very short sleep. But those who are impatient, that so they loose not the lyfe of the Body, feare not to sinne, eyther by apostating and denying of Christ, worshipping of I­dols, by becomming a prey to sensua­lity, or by perpetrating any wicked­nes whatsoeuer; these men seeme in­deed for the time to preserue lyfe, but they loose eternall lyfe both of Body and soule. And as it is said of those who are truly patient: Not one hayre of your head shall perish. Luc. 25. So to the impatient it may be said; not one member of your Body shalbe free frō the incendious heats, and burning of Hell.

To conclude, this forsaid point the Apostle confirmeth, saying, Heb. [Page 218] 10, Patience is necessary for you, that doing the will of God, you may receaue the Promise. Where we see, that the A­postle plainly pronounceth, that Pa­tience is wholy necessary to vs, that thereby we may alwayes do the Will of God, and by doing it may receaue the Promise; that is, the Crowne of Glo­ry, which God hath promised for them that loue him, and keep his Commande­ments, Iac. 1. For we read, Yf any loue me, he will keep my Words; He that lo­ueth me not, keepeth not my Words. Ioan. 14. Thus vve obserue the whole Scripture (cohering and agreing in it selfe) to preach to all the faithfull, the necessity of Patience. And this is the Cause, why Christ going out of this life, would testify to all men his inuisi­ble, most bitter, and most long suffe­ring of thirst, that we being moued with so great an Example, should be inflamed to keep Patience in all our Afflictions. That this thirst of Christ was a most vehement paine, we haue aboue shewed in the explication of the word, Sitio. That it continued for a long tyme, it may be easily made eui­dent.

And that we may begin from the [Page 219] scourging of Christ; when Christ was whipped, he was then already spent, and wearied through prolixity of Prayer, through his Agony & effusion of bloud in the garden; Also he was much tired with iourneys, which that night and the day following he made; As from the Garden to the House of Annas, from the house of Annas to the house of Caiphas, from the house of Caiphas to the house of Pilate; from the house of Pilate to the house of He­rod; from the house of Herod backe againe to the house of Pilate; which seuerall iourneys contained many Mi­les. Neither did our Lord (after his supper the night before) tast of any meate or drinke, or tooke any repose and sleepe; but endured many most grieuous afflictions in the house of Caiphas; and then immediatly after all these his pressures, followed the most barbarous & cruell whipping of him; the which was attended on with a most vehement Thirst, which Thirst much increased, when his whipping was ended. After all this succeeded his crowning with thornes, and the Iewes mocking him to scorne; which new vexation was also accompanied with [Page 220] extremity of thirst, so as the same was very much increased. Then being euen wasted with so many iourne [...]s and la­bours, he was next burdened with the weight of his Crosse which he bare vnto Mount Caluary: That iourney being ended, Wyne mingled with ga [...]le was offered to him, the which when he began to tast, he refused to drinke therof.

Thus his iourneying to and fro re­ceaued an end; but the Thirst, which vexed our Lord throughout all his tra­uayle and labour, doubtlesly increased. For presently his nayling to the Crosse followed, and from hence one may easily conceaue, that his Thirst grew greater and more vehement through the defluxion & streaming of his most precious bloud, as from foure foun­taines. To conclude, during the space of three houres following (to wit, from the sixt hower to the ninth) in that horrible darknes, it can hardly be belieued, with what fyar or ardour of thirst that most sacred body of our Lord was consumed and wasted. And although it was Vinegre, which the Ministers of his Passion offered to him; yet because it was neither Wyne, [Page 221] nor Water, but Vinegre (that is, a sharpe and vngratefull Potion) & but small in quantity, since he was to sucke the same by drops out of a spunge, & was most neere vnto his death; there­fore it is lawfull to affirme, that our Blessed Redeemer euen from the be­ginning of his Passion to his death, did suffer with wonderfull patience, this dolefull and most greuious torment. Now of what violence this torment is, few make tryall, since they may ea­sely find water, wherewith to quench their thirst; but such as trauell diuers dayes in desert places (where small or litle water is to be found) do fully take notice, how great a torment Thirst is.

Q. Curtius writeth (lib. 7. de gest. Alex.) that Alexander the great pas­sing with his Army through a long & tedious desart, his souldiers after much drought and thirst came to a certaine Riuer, of which they dranke with such gust and greedmes, as that many of them by losing their wynd, or breath in drinking, did presently dye, & then he thus concludeth: Multòque maior &c The number of those, by this meanes dying was far greater, then euer he lost in any one battayle. Therefore the [Page 222] heate of the thirst was so intollerable, as that the souldiers had not that cō ­mand ouer themselues, as in tyme of drinking, a litle to breath, or take their Wind. And thus the greatest part of Alexanders Army was extinct and pe­rished. There haue bene some men, who through extremity of thirst, haue thought water mingled with dirt, oyle, bloud, and other more filthy things, to haue byn sweet and plea­sant. From hence then, we may be in­structed, how bitter the Passion of Christ was, and how great Vertue of his Patience appeared therein. And it was Gods will, that this his Patience should be knowne to vs, that by our imitation of it, vve might so compas­sionate & suffer with Christ, as that vve may be glorified together vvith Christ.

But it seemes to me, that I heare diuers good and pious soules, earnest­ly enquiring, how they might arriue to that height, as seriously to imitate the Patience of Christ, and to say with the Apostle, I am fastned to the Crosse with Christ: & with the holy Martyr S. Ignatius; Amor meus crucifixus est. My loue is crucifyed. This point is not so difficult, as many take it to be. For [Page 223] it is not necessary for all men to lye vp­pon the cold ground; to discipline & scourge their body with whips vntill the drawing of bloud; to fast dayly with bread and water; to weare con­tinually next to their skin a rough hayre cloath, or iron-chayne; or to practise other such kinds of mortifica­tion, for the taming of the body, and crucifying It, with its vices and con­cupiscences: these actions are laudable, and also profitable, when they are pra­ctised by such, whose bodies are able to beare them; and this by the aduice and direction of their spirituall Father or Instructour. But I in this place couet to shew to the pious Reader, a course or way of exercising Patience, and of imitating Christ, who was most patiēt; which course may agree to all men, & in vvhich nothing is vnaccustomed; nothing tasting of nouelty, nothing, vvhich may seeme to gaine a vulgar praise.

First then I say, that one vvho is zealous of Patience, ought vvillingly to be busyed in those labours vvhich he is assured are gratefull and pleasing to the vvill of God, according to that of the Apostle, Heb. 10. Patience is neces­sary [Page 224] for you, that you doing the VVill of God, may receaue the Promise. What God vvould haue vs patiently to vn­dergoe, is not hard eyther to learne, or to teach. First experience and dayly practise telleth vs, that vvhat things the Church (our Mother) commandeth to be done, the same (though hard and difficult) are to be performed obe­diently and patiently. But vvhat doth the Church command vs? to vvit, the fasts of Lent, the Ember-dayes, and the vigill of Saints. If these be perfor­med in such sort, as they ought to be, they then cannot be performed vvith­out Patience. For if a man vpon fasting dayes, vvill seeke after delicate and curious meates; and at one supper, or dinner eate as much meate, as at other tymes is vsuall to serue him both for dinner and supper; or els vvill preuent the houre of eating before noone, and then at night insteed of a small refe­ction or Collation, will deuoure so much, as may wel to be termed a large and copious supper, certainly this Man will not easily suffer honger or thirst; neyther will he stand in need of Pa­tience. But if he will constantly and seriously determine with himselfe, not [Page 225] to anticipate the houre, except some disease or other necessity force him; and to content himselfe with ordinary and meane dyet, imposed as i [...] vvere for pennance, and (auoyding all full gorging) to take it in that measure & quantity, as may seeme not to exceed one ordinary meale; and to giue, that to the poore, vvhich should be takē at another meale if it vvere not a day of fast, according to S. Leo, saying (serm. 11. de ieiunio 10. mensis:) Refectio P [...]u­peris, abstinentia ieiunantis. The absti­nence of the faster, is the refection of the poore; and the same Father in an­other place: Esurianus paululum &c. Beloued, let vs fast a litle, th [...]t we may subtract and withdraw so much from our custome of eating, as may relieue the poore and needy. Serm. 9. de ieiunio 7. mensis. and to conclude, at night to make but a small Collation or drin­king: This man (I say) hath need of Patience to endure his hunger & thirst. And in fasting after this manner, we in some sort may imitate the patience of Christ, & his crucifixion. But these fasts are not wholy necessary, though they be necessary for the exercise of Patience, and for the imitation of the [Page 226] Passion of Christ.

Furthermore, the Church com­mandeth Ecclesiasticall, or Regular Persons, to recite or sing the seauen Canonicall Howers; and that all the faithfull at least in prayer do read, & recite the Lord Prayer, and the Saluta­tion of the Angell. This religious Rea­ding and prayer, if it be performed in that sort, which it may, and ought to be, doubtlesly will stand in need of Pa­tience. But there are many, who that they may shake of all Patience, endea­uour to take away all difficulties. For they thinking, that a heauy burden is imposed vpon them, do most swiftly run all things ouer, that so in a very short space, they may dispatch them­selues of the Burden. Next to this, they do not standing or kneeling, but either sitting or walking, read the Ca­nonicall Howers, to the end that the wearisomnes of reading or praying may be mitigated by sitting or wal­king. I here speake of such, who read the howers in priuate, not of those who sing or say the same in the Quire. Furthermore, that they may not be forced to breake their sleep, they vse often to say their Mattins before the sunne setteth.

Touching the attention and eleua­tion of mind in tyme of prayer, and of praysing God, I say little, since many thinke of nothing lesse then of that, which they sing, or reade. Therefore taking away the difficulty of spending much tyme in reading, or in Prayer, & of rising in the night to say their Mat­tins, and omitting or neglecting the la­bour of standing or kneeling; as also not regarding to put a bridle on the mind, that it may not wander in di­stractions and vnnecessary thoughts, but that it may be wholy intent vpon that, vvhich it readeth: I say, that once taking avvay all these things, it is no wonder, if many do not seeme to stād in need of Patience. But let such negli­gent men heare and obserue, with what sollicitude and care S. Francis did read or recite the Canonicall howers; and then they shall fully see and ac­knowledge, that this pious and Reli­gious office and duty cannot be per­formed without the ayde and support of Patience. For thus S. Bonauentur [...] writeth of him, cap. 10. vitae eius. Soli­tus erat vir sanctus &c. The holy man was accustomed to pay, or performe to God his Canonicall Howres, with no [Page 228] lesse feare, then deuotion. For althogh he was afflicted with a paine in his eyes, stomacke, splene, & liuer; yet he would not as much as leane vnto the wall, when he did sing; but euer standing streight vp, and without any hood on his head, or wādring eyes he said his houres, & that sometymes not without swoun­ding with the payne. He did, when he was in any iourney on the way, neuer o­mit this reuerend custome. He also was persuaded he offended highly, if in tyme of prayer he were distracted with any wandring of mynd, or vaine thoughts; and when any such thing happened, he presently cancelled the same by humble Confession: He was accustomed to say the Psalms, as if he did behould God pre­sent: And when the name of our Lord did occur therein, he was wont to licke his lips, through the sweetnes of that name pronounced by him. Thus S. Bona­uenture writeth of S. Francis.

Certainly, if a man would endea­uour to read h [...]s Canonicall Howers after this manner, and vvould rise in the night time for the saying therof, he vvould then find by experience, and confesse, that without labour and pa­tience [Page 229] he could not performe and sa­tisfy the diuine Office of Prayer. There are many other things, which our Mo­ther, the Church, euen from the Will of God (manifested in the holy Scrip­tures) doth prescribe to vs, the which without patience cannot be rightly performed. As for example, to distri­bute to the poore, vvhat is superfluous in our riches; to pardon such as offend vs, and to make satisfaction to those vvhom we offend or wrong; to con­fesse a [...]l our sinnes at least once a yeare, to communicate and receaue the most Blessed Sacrament, which requireth no small preparation of mind. All these require great Pat [...]ence for the perfor­mance therof And thus much of these few things prescribed to vs, the which I set downe only for an instance,

Another thing, in vvhich the Will of God is seene, and which cannot be performed on our part without Pa­tience, is all that, which either the De­uills or men do worke, to afflict and vexe vs. For although bad men and the wicked Deuills, when they do exercise their malice against vs, do intend no good; notwithstanding God (without vvhose permission they can do no­thing) [Page 230] would not permit that their vexation, except he iudged it might be profitab [...]e to vs. Therefore affliction is to be receaued [...]s from the hand of God, and [...]s in this respect to be suffe­red patiently and vvillingly. So Iob (being a plaine & vpright man) vvas not ignorant, that those Calamities which he suffered, did proceed from the malice of the Deuill; to wit, when in one day, he lost all his riches, all his sonnes, and the health of his Body; Notvvithstanding he said: Our Lord gaue, and our Lord hath taken away; the name of our Lord be blessed; because he did knovv, that these Calamities could not haue fallen vpon him, vvith­out the vvill of God. I do not speake this, as if I vvould counsell men, vvho are afflicted either by men or Deuils, that they cannot, or ought not to re­paire their losses, to seeke to cure their Body by medicins or physicke, or to defend themselues and their states: B [...]t only this I do admonish, that men do not study reuenge against wicked men, nor render Euill for Euill; but that they do patiently suffer, what God will haue them to suffer; that so doing the will and pleasure of God, they may [Page 231] receaue the Promise.

The last way of practising Patience consisteth, in that we do vnderstand & conceaue, that all those things, which may seeme to happen either by chance or fortune, as much drought of Wea­ther, ouer much rayne, pestilence, Pe­nury, and the like, do not come with­out the Prouidence and will of God; & that therefore we ought not to com­plaine of the Elements, or of God; but that we acknowledge the punishment of God for our sinnes, that thus being subiect to God, we may patiently beare all aduers [...]ties with true Humility. For by doing so, it will come to passe, that God being appeased, will leaue to vs behind him his Benediction, and cha­stize vs (as his Sonnes) with a paternall correction, and not depriue vs (as ba­stards and adulterate) of our heauenly Inheritance. I will here adioyne one Exāple out of S. Gregory, from whence we may gather, how great the reward allotted to Patience, is. He relateth (hom. 3 [...]. super Euang.) that a certaine man called Steuen, was so patient, as that he reputed thē his chiefest friēds, vvho had beeene most troublesome vnto him; giuing them thanks for their [Page 232] contumelies, and esteeming the losses and detrim [...]nts offered to him, to be his chiefest gaine and benefit; thus numbering and ranging his Aduersa­ries amōg his Benefactours. This man the vvorld (no doubt) would repute, as mad or foolish; but he listened to the Apostle of Christ not with a deafe eare, saying. 1. Cor. 3. Yf any man seeme to be wise among you in this world, let him become a foole, that he may be wise. For as S Gregory vvriteth in the place aboue alledged, many Angels were seene to be present at the instant of his death, who did carry his soule directly into Heauen. And the holy Father fea­red not to range this Steuen among the Blessed Martyrs, in regard of his wonderfu l Patience.

Of the fourth fruite of the fifth Word. CHAP. XI.

AS yet remaineth one fr [...]te be­hind (and this most sweet) which may be gathered from the word) Si­tio, I thirst. For S. Austin expounding [Page 233] the said word saith, That by this word was not signified only the desire of corporall drinke; but a desire with which Christ did burne for the health and saluation of his Enemies. But now taking occasion from the sentence of S. Austin, we may ascend a litle higher, and say; that Christ did thirst after the glory of God, and the saluation of men; and that we ought to thirst after the glory of God, the honour of Christ, our owne health, & the health of our Brethren. Th [...] Christ was euen thirsty of the glory of God, & health of soules, cannot be doubted; since all his vvorks, all his Sermons or speaches, all his sufferings, and all his miracles do euen preach, and proclaime the truth hereof. Therefore to vs it rather be­longeth to thinke, (to shevv our gra­tefulnes to so great a Benefactour) by vvhat meanes vve may be inflamed, as truly to thirst after the honour of God, VVho, so loued the VVorld, as that he gaue hit only begotten Sonne. Ioan. 3. and withall after the honour of Christ truly and ardently, who loued vs, and deliuered himselfe for vs an oblation & host to God, in an odour of sweetnes. Ephes. 5.) As also that vve may so truly [Page 234] compassionate vvith our Brethren, as most vehemently to thirst after their health & saluation. But this one thing is chiefly and principally incumbent vnto vs; to wit, that vve do so truly, in­tensly, and from the bottome of our Hart thirst after our owne proper health and saluation, as that our thirst thereof may force vs, according to our strength and povver, to thinke, speake, and do euery thing, vvhich may con­duce vnto the purchasing therof. For if we do not thirst after the honour of God, nor the glory of Christ, nor the health of our Neighbours, it followeth not, that God shall therefore want his due honour; or Christ be d [...]priued of his glory, or our Neyghbours shall not obtaine their saluation; but it fol­lovveth, that vve our selfes shall perish ete [...]nally, if vve neglect to thirst after our ovvne peculiar health and Salua­tion.

From the consideration of vvhich point, a strong admiration possesseth me, to vvit, from vvhēce it proceedeth, that vve knovving Christ so ardently to haue thirsted after our Health and Well fayre, and acknovvledging him to be the Wisdome of God; are neuer­thelesse [Page 235] litle moued to imitate him in so great a matter, vvhich to vs is aboue all things most necessary. Neither doe I lesse vvonder to obserue, hovv grea­dily our selfes do thirst after tempo­rall Goods, as if they vvere eternall, and yet do so negligently sleight our eternall saluation, and so litle thirst af­ter it, as if it were a thing momentary and light. We may adde hereto, that temporall Goods are not pure goods; but mixed with many euils and incon­ueniences, yet neuertheles are most sollicitously & painfully sought after; vvhereas Eternall saluation is exem­pted from being accompanied with any Euill, and yet it is so neglected, & so faintly coueted, as if it had in it selfe no worth, solidity, or firmnesse. O Blessed Lord, so illuminate my inte­riour eyes, that I may at length fynd the Cause of this so blind and dange­rous an Ignorance.

Certainly Loue begetteth a desire; and desire, when it beginneth vehe­mently to burne, is called a Thirst. But who cannot loue his owne saluation, especially being to remaine for all E­ternity, and voyd of all Euill? And if so great a matter cannot be but beloued, [Page 236] why is it not vehemētly desired? Why is not ardently thirsted after? Why is it not procured vvith all endeauour and force? Perhaps the reason hereof is, in that, Eternall saluation doth not fall vnder our sense, & therefore we haue no experiment thereof, as we haue of our Corporall health and prosperity; and therefore this we thirst after, that we but couldly desire. But if this were the reason of so great an Ignorance, from whence then did it spring, that Dauid (being a mortall man) did so ardently thirst after the Vision of God, in which Vision eternall health consi­steth, as that he cried out, Psal. 41. Eue [...] as the Hart desireth after the foun­taines of Waters, so doth my soule de­sire after thee, O God. My soule hath this sted after God, the strong, and li­uing; when shall I come, and appeare before, the face of God? Where we see the Prophet as yet remaining here v­pon earth, did most burningly thir [...] after the Vision of God, which is eternall health it selfe. And this desire di [...] not happen to Dauid alone, but t [...] many other men, eminent for sanct [...] ty; to whom all earthly matters seemed sordide, base, and vnsauory; an [...] [Page 237] vvho most greedily, & withall sweet­nes did relish, and tast the remem­brance or recordation of God.

Therefore the Cause is not, why vve do not earnestly thirst after eter­nall Beatitude, in that it falleth not vnder our sense; but by reason it is nor thought vpon attentiuely, daily, and with a full fayth: Now, it is not thought vpon, as it ought to be, be­cause we are not spirituall, but sen­suall: The sensuall man perceaueth not those things which are of the spirit of God. 1. Cor. 2. Wherefore O my Soule, if thou dost couet to thirst after thy ovvne health, & the health of others, and much more after the honour of God, and Glory of Christ, heare then S. Iames saying Cap. 1. Yf any of you lacke Wisdome, let him aske of God, who giueth to all men abundantly, and vpbraideth not, and it shalbe giuen him. This wisdome (being so high & per­fect) is not found in the schooles of this world, but only in the Auditory of the spirit of God; which spirit turneth a sensuall man, into a spirituall. And it is not sufficient to demand, or pray for this wisdome once, or twyce, and coldly; but we ought euen to besiege [Page 238] the eares of God with our incessant petitions, and inutterable lamenta­tions. For if a Carnall Father be not accustomed to deny his little child moaning, and asking some bread, How much more (sayth our Lord) will your Father from Heauen giue the good spi­rit to them that aske him? Luc. 11.

The sixt Word: Consummatum est, It is consummate, Ioan. 15. literally expounded. CHAP. XII.

THe sixt VVord pronounced by our Lord vpon the Crosse, is related by the foresaid S. Iohn, as almost con­ioyned with the fifth. For presently after our Lord had said, I thirst, & had tasted vinegre brought vnto him, S. Iohn thus addeth: When Iesus there­fore had taken the Vinegre, he said; It is consummate. Io. 19. And truly accor­ding to the letter, the word Consum­matum est, signifieth nothing, but that the worke of Christs Passion was then consummate, perfected, and ended. For two works or labours the Father [Page 239] did enioyne vpon his Sonne; One was the preaching of the Gospell; The o­ther, his suffering for mankind. Of the first Worke our Lord did spake in S. Iohn c. 17. I haue consummated the worke, which thou gauest me to doe; I haue manifested thy name to men. This our Lord spake after his last and longest Sermon, made to his Disciples after his last supper. Thus he had fi­nished then his first VVorke, imposed by his Father. The second VVorke con­cerned his drinking the Cupp of his Passion, of which himselfe sayth: Can you drinke of the Cup, which I shall drinke of? Matth. 20. and againe: O Father, if it be possible, let this Cup passe from me, Matth. 26. and yet more: The Cup, which my Father hath giuen me, shall I not drinke it? Io. 18. There­fore of this worke of his Passion, our Lord being most neare to his death, said; Consummatum est, It is consum­mate, and finished; I haue drunke vp this whole cup, euen to the dregs; no­thing is now remaining but to depart out of this life: And so bowing his head, he gaue vp the Ghost. Ioan. 19.

But because neyther our Lord him­selfe, nor S. Iohn (as affecting breui­ty) [Page 240] did explaine and set downe, what that was, which was consumate, and finished, occasion thereby is giuen to vs to apply that consummatum est, to diuers mysteries, and this not with­out iust reason and fruite. First then S. Austin referreth the word consum­matum est, to the fullfilling of the Pro­phecies which were deliuered of our Sauiour; for thus he writeth in Com­ment, huius loci. Our Lord knowing, that all things were consummate, that the Scripture should be consummated & accomplished said, I thrist. And taking the vinegre, he said, It is consummate. That is, that is now fullfilled which did remaine to be fullfilled, From whence we gather, that our Lords meaning was; that all those things are now cō ­summate and finished, which the Pro­phets had foretould of his lyfe and death: For example, His Conception in those words, Behould a virgin shall cō ­ceaue. Isa. 7. His Natiuity in Bethleem: And thou Bethleem, the land of Iuda, out of thee shal come forth my Captaine, which shall rule my People of Israel. Mi­cheas 5. The Apparitiō of the new Star, A starre shall rise out of Iuda. Num. 2 [...]. The adoration of the Kings: The Kings [Page] of Tharsis, and the Ilands shall offer pre­sents. Psal. 71. The Preaching of the Ghospell: The Spirit of the Lord is vpon me, to preach to the poore he sent me. Isa. 61. Christ Miracles. Isa. 35. God him­selfe will come, and saue vs; then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the eares of the deafe opened: then shall the lame leape as an Hart, and the tongue of the dumbe shalbe opened. His riding vpon an Asse, or coult of an Asse: Zach. 9. Behould thy king will come to thee, the Iust and Sauiour; himselfe poore and riding vpon an Asse, and vpon a Colt, the fole of an Asse. To conclude, the Scene of his whole Passion by parts, is described by Dauid in his Psalms, by Esay, Ieremy, Zachary, and o­thers as abouesayd. And this is that, which our Lord going towards his Passion, said Behould, we go vp to Ieru­salem, and all things shalbe consum­mate, which were written by the Pro­phets of the Sonne of Man. Luc. 18. Of those things therefore, which were to be consummate, our Lord now sayth, consummatum est; that is to say, all is now consummate and finished, which the Prophets foretould of me, that so they may be foūd to be true Prophets.

Furthermore, according to the sen­tence of S. Iohn Chrysostome, the vvord consummatum est, signifieth, that all the power permitted to men and the Deuils against Christ, was consumma­ted and ended in the Passion of Christ; of which povver Christ himselfe spake to the chiefe of the Pharisees, Priests, or Officers of the Temple: This is your hower, and the power of darknes. Luc. 22. Therfore this hower, and whole tyme, during the which (God permit­ting) the wicked had power ouer Christ, was ended, when our Lord said, Consummatum est. For then the peregrination of the Sonne of God among men, receaued its end; which peregrination, Baru [...]h the Prophet foretould, when he said cap. 3. This is our God, and there shall none other be [...]steemed against him. He found out all the way of discipline, and deliuered it to Iacob his seruant, and to Israel his belo­ued; After these things he was seene vpon the Earth, and was conuersant with men. And the Condition of his mortall life, (according to which he was hungry, did thirst, did sleepe, was spent out with iniuries, whipping, wounds, and subiect to death) did take [Page 443] its end together with his peregrinatiō.

Therefore when Christ said vpon the Crosse, consumutatum est, these words imply, that that iourney was fi­nished; of which he faith in another place: I came forth from the Father, & came into the world; againe I leaue the world, and go to the Father. Iob. 16. That laborious and painefull peregri­natiō is finished, of which Ieremy spea­keth, cap. 14. O expectation of Israel, the Sauiour thereof in the time of tribu­lation; why wilt thou be a seiourner in the Land, & a wayfaring man, turning in to lodge? The mortality of Christs humanity is consummate and ended; the power of all his Enemies aga [...]nst him is consummate; finally the sacrifice (greatst of al sacrifices) is consūmate, to which all the Sacrifices of the old Law, (as being but types & shadowes) had necessary relation, as to a true and so­lid sacrifice. For thus S. Leo speaketh Serm. 8. de pass. Dom. Traxisti Domine omnia ad te &c. O Lord thou hast drawne all things to thee, because the veyle of the Temple being cut a sunder, the Holy of Holyes departed from the vnworthy Priests; that so the figure might b [...] turned into the Truth, Prophe­cy [Page 244] into manifestation or clearenes, and the Law into the Ghospell.

And a litle after: Now the variety of Carnall Sacrifices ceasing, one Obla­tion of thy Body and Bloud, doth fill vp and include all the differences of hoasts. Thus he. For in this Sacrifice the Priest vvas God and man; the Altar the Crosse; The sacrifice the Lābe of God; the fire of the Holocaust, Charity; the fruite of the sacrifice, the Redemption of the World. I say the Priest was God as man, then whome not any can be imagined to be greater: Thou art a priest for euer according to the Order of Melchisedech. Psal. 109. And trul [...] ac­cording to the Order of Melchisedech, for Melchisedech is read in the Scrip­ture so be vvithout Father, without mother, without genealogy, & Christ vvas without Father vpon earth, with­out Mother in Heauen, without Ge­nealogy, For who shall shew his genera­tion? He was be gotten before the Day­star; and his comming forth from the beginning, from the dayes of Eternity. Mich. 5.

The Altar of this great Sacrifice was (as aboue I said) the Crosse; the vvhich by hovv much it was more vile [Page 245] and base, before Christ vvas crucified thereon, by so much it was after made more illustrious, and more ennobled; and in the last day it shall appeare in Heauen more bright and shyning then the sunne. For the Church interpreteth that of the Crosse, which is said in the Gospell, Matth. 24. Then shall the signe of the sonne of man appeare in Heauen. In like sort the Church thus singeth: This signe shalbe in Heauen, when our Lord shall come to iudge. The which point is also confirmed by S. Chryso­stome; who further affirmeth, that vvhen the sunne shalbe obscured, and the Moone not giue her light, then shall the Crosse be more splendid and radiant then the Sunne.

Furthermore the Sacrifice shalbe the Lambe of God, altogether innocent and immaculate, of whom Esay thus speaketh: cap. 55. Euen as a sheepe to the slaughter shall he be led; and as a lambe before his shearer he shalbe dumbe, and shall not open his mouth. And the Fore­runner of our Lord sayth: Behould the Lambe of God, behould who taketh a­way the sinnes of the World. Ioan. 1. And the Apostle S. Peter: Not with cor­ruptible things, gould or siluer, are you [Page 246] redeemed, but with the precious bloud of an immaculate and vnspotted Lambe, Christ: Who also is called in the Apo­calyps, cap. 13. The Lambe slaine from the beginning of the World, Because his Price being foreseene of God, did profit those who vvent before the ti­mes of Christ. The fyar burning the Holocaust, and perfecting the Sacrifice, is Charity in a high degree, being as it were, a furnace set on fire, vvhich did burne in the hart of the Sonne of God, vvhich fire many waters of his Pas­sion vvere not able to extinguish. To conclude, the fruite of this Sacrifice vvas the expiation of all the sinnes of the Sonnes of Adam, and the reconci­liation of the whole World. For thus S. Iohn speaketh, 1. Ioan. 2. He is the propitiation for our sinnes; and not for ours only, but also for the whole World. Which very thing is signified by the words of S Iohn Baptist: Agnus Dei, Ecce, qui tollit peccata mundi.

But heere ariseth a doubt, vvhich is; Hovv could Christ be both Priest & Sacrifice, since it is the function of the Priest to slaughter that, vvhich is to be sacrifized? But Christ did not slay him­selfe, neither could he lawfully so doe; [Page 247] since then he should haue rather per­petrated sacriledge, then offered vp Sacrifice. It is true, that Christ did not slay himselfe; neuerthelesse he truly offered vp sacrifice, because willingly and freely he offered himselfe to be slaine for the glory of God, and expia­tion of sinne, For neither could the souldiers & other Ministers haue euer apprehended and taken him; neither could the nayles haue pierced his hands and feete; nor death could haue seized vpon him (though fastened to the Crosse) except himselfe had bene willing thereto. Therefore Esay most truly sayrh: He was offered, because himselfe would. And our Lord himselfe sayth. Io. 10. I yield my lyfe; no man ta­keth it away from me, but I yield my selfe. And the Apostle S. Paul most eui­dently: Christ loued vs, and deliuered himselfe for vs, an oblation, and host to God, in an odour of sweetnes. Eph. 3.

Now what euill or sinne, or rather atrocity vvas in the Passion of Christ, all that belonged to Iudas, the Iewes, to Pilate, and the souldiers; for these men did not offer vp Sacrifice, but did commit must horrible sacriledge, deseruing the name not of Priests, but [Page 248] of sacrilegious Persons. But vvhat in the same Passion was good, religious, and pious, streamed from Christ; who out of the affluency and abundance of his Charity, offered himselfe as a Sa­crifice to God, not in slaying himselfe, but in tollerating most patiētly death; to wit, the death of the Crosse; and this to the end he might appease the wrath of God, reconcile the vvorld to God, satisfy the diuine Iustice, that so mankind should not perish. Which point S. Leo expresseth in most few words, saying: He suffered at the hands of furious men, who whiles they were busied about their wickednes, they be­came seruiceable to our Redeemer.

Fourthly, a Great War betweene Christ and the Prince of this world i [...] consummate, and finished in the death of Christ; of which warre our Lord thus speaketh in Iohn cap. 12. Now is the iudgment of the world, now th [...] Prince of this World shalbe cast forth And when I shall be exalted from th [...] Earth, I will draw all things to m [...] selfe. This warre was iudiciall, not mi­litary: It is like to the war of those who contend in Suites and Causes, no [...] of souldiers who fight in the field. Fo [...] [Page 249] the Deuill did contend with the Sonne of God, touching the possession of the World, that is, of mankind. The de­uill for a long tyme had intruded him­selfe into the Possession of the World, because he had ouercome the first man, and had made him (with all his ospring) his seruant, or bondslaue. Therefore S. Paul himselfe calleth the Deuils, the Princes and Potentates of this VVorld, and the Gouernours of this darknes. Eph. 6. And Christ himselfe (as aboue we haue shewed) calleth the Deuill, the Prince of this World. The Deuill would not be content to be [...]e­puted the Prince of the world, but also to be accounted a God, according to that in the Psalmes: The diuels are the Gods of the Gentils. Psal. 95. For the diuell was commonly adored by the Gentils in engrauen Idols, & was wor­shipped with the sacrifice of Rams, and Calfes.

Now on the other syde the Sonne of God (as lawful heere of all things) did challenge to himselfe the principa­lity of the world. Therfore this warre was in the end consummate, and ended vpon the Crosse, and the se [...]te n [...] was giuen in behalfe of our Lord Iesus-Christ: [Page 250] because our Lord had most a­bondantly satisfyed the diuine Iustice vpon the Crosse, for the offence of the first Man, and of all the faithfull. For the Obedience exhibited to God, by the Sonne, was greater then the dis­obedience of the seruant to his Lord; And the Sonne of God was more hū ­bled, euen to death, for the honour of his Father then the seruāt was puf­fed vp in pryde, through his iniury of God. Therefore God being reconci­led to mankind by the mediation of his Sonne, did violently take mankind out of the Power of the diuell; and, did translate vs into the Kingdome of the Sonne of his Loue. Coloss. 1.

There is another reason, which S. Leo is accustomed to bring, which I will relate in his owne words: Si c [...]u­delis & superbus inimicus &c. Yf the proud & cruel Enemy could haue known the reason of the mercy of God, he would rather haue studied to tēper with gent­lenes the minds of the Iewes; for feare of loosing the seruitude of all his Captiues, whiles he did persecute the liberty of him, who was not owing to him in any thing. Serm 10. de pass. Certainly a most forcible reason. For it was reaso­nable, [Page 151] that the diuell should loose his empire or command ouer all those whome he had conquered vn [...]o him by sinne; because he was not afrayd to stretch out his arme euen vnto death, against Christ, who was not his ser­uant, and whome he could not induce to sinne.

But if the matter stand thus: If the warre be consummate and ended, if the victory be in the power of the Son of God, and he willeth, That all men may be saued. 1. Tim. 2. how then commeth it to passe that so many men do remaine euen to this day slaues to the diuell in this lyfe, and in the next lyfe are sent to the torment of Hell? I answere this in one word: because themselues will so. For Christ retur­ning from the warre victorious, per­formed two most great benefits to mā ­kind The one, that he did open the gate of Paradise to the iust; which frō the fall of the first man, was euer shut euen to that day. And in that very day of his victory, he sayd to the Thiefe who was iustifyed by Fayth, Hope, & Charity throgh the merit of the bloud of the same Christ: To day thou shal [...] by with me in Paradise; and heerupon [Page 252] the Church exulting singeth: The sting of death being ouercome, thou didst open the Kingdome of Heauen to belieuers. The other benefit; that he did insti­tute the holy Sacramnts, which should haue power of remitting sinne, and confirming grace, and did send forth publishers thereof into all parts of the world, who with loud voice did pro­clame & preach, He that shall belieue, and be baptized, shalbe saued. There­fore our Lord being victour in this Watre, did open the way to all men for the enioying the liberty of the glo­ry, belonging to the Sonnes of God. Now if any forbeare to enter into this way, they perish through their owne default; not through the impotency, weaknes, or negligence of the Re­deemer.

Fifthly to conclude, the Word, con­summatum est, may rightly be vnder­stood of the consummation of the edi­fice, which is the Church. That the Perfection of a building, may be called the consummation of it, Christ himselfe out Maister, doth warrant, saying? This man began to build, but he could not consummate or finish it. Luc. 14. Now S. Epiphanius, S. Austin and o­ther [Page 253] holy Fathers do teach, that, that Church was consummate and perfe­cted in the Passion of Christ, which was begun in his Baptisme. They fur­ther teach, that Eue being built or made of the ribbe of Adam sleeping, was a figure of the Church, which is built out of the side of Christ, whiles he began to sleep by death. And they also note, that the Scripture sayd not without some mystery, that Eua was edificata, non formata, built, not fra­med.

Now that the Church did beginne to be built from the Baptisme of Christ S. Austin proueth, expounding that place of Psal. 71. He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the Riuers, euen to the ends of the VVorld. For the King­dome of Christ in which is his Church began from the Baptisme of Christ; in which he receauing the Baptisme of S. Iohn, did consecrate the water, and did institute his Baptisme, which is the Gate of the Church. Which point ma­nifestly appeared from the voyce of the Father, heard from Heauē. Matth. 3. This is my beloued Sonne, in whome I am well pleased; heare him. And frō that time, our Lord began to preach, [Page 254] and to assemble disciples togeather, who were the first that came vnto the Church. For although the opening of the side of Christ was made after his death; and then bloud and water came from thence, which signified two chiefe Sacraments of the Church, to wit. Baptisme, and Eucharist; Neuer­theles all the Sacraments receaue their vertue from the Passion of Christ, and the flowing of bloud and water from the side of Christ being then dead was a declaration of the mysteries, not an institution. Therefore most truly the consummation of the edifice of the Church was then said to be, when Christ speake this Word, Consumma­tum est, It is consummate: because then nothing was remayning to be effected, but his death, which instantly did fol­low, and which did consummate and perfect the price of our Redemption.

Of the first fruite of the sixt Word. CHAP. XIII.

THey are not few fruits, which may be gathered from the sixt VVord, if the aboundance thereof be attently considered. And first frō that which aboue we said; to wit, that by Consummatum est, may be vnderstood the fulfilling of the Prophesies concer­ning Christ, S. Austin draweth a most profitable doctrine. For as we are acer­tained, from the euent of things, that those points were true, which the ho­ly Prophets so long afore did foretell; so we ought be assured, that those things shall infallibly come to passe, which the same men did prophesy her­after to be, though as yet they be not accomplished. For the Prophets did speake not out of humane Witt, but from the Holy Ghost inspiring them: and since the Holy Ghost is God, and that it is impossible, that God should eyther be deceaued, or lye; therefore it demonstratiuely followeth, that all [Page 256] those predictions are to be heerafter fullfilled, which were foretould by the Prophets in after tymes to fall out, & yet are not fullfilled. Sicut vsque ad hodiernum diem (saith S. Augustin in Psal. 76) Euen as to this day all forwar­nings, and speaches of the Prophets haue had their Euent; so also those, which yet remaine vnaccomplished, shall heer­after haue. Let vs then feare the day of Iudgement. Our Lord is to come; He came in humility, he shall come in splen­dour and glory. Thus he,

But we haue more forcible argu­ments, then the ancients had, that we should not rest doubtfull of the Euent of future things. Those men, who went before the tymes of Christ, were obliged to belieue many things with­ [...]ut any experiment aforhand, but we from the accomplishing and fullfilling of things, which already haue happe­ned, may easily belieue, that the rest yet remaining, shalbe also fullfilled. Those who liued in the dayes of Noë, and did heare that the generall deluge was after to be, (Noë being the Pro­phet of God and foretelling this very [...]hing, not only by word, but by cau­sing with such labour the Arke to be [Page 257] made) could not easily be induced to belieue any such future inundation to be, because they neuer saw any such deluge before; & therefore the wrath of God descēded vpon them suddenly. But we knowing that to haue beene already fullfilled, which the Prophet Noë did foretell, why may we not with facility belieue, that a deluge of of fyre shall heerafter come, in which all those things shal be destroyed, which we now esteeme and prize at so high a rate? And yet neuerthelesse there are very few, who so belieue these things to be, as to withdraw their desire from such matters, as are heerafter to perish, and to fix their minds, where there are true and euerlasting Ioyes.

But this very Point is prophesied of our Lord himselfe, that such men may rest inexcusable, who from the accom­plishment of things past, can not be drawne to belieue that thinges future shalbe fulfilled. For thus our Lord spea­keth. Matth. 24. And as in the dayes of Noë, so also shall be the cōming of the Son of man: for as they were in the dayes be­fore the floud, eating and drinking, wed­ding and giuen to mariage euen vnto that day, in which Noë entred into the [Page 258] Arke, and knew not till the floud came, and ouer tooke them all: so also shall the comming of the Sonne of man be. VVatch therefore, because you know not at what houre the Sonne of man will come. And the Apostle S. Peter sayth: The day of our Lord shall come as a thiefe, in which the Heauens shall passe with great vio­lence; but the elements shallbe resolued with heate, and the earth, & the works which are in it, shalbe burned. 1. Pet. 3. But men, who sleight these thinges, say: these are farre off, and of great distance from vs. Be it, that they are farre of from vs, yet thy death is not farre of from thee, and the houre of it is vncertaine, And yet it is certayne, that we must giue an account of euery idle word in the particular iudgment, which is not farre off. And if an ac­count must be rendred of euery idle word, what reckoning must he made for false & pernicious words, for periu­ry & blasphemy which is so familiar & ordinary to many? & if of words, what account then is to be giuen of deeds? of Adulteries? of deceits in buying & selling? of murders and other grie [...]ous sinnes? Therefore it followeth, that the predictions of the Prophets being [Page 259] allready fullfilled make vs inexcusable, except we may certainly belieue, that all things which remaine, are also ful­filled.

Neyther it is sufficient to belieue, what things Fayth teacheth vs to be practized, or to be auoyded, except our fayth doth stirre vs vp efficaciously to the practizing or auoyding thereof. If an Architect should say; Such a house is ruinous, and will instantly fall downe, and they within the House make shew to belieue the Architect, yet wil not come out of the house, but suffer themselues to be oppressed with the ruine and fall of the house; what credit do these men giue to the words of the Architect? Which errour the Apostle chargeth other lyke men with saying, Tit. 1. They say they know God, but in deeds they deny him. And if the Physitian shal command, that the sicke Patient drinke no wyne; and he is persuaded, that the Physitian prescri­beth profitably & healthfully for him; but in the meane tyme he demandeth for wine, and is angry if it be not gi­uen to him: what shall we heere say? Certainly that the sicke man is eyther depriued of his wit and senses, or that [Page 260] he giueth no credit to his Physitians directions. O would to God, there were not many among Christians, who say,, that they do belieue the future Iudgment of God, and diuers other mysteries of Christian fayth; but deny them in their deeds, and conuersa­tion.

Of the second fruite of the sixt Word. CHAP. XIV.

ANother fruite may be gathered from the second explication of the words of Christ, Consummatum est. For we said aboue with S. Chryso­stome that the laboursome iourney of the peregrination of Christ himselfe was consuumate, and finished in the death of Christ; which iourney of his cannot be denyed, but to haue beene most painefull aboue all measure: yet the asperity of it is recompensed with the shortnes of the tyme, with the fruit, with the glory and honour pro­ceeding from thence. It continued thirty three yeares; but how can a la­bour [Page 261] of thirty three yeares be compa­red to a repose and rest for all eternity? Our Lord did labour with hunger, with thirst, with many dolours, and innumerable iniuries; with stripes, with wounds, with death its self; but now he drinketh of a Torrent of plea­sure, which pleasure shall neuer cease, but be interminab [...]e.

To conclude, our Lord is humbled, is made the reproach of men, and the out-cast of the People, Psal. 21. but in recompence heerof we read of him thus: God hath exalted him, and ha [...]h giuen him a Name, which is aboue all Names, that in the Name of IESVS euery knee bow, of things in Heauen, in Earth, & vnder the Earth. Philip. 2. But now to cast our Eye on the con­trary side: the perfidious Iewes reioy­ced til the houre of Christs Passion; Iu­das (being become a slaue to coue­tousnes) reioyced, till he had gayned some fe [...] peeces of siluer; Pilate re­ioyced till that houre of Christs Passiō, because he lost not thereby the fauour and grace of Augustus, and had reco­uered the friendship of King Herod. But now all these haue beene already tormented in Hell for the space of six­teene [Page 262] hundred ye [...]res almost, and the smoke of their flames shall arise and ascend vp for all Eternity.

From hence let all the seruants of the Crosse learne to be humble, gentle, patient, and let them ackowledge how good & happy a thing it is for a man to take vp his owne Crosse in this pre­sent lyfe, and to follow Christ his Captaine: neither let them enuy those who seeme in the Eye of this worrld to be happy. For the lyfe of Christ, of the holy Apostles, and the Martyrs is a most true Cōmentary of the words of him, who is the Maister of all Mai­sters: Blessed are the poore in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdome of Heauen: Bles­sed are the meeke; blessed are they that mourne; blessed are they that suffer per­cutiō for Iustice, for theirs is the King­dome of Heauen. Matth. 5 But on the contrary side: Woe be to you that are rich; because you haue your consolation: woe to you that are filled, because you shalbe h [...]ngry: woe to you that now do laugh, because you shall mourne and la­ment. Luc. 6 And although not only the words of Christ, but also the life and death of Christ (I meane, not on­ly the Text, but the Comment also) b [...] [Page 263] vnderstood of few, and that this do­ctrine is banished out of the Schooles of this world; neuertheles if a man would in soule goe out of this world, and vse a serious introuersion vpon himselfe, and say to himselfe: I will heare, what our Lord God will speake in me. Psal. 84. And withall would with humble prayer and lamentation, beate at the Fares of our Heauenly Maister (who is both the Text, and the Comment) he then would not with difficulty vnderstand the Truth, and the Truth would free him from all er­rours; so as that should not seeme hard to him, which afore seemed impossi­ble.

Of the third fruite of the sixt Word. CHAP. XV.

NOw the third fruite, which we may gather from the sixt woads, is that our selfs may learne, as being spirituall Priests, to offer to God spiri­tuall Hoasts, as S. Peter speaketh, 1. Pet. 3. Or as the Apostle S. Paul teach­eth [Page 264] vs: To exhite our Bodies, a liuing. Hoast, holy, pleasing God, our reasona­ble seruice. For if those words, con­summatum est, did signify, that the sacrifice of the Chiefe Priest was per­fected vpon the Crosse; then it is iust, that the disciples of him that was cru­cifyed, as coueting to imitate their maister to their small hability, should also offer vp sacrifice to God. And cer­tainly the Apostle S. Peter teacheth that all Christians are Priests; mea­ning, not such as those are, who are created by Bishops in the Catholicke Church to offer vp the Sacrifice of the Body of Christ; but spirituall Priests, that is as himselfe expoundeth, to of­fer vp spirituall Hoasts; not Hoasts properly called, such as were in the Old Testament, as sheep, oxen, turtles, doues, and in the new Testament, the Body of Christ in the Eucharist: bu [...] mysticall Hoasts, which may be exhi­bited by all men, as Prayers, laudes, good workes, fasting, Almesdeed [...] &c. Of which S. Paul thus speaketh Heb. 13. By him therefore let vi offer al­waies the Hoast of prayer to God, tha [...] is to say, the fruite of the lips confessin [...] his Name. But the same Apostle teach­eth [Page 265] vs in his Epistle to the Romans, most accurately, to offer a mysticall sa­crifice to God, euen from the conside­ration of our Bodies: for there were foure lawes or necessary conditions of Sacrifices. The first, that an Hoast be present in the sacrifice, that is, a thing dedicated to God, the which was im­piety to conuert to any prophane vse. Another was, that it should be a li­uing thing, as a sheep, a Goate, a Calfe. The third, that it should be holy, that is, cleane: for among the Hebrews some were accounted cleane Creatures, others vncleane. The cleane liuing Creatures were sheep, Oxen, Goates, Turtles, sparrowes, do­ues; and the rest were taken as im­pure and vncleane, as Horses, Lions, Foxes, Birds liuing by pray, Crowes, and the like. The fourth, that the Hoast should be enkindled and set on fire, that so it might send forth an o­dour of sweetnes. And all these the Apostle doth reckon, when he saith: I beseech you exhibit your bodies, a li­uing Hoast, holy, pleasing God, & then addeth, your reasonable seruice; to the end we may vnderstand him, not to counsell vs to a sacrifice properly cal­led, [Page 266] as if he did meane, that our Bo­dies (like vnto sheep sacrificed) should be truly slaine, and burned; but to ex­hort vs to a mysticall sacrifice and ra­tionall; to a sacrifice only by resem­blance, not proper; spirituall, not cor­porall. Therefore the Apostle, per­suadeth vs, that as Christ for our health, did offer vp the Sacrifice of his owne Body vpon the Crosse, by a true and reall death; so ought we to offer vp our Bodies to his honour, as a cer­taine Hoast, liuing, holy, and perfect, and therin pleasing to God; the which Hoast after a certaine spirituall man­ner, may be said to be slaine, & burned.

Let vs explicate in order the seue­rall conditions. First our Bodies ought to be Hoasts, that is, things consecra­ted to God; the which, not as our own but as the things of God, we are to vse to the glory of God; to whome we are consecrated by Baptisme; and vvho bought vs vvith a great price, as the same Apostle saith. 1. Cor. 6. Ney­ther ought vve to be an Hoast of God; but vvithall a liuing Hoast through the lyfe of grace, and the Holy Ghost. For those men, vvho are dead through sinne, are not the Hoasts of God, [Page 267] but of the Deuill, who mortifieth their soules, and much glorieth therein. But our God, who euer liueth, and is the fountaine of life, will not haue stin­king Carcasses to be offered to him, which are profitable for nothing, but to be cast out to the Beasts: Therefore it is necessary, that we conserue the life of the soule with all diligence, that by this meanes we may exhibit to our Lord our Reasonable Seruice.

Neither is it required only, that the Hoast be liuing, but also it must be holy, as the Apostle sayth: liuing, & holy. The Hoast is said to be holy, when it is of­fered of cleane liuing Creatures, not of vncleane. Now the cleane Crea­tures, which are foure footed, as aboue we said, were sheepe, Goates, Oxen; of Birds, Turtles, sparrowes, Doues. The first sort of these liuing Creatures do figure out an Actiue life; the second a Contemplatiue. Therefore those men, who do lead an Actiue life among the faythfull, if so they will exhibit them­selues a holy sacrifice or Hoast to God, they ought to imitate the simplicity and gentlenes of the Lambe, which is ignorant how to hurt its, fellow. In like sort they are to imitate the labours & [Page 268] paines of the Oxe, which is not idle, nor wandreth here and there; but bea­ring his yoake, and drawing after him the plow, laboreth continually in til­ling the ground. To con [...]lude the promptitude and agility of the Goate, in clym ng of mountaines, and the sh [...]rpnes of eyes in behoulding things a far of.

Neither those men, who lead an Actiue life in the Church of God, ought to content themselues with meeknes, and iust labours; but it behoueth them also by their often iterated and multi­plied prayers, to ascend high, and to fixe their eyes vpon those things, which be aboue. For how shall they refer their works to the glory of God, and send vp the incense of their sacri­fice, if seldome or neuer they thinke on God? If through Contemplation they do not burne in loue towards him? For the Actiue life of Christians ought not to be wholy disioyned, and separated from the Contemplatiue life; nor the Contemplatiue from the Actiue, as presently hereafter we will shew. Therefore those men, who do not imitate Sheepe, Oxen, Goates, Doues, and the like, which are daily [Page 269] seruiceable and profitable to their owner or maister, but pursue & hunt after temporall benefits; these men cannot offer vp to God a holy Hoast; but they beare themselues like to ra­u [...]nous Beasts fee [...]ing vpon flesh, as VVolues Dogs, Beares, Gleads, Vulturs, Crowes, who pamper their Bellyes, & follow that Lyon, which roaring goeth about, seeking whom he may deuoure. 1. Pet. 3.

No [...] Christian men, who haue chosen to themselues a Contemplatiue life, and who endeauour to exhibit to God a liuing and holy Sacrifice, are to imitate the solitude and lonelines of the Turtle, the purity of the Doue, and the prudence of the Sparrow. The so­litude of th [...] Turtle chiefly belongeth to Monkes and Hermits, who labour n [...]t to communicate with secular men, but wholy deuote themselfes to Con­templation, and to the prayses of God. The Purity of the Doue, conioyned with fecundity, is necessary for Bishops and Clergy men; who negotiate with men, and whose function is to beget spirituall Children, and to nourish and breed them vp. Which men, except they do often by Contemplation fly [Page 270] vp to the supernall Countrey, as also through Charity to descend downe to the Necessities of men; can hard [...]y coople and ioyne purity with fecundi­ty, but either as being giuen to Con­templation only, they shal become ste­rill and barren; or otherwise being wholy busied in the procreation of Children, they shalbe contaminated and defiled, with terrene dyrt & filth; And thus while they couet to gaine o­thers, perhaps (which God forbid) they loose themselues.

Furthermore to both sorts of these men, whether they giue themselues ouer to a Contemplation life, or to an Actiue, the Prudence of the Sparrow may very much aduantage and bene­fit them. There are sparrows, which are bred in the Mountaines; others a­bout Houses. The Mountaine Spar­rowes do with an incredible industry auoyd and flie the snares or nets of them, that seeke to take them. The do­mesticke sparrowes do make their nests about the caues of howses; but they so conuerse and liue nere men, as that they loue not the sight of them, nor will easely suffer themselfes to be caught by them: Euen so the prudence [Page 271] of sparrowes is necessary to all Chri­stians, but especially to the Clergy & Monks; that they may be caute [...]ous in auoyding the deceites and snares of the Deuill, and that they so do con­uerse with men, as they may profit them; but let them auoyde ouermuch sa [...]iliarity & acquintance with them, especially with Women. Let them al­so eschew all Confabulations, & ouer much tattle, as a [...]so immoderate eating and drinking; Let them not be specta­tours of common Playes, and other publick sights, except they couet to be ensnared by th [...] Deuill.

There remaineth the last law or Condition of sacrifices, to wit, That they be Hoasts, not only liuing & ho­ly; but also well pleasing, that is, sending vp a most sweet Odour and smell. This point the Scripture signifieth, when it sayth, Gen. 8. Our Lord smelled a sweet sauour; As also when it speaketh of our Lord: Christ deliuered himselfe for vs, an oblation and Hoast to God, in an odour of sweetnes. Eph 5. Now that an Hoast may send forth a mo [...]t gratefull sauour vnto God, it is necessary, that it be killed and burned. This also is per­formed in a mysticall and reasonable [Page 272] Sacrifice, of which we speake with the Apostle; to wit, when Carnall Concu­piscence is truly mortified, and burnt away with the fire of Charity. For there is nothing, which doth mortify a mans Carnall Concupiscence more efficaciously, speedily, & perfectly, thē a sincere Loue of God: for it is the King and Lord of all the Affections of the Hart; and all of them are gouer­ned, and depend of it, whether it be Feare, Hope, Desire, Hate, Anger or any other perturbation of the mind. Novv loue it selfe doth not giue place, except it be to a greater loue; And therefore when diuine loue doth in­wardly possesse and inflame the hart of man, then at the length do carnall Concupiscences giue place, and being mortified, rest quiet. Thereupon fiery desites and most pure Prayers do as­cend vp to God, like to aromaticall wood in an odour of sweetnes. This then is that Sacrifice, the vvhich God requireth from vs, and the which most promptly and diligently to performe the Apostle exhorteth vs.

But because this Oblation is a thing hard, [...]nd fraught with difficul­ty, therefore S. Paul vseth a most effi­cacious [Page 273] Argument to perswade vs to it. The argumēt lyeth in these Words: I beseech you by the mercy of God, that you will exhibit your bodies &c. Rom. 12. But which be they, and how many are the Mercies, by which the Apostle beseecheth vs? First, is our Creation, by the which he made vs to be some­thing, vvhereas afore we were no­thing. The second, when he made as his seruants, he not hauing any need of vs, but only that he might be benefi­ciall vnto vs. The third, when he made vs to his Image, and thereby made vs capable of our knowing of him, and of his friendship. The fourth, When he adopted vs his Sonnes through Christ, and made vs Coheires with his only begotten Sonne. The fifth, when he made vs members of his spouse, and of his Body, of both which he is the Head. To conclude, The sixt, in that he offered himselfe v­pon the Crosse, an oblation and Hoast to God, in an odour of sweetnes, that he might redeeme vs from seruitude, and wash away all our spots, and that he might exhibit to himselfe, A glo­rious Church, not hauing any spot or wrinkle. Eph. 5. These are the Mercies [Page 274] of God, by which the Apostle besee­cheth vs. As if he would say; Our Lord hath conferred vpon you so great be­nefits, you neither deseruing nor as­king them; Why then should it be thought greiuous to you, if you offer your selfs, a liuing, holy, and well plea­sing sacrifice to God? Doubtlesly if one would attentiuely ponder and consi­der these points, it would not be thought heauy and burdensome, but light and easy, yea pleasant to serue so good and bountifull a Lord with your whole hart and strength, throughout the whole tyme of your life; and to the imitation and example of him, to offer your selues, as an Hoast, or Obla­tion, yea an Holocaust in an odour of sweetnes.

Of the fourth fruite of the sixt VVord. CHAP. XVI.

THE Fourth Fruite may be taken from the fourth explication of the Word, Consummatum est. For if it be true (as it is infallibly most true) that [Page 275] Christ through the iust iudgement of God did transfer and bring vs from the seruitude of the diuell, to the future fruition of the Kingdome of Heauen; we are then diligently to search, & not to desist, till we fynd, what is the cause that so great a number of men make choice, rather to deliu [...]r themselues vp againe to the enemy of Mankind, that with him they may eternally burn in the fornace of Hellfire, rather then to serue Christ, being a most benigne Lord, yea most happily and vndoub­tedly to reigne with him? I fynd no other reason heerof, then because in the seruice of Christ, the beginning is to be taken from the Crosse; and that it is most necessarily in [...]umbent vpon vs, to crucify the flesh, with its vices and concupiscences. This bitter Po­tion, or cup of wormewood of its owne nature is most vnpleasing to a sicke Man; and often is the cause, why he had rather continue in his sicknes, then to be cured after this manner. Truly if a man were not a Man, but a Beast, or els a man depriued wholy of his senses and wit, it might be more pardonable for him, to seeke to be go­uerned only by sensuality and corpo­rall [Page 276] delights: but seeing man is parta­k [...]r of reason, he vnderstandeth or ought to vnderstād, that he who com­mādeth the flesh to be crucifyed with its vices & cōcupiscences, is not ready only to command, but also to help, yea to preuent with the ayde of his grace; and so to direct, that the skillfull Phy­sitian [...]ay know, how to temper this bitter cup, as that it may he taken & drunke vp w [...]thout any fastidious dif­ficulty.

Furthermore, if euery one of vs were the first to whome it was sayd: Take vp the Crosse, & follow me. Math. 16. Perhaps we might distrust of our our owne force, and not be wil­ling to touch the Crosse, as fearing we could not be able to support it. But se­ing many before vs, not only men of full age, but euen children, and [...]ong virgins, haue with great fortitude ta­ken vp the Crosse of Christ, and haue borne it constantly, and haue crucifi [...]d their flesh with their vices and concu­piscences; why should we be afrayd? why should we be disanimated & dis­mayed thereat? S. Austin being ouer­borne in iudgement with this argu­mēt, did maister & ouerrule his carnall [Page 277] concupiscence, which for a long tyme he thought impossible to conquer. For he proposed to himselfe before the eyes of his mynd, many both men and Women recorded in history, as most continent and chast, and then in the secret of his soule, he said to himselfe: Cur non poteris, &c. Why art thou not able to performe, what these men and women haue performed? They were not able through their owne force, but through the assistance of their Lord God. Lib. 8 Confess. c. 11. And vvhat is here spoken of the Concupiscence of the flesh, the same may be said of the Concupiscence of the Eyes (which is couetousnes or auarice) and of Pryde of lyfe: since there is no Vice, which may not be crucified and mortified, through the help and ayde of God. Neither is there, any danger of the want of Gods good concurrency ther­in, seing as S. Leo sayth: Iustè inst at praecepto &c. He may iustly command that, which he furthereth with his owne assistance. Serm. 16. de pass. Dom. They truly are miserable (I may well say, mad and foolish) who, when it is in their povver to vndergoe the sweet & light yoake of Christ, & therby find [Page 278] in this life rest to the Soule, and in the next, reigne with the same Christ, rather will subiect themselues to the yoake of Oxen, at the command of the Deuill, and to be thrall to flesh and sensuality, and finally to be tor­mented in Hell (with their Lord the Deuill) for all Eternity.

Of the fifth fruite of the sixt Word. CHAP. XVII.

THe fifth fruit is to be collected out of the foresaid Words, Con­summatum est; as they do signify the edification & building of the C [...]urch, to be consummate and perfected vpon the Crosse, & that the Church it selfe did proceed from the syde of Christ dying, as another Eue from the rib of Ad [...]m sleeping. This Mistery teacheth vs, that we reuerence the Crosse, that vve honour the Crosse, that we prose­cute the Crosse with all loue and affe­ction. For who is he, that loueth not the place, from whence his mother [Page 279] came out? Certainly all good Catho­likes are wōderfully affected towards the most sacred House of Loreto, be­cause in it the B. Virgin, Mother of God, was borne; and because in it also Iesus Christ, our Lord and God, was borne, not out, but in the Virginall Wombe. For thus the Angel speaketh to Ioseph: That which is borne in her, is of the Holy Ghost. Matth. 1. And here­vpon the Church it selfe, being mind­full of her owne birth or Natiuity, doth paint and place the Crosse in eue­ry place, on the fore-front, of Chur­ches, & in houses; neither doth she mi­nister any Sacrament without the signe of the Crosse; nor doth she sanctify or blesse any Creature without the Crosse.

But we then especially do manifest our great loue to the Crosse, when we patiently suffer aduersity for the loue of him, who was nayled, and dyed vp­on the Crosse. For this is to glory in the Crosse; to wit, [...]o do that, which the Apostles did, They went from the sight of the Councell, reioycing, because they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the Name of Iesus. Act. 5. And the Apostle S. Paul explicateth, what it is to glory in the Crosse, when he saith, [Page 280] Rom. 5. VVe glory in tribulations, know­ing that tribulations worketh Patience; Patience, Probation; and probation, Hope: And Hope confoundeth not, be­cause the Charity of God it powred forth in our Harts, by the Holy Ghost, which is giuen vs. And from hence it is, that S. Paul writing to the Galathians thus concludeth, cap. 6. God forbid, that I should glory, sauing in the Crosse of our Lord Iesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the World. This is the triumph of the Crosse, if the world with all its delights be (as it were) deade to a Christian soule, lo­uing Christ crucified; and the Chri­stian soule it selfe become deade to [...]e world, louing tribulation and con­ [...]mpt (which the World hateth) and [...]osecuting with contempt [...] carnall [...]easures, and temporall glory, which [...]e vvorld much loueth and admireth; [...]nd thus it is brought to passe, that [...]e seruant of God is consummated & [...]rfected; so as it may be said of him [...]so, Consummatus est.

Of the sixt fruite of the sixt Word. CHAP. XVIII.

THe last fruite remayning, is to be gathered from the Example of the Perseuerance of our Lord vpon the Crosse; since from that word, Consum­matum est, we gather, that our Lord had consummated and finished the whole Worke of his Passion, euen from the beginning to the End; so as nothing more thereto could be desired or wished. The works of God (sayth Moyses) are perfect, Deut. 32. And euen as the Father did perfect in the sixt day the vvorke of mans Creation, and vpon the seauenth did rest; So the Sonne in the sixt day did consummate the worke of mans Redemption, and vpon the seauenth did also rest. In vayne did the Iewes cry out before the Crosse, If he be the king of Israell, let him now come downe from the Crosse. But S. Bernard sayth more aptly Serm. 1. de Resurrect. Immò, quia Rex Israel est, &c. Yea because he is the King of Israel, [Page 282] let him not loose the title of his King­dome. And a litle after: Non tibi dabit occasionem &c. Christ will not giue oc­casion of depriuing thee of perseuerance, which alone is crowned. He will not cause the tongues to be silent of Prea­chers, perswading and comforting the faint harted and weake, and saying to euery of them: Looke thou doest not forsake thy Place or Station; the which doubtlesly would follow, if they might reply, Christ hath forsaken his Place. Christ therefore perseuered vpon the Crosse, till che end of his life, that he might so consummate, and perfect his owne Worke, as that nothing should be wanting thereto, and that he might leaue after him a most admirable Example of Perseuerance.

Truly it is an easy matter to perse­uer and continue in sweet places, and in doing pleasing Actions; but to per­s [...]uer, and constantly to remaine long in labour and dolour, is most difficult. But if we did know, what induced Christ to perseuer vpon the Crosse; per­haps our selfes would learne to beare our Crosse perseuerantly; yea if it were lawfull to hang vpon it euen vntill death. If a man do cast his eyes only [Page 283] vpon the Crosse, the Instrument of so lamentable a death (being but seene) it cannot but beget an horrour in his hart. But if he looke vp with the eyes, not so much of his body, as of his soule, towards him who commandeth vs to beare the Crosse, and towards the place, whither the Crosse leadeth, and to the fruit or benefit, which the said Crosse produceth; then it is not a thing hard or vngratefull, but easy & pleasant to perseuer in kissing of the Crosse, and perseuerantly to hang v­pon the Crosse.

What therefore moued Christ so incessantly, without complaining, to hang vpon the Crosse euen vntill death? The first cause heerof was che loue towards his Father: The cup, which my Father hath giuen me (sayth he) wilt not thou, that I do drinke it? Ioan. 18. Christ did loue his Father with an ineffable loue; and with the lyke loue was beloued of him. There­fore when Christ did see that cup to be prepared for him, by his most good & louing Father, he could not in any sort suspect, but that it was giuen to him for a most happy end, and to him most glorious. Was it then any strange [Page 284] thing if he did drinke vp all the cup most willingly? Furthermore, the Fa­ther made a mariadge for his Sonne, and espoused to him the Church, but then bespotted, and wrinkled; the which neuerthelesse if he would dili­gently wash in the hoate bath of his bloud, he should easily make it to be glorious, Not hauing eyther spot, or wrinkle. Ephes 5 Therefore Christ loued his spouse giuen to him by his Fa­ther [...] in regard whereof it was not painefull to him, to wash away all her spots with his bloud, that so she might appeare beautifull and glorious

For i [...] Iacob for the loue of Rachel laboured seauen yeares in looking vn­to the flooke and sheep of Laban, so as he was almost consumed away with heate and frost, and want of sleep; and if those so many yeares seemed to him, but a few dayes in respect of the greatnes of his loue, Gen 2. I say if Ia­cob litle prized the labour and toyle of sea [...]en yeares for one Rachel; what wonder then is i [...], if the Sonne of God would perseuer & continue three houres vpon the Crosse for his Spouse (the Church)) which was to be [...]o­me mother of many thousand holy [Page 285] Sonnes of God? To conclude, Christ did not respect only the loue of his Fa­ther, and of his Spouse, when he was ready to drinke the cup of his Passion; but also he had a regard to that most eminent glory, and greatnes of Ioy ne­uer to be ended, [...]o the which he was to ascend by the meanes and instrumēt of the Crosse, according to that sen­tence of his Apostle, Philip. 1. He hum­bled himselfe, made obedient to death, euen the death of the Crosse, For the which thing God also hath exalted him, and hath giuen him a Name, which is aboue all Names; that in the Name of Iesus euery knee shall bow, of things in Heauen, in earth, and vnder the Earth.

We may adioyne to the Example of Christ the Example of the Apost­les. Saint Paul reckoning the Crosses of himselfe, and of the other Apost­postles, thus contesteth: 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? As it is writ­ten, for we are killed for thy sake all the day; we are esteemed as sheepe for the slaughter. And then the Apostle ans­wereth: But in all these things we haue [Page 286] ouercome, because of him, that hath lo­ued vs. Thus the Apostles during their continuing in their punishments, had not their eyes so much fixed vpon the punishments, as vpon the loue of God, who loued vs, and gaue his Sonne for vs. In like sort they had respect to Christ himselfe, Who loued vs, & gaue himselfe for vs. The same Apostle wri­ting to the Corinthians sayth: I am re­plenished with consolation; I do excee­dingly abound in ioy, in all our Tribula­tion. 2. Cor. 7. But from whence com­meth so great cōso [...]ation, from whence so great ioy, as that it almost taketh a­way the sense and feeling of Tribula­tion? The Apostle answereth to this demaund in an other place, saying: Because, that our tribulation, which is momentary and light, worketh aboue measure, exceedingly an eternall weight of glory in vs 2. Cor. 4. Therefore the Contemplation of eternall glory, which he did place before the eyes of his mynd, was the cause, why tribula­tion did appeare to him to be but mo­mentary and light. Has cogitationes &c. (sayth S. Cyprian) VVhat persecu­tion can ouercome these thoughts? what torments are able to daunt them? l. de [Page 287] mart. To all this may be referred the Example of S. Andrew, who beheld the Crosse (whereupon he hanged two daies) not as an vnpleasant Crosse, but saluted it, as a friend. And when the People endeauoured to take him off from thence, he would not in any case suffer them, but continued han­ging thereupon till death; Neither was this man imprudent and foolish, but most wyse, and full of the Holy Ghost.

Now from these examples of Christ, and his Apostles, all Christians may learne, how they ought to beare themselues, when they cannot des­cend from their Crosse; that is, when they cannot be freed of their Tribula­tion without sinne. In the number of these are first Regular Persons, whose life being tyed to the vowes of Po­uerty, Chastity, and Obedience, is repu­ted like vnto Martyrdome. In like sort married Persons, when through di­uine Prouidence the husband hath gotten a harsh, cholerick, vnquiet (and almost intollerable) wyfe: or the wyfe hath a husband of a fierce, & rough disposition; and such was the husband of S. Monica, as S. Austin witnesseth. Againe, those that are slaues, condem­ned [Page 288] to perpetuall prison, or to the Gallyes. In like sort, sicke Persons who labour with some incurable disease. And poore men, vvho cannot aspire to riches but by stealth and thieuery. All these (and such others in like case) if they desire to suffer their Crosse, with spirituall ioy, and great reward, let them not looke vpon the Crosse, but vpon him who hath layed the Crosse vpon their shoulders. But he doubt­lesly was God, who is our most louing Father, and without whose Prouidence nothing in this world is done. Now the pleasure and will of God is best, & ought to be most gratefull vnto vs.

Furthermore, all men ought to say with Christ; The Cup which my Father hath giuen me, will thou not, that I should drinke? And with the Apostle: In all those things we ouercome for his sake, who loued vs. Moreouer all men ought, and may consider who cannot depose and lay aside their Crosse with­out sinne, not so much the present la­bour, as the future reward, which doubtlesly doth surmount all labour and griefe of this present life, the A­postle saying: Rom. 8. The sufferings of this time are not condigne to the glory to [Page 289] come, that shalbe reuealed in vs. Who speaking of Moyses in an other place, thus writeth: Moyses esteemed the re­proach of Christ greater riches, then the treasure of the Egyptians; for he looked into the remuneration. Hebr. 11.

To conclude, we may produce for the comfort of those men who are constrained to vndergoe a heauy Crosse for a long tyme, the example of two men, who did lose their perseuerance, and thereupon did fynd incompara­bly a farre greater Crosse. Iudas the Betrayer of Christ, when he reflected vpon himselfe, did detest his sinne of Treachery, and not enduring the con­fusion and shame which he must suf­fer, if he would conuerse with the A­postles and Disciples, did hang him­selfe. So as he changed only, but a­uoyded not the Crosse of the Confu­sion, which he did flie; Since greater Confusion shall follow him at the day of iudgment, in the presence & sight of all the Angels, and of men, when he shalbe declared to be not only the Betrayer of Christ, but withall his owne Homicide or Butcher. And how great blindnes then was it in him, to auoyde a small confusion among a few [Page 290] persons; who being the Disciples of Christ, were mild and gentle, & who euer would haue beene ready to ex­hort him to hope well of the Mercy of the Sauiour of the world; but not to auoyde the infamy and confusion of his betraying of Christ, & hanging himselfe in the Theater and eye of all men and Angels?

The second example may be ta­ken out of the Oration of S. Basill in 40. Mart. The summe whereof is this. In the persecution of Licinius the Em­perour, fo [...]rty souldiers being resolued to continue in the Fayth of Christ, were condemned, that openly in the ayre, without any shelter, in a most cold tyme and place, they should spend the whole [...]ight, and so through a most long and sharp Martyrdome, should perish through cold and frost, There was prepared neere vnto the place when they were, a hoat & com­fortable Bath, to receaue such of the souldiers, as would deny their Fayth. Of the whole number of the soul­diers thirty and nyne, setting before their eyes not so much the present punishment of being frozen to death (which would in a short tyme be [Page 291] ended) as the Eternity of glory and happines, perseuered in their Fayth, & receaued from the hands and bounty of our Lord, most glorious Crownes, Our souldier, who had his mind fixed only vpon the present torment, could not perseuere in his Christian fayth, did thereupon leape into the warme Bath. But he had no sooner gotten thereinto, but that seuerall parts of his flesh being already congealed, did fall asunder and the poore wretch breathed out his Soule, and as denier of Christ, descended into Hell and to perpetuall torments. Thus he flying death, he found death, and changed a short and light Crosse or tribulation, for an euerlasting and most grieuous Crosse.

Now all those do imitate these two most vnhappy men who do for­sake the Crosse of a religious Course of life; who do cast off a sweet yoake and easy burden; and when they least thinke therof, they do find themselfes to be tyed to a farre more grieuous yoake of diuers Concupiscences and Passions, which they can neuer satisfy; and thus being pressed downe with the most heauy weight of their sinnes, [Page 292] they are not able to breath, or take wynd. The like reason is of all those, who refuse to beare their Crosse with Christ, and yet through sinning are forced to beare a far more grieuous Crosse with the Deuill.

The seauenth Word; to wit, Pater, in manus tuas commendo Spi­ritum meum: Father, into thy hands, I commend my Spirit. Luke 23. is litterally explai­ned. CHAP. XIX.

VVE are now come the last Word or Sentence of Christ, which being ready to dye vpon the Crosse he spake, not without great clamour, saying: Pater in manus tuas cōmendo spiritum meū, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit. We will explicate in order euery word, Pater, he deseruedly calleth him Father, be­cause himselfe was an obedient Sonne to him, euen to death; and therefore most worthy that he should be heard. [Page 293] In manus tuas, into thy Hands. The Hands of God in the Scriptures are said to be his Intelligence and Will, or VVisdome and Power; Or (which is coincident herewith) the Vnderstan­ding of God knowing all things, and his Will, being able to performe or do all thinks: For with these two, God as not wanting Instruments otherwise, doth all things; because as S. Leo speaketh: In Deo Voluntas, Potentia est: In God his Will is his Power. Serm. 2 de Na­tiu. Therfore with God, to will a thing is to doe a thing, according to that: He hath done all things, whatsoeuer he would. Psal. 113. Commendo, That is, I do commend or deliuer vp in pledge, that it may be restored with trust, when the tyme of restitution shall come.

Spiritum meum, Touching this word, how it is here to be taken, there is no small Controuersy. The word, Spiritus, is accustomed to be taken for the Soule, vvhich is the substantiall forme of the Body, as also it is taken for life it selfe: and the reason hereof is, because breathing is a signe of lyfe; and who do breath, do liue; and who cease to breath, do dye. And certainly [Page 294] if by the word Spirit, vve vnderstand in this place the Soule of Christ, we are to take heed, that no man should imagine there were any danger for that soule to goe out of its body: As when other men are in dying, their soule is accustomed to be commended to God, through many Prayers, and great Care, in that it goeth to the Tri­bunall of the Iudge, ready to receaue for its good, or wicked works, Glory, or Punishment. Such a Commenda­tion as this, the soule of Christ did not need; both in that it was blessed from the beginning of its Creation; as also because it was ioyned in Person with the Sonne of God, and might be cal­led, the Soule of God: and lastly by rea­son, as victorious and triumphing, it went out of its Body, and was a ter­rour to all the Deuills, but they could be no terrour to it. Therefore if the Spirit be taken in this place for the Soule, then these words of our Lord, Commendo spiritum meum, do signify, that the Soule of Christ, which vvas in its Body, as in a Tabernacle, was to be in the hands of the Father, as in depo­sito, vntill it did returne to the Body; according to that, Sap. 3. The soules of [Page 295] the Iust are in the hands of God.

But it is much more credible, that by the word Spirit, in this place corpo­rall life is vnderstood, so as the sense is to be this: I do now deliuer vp the spi­rit of my life, and therein I cease to breath and to liue: But this spirit, this life (O Father) I commend to thee, that vvithin a short tyme thou mayst restore it to my Body: For to thee no­thing is lost, but all things do liue to thee; who in calling out that vvhich is not, makest it be; and in calling out that, which doth not liue, makest it to liue. That this is the true meaning of this place, may first be gathered out of the 30. Psalme, from whence our Lord did take this Prayer. For thus Dauid doth there pray: Thou wilt bring me out of this snare which they haue hid for me, because thou art my Protectour; Into thy hands I commend my spirit. In vvhich place the Prophet by the spirit, most euidently vnderstandeth lyfe; for he prayeth to God, that he will not suffer him to be slayne by his Enemies but that he will preserue his lyfe. Fur­thermore the same point is deduced as true, euen from this place of the Gospell. For after our Lord had said; [Page 296] Father into thy hands I do commend my spirit, the Euangelist did subioyne: And saying this, he gaue vp the Ghost; For to giue vp the Ghost signifieth to cease to draw spirit or wynd, which is proper to those Creatures which are liuing; the vvhich thing cannot be said of the soule, the substantiall forme of the Body; but it is said of the ayre which vve breath, vvhilst we liue; and we do cease to breath, vvhen we dye.

Last [...]y the foresaid exposition is ga­thered from those words of the Apo­stle, Hebr. 5. Who in the dayes of his flesh, with a strong cry and teares, offe­ring prayers and supplications to him, that could saue him from death, was heard for his reuerence. This place some do vnderstand of the prayer, which our Lord made in the garden, saying: Father, if it be possible, trans­ferre this Chalice from me. Mar. 14. But in that place our Lord did not pray with a strong cry, neither was he heard, neither would he haue beene heard, that he should be free & exem­pted from the death. For he prayed that the Chalice of his Passion might passe from him, thereby to shew a na­turall desire of not dying, and himselfe [Page 297] to be true man, whose nature doth ab­horre death: But he added; Not that which I will, but that which thou let thy Will be done. Thus we see, that the prayer of Christ in the garden cannot be that Prayer, of which the Apostle speaketh to the Hebrews.

Others maintaine, that that prayer of Christ mentioned by S. Paul, is the same, vvhich our Lord made for his Crucifiers vpon the Crosse, saying: Fa­ther forgiue them, for they do not know what they doe. Luc. 23. But at that time our Lord did not vse any strong crye, neither did he pray for hims [...]lfe, that he might be saued from death; both which two points are euidently ex­pressed by the Apostle to the Hebrews. For being vpon the Crosse, he prayed for his Crucifiers, that that most grie­uous and heauy sinne might be pardo­ned to them. Therefore it remaineth, that those words of the Apostle be vn­derstoode of that last prayer, which our Lord made vpon the Crosse, say­ing, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit; the which prayer he made with a strong crye, S. Luke saying: And Iesus crying with a loud voice, said &c. Where vve see, that S. Paul and S. Luke [Page 298] do clearely herein agree togeather.

Furthermore our Lord prayed, t [...]at he might be saued from death, as S. Paul doth witnesse, but the meaning her [...]of cannot be [...] that he should not dye vpon the Crosse; for therein he vvas not heard, & yet S. Paul testifieth that he was heard; but the meaning is, that he prayed, that he might not be vvholy absorpt vp by death, but only might tast death, and presently returne to life; For thus much is implied in those words: He offered vp prayers to him, that could saue him. For our Lord could not be ignorant, but that he was to dye, especially being then most neare to death; but he couered to be safe from death, in this sense; to wit, that he might not be detayned long by death; which was nothing else, but to pray for a speedy Resurrection; in which hi [...] prayer he was fully heard, since he did rise most gloriously the third day. This explication of the testi­mony of S. Paul euidently conuinceth, that when our Lord said, Into thy hands I command my spirit, the spirit is taken for Lyfa, not for the [...]oule. For he was not sollicitous of his soule, the vvhich he did knovv to be in safety, since it [Page 299] was most blessed, and did see God face to face euen from its Creation; but he was sollicitous and carefull of his Bo­dy, which he savv vvas to be depriu [...]d of lyfe through death; and therefore he prayed, that his Body might not long remaine in death, the vvhich pe­tition (as aboue we said) he in a most full manner obtayned.

The first fruite of the seauenth Word. CHAP. XX.

NOw according to our former Method, I wil gather some fruits from this Last word of Christ, & from his death presently ensuing. And first, euen from that thing, which seemeth to be most full of infirmity, weakenes, and simplicity, the great Power, Wis­dome, and Charity of God is demon­strated. For in that our Lord gaue vp the Ghost, crying with a great Voyce, his Power and strength is manifestly discerned; since from this vve may ga­ther, that it vvas in his povver not to dye, and that he dyed willingly. For [Page 300] those men, vvho dye naturally, do lose by degrees their force and voyce; and in their last agony & fight vvith death, they are not able to cry out with any great and vehement speach or Voyce. Therefore not without cause the Cen­turion seeing, that Iesus after so much profusion of Bloud, vvith a great and lovvd voyce dyed, said: Certainly, this was the Sonne of God. Mar. 15. Christ is a great Lord, vvho euen dying she­weth his [...]ower, not only by crying out with a great Voyce at his last brea­thing; but also in cleauing the Earth, cutting a sunder the stones, opening the Monuments, and in rending the Veyle of the Temple, all vvhich things to haue fallen out euen at the very tyme, vvhen Christ dyed, the Euange­list witnesseth.

Furthermore all these strange E­uents haue their mistery, by which the Wisdome of Christ is manifested. For the concussion of the Earth, as also the cleauing of the stones did signify, that by the Passion and death of Christ, men vvere moued and stirred vp to pennance, and the harts of the obsti­nate vvere euen cut a sunder, vvhich Effects at that very time to haue hap­pened, [Page 301] S. Luke writeth, when he sayth, that many returning from that spectacle and sight, did knock their breasts. The opening of the graues & sepulchers doth designe the glorious Resurrection of the dead to succeed after that of Christ. The tearing or ren­ding of the Veyle (whereby was dis­couered the Sancta Sanctorum) was a signe that through the merits of the death of Christ, the Celestiall Sanctua­ry was to be opened, and that all the Saints were after to be admitted to see the face of God. Neither only in the signification of these Mysteries did Christ show his Wi [...]dome; but also in that he did produce & draw life from death; in figure whereof Moyses caused water to flow out of a stone. And Christ himselfe for the same Cause said, he resembled a graine of wheate, in that by dying, he brought forth much fruite. For as a graine of wheate by being corrupted, doth bud forth an care of liuing Corne; so Christ by dy­ing vpon the Crosse, enriched multi­tudes of Natiōs with the life of Grace, & S. Peter most manifestly thus spea­keth of Christ: He swallowing death, that we might be made heyres of life [Page 302] euerlasting. 1. Pet. 3. As if he would haue said; The First man swallovving the forbidden sweet apple, condem­ned all his posterity to death; But the second Man swallowing downe the bitter apple of death, brought all those to etern [...]l life, who were borne a­gaine of him.

To conclude, Christ manifested & opened his Wisdome in dying, be­cause he made the Crosse, (then the vvhich nothing was before more des­picable and contemptible) most ho­nourable and glorious; so as euen Kings themselfes do account it an ho­nour to signe their Foreheads there­vvith. Neither is the Crosse made only honourable, but also svveet to the lo­uers of Christ; Whereupon the Church thus singeth: Dulce lignum, dulces cla­uos, dulce pondus sustinuit. The which very point S. Andrew demonstrated by his ovvne example, when behoul­ding the Crosse, vnto vvhich he was to be fastened said: Salue Crux preciosa &c. All haile, O precious Crosse, which hath receaued honour and beauty from the members of our Lord; Thou art long desired, and carefully sought after; thou art loued without any intermission, and [Page 303] comes prepared to a willing mind. I ap­proach to thee with security and ioy, that thou exulting mayst receaue me, being the disciple of my Maister Iesus Christ, who did hang vpon thee.

Now what shall we speake of Cha­rity? The sentence of our Lord is this: Greater Charity then this no man hath, that a man yield his life for his friends. Ioan. 15. This Christ performed vpon the Crosse; since no man could against his Will, depriue him of life. For him­selfe thus sayth hereof: No man taketh my life from me, but I yield it of my selfe. Ioan. 10. Therefore as aboue is said, no man hath greater Charity, then he, that yieldeth his life for his friēds, because nothing can be found more precious, and to be beloued, then Life, it being the foundation of all goods. For what doth it proffit a man (sayth our Lord) if he gaine the whole world, and sustaine the domage of his soule, that is, of his lyfe? And from hence it is, that all things labour to resist with all their strength (yea aboue their strength) those, who do endeauour to take away their lyfe. And we read in Iob: Skinne for skinne, and all things, which a man hath, he will giue for his [Page 304] lyfe. But these passages are generall, vve vvill descend to particulars.

Christ did ineffably shew by many meanes to all mankind, and to eue­ry one of vs, his Charity by dying vpon the Crosse. First because his life vvas the most precious of all liues; as being the lyfe of man, vvho vvas God; the lyfe of the most potent King of Kings; the lyfe of the most wisest of all the Doctours. Furthermore he gaue his lyfe for his Enemies, for wicked men, for vngratefull men. Againe, he laid dovvne his lyfe, that he might de­liuer these his Enemies, wicked & vn­gratefull men, from the burnings, and torments of Hell, to the which they vvere alread [...] condemned. Lastly, he gaue his lyfe, that he might make these, men to become his Brethren and Co­heyres, and mo [...] happily place them in the kingdome of Heauen for all E­ternity. And is there any man of that flinty, or sauage nature, who from this tyme vvill not loue Christ Iesus with all his Harts, and will not suffer any aduersity for his sake? O mercifull God, auert and turne such a stony and iron hart, not only from our Brethren, but from all men whosoeuer, either Infi­dels, or Atheists.

The second fruite of the seauenth Word. CHAP. XXI.

AN other fruite (and that most profitable) is, if we learne to vse frequently that prayer, which our Lord taught vs, when being ready to goe to his Father, he said: Into thy hads I com­mend my spirit. But because he was not pressed and vrged with that Ne­cessity, with the which we are vrged, since he was the Sonne, and Holy, we but seruants and sinners: Therefore our Mother and Mistresse (the Church) instructe [...]h vs to f [...]equent, and often vse it, but as it is entire and whole in the Psalme of Dauid, and not diuided, as our Lord pronounced it. In the Psalme it is thus read: Into thy hands I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth. Psal. 30. Christ did omit the later port, because him­selfe was the Redeemer, and not the party redeemed; but we; who are re­deemed with his most precious bloud, ought not to pretermit this part of [Page 306] the Psalme. Christ also prayed to his Father, as his only begotten sonne; We pray to Christ, as our Redeemer: ther­fore we say not, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit; But, into thy hāds O Lord I commend my spirit, thou hast redeemed me O Lord God of Truth. Ac­cording to which manner of speach S. Steuen (the first Martyr) being rea­dy to dye, said: Lord Iesus receaue my spirit. Act. 7.

Furthermore our Mother (the ho­ly Church) teacheth vs to say this Prayer at three seuerall tymes. First, euery day at the Complyme, as those vvell knovv vvho read the Canonicall Howers. Againe, when we approach to the most holy Eucharist, after those words are said: Domine non sum dig­nus, the Priest first for himselfe, and after for the Communicants doth say: In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum. Lastly at our departure out of this lyfe, all the faithfull are admoni­shed, that they say, In manus tuas com­m [...]nd [...] spiritum meum. As concerning the Complyme, it is not to be doub­ted, but that there is said, In manus tuas Domine &c. because the Complime is accustomed to be read tovvards the [Page 307] end of the day; and as S. Basill spea­keth, Primis se intendentibus tenebris &c. Assoone as darknes commeth: & be­cause it may so fall out, that in the night tyme vnexpectedly death may surprize vs; therefore we commend our soule to our Lord, that if so sudden death might happen to vs, it might not hap­pen to vs vnforseene, in Reg. fusius ex­plic. q. 37. That at the tyme of recea­uing the most Blessed Eucharist, is said: In manus tuas commendo &c. the rea­son is, because that action is very dan­gerous, and withall very necessary, so as without perill it cannot often be frequented or intermitted: For he, that eateth the Body of our Lord vnworthily, eateth iudgment to himselfe. 1. Cor. 11. That is, he eateth condemnation to himselfe. And againe, He that eateth not the body of our Lord, eateth not the bread of lyfe, and life it selfe. Ioan. 9. Thus vve are brought to straits on ech syde; being partly like to those men, who suffer extremity of hunger, and yet are vncertaine, whether that which is brought to them to eate, be meate or poyson. Therefore with iust reason we say with feare and trem­bling: O Lord, I am not worthy that [Page 308] thou shouldest enter into my house, ex­cept out of thy ineffable goodnes thou wilt make me worthy; therefore, say the word, and my soule shalbe healed. But because of this I also doubt, whe­ther thou wilt vouchsafe to cure my wounds, I commend my spirit into thy hands, that so in this terrible busines thou mayst be present to my soule, which thou hast redeemed with thy precious Bloud.

Yf men would ponder these things maturely, they would not so greedily approach to receaue Priesthood, that by daily celebrating: they might main­taine their corporal state; For such men are not accustomed to be much care­full (as they ought to be) whether they come with due preparation, since their End is rather the meate of the Body, then the meate of the Soule. There are also many, who attend vpon Prelats and Princes, who perhaps do not come rightly prepared to this dreadfull table; yet they approach to it, as drawne through a humane feare least they may displease their Prince or Prelate, if at the appointed, and accustomed tyme, they be not presen [...] among, and one of those who are t [...] [Page 309] communicate. What [...]herefore is to be done? It may be, it were more profita­ble to come to that table more rarely. Yea but it is more profitable often to frequent that table, so it be with reue­rence & due preparation: For by how much one commeth more rarely, by so much he is made lesse apt to partici­pate of that Heauenly Table, as S. Cy­ril hath wisely admonished. lib. 4. in Ioan c. 17.

There now remaineth the tyme of neare approaching or imminent death, at what time it is necessary with great feruour of mind, frequently and often to repeate and say: Into thy hāds I commend my Spirit; thou hast rede­med me, O Lord God of truth. That is the tyme, in which the chiefest busines of all is hādled: for if it should so hap­pen, that the soule departing out of the Body, commeth into the hands of the Deuill, there is no hope left of Sal­uation. And contrariwise, if it haue its passage to the paternall Hands of God, no povver of mans Ghostly Enemy is after to be feared. Therefore with an inutterable moaning, vvith true and perfect Contrition, with a strong fayth and confidence in the infinite mercy [Page 310] of God, it is againe, and againe to be iterated and repeated; Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit: And be­cause at that instant of tyme, those vvho haue led a negligent and care­lesse life, do suffer no greater tempta­tion, then of despayre, as if the tyme of Pennance and repētance were then past; Let such oppose against this tem­ptation the buckler of Fayth, since it is written: In what day soeuer the sinner shall repent, I will not remember his sin­nes: Ezech. 33. Let them also take the Helmet of Hope, which trusteth in the boundles Mercy of God, and let them often repeate: Into thy hands, I com­mend my spirit; neither is that reason, which is the foundation of our Hope, to be omitted, to wit, Because thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth. For who vvill restore to Christ his innocēt bloud? who vvill repay backe to him the price with which he bought vs? For so S. Austin speaketh, teaching vs in those words, to confide much in our Redemption, which is in Iesus Christ; which cannot be in vayne, and fruit­les, except our selues do put a barre or hindrance therto, through Impeni­tency, or Desperation.

The third fruite of the seauenth Word. CHAP. XXII.

THe third fruit is placed, in that we may learne, that death neare approaching, we are not much to con­fide in the Almes-deeds, Fastings, or the prayers of our kinred & friends. For there are many, vvho during the vvhole course of their lyfe, are wholy forgetfull of their soule; busiyng their mynds with nothing els, but how to leaue their wife, children, and K [...]ns­folks rich, & of great estate. But when themselfes come to dye, then (& not before) they begin to thinke of their ovvne soule; And because they haue distributed and deuided their goods & faculties among their forsaid friends they commend the charge of their sou­les to them, that by their meanes their soules might be helped with Almes-deeds, Prayers, masses, and other good workes. Christ did not teach vs this by his example, since he commended his soule not to his kinsmen, but to his [Page 312] Father. Neyther doth S. Peter admo­nish vs, that we should commend our soules to our Children, or kinsfolkes, but to the faythfull Creatour, by good deedes 1. Pet. 4.

I do not say this, as reprehending those who either procure, or desire Almes-deedes, or sacrifices of the ho­ly masse to be offered vp for them af­ter their death: But I much blame those, vvho repose too much trust in their Children and kinsfolkes; since daily experience teacheth, that they quickly forget their dead Ancestours. I further reprehend them, because in a matter of so great importance, they will not prouide for themselues; and that they will not giue and performe the Workes of Charity, and Almes-deeds, by which they may purchase many friends, by whose meanes as we read in the Gospell, they may be recea­ued into the Eternall Tabernacles. Luc. 16. I also greatly blame them, w [...]o do not obey the Prince of the Apostles, commanding vs, as is aboue said, to commend our soules to our faythfull Creatour, and to commend them not only in words, but also in good Workes. Since good works sent before to God, [Page 313] are those, which efficaciously and truly commend the soules of Christians to God.

Let vs heare, what voyce sounded from Heauen to S. Iohn, Apoc. 4. I heard a voyce from Heauen, saying to me, Write: Blessed are the dead, which dye in our Lord from hence now, sayth the spirit, that they rest from their labours, for their works follow them. Therefore good works performed by our selfes, whilst we liue (and not to be done after our death by our Children, or kinsfolkes) are those, which certainly do follow vs: especially if those works be of their owne nature not onely good, but as S. Peter, not without miste­ry hath expressed: for thus he speaketh, In bene factis commendent animas suas fideli Creatori: let them commendent their soules to their faythfull Creatour, by good deeds; meaning in works well done. For there are many, who can number many good Works by them done, as many Sermons preached, ma­ny Masses daily celebrated, their how­ers of prayers for many yeares, their fast of Lent continued in like sort for many yeares, their Almes-deeds, and those not in number few. But when [Page 314] these come to the diuine ballacing & examination, and are precisely to be discussed, whether they were well done; to wit, with right intentions, with due attention, in fitting tyme and place, proceeding from a man grate­full to God; O how many things, which did appeare to be gaines to the soule, will rather be accounted, as los­ses and detriments vnto it! And how many things, which seemed in mans iudgment to be gould, siluer, and pre­cious stones, built vpon the founda­tiō of fayth, will be found to be wood & straw, which the fire will instantly consume!

The consideration of this point doth not a litle terrify me, & by how much I draw more neare to my end (for as the Apostle speaketh, Heb. 8. That which groweth ancient, and wa­xeth old, is nigh vnto vtter decay) so much the more euidently I see, that the admonition and Counsell of S. Iohn Chrysostome is necessary to me, who councels vs, not to weigh and prize to much our owne good works; because if they be good works indeed (that is, works vvell & piously done) they are registred by God in his booke [Page 315] of Accounts, and there is no danger, that they shalbe defrauded of their due reward: but let vs daily thinke (sayth he) of our euill & bad works, and labour vvith a contrite hart and spirit, vvith many teares, and serious pennance, to wash them away. For such men, vvho performe his aduise herein, shall say at the close and end of their life vvith great confidence and Hope: Into thy hands I commend my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.

Of the fourth fruite of the seauen VVord. CHAP. XXIII.

THere followeth the fourth fruite, which may be gathered from the most happy hearing of the prayer of our Lord, that from so comfortable an Euent all of vs may be much anima­ted and encouraged to commend our spirits to God with greater vehemen­cy and ardour of deuotion. For the A­postle did most truly write, that our Lord Iesus Christ was heard, for his [Page 316] reuerence Heb. 5. Our Lord prayed to his Father for a speedy Resurrection of his Body, as aboue we haue shewed. His prayer was heard, so as his Resur­rection was no longer delayed, then it was needfull to proue, that his Body was truly dead. For except it could be infallibly demonstrated, that his Body did truly depart out of this lyfe, both the Resurrection, as also the whole Christian Fayth might be doubted of, and called into question. Therefore our Sauiour was to remaine in the graue for the space at least of fourty houres; especially seeing the figure of Ionas the Prophet was to be accompli­shed, which (as our Lord himselfe taught in the Ghospell) was to pre­monstrate and foreshew his death.

But to the end, that the Resurre­ction of Christ might be accelerated & hastened so farre forth, as it was cō ­uenient; and that it might be more manifestly proued, that the prayer of Christ was heard, the diuine Prouidēce would, that the three dayes and three nights, during which tyme Ionas was in the Belly of the Whale, should be reduced in the Resurrection of Christ, to one entire and whole day, and two [Page 317] parts of two dayes; which time not properly (but by the figure intellectio) might be said to contayne three dayes & three nights. Neither did the Fa­ther heare the prayer of Christ only in shortning the tyme of his Resurre­ction, but also in restoring incom­parably a better lyfe, then before he enioyed. Since the lyfe of Christ be­fore his death, was mortall; but it is restored to him immortall: Christ ri­sing againe from the dead, now dieth no more; death shall no more haue do­minion ouer him, as the Apostle spea­keth. Rom. 6. The lyfe of Christ before his death, was passible, that is, subiect to hunger, thirst, wearines, wounds; but being restored impassible, it stāds not obnoxious to any iniury. The Bo­dy of Christ was before death Ani­male; but after the resurrection it be­came spiritale; that is, so subiect to the spirit, as that in a twinkling of an Eye; it might be caryed into any place, where the spirit it selfe would.

Novv the reason, why the Prayer of Christ was so easily heard, is subioy­ned by the Apostle, when he sayth, pro sua reuerentia, for his reuerence. The Greeke word here vsed, (to [Page 318] wit, [...]) signifieth a reueren­tiall feare, vvhich was most eminent in Christ tovvards his father. There­fore Esay describing the guifts of the Holy Ghost, which were in the soule of Christ, of other guifts thus sayth: The spirit of wisdome and Vnderstan­ding shall rest vpon him: the spirit of Counsell and Strength: the spirit of Knowledge and Piety; but of reueren­tiall Feare, the said Prophet thus speaketh: And the spirit of the Feare of our Lord shall replenish him. Isa. 11. Novv because the soule of Christ was most full of reuerentiall Feare towards his Father, therefore the Father did take most great pleasure in him, ac­cording to that we read in S. Matthew: This is my beloued sonne, in whom I am well pleased. Matth. 3. & 17. And euen as the Sonne did euer reuerence the Father in a most high degree, so did the Father euer heare him praying, and granted whatsoeuer he desired.

Novv from hence may we learne, that, if vve expect euer to be heard by our heauenly Father, and to obtaine whatsoeuer we demaund of him, we ought to imitate Christ herin, in pro­secuting our said heauenly Father with [Page 319] supreme Reuerence, and in preferring nothing before his honour. For so it wilbe effected, that whatsoeuer we pray for, we shall obtaine, and pecu­liarly, that, in which consisteth the chiefest good of our state; I meane, that vvhen death shall approach, God may receaue our soule passing out of the Body, commended vnto him, vvhen the roaring Lyon standeth neere vnto vs, as being ready for a prey. Neither let any man thinke, that Reuerence is exhibited to God only in genufle­ction, or in bovving of the knee, in vn­couering of the Head, or in any other worship and honour of such like na­ture. The word [...], or timor reuerentialis, doth not signify only this externall honour, but it chiefly de­notes a great feare of offending of God, and an invvard & continual hor­rour of sinne, and this not through dread of punishment, but through loue of our Celestiall Father. He is tru­ly indued with reuerentiall Feare, who dare not thinke of offence or sinne, es­pecially mortall sinne: Blessed is that man (sayth Dauid) who feareth our Lord; He shall haue great delight in his Commandements: That is, he truly fea­reth [Page 320] God (and in that respect may be called Blessed) who with all bent of Will and Endeauour, studies to keep all the Commandement of God. And from hence it proceeded, that that ho­ly widdow Iudith, timebat Dominum valde, as we reade in her Booke cap. 8. For she being but a yong Woman, and of great beauty, and very rich, lest she should (after the death of her husband) either giue or take any oc­casion of sinning, did remaine shut vp with her maids in a secret chamber, and wearing a haire-cloath about her body, fasting all dayes, excepting the feasts of the house of Israel. Behould here with what great zeale euen in the old Law (which permitted far more liberty, then the Ghospell doth) a yōg, rich and beautifull Woman did take heed of Carnall sinnes, for no other reason, then that she greatly feared our Lord.

The sacred Scripture doth men­tion and commend the same thing in Holy Iob. For he made a couenant with his eyes, that he would not so much as thinke of a Virgin, that is, he vvould not look vpon a Virgin, to pre­uent therby that no vnchast thought [Page 321] might creep into his mind. And why did Iob so warily and diligently auoid such allurements? Because he greatly feared our Lord: for thus it there fol­loweth: For what part should God from aboue haue in me? that is, if an vncleane cogitation should in any sort defile my mind, I should not be Gods portion, nor God should be my Portion. There were no end, if I should insist in exam­ples of Saints during the tyme of the New Testament. This therefore is the Feare, wherewith the Saints were en­dued, of which if our selfes were full, there were nothing, the which we could not most easily obtaine of our Heauenly Father.

The last fruite of the seauenth Word. CHAP. XXIV.

THere remaineth the last fruite, which is gathered from the con­sideration of the Obedience of Christ, manifested in his last words, and in death it selfe. For wheras the Apostle sayth: He humbled himselfe, made obe­dient [Page 322] vnto death, euen the death of the Crosse. Philip. 2. This was chiefly per­formed, when our Lord pronouncing those Words, Father into thy hands, I commend my spirit, did presently giue vp the Ghost. But it will be conue­nient to repea [...]e, & ponder more dee­ply what may be said of the Obediēce of Christ; that so we may gather a most precious fru [...]te from the tree of the holy Crosse. Therefore Christ (our Ma [...]ster and Lord of all Vertues) did exhibit such Obedience to God his Fa­ther, that a greater cannot be concea­ued or imagined.

First, the Obedience of Christ tooke its beginning from his Concep­tion, and continued without intermis­sion euen to his death, Thus the whole life of our Lord Iesus Christ was but one Act, or Course of a continuated, and vnintterrupted Obedience. Truly the soule of Christ euen in the first moment of its Creation, had the vse of freewill, and withall was repleni­shed with Grace and Wisdome; and therefore euen from that first momēt, Christ being as yet inclosed in the wombe of his mother, began to exer­cise Obedience. Where we read in the [Page 323] 39. Psalme, in which it is said in the Person of Christ: In the head of the booke it is written of me, that I should do thy will: my God, I would, and thy law in the middest of my Hart. That, in the head of the booke, signifieth no other thing, but in the summe of the diuine Scripture that is, throughout the whole Scripture, it is chiefly prea­ched of me, that I am peculiarly cho­sen and sent to this end, that I should do thy Will. I, my God, will, & I haue most willingly accepted thereof, and thy law, tha [...] is thy commandement I haue placed in the middest of my hart, that I might euer thinke thereof, and might most diligently performe and execute it.

And hither also those words of our said Lord haue reference: My meate is to do tho will of him that sent me, to perfect his worke. Ioan. 4. For as meate is not taken once or twice through a mans life, but is taken daily & with pleasure: so our Lord himself did continually, and with a willing mind practice all Obedience to his Fa­ther. And hereupon he said: I descen­ded from Heauen, not to doe my owne will, but the will of him, that sent me. [Page 324] Ioan. 6. And more clearely in another place: He that sent me, is with me, and he hath not left me alone, because the things that please him, I do alwayes. Ioan. 8. And because Obedience is the most excellent Sacrifice of all Sacrifi­ces, according to the iudgment of Sa­muel; therefore it followeth, that how many works Christ did all the tyme, that he liued as Pilgrime vpon the Earth, so many Sacrifices did he offer vp, and those most gratefull to God. This therefore is the first Prerogat [...]ue of the Obedience of Christ; to wit, in that it endured from his Conception, to the end of his life.

Furthermore the Obedience of Christ was not determinable to any one kind of worke, as we commonly see it is among men; but it was exten­ded to all those things, vvhich it should please God his Father to command him. And from hence so great variety is seene in the life of Christ our Lord, as that one vvhile he would stay in the desert, neither eating nor drinking, & perhaps not sleeping, but liuing with beasts, as S. Marke not [...]th. c. 1. At ano­ther tyme he vvas in the frequency & sight of men, eating and drinking: [Page 325] Then, he remained obscure and secret at home, and that for no few yeares. At an other tyme appearing excellent for wisdome and Eloquence, working most great and stupendious Miracles: Novv, with great authority casting buyers and sellers out of the Temple; At an other tyme latent, & (as it were) weake, declining from the multitude and company of men; All which things require and exact a m [...]nd free from all proper free will. For neither would our Lord haue said: Math. 16. He that will come after me, let him deny himselfe; that is, let him renounce his proper will, and proper iudgment: Neither ex­cept Christ himselfe had performed it before, he would haue persuaded his disciples to the perfection of Obe­dience, when he said: Luc. 14. If any man commeth to me, and hateth not hi [...] Father and mother, and wife, & chilsdren, and brethren and sisters, yea and his owne life besides, he cannot be my Disciple. Thus according hereto did Christ himselfe forsake all things, which are accustomed to be so ardent­ly beloued, yea his owne life; the which he was so prepared to lose, as if he did hate it.

This is the true roote and Mother of Obedience, vvhich shyned most ad­mirably in Christ our Lord. And who want this, shall hardly euer come to the revvard of Obedience. For how is it possible that one should promptly obey an other mans Will, who is wholy deuoted to his ovvne will, and his owne iudgment? This is the Cause why the Celestiall Orbes do not resist or withstād the Angels mouing them, vvhether they be caried towards the East, or West; because they haue not any peculiar and proper propension either to one part, or to the other. And the same reason is, why the An­gels themselfes stand at a becke obe­dient vnto God, as holy Dauid singeth in the 102. Psalme. To wit, because they haue no proper Will, repugnant and refractary to the will of God; but be­ing most happely conioyned vvith God, they are one spirit vvith him.

Furthermore, the Obedience of Christ is not only largely on ech syde diffused; but withall by how much it is depressed downe by Patience and Hu­mility, by so much, through the excel­lency of its merits, it is eleuated and aduanced on high. Therefore the [Page 327] third Propriety of the Obedience of Christ is, that it descendeth to an in­credible Patience and Humility. Christ being an Infant, to fulfill the Obediēce of his Father, began (though full of knowledge and prudence) to inha­bite in a darke prison. Other Infants, who want Reason in their mothers Wombe, suffer no griefe or molesta­tion: But Christ enioying in his mo­thers wombe the vse of Reason, would haue had no doubt a horrour to re­maine in that straite Prison nyne Months, had not the obedience to­wards his Father and loue to mankind caused him for the setting vs at liber­ty (as the Church singeth) that he did not abhor the wombe of the Virgin.

To proceed, no small Patience & Humility was necessary, that Christ during all the time of his Infancy (who then was more wise then Salomon, since in him were all the treasures of VVisdome and Knowledge) should ac­commodate and apply himselfe to the manners & weakenes of Infants: But tha [...] Continency, Modesty, Patience, and Humility was altogether most ad­m [...]r [...]ble, that during the space of eigh­teene yeares (to wit, from the twelfth [Page 328] yeare, to the thirtith) he by the com­mand of his Father, remained so obs­curely in S. Iosephs bowse, as that he was reputed but the Sonne of a Car­penter, ignorant in learning, and per­haps indocible; when notwithstanding he did transcend all men and Angels in wisdome. I may here next alledge his great glory, rising from his preaching and working of miracles, but yet ac­compained with extreme pouerty and daily labours: The foxes haue their holes, and the foules of the ayre nests; but the Sonne of man hath not where to repose his head. Luc. 9 And he being wearied through [...]urneying, did sometimes rest himselfe by sitting vpon the side of a fountaine [...]; and preaching the kingdome of Heauen, went on foote to Cityes and Castells. Yet notwith­standing it had beene most easy, for him (if so it had stood with his Obe­dience to his Father) to abound with all things, through the help and mini­stery of men or Angels.

What shall [...]now speake of Christs persecutions, of his reproaches, and maledictiōs, spittings, buffeting, whip­ping, and finally of his sufferings and paines vpon the Crosse? For in all [Page 329] these his humble Obedience did take such deepe roote, as that it may plainly seeme to be in-imitable. But yet there remaineth a greater pro­fundity and depth of his Obedience, which concerned the last of all terrible things; & to this Abysmall profundity the Obedience of Christ descended, whē crying with a loud voyce, he said: Father into thy hands I commend my spi­rit; and saying this, he gaue vp the Ghost. Luc. 23. The Sonne of God may be thought and supposed to speake to his Father in this sort. O Father I haue receaued commandement from you, that I should lay downe my lyfe, and after receaue it, now the tyme com­meth, that I accomplish this your last command. And although the disiun­ction of my soule from my flesh (both which euen from the beginning of their vnion to this houre haue remai­ned together in great peace and chari­ty) be most bitter; and also although death, introduced through the Enuy of the diuell, be very aduerse to natu­re, and the last of all terrible thinges; notwithstanding your commandment being most deeply into the middst of my hart, doth ouerballance all other [Page 330] things. Therefore I now stand prepa­red euen to swallow downe death, and to exhaust & drinke vp this most bitter chalice giuen to me by you. And be­cause your commandement was, that I should after resume & take it againe; therefore into your hands I commend my spirit, that you may restore it to me in the next conueniency of tyme. And thus licence of departing being taken of his Father, his head being enclined to obedience, he gaue vp the Ghost. Thus Obedience became victo­rious & triumphant. Neyther did it re­ceaue a most ample reward onely in Christ himselfe, that he, who descen­ded lower then any man, and obeyed all men for his loue towards his Fa­ther should ascend aboue all, and com­mand ouer all: But it also obtayned, that all men, who would imitate his obedience and humility, should them­selues ascend aboue all the Heauens, & [...]hould be committed and placed ouer [...]he goods of their Lord, and in the end [...]ould be made partaker of the Cele­ [...]l Throne and Kingdome. To con­ [...]de, Christ did take so remarkable a Triumph ouer the rebellious, diso­bedient, and most proude Spirits, as [Page 331] that all of them do stand affrighted, and flye at the very signe of the Crosse.

All those, who couer to aspire to true glory, and to the rest and peace of their soule, ought to behould and imi­tate this exemple. Neyther only Re­gular men, who through the vow of obedience to their Superiours (who preside in the place of God,) but also all men, who labour to be the disciples and Brethren of Christ, ought to as­pire to the prize and reward of this most worthy victory, except they will rather make choyce to bewaile and la­ment for all eternity, with the proud diuels, vnder the feete of the Saincts. For Obedience, which is due by diuine precepts, and which God himselfe cō ­mandeth to be giuen to those who rul [...] vpon Earth, is most necessary to all men. For Christ said to all: Take vp my yoake vpon you. Matth. 11. And the Apostle preacheth to all, saying: Obe [...] your Prelats, and be subiect to them. Heb. 13. And Samuel instructeth heerei [...] all Kings, when he sayth: VVill [...] Lord haue Holocausts and Victimes, [...] not rather that the voyce of our Lord [...]t obeyed? Better is obedience then Victime▪ 1. Reg. 15. And then he addeth to she [...] ­ [...]et [Page 332] the greatnes of the Sinne of disobe­dience, Because it is (as it were) the Sinne of enchantement, to resist; mea­ning to resist the commandements of our Lord, and of those, who do go­uerne in the place of our Lord.

But for the benefit of those, who willingly subiect themselues vnder the Obedience of their superiours, I will here adde some few points touching their happy state; and this not out of my priuate Iudgment, but from the words of Ieremy the Prophet, who guyded by the Holy Ghost, thus sayth: It is good for a man when he beareth the yoake from his youth: He shall sit solita­ry and hould his [...]eace, because he hath lifted himselfe aboue himselfe. Thren. 3. Certainly a wonderfull felicity is sig­nified by that word, It is good for a man: since from the words following it euidently is gathered, that Good, in this place, is taken for that, which is profitable, honourable, pleasant, and on ech syde blessed. For he that shall accustome himselfe to beare the yoke of Obedience from his youth, shalbe [...] during all his life from a most a [...]auy and seruile yoake of Carnall Cu­bedditi [...] and desires. S. Austin deposeth [Page 333] the truth of this point, shewing in his [...]. Booke of Confessions, how difficult a matter it is, to cast of the yoake of Concupiscence from ones selfe, who for diuers yeares hath beene enthral­led to the law of the flesh, as on the contrary, how pleasant and easy it is, to beare the yoke of our Lord, before the soule hath bene defiled, or ensnared with Vice.

Furthermore, how great againe is it, to merit in euery worke in the sight of God? For he, who doth nothing out of his owne proper will, but from O­bedience to his Prelate and superiour, this man in euery worke performed by him, sacrifizeth to God a most gra­tefull Sacrifice, because as Samuel spea­keth; Obedience is better, then Sacrifice 1. Reg. 15. And S. Gregory giueth a rea­son of this disparity, saying: By bloudy Sacrifices the flesh of an other, by Obe­dience the proper will is immolated and offered vp. l. 35. mor. cap. 10. Adde here­to, as a thing most admirable, that if so be the Prelate should fortune to sinne in commaunding, the subiect sinneth not, but meriteth in obeying, so that that which is commanded be not a manifest and euident sinne. The Pro­phet [Page 334] Ieremy doth adde: He shall sit so­litary, and hould his peace. What sig­nifieth here, he shall sit, but that he shall remaine quiet, because he shall find the rest of his soule? For whosoe­uer abandoneth his ovvne will, deuo­ting himselfe wholy to fulfill the will of God, coueteth nothing, seeketh af­ter nothing, is ambitious of nothing; but remaynes free from all Cares, and sitteth with Mary Magdalen, at our Lords feete, hearing his word; Luc. 10. And indeed he sitteth truly solitary, both because he doth conuerse with those, who are one Hart, and one Soule; as also in that he affecteth no mā with a priuate and peculiar Loue, but loueth all in Christ, and for Christ. And hence it is, tha [...] he is quiet, as not conten­ding with any one, or hauing any pe­culiar negotiation or busines with o­thers. And the reason of so great a tranquility and quietnes is, because, he hath lifted himselfe aboue himselfe, that is, he hath transcended and pas­sed from the Order of men, to the Order of Angels.

There are many men, who do cast themselfes vnder themselfs, and des­cend to the Order of Beasts; To wit, [Page 335] those men, vvho euen breath nothing but earthly matters, and prize nothing but what is gratefull to the flesh, and senses of the Body; And these are Co­uetous men, lasciuious, and euen en­slaued to good cheere, felowship, and drunkennes. There are others, vvho liue the life of men, and after a cer­taine manner remaine in themselues; such are Philosophers, vvho either search the secrets of Natu [...]e, or deliuer precepts touching manners. To con­clude, there are some others, who do lift themselfs aboue themselfs; and this not vvithout a peculiar priuiledge and assistance of God, leading not an hu­mane, but Angelicall life. These are those, who renouncing all things, vvhich the vvorld affords, and deny­ing their ovvne will, can say vvith the Apostle: Our conuersation is in Hea­uen. Phil. 3. For the Angels are not de­filed wi [...]h any filth of sinne, and they do euer contemplate the face of the Father which is in Heauen; and omit­ting all other affayres, they are wholy busied, and intent in executing the Commandements of God, according to that of the 102. Psalme: Blesse our Lord all yee his Angels, doing his word, [Page 336] that feare the Voyce of his words.

This is the felicity of a Regular life, the which if it do seriously imi­tate the purity and Obedience of the Angels, will doubtlesly participate of their Glory in Heauen; especially if they follow Christ their Captaine and mayster, Who humbled himselfe, made obedient vnto death; euen the death of the Crosse. Phil. 2. And when as he was the Sonne of God, learned obedience from those things he suffered. Heb. 5. That is, he experimentally learned, that true Obedience was tryed by Patience. And thus he did not only teach Obedience by his owne Example, but withall taught the principles and foundation of true and perfect Obedience, vvhich are Humility and Patience. For who freely and willingly obeyeth his supe­riour, commanding honourable and pleasing things to be done, may be much doubted of. whether the vertue of Obedience, or some other Allectiue draweth him to obey: But he, who vvith all alacrity and therefulnes of mynd obeyeth in thing [...] vile and labo­rious (where Humility and Patience are necessary) declareth that as a true Disciple of Christ, he hath learned per­fect Obedience.

S. Gregory notably sheweth the difference betvvene true and forged Obedience, vvho thus speaketh, l. 35. mor. c. 10. Quia nonnunquam nobis &c. Because sometymes things pleasing to this world, at other tymes things dis­pleasing are commanded to be done; therefore we are chiefly to knowe, that sometimes Obedience, if it haue nothing of it selfe in it, is no obedience; And some­tymes except it hath something of it selfe, it is lesse. For example, when plea­sing things of this world are comman­ded, when the higher and more worthy place is commanded to be taken; he, who obeyeth these Commands, euacuateth and frustrateth in himselfe the vertue of Obedience, if out of a secret desire he affecteth them. For he suffereth not him­selfe to be gouerned by Obedience, who in vndertaking the prosperous things of his life, serueth his owne humour of Am­bition. Againe, When aduerse and di­stastfull matters are commanded, when it is commanded to receaue obloquies, and contumelies; except the mind of it selfe doth desire these things, the merit of obedience is lessened; because he descen­deth vnwillingly to such things, as are [Page 338] abiect and vile in this life. For Obe­dience suffereth detriment, when no de­sires of any part do accompany the mind, prepared to receaue disgraces or contu­melies. Therefore Obedience touching things aduerse and displeasant, ought to haue something of it selfe; and againe touching things prosperous and grace­full, it ought to haue nothing of it selfe. And Obedience, when the subiect of it, is a thing displeasing, is so much the more glorious and worthy, by how much the desire of him that obeyeth is more firm­ly conioyned to the diuine will; As on the contrary, where the subiect is plea­sant and sweet, Obedience is so much the more true by how much the mind is estranged from all vayne and humane complacency.

But the weight of this Vertue of Obedience, we may more clearely bal­lance, if we call to mind the memorable Acts of two men, now reigning in Hea­uen. Moyses, when he fed sheep in the desert, was called by our Lord speaking to him, by the ministery of an Angell in the fiery Bush, that he should gouerne ouer all the multitude of the Israelits. Exod. 3. But because he was humble and [Page 339] lowly in himselfe, he was afraid of the profered glory of so great a gouerment; saying: I beseech thee, O Lord I am not eloquent from yesterday, and the day before, and since thou hast spoken to thy seruant, I haue more impediment and slownes of tongue &c. I beseech thee, O Lord, send whom thou wilt send. Behould heere, how Moyses discourseth and de­bateth with the Authour of the Ton­gue; and acknowledged himselfe to be of imperfect speach, that thereby he might auoyde the power of so great a soue­raignty and gouernment. In like sort, S. Paul was admonished from Heauen (as himselfe testifieth in his 2. Epistle to the Galathians) that he ought to ascend to Ierusalem; Who meeting with the Pro­phet Agabus in his iourney, was aduer­tized, how great aduersity and trouble did expect and wayte for him in Ieru­salem. For it is thus written: Agabus tooke Paules girdle, & binding his owne hands and feete, he said: Thus the man whose girdle this is, so shall the Iewes bind in Ierusalem, Act. 22. But S. Paul instantly answered: I am ready not only to be bound, but to dye also in Ierusalem, for the name of Iesus.

Thus S. Paul through a command of diuine Reuelation going towards Ie­rusalem, knoweth afore hand, what vexations were there to afflict him; ne­uertheles he willingly desireth them: He heareth of troubles, of which he might well be afraid; yet he coueteth with all endeauour oo aspire to them. Thus Moy­ses hath no part of his owne desire tou­ching his command; and therefore he partly laboureth against the coommand, thereby to eschew his gouernment ouer the Israelites. But S. Paul is drawne to vndergoe aduersities out of his owne de­sire; who foreseeing imminent euills, boyleth in deuotion of spirit to sustaine farre greater. The former man was wil­ling to decline the glory of present Po­wer, though God commanded him to accept thereof: This later (God prepa­ring for him asperity and molestations) thirsteth after more violent afflictions, yea euen death it selfe. Now from the immoueable Vertue of these two worthy Captaines leading vs the way, we may be instructed, that if we desire earnestly to gaine the palme and reward of Obe­dience, we must play the souldiers, in performing things prosperous only by cō ­mand [Page 341] though with some reluctation of our owne Nature; but things aduerse & distastfull, to execute euen out of our owne deuotion and Zeale.

Thus farre S. Gregory Which do­ctrine Christ our Lord & Maister, euen from his owne example most cleerly approued. For when he knew the mul­titude would come and take him, that they might make him a King, we read; That he fled into the moūtaine, himselfe alone. But whē he saw that the Iewes & the souldiers with Iudas, were to come to apprehēd him, & draw him to punishmēt, then according to the com­mand, which he receaued from his Father, he of his owne accord did pre­sently meete them, and suffered him­selfe to be taken and bound. There­fore Christ not in words did vaunt of Obedience; but in workes, and in ear­nest, exhibited Obedience vnto his Fa­ther, grounded in true Patience and Humility. Vpon this example of the most noble vertue of Obedience, all those ought to haue their eyes fixed, who aspire to the high reward, due for a voluntary abnegation of ones proper Will, and imitation of Christ.


The first Booke.

  • THe first VVords explicated lite­rally. pag. 14.
  • The second VVords explicated. pag. 47.
  • The third VVord explicated. pag. 89.

The second Booke.

  • THe fourth VVord explicated lite­rally. pag. 131.
  • The fifth VVord explicated. pag. 193.
  • The sixt VVord explicated. pag. 238.
  • The seauenth VVord explicated. p. 292.

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